2 Asian Communication Icons Win AMIC Awards

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Two Asian communication icons—a theorist and a practitioner—will be given one of the highest honors in the field of communication in Asia by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) on Sept. 27 at Miriam College, Quezon City.

Shelton Dhavalasri Gunaratne, a former Sri Lankan journalist who is now professor emeritus of Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), will receive the AMIC Asia Communication Award for 2016 in recognition of his “ground-breaking scholarship and intellectual contribution to Asian media and communication research.”

Gunaratne

Wijayananda Jayaweera, a Sri Lankan broadcaster who spent a lifetime developing broadcasting in Asia up to the end of his distinguished career as UNESCO Director of Communication and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), will be given the AMIC Asia Communication Award for 2017 in the field of institution Jayaweera

building.

The awards will be handed out at the 25th AMIC Annual International Conference Sept. 27-29 at Miriam College, Quezon City. Over 400 foreign and local communication scholars, educators, researchers, practitioners and students have registered for the conference.

About the Conference

This is the first time the annual conference is being held in the Philippines since AMIC’s transfer from Singapore to the Philippines in 2015.

Themed “Rethinking Communication in a Resurgent Asia," the conference includes sessions on Asian Communication Paradigms and Theories; Asian Philosophy, Religion, and Communication; Freedom of Expression in a Post-Truth Era; Communication and Culture; Communication Education and Training; Political Communication in Traditional and Online Platforms; Media and Information Literacy; and Children and Gender Issues in Communication.
“The theme forces us to question the seeming dominance of Western philosophies and paradigms in communication media in the Asia-Pacific. The event hopes to provide a platform for reasserting the pioneering contributions of Asians in communication as well as examine the impact of Asian philosophies and religions on communication paradigms, strategies, and practices, said Crispin C. Maslog, AMIC Board of Directors Chairperson.

Some “legends” and experts in communication and journalism education in Asia Pacific have confirmed their participation. Among them are John Lent, Shelton Gunaratne, Ronny Adhikarya, Ang Peng Hwa, Cherian George, Arun Mahizhnan, and Peixin Cao. They will be joined by Filipino communication scholars including AMIC Chairperson Crispin C. Maslog and Florangel Rosario-Braid.

About Gunaratne, communication theorist, 2016 Awardee

Shelton Gunaratne started his distinguished career as a journalist in Sri Lanka and went on to conquer new journalistic worlds in Malaysia, Australia and the United States. Go West, young man, he was told. He did, like many other Asian communication scholars of his generation, and eventually became the first Sri Lankan to receive a doctorate in mass communication from the United States in 1972.

He did come back to his roots briefly, to conduct pioneering research for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Minnesota, by studying the role of communication in rural development in Sri Lanka. The results were published by AMIC as one of its first research monographs in 1976.

He then switched to academe as a journalism educator for the next decade in Malaysia and then Australia. From there he went to the United States to teach at the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) from where he retired as professor emeritus in 2007. All throughout his teaching career in the West, he continued his love affair with Asian journalism and communication.

After 2000, Gunaratne focused his academic energies on globalizing communication/journalism studies with his attempt to merge Eastern philosophies—particularly Buddhist and Daoist phenomenology–in his seminal book, TheDao of the Press, published in 2005.

Gunaratne argues in this book that the classic Four Theories of the Press, articulated by Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm since 1956, and which had become standard textbook in communication and society courses in Asia as in the rest of the Western world since then, was based on Eurocentric history, theory and practice.

Gunaratne said he wrote the Dao of the Press as an attempt to de-Westernize communication theory. This new book interprets press theory from the perspective of Eastern philosophy—particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism and Confucianism. Gunaratne proposes “a more humano-centric theoretical framework that reflects the marriage of Eastern ontology with Western epistemology.”

Dr Gunaratne’s development of a humano-centric theory of press freedom presumes a world system that reflects the characteristics of a yin-yang (libertarian-authoritarian) spiral-shaped continuum. Therefore, he argues, communication theory must concede the Daoist notion of diversity within unity (varying degrees of freedom in different countries) because it describes the reality of nature.

