Growing coleus has become an enjoyable hobby for most stay-at-home Filipino women (and men) these days because of the ease of growing these species of perrenial or annual herbs or shrubs (sometimes succulents) found in tropical countries. It is an indoor plant that likes to have some sunshine during the day, but not too much; and needs to be watered constantly. It also needs a watchful eye for pests that attack its colorful leaves from time to time; and from overgrowth that deforms its potential beauty.
Coleus can also be easily propagated by cuttings, which could be placed either in water until it grow roots or directly replanted into the soil. Overall, the time spent for taking care of the plant is so little compared to the joy that it brings once fully grown with different bright and distinct colors.
I only started to plant coleus during the last week of December 2020 despite the fact that many have already become “plantitas” beginning May of 2020, when bartering became very popular. As founder of the Bacolod Barter Community last May 8, 2020, and the new site which started in September 2020: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/newbacolodbartercommunity/) – I personally saw the rise in bartering plants in exchange for plants and food items. But I never had the chance to tinker with plants and grow them in our garden. Until I made my first buy along the roadside of Don Salvador Benedicto of several coleus plants last December. The pots of coleus seem to call me everyday to figure out how to let them grow. Eventually, I started to buy more pots from other towns.
After almost three months, I have around fiften different types of coleus. They are small ones at the moment since I grew them mostly from cuttings (which I didn’t expect to grow because I have always believed that I have no “green thumb”). For the past weeks, I have been taking pictures of my plants and posting on social media to share their beauty but lately, I started to post for potential swapping of other types. There are more than 200 varieties they say. Today, I found inspiration together with my son Emmanuel to create “mixed form of art” combining the shaved leaves from the coleus I received from barter (which we just usually throw away). We shave or cut these leaves to give way to roots or purposes of replanting in soil.
Combining pictures from Canva, and using Canva for effects, I created these images to show the beauty of coleus and the amazing contrasts. I call these ten pieces of pictures – Dancing Coleus. I hope you find inspiration and enjoy the images. Sharing these also as a tribute to all women on the occasion of National Women’s Month this march. Let me know which one of these do you like most.
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My first visit to Incredible has been a journey filled with wonders. In 2017, I had the opportunity to be invited to speak at an international event hosted by a prestigious university in collaboration with major technology corporations. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Amity School of Engineering and Technology (ASET), Amity University organized Confluence 2017 – 7th International Conference themed on “Cloud Computing, Data Science & Engineering” on January 12 and 13, 2017 in association with EMC Corporation, University of Florida, Cloud Labs, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Western Sydney University, Australia, The conference looked at the industry trends with focus on collaboration and social media as the emerging themes. The conference featured some of the best talent of the industry and academic circles who presented thought provoking sessions.
I had the privilege to meet some of the most distinguished academic speakers from various parts of the world and was truly amazed and impressed by the degree of knowledge and engagement that the Amity University community have shown.
In particular, the extent of global and technical knoweldge of Amity students even at a young age is noteworthy. In my conversations with many students, they appear as heavily exposed to the global corporate world, very aggressive, articulate in their vision when they graduate. For the last 5 days, it was the student volunteers who attended to all the international guests – taking care of all our schedules, our needs. Impressive. They are never shy to assist the guests, or even discuss their plans of getting scholarships and internship in other countries.
My assigned student volunteer, a senior computer engineering student, emailed me his resume on the last day and asked if there are available opportunities or projects that may be available in the Philippines. The rest of the guests I am sure will go home working out internships and opportunities for the students. For a college student, our volunteers were very outspoken and passionate about their course and how they would want to be part of global corporations. The freshman volunteer who picked me from the airport gave a really good glimpse of Indian history. He was only around 17. The student volunteer who sent us off yesterday said he has been to the US and has many relatives there and said his contemporaries in the US do not know even know some concepts in computer engineering, data science and analytics that he knows.
I am inspired by the outlook of these young people. Their teachers give them academic credits for being exposed to conferences and international opportunities. To learn soft skills. All of the volunteers when asked what they get from assisting us day and night – said “the privilege and the knowledge we learn from conversing with you, Sir/Mam.”
