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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
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AL GORE IN TACLOBAN: PHILIPPINES [FINALLY] STARTS TASK OF MEETING CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENTS


MARCH 15 -People watch the Earth globe at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change in Le Bourget, Dec. 10, 2015. FILE - The Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries when it comes to disasters and weather-related events. And this week it is hosting a three-day intensive seminar to help develop “climate leaders” who will be tasked to call attention to the impacts of climate change and what action can be taken. Climate reality From 1994 to 2013, the Philippines had 328 major weather events making it the worst-off country, according to data presented by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, now the chairman of the Washington-based Climate Reality Project. Second on the list was Bangladesh, with 228 events. Gore’s presentation in Manila made the connection between rising earth temperatures, powerful storms, extreme heat, more prolonged drought and their impact on food supplies, public health and political stability. “I am constantly challenged in my own heart to realize the magnitude of these biblical changes that are going on right now,” he said.“ And we are the people alive in this day and time that have a responsibility to recognize it and then to act.” Gore spoke Monday to the crowd of about 700 people in Manila, made up of public and private sector environmentalists, climate justice advocates and local media representatives. READ MORE...

ALSO: Next president should address climate change, Climate Reality group says


MARCH 15 -Mario Molina, director of The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, said political will and knowledge are needed to come up with policies on climate change. File photo The next president of the Philippines should help address climate change and provide leadership that would enable the country to support efforts to limit global warming, an official of an environment advocacy group said.
Mario Molina, director of The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, said political will and knowledge are needed to come up with policies on climate change, which he believes is the most important issue confronting the country. “Listen to the people and take action on climate as soon as you get in,” Molina said in an interview last Monday when asked for his message to the next president of the Philippines. “If the intention to address climate change is there, if there is enough leadership in this country, if the Philippine leadership has understanding and knowledge of the issue, then the policies can follow. What is needed is the political will to make those decisions and to make those choices,” he added. Molina said his group is not in the position to recommend specific policies to the Philippine government. He, however, believes that climate change and disaster resilience should become election issues. “Overall it’s not my area of expertise to compare the Philippines with other Asian nations but I think it’s important to support the leaders who are calling for strong climate action especially you have elections coming up,” Molina said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PAGASA declares onset of summer season


MARCH 18 -Out to catch a portion of the sea’s bounties, a local fisherman casts his huge fishing gear, locally known as ‘sayot’ along the coastline of Barangay Bia-o, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur where marine resources abound especially during the summer months. (Freddie G. Lazaro)
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Friday, March 18, officially declared the start of the dry or summer season with the end of the northeast monsoon. PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said that recent PAGASA observations showed gradual increase in recorded daily temperatures in most parts of the country. He said that the wind analysis indicated the shift of wind direction from northeasterly to easterly and considering anticipated changes in wind pattern and pressure system related with the changing season, current weather condition signified the imminent termination of the Northeast monsoon. READ MORE...RELATED, It’s official: Summer is here!!! The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the heat index could reach as high as 37 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City on Holy Tuesday...

ALSO: 12M Filipinos living in extreme poverty


MARCH 18 -STILL POOR A homeless family shares a meager meal on the streets of the city. Despite improvements in the country’s economic indicators, more than 26 million Filipinos remain poor, with about 12 million living in extreme poverty. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO 
More than 26 million Filipinos remain poor with almost half, or a little more than 12 million, living in extreme poverty and lacking the means to feed themselves, according to official government statistics for the first semester of 2015. The figures, however, reflect slight improvements from the same period in 2012, two years after President Benigno Aquino III assumed power, as well as in 2009 and 2006, under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency. “The statistics are actually good. Yes, we can be happy about it,” said Rosemarie Edillon, acting deputy director of the National Economic and Development Authority. She said it was a sign that economic growth was trickling down to lower-income families, helping bridge the wealth disparities between the rich and the poor. The economy has been growing at an average of 6 percent under the Aquino administration. “We have attributed this first to fast-rising incomes,” Edillon said. “The incomes of the bottom 30 percent have actually improved the fastest. That means that inequality is actually being reduced as well.”  Marginal declines  In the first three months of 2015, 26.3 percent of Filipinos were found to be living below the poverty line, a measure of the minimum income required to meet basic food and nonfood needs, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a briefing on Friday. READ MORE... RELATED, FROM SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, NUEVA ECIJA -Filipino farmers vulnerable to heat stroke...