About Jayaweera, institution builder, 2017 Awardee

In his career of about 50 years in the communication media sector—starting as a production assistant in 1969 at Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation up to his distinguished career as UNESCO Director of Communication and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)—Wijayananda Jayaweera has either initiated or introduced “revolutionary” programs that are redefining communication policies, standards, and programs.

The Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) 2017 Asia Communication Award recognizes Wijayananda Jayaweera for being an innovator in media development.

Jayaweera’s initial major contribution to media development was the establishment in 1984 of Mahaweli Community Radio, a pioneering Asian community radio project. This facilitated the relocation of nearly 60,000 families under one of the most ambitious resettlement projects implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka. Throughout his career, he has played various significant roles in institutionalizing community radio in many other countries including Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. These initiatives were under the aegis of UNESCO and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD), among others.

As an institution builder, Jayaweera led the reform process for the Paris-based International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), successfully reinvigorating it with renewed donor confidence as the main multilateral instrument to support the development of free, independent, and pluralistic media in the developing countries.

He was also instrumental in bringing safety of journalists and the issue of impunity to the Intergovernmental Council of the Press in Developing Countries (IPDC), and in making the Council a global oversight body on the issue by obliging UNESCO member-states to report on the judicial follow up of the killing of journalists in their respective territories.

During his tenure as Director, he led the crafting and introduction of Media Development Indicators, now regarded as the only set of internationally approved indicators to determine media development needs. It was also under his directorship that UNESCO set the standards for journalism education with UNESCO’s Model Journalism Curricula and criteria for instructional excellence applicable to media training institutions.

Among his other significant initiatives is Media and Information Literacy (MIL), now a major pillar of UNESCO Media Development Programmes. In this age of post-truth, hate speech, and fake news, MIL has evolved as a potent tool in empowering media users to be discerning media consumers and responsible and ethical content producers.

AMIC also acknowledges the strong partnership forged between AMIC and UNESCO during his incumbency as Regional Communication Adviser for Asia and, later, as Director of the UNESCO Communication Development Division and IPDC.

After his retirement from UNESCO in 2011, Jayaweera has remained passionate and active in promoting an enabling environment for free, independent, and pluralistic media in the Asia-Pacific and throughout the world as adviser in several communication programmes and projects.

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Statement on National Day of Protest

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Today, as declared National Day of Protest, is a grim reminder of the horrors of Martial Law.

Those harrowing years of abuses and violence inflicted on civilians, activists, and media would go down in history as one of our nation's worst periods.

How these have shaped our quest for democracy and freedom - and their restoration - are narratives worth telling and re-telling today and for generations to come.

While #NeverAgain is a mantra and a verbal protest through the years, we enjoin the public in keeping our democratic instutions in check by speaking to power if and when necessary and calling out abuses.

 

Photo Credit: Reuters

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PPI Board in Kapihan, re-affirms ‘no to fake news’

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Coming at the heels of its scholastic press seminar-series on "Let's Get Real on Fake News", the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) sat in the panel at Tapatan sa Aristocrat, a regular Monday Kapihan organized by seasoned journalist Melo Acuna. PPI chairman-president Alfonso Gomez Pedrochejoined other panelists Prof. Danilo Arao of the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Mass Communication, Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files, and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in the forum on "Fake News, Media Trends and Media Ownership" moderated by Acuna and Sky Ortigas.

The PPI is exploring a 'partnership' with Acuna for some topics it can recommend for his Kapihan.

The scholastic press program is being supported by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC). The last two remaining legs this year will be held in the cities of Bacolod and Dumaguete.

This was followed by the PPI Board's regular meeting. Discussed were the organization's training programs and partnerships.