In the Philippines – we have a tendency to focus on text book or hard skills. All content. No soft skills. In the Philippines, at times, students will even be scolded for spending time in conferences. And I would often hear students say “kapoy, talaka” when asked to attend to the needs of speakers. In Amity, the volunteers, try to compete with one another in getting the attention of the speakers for a chance to converse with them. Our host director of Science of Engineering told me on the last day — “Madame, if you have projects you want our volunteers to do for you when you go back to the Philippines just email me and I will arrange academic credits for their time spent.” Incredible! I hope this sharing – change the mindset of our schools.
Amity University, a research and innovation driven Foundation University in India, is leading education group having grade “A” Accreditation by the National Accreditation body of government of India. As of today, Amity education group of India has over 1,500,000 students studying across 1000 acres of hi-tech campus and 250 educational programs. Amity Education Group has 17 International & Global K-12 Pre-Schools across India. In order to be a truly Global University, Amity University has set up over 12 International campuses located in USA,UK, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Mauritius, Romania, South Africa, Hong Kong, Mainland China and many more to come. Around 607 patents are filed by the faculty and about 300 government funded research projects are being worked upon. The library of Amity University in Noida India, books and computers, cubicles, discussion rooms, offline and online materials. Inspiring.
The organizers highlights cloud computing systems as being an emerging area in computing technology, which supports processing of large volume of data as per on-demand service. It shares resources to work rather than having local servers doing the job. The demand for professionals with knowledge of cloud computing is rising exponentially because more and more companies are implementing this technology. The main aim of the summit is to bridge the gap between Industries & Academics and in the past we have not only succeeded but we have created a big family combining all the top companies and Academia. The last summit associated sponsor includes EMC, ICMR, DRDO, INSA and many more with panellist and speakers from EMC, Microsoft, HCL, IIT, NIT, AIIMS, Airtel, Ministry of External Affairs, IOCL, NHAI, NIC, Nokia Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Jubilant and many more.
As one of the keynote speakers in one of the session, I received these complementary benefits:
1. Complimentary entry into various educational sessions and networking events as being automatically registered for the two-day conference. 2. Abundant networking opportunities with speakers from countries all over the globe, who are specialists and industry leaders invited to share their knowledge. 3. Waiver of registration fees (500 USD) and free accommodation at Amity University Guest House. 5. Local sightseeing including Taj Mahal, Agra which is amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. 6. A volunteer team will be dedicated, in and outside of the main conference room, to support and guide with any logistic requirements. 7. In order to help facilitate networking, the conference organizers have scheduled regular coffee breaks and lunches. 8. Transport with a volunteer was provided to and from the Guest House for arrival and departure
As ide from the opportunities as part of Confluence 2017, I also had the chance to visiting the Innovation Incubator of Amity University in Noida, India. A very successful example of a university offering startup companies support, space, resources and mentorship for them to scale up into successful businesses, carrying national branding. My dream always for the Philippines is to see universities as birthplace of great products and solutions carrying the Filipino brand accross the world. Lord send us leaders who have a different DNA for innovation.
The library of Amity University in Noida India, books and computers, cubicles, discussion rooms, offline and online materials. Inspiring.
Visiting the Amity University Innovation Incubator. I was drooling with envy. I was crying inside and beyond words. I can only wish this for our own Incubator at the CyberCentre or in the Philippines. Dolly, the facility manager gave us a tour. The incubator is hosted by the university with funding from the government and in partnership with a capital venture entity which is a private entity spin-off of the incubator. This is my dream – the rough concept is called SugarValley. I am trying to encourage universities in Bacolod to help this dream like Amity University here who really took on the cudgels to offer their students practical learning. It will take a miracle for many of my concepts to happen. I am practically not in the position to make things happen now. But I do not know why God is constantly exposing me to actual models that I am imagining only in my mind. Maybe I need to pray these ideas happen. But nobody seem to be listening. Sometimes, it is so painful to be looking from the lenses I have without anyone seeing it. And eventually seeing the concepts in other countries.