ALSO: Earth Hour - Stationary Bamboo bikes pedal power lights up Philippines map


MARCH 20 -Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this year’s observance of Earth Hour was held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where a LED map of the Philippines was lit by volunteers pedaling on 10 stationary bamboo bikes attached to generators, which converted “pedal power” to electricity. Philstar.com/File Hundreds of bikers lit a LED map of the Philippines by pedaling on stationary bamboo bikes for last night’s observance of Earth Hour, an annual global movement encouraging a one-hour switch-off to raise awareness on the over-use of non-renewable resources.
Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this year’s observance of Earth Hour was held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where a LED map of the Philippines was lit by volunteers pedaling on 10 stationary bamboo bikes attached to generators, which converted “pedal power” to electricity. Over 500 bikers converged at the venue for the annual switch-off, which was observed from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., according to Earth Hour Philippines director Gia Ibay. “All participants got a chance to pedal for the planet and show the world that human power can light up the Philippines and the world,” she said. “Our aim is to showcase low-carbon alternatives which all Filipinos can embrace. These range from alternative modes of transport to energy-efficient technologies like portable and household solar kits. The event was also partially powered by renewable energy, particularly solar, wind and biogas,” she added. Electric vehicles such as e-jeeps and e-trikes were also showcased at the event. READ MORE...READ MORE...RELATED, World switches off lights for Earth Hour...

ALSO: Millions of Catholics buckle down to time-honored Holy Week rites


MARCH 21 -The Holy Week comes every year with time-honored rites and traditions that have been passed on for generations. And millions of Catholics throughout the country have already begun to observe them over the weekend with Palm Sunday. A unique old custom, though, that continues to be observed especially in the provinces is the “pabasa,” the Gregorian chanting of Biblical passages recounting the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. Lifted from the pages of the Holy Bible, the town elders usually take turns in chanting the verses from Holy Monday until Holy Wednesday. The marathon chanting of verses on the life of Jesus from the pages of the Sacred Scriptures, also known as “pasyon,” is, likewise, observed in some churches in Metro Manila such as at the Quiapo Church. Today, the melodies of popular songs are sometimes used to make the “pabasa” sound more interesting and lively. In recent years, the melodies of popular tunes are alternately used with the traditional chanting in monotone to make it sound more interesting, lively, and appealing even to the young.
THE ‘PANATA’ On the streets, flagellants and penitents walk under the scorching summer heat while whipping their backs as a form of penitence or sacrifice. For some, this has become their yearly Holy Week ritual, a form of a “panata” or vow in exchange for an answered prayer or a long-standing petition. In Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, flagellants wear a white cotton hood called “kapirosas” to cover their faces. Crowns made of thorns are worn by the penitents whose backs are whipped until it bleeds. At least 18 Filipino penitents will be nailed to wooden crosses in three known crucifixion sites in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga during the “Maleldo” on Good Friday. Twelve penitents are expected to be crucified in Barangay San Pedro Cutud; and three each in the villages of San Juan and Sta Lucia, respectively, according to Bob Velez. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Philippines Starts Task of Meeting Climate Change Commitments


People watch the Earth globe at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change in Le Bourget, Dec. 10, 2015. FILE -

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2016 (VOICE OF AMERICA) Simone Orendain March 15, 2016 7:02 AM - The Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries when it comes to disasters and weather-related events. And this week it is hosting a three-day intensive seminar to help develop “climate leaders” who will be tasked to call attention to the impacts of climate change and what action can be taken.

Climate reality


Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore addresses participants during a three-day climate change training and workshop on how best to address the effects of global climate change on March 14, 2016 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines.

From 1994 to 2013, the Philippines had 328 major weather events making it the worst-off country, according to data presented by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, now the chairman of the Washington-based Climate Reality Project.

Second on the list was Bangladesh, with 228 events.

Gore’s presentation in Manila made the connection between rising earth temperatures, powerful storms, extreme heat, more prolonged drought and their impact on food supplies, public health and political stability.

“I am constantly challenged in my own heart to realize the magnitude of these biblical changes that are going on right now,” he said.“ And we are the people alive in this day and time that have a responsibility to recognize it and then to act.”

Gore spoke Monday to the crowd of about 700 people in Manila, made up of public and private sector environmentalists, climate justice advocates and local media representatives.