(Photos by Ariel C. Sebellino)

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No to Fake News

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NO TO FAKE NEWS. Criminology students do the thumb-down sign at the scholastic outreach program on "Let's Get Real on Fake News" at the Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog City. They were among the 240 participants from 6 schools who attended the seminar organized by the Philippine Press Institite (PPI) with support from Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC). The final legs will be held in Bacolod and Dumaguete. (Photos by Kier Labrador of PPI)

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Ten conservation advocates receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were recognized in an award ceremony in Manila, Philippines. (left to right) H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva; Mr. Eyad Samhan (Brunei Darussalam); Mr. Sophea Chhin (Cambodia); Mr. Alex Waisimon (Indonesia); Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham (Lao PDR); Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Malaysia); Dr. Maung Maung Kyi (Myanmar); Dr. Angel Alcala (Philippines); Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin (Singapore); Dr. Nonn Panitvong (Thailand); and Prof. Dang Huy Huynh (Viet Nam).
The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were recognized in an award ceremony in Manila, Philippines. (left to right) H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva; Mr. Eyad Samhan (Brunei Darussalam); Mr. Sophea Chhin (Cambodia); Mr. Alex Waisimon (Indonesia); Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham (Lao PDR); Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Malaysia); Dr. Maung Maung Kyi (Myanmar); Dr. Angel Alcala (Philippines); Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin (Singapore); Dr. Nonn Panitvong (Thailand); and Prof. Dang Huy Huynh (Viet Nam).

Ten biodiversity conservation advocates representing the grassroots, government, academic, and business sectors received the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award at a ceremony held in Manila, Philippines on 07 August 2017. The inaugural award forms part of the celebration of ASEAN’s Golden Anniversary.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is a program designed to recognize outstanding individuals from the ASEAN region who have contributed significantly to biodiversity conservation and advocacy efforts in their respective countries.

From an indigenous community leader who is protecting Papua’s forest to a national scientist who is championing coastal resources management, the inaugural ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes honors inspirational and valiant individuals who have risen to the challenge of helping curb biodiversity loss. Each of the heroes, in their own different ways, have made significant impact on biodiversity conservation in their respective communities, countries, and the region.

The 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are:

1. Mr. Eyad Samhan, Former Field Supervisor, Tasek Merimbun, Brunei Darussalam
For significant contributions to research on fauna and flora in Brunei and in the region

2. Mr. Sophea Chhin, Government Official, Department of Biodiversity, Cambodia
For sparking interest in wildlife research among Cambodians

3. Mr. Alex Waisimon, Conservation worker, Indonesia
For protecting Papua’s forests for future generations

4. Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham, President, Union Development Agricole Import-Export Public Company (UDA Farm), Lao PDR
For promoting environment-friendly agricultural production and protecting migratory species

5. Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Malaysia
For making a lasting impact on analysis and assessment of global biodiversity and ecosystem services

6. Dr. Maung Maung Kyi, Chairman, Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association, Myanmar
For effectively promoting community participation to conserve various habitats

7. Dr. Angel C. Alcala, Professor Emeritus, Silliman University, National Scientist, Philippines
For championing coastal resource management and terrestrial biodiversity conservation

8. Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin, Professorial Fellow and Director (Special Projects), Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore
For championing biodiversity outreach and education

9. Dr. Nonn Panitvong, Founder and Webmaster of Thailand Biodiversity Conservation Group, Director, NakornPhet Sugar Limited and other companies
For raising public awareness of biodiversity through taxonomy

10. Prof. Dang Huy Huynh, Vice Chair, Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment
For fostering the exchange of knowledge and solutions to conserve Viet Nam’s biodiversity

“At the heart of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025 is the commitment to lift the quality of life of its peoples through cooperative activities that are people oriented, people-centered, environmentally friendly, and geared towards the promotion of sustainable development. Today is a celebration – where we rejoice the achievement and recognition of these ten remarkable individuals. It is also a celebration for the peoples of ASEAN. The Heroes will bring to the peoples of ASEAN a better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity and underpin the willingness of individuals to make real changes and actions that will bring about a more sustainable future for all of us,” said H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva said, “We are honoring 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes who have dedicated their lives for the cause of biodiversity conservation. Under great sacrifice to themselves and their families, they have shown tenacity, perseverance and focus to protect our web of life. Our heroes have shown us clearly what love for self, what love for children and grandchildren and what love for one’s country is. It is embracing the cause of biodiversity conservation. ASEAN biodiversity which is the region’s life support system is still rich because of you,” he said. The ACB serves as awards secretariat.

