Solar LEDs Light  Up Camarines Sur’s Tuna Landing Site  

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Yellowfin Tuna Fisher by Gregg Yan

Yellowfin Tuna Fisher by Gregg Yan

Slowly integrating Solar power in business centers is a bright sign of hope for the earth, specifically the Philippines.  Utilizing its cost effectiveness and low carbon footprint is a winning proposition for the business as well as the planet.

Among the fortunate areas to be lit up by solar power is San Jose Port in Camarines Sur.  Simple living fishermen would truly appreciate the extra help in their daily grind, what better group to show some long needed attention and love.

The Municipality of San Jose, Philips Electric and Lighting Inc. plus the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) collaborated for this project. They signed a formal partnership to keep San Jose Port, a tuna landing site, illuminated using solar-powered LED lights.

 by Jojo Eijinsantos

by Jojo Eijinsantos

The signing was held during the municipality’s Fishers’ Day, which saw local fisherfolk take part in a fishing competition and a cook-off as part of the annual weeklong town fiesta last May . . . also the Month of the Ocean in the Philippines by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57. The initiative was made possible through a grant from the SEPS WISIONS for Sustainability of the Germany-based Wuppertal Institute.

The solar-powered system will store power generated from the sun during the day, and will power energy-efficient LEDs to illuminate fish landing activities in the San Jose Port by night. “The innovative lighting systems we’ll be using enhances the productivity of the tuna supply chain which begins here in San Jose. Of course, it will also generate energy savings,” says Philips Country Manager Fabia Tetteroo-Bueno.

The carbon footprint of handline tuna, which promotes small-scale fishing and is already small due to its low overall environmental impact, will be further reduced by the use of renewable energy plus the use of energy-efficient LEDs. “The process of generating solar-powered energy is carbon-free. The shift to renewable energy solutions reduces fossil fuel dependency while encouraging the economic development of local industries,” declares WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Program Head Atty. Angela Ibay.

“This will encourage fishers to use the port area where we can centralize fish landing activities. We also plan to have the tuna buyers set up at the port, for it to become a one-stop shop for both tuna fishers and buyers,” says San Jose Mayor Antonio Chavez.

Centralizing landing activities in one area will also be a boon to the DA-BFAR National Stock Assessment Program, which collects fisheries resources data around the country’s fishing grounds to enable the development of sound fisheries management policies.

“Having one area for landings will make the job of NSAP enumerators much easier, while making our fisheries data more robust. We can monitor Philippine tuna stocks more efficiently and report data to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Tuna are highly migratory fish that cross international waters,” says WWF-Philippines Partnership Program Towards Sustainable Tuna (PPTST) Project Manager Joann Binondo.

The installation of the solar lighting system is expected to be completed by the 4th quarter of the year.

WWF Supports FiT System to Pave the Way for RE and  Lower Electricity Costs 

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Rizal Wind Farm by Sophia Dedace & WWFWorking hard to pave the way for Renewable Energy (RE) to provide lower electricity cost to the public, WWF aligns with the government regarding its Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system to make RE possible sooner.  Electricity rates continue to increase without any controls to keep the prices stable.  That’s the result of using fossil fuels, which we import, and puts us at the mercy of foreign suppliers.  We have to transition to RE soon to keep a cap on electricity rates.  WWF reminds us of our ideal option via RE, which may cost initially but the  country will be better off with in the future.  Short term, cheaper solutions will cost us more later on . . .  so let’s clamor for RE to happen soon.

Climate change solutions-provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reiterated its support for the government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system. The FiT guarantees Renewable Energy (RE) developers a constant generation rate per KWh over the next 20 years, with periodic reviews by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to adjust rates for foreign exchange and inflation.

Various groups recently opposed the FiT, arguing how rates might further burden consumers. However, Philippine electricity rates have historically increased faster than the FiT – due mainly to the fact that 70% of the nation’s electricity is generated from fossil-fuels, 90% of which are imported at varying prices. The International Energy Agency forecasts a steady increase in the cost of coal and oil over the next decade.

One of the country’s few competitive advantageous is its vast renewable energy resources. In the 1970s, the Philippines had the foresight to invest in indigenous geothermal power, which is now cheaper than coal. “We are a fossil-fuel poor country,” explains WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Unit Head Atty. Gia Ibay. “Investing in RE shields us from the volatility of the fossil fuel market while taking advantage of what we have been endowed with.”

RE plants can be directly embedded onto certain key areas to further reduce the cost of electricity, eliminating the need for transmission and distribution lines to deliver electricity from power plants to households.

“The FiT paves the way for necessary RE investments. Unlike power plants which burn dirty and imported coal or oil – RE provides consistent, indigenous and clean power at a constant price for decades – especially since it has a 0% VAT rate. We believe that the FiT is a sound long-term investment for clean, cheap power,” adds Ibay.