READ MORE...

Climate Reality CEO Ken Berlin said the goal is to get the Philippines started on its stated intention, made during the U.N. Conference of Parties summit (COP21) in December, to reduce 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“And we’ll be working to make sure that commitment is implemented, to build public support for the implementation of it.If there are new laws needed, we’ll work to get those laws through and build public support for that,” said Berlin.

Investing in renewable energy


IN 2008, Activists from the environmentalist group Greenpeace paint the words "Quit Coal" on the driveway of the Department of Energy at Manila's Taguig city Tuesday June 3, 2008 in another protest urging the Philippine Government to stop building and expansion of coal plants and promote instead alternative sources of energy to stop climate change. FILE

Philippine Senator Loren Legarda, who has authored at least eight environmental laws, made a pitch for renewable energy. She asked why when the rest of the world was moving toward reducing coal powered generation (which causes significant carbon emissions), the Philippines was going in the opposite direction.

“The explanation given is anchored on simplistic assumptions: coal-fired power plants are the country’s dominant power technology because economically, they are widely available and easy to build. Easy and affordable defy durable solutions.”

Legarda said the country already had several laws supporting the renewable energy sector. She said renewable energy is about one third of the country’s power source, but the Philippines was still falling short of tapping its potential to generate 246,000 megawatts from those sources.

Power companies have said that the energy market in the Philippines is very competitive and there is still demand for cheap sources of electricity such as coal.

According to the World Resources Institute, public concern over high energy prices in a country that already has one of the highest costs in Asia has been a major stumbling block for renewable power generation.

Shifting from dirty fuel sources


This photo taken on March 12, 2016 shows former US vice-president Al Gore (C) talking to Philippine Senator Loren Legarda (L) and Mayor Alfred Romualdez during a visit to the mass grave for victims of super typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban City, central Philippines. AFP

On its website, the Philippine Energy Department promotes the country as having “vast potential for coal resources just awaiting full exploration and development to contribute to the attainment of the country's energy self- sufficiency program.”

Government incentives include exemption from all taxes except income tax and exemption from tariff duties and compensation tax for importing machinery and equipment needed for coal operations.

The energy department also promotes investments in renewable energies, but without as many tax and tariff incentives.

Legarda highlighted an energy efficiency bill that she intends to push in the next congressional session starting in July and urged the leaders in training to help keep such proposals in the public eye.

Rodne Galicha, branch manager of Climate Reality Philippines, said “climate leaders” in his country “need to walk the talk.” (Back up their words with actions)

“On top of adaptation strategies, loss and damage, climate negotiations, etc., we need really to, as well, shift from dirty fuel sources to renewable sources. We have a lot of renewable energy sources,” he said.

He said the country needs to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and instead give more incentives for renewable energy.


PHILSTAR

Next president should address climate change, group says By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated March 15, 2016 - 7:16pm 1 3 googleplus1 0


Mario Molina, director of The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, said political will and knowledge are needed to come up with policies on climate change. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The next president of the Philippines should help address climate change and provide leadership that would enable the country to support efforts to limit global warming, an official of an environment advocacy group said.

Mario Molina, director of The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, said political will and knowledge are needed to come up with policies on climate change, which he believes is the most important issue confronting the country.

“Listen to the people and take action on climate as soon as you get in,” Molina said in an interview last Monday when asked for his message to the next president of the Philippines.

“If the intention to address climate change is there, if there is enough leadership in this country, if the Philippine leadership has understanding and knowledge of the issue, then the policies can follow. What is needed is the political will to make those decisions and to make those choices,” he added.

Molina said his group is not in the position to recommend specific policies to the Philippine government. He, however, believes that climate change and disaster resilience should become election issues.

“Overall it’s not my area of expertise to compare the Philippines with other Asian nations but I think it’s important to support the leaders who are calling for strong climate action especially you have elections coming up,” Molina said.

READ MORE...

“I don't think there is another issue more important in the Philippines. The Philippines is most vulnerable country in the world to climate change so to not address it as an election issue would be a big mistake,” he added.

Molina said the direction that the Philippine leadership takes on climate would be very important as this would determine if the country would be able to meet its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC).

The INDC is a document submitted to the United Nations that details a country’s action plan on mitigating the effects of climate change.

