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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, May 20, 2020
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Bacolod gets 2nd
biosafe swab mobile

Bacolod City now has two bio-safe Swab Mobiles – both made in Bacolod and donated by business organizations.

The second one was turned over by BioPower Group and its project sponsor ThomasLloyd Group to Mayor Evelio Leonardia at rites at the Bacolod City Government Center yesterday, a press release said.

The first one – also the first bio-safe Swab Mobile in the country – was turned over to the city by the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BFCCI) May 7.

ThomasLloyd is a European investment firm that is a shareholder of the BioPower Group, which is led by its president Arthur Aguilar.

Last year, the BioPower Group completed three biomass power plants fueled by sugarcane field residues in Negros island with a combined capacity of 70 megawatts and total investments of P16 billion. These are the San Carlos BioPower, South Negros BioPower in La Carlota City, and North Negros BioPower in Manapla town.

Dave Mamuyac, senior manager of BioPower Group, said, “This is our humble contribution to Bacolod, in our effort to combat COVID-19.”

“Instead of having the people crowd the clinic or the hospital to get tested, we bring the facility to them, that way, we’re preventing the spread of the virus, and at the same time, our front-liners and medical staff are being protected all the while”, he said.

Leonardia thanked BioPower for sharing their blessings to Bacolod. He also highlighted the team work of city officials in the fight against the virus.

“This is all because of team play. I would like to say, here in Bacolod City, particularly in our government, I work together with our city officials. Probably that is one factor, at the very least, that we are at a level so far that our problems are still manageable up to this point in time”, he said

Project initiator and mayor’s daughter Loren Kara Leonardia shared that at first, she was just trying to do one unit of swab mobile, and then BioPower Group offered to donate the second one.

“This is in line with what we’re hoping to have, which is a bio-lab, and we’re trying our best to move forward by getting testing done better,” she said, as she thanked the donors of the swab mobiles.

Kara initiated the project in partnership with Engineer Rane Joseph Saril and his son Pierce Allesandro, who provided the technical expertise to create it. Engineer Rommel Carisma did the engineering drawings, the press release said.

The mayor’s daughter said their first swab mobile had started to collect samples from front-liners at health centers and quarantined OFWs since the second week of May.

“The second swab mobile will be operational once it has been disinfected. It will dispatch whenever the City Health Office deems necessary,” she added.*

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San Carlos completes SAP distribution

Distribution of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) fund to its beneficiaries in San Carlos, through the City Social Welfare Development Office, has been completed.

City Social Welfare Officer Cynthia Mirande said 19,203 households or 99.77 percent of the beneficiaries in 18 barangays of the city have received the P6,000 cash aid amounting to P115, 218,000 as of May 12.

Mirande explained that out of the 19,248 target beneficiaries for the P115, 488,000 funds from the national government, 19,203 have qualified after screening and thorough investigation.

She said that several recipients were taken out from the list due to discrepancies in the documents. Some were asked to return the money for lying about their financial status or were inappropriately listed.

The 45 recipients who were taken out of the list will be replaced with those identified and clearly verified residents deserving of the SAP aid, Mirande said.

She added that they have yet to receive data from the regional office for the distribution of the second tranche.

While she acknowledged that the social amelioration grant has significantly helped the beneficiaries in coping with the effects of the COVID-19, Mirande hopes that the SAP guidelines are modified for people to better understand the screening and qualification procedure.

She added that their office is doing its best to distribute the cash aid accordingly despite several issues raised such as insufficient data from identified beneficiaries, lack of manpower during validation of recipients, negative feedbacks and misinformation in social media, and even threats from aggressive residents who wanted to be included in the list.*

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Celebrating Biological,
Cultural Diversity

The global community will observe International Day for Biological Diversity on Friday.

The celebration is focused on the theme, “Our Solutions Are in Nature”.

Environmental experts say that biodiversity loss is a loss for humanity.

Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms.

But it also includes genetic differences within each species — for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock — and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kind of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations.

Fish provide 20 percent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant ‐ based medicines for basic healthcare.

But loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses - diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.

Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.

The United Nations said that a the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few.

The theme “Our solutions are in nature” emphasizes hope, solidarity and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.


Another related UN-led observance is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development tomorrow.

UN said three-fourths the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension.

The event aims at bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.

At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

The day provides people with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted on Oct. 20, 2005.*UN

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People & Events
San Carlos completes SAP distribution
Celebrating Biological, Cultural Diversity

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