We also had the opportunity to pay a courtesy call to the Philippine Embassy in India and had the privilege to brief Philippine Ambassador to India Teresita Daza and Commercial Counselor Michael Ignacio about the vision and thrusts of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) to generate jobs and drive innovation in the countryside. From out of the conversation, several major areas for collaboration will be explored among others – the support of the embassy towards academic partnerships, such as faculty and student exchanges and joint researches between PH and Indian universities in the field of IT, Computer Science and Engineering, a potential trade mission of ICT councils to India to attract business or offer the countryside locations as expansion sites. The embassy was very happy to know that unlike other countries were IT jobs are concentrated only in the urban capitals, the Philippines have more than a dozen other tier 2 and tier 3 cities which are considered as strong locations for IT companies. And embassy officials lauded the efforts of ICT councils for all the work that we do to bring these jobs to the countryside.
We also spent a day at the CyberHub at the CyberCity of Gurgaon. Teeming with all the global corporate named headquartered in Delhi.
We also had time to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India at the western end of Rajpath in New Delhi, India.
A trip to New Delhi, India will not be complete without a tour of its historical sites. We found ourselves at the Red Fort, established during Mughal Empire in the 1600s. India already has “malls”, “parks” “meeting halls” – stone buildings of elegant and elaborate designs. 1600s!!!! And they’re well preserved to this day. I wish we can emulate the cultural preservation initiatives of India.
We went to the Kingdom of Dreams, New Delhi’s newest theme park.Kingdom of Dreams is India’s first live entertainment, theatre and leisure destination.It is located in Sector 29, Gurgaon, Haryana in NCR Delhi, near the Leisure Valley Park.
We also spend a day at Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India. Hauz Khas is a neighborhood in South Delhi, its heart being the historic Hauz Khas Complex. Well known in medieval times, the Hauz Khas village has amazing buildings built around the reservoir. There are remnants of Islamic architecture roughly colored by splotches of urban culture.
The most memorable time for us was our visit to the famous Taj Majal. The Taj Majal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Wikipedia
1. Love your time. Don’t let anyone waste it. Respect your time and do not allow anyone to disrespect it. Consider every minute of your time as every minute of your life. Use it wisely.
2. Love your struggles. You’re not going to be perfect, but do not let anyone belittle all your efforts to be a better person. Every struggle is a journey which represents a piece of what you are today. If you cannot love and accept each part of you, how then can you love and accept your wholeness? Love the hardships that you invested in everything you have achieved, regardless of how small or big others may think it to be. Love the difficulties you experienced to develop your skills and abilities no matter how simple or complex. They don’t know what you have set to accomplish. You know better.
3.Love your scars. They represent your victories. Not necessarily flaws. Because every wound is a medal you’ve earned for a battle that was supposed to strike you down but you are still standing. No matter how ugly they are, be thankful – not everyone will experience the growth that your pain has brought you.
4. Love your enemies. They remind you that you are just human and you are alive. Some of them remind you of things you shouldn’t have done and so don’t do it anymore. Some of them remind you of things you have done whether others like it or not. In short, enemies remind you of good and bad decisions. But the best part is you own these decisions and the life that was given to you. Be happy you have made many decisions in your life. Your enemies will continously pull you down. Let them. Concentrate on your own journey of lifting others.
5. Love where you are. A point in time, a place, a status, whatever and whoever you are – you are still here in the present. This present is the tomorrow that people who are no longer here dreamt of yesterday. This present is important. Be present in every minute of your life. Love others by loving yourself first.
Valentines Day is also about loving yourself. Happy Valentines Day Friends!
An experience of a lifetime. Sharing the ICT Council Model and best practices in the Philippines to bring jobs to the countryside and seeing some of the world’s oldest seat of civilization.
In November 2017, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at the 1st Annual Convention of the Contact Center and BPO Industry in Guatemala City. In their invitation, organizer BPO Guatemala emphasized the creation of intermediate cities as a priority for Guatemala since 2016, with both government and private sector working together to create a new competitiveness agenda of the country. I was given the opportunity to share my initiatives to grow the ICT-BPO industry of Bacolod since 2004 and generate over 30,000 direct jobs.
This visit to Guatemala also blessed me with the opportunity to visit the world-acclaimed sites of ancient civilization showing advanced systems buried under a thick rainforest. I was fortunate to see major portions of the only about 20 percent ruins excavated. UNESCO says Tikal National Park is located in Northern Guatemala’s Petén Province within a large forest region often referred to as the Maya Forest, which extends into neighbouring Mexico and Belize.
