Friday, May 9, 2014

PNoy graces fablab launch
To assure inclusive growth
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol May 1, 2014 (PIA) True to his administrative agenda for inclusive growth that opens technology access to the poor, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III graces the launching of a shared service facility (SSF) which will mark a new dramatic direction in the government’s aid to earthquake shaken Bohol. 

Here on his fifth official visit May 2, President Aquino marks this event with a bold statement to Boholanos: that the days of rescue, relief and rehab are past and a full recovery would mean jobs and business opportunities for the province. 

The president arrives to attend the launching of the country’s first fabrication laboratory, an SSF facility equipped with state of the art equipment support for products design.

Funded by the government and the government of Japan pooling significant resources to establish a production center which could cater to inventors and designers who could not afford to get the technology for rapid production, the fablab also opens up job opportunities for Bohol’s quake-affected micro, small and medium enterprises. 

With Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and with Bohol Island State University (BISU), the government brings in a technology which scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) extension program, in setting up production centers by opening up computer program supported product development laboratories commonly called fablabs, sources from DTI said.

Accordingly, access to better technology and more sophisticated equipment to level-up competitiveness and help entrepreneurs go up the ladder of globally mainstreamed products, allows them better and wider markets which could position them in the global supply chain.

According to the DTI, Bohol FabLab will definitely enhance the local MSME development ecosystem as it supports product development and prototyping needs of existing MSMEs. This will also enable them to widen or expand their access to markets, improve business viability thus enabling them to sustain existing jobs and increase its manpower requirements. 

On the other hand, DTI-Bohol with its partners will design a program to support the growth of Start-Ups with the fablab at its core. The idea here is to spur the growth of new MSMEs by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activities in local universities, DTI regional Director Asteria Caberte said.

The fablab here will allow local manufacturers to make prototypes and products such as equipment, machinery and electronic gadgets; create scale models, illustrate graphic designs and mass-produce products, with advanced technology equipment including 2D and 3D laser cutters, Computer Operated (CO) Big Milling Machine, CO Small Milling Machine, Paper and Vinyl Cutter, Test Equipment Depot, 3D Printer, CO Sewing Machine and Video Conferencing equipment for technical support form a network of fablab operators.

Tagbilaran hosts Int’l 
Fablab ’14 conference 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol May 1, 2014 (PIA) Tagbilaran City hosts the first Asia conference of fabrication laboratory (fablab) operators from Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore as the country’s first Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aided and government funded techie work shop opens its doors for Bohol entrepreneurs. 

The First International Conference of Fablab operators in Asia, is here from May 2-7 at the Bohol Island State University (BISU) Main Campus, in the hearts of the city. 

The conference includes a Bootcamp, which will train people of the use of the facilities at the Bohol FabLab. Lectures from Asian fablab mentors and coaches, symposium and panel discussion on the establishment of Digital Fabrication in the Philippines and tours for visiting fabbers, coaches, mentors to look at the challenges in the sectors and suggest possible solutions, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Bohol. 

Apart from Asian fabbers, the conference will also have existing and aspiring FabLab operators and practitioners in Asia; local MSMEs, designers, innovators and academe. 

Opened here for local micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) designers to come up with innovation driven and globally competitive products, the fabrication laboratory is having President Benigno S. Aquino III opening it. 

Themed “Weave Asian Fabbers,” the event will feature Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) pioneering support to the country’s future fablabs. 

Bohol had Yutaka Tokushima, a Japanese design volunteer assigned at DTI-Bohol under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) program helping to get the fablab set up here, said DTI. 

JICA has committed some funds for Bohol FabLab, organizers said. 

JICAs commitment to support the Bohol fablab, strengthened when it officially adopted the Bohol facility under the mentorship of Japan’s Keio University during last year’s Fab9 Conference. 

The Bohol Fab Lab is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) educational outreach component, which is an extension of its research into digital fabrication and computation. 

A Fab Lab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship, explains fabfoundation in its website. 

A Fab Lab also becomes a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent. 

To be a Fab Lab means connecting to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators- -a knowledge sharing network that spans 30 countries and 24 time zones. Because all Fab Labs share common tools and processes, the program is building a global network, a distributed laboratory for research and invention, DTI said. 

At this, the Bohol FabLab will open to students and local MSMEs make prototypes and products such as equipment, machinery and electronic gadgets; create scale models, illustrate graphic designs and mass-produce products. 

The fablab here allows people a rare access to prototyping and product development tools as 2D and 3D structures lazer cutter, computer-operated (CO) Big Milling Machine, CO Small Milling Machine, Paper and Vinyl Cutter, Test Equipment Depot, 3D Printer, CO Sewing Machine and Video Conferencing equipment. 

In Bohol, that FabLab will promote community development through technology deployment, said DTI Regional Director Asteria Caberte. 

