Author Archives: Jocelle Batapa Sigue

Ways to Love Yourself

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!


A Glimpse of the Mayan Civilization

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.

Related Stories: Bacolod ICT to star at Guatemala convention / Un paso más hacia promover la competitividad, el empleo y el desarrollo de Guatemala / Convención Contact Center y BPO: Urge invertir en educación / “La calidad de vida también debe ir a las periferias” Jocelle Batapa, Ex presidenta del focus team

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

Here is a feature on The Lost Cities of Maya.

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

Miniature of the whole area considered as part of the lost Mayan Civilization

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

TECHBLADE: Philippines Shares ICT Council Model to Guatemalan Cities


More Serious Global Risks Perceived After Pandemic

Full Text of the Global Risks Report 2021

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.

Good Citizens Deserve Good Government

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.

ICT Officer for Every LGU

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.   

Full Text:


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 thier agressiveness 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 varioys reccomendations from stakeholders present.

Mayor Angara thanke 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

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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.

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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).

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