Embedded within the much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve, exceeding two million hectares and contiguous with additional conservation areas, Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic Period (600 B.C.) to the decline and eventual collapse of the urban centre around 900 AD. The diverse ecosystems and habitats harbour a wide spectrum of neotropical fauna and flora. Five cats, including Jaguar and Puma, several species of monkeys and anteaters and more than 300 species of birds are among the notable wildlife. The forests comprise more than 200 tree species and over 2000 higher plants have been recorded across the diverse habitats. #TimeTravel#AncientMayanCivilization
Tikal National Park is located in Northern Guatemala’s Petén Province within a large forest region often referred to as the Maya Forest, which extends into neighbouring Mexico and Belize. Embedded within the much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve, exceeding two million hectares and contiguous with additional conservation areas, Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic Period (600 B.C.) to the decline and eventual collapse of the urban centre around 900 AD. More information about Tikal National Park here
A special chartered plane flight brought us to Mt. Tikal in Peten, the oldest discovered Mayan Civilization about 600 BC. One year after our visit or in November 2018 – Fuego, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala erupted. Read: Thousands flee as Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupts
The immediate human and economic cost of COVID-19 is severe, but this is just the beginning of more serious global risks as stated in the recently released 16th edition of Global Risks Report (GRR) by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
In the WEF statement October last year, COVID-19 was expected to add as many as 150 million individuals to extreme poverty by 2021. The global recession caused by the pandemic is foreseen to bring to waste long “years of progress on reducing poverty and inequality and to further weaken social cohesion and global cooperation. Job losses, a widening digital divide, disrupted social interactions, and abrupt shifts in markets could lead to dire consequences and lost opportunities for large parts of the global population.
In the Global Risks Report 2021, WEF shares the results of the latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS), followed by analysis of growing social, economic and industrial divisions, their interconnections, and their implications on our ability to resolve major global risks requiring societal cohesion and global cooperation. The GRR also contains proposals for enhancing resilience, drawing from the lessons of the pandemic as well as historical risk analysis.
Thousands of respondents were asked about what they perceive as global risks, classified as short term (0-2 years), medium term (3 to 5 years) and long term (5 to 10 years) across economic, environment, geopolitical, societal and technological horizons. The succeeding discussion are direct excerpts from the GRR.
The risks of the next ten years are extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage; as well as digital power concentration, digital inequality and cybersecurity failure. Among the highest impact risks of the next decade, infectious diseases are in the top spot, followed by climate action failure and other environmental risks; as well as weapons of mass destruction, livelihood crises, debt crises and information technology (IT) infrastructure breakdown.
Short term of current critical or imminent threat to the world, or those that are most likely in the next two years include widespread employment and livelihood crises, youth disillusionment, digital inequality, economic stagnation, human-made environmental damage, erosion of societal cohesion, and terrorist attacks.
Economic risks falling under the medium term are asset bubbles, price instability, commodity shocks and debt crises; followed by geopolitical risks, including interstate relations and conflict, and resource geo-politization.
In the long-term horizon, the perceived environmental risks include biodiversity loss, natural resource crises and climate action failure, emergence of weapons of mass destruction, adverse effects of technology and collapse of states or multilateral institutions.
The GPR states that global economy will continue to be fragile and societal divisions are set to increase, as underlying disparities in healthcare, education, financial stability, and technology led the crisis to disproportionately impact certain groups and countries. Not only has COVID-19 caused more than two million deaths, but the economic and long-term health impacts will continue to have devastating consequences. Because of the pandemic, working hours equivalent to 495 million jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2020 alone and increasing. Loss of lives and livelihoods will increase the risk of “social cohesion erosion”.
Countries are urged to deploy nationally focused agendas to stem economic losses, technological transformation and changes in societal structure, including consumer behaviors, the nature of work and the role of technology both at work and at home. With governments still deliberating how to pivot away from emergency to recovery, and with companies anticipating a changed business landscape, there are opportunities to invest in smart, clean and inclusive growth that will improve productivity and delivery of sustainable agendas.