Representing Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the search for the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes holds a special significance for the Philippines and the entire ASEAN region. “Without biodiversity, there will be no life, for biodiversity is life in itself. Without biodiversity in its myriad forms and inter-interdependence, we will not survive and prosper. Biodiversity feeds us, sustains healthy living, maintains a healthy and productive environment, helps nations develop and grow economically, promotes human development and well-being, and provides recreational facilities. In short, biodiversity is with us and around us, every moment, and in every breath we take,” he said.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is supported by the ASEAN Secretariat; the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs; the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project; and HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI).

Mr. Michael Bucki, EU Climate Change and Environment Counsellor to the ASEAN, expressed pride in supporting the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project. “We need a global vision and a political will at the highest level to halt biodiversity loss and I have no doubt that the ASEAN – EU partnership can reinforce that vision towards a common objective and interest. We also need biodiversity champions who are making outstanding efforts, always acting beyond their personal interest and often taking personal risks. They make a significant difference in our day to day life and more importantly they lead by example in order that each and every one can contribute ‘to make the planet great again’.”

Each ASEAN Biodiversity Hero received a cash prize worth USD 5,000, a special Heroes medal and trophy.

Apart from receiving the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award, the 10 heroes also received the Hyundai Icon for Biodiversity Award, a special prize from HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI). “HFI opens a new leg in our journey of working and caring for Man and Planet as the Philippine automotive industry’s champion for biodiversity. We have covered substantial ground in our advocacy for education in environmental stewardship, but we know we can still do more to heed Mother Nature's desperate call for help. Partnering with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity is an important step towards expanding the scope and scale of our advocacy for social and environmental sustainability. I warmly congratulate this year’s ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes. With you in the spotlight as models for everyone to emulate, we can do more in broadening the awareness about biodiversity and in creating actionable measures toward its conservation,” Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, president of HFI, said.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were selected by the ASEAN Member States. The nominating agencies considered the relevance of the nominees’ contributions to biodiversity conservation, the impact of these contributions to biodiversity conservation efforts in their respective countries and the region, the replicability of their actions, and the recognition they received in communities where they belong.

The heroes from the 10 ASEAN Member States will be known as the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region. They will be invited to speak in forums, workshops, press conferences, and other relevant events to share their experiences in conserving biodiversity with the aim of inspiring others to do the same.

To know more about the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes, log on to heroes.aseanbiodiversity.org. For questions, send an e-mail to heroes@aseanbiodiversity.org.

Notes to Editors:
For individual feature stories and photos of the 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Awardees, please visit: heroes.aseanbiodiversity.org.

Photo Credits: She Aguiba

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To launch new book on Duterte com style July 26

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“President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s speaking style can be described as very raw -- direct, unedited, no pretensions. He speaks his mind . . . how his emotions dictate him. Being open is often thought of positively; but for the President of the Philippines who is speaking to a wide audience, this poses a lot of questions . . . we often forget that our language use defines us and shapes how other people see us.”

These are the candid comments of a University of the Philippines linguistics professor, Farah C. Cunanan, Ph. D. Cunanan’s analysis of President Duterte’s controversial communication style is one of many included in a new book, Deconstruct to Understand: Why President Duterte Speaks His Way. Edited by Crispin C. Maslog, the book is being launched July 26 in time for Duterte’s one year anniversary in office at the Roundtable@Lido hosted by Mel Acuna.

The book is based on the output of a major National Communication Conference hosted by The Asia Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) Nov. 25 last year on the theme: “Deconstructing Toward Understanding: The Communication Content and Style of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.” AMIC is headed by Secretary-General Ramon G. Tuazon.

Eight communication specialists talked on the topic during a one-day conference that brought together about 200 communication professionals to dialogue on the communication style of Duterte.

