44th Earth Day Tree Planting

FOREST SEEDLINGS. Mindanao Development Authority staff along with community volunteer Elmer Valdez (2nd from left) participate in a tree growing activity that planted more than 2,000 seedlings of forest tree species at a designated mini-watershed in Sitio Upper Kibalang in Marilog Disrtrict, Davao City. The event was organized in partnership with the Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office and other government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways and professional organizations like the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.

 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Over 2,000 seedlings of hardwood trees will soon become forest foliage in this city's upland area, as a multi-sector group conducted a tree planting activity last month in support to the National Greening Program (NGP).


The City Government of Davao, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and several other organizations led the planting of Narra, Molave, and Big-leaf Mahogany seedlings at a designated mini-watershed located in Sitio Upper Kibalang in Marilog Disrtrict.

"We cannot be here forever. In fact, I am about to retire. By training members of the local community on how to take care of the environment, we hope that the knowledge will be kept and propagated among the people of this barangay," said Martin Obrero, supervising environmental specialist of the City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO).

He added that the seedlings planted in the mini-watershed would be taken care of by volunteers from the local community for a minimum period of three years to ensure their survival and maturity into full-grown trees.

The tree growing activity, which coincided with the city's celebration of the 44th Earth Day was also supported by volunteers from the local community, various offices of the city government, other national government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and professional organizations like the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE).

"We need similar collaborations that aim to rehabilitate our denuded forests and support us in our goal of protecting Mindanao's environment while contributing to the targets of the NGP," said MinDA Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino.

NGP is a flagship project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016. Apart from being a reforestation initiative, the program is also a climate change mitigation strategy that aims to increase the country's forest cover to raise its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, which is largely blamed for global warming.

Antonino added that through the MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program, MinDA is working with DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government in the full implementation of the Mindanao Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project (BSFP) through the Barangay Forest Program (BFP), a component of the NGP.

The BSFP is a tripartite partnership that seeks to facilitate the implementation and attainment of the objectives of the NGP in Mindanao. A launch of the project will be held on May 21 in Cagayan de Oro City.

"We initially target 200 barangays in Mindanao as part of this campaign, and we hope to engage them in massive reforestation activities aimed to generate at least two million seedlings of forest trees to be planted among typhoon-prone and perennially flooded areas in the island-region," said Antonino.

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NEW SHIPPING ROUTE. Seen to increase trade between Indonesia and the Philippines, the Davao-General Santos-Tahuna-Bitung sea route which will open next month will formalize shipping services between Mindanao and North Sulawesi, two key island-provinces in the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Are (BIMP-EAGA). The opening of the shipping route is also seen to boost trade growth within the economic sub-region and encourage entrepreneurs to engage into international trade business.

 

Trade and economic ties between Mindanao and Indonesia expect to get further boost with the opening of the Davao-General Santos-Tahuna-Bitung sea route this month that will operationalize shipping services between Mindanao and North Sulawesi.

An agreement to operationalize the shipping service was sealed in Jakarta on April 11 by the representatives of the Indonesian shipping line PT Kanaka, the North Minahasa Chamber of Commerce of Indonesia, Philippine-based cargo company ARREE Freight Express and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce.

The sea route has expanded to include Tahuna, a fishing and trading center in Sangir Talaud group of islands in the province of North Sulawesi, situated in between Bitung and General Santos City.

In the agreement, PT Kanaka will provide shipping services to the route with its conventional cargo-type vessel with a 120 TEU capacity. ARREE Freight Express on the other hand will handle the cargo consolidation requirements for the shipping route.

“We have always looked into this route as one of the cheapest and fastest ways to transport goods from Mindanao to Indonesia, and vice versa,” said Dr. Malou Monteverde, former president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the primary proponents of the sea route.

The shipping service is also seen to significantly increase trade and economic relations not just between the two countries, but in the entire Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Monteverde added that the vessel is initially expected to ply the route twice a month.

Among the products eyed by Mindanao traders to export to Indonesia through the new shipping service are canned beverage, fresh and dried tropical fruits, processed coconut, corn feeds, construction supplies, meat, poultry, and fish products.

Currently, sea links that connect Mindanao to Indonesia have to pass through Manila and Jakarta before reaching the provinces of North Sulawesi.