The GRR calls for global preparedness by looking at four key areas of the response to COVID-19: institutional authority, risk financing, information collection and sharing, and equipment and vaccines. It also calls for national level responses depending on varied starting points for individual countries, and finally it draws lessons from five domains: government decision-making, public communication, health system capabilities, lockdown management and financial assistance to the vulnerable.
However, WEF warns that if lessons from this pandemic only drive decision-makers to better prepare for the next pandemic instead of enhancing risk processes, capabilities and culture, the world will be again planning for the last crisis rather than anticipating the next. The response to COVID-19 offers four governance opportunities to strengthen the overall resilience of countries, businesses and the international community: first, formulating analytical frameworks that take a holistic and systems-based view of risk impacts; second, investing in high-profile “risk champions” to encourage national leadership and international co-operation; third, improving risk communications and combating misinformation; and fourth, exploring new forms of public-private partnership on risk preparedness.
Published in Disruptive Mode on Sunstar on February 4, 2020.
We deserve the kind of government we have, says a wide adage. Hence, a citizenry that allows corruption to thrive deserves the poor service and substandard programs it receives from its government. Last week, I shared the salient features of RA 11032, a new law which promotes ease of doing business and efficient government. I shall continue sharing more salient features of the so-called ease of doing business (EODB) law, which calls for the streamlining and improving the current systems and procedure of government services and aims to reduce processing time, cut bureaucratic red tape and eliminate corrupt practices.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) aggressively undertakes a nation-wide campaign to promote the law anchored on its main benefit – faster and easier application for government-issues permits, licenses and certificates. Customers, clients or citizens are encouraged to provide feedback for service improvement should they be not satisfied with the service provided.
The law mandates the reengineering of systems and procedures starting with by undertaking cost compliance analysis, time and motion studies, and evaluation and improvement of transaction systems and procedures. All government offices must also undergo regulatory impact assessment of proposed regulations to establish if the proposed regulation does not add undue regulatory burden and cost to agencies and applicants or requesting parties; and initiate review of existing policies and operations and commence with the reengineering of systems and procedures.
All LGUs are required to streamline procedures for the issuance of local business licenses, clearances, permits, certifications or authorizations through the use of unified business application form, establishment of business one stop shop (BOSS). Cities and municipalities are mandated to automate their business permitting and licensing system or set up an e-BOSS within by 2021 or within 3 years from the passage of the law.
Barangay clearances and permits related to doing business shall be applied, issued, and collected at the city or municipality or co-located within the LGUs. The city or municipal business process and licensing office shall not require the same documents already provided by an applicant or requesting party to the local government. Business permits shall be valid for a period of 1 year. The city or municipality may have the option to renew business permits within the first month of the year or on the anniversary date of the issuance of the business permit.
Under RA 11032 and which should be defined in the local government unit’s citizen’s charter, the maximum prescribe time for simple transaction is 3 working days. For complex transactions, the maximum period is 7 working days and highly technical transaction, 20 working days. The period may be extended only once for the same number of days. For transactions which requires Sanggunian approval, the maximum is 45 working days. The period can be extended for another 20 working days.
The mandated maximum deadline for issuance of Fire safety Evaluation Clearance (FSEC) and for Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) is 7 working days, while for a Certificate of Fire Incident (CFI), 20 working days and may be extended once. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) must also be co-located at the BOSS of the city or municipality, where said office shall enter into agreement and develop an online or electronic mechanism for such applications. The BFP shall not sell, offer or recommend specific brands of fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment to any applicant or requesting party or business entity, otherwise the guilty officer will be liable by imprisonment of one to six (6) years and a penalty of not less than five hundred thousand pesos to two million pesos.
Punishable acts under RA 11032 include acceptance of application or request with complete requirements being submitted by an applicant or requesting party without due cause; imposition of additional requirements other than those listed in the Citizen’s Charter; and imposition of additional costs not reflected in the Citizen’s Charter. The law also penalizes the failure to give the applicant or requesting party a written notice on the disapproval of an application or request; failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time on any application or request without due cause; failure to attend applicants or requesting parties who are within premises of the office or agency concerned prior to the end of official working hours and during lunch break; failure or refusal to issue official receipt; and fixing and/or collusion with fixers in consideration or economic and/or other gain or advantage.