The book includes the brief papers of the communication experts and is an attempt at a balanced analysis of the Presidential communication style, which is controversial to say the least.

The book includes an essay by Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella which explains what drives President Dutertete. “By listening to what he says, one can reconstruct a consistent narrative. . . He was a reluctant candidate but ran because certain crucial national issues were not being addressed--the Mindanao peace situation, the pandemic illegal drug trade, corruption, poverty.”

On the other extreme, this criticism by National Artist and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Francisco Sionil Jose: “The President does not realize that his greatest enemy is his own self, his mouth, because he thinks he knows all the answers. This differentiates him from Ramon Magsaysay, who . . . surrounded himself with the best minds . . . Whenever Magsaysay realized that he made a mistake, he corrected himself immediately. “

On the other hand, Presidential Communications Coordinating Office Director Martin Andanar justifies the personality of his boss: He talks of a Public Duterte—“the tough-talking mayor of Davao who forged order out of chaos, the man who rides a big bike and swears like a sailor . . . and Private Rody--a mellow fellow, an introvert pushed to the brightest stage of the land, a kindly and unassuming man driven by empathy, and a romantic visionary . . . Private Rody is the man who went to his parents’ grave after winning the election, there to weep.”
Inquirer digital edition editor John Nery raises a key question: Does President Duterte listen? “We don’t know. The former archbishop of Davao, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, thinks that Mr. Duterte’s seeming inability to take advice or criticism is precisely the problem. . . If he can only listen … listen to other people. Last week, I heard an ambassador summarize an overview of the national situation through a plaintive question: Is there anyone the President listens to?”

Deconstruct to Understand is an attempt by the editor and the authors in the book to deconstruct Duterte’s language in order to make sense of it. Deconstruction is a method of analysis that states that a piece of writing does not have just one meaning. It shows how meaning depends on the reader.
This method of critical analysis does not mean “demolition.” In contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, deconstruction means analyzing something to discover its true significance, whether intended by its proponent or not.

The 100-page book, published by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), is available at AIJC and will be sold in Solidaridad and Metro Manila bookstores at P200 a copy. ###

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United against Fake News

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A total of 320 students, teachers, and media pactitioners from South Cotabato, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN) make the thumbs-down gesture and sign the covenant during the one-day seminar on "Let's Get Real on Fake News" held at SM GenSan Mega Trade Hall. This is the second wave of the campaign against fake news organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) supported by Nickel Asia Corporatiion (NAC) in collabiration with Mindana Media Services (MMS) under the institute's scholastic press program. Next stop for Mindanao is Dipolog City on August 18.

(PPI photos by Kier Labrador and Jazztein Jubelag.)

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NGCP, ERC denounced for deceptive maneuvers

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By: Allan M. Mediante, Exec. Vice President, Cagayan de Oro Press Club, VP PPI

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Anti-graft crusaders have denounced the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP) for alleged “deceptive transactions.

The convenors of the Crusade for Clean Government have asked no less than President Rodrigo Duterte to do something, and also wrote the Senate and Lower House to investigate NGCP and ERC to find ways to stop NGCP from collecting billions of pesos in transmission charges on the Malita-Matanao 230 KV Line project.

“We are appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to take action against the illegal and deceptive maneuvers by NGCP in collusion with ERC to earn money to the detriment of the Mindanao power consumers,” said Mr. Nestor Abejuela, a former official of the Misamis Oriental Electric Supply Cooperative (MORESCO-I).

“If we will be made to pay an anomalous transmission charge for a Connection Asset deceptively filed as a Transmission asset in the “Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project, this is an injustice and we are urging for a Senate Investigation,” Dr. Manuel V. Jaudian, criminologist and Dean of the College of Criminology of the Phinma Education Network, and former President of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club.

“The “ERC approval should not have been done in the first place,” said Ruffy T. Magbanua, former NGCP Spokesperson and CSR Specialist for Mindanao until 2010, and Lead Convenor of CRUSADE FOR CLEAN GOVERNMENT and Chairman of Movement for Blackout-free Mindanao.