In its INDC, the Philippines vowed to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030 if it gets assistance like financial resources, technology development and transfer and capability building. Carbon emissions have been linked to global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions like drought and strong typhoons.

Gore praises Pope Francis


In his encyclical Laudato Si or “Praise be to You,” Pope Francis wrote that climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

Meanwhile, former United States (US) vice president and environmental activist Al Gore on Monday lauded Pope Francis for his concern for sectors who are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Speaking to participants of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Pasay, Gore joked that he might consider converting to Catholicism because of the pontiff, who has been vocal in advocating for action on climate change.

“Let me say something about Pope Francis, I’m not a Catholic but I can become a Catholic because of him,” the former US vice president said in jest.

I’m an admirer of his delivery of message of Jesus Christ. What an incredible leader!” he added.

Gore, a devout Baptist, also agreed with Pope Francis pronouncement that the greatest effects of climate change are suffered by the poor. He noted that the Vatican, the center of the Roman Catholic religion, is the first state to be carbon-neutral.

“They (Vatican) have two advantages. They’re very small and God is on their side," Gore said, drawing laughs from the audience.

In his encyclical Laudato Si or “Praise be to You,” Pope Francis wrote that climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics also criticized actions that “hurt and mistreated” the planet Earth, which he described as “our common home.”

The 2015 encyclical also cited the need to reduce greenhouse gases and to protect the environment and vulnerable sectors especially the poor.

“When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor erson, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected,” Pope Francis said in the encyclical.

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all,” the pontiff added.


MANILA BULLETIN

PAGASA declares onset of summer season by Philippines News Agency March 18, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share4


Out to catch a portion of the sea’s bounties, a local fisherman casts his huge fishing gear, locally known as ‘sayot’ along the coastline of Barangay Bia-o, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur where marine resources abound especially during the summer months. (Freddie G. Lazaro)

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Friday, March 18, officially declared the start of the dry or summer season with the end of the northeast monsoon.

PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said that recent PAGASA observations showed gradual increase in recorded daily temperatures in most parts of the country.

He said that the wind analysis indicated the shift of wind direction from northeasterly to easterly and considering anticipated changes in wind pattern and pressure system related with the changing season, current weather condition signified the imminent termination of the Northeast monsoon.

READ MORE...

With this development, expected day-to-day weather include increasing number of dry and warm days in most areas of the Philippines, partly due to the dominance of the ridge of high pressure area (HPA) and the easterlies.

However, some isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms may also be expected due to convective activities caused by heat island effect and/or wind convergence. Coastal waters on the other hand, may at times be moderate due to the prevalence of strong easterly wind blowing particularly over eastern Luzon and Visayas.

Meanwhile, the on-going strong El Niño is still affecting the entire Philippines, which may significantly result in reduced rainfall and warmer air temperatures, especially over the western section of Mindanao.

The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of water for personal and domestic consumption, PAGASA said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

It’s official: Summer is here By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 33 googleplus1 0


The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the heat index could reach as high as 37 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City on Holy Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines - The state weather bureau yesterday warned the public to expect sizzling temperatures in different parts of the country over the weekend and the first half of the Holy Week.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the heat index could reach as high as 37 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City on Holy Tuesday.

Heat index is what it feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

“High air temperatures and high relative humidity will give high apparent temperatures or indices,” said PAGASA.

The weather bureau said those experiencing heat index between 32 to 41 degrees should exercise extreme caution as it could result in heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

“Continuing activity could result in heat stroke,” it said.

In Metro Manila, the heat index is expected to reach as high as 36 degrees Celsius tomorrow, Palm Sunday, and on Holy Tuesday.

In Cebu, where the second presidential debates will be held tomorrow, the heat index is forecast to be at 35.4 degrees Celsius. It will peak on Holy Monday at 36.1 degrees Celsius.

Last Thursday, PAGASA said the heat index in the country peaked in Dagupan, Pangasinan at 36.5 degrees Celsius.

The weather bureau advised the public to stay indoors as direct exposure to sunlight could increase heat index by as much as nine degrees.

“Wear lightweight and light colored clothing. Light colors will reflect the sun’s energy,” it said. “Drink plenty of water regularly. The body needs water to keep cool.”

Weather in most parts of the country until Holy Tuesday is expected to be partly cloudy with chances of thunderstorms and rainshowers.


