Friday, April 18, 2008

Cebu Pacific Flight Rebooking Enhanced

Booking or rebooking a flight on Cebu Pacific will be faster and more convenient starting this month.

CEB will also go completely ticketless. The airline now issues a travel itinerary which passengers can refer to for flight details and present upon entry into the airport prior to checking in.
"The Navitaire system will allow CEB to offer more functionalities and options.  Passengers can now change their flight details or cancel their bookings online.  The new system also has the flexibility to adjust to our growing requirements as the leading low fare airline,." said Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific President and CEO.
Navitaire is an end-to-end solution that provides CEB with effective revenue management & accounting tools. It has a user-friendly booking process that allows us to accommodate more passengers online.
Navitaire is the leading host reservations system provider for majority of the low-cost carriers in the world.
He explained, "We are happy to use a host reservations system that is compatible with our airline's business model. We hope that we will be able to provide better service to our passengers with this initiative."
"Navitaire will provide us with the ability to offer more options to our passengers, it is an open system that will increase our efficiency and reduce our distribution costs.  This will allow us to continue offering the lowest fares possible," Gokongwei concluded.

KALAHI-CIDSS Making A Difference in Bohol, Philippines

By the Philippine Information Agency

Poor still, but Boholanos have now found a tool to fight poverty off their backs.

  All it took was converging otherwise scant resources,  empowering people to grapple and improving local governance and the chances of pinning down poverty gets better.

  At least residents of Hagbuyo, in San Miguel, about 88 kilometers along the interior route from Tagbilaran, have seen a glimmer of hope

  Hagbuyo is an ordinary traditional farming community. Here, residents have barely manage to reap enough to cross the lines out of poverty.

  But, San Miguel is an identified Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) site, and through it, local officials saw a way.

  Short of funds to implement poverty denting projects in the barangay, local officials now partner and pool with fund sources, while spurring committed participation from the community.

  KALAHI-CIDSS, recognized by the World Bank as among the worlds top community driven development (CDD) approaches to project implementation has also elated government workers who can link and partner with the local community in decisions and resources, says Kathee Sanchez of the regional Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Cebu.

  KALAHI-CIDSS is also the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration's flagship anti-poverty project implemented by DSWD.

In Hagbuyo, residents implement a project they planned and decided, one commonly needed among all of them: small water impounding systems (SWIS) projects.  

  With the 10 SWIS, and an aid from the government's agriculture agency, residents double their productivity by making farm irrigation possibile while harvesting fish, added Annalyn Lumactud, Kalahi San Miguel coordinator. 

  The projects cost P681,532,000 but the DSWD only put up a little more than P413T, the rest is shared by the municipal, barangay governments and the residents in the communities where the project is implemented, Lumactud added in a phone interview. 

  According to her, after countless coordinations and consultative meetings, the residents put up impoundings systems, managed and maintained by them.   

  The SWIS projects, one of the many KALAHI community managed projects meritted the credits of an American  intern who hailed the implementation of the government's poverty-alleviation through the CDD approach. 

  Liz Fleshman, who integrated herself in Hagbuyo did a comprehensive perspective of the impact of World Bank-funded projects, which also brought her to Pilar, in Bohol

  In San Miguel, she stayed with the community for three days, interviewing Area Coordinating Teams (ACT), municipal and barangay leaders as well as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committees. She also talked to implementing agencies, non-governmental organizations, community associations and local people.

  Among all projects she saw, the rain water collector which doubles as a fish pond in Hagbuyo was what she called "innovative". 

  "The rain water collector was the most creative project I visited in the Philippines," she said. 

  Built as a sprinkler system for rice which needs regular water supply, the community put up their labor equity to build 20 x 20 water impounding systems, 10 of them at slightly elevated levels and installed drains to let water out to be distributed to nearby rice fields. 

  Before the water collector, farmers harvested five sacks of rice per average field. Now the fields yield 26 sacks. Furthermore, they purchased 500 tilapia fingerlings for each water collector, creating a sustainable supply of fresh fish for project beneficiaries, she said. 

  She also noted that the community put up rules at the site, instructions against swimming, catching  fish with nets, putting carabaos to dip, Fleshman narrated in her report to the World Bank.

  Meanwhile Sanchez said, volunteers dared local leaders to provide more Community driven development (CDD)-oriented programs at the grassroots level during the recent simultaneous inauguration of four KALAHI-CIDSS-funded sub-projects in Mabini.

  In Central Visayas, KALAHI-CIDSS is implemented in 14 municipalities, 12 of which are in Bohol, while the other two are in Siquijor. 

  In Bohol, the KALAHI-CIDSS areas include Danao, CPG, Talibon, Bien Unido, Buenavista, Getafe, Carmen, Pilar, San Miguel, Mabini, Trinidad and Ubay, she said. 

  Now, as to the question, is the bottom-up Kalahi startegy enough to unlock the grip of poverty, it may yet need a long reply. 

  But for residents, just as long as the government bottom-up approach is  approach in its implementation strategy, community volunteers of four barangays in Mabini, Bohol clamor for more CDD programs.

Celebrating Bohol Earth Day

By the Philippine Information Agency

Marchers wearing green t-shirts bringing the more environmentally friendly kites, instead of balloons and a collage of environmental quilted patches would be the day's colorful statement highlights as a lead sustainable farming group spearheads the Bohol Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, 2008.

  "The group is organizing activities in the hope of ardently reminding everyone of their fitting obligation to make Mother Earth safer, healthier and cleaner place to live in," says Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agriculture Development (BISAD) President Engr. Vicente Loquellano.