She explained that community development through the FabLab can be, through better and competitive products, by enhancing the local ecosystem for MSME development 

It also encourages start-ups and the development of local entrepreneurship which in turn provide jobs, local innovation for various equipment that can be used for local manufacturing endeavors such as food processing equipment, access to online courses within the fablab network that can enhance the learning and skills of students and MSMEs. 

DTI spearheads the project with JICA, DOST and the Bohol Island State University (BISU). 

BISU Tagbilaran City, Bohol manages the facility with DTI-Bohol, DOST-Bohol and JICA through Keio University in Japan. 

The Bohol fablab is funded by P 3.15 M of DTI, P 3.0M of JICA, 2.0M of BISU, P1 M of DOST for a total of P9.15M.

Tubigon raffia SSFacility 
To weave wider fabrics 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol May 2, 2014 (PIA) From the usual 24-inch handwoven raffia fibers of Tubigon, now comes massive 72 inch fibers that would taunt home accessory and fashion designers creativity with a wider fiber to work on. 

This as the traditional bamboo reed handlooms that adorn the front workshop of the Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TLMPC) would have to side step, to give in to a bigger and wider metal-framed reed handlooms, the most recent acquisition of the crafts workers here. 

The new handlooms form part of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) complementary common project set up to serve as production center facilities to help micro, small and medium enterprises. Access better technology and more sophisticated equipment to hasten their aim at becoming competitive and elevate their production level to give their products the necessary access to mainstream markets and global trade. 

DTI acquire several units of machinery and equipment to set up SSFs for nine priority industries in various locations in the country with the support of Php500 Million for equipment outlay and Php200 Million for technical assistance, in a bid to assist most of the 81,221 SMEs with high potential to expand. 

All over the country, SSF expected to generate an additional 200,000 jobs, according to a DTI SSF briefer. 

In Tubigon, the project was implemented with the cooperation of the municipal local government, a working capital from the organization, some funds from the DTI SSF and a foreign funder identified as Fundacion Santiago as private organization partner. 

The wider handlooms, 15 of them are now the latest assets of the group, which have been sustaining the age-old loom industry in town, while finding viable ways of making loom-woven a sustainable source of employment, and local pride. 

Making a living from raffia, loom weavers of Tubigon and the neighboring towns have, for time immemorial , been weaving the fiber stripped from a young and unopened buri leaf sheath, then without the use of today’s colorful dyes, raffia had been reportedly used as coarse fiber for clothing and home accessories. 

From then, the evolution of the raffia into a key raw material for home decors and fashion accessories had been in leaps and bounds. 

Recently, in a new and significant twist to lessen the impact to the environment, a new trend shift into mixing the handwovens with other fibers like silk, cotton, polyster, pandan, abaca, cogon, grass and other natural fibers and indigenous materials to create a more enticing product for the discriminating taste of the green markets. 

On this development, the DTI partnered with European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and the Cebu Interlace Weavers Corporation for the co-development of high-end fabrics with raffia base and mixed with other indigenous fibers, which had roused interest among world top designers. 

It is also along this development that the Raffia SSF in Tubigon is poised to respond to the call for more and wider looms, DTI said. 

Last Friday, DTI undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya herself opened the Tubigon Raffia SSF that same day President Benigno S. Aquino witnessed the opening of another SSF in Tagbilaran City: the BISU Fablab. 

Sevilla partners with PIA 
On info workers training 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol May 2, 2014 (PIA) The Municipality of Sevilla is partnering with the Philippine Information Agency in Bohol (PIA-Bohol) for a writers’ capability enhancement training leading towards the establishment of a locally run publication. 

Mayor Juliet Dano, in her letter request to the PIA in Bohol relayed the prospect of training her personnel in her desire to be more efficient in their transparency efforts. 

The mayor was in fact, aiming for strengthened capacity of their workers to do more strategic information dissemination campaigns, especially in the area of disaster awareness. 

She said she envisions a training, which would empower their staff with the skills that will enable them to produce cost-efficient and functionally effective information, education communication materials. 

The PIA, which supervises the network of information officers from the towns, has been giving free trainings and seminars to local government units and personnel to capacitate them to better function in their assigned tasks. 

For Sevilla, the mayor asks the PIA for trainings on feature, news writing, lay out and basic IEC materials production to software tutorials. 

Sevilla, the mayor said is on the verge of establishing its local Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office and the PIA offer towards training for IEC materials production is, accordingly, a welcome move. 

The PIA has set the Sevilla training as part of its Bayani challenge response. 

Bayani Challenge is a national social mobilization program using volunteerism, and attempst to enliven the bayanihan and helpfulness spirit in the Filipino. 

Sevilla information workers training and capability building is tentatively set May 26-27.

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