Zero Carbon Resorts Project Holds Local Promoters’ Training in Manila and Palawan

15 03 2010

GrAT (Gruppe Angepasste Technologie), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), CIEMAT-Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA), Spain, and Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC), conducted the Local Promoters’ Training for Zero Carbon Resorts (ZCR) Project last March 10, 2010 at the St. Giles Hotel, Makati City.

Participants gathered last March 10 for the ZCR Local Promoters Training in Manila.

The ZCR Project was launched in 2010 through the support of the European Union, with the goal of enabling tourism Small and Medium Enterprises in the Philippines to implement energy-saving measures and switching to renewable energy.

Through the training, the Project Consortium aimed to equip promoters with the knowledge they need to encourage members of the tourism industry to adopt the recommendations under the ZCR guidelines.

Among the participants were resort owners, representatives from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Science and Technology, non-government organizations advocating environmental issues, and suppliers of renewable energy products.

Ms. Arlene Alipio, Officer in Charge of the DOT Standards Development Division welcomed the participants in behalf of the DOT Undersecretary and lauded the efforts of the ZCR Project Consortium to promote sustainability in the tourism industry.

Speakers include GrAT Chairman and ZCR Project Lead Dr. Robert Wimmer, Dr. Diego Cesar Alarcon-Padilla of PSA, the largest European center for research, development and testing of concentrating solar technologies, Mr. Butch Tan of Puerto Pension and Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort in Palawan, Engr. Eric Raymundo, GrAT senior technical expert, and Ms. Margeret Neena, ASSIST Project Manager.

Dr. Wimmer explained the project details and the role of promoters, while Dr. Alarcon-Padilla discussed the fundamentals of energy and why renewable energy is a viable alternative to the current sources. Meanwhile, Engr. Raymundo shared the contents of the Handbook produced by the ZCR Project partners, which outlines the changes that owners of resorts and recreational facilities can adopt to promote sustainable practices.

Ms. Margeret Neena demonstrated how to use the project website, which will serve both as a database and a communication platform among the members of the network. Finally, Mr. Tan discussed the changes that he has begun to implement in his two resorts as an active member of ZCR’s Frontier Group 1. These include the installment of solar-powered lighting, louvers, water sprinkler system and other energy-saving contraptions.

Before the Manila event, ZCR Project Implementers also held a similar training targeted to the local companies, engineers, building and facility managers, as well as hotel and resort staff members in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra graced the event.# MPY

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ASSIST Representative Speaks on Campus Forum on Nationalism, Heroism and Leadership

10 03 2010

Student leaders from contending political parties in UP Los Baños (UPLB) gathered for the iTalk: Bayaning Filipino sa Makabagong Siglo Forum organized by the Alpha Sigma Fraternity last March 4, 2011.

Fresh from the recently concluded student council elections, UPLB student leaders participated in an afternoon of discussion on nationalism, heroism, servitude, and leadership. Among the speakers were former University of the Philippines College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, Artist Revolution’s Mae Paner a.k.a. Juana Change, and Paula Bianca Lapuz from Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation.

Mae Paner displayed photos of her taken by various photographers including Jim Paredes, as well as samples of paintings where she was the subject. The artworks were used to raise funds for their Juana Change advocacy, a viral campaign that touches on various social issues such as corruption, agrarian reform and migration. The campaign was launched in 2008 as a creative form of protest against social ills.

Paner shuns being hailed as a hero, but says she is a fearless advocate of change with nothing but the best intentions for the country and the President. It can be recalled that Paner was recently caught in a squabble with Malacañang’s communication group for her criticism of the President’s purchase of a Porsche, saying it was unnecessary and extravagant.

Former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of having strong democratic institutions as a pre-condition for a developed country. In cases where democracy fails, institutions serve as the final arbiter, thus the significance of having credible and reliable democratic institutions.

Meanwhile, Lapuz stressed the need to find societal solutions that actually work. She said that while ideology should play a part in politics, leaders should focus more on trying to “hit the ground running.” Likewise, she explained that like big bureaucracies, student councils need to function long after the elections are over and this requires a great deal of political maturity especially if one is forced to work with other rival groups within the student council. Finally, she encouraged all parties to undergo self-criticism to check on themselves every now as part of internal organizational assessment. For Lapuz, this is a crucial component of the success of any group.

Organizers from the Alpha Sigma fraternity explained that they really targeted student political party members and leaders because they wanted to ensure that the newly elected student council officers and their respective parties will work pro-actively on the issues that really matter to the UPLB community.# PBL