Monteverde said that the new link will allow the direct exchange of goods between Mindanao and Indonesia through a less costly and more proximate route.


Prior to the commencement of this route, consumer items for East Indonesia are usually sourced from Jakarta, almost a thousand nautical miles from North Sulawesi. The direct sea route is estimated to span only 350-nautical miles. Tahuna was added to the route due to the area’s strategic location and its significant contribution to trading activities.

“We commend the continuous efforts of the private sector in making this route possible, which will significantly cut shipping costs and thereby allow our small and medium entrepreneurs to engage in international trading between these two points in the BIMP-EAGA,” said Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and Philippine signing minister for BIMP-EAGA.

Antonino added that the private sector-led sea route is identified as a priority route under the masterplan on ASEAN connectivity, and is seen to strongly contribute to efforts towards ASEAN integration.

Currently, shipping companies that provide services to areas covered by BIMP-EAGA are given 50 percent discount on port and dockages fees as part of the incentives for serving within the sub-region.

As part of the Philippine initiatives for ASEAN integration, the development of the route is also supported by various national line agencies including the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Communication, the Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, Bureau of Customs, including transport security offices.

In a feasibility study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2012, the Gensan-Bitung route was selected as one of the pilot areas for a roll-on roll-off operation within BIMP-EAGA. The study also highlighted that the route can be dedicated to a freight service once shipping service requirements are in place.

Another study made by the Research Education and Institutional Development (REID) Foundation in 2010 cited that the North Sulawesi-Mindanao sea link offers strong potentials for international trade and commerce between Indonesia and the Philippines since it offers a proximate channel for the shipment of goods.

“The opening of this sea route concretizes our long-running efforts to establish a shipping link between Mindanao and North Sulawesi,” said Eko Hartono, Indonesian Consul General to Davao.

North Sulawesi is among the 10 provinces in the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Irian Jaya that are part of the BIMP-EAGA.

Hartono added that once fully utilized, the sea route is seen as an impetus for the reopening of the Davao-Manado air links that revive the trade and tourism links between the two key cities in the sub-region.

The BIMP-EAGA is primarily intended to spur development in the lagging sub-economies of the member countries by boosting intra-EAGA trade, tourism, and investments.
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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A fun run aimed to raise funds and contribute to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of coastal barangays in Mindanao is being organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) through its flagship program MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program.

Slated on June 1, the activity, entitled "We Run, We Care" is designed to generate resources for the replanting of mangroves areas in Davao Oriental that were destroyed by Typhoon Pablo in 2012, and provide assistance in the rehabilitation of the coastal barangays that were affected by the Zamboanga incident in September last year.

"We target to register 1,000 runners in Davao City and raise an initial fund of P100,000," said Hegem Furigay, JCI area vice-president for Mindanao while adding "a simultaneous run will also happen in Zamboanga City as part of the initiative."

He said that proceeds of the fun run will be dedicated for the establishment of nurseries for mangrove seedlings and eventually start up tree-growing activities in the target areas, which will become a source of livelihood among affected residents.

The identified pilot areas are the communities in Barangay Baculin in Baganga, Davao Oriental, and Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City.

"We hope that through this activity, we can assist in protecting our environment as well as provide livelihood opportunities to the affected families of our target barangays, many of whom are still in need of support and assistance in order to fully recover," added Furigay.

The activity is also in support to the National Greening Program (NGP), a flagship project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees covering 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016.

"We encourage similar efforts of collaboration particularly those that support our goal of protecting Mindanao's environment while contributing to the NGP target of replanting the country's denuded forest areas," said MinDA Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino.

She added that through MindaNOW! Program, MinDA is also working with DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government in the full implementation the Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project (BSFP) through the Barangay Forest Program (BFP), a component of the NGP.

The project aims rehabilitate natural habitats and strengthen multi-sectoral commitment in the reforestation of Mindanao's denuded areas.

"We initially target 200 barangays in Mindanao as part of this campaign, and we hope to engage them in massive reforestation activities aimed to generate at least 2 million seedlings of forest trees to be planted among typhoon-prone and perennially flooded areas in the island-region," said Antonino.

JCI is a world-wide non-profit voluntary organization of young people who seek targeted and sustainable solutions to the unique problems in their local communities by using the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG) as a guide.