In short, Filipinos will pay less for RE power in the long run.

Currently employing three million people globally, RE also generates more jobs. “Renewables generally provide from three to six times more jobs per unit of energy produced than either fossil-fuel or nuclear plants,” adds WWF Global Energy Policy Director Dr. Stephan Singer.

Japan Makes a Pledge, Presents High Quality Electric Vehicle for Public Transportation

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SAM_7173SAM_7130This country is a place of abundance,  of unparalleled beauty from its mountains and seas, of warm smiles and helping hands.  But then changes happened that brought about chaos, smoke, garbage.  The challenge before us tonight, the question that we need to answer is: can we do the good change?—BEMAC President Masato Oda.SAM_7163

In a celebration held last April at the Sofitel Hotel in Roxas Boulevard,, Manila,  the BEMAC group made a pledge to bring back the beautiful Philippines and is inviting all to participate.  By developing high quality, environment-friendly public vehicles, the Japanese company has pledged their support and has done their part to step up the change toward greener pastures.

SAM_7153BEMAC presented the 68VM, the company’s first electric vehicle model ready for mass production.  The product of a commitment made four years ago, the 68VM is the fruit of a collaboration between the company and Filipino friends despite many challenges to reach the goal..  With this vehicle, the company has set a high standard for Electric Vehicles (EV) with the highest safety and quality specifications in the Philippines. 68vm1

Present to witness and celebrate the launch of the 68VM were Secretary Joel Villanueva of TESDA, Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal of Board of Investments, Undersecretaries Ponciano Manalo Jr. and Prudencio Reyes of DTI,  and President/CEO  Atty. Arnel Casanova of Bases Conversion and Development Authority.  Friends from Clean Air Asia, WWF, Greenpeace, and University of the Philippines as well as businessmen wSAM_7117ho believed in the vision were also present to show their support.  Performing for the event were  El Gamma Penumbra,  the newly-crowned winners of Asia’s Got Talent.SAM_7113

BEMAC Electric Transportation Phil. Inc. opened in March 13, 2013 introducing its AC-motor and lithium-ion powered electric tricycle.  The Japanese company, with the world’s top share and almost 70 years of experience in producing electrical and electronic products for large-scale vessels worldwide with more than 1,500 employees in Japan, China, Vietnam, and Singapore, has been conducting Research and Development on EVs for the last 16 years.   Major elements of the vSAM_7109ehicle like the chassis and vehicle control unit  (VCU) are proprietary and have been developed in-house.

SAM_7096The arrival of BEMAC 68VM  marks the beginning of an era for quality electric vehicles with equally reliable after-sales service and technical support.  Each three-wheeled EV assembled in the Philippines is a testament of the passion BEMAC takes in its product and skills.  With the capacity to produce a minimum of 500 units per month, BEMAC can easily meet the Philippines EV demands.  For more information regarding the units, visit www.bemac-beet.com or email at info@bemac-beet.com.

Don’t Let Income Opportunity Swim Away, Ornamental Fish Farm It

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Freshwater Fish

Freshwater species make up 85% of all traded ornamental fish. Shown are farmed angelfish, swordtails, platies, tetras, gouramis and barbs. Unlike marine species, freshwater fish are easy to breed, with billions produced in farms across Asia. Singapore supplies 25% of global trade. The Philippines has yet to enter the arena.

Press Update:

Fishkeeping. Part art, part science. The world’s most popular hobby after photography.

It comes in many forms – a prized Arowana gliding languidly in the sala, goldfish tormented by a three-year old, jewel-like tetras cruising atop a lavish emerald aquascape. Globally valued at USD15 billion and growing by 14% yearly, the ornamental fish trade is aquaculture’s sunrise industry.

So why isn’t the Philippines farming ornamental fish?

Guppy Fish by Wikia

Fancy guppies (Poecilla reticulata) are called ‘millions fish’ because they are efficient breeders, releasing up to 100 fry every few months. Guppies range in price from PHP20 to PHP500, depending on size, color and finnage.

250 Times the Price of Tilapia

Practically all Pinoy fish farms grow food fish like tilapia or bangus.

Among aquaculture’s biggest hurdles is the prohibitive price of commercial feeds, which can be mitigated by farming high-value fish. While tilapia retails for PHP80 per kilo, ornamental fish can be sold for PHP20,000 per kilo. Gram for gram, they eat about the same amount of food.

Due to waning stocks, only 10% of ornamental freshwater fish are wild-caught – bold cichlids from the Great African Rift Lakes, striped angelfish from peat-filled Amazonia and so on. The rest are bred by the billions in ponds, pools and tanks. Two-thirds come from Asia, with Singapore supplying 25% of global demand.