“ERC’s approval is a grave abuse of discretion, because the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project was “procedurally illegal,” Magbanua who was a former NGCP spokesman, said.

Magbanua said that before the NGCP includes a development, expansion or reinforcement project to its Transmission Development Plan (TDP) prior to any rate application to the ERC, as provided under Section 9 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), it (NGCP) must conduct a thorough and detailed planning. This, should involve data analysis, technical studies, assessment and simulations for new, or for modification and expansion of existing connection to the recent configuration of NGCP Transmission system by any power facility such as Generating Plants, Loads, Transmission lines and Substations. This must be in accordance to the Grid planning and operational criteria under the Philippine Grid Code (PGC).

Thus, NGCP is required to statutorily comply with the conduct of detailed planning for the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project. Contrarily, NGCP’s corresponding rate application for this project proved otherwise, according to another complainant . He further elaborated that NGCP is required to conduct load forecast data analysis and voltage profile simulations, taking into account the appropriate sizing and capacity rating of the step-down transformer as well as to validate the veracity of the under-voltage incidence at DASURECO’s existing delivery point, in reference to the 05 September 2013 letter request of DASURECO to NGCP.

“It appears that this NGCP project is a Connection Asset but was misleadingly classified into a Transmission Asset (with the insertion of the 50 MVA step-down transformer) so that the NGCP will have a basis to collect a staggering P2.3 billion in transmission charges from the Mindanao power consumers,” Magbanua commented.

Magbanua referred to an earlier opposition of power consumers which stated: “Clearly, based on the corresponding result of NGCP’s planning analysis and voltage profile simulations, as mentioned in paragraph 2 on page 6 of the ERC Decision dated 17 November 2014 docketed as ERC Case No. 2014-060, the ERC finds the under-voltage problem at DASURECO’s existing receiving load-end station will only happen in the year 2022, which states: “Based on the result of the above simulations, the under voltage problems at the receiving end of DASURECO will only happen in the year 2022. The said problem will be mitigated by connecting DASURECO in the switchyard through the installation of the 50 MVA transformer and the associated equipment in the year 2022. This being the case, the said project could be included in the corresponding Regulatory Reset (2021-2025).”

That being the case and in observance to NGCP’s statutory mandate, NGCP should have already determined prior to the relevant rate application, based upon NGCP’s planning studies and data analysis particularly for this project component, that the under-voltage problem will be experienced by DASURECO in the year 2022. For that reason, NGCP should have excluded the 50 MVA step-down transformer in the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project. Thus, the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project will be considered as Connection Asset and should be excluded in NGCP’s amended TDP for the 3rd RP. Thus, the rate application for the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project is no longer applicable,” the earlier opposition stated.

This is pursuant, following and adhering to ERC Resolution 23 Series of 2016, whereby the said Resolution provided the delineation of Asset Boundaries, on whether it is a Transmission Asset or Connection Asset and the responsibility by the Transmission Provider (NGCP) or Generation customers to construct, install and finance such asset, respectively.

Notwithstanding, the difference in the intention when filing a rate application versus a service agreement under Section 16 and 17 of the OATS Rules, whereby a rate application, in such case if NGCP filed for a rate application, NGCP intends to recover the Capital Expenditures of a transmission asset or transmission project by collecting Power Delivery Service charge in order to commensurate with NGCP’s expected Annual Revenue requirement to be passed on to the power consumers , while a Service Agreement on the other hand, would only provide a Reimbursement Arrangement between NGCP and the Generation customer and there is no additional NGCP transmission charge and recovery of the annual revenue requirement that shall be passed on to the power consumers. Nevertheless, a service Agreement should have been filed on this particular case.