The fun run is a collaborative project of nine JCI local organizations in the Davao Region, of which its conduct falls under the UNMDG number 7, which is "to ensure environmental sustainability." The initiative is also in line with the aims of the MindaNOW! Program, which is to uphold environmental integrity and to facilitate projects that are focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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The City Government of Davao has declared October 20-26, 2014 a celebration week for BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT as it plays host to an international trade fair and business leaders conference to be held at SM Lanang Premier's SMX Convention Center.

Dubbed as the 2nd BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders' Conference, the event expects to draw around 800 business leaders, government officials, traders, and potential investors from across five countries within ASEAN. More than 200 international exhibitors are also expected to participate in the trade fair.

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, while the IMT-GT stands for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle. Both sub-regional groupings are among the most dynamic economic cooperation in ASEAN.

"The City of Davao welcomes this event as an opportunity, not only for Davaoeños, but also for residents and entrepreneurs in other cities and municipalities in Mindanao, to effectively promote investments and generate trade in their respective jurisdiction," Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in Proclamation No. 3, signed on April 8, 2014.

The city government also issued an executive order creating the BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT Committee to serve as the main collaborating arm of the city with the other local and national agencies involved in the preparation for the event.

Overall preparations are spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.

At the City-led committee meeting held this week, MinDA Executive Director Janet Lopoz encouraged Davao City and Mindanao-based entrepreneurs to participate in the said international event, which provides strategic opportunities for trade and investments.

"Beyond mere showcase of unique products and investment opportunities from across the five countries, this international trade fair and conference will also benchmark on the our preparedness for the ASEAN economic integration by 2015," she said.

The weeklong event is also a commemorative celebration of BIMP-EAGA's 20th this year. BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 in Davao City as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less developed areas in participating countries.

Other activities featured during the weeklong celebration also include East ASEAN Film Festival, ASEAN Street Food Festival, Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Summit and Innovation Expo, Importers/Exporters Forum and a Golf Tournament.
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DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The Philippines will host this year’s largest sub-regional trade fair and business conference that will gather the top business leaders and traders from two economic sub-regional groupings within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

Business players from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand will converge here from October 23 to 26 for the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference 2014, an international event designed to attract foreign investments and promote regional cooperation within Asia and the Pacific region. BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, while the IMT-GT stands for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle.  “While both growth triangles have their respective road maps, this convergence will enhance our competitiveness by turning the sub-region into a single investment area and production network, thereby accelerating economic growth in Southeast Asia,” said Luwalhati  Antonino, Chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.

The international fair and business conference, which will be held at the SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center will feature a series of sub-events designed to strengthen economic, social, and cultural relations in preparation for the ASEAN integration in 2015.  Antonino explained that the trade fair and business conference are follow through events to the 1st BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Consumer Fair and Business Transformation Leaders Conference held in Melaka, Malaysia in December of 2012, where the Philippines expressed its commitment to sustain the convergence by hosting this year’s fair and conference. Key exporters and producers in the ASEAN region will conduct sharing of strategies during the Business Leaders’ Conference, and will discuss the potential impact of the ASEAN integration on SMEs and on their participation in the supply chain. Also on the agenda are Climate Change Adaptation and the alignment of the four pillars of BIMP-EAGA, namely connectivity, food basket, tourism, and environment. Investment programs within the Mindanao Development Corridors, the island-region’s spatial development framework, will also be presented. The trade fair, which will be dovetailed by the Business Leaders’ Conference will showcase the finest and unique products of participating countries as well as current developments in the services sector, technology innovations, and investment opportunities. Business-matching sessions will be conducted simultaneously with the trade fair and the business conference. “This year’s trade fair will also bring together key business players from other ASEAN countries. We aim to highlight market and investment opportunities for globally competitive products, as well as strategies to escalate private sector participation in integration initiatives of the two growth triangles into the ASEAN market,” said Antonino. She added that the four-day activity is also a commemorative celebration of BIMP-EAGA’s 20th this year.  BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 in Davao City as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less developed areas in participating countries. IMT-GT was formed in 1993 with similar goals of promoting trade, investment, and tourism in less-developed states and provinces in Sumatra, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and Southern Thailand. Both sub-regional groups aim to harness private sector leadership in initiatives to promote cross-border investments and improve connectivity. 

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