400 company representatives, dignitaries convene for 2012 ECOSWITCH Awards

27 09 2012

Four hundred local and foreign dignitaries as well as representatives of private companies gathered for the ECOSWITCH Awarding Ceremony held at the New World Hotel in Makati City, Philippines last September 25, 2012.

ECOSWITCH Project Director Dr. Alena Labodova formally welcomed the attendees.

A total of 150 participating companies received plaques and certification for facilitating the switch in their organization towards more environmentally sustainable operations. The list of awardees includes Goldilocks, Mekeni Food Corporation, Philippine Airlines, Lufthansa Technik, Yokohama Tire Corporation, Panasonic, Toyota Motors, and Mapua Institute of Technology.

The event marks the end of the second phase of the Green Philippines Islands of Sustainability (GPIoS) Project, an initiative funded by the European Union’s SWITCH Asia program. GPIoS seeks to contribute to an improved environmental and sustainable industrial development of Metro Manila and CALABARZON regions by introducing measures to save on energy, cut down on wastage and promote best environmental practices within organizations.

400 people from the public and private sectors convened for the event.

GPIoS is led by the Technical University of Ostrava (VSB), Czech Republic, Center for Appropriate Technology (GrAT), Austria, Australia Recycling (AREC), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Philippine Business for the Environment, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries,  and STENUM.

Project Directors Thomas Dielacher and Alena Labodova led the event, along with Project and Grants Management Associate Juvy Jem Perez, and Technical Consultants Wilson Baldonado, Joshua Rey Albarina Rolando Sumabat, Helen Joyce Basco, Maricris Elemos, Arlyn Gonzales and Mariefe Kim.

The Project Team closely worked with the companies in implementing the energy efficiency and waste management measures.

Keynote Speaker Neri Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and General Manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority lauded the initiative, while also expressing the government’s commitment to environmental protection.

Mr. Matthieu Penot of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines commended the businesses and the Project Team for their contributions to greening the business sector. He was joined by other members of the delegation, Mag. Wilhelm Donko, the Ambassador of Austria to the Philippines, Mag. Isabel Schmiedbauer, Commercial Attache, Austrian Embassy; Gabriel Zobl-Kratschmann, Vice Consul at the Austrian Embassy; and RNDr. Jakob Cerny of Czech Republic Embassy.

Other presentors of the award were Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau; Mr. Arnel Go, Manager at ASSIST; Mr. Bobby Banaag of Plantersbank and Ms. Teresa Pacis, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, GMA Network.

The ceremony also featured partnership testimonials from Ms. Susan Benitez, President of Pollution Control Association of the Philippines (PCAPI); Mr. June Alvarez, Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI) and Ms. Victoria Tambunting-Alfonso, Vice President of the Plantersbank.

Mr. Matthieu Penot of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines graced the event.

Select companies also received the following citations:

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Energy Efficiency: Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Water Conservation: Freshtex

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Waste Minimization: United Pulp & Paper Company, Inc.

ECOSWITCH Green Coin Award: United Pulp & Paper Company, Inc.

ECOSWITCH People Award: Atlantic Coatings

ECOSWITCH Award for Impact and Dissemination: GMA Network, Incorporated and Plantersbank

ECOSWITCH Award for Networking: Manila Water Company, Incorporated

 Young actress and television host Bettina Carlos hosted the event. #

See GPIoS Facebook page for more official photos.


The Supreme Court Can(not) Make Final Decisions

19 10 2011

by Paula Bianca Lapuz

The Supreme Court (SC) makes final decisions. Never mind the content of the decision, regardless, it’s final. That’s probably the only better argument against the high court’s unexpected action two weeks ago, when it reversed its supposedly “final” decision on the case of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) and the Philippine Airlines (PAL).

On September 07, 2011, the High Tribunal vindicated FASAP, rendering illegal the retrenchment of some 1, 400 PAL employees in 1998 and demanded the reinstatement of the workers.

But on October 04, 2011, the SC recalled its decision, favoring PAL, which again put the court amidst controversies.

Legislators and the Palace alike expressed their dismay over the court’s “flip-flopping” (Lawas 2011). Senator Miram Santiago, in an interview, said that she was angry over the decision of the high court because it compromised the credibility of the institution as the “bulwark of the peoples’ civil liberties.” She noted that the retraction of the court resolution did not just affect the 1, 400 plus complainants, but had also wasted the 13 years of litigation (Dalangin-Fernandez and Cabial 2011).

The decision came after PAL Lawyer Estelito Mendoza sent letters to the SC. Mendoza sought clarifications with the court regarding the division which issued the injunction. According to SC Spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez, the Court Division responsible for the case should have been the third Division but for some reason, the case was sent to the Second Division. Whether or not this was the explicit reason for the reversal of the decision was not clear.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had likewise vented his disappointment over criticisms hurled at the court saying that the public should study the decision first before they say anything because they do not understand the case.


The SC is supposedly infallible; at least, this should be the case. Of course, law scholars are expected to react negatively. But what is even more appalling is how the SC responds to the negative criticisms. The SC probably feels that it owes nothing to the public, and is therefore not obliged to explain its decision further. Never mind putting the institution’s credibility in jeopardy for as long as it can maintain its elite stature.

But that actually defeats the purpose of having a spokesperson. The SC spokesperson should be able to articulate the logic behind the SC’s decision. Midas did not elaborate on why the SC had radically changed its mind on the case. Does the second division think differently from the third? Does the third division give no prior value to the “final” decision issued by the second division? What difference does it make? To laymen, these are valid questions. And it is important that the SC is mindful of their public image, because their image is reflective of our whole justice system. If the High Court can alter decisions made with finality with a snap of finger, then how can the citizens rely on our justice system?

In a television interview, Midas mentioned that his appointment as the Supreme Court spokesperson is part of the institution’s way to bring the SC closer to the people. But at the moment, it appears that he is not fulfilling this goal.

One basic rule in political communication is to never leave issues unanswered. It will not hurt the SC if it goes the extra mile to explain why it did what it did.

Works cited:

Dalangin-Fernandez, Lira, and Fritzie Cabial. Interaksyon News 5. October 12, 2011. http://www.interaksyon.com/article/15021/corona-slams-critics-as-solon-sees-impeachment-for-fasap-flip-flop (accessed October 17, 2011).

Lawas, Hector. Journal Online. October 15, 2011. http://journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/15395-sc-denies-sidestepping-recall-order-on-fasap (accessed October 17, 2011).