Penalties and liabilities range from 6 months without pay as administrative liability for first offence and disqualification from the public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits for second offense, including imprisonment of one to six (6) years and a penalty of not less than five hundred thousand pesos to two million pesos. Criminal Liability shall also be incurred through the commission of bribery, extortion, or when the violation was done deliberately and maliciously to solicit favor in cash or in kind.
To further boost local government’s capability for digital transformation in the so-called “new normal” and to complement the digitalization of government processes down to the local level, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara is pushing for the institutionalization of an information and communications technology (ICT) office and officer with department head level.
Angara recently introduced Senate Bill No. 1943 which seeks to amending for the Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 in order to strengthen the digital transformation capacity of all local government units.
Angara believes the policy will greatly help LGUs to better address the fundamental challenges associated with the new normal, ICT development and digitalization by the mandatory appointment of an information and communications technology officer (ICTO) who will act as the over-all officer in charge for ICT concerns of the municipality, city or province, including the development, adoption, deployment, improvement and maintenance of ICT technologies, platforms, systems and solutions utilized by the said LGU for the effective, efficient, responsive, timely and transparent delivery of basic services and performance of public duties.
The ICTO shall also be responsible in formulating measures that would ensure the digitization of public documents and digitalization of government process. In addition, the ICTO shall guide the LGU concerned in its digital transformation efforts, expedite change and minimize complications.
The information and communications technology officer (ICTO) shall formulate measures for the consideration of the Sanggunian and provide technical assistance and support to the local chief executive, in carrying out measures to ensure the digitization of public documents digitalization of government process and over all digital transformation of government. He or she shall develop plans and strategies and upon approval thereof by the local chief executive implement the same, particularly those which have to do with developing, harnessing, integrating and utilizing information and communications technology for the digital transformation of government and relevant purposes.
The ICTO shall take custody of and be accountable for all properties, real or personal, owned by the local government unit and those granted to it in the form of donation, reparation, assistance and counterpart of joint projects.
With the approval of the local chief executive, the ICTO shall assign resources to local officials or other public officials, who by law, are entitled to such spaces, recommend to the local chief executive the reasonable purchase, lease or rental rates of digital equipment for the implementation of digital transformation and develop, maintain and supervise all other information and communications technology programs and services of the local government.
He or she shall also collate and disseminate information regarding information and communications technology programs and services of the local government to the public, perform database and record management with respect to records of offices and departments of the local government unit, perform all other functions pertaining to ICT programs and services of the local government and enforce policies in relation thereto.
The ICTO shall be in the frontline of ICT programs and services of the local government in partnership with private sector to develop, implement, and evaluate all programs aimed at ensuring that all personnel under his or her supervision including himself or herself are constantly trained or exposed to knowledge in ICT and other relevant areas. He or she shall recommend to the sanggunian and advise the local chief executive, on all other matters relative to ICT and perform such other tasks as maybe be assigned by the local government unit.
As the service delivery units of the national government, our LGUs need to be supported by sustainable mechanisms to ensure continuous and sustainable use of ICTs in their level. This can only be achieved with a specific officer mandated to focus on empowering and assisting all local departments within the LGU in utilizing and harnessing ICTs.
Angara, who is also the author of the pending Digital Transformation Bill of the Philippines, underscores that the need for sustainability and comprehensive planning and support in ensuing the national goal of digital transformation across the country.
The ICTO shall be a resident of the LGU, must have good moral character and a holder of a college degree in ICT, computer engineering, computer science, information management system, data analytics, data science, electronics and communications engineer or any course directly relevant to the said courses from a recognized college of university. The ICTO must be first grade civil service eligible and must have five years of experience in the field of ICT and relevant fields.
As part of its goal to create jobs and opportunities and promote innovation in the Municipality of Baler, Province of Aurora, Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara signed Executive Order No. 66 Series of 2020 last September which creates the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council of Baler.
Mayor Angara challenged everyone that – together, we can all jump to the 21st century. I hope this starts to strengthen relationships, establish linkages with various sectors and stakeholders of all municipalities.
The key objective of creating out ICT council is to adopt the organizational model that brings together movers and key decision makers from the public or government sector (local or national line agencies), academe and human resource, and private or business and industry sector. The ICT council will serve platform to set directions to position Baler as a strategic location for ICT-enabled jobs and investments.