INQUIRER

12M Filipinos living in extreme poverty By: DJ Yap @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:55 PM March 18th, 2016


STILL POOR A homeless family shares a meager meal on the streets of the city. Despite improvements in the country’s economic indicators, more than 26 million Filipinos remain poor, with about 12 million living in extreme poverty. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

More than 26 million Filipinos remain poor with almost half, or a little more than 12 million, living in extreme poverty and lacking the means to feed themselves, according to official government statistics for the first semester of 2015.

The figures, however, reflect slight improvements from the same period in 2012, two years after President Benigno Aquino III assumed power, as well as in 2009 and 2006, under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency.

“The statistics are actually good. Yes, we can be happy about it,” said Rosemarie Edillon, acting deputy director of the National Economic and Development Authority.

She said it was a sign that economic growth was trickling down to lower-income families, helping bridge the wealth disparities between the rich and the poor.

The economy has been growing at an average of 6 percent under the Aquino administration.

“We have attributed this first to fast-rising incomes,” Edillon said. “The incomes of the bottom 30 percent have actually improved the fastest. That means that inequality is actually being reduced as well.”

Marginal declines

In the first three months of 2015, 26.3 percent of Filipinos were found to be living below the poverty line, a measure of the minimum income required to meet basic food and nonfood needs, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a briefing on Friday.

READ MORE...

This translates to about 26.48 million Filipinos, based on the Philippine population in 2015 of 100.7 million.

In 2012, national poverty incidence stood at 27.9 percent of the population. In 2009, it was at 28.6 percent, practically unchanged from the 2006 figure three years before, of 28.8 percent.

The 2015 survey also found that 12.1 percent of the population—roughly 12.18 million Filipinos—are living in subsistence or extreme poverty, meaning their earnings are not enough for them to eat three square meals a day.

This, too, indicates marginal declines from the three previous years the survey had been taken. In 2006, 14.2 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty; in 2009, the number stood at 13.3 percent, and at 13.4 percent in 2012.

4Ps a big help

Edillon said the government’s 4Ps, or conditional cash transfer program, has helped a great dealin reducing poverty, providing safety nets to families which otherwise would not have the opportunity to send their children to school.

“As you know the 4PS program does not really intend to reduce poverty in the long term because the amount of transfer is only about 20 percent. And for 2015, [it’s targeting] only 15 percent of people below the poverty line. It’s only pantawid (to help tide them over),” she said.

But the program “provides social protection because it provides regularity of income stream, so you know that month after month, you will receive this amount of cash,” she said.

Some of the poorest regions, however, appear to be in dire need of more intervention.

ARMM in dire need

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had the highest proportion of the poor, who comprised 59 percent of the ARMM population in 2015.

Almost a third of ARMM residents, or 30.1 percent, were living in extreme poverty, the survey showed.

The trend on both indicators in the conflict-ridden and economically stunted region has risen dramatically over the years.

In 2006, 49.8 percent of the ARMM residents were considered poor, while 21.1 percent were extremely poor. In 2009, the figures were at 49.7 percent for poor and 15.1 percent, respectively. In 2012, 52.9 percent of the populace was poor, and 20.4 percent extremely poor.

NCR least poor

By contrast, Metro Manila had the lowest proportion of the poor, in spite of the heavy presence of urban poor.

The capital region only had 6.5 percent of the population below the poverty line, although its share has been on the rise as well, from just

4.4 percent in 2006 to 5.4 percent in 2009.

According to the PSA, the national poverty threshold in 2015 stood at P10,969 per month, meaning a family of five needed to earn that much to be able to eat, have shelter, travel, buy medicine, or go to school, among other life necessities.

On the other hand, the national food threshold was P7,638 per month—the requirement for a family to be able to have regular meals.

Regional variations

It is important to note that the poverty and food thresholds are averages, and the actual numbers vary from region to region.

For example, the poverty threshold in Metro Manila is highest at P12,517 per month, and lowest in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) at P10,097.

The same trend holds true in food threshold. Metro Manila has the biggest income requirement at P8,741 per month, and Mimaropa, the smallest at P7,051 per month.

National statistician Lisa Grace Bersales said the findings came from the PSA’s Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted in July 2015.

