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Pilipinas Kontra Gutom helps lower hunger incidence in the country

Pilipinas Kontra Gutom is a multi-sectoral movement of Task Force Zero Hunger with the public sector and 80 partner members from private corporations and non-government organizations working hand in hand to address the country’s concerns on involuntary hunger – food production and distribution, malnutrition, food surplus and immediate food needed during times of disasters.

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More than a year after its launch in November 2020, Pilipinas Kontra Gutom (PKG) partners share  milestones towards the movement’s goal of less hungry Filipinos.

Pilipinas Kontra Gutom is a multi-sectoral movement of Task Force Zero Hunger with the public sector and 80 partner members from private corporations and non-government organizations working hand in hand to address the country’s concerns on involuntary hunger – food production and distribution, malnutrition, food surplus and immediate food needed during times of disasters.

Four-Fold Mission

Divide and conquer is one of the guiding principles of the movement. Multi-sectoral working groups were set up targeting specific beneficiaries and focused on different priorities toward achieving zero hunger in the country.

First priority is food availability and accessibility with the vision to elevate farming as a dignified, sustainable profession among smallholder farmers and other food producers. The goal is to increase farmer income by as much as 20% in the first year and double productivity by 2025. Key programs include the expansion of value chain projects by partner companies through capacity building and logistics improvement in the farm-to-consumer process.   

Second is the nutrition adequacy goal. The group is eyeing zero undernourished Filipino children across all households by 2030. The key program to drive this objective involves a sustainable, nutrition education program for pregnant mothers that guides them during the first 1000 days of a child and teaches them how to build a healthy food culture at home through nutritious, delicious yet budget-friendly recipes for the family. 

Food assistance and security during disasters is the third priority of the movement. A strengthened and synchronized public and private sectors’ disaster response initiatives during disasters to ensure efficient food distribution is the end in mind. 

Food banking is the landmark project for availability and assistance which is the fourth priority. The aim is to establish an effective food banking system in Metro Manila that will help supply and ensure a sustainable flow of food to communities in need. 

Milestones

On food availability and accessibility, 4,000 farmers and agripreneurs have been assisted through programs such as Nestle and GIZ’s Project Coffee+, TESDA-Nestle’s Coffee Farmer Scholarship Program, Cargil’s Yellow Corn Project with Aboitiz, Cargill, Bayer, Pilmico, Vitarich, Save the Children and PPSA, and Learning Series led by Jollibee Group Foundation with Harbest and PPSA.  These initiatives have benefitted communities in Cagayan, Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat and CAR, and helped enable local growers with capacity building, best practices on value chain, and income growth assistance. For the Corn Project alone, improved production and resiliency resulted in corn farmers increasing income by at least 10%. For Project Coffee+, the average yield of 1,500 coffee farmers has doubled and the average income has tripled.

Another program that helps with food availability and accessibility is Feed Back, a community-based vegetable exchange, that helps solve hunger in just 5 weeks. It creates a path for families to source food from their backyards, exchange excess produce with their neighbors, and sell to their own community, nearby villages and towns.  The program paves way to new entrepreneurs and new local, regenerative and equitable food systems. To date, 11 communities have graduated from Feed Back and 26 communities are currently starting or implementing it. Community partnerships grew by 5x and span 7 provinces. In the 37 communities, ARK Feed Back is helping a total of 9,785 families and transforming 43,742 lives.

On nutrition adequacy, Kain Tayo Pilipinas, a public-facing campaign, had been launched last July 2021 to promote public awareness of the issue of malnutrition and drive participation in the advocacy through donations. The campaign raised a total amount of PHP 1.5 million to date from individual public donors and corporate donations from Fluor, Greenbulb Communications, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Publicis Groupe, Teleperformance and Unilever. More than P25 million worth of media values were also given by ABS-CBN, GMA and Facebook for the campaign. Details of the campaign can be found at kaintayopilipinas.com. The donations will be used to fund the roll-out of the First 1000 days nutrition education program in hotspot areas under the adequacy goal. 

On-ground partners World Food Programme, Gawad Kalinga, Kabisig ng Kalahi, Rise Against Hunger, Project Pearls, ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA Foundation, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Nutrition Council of the Philippines have all been trained on the First 1000 days nutrition education materials and how to cascade to their beneficiaries.

