Monday, May 22, 2017

10 Pamilacan volunteers now 
certified solar panel installers

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 19, (PIA)--Patience and sacrifice paid off for ten men from Pamilacan Island who volunteered for the installation of the island's newest clean renewable power system. 

For making themselves available for the technical training and giving brute strength and perseverance leading to the successful completion of the installation of the 39 kilo watt peak of solar power system in the island, each individual also earns the sole right to install all other solar power installations that the company they volunteered with would engage in. 

That means, not only are they considered heroes of the island, the ten men have the potential of future jobs care of the company WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines which handed to them the standard company certifications as solar installers. 

The ten volunteers helped in setting up of the P10 million solar facility that would provide daytime power to the island otherwise served by a diesel generator serving power from 6:00 PM to midnight. 

They rendered 4-weeks technical training and "free labor" to hand carry the 135 photo voltaic (PV) cells, 60 storage batteries, inverter and other components of the solar power system donated by the German Government and a private company called WeGen, revealed WeGen Philippines Chief Executive Officer Atty Julito Sarmiento, during the facility hand-over, May 18. 

They had to carry the equipment on their backs from the boats to Pamilacan National High School a kilometer away, suffer blistering summer heat retrofitting the rooftop of the school building so they can install the solar panels and string up the wires to the powerhouse, added the WeGen Philippines chief who attended the hand-over of the completed facility on his birthday. 

A part of the volunteer work however is an intensive technical training on the installation of the solar power system, a task the group undertook and successfully hurdled.

During the hand-over of the facility to local officails and the local electric cooperative, Atty Sarmiento also reveled the Pamilacan project, which he called Kahayag sa Pamilacan, is the company's showcase proving that off-grid communities can access clean and renewable and sustainable energy while allowing the community to be part producers of the power. 

While WeGen and the German Government donated the project, the community power association decided to put in a monthly contribution as trust fund which they will use to expand and maintain the service as well as put up livelihood offers of members. 

Pamilacan, an island 18 kilometers off Baclayon has been served by a diesel power generator set which provides service from 6 PM to midnight. 

Its distance and the strong currents separating it from Bohol mainland as well as its less than 2000 population makes laying submarine cables less economically viable. 

But WeGen noted that the best solution to address the electricity needs of the island is through the use of its patented distributed solar energy which provides fast installation, with clean, reliable renewable and maintenance free energy. 

And by giving free training and certification to its volunteers, WeGen has just given ten men in the island with the necessary skills to allow them to serve WeGen in its future projects in Bohol and elsewhere in the country. 

According to Atty Sarmiento, after Pamilacan, Boholano investors who wish to have sustainable green has invited WeGen to put up solar power systems in several Panglao resorts and in all municipal halls in Bohol's second District. 

To this, the ten Pamilacan volunteer solar installers led by Barangay Chairman Crispo Valeroso may have just found additional incomes.(rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
The ten volunteer solar power installers trained by WeGen in Pamilaran has just earned their certificates allowing them to install future WeGen solar power systems in Bohol as well as in other areas of the country, says CEO Atty Julito Sarmiento. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Envoy at hand-over of P10M 
Pamilacan solar technology

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 19, (PIA)--In the full spirit of collaboration with governments, German Ambassador to the Philippines Gordon Kricke witnessed the turn-over of a P10 million solar facility that would bring daytime power service to all households of Pamilacan Island in Baclayon town. 

Ambassador Kricke represented the German Government who would soon lend to WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines, a proven German software technology that could aggregate the energy collected by solar panels installed in houses and pool it for further use to share with other consumers. 

WeGen, the country's newest renewable energy sector provider in the country, handed to local officials including the local Electric Cooperative Association (ECA) a 39 kilowatt peak of photo voltaic (PV) and battery storage system that could respond to the daytime power needs of 329 households in the off grid island of Pamilacan. 

WeGen Chief Executive Officer Atty. Julito Sarmiento said in his first visit to the island meeting local officials, he saw Pamilacan National High School classrooms without power and the students deprived of better technologies in the absence of power. 

Pamilacan Island is served by an off the grid generator under the National Power Corporation's Small Power Unit Groups (SPUG) and only gets power from 6:00 PM to midnight daily, the consumers paying a subsidized P8 per kilowatt power. 

During class hours however, teachers would have to do extra effort to bring lessons across in crude visual aids despite the availability of computers and internet to other schools connected to the grid.

Only about 10 to 20% of Pamilacan secondary graduates proceed to college, a thing Sarmiento thinks should improve if the quality of education is also improved especially with the access of class hours power. 

With access to daytime power, Atty Sarmiento said this could spur socio-economic development in the poor community.

WeGen Chairman and founder Michael Saalfeld said the German government and the technology and believes this could be key to the development of Pamilacan. 

Unlike other private investors which allocate fractions of their profits to donate to marginalized communities through its corporate social responsibility (CSR), WeGen puts in its corporate social incarnation (CSI), one it donates before it could even earn, Sarmiento, who led the turn-over attended by community stakeholders and interested Bohol resort owners needing to personally see the installation. 