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Duterte urged to stop ERC abuses

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  • Spare Mindanao power consumers from paying P2 billion NGCP charges
  • Duterte’s earlier pronouncement to fire all ERC commissioners is in order
  • Complainants say ERC decision on Malita-Matanao 230 kV Transmission Line Project was procedurally illegal

By Allan M. Mediante, Vice President Phil Press Institute

COMPLAINANTS from Davao City, yesterday, have denounced the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for graft raps, practices and controversies and are urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to address the problem for the sake of Mindanao power consumers.

The complainants, who requested anonymity for safety reasons, cited the present controversies hounding ERC such as the 90-day suspension of Chairman Atty. Vicente B. Salazar; allegations on midnight deals with Meralco. (In a statement to media  Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate also “…expressed alarm and indignation over the reported decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the construction of a P1.7-billion transmission line for a power plant project of a subsidiary of Manila Electric Company that is under investigation for possible improprieties inimical to consumers…”) the  and other controversies.

Disallowing NGCP to collect Php 2.3 billion transmission charges from Mindanao power consumers

The Malita-Matanao 230 kV Transmission Line project was submitted for ERC resolution in July 2016. It was approved after a series of hearings. The decision was signed by ERC Chairman and Chief Executive Jose Vicente B. Salazar along with the four commissioners. ERC contended that  “The approval of the project will redound to the benefit of its consumers in terms of continuous, reliable and efficient power …”

Complainants, on the contrary, said that “ ERC’s approval is highly irregular “.. since the present NGCP’s rate application for the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project is not a Transmission Asset,  its filing is procedurally illegal since this project does not legally qualify for approval by ERC  and correspondingly, the said project should have been immediately excluded in the NGCP’s amended Transmission Development Plan.  It should be carved out from its Regulated Asset Base for the 3rd Regulatory Period in order not to allow NGCP from collecting of Two Billion Three Hundred Ten Million Two Hundred Eighty Five Thousand Sixty Pesos and 43/100 (Php 2,310, 285,060.43) in unwarranted transmission charges     as part of NGCP’s recovery of the annual revenue requirement payable by the Mindanao power consumers.”

Procedurally illegal           

“Very clearly, in the instant application of the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project, NGCP deceptively included one (1) of the project component, the 50 MVA step-down transformer, on the basis of Davao Del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DASURECO) request for new delivery point due to under-voltage occurrences, in order to classify the Malita – Matanao 230 kV Transmission line project as Transmission Asset.  Otherwise, the non-inclusion of the 50 MVA step-down transformer would classify the project as a Connection Asset . Consequently, the non-inclusion of the 50 MVA step-down transformer on the basis of providing a new delivery point for DASURECO was corroborated in paragraph 2 on page 6 of the Decision of the Honorable Commission dated 17 November 2014, which provides that based on the corresponding result of NGCP’s planning analysis and voltage profile simulations, as mentioned, the Honorable Commission finds the under-voltage problem at DASURECO’s existing receiving load-end station will only happen in the year 2022…” the complainants alleged.  The said problem will be mitigated by connecting DASURECO in the switchyard through the installation of the 50 MVA transformer and the associated equipment in the year 2022. This being the case, the said project could be included in the corresponding Regulatory Reset (2021-2025)”, they added.

“Furthermore, the Honorable Commission under item a on page 8 of the same Decision has determined and classified the said project as Connection Asset and not a Transmission Asset. Therefore, a Joint Application of a Service Agreement entered and executed by NGCP and San Miguel Consolidated Power Corporation (SMCPC) should have been filed instead of this present rate application,” the complainants said.

Dismiss the ERC commissioners

In the May 4, 2017 issue of Inquirer Mindanao, “… President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to remove all commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission, who were appointees of former President Benigno Aquino III. He made known his intention as he was commenting on the suspension of ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar.” “I suspended ERC chairman Salazar because of corruption.I will eventually remove him. Lahat sila (All of them),” he said.”