The two-phase survey is taken every three years, with the first phase in July and the second in January of the following year. The full report, including the findings from the second survey, is made available in the fourth quarter. TVJ

RELATED STORIES

11.4M families remain poor–SWS poll

More Filipinos hungry in 3rd quarter of 2015, survey says

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Filipino farmers vulnerable to heat stroke By Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 9 googleplus0 0

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – Filipino farmers may be used to working in their farms under the scorching sun, but they are not immune to heat stroke.

Raul Destura, University of the Philippines-Manila institutional bio-safety and bio-security committee head and a specialist on internal medicine and infectious disease, warned farmers not to take lightly the threats of heat stroke – also known as sunstroke – and to take necessary precautions to avoid it.

Heat stroke victims suffer from severe body temperature, usually higher than 40.6°C, mostly due to environmental heat exposure.

He said people who experience heat stroke were sometimes thought to have been under a spell or na-maligno – the Filipino term that refers to being under the control of a supernatural creature – when the case could be an altered mental state or behavior, which is one of the symptoms.

Destura, who discussed at the Philippine Rice Research Institute the health risks in rice farming, taught farmers to distinguish the symptoms of the condition as he pointed out that heat stroke is often unnoticed or undiagnosed, even among rural health units.

“If it is heat stroke, your skin is dry. If you’re over-exercised, your skin is moist,” the expert said.


PHILSTAR

Earth Hour: Pedal power lights up Philippines map By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 20, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this year’s observance of Earth Hour was held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where a LED map of the Philippines was lit by volunteers pedaling on 10 stationary bamboo bikes attached to generators, which converted “pedal power” to electricity. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of bikers lit a LED map of the Philippines by pedaling on stationary bamboo bikes for last night’s observance of Earth Hour, an annual global movement encouraging a one-hour switch-off to raise awareness on the over-use of non-renewable resources.

Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this year’s observance of Earth Hour was held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where a LED map of the Philippines was lit by volunteers pedaling on 10 stationary bamboo bikes attached to generators, which converted “pedal power” to electricity.

Over 500 bikers converged at the venue for the annual switch-off, which was observed from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., according to Earth Hour Philippines director Gia Ibay.

“All participants got a chance to pedal for the planet and show the world that human power can light up the Philippines and the world,” she said.

“Our aim is to showcase low-carbon alternatives which all Filipinos can embrace. These range from alternative modes of transport to energy-efficient technologies like portable and household solar kits. The event was also partially powered by renewable energy, particularly solar, wind and biogas,” she added.

Electric vehicles such as e-jeeps and e-trikes were also showcased at the event.

READ MORE...

In Taguig City, students of the Chinese International School Manila and volunteers from the private sector assembled 100 solar-powered lamps from repurposed kerosene lamps.

Tessa Sevilla, director of Liter of Light Philippines, said these lamps would benefit 100 families in the Aeta resettlement area in Porac, Pampanga.

“In lieu of simply turning or switching off lights and gadgets for an hour, MyShelter Foundation finds it more worthwhile to translate its efforts into action, through its Liter of Light Project, which taps into clean renewable energy from the sun to power and light up homes in remote, off-grid, poor communities in the Philippines and in 20 other countries around the world,” she explained.


CANDLELIGHT. The 6th global Earth Hour is observed in Makati. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP.

“By demonstrating the potential of solar power and the simplicity and cost-efficiency of these lighting prototypes that can be built by hand even by schoolchildren, the foundation seeks to further its advocacy for clean renewable energy sources,” she added.

There are about 20 million Filipinos who experience energy poverty, with no means to access electricity or afford to power their homes. Through Liter of Light, the foundation is able to address the simplest need to have lights in their homes and on the streets to address the bigger issues of security, social protection and education.

“With our liters of light, mothers and children are able to go home safely, children are able to study at home while mothers are able to extend hours to do their chores at home. Soon, these lights will also enable us to help the fathers who go to the fields, to mountain plantations and even at sea,” Sevilla said.

The foundation is set to distribute the solar lamps today to its target beneficiaries.

MyShelter Foundation was founded in 2004 by Iliac Diaz to push social enterprise on clean renewable energy sources and alternative architecture for classrooms and shelters. It is known for the PET Bottle Schools, its dome house and the bamboo classroom.

The Liter of Light Project started in 2011 as a humanitarian response to typhoon-related disasters that have hit the country, like Ondoy and Yolanda.

Earth Hour is observed yearly across 24 timezones in 178 countries and territories.