In the area of assistance during times of crisis, the group collaborates with local and national organizations, corporations, civil society groups and local government units to execute efforts for the victims of calamities, and pre-evacuation for typhoon affected families.

In November 2020, PKG founding members – Coca-Cola, Dole Philippines, Johnson & Johnson Philippines, McDonald’s, Metrobank and San Miguel, initially pledged 100,000 meals for identified communities in NCR and key priority areas. To date, 110, 765 meals have been distributed.

A Mobile Kitchen was set up in Eastern Visayas to provide nutritious meals to 1,000 children for a month-long period. As of today, a total of 27,000 meals were already distributed. Communities in Jipapad, Hirnani and San Julian, Eastern Samar were covered by this initiative.

In addition, Kain Tayo sa Pasko Hot Meals donation drive which ran from November 2021 to February 2022 was able to provide 1,900 noche buena packages, 11,230 meals, 132,076 assorted items (milk, chocolates, peanut butter, sinigang mixes), and 28,992 canned goods have been distributed to beneficiaries. These areas include NCR, Cebu, Davao, Dinagat Islands, Ifugao, Iloilo, Pampanga, Siargao, and Surigao.

Meanwhile, 63,600 meals and 11,714 food packs were served in affected areas in Visayas and Mindanao for Typhoon Odette efforts. Agusan Del Norte, Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao and Siargao are the areas reached by the Typhoon Odette efforts.

These were made possible through the contributions of Century Pacific, Coca-Cola, Dole Philippines, Gawad Kalinga, Johnson & Johnson, Jollibee Group Foundation, Manila Water Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, Mondelez, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, RFM, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Miguel Corporation, Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, Tanging Yaman Foundation and Unilever.

On availability of food surplus and repurposing it through assistance, a food bank portal has been set up by this team where companies and groups can key in their food surplus to be distributed via the Assistance workstream. Through the collaboration of DOLE, Grab, San Miguel Corporation, URC, Scaling Up Nutrition and Supply Chain Management Association of the Phils., the goal is to establish an effective food banking system that will help supply and sustain food to communities in need. 

Lahat kasali, lahat kasalo.

To date, the movement has reached more than 450,000 Filipinos across its four-fold mission where incidences of hunger and malnutrition are high. 

In a recent PKG gathering, Task Force Zero Hunger Chair, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles shared that the hunger incidence in the country has improved. “The Philippines also improved its ranking in the 2021 Global Hunger Index. The Philippines ranked 68th out of 116 countries. With a score of 16.8, we have a level of hunger that is moderate. This is a notch higher than in the 2020 GHI when we ranked 69th with a score of 19.0,” shared Chair Nograles. 

PKG invites every Filipino to help. Lahat kasali, lahat kasalo. Individuals may visit kaintayopilipinas.com for details and private corporations, non-profit organizations and groups who would like to be part of the movement may send an email to pkg@ph.mcd.com.

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Clorox PH partners with PAL to help enhance travelers’ health, safety

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines.

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As health and safety became a top concern amid the pandemic, especially for travelers, Clorox Philippines, one of the country’s leading providers of cleaning and disinfecting products, collaborated with the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). 

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines. PAL received Clorox Expert Disinfectant Sprays, Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes canisters, Clorox Clean-Up All-Purpose Cleaner, and Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaners to disinfect its vital facilities and amenities. 

“The health and safety of our passengers are our top priorities. We are pleased to have partnered with Clorox Philippines, which shares our values in upholding the safety and welfare of consumers. As more people go back to flying, our partnership is significant and timely,” said Ria Carrion-Domingo, Vice President for Marketing at PAL. 

Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes were also given to PAL’s arriving international and domestic passengers and customers of ticket offices nationwide from December 31, 2021, to March 2022, catering to almost 22,000 travelers. 

“We are always committed to making the lives of every Filipino better each day with our Clorox products amid these uncertain times. And with our collaboration with PAL, we are happy that we can assist in making their travelers safe,” said Monique Gonzales, Marketing Manager for Southeast Asia at Clorox International. 

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Medical Depot expands from north to south of the country

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025.