EO 66 states that the ICT Council shall be driven by the following objectives:
Creation of Local Programs Anchored on Innovation
Generate Jobs and Investments
Promotions and Marketing – Promote Baler as ICT Hub in Aurora
Promote eGovernance: Ease of Doing Business
Promote Tech-preneurship and Development of Start Ups
Improve Business Environment and Risk Management
Organization and Management of ICT Council
The Council shall exercise the following functions:
Act as policy-making body on matters pertaining to and affecting the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development and innovation programs in the municipality of Baler;
Approve action plan leading to the development of ICT in the municipality;
Devise strategies to address issues and concerns affecting the growth and development of the sector in the locality;
Establish linkage with the business sector and other stakeholders in the municipality for issue identification and resolution;
Establish linkages with provincial, regional, national and international organizations and institutions for the development of ICT sector in Baler.
Stakeholders and members of the Baler ICT Council gathered on November 5, 2020 for a launching and orientation ceremony organized by the Tatak Pinoy Digital Transformation Team under the Office of Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara with senior officials Atty. Fatima Panongtongan, Jess Abalos and Mikey Abola.
National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) led by president Michael Tiu Lim of Zamboanga ICT Council congratulated Baler for their aggressiveness in creating digital jobs. Lim was joined by Joeven Tansi of Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (IFIT), Danah Fortunato of Dumaguete Negros Oriental ICT Council and Teresita Leabres of Cavite ICT Council who served as resource speakers in the afternoon workshop.
Co-founder and former president of NICP Jocelle Batapa-Sigue designed and facilitated the cluster workshops which yielded various recommendations from stakeholders present.
Mayor Angara thanked all he participants and the team of Senator Angara for helping in the creation of the ICT council.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, we have experienced so many setbacks. A lot of people were greatly affected and a lot has changed since then. Now, we conduct meetings virtually which is part of the “new normal”, Mayor Angara said.
I believe that e-commerce is the future, we have to adapt with new innovations. And through the formation of Baler ICT Council, with the help of NICP, this will generate income, promote e-Governance which makes transactions faster, develop talent through training and workshops, and promote local communities as prime spots for IT businesses. This will open doors for everyone, he added.
Senator Angara whose family hails from Baler envisions the town to serve as a strong catalyst for digital jobs and opportunities to come to Aurora.
They say a long drive, good music and good company when combined is a great therapy for a tired soul. Our family took a Ford Ranger Wildtrak for spin this week in Sipalay City, second southernmost town in Negros Occidental and about 178 kilometers from Bacolod City as part of the Ford Media Drive 2020.
Dubbed as the Jewel of the Sugarlandia, Sipalay boasts of its beautiful sunset, clean shorelines and pristine waters. The city is home to beautiful beaches, resorts, bays, diving spots, caves, bays, fishing villages, and vegetable farms. One will be amazed at just how many adventures you can experience in a small city like Sipalay. The experience was made complete with a very smooth drive of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
One of the hottest global trends in the auto industry is the growing popularity of pickup trucks as lifestyle vehicles. In the U.S., several pickups are now the top-selling vehicles in the country’s luxury market.
Once the tool of choice for people whose business required heavy towing, payload and off-roading, pickup trucks like the Ford Ranger have evolved into modern lifestyle vehicles that offer the same comfort and technologies as cars, but with the versatility and toughness to function as a workhorse, business partner, family vehicle, and anything in-between. Work or play, the modern pickup truck is the ultimate expression of independence and local enterprise.
Ford Philippines launched the new model of the Ford Ranger in 2018 equipped with enhanced power, performance, and smart and safe features. In the same year, Ford also launched the first-ever Ranger Raptor, combining Ford Performance DNA with the Ranger’s renowned ‘Built Ford Tough’ character and capability to set a new benchmark in high-speed, off-road pickup capability.
Ford Ranger: Tough and Smart
The new Ranger offers a choice of three diesel powertrains to deliver greater versatility and meet consumer demands for a wider variety of requirements. These include the new generation 2.0L Bi-Turbo and 2.0L Turbo engines, and the Ranger’s proven 2.2L TDCi engine.