#EarthHourPhilippines main switch-off event at Quezon Memorial Circle focused on renewable energy. These bamboo bikes were pedaled on Saturday night.

First observed in 2007, the movement uses the simple action of switching off lights for 60 minutes to deliver a powerful message on the need for decisive climate change solutions.

The movement has grown from a symbolic switch-off event in Sydney, Australia to the world’s largest open-sourced environmental campaign mobilizing billions of people in over 7,000 hubs globally.

It is the ninth time for the Philippines to participate in Earth Hour. The Philippines has been championing Earth Hour since 2008 and has topped participation records from 2009 to 2013, earning it the title of Earth Hour Hero Country.

“Many more Earth Hour events are being staged across the Philippines. We are elated at the massive outpouring of support. Government agencies, media allies, corporations, schools, civil society groups and individuals have all pledged to shine a light on climate action through Earth Hour,” said WWF-Philippines CEO Joel Palma.

WWF encouraged participants to upload their Earth Hour videos and photos on social media using the hashtag #EARTHHOURPHILIPPINES.

“The most meaningful and unique celebrations shall be featured on our social media platforms,” Palma said.

Ibay reminded the people that “even more important than observing the switch-off is each group’s commitment to go beyond the hour when the lights are switched back on.”

“Earth Hour is symbolic. We’re not going to stop climate change just by switching off our lights for 60 minutes. But if we collectively reduce our energy use by shifting to renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, we will definitely change climate change and secure the low-carbon future we need,” she added.

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RELATED FROM USA TODAY

World switches off lights for Earth Hour Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY 3:08 p.m. EDT March 19, 2016 Mark R. Cristino, European Pressphoto Agency


A Filipino boy plays with available light from an amusement park ride during Earth Hour in Pasay city, south of Manila, on March 19, 2016.

Earth Hour takes place worldwide at 8.30 p.m. local time and is a global call to turn off lights for 60 minutes to raise awareness of the danger of global climate change.

In 178 countries and territories around the world Saturday, millions of people are switching off their lights for Earth Hour, an annual event to highlight the global threat from climate change.

Some 350 world landmarks including the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower will go dark for 60 minutes starting at 8:30 pm. local time Saturday.

This year's theme celebrates "Places We Love" — the mountains, rivers, beaches, reefs, forests and national parks that organizers say are in peril from climate change.

Earth Hour is hoping to harness momentum for climate change after world leaders reached a landmark accord in December to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The lights-out event began in Sydney as an initiative of conservation group World Wildlife Fund in 2007. It caught on around the globe the following year.

This year, Facebook users are being asked to change their profile pictures and donate their social feeds to show support for Earth Hour.

Earth Hour 2016: This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange!

 
The Future Starts Today: Earth Hour 2016!


MANILA BULLETIN

Millions of Catholics buckle down to time-honored Holy Week rites March 21, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share4 By Christina I. Hermoso and Franco G. Regala

The Holy Week comes every year with time-honored rites and traditions that have been passed on for generations. And millions of Catholics throughout the country have already begun to observe them over the weekend with Palm Sunday.

A unique old custom, though, that continues to be observed especially in the provinces is the “pabasa,” the Gregorian chanting of Biblical passages recounting the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. Lifted from the pages of the Holy Bible, the town elders usually take turns in chanting the verses from Holy Monday until Holy Wednesday.

The marathon chanting of verses on the life of Jesus from the pages of the Sacred Scriptures, also known as “pasyon,” is, likewise, observed in some churches in Metro Manila such as at the Quiapo Church.

Today, the melodies of popular songs are sometimes used to make the “pabasa” sound more interesting and lively. In recent years, the melodies of popular tunes are alternately used with the traditional chanting in monotone to make it sound more interesting, lively, and appealing even to the young.

THE ‘PANATA’

On the streets, flagellants and penitents walk under the scorching summer heat while whipping their backs as a form of penitence or sacrifice. For some, this has become their yearly Holy Week ritual, a form of a “panata” or vow in exchange for an answered prayer or a long-standing petition.

In Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, flagellants wear a white cotton hood called “kapirosas” to cover their faces. Crowns made of thorns are worn by the penitents whose backs are whipped until it bleeds.

At least 18 Filipino penitents will be nailed to wooden crosses in three known crucifixion sites in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga during the “Maleldo” on Good Friday.