WeGen put up 135 mono-crystalline solar panels mounted on the retrofitted rooftop of the PNHS and then connected to 60 deep cycle silicon power maintenance free and eco-friendly batteries. 

The entire set up reportedly stores 200 ampere hours which would provide power to the whole island from 8:00 Am to 4:00 PM, Sarmiento said. 

Sarmiento, who used to be a seminarian, explained that WeGen is basically a community based energy producer that adopts the concept of distributed energy using the community who can also be consumers. 

Here, Sarmiento who explained that when solar farms can tie up the lands for 25 years at least, houses can carry the solar panels on their rooftops and thus make all consumers now producers. 

WeGen said they too are looking at other areas in Bohol to offer their off grid solutions for communities to access clean energy through its stand-alone-island solar solutions which generate resilient and renewable energy from decentralized locations like rooftops through its battery storage and aggregating software solutions. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Baclayon Mayor Benecio Uy and WeGen Philippines Atty Julito Sarmiento indulges German Ambassador to the Philippines Gordon Kricke to banter as the German envoy witnesses the handing over of the P10 million facility that can now provide daytime power to Pamilacan Island. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Resilient micro industries 
to help people past crisis

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 19, (PIA)--For their resilience to global economic meltdowns, a former senior official at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sees helping micro small and medium enterprises important to galvanize world economies. 

During the press conference after launching the Kapatid Mentor Me Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Negosyo Centers (NC), Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), former DTI undersecretary for regional operations Merly Cruz hinted that small capitalization allows them to easily recoup. 

Big businesses have bigger capitalization and in an economic crisis, they lose big and sometimes could not recover. leading to closing shop. 

Cruz, who came to Bohol in a new hat; PCE adviser in the development of MSME also came with PCE Central Visayas dean and Boholano Virgilio Espeleta brought along with them two more business mentors who spoke to over 350 Boholano entrepreneurs gathered for the launching of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMMP), the first mentoring program to help MSMEs here. 

Even mentors Rey Calooy founder and Chief Executive officer of the RNC Marketing and Henry PCE Tenedero agree with Cruz that a move to integrate support to MSMEs would be the best move the country would ever take with the opening of world markets and the integration of economies. 

Cruz pointed out that 95% of the economy are MSMEs, while 99.2% of the MSMEs who provide 2 out of three new employments are basically small and micro industries. 

These micro and small enterprises do not always survive, she said pointing out only about 50% of them surviving while the rest fall off and get lost. 

To help these MSMEs get past the initial stages and scale up, the government brings in to Bohol the KMMP, which allows Boholano entrepreneurs the help of a pool of 26 to 28 mentors from industry clusters as yet, that could lend advise and technologies to help these young entrepreneurs stand sturdy, said PCE Visayas Virgilio Espeleta. 

The PCE has provided the mentors in coordination with the local chambers of commerce and industry, in as much as the DTI which is the most strategic agency to convened the KMMP would have a difficult time tapping the mentors.

While DTI is good, there is something wanting in its system, admits former Usec Cruz.

Here, as the new views coming out from the private sector, the PCE sits in the most appropriate position to traffic the fusion of strengths, the former regional operations chief of DTI and now the MSME development guru explained.

Keeping the achievement in bringing the mentoring program to Bohol entrepreneurs, DTI Regional Director Asteria Caberte finds it her personal opportunity to usher in something revolutionary. 

While the KMMP has already started two batches of mentoring courses in Cebu, the Bohol opening is another huge opportunity for local entrepreneurs to gain knowledge and skills to build sturdier investments, said Marisol Balistoy. 

Many see the move as game changing trailblazing step in Bohol. 

To Cruz however, Bohol's trailblazing is nothing new, when she witnessed how Bohol has gone leaps and bounds in the recent years, starting with its environmental advocacy in sustainable ecotourism and development. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Former DTI director for regional operations Merly Cruz and DTI Regional Director Asteria Caberte believes that supporting the micro and small entrepreneurs can help sustain the job generation capacity of the country and makes the economy more resilient. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

DTI completes MSMEs
help menu with KMMP

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 18, (PIA)--The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) completes its two programs dealing with helping micro small and medium enterprises (MSMsE) hand holding them to sustain and link with other available help to sustain them and upscale into a better surviving industry.

This as the DTI brings to Bohol its second micro, small and medium enterprise retooling programs with 25 entrepreneurs availing of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMMP).

Next to its Small Medium Enterprise Development Roving Academy (SMEDRA), which was launched in Bohol years back, the DTI brings this mentoring program that aims to get to the 95% of the economy which is the micro industries, according to DTI 7 Regional Director Asteria Caberte, during a press con after launching the program here at the Metrocenter Hotel, May 17.

The KMMP started as a joint under taking of the DTI Go Negosyo and aims to usher in an entrepreneurial mindset by linking the micro, small medium enterprises (MSMEs) to large enterprises in a symbiotic supply and demand relationship.