The new Ranger also boasts of advanced smart and safe features such as the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) feature which helps mitigate risks by detecting pedestrians and vehicles, alerting drivers with an audible and visual warning. The new Ranger is also equipped with Active Park Assist (APA) which helps the driver find parallel parking spaces and steers itself to a parking spot. All the driver needs to do is control the throttle and brake.
Also available on the new Ranger is the Adaptive Cruise Control feature, which senses traffic and adjusts speed automatically. Meanwhile, the Lane Departure Warning feature vibrates the steering wheel if the driver unintentionally moves out of his/her lane at certain speed.
Loading is easier than ever on the Ranger XLT and Wildtrak variants with the introduction of Tailgate Lift Assist. With a new internal mechanism, the Ranger’s tailgate is now lighter to lift, with a 70 percent reduction in initial force required to raise it for closing.
The Wildtrak variants also offer the Smart Keyless Entry and push-button start, as well as up to six airbags ensuring maximum convenience and safety. The new Ranger also offers the SYNC3 feature compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing drivers to make calls, select music, and use apps with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Ford Ranger Raptor: Power and Performance
The Ranger Raptor is equipped with a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that delivers a maximum of 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. The Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission has been created with high-strength steel, aluminum alloys and composites to optimize durability and weight.
The Ranger Raptor features distinctive design cues inside and out that are functionally driven.
At the front, a stunning new grille takes styling cues from the F-150 Raptor with the iconic block
FORD lettering proudly positioned within the grille design.
Inside, the Ranger Raptor offers a tailored Ford Performance DNA interior design with a high level of craftsmanship, harmonious colors and durable materials suitable for both off-road driving and everyday use. The seats are specially designed for off-road high-speed performance support.
The Ranger Raptor’s chassis frame is a new unique frame that is specifically designed for the vehicle to travel at high speeds off road. The Ranger Raptor’s Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by FOX, designed to provide higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound to enable better off-road capabilities.
The Ranger Raptor’s Terrain Management System (TMS) includes the Baja mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally, and enables ultra-responsive, high-speed off-road performance. In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back to allow spirited off-road driving without intervention from the vehicle’s on-board systems.
Ranger Raptor comes with a host of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DATs) such as SYNC 3, a fully integrated, voice activation system that lets the driver use their favorite devices while their hands stay on the wheel and eyes on the road. Ford’s comprehensive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system also helps in difficult cornering and braking situations.
New enhancements to the Ranger lineup
Earlier this year, Ford Philippines introduced a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup. Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4×2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers. Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.
Meanwhile, Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4×4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models. On the other hand, the Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.
Boosting pickup portfolio with FX4 and FX4 4×4
Ford also expanded its pickup truck portfolio in January this year with the addition of the Ranger FX4, and in September, the FX4 4×4 variant. Instantly recognizable is the Ranger FX4’s eye-catching design that distinguishes itself across the entire Ranger lineup. Unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, new mesh grille, extended steel sports bar, and ebony black accents on side mirror caps, door handles, front and rear bumpers and fender features give the Ranger FX4 a distinctive look and style.
On the inside, the Ranger FX4 retains its refined look with FX4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitching accents on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.
Great deals for the Ford Ranger during Truck Month
Ford Philippines is extending its widely-anticipated Truck Month until the end of November, with cash discounts available to more Ford Ranger models.
New Truck Month deals available this month include a PHP90,000 cash discount for the Ranger 2.0L Bi-Turbo Wildtrak 4×4 AT as well as for the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 AT and a PHP65,000 cash discount for the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 MT.
The Ranger 2.0L Wildtrak 4×2 MT is still available this month with a PHP90,000 cash discount while the Ranger 2.0L Wildtrak 4×2 AT still comes with a cash discount of PHP70,000.
On the other hand, the Ranger 2.2L XLS 4×2 MT is still available with a cash discount of PHP89,000, effectively bringing its starting retail price to only PHP943,000. Customers can also avail of a financing offer of PHP88,000 all-in low downpayment.
Meanwhile, customers who are looking to purchase the Ranger Raptor are still entitled to the Ranger Raptor Premium Care Package inclusive of a free 5-Year Scheduled Service Plan, 5-Year Warranty (from 3 years), and 5-Year Roadside Assistance. The worry-free ownership package is valued at PHP100,000.
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 188,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.