The complainants lauding Duterte’s pronouncement  stated thus: “It has been a year ago where majority of us Filipinos has been desperately longing, coveting and clamoring for a change and altogether and united in casting our votes in the May 2016 Elections, we will not be deprived, we will not lose hope and subsequently we have transpired and we have won the inevitable outcry for change. As a result, positive change has begun… President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has started an era adamant to a straightforward, breviloquent and unprejudiced form of leadership, principles, beliefs and discretions where grave abuse, oppression and graft practices particularly in government services is no longer tolerated and accountability is due or accorded to those who performed otherwise. The President has not warranted exception particularly to those that defy, oppose and those that continued to challenge the need for positive change determined to completely eradicate bureaucracy and graft and corruption practices in governance which had long persecuted and abused the rights of the Filipino people. …” “…the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), whose basic mandate is to ensure the adequate promotion of power consumer interests, has been implicated with graft raps, practices and controversies that resulted to the suspension of the ERC Chairperson Atty Vicente B. Salazar. In line with this, it is noteworthy that the ERC had already been involved in irregular practices even before the Chairperson’s term. Consequently, those ERC personalities should not be spared of their respective suspension for conduct unbecoming and abuse of discretion resulting to prejudice to the basic mandate for what they were appointed for which is to protect the best interest of the electric power consumers…”

(Next issue: Consumer groups to file complaint)

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Let’s heal wounds of conflict — Dureza

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ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Monday urged stakeholders to work on relationship building and healing the wounds and divisions brought about by armed conflict.

“I always say this before, and even now, I can build easily the [physical] structures destroyed by the [armed] conflict. I can also build the school buildings that were burned down. But building of the relationships, bringing back social cohesion, and mending the torn social fabric brought about the conflict takes time. The healing takes time,” Dureza said in his speech during the celebration of the country’s 119th Independence Day.

Dureza was in this city on Monday to represent President Rodrigo Duterte for the nationwide commemoration. He, along with Mayor Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, hoisted the Philippine flag and laying of the wreaths at the iconic Plaza Rizal, fronting the City Hall.

Dureza emphasized the very important process of healing amid the crisis in Marawi and the continuing recovery of Zamboanga City following the 2013's siege.

“I see here in Zamboanga, the healing process has already started. And we can see the results. This is principally due to the leadership of Mayor Beng and the city officials in cooperation with the military, police, and members of the different sector, and most especially the civilians,” the presidential adviser said.

He noted that indications show that Zamboanga “is now moving forward. The city is already building torn relationships.”

Dureza emphasized that the healing process is one of the lessons that could help the current conflict besetting in Marawi.

The rehabilitation process “is not only to rebuild damaged physical structures in Marawi, but the most important task, which is not easy to do, is building back broken relationships and healing the wounds.”

“There is a strong need for social healing…and see to it that we don’t have a continuity of this conflict,” he said.

At the same time, Dureza reiterated the need to check “hatred and deep-seated biases” to advance the cause.

“When you say, ‘I’m going to help bring about peace’. I will ask you: are you at peace with yourself? Because if you have anxieties, angsts, and hatred, then you cannot radiate to others what you do not have. And that is the lesson that we should learn. Because you cannot give what you do not have,” he said.

Equally essential is the strong vigilance of the community to deny terror and extremist groups to set foot in their community.

“One vital measure is for the community to pass timely information to the authorities to prevent similar tragedies,” Dureza said, referring to the strong vigilance of the community in thwarting possible attack of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol last April

Dureza said healing and rebuilding relationships are among the major thrusts of the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser (OPAPP), which is tasked to address the underlying causes of the armed conflict in the country.

At present, the OPAPP is working under the six-point peace and development roadmap of the Duterte administration.

The roadmap covers the implementation of the all the peace agreements the government had signed with the Moro fronts and the ongoing peace negations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

In parallel, the peace roadmap also provides the needed socio-economic interventions to conflict-affected areas in the country.

“The road to peace is not paved. There are humps and bumps. What is important is that we all stay the course,” Dureza said.

Dureza encouraged the people of Zamboanga City to share stories and lessons from the siege, starting with those heroes who fought and died during the armed conflict.

“As we celebrate our 119 Independence Day celebration, we remember all our heroes in the past and also our present day heroes,” he added, referring to those security forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace in the country. (end)

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