Top achieve this linkages, MSMEs should be provided with capacity buildings as well as access to technology, consultations by business elders and financing.

These include the conduct of trainings, seminars, one -n one mentoring sessions, business matching and other capacity building activities that ate all geared towards  the successful integration of the MSMEs into the thriving industry clusters, DTI said.    

This means the program can help MSMEs scale up their businesses  through regular coaching and mentorship by business owners and practitioners on the various functional areas of entrepreneurships.

In Bohol, 25 MSMEs short listed by the 7 Negosyo Centers here enrolled in the province's first batch of KMMP, an even bigger number of MSMEs taking the long queue just to get to the free program, said Marisol Balistoy, DTI Bohol caretaker.

The 95% micro economies often do not survive and they get lost because they do not always get the help they need and nobody helps them, SME Development Adviser Engr. Merly Cruz added.

in fact of the 95%, 99.2% are micro and small industries whose survival rate is hardly 50%, she pointed out.

These micro and small industries are the potential suppliers of the micro processes for large industries for their future processes, Cruz who used to be DTI assistant secretary said.  

The country is so keen on helping these MSMEs  because they create 2 or every 3 new jobs, and sustaining it even for its job generation strategy, could already mean significant improvements in the economy, Cruz hinted.  

With the KMMP, they can hopefully expand their network, if they have financing problems, the KMMP brings the micro-financiers to them, mentors them on the access to markets, new technologies, business adviser or critic and supply matching.

At the Bohol launch, Caberte said they invited 300 MSMEs to join the 25 MSMEs in the first two KMMP sessions, of which over 350 business owners and operators came.

During the first two sessions, the DTI brought in topics on Entrepreneurial Mind Setting and Values Formation with mentor Rey Calooy founder and CEO of RNC Marketing, while local business icons Emgr Arnold Labunog of Jojie's Bakeshop and Dr Ed Escalona owner of Our DeliBread came in to inspire the entrepreneurs.

Also in during the launching and initial sessions was Henry Tenedero who talked about Marketing. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Marketing mentor Henry Tenedero and PCE Visayas dean Virgilio Espeleta dished out free business advice to over 350 Bohol MSM entrepreneurs gathered during the free sessions of the opening modules of the Kapatid mentor me program in Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

PPA urges port users, report 
abusive drivers, errant guards

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 17, (PIA)--Go back and complain. 

Amidst unabated complaints of overcharging tricycle drivers, unethical taxi and tourist van drivers as well as security guards accepting bribes, commissions or grease when picking rides at the Tagbilaran City Port, authorities dare those who feel shortchanged: report to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Management Office (PMO). 

Tagbilaran City Port, already packaged by the PPA as a tourism port is the tourist's first experience of Bohol and authorities want it to be a lasting impression of hospitality in Bohol. 

But, along with these, port users still continue to have far-from-pleasant experience catching a fare at the port tricycle and taxi lanes. 

In earlier attempts to solve overcharging by vulture drivers preying on innocent tourists and port commuters, the city government put up a dispatcher to hand to queuing commuters pieces of paper with the tricycle numbers and hotlines to facilitate complaints. 

Moreover, the city also put up in billboards publishing tariff rates to forewarn commuters about the fares. 

While tourist vans and taxi regulations fall under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, tricycle operations is a function delegated to the local government unit, thus the city government. 

Short of doing nothing, commuters who have their share of misfortune with the port commute, more often than not, resort to social media to vent out their ire. 

The problem however continues. 

To help them keep track of these concerns, PPA safety and information officer Archt. Epelito Arao-arao revealed that the PPA has put up full closed circuit television (CCTV) coverage to all areas of the port. 

We have CCTVs, for security and safety. If you have problems, we can help you check on the CCTVs, and find the overcharging driver, drunks driver or just anybody picking the wrong bags. 

This, he said would provide the proof for the PPA to get to the errant drivers, should a proper complaint be filed, Araoarao said. 

As to the complaints, he said they can also be against malpractices at the port, like security guards taking bribes for facilitated transactions. 

PPA however did not mention what they would do should a port user be found out to be errant, although the PPA may have the right to deny the entry of drivers whom they have found to be abusive. 

"We are putting in a culture of safety, security and discipline at the port," the safety officer declared. 

He also said that "the Port manager is very strict against bribery and greasing, any violations would lead to automatic discharge, if the personnel is a port worker." 

As it is certain that the adoption of may not cause the needed change immediately, Archt. Araoarao called on port users to adopt the culture. 

Violations occurring within the operational area of the PPA, starting from the entrance guard house to its buildings, erring port personnel or port users like abusive transportation drivers, can be reported, he said. 

As the PPA implements the new culture, authorities have urged support from the public, stressing that through the public's help, they can make for the better. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
PPA safety and security division chief Archt Epelito Araoarao urges everyone with an unfortunate experience of getting unfair treatment within the premises of the Tagbilaran City port to file a complaint at the PMO so the PPA can impose immediate action to discipline their ports users or employees. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)