Monthly Archives: November 2020

Baler Creates ICT Council

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.

Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara delivers his welcome remarks

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:

  • Talent Development
  • 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) President Michael Tiu Lim of Zamboanga ICT Council delivers his message

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 and currently consultant at the Office of Senator Sonny Angara

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.

Ford Ranger: A mobility partner for work, play and everything in between

Driving a Ford Ranger Wildtrak for an trip to the Jewel City of Sugarlandia – Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

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.

The Ford Ranger is available in Ford Negros located at Talisay City, Negros Occidental with telephone number (034) 441 0865. For more details about the Ford Ranger, visit Ford Negros or

# # #

About Ford Motor Company

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

Filipino startup recognized in addressing SDG’s using space tech

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino startup is recognized globally in developing a dengue hotspot prediction system using satellite and climate data in the 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards for the Sectoral category, For-Profit. The GEO SDG Awards recognize the productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development.

CirroLytix Research Services was formed to create social impact through big data. Through the application of machine learning, data engineering, remote sensing, and social listening, the Philippines-based data analytics firm hopes to help governments, researchers, non-government organizations (NGO), and social enterprises achieve positive change.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) is one of the CirroLytix’s flagship projects developed during the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge. It combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue. Project AEDES process leverages normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and normalized difference water index (NDWI) readings from Landsat and Sentinel-2 to estimate still water areas on the ground, which is correlated with dengue case counts from national health centers.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue

Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix, describes Project AEDES as an “early detection of panics from online searches, anticipating case counts from environment readings, but most importantly pinpointing hotspots from mosquito habitat detection.”

The Pinoy-made dengue mapper tool won the annual international hackathon of NASA globally in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application. Aside from winning last year, CirroLytix also developed an integrated public policy information portal measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, thus winning again in the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for the same category in the best use of data. Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), this dashboard for policy makers and economic planners shows the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.

With these achievements, Cirrolytix is recognized in their remarkable efforts to utilize Earth observation data to predict dengue fever cases in the Philippines in order to improve public health.

“I am glad that the GEO SDG Awards Panel has selected CirroLytix for an award, recognizing the importance of this work in developing an EO-integrated dengue case predictor mapping system,” according to Dr. Argyro Kavvada, lead for Sustainable Development Goals of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and executive secretary of the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG).

“These awards really could stand as an inspiration to all of us about what can be done, and what needs to be done to ensure that Earth-observations contribute to make our world a better, and more sustainable place,” said Lawrence Friedl director of the Applied Sciences Program of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and co-chair of EO4SDG.

2020 GEO SDG Awardees together with Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix

The Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba heartfeltly congratulates CirroLytix. “It’s indeed a blessing amid this pandemic and economic crisis that we are currently faced with,” she said.

The award-winning startup continues to update the AEDES framework to include socio-economic risk mapping to turn it into a health and environmental policy tool. Aside from dengue, the company also supports COVID-19 modeling and response initiatives with the public health sector. CirroLytix’s current involvements include public health, human rights, fighting disinformation, education and food security.

The Space Apps lead organizer in the Philippines Michael Lance M. Domagas appeals support for these Filipino winners. “How many times should these Filipino innovators and achievers need to win before being recognized and appreciated by our own country? To be recognized by not just one, but five space agencies is something has not yet been achieved by Filipinos, how much more of a multitude of countries and nations supporting the sustainable development goals of the United Nations?” He added that “The dengue epidemic and the COVID-19 is a real threat to the Philippine society right now, endangering health, well-being, livelihood, and most especially businesses and the national economy. If we could only learn how to give value to science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM), the possibilities are endless. Our Filipino winners of Space Apps and GEO SDG Awards have taught us on how these space technologies greatly help in addressing epidemics and economic impact of COVID-19, its time to give them recognition and respect because they are Filipinos like us.” Winners shall be invited to visit NASA once travel is deemed safe, but unfortunately, travel, meals and incidental expenses, and accommodation expenses are not provided.

On the other hand, Cirrolytix encourages the use of data in addressing social problems and issues surrounding the Bangsamoro region. Together with the Asia Foundation and Data Ethics PH, the online Bangsamoro Data Challenge invites ages 15 years old and above to develop data-driven solutions in helping the region. Deadline for registration is on Saturday 11:59pm, November 21, 2020 at

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

About 2020 GEO SDG Awards
The 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) awards program, in its second year, is led by the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) initiative and recognizes excellence in sustainable development practices, analysis and reporting through the use of Earth observations. The awards honour productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations for the Sustainable Development Goals.