Twelve penitents are expected to be crucified in Barangay San Pedro Cutud; and three each in the villages of San Juan and Sta Lucia, respectively, according to Bob Velez.

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Velez, 77, from San Pedro Cutud is one of the oldest penitents portraying as second lead “Kristo.” He has been nailed for 37 years in the realistic crucifixion rites at the man-made Golgotha in Cutud.

This year’s reenactment of Jesus Christ crucifixion will not include foreigners “to maintain the solemnity of the ritual rites,” Velez said.

In Rizal; San Miguel and Calumpit in Bulacan; and in Cutud, San Fernando in Pampanga, male and female penitents are nailed to the cross on Good Friday, an annual spectacle that attracts hordes of pilgrims and tourists alike.

THE STREET PLAYS

In Marinduque, the colorful and unique Moriones Festival attracts thousands of tourists every year. The spectacular features male participants wearing oversized masks and costumes patterned after the ones worn by centurions who tormented Christ. One named Longinus stands out from the crowd. The Roman soldier wears an unusually large mask that is blind in the left eye. His eyesight was later miraculously restored after it came in contact with the blood of Christ.

Religious processions featuring life-size images depicting the Passion and Death of Christ as well as images of the Holy Mother and other saints are traditionally held on Holy Wednesday and a longer, more elaborate one on Good Friday in key cities and provinces all over the country.

‘VISITA IGLESIA’

Other religious observances include praying the Way of the Cross and Maundy Thursday rites such as the Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by the Washing of the Feet, the veiling of images, the Visita Iglesia, and the presentation of passion plays or “senakulo.”

In some areas, pilgrims visit life-size tableaux depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross erected on hillsides, praying the devotion as they trek up the simulated ‘Calvary.’

Popular sites for the Via Crucis include the Grotto of Lourdes in Novaliches, Quezon City, and the hillside by St. James’ Parish Church in Iguig, Cagayan.

For Visayan pilgrims, a huge, white cross erected on a peak on Guimaras Island overlooking the Guimaras Strait and Iloilo City, attracts hundreds of pilgrims every year. A passion play called “Ang Pagtaltal sa Jordan” is also traditionally held in Jordan, the capital of Guimaras every Good Friday.

The ‘Capilya’ is also observed in a town in Zamboanga, where locals erect 14 improvised altars around the town center representing the Via Crucis. A group of singers then chants ballads on Christ’s suffering and death.

OTHER TRADITIONS

In Sipalay, Negros Occidental many albularyo (witch doctors) search for anting-anting (amulets) in unexplored caves in the belief that amulets are especially potent if collected, made, or charged on Good Friday.

In Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the “salubong,” the reunion of the Blessed Mother and the Risen Christ, is held at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm by torch-bearing convicts.

In Angono, Rizal, Black Saturday is traditionally highlighted by a three-hour presentation at the church steps. On Easter Sunday, the customary “salubong” is performed with a girl, dressed as an angel, descending from an inverted giant paper flower to remove the Virgin Mary’s mourning veil.

POPE ON HOPE

In his homily last Thursday, Pope Francis spoke on the essential role hope plays in the Christian life, saying that while it is a silent and humble virtue, it is what supports us in difficulty and brings us peace.

“Hope (is) that humble virtue which flows under the water of life, but that bears us up so we don’t drown in so many difficulties, so we do not lose that desire to find God, to find that wonderful face which we will all see one day: hope,” the Pope said.

He said that there is a “thread of hope” which unites the entire story of salvation, and which serves as a “fount of joy” for Christians.

Francis noted how in the day’s first prayer for the Mass, we ask for God’s grace in keeping us “in the hope of the Church because it does not fail.”

SAFE HOLY WEEK

A safe and peaceful observance of the Holy Week is the primary goal of the Aquino administration this week as the President ordered concerned agencies to step up measures to ensure the safety of travelers and pilgrims going to the provinces.

And while the government does its job, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to the public to cooperate with authorities for their own safety as they take time off to observe Lent.

“Upon the orders of President Aquino, all concerned agencies led by the Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Police, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Energy and Toll Regulatory Board are prepared and ready to ensure the safe exodus of motorists, passengers and visitors this Holy Week,” Coloma said in Filipino over government radio.

“The President gives highest priority to the safety of the people traveling this Holy Week. All agencies have been mobilized to achieve this goal,” he added. (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling and CNA/EWTN News)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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