The Philippines – a country blessed with vast freshwater resources, a tropical climate, talented labor, plus relatively serviceable air and seaports – is lagging behind its Asian neighbors. Though it exports wild marine fish, it doesn’t export ornamental freshwater fish due to erratic production. Hopefully, this will change soon.

Clown rasboras (Rasbora kalochroma) which retail for PHP100 apiece, are the stars of this aquascape by legendary Japanese aquarist Takeshi Amano. Globally valued at USD15 billion and continuously growing, fishkeeping is the world’s most popular hobby after photography.

Clown rasboras (Rasbora kalochroma) which retail for PHP100 apiece, are the stars of this aquascape by legendary Japanese aquarist Takeshi Amano. Globally valued at USD15 billion and continuously growing, fishkeeping is the world’s most popular hobby after photography.

Tremendous Profit

“There’s incredible potential for the Philippines to become a leading ornamental fish exporter. Our climate is perfect because we don’t have snow or extreme cold weather. Fish can breed all year round,” explains Aqua Design Amano President Justin Uy. “Our expertise at raising tilapia or bangus can be applied to breed tropical fish. This will reap larger profits for our hardworking farmers.”

Whereas the investment and risk for traditional aquaculture is sizeable, breeding and rearing ornamental freshwater fish like guppies, goldfish and koi can be done either on a commercial scale or as a cottage industry. Minimal investments like small ponds or aquaria make it ideal for households looking to augment income. “Two of my Auratus (a small cichlid similar to tilapia) produced 25 fry three months ago. If I sell all of them at PHP100, I’ll earn PHP2500 – equivalent to 31 kilos of tilapia!” shares hobbyist Joey Rosal.

Done on a commercial scale and provided that fish are export-grade, profits can clearly be tremendous.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is promoting ornamental fish farms, providing free brood-stock, feeds and training for interested farmers. “We’re paving the way for this relatively new industry,” says BFAR Region 4A Center Chief Lea Villanueva. “If other Asian nations can do it, so can the Philippines.”

Dozens of armored janitorfish (Pterygoplichthys spp.) crowd around a canal discharge in Morong, Rizal. By design or accident, 48 invasive freshwater fish species now inhabit Philippine waterways.

Dozens of armored janitorfish (Pterygoplichthys spp.) crowd around a canal discharge in Morong, Rizal. By design or accident, 48 invasive freshwater fish species now inhabit Philippine waterways.

Watch Out for Invasive Species

Ornamental fish farming must be done very carefully, owing to the risk of farming foreign species. Almost 50 invasive fish species now inhabit Philippine waterways. Armored janitor fish were introduced by well-meaning aquarists. Voracious knifefish now prey on Laguna Lake’s indigenous species. Guppies imported a century ago to combat malaria are now omnipresent. Invasive fish can overpower native species, so special care must be taken to ensure foreign populations never take hold.

Aquaculture can also leach out nutrients to waterways to spur algal blooms. Particulate or dissolved materials – rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon, fuel planktonic explosions which rob water of oxygen, extinguishing life.

But countries which have done it successfully are reaping the rewards. Malaysia’s trade was valued at PHP620 million in 1995, while Thailand’s exports rake in PHP2.2 billion yearly.

Gregg Yan for Best Alternatives Campaign

Gregg Yan for Best Alternatives Campaign

Properly honed, the Philippine ornamental freshwater fish trade can spur rural development and improve Filipino lives. The Best Alternatives Campaign, a movement which promotes sustainable alternatives to dwindling seafood, marine fish and curio products, encourages the responsible development of ornamental fish farms.

Finding Nemo said it best: Fish are friends, not just food.

With strong public and private sector support, the Philippines might finally export world-class fish and enter the global ornamental fish arena – with fins flared, of course.

WWF Lauds Secretary Petilla for Opening Doors to Renewable Energy

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11-SPETILLA_latestPress Statement:

Investments in Renewable Energy (RE) have now become more feasible under the term of Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, says clean energy advocate World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines).

At present, clean and renewable energy sources like wind farms, solar plants and geothermal facilities supply just 30% of the country’s power needs. In 2012, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system to attract new investors. FiT is a fixed rate for electricity generated by designated RE generators, held constant for 20 years, making it safe to invest in RE.

Under Petilla’s term, RE incentives paved the way for 500MW of solar investments, both for households and commercial providers. DOE has also enabled the development of 425MW of wind power by mid-2015, making the Philippines the wind powerhouse of Southeast Asia. New directives to fast track RE contracts have dramatically cut processing time from two years to 45 days.

“WWF lauds Secretary Petilla for recognizing the importance of clean, indigenous and renewable energy to augment our country’s power mix,” says WWF-Philippines President & CEO Joel Palma, “More and more investors are fuelling the shift to RE. With strong government support, the Philippines might just become Asia’s renewable energy capital.”