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With the desire to continue serving more and more Filipinos with quality medical products, Medical Depot grew its total number of strategic branches from 24 stores in 2021 to 38 stores year to date and expanded its geographic footprint to cover 34 cities within Luzon. The company is also expected to establish its presence in the Southern part of the country towards the end of the year. 

Medical Depot started its humble beginnings in 1991 with just 1 branch located in Bambang, Manila and with only three sales personnel. It grew steadily after a few years. Having the vision to further reach more Filipinos, an extensive expansion plan was launched in the first quarter of last year. Since then, the company has been growing at a 50% rate in new branches and has positioned it to be able to serve more localities and increasing the number of total families that can be serviced from hospitals to patients. 

“It has always been our mission to bring quality medical products to our countrymen and to ensure that we are able to service the increasing medical needs of Filipino families in various communities. Our expansion plan that we rolled out is a testament to this mission and we’re glad that we’re on track to open our 40th store by this June,” states Rudy Medina, Chairman of Medical Depot. 

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025. This further fuels the growth trajectory of the company and will support its plan to open its first ever operating and production hub in Mindanao with that will bring its thousands of quality medical products to the southern parts of the country.

In addition to the expanded locations, Medical Depot is also investing in research and development to increase its available items from 5,000 to 10,000 different products and supplies that will cater to various medical demands.

“Medical Depot’s legacy is really about helping the country by addressing the medical needs of our fellowmen with reasonably priced, top-quality medical products. Our efforts to reach more Filipinos by opening new strategic branches across the country in the last 6 months and working to open our hub in the Mindanao region speaks for this and this is truly a milestone for the company,” shares Baby Medina, Vice Chairman of Medical Depot.

The road to success for Medical Depot may not have been a smooth ride but with its constant commitment and care for the medical needs of the Filipinos, the company is on track to continue to succeed by serving the communities through quality medical supplies.

To learn more about Medical Depot and, visit https://medicaldepot.com.ph/ or their Facebook page for updates.

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How to get the best wedding photos ever

Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck from Unsplash.com

According to The New York Times, 2022 will be the biggest year for the wedding industry since 1984. After two years of delays and cancellations, everyone is going to the proverbial chapel to tie the knot. One of the most important elements for many couples are the photos and videos, preserving this special moment forever.

“In the end, having tangible memories you’ll cherish for years to come is a better investment than party favors or fancy table linen,” said Rachel LaCour Niesen, Head of Market Intelligence

A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, LaCour Niesen forged a career as a professional wedding photographer and photojournalist where she developed the first CRM for pro photographers. While still continuing her passion in professional photography, LaCour Niesen also serves as Head of Market Intelligence at ShootProof, a platform used by 300,000 photographers to share, deliver, print, & sell their photos. Just in the last year, Shootproof managed wedding galleries received 2.8 million visits per month – and that number is anticipated to grow in 2022. 

Her advice when shopping for a wedding photographer? “Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.”

For one of the most important days in someone’s life, Rachel has a few “dos” before you say “I Do”

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. “Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to curate a list of prospective photographers and videographers.” says Rachel. “After all, your friends and family know you better than anyone else.”
  • Spend time viewing their online portfolios. According to Rachel, “a lot of people can take a few great photos or videos. To tell a more complete “story” of a wedding celebration requires more skill, patience, and thoroughness.”
  • Look closely to see if the photographers and videographers you are interested in have shot weddings in many types of lighting conditions. “It’s pretty easy to capture stunning photos outdoors during “golden hour,” around sunset,” Rachel remarked. “But it’s much, much harder to capture stunning photos in a dimly-lit event space like a hotel ballroom or dance club.”
  • Ask whether photo products are included in their booking fee and/or package price. “To me, every couple should end up having a wedding album or book–a tangible one, not just an online slideshow,” Rachel said. “I still have copies of my grandparent’s wedding photos hanging in my home. They inspire me and bring back so many memories of our family stories. Plus my son is now curious to hear about his great grandparents too and I can point right to those photos and use them to spark conversation.”

Wedding photography does not just document the union itself, but all the family members and friends who came together to celebrate. “Sometimes, the most cherished photo is not that ‘kiss the bride’ moment but that last family image with a beloved grandparent. Weddings are those precious occasions where people rally together in a grand act of joy.”

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