About Group on Earth Observations
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

About Space Apps
Now in its 9th year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge is an international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and others around the world, where teams engage with NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Space Apps 2019 included over 29,000 participants in 71 countries. In May 2020, the virtual-only Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge concluded with over 15,000 participants from 150 countries. Space Apps is a NASA-led initiative organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, SecondMuse, and the NASA Open Innovation Applied Sciences Program.

About CirroLytix
CirroLytix Research Services is a social impact data analytics company. Their mission is to help governments, non-profits, researchers, international and local organizations succeed at addressing collective social problems around the world by harnessing the full power of their data. The ultimate contribution to society is in enabling social impact professionals and entities make positive data-driven change on the lives they seek to uplift.

Related Links:

Above material is a Press Release issued by Michael Lance M. Domagas (Lead organizer, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Manila, Philippines). For more details, email

108 LGU Systems Vie for Digital Governance Awards 2020

There are 108 local government-led programs vying for this year’s Digital Governance Awards 2020 this November. I congratulate the current officers of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for striving to carry on with this merit system which is now in its 9th year.

In 2012, as president of the NICP, I led exploratory talks with then Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the DILG on how we can help ensure that local government units across the country leverage on the benefits of using information and communications technologies (ICT) for good governance. I remember we brainstormed casually inside a hotel room with other NICP officers while attending an ICT conference. Our choice was between two approaches – carrot or stick. USEC Austere, also an Ilonggo, believed along with then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo would that the “carrot” approach would be more effective since NICP is a private organization. We believed that customers or clients of government, which are primarily its citizens should be the one gauging their respective performance and level of innovation. Hence, the Excellence in ICT for Good Governance or eGOV Awards was born that year.

Since 2012 up to the present, the call for excellence in governance using digital pltaforms and solutions continues. In 2017, the DICT took the cudgel of nurturing the merit system and everyone agree to rebrand it to Digital Cities Awards and eventually last year to the Digital Governance Awards (DGA). eGOV and now DGA is an annual search for best practices in local government units in utilizing ICT to effectively and efficiently deliver its public services directly to its constituents and to its business stakeholders.

The DGA shares the vision of establishing indices for local government units across the country in harnessing the potentials of ICT towards raising the bar in delivering public service. By drawing attention to the best practices in integrating ICT capabilities and solutions, the different sectors of society and government units are enabled in their roles as catalyst of change. It is hoped that with the DGA strategy, the country will see the proliferation of revolutionary ICT initiatives that will support clearer, wider and faster access to information in our local government.

The program has four primary objectives, namely, to highlight and encourage the effective and efficient utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the delivery of services and performance of the duties and responsibilities by local government units (LGUs); to share and replicate innovative practices, and commend, collate and document LGUs in integrating ICT in their processes to serve as example and benchmarks to other LGUs; to improve the business development, social services and the general ecosystem of the LGUs and motivate the private and business sector to actively participate and/or invest in the growth of the LGUs and to promote citizen’s responsibility and participation as well as accountability, efficiency and transparency in governance responsibility and encourage innovation.

In 2012, we started with two categories, namely, Best in Customer Empowerment (G2C) Awards, which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s practices using ICT solutions in its dealings with the public. This includes ICT solutions towards providing improved, timely, and relevant delivery of public services directly to the constituent; Best in Business Empowerment (G2B) Award which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s practices in integrating ICT solutions, and the commitment of its administration, in the LGU’s responsiveness to the needs of business enterprises, thereby creating business opportunities.

After three years, we added P2G or Digital Payments to cite initiatives in using digital payment gateways in the LGU level and D2G or Data-Driven Governance to recognize efforts of LGUs to ensure data privacy in their systems. Another new category was the Best in Inter-Operability (G2G) Award which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s initiative to connect data and systems with other government offices, both national and local, for the convenience of their constituents and to improve its public service delivery. The Best in

For 2020, instead of P2G and D2G, two more new categories were added. Government Internal Operations (G2I) Award recognizes the efforts of an LGU in developing or improving its internal systems and adhering to various recognized standards, to be able to provide better service to its internal customers. The Best in Covid19 Pandemic Response (G2P) which is a special category recognizes the LGUs who were extremely adaptable to the unusual circumstances presented by the COVID19 pandemic in the timely delivery of their services with the use of ICT solutions. It rewards quick thinking, innovation, and resourcefulness.

Since 2012 there are four criteria, namely innovative management (demonstrates the degree to which the entry explored, applied and managed the elements and strategies that brought about the success of the entry); impact (demonstrates the major results (output, outcome, impact), their effects, and benefits to the recipients of the service such as the public, employees, or business); extent of ICT adoption (to include interoperability and data security); and replication potential and sustainability (demonstrates the model qualities of the practice with the possibility and applicability of replicating it in other localities and shows the level of sustainability or that the LGU can continue the project by addressing major disruptions).