  Picking the theme, "Mga Kamatuoran sa Nagka-init nga Kalibutan," environmentalists led by BISAD bared series of activities, which is underscored by two relevant fora on bio-fuels and rice crisis. 

  On the weighty side of things, two relevant issues are up for discussion: Food for People of Fuel For Cars, a taunt on the recent government policy and support to biofuels production which may keeping food production on the sidelines.

  On the other hand, a rice crisis forum is again deemed relevant to the times, one which is set as the afternoon food for thorugh highlight, the program bare.

  The day starts with groups converging at the Plaza Rizal, and then picking up a walk of cycling off to the Office of the Provincial Agriculture Conference Hall in Dao, where the day's program of activities is centered, bared Engr. Loquellano.  

  Creativity and honest to goodness love for the environment is also up for the day as participants bring in environmental patches, all of the depicting ways to preserve, conserve and protect nature and Mother Earth.

Preserve and Secure Philippine "Mojons"

By the Philippine Information Agency

Standardized mapping reference for the country could be jeopardized if the reference monuments continue to be excavated as treasure markers or buried by site development. 

  To secure these monuments or "mojons, the government takes efforts to enjoin all local government units, organizations and the general public to help in adopting these markers and secure its integrity. 

  By enjoining the public to support Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Adopt a Mojon program, they help inventory, preserve and secure the mojons, claimed Ernesto Quiamco, RDC Economic Development Committee Chairperson. 

  Also, he added, that the government's job of installing more mojon points become a lot easier, a thing environment and natural resource authorities agreed during the latest full council meeting held in Bohol

  The "mojons" are set up as the official Philippine Reference System of 1992 (PRS 92), Global Positioning System marked homogeneous network of geodetic control points now recognized as standard reference for all surveys and maps in the country, a recent presentation at the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) stated.

  The country's network of prime physical evidence of boundaries to peg a standardized mapping reference in PRS 92 will standardize the mapping system so that a particular point of the ground will have a only one location in any official Philippine map, the RDC draft resolution of support bared. 

  By that, it addresses overlapping or gaps between adjoining parcels of land, added the draft resolution for approval by the RDC.

  Citing on the need to secure these markers and ensure a highly accurate geodetic control network of points in all surveys in the country, the RDC sees to it that supporting the Department of Environment and natural Resources in their "Adopt a Mojon" program is in order.

  The DENR and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority is accordingly conducting PRS 92 implementation activities in the region, and a memorandum of agreement between the LGUs and the lead government agencies may be needed, officials said.

Call for Food Stability in the Philippines

By the Philippine Information Agency

Bohol farmers belonging to the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL) claimed the streets of Trinidad, Bohol Thursday April 10, 2008 for hours to dramatize their demands for serious government steps to prop up the dream of food stability, just as rice supplies tightening is felt across the country. 

HUMABOL, an organization under the auspices of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) braved the streets, to demand immediate government action to actualize the country's food security.

For these, the farmers asked the government to strengthen its agencies, particularly the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to immediately solve the rice (and corn) crisis, states a signed press statement by Ruben Sabior, HUMABOL chairperson.

The farmers want the government to dismantle the cartels and upset the big rice traders by direcly buying in volume from the farmers at a higher farmgate price than what the traders are offering. 

They aslo want the government to immediately "go after and punish the rice hoarders" and "corrupt officials including those who are involved in government project" kickbacks.  

For the national government, the Bohol farmers rights advocacy group pointed out its 3-points policy changes to facilitate Bohol's transition to secure and stable food supply.

HUMABOL demands the country's immediate pull out from World Trade Organization policies on agriculture particularly the rice trade liberalization, the immediate cancellation of the  land use conversion programs and the re-alignment of the debt-servicing and military budget to agricultural services and food production.

"Sa pagsulod sa gobyerno sa World Trade Organization (WTO) ug pag-implementar sa liberalisasyon sa pamatigayon sa bugas, unang nabundakan sa maong kalamidad ang mga mag-uuma.  Mas misandig ang pangagamhanan sa importasyon sa bugas inay palambuon ang atong lokal nga agrikultura," Sabior claimed.  

Meanwhile, economists in the country said a Philippine pullout from the WTO policy on rice trade liberalization means only sourcing out our rice supplies from local sources. This would be so, even if it would cost more for the country, as production costs here is expensive. 

HUMABOL farmers however hope that by this, farmers can sell their rice at a higher price compared to ones with the cheaper imported rice in the markets. 

However, there is no Philippine commitment to trade liberalization, PhilRice online website declares.  

On land conversion, the group claimed, "dakong bahin sa kayutaan ang gihimong commercial, residential ug sonang industrial inay tamnan og bugas."  

It also slammed conversion of lands into oil palm plantations and the policy  that opens up agricultural lands to industrial zones and the plantations of jathropa for bio-fuels.  

Over all these, Boholano rice farmers ask the government to implement genuine land reform law (GLRL) through the immediate approval of HB 3059. 

The GLRL is their corrective version of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which is slated to expire in June 2008, after a 10-year extension following its expiry in 1998.

The bill for GLRL calls for the repeal of Presidential Decree No. 27 and Republic Act No. 6657, including all laws, decrees, presidential proclamations, executive and administrative orders, ordinances and other issuances that are inconsistent with the proposed law. 

The bill aims to break up land monopoly and distribute the lands within five years, and to eliminate all forms of oppression and exploitation in the countryside and thereby usher the advent of genuine social justice.