Category Archives: For a good cause

Plantable pencils, anyone?

Have you heard of pencils that can be planted?

A young company based in Cebu called Eco Hub Cebu has innovated the plantable pencils. The development of the pencil that can grow into plants was realized to help lessen global warming and raise awareness about the environment.

advocacy

Eco Hub Cebu said one can grow plants from pencils by simply placing the stub on moist soil.

They explained the product is no different to regular pencils, except that its tail end is a “gelatin capsule” that contains plant seeds instead of an eraser enclosed in a metal case.

The capsules of each pencil are preservative-free, non-genetically modified organism (GMO) allergen-free, and gluten-free.

The pencil, which is lead-free, is made up of sustainable wood, graphite, clay, and non-GMO seeds.

It also comes in variety namely tomato, sunflower, carrot, citronella seeds, and basil, which is their fastest growing plant, germinating between five to ten days after planting.

Eco Hub Cebu also offers other sustainable products such as reusable straws and utensils.

Source: Manila Bulletin Online, Flying Ketchup

Myths and Realities in Disaster Situations

Sharing an informative snippets from the World Health Organization about Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (myth versus reality). This was originally shared and posted from my other blog – www.mumkhal.com.

Myth # 1:

Foreign medical volunteers with any kind of medical background are needed.

Reality:

The local almost always covers immediate lifesaving needs. Only medical personnel with skills that are not available in the affected country may be needed.

Myth # 2:

Any kind of international assistance is needed and it’s needed now!

Reality:

A hasty response that is not based on an impartial evaluation only contributes to the chaos. It is better to wait until genuine needs have been assessed.

Myth # 3:

Epidemics and plagues are inevitable after every disaster.

Reality:

Epidemics do no spontaneously occur after a disaster and dead bodies will not lead to catastrophic outbreaks of exotic diseases. The key to preventing disease is to improve sanitary conditions and educate the public.

Myth # 4:

Disasters bring out the worst in human behaviour.

Reality:

Although isolated cases of antisocial behaviour exists, the majority of people respond spontaneously and generously.

Myth # 5:

The affected population is too shocked and helpless to take responsibility for their own survival.

Reality:

On the contrary, many find new strength during an emergency, as evidenced by the thousands of volunteers who flock to the disaster site, looking for ways to help.

Myth # 6:

Disasters are random killers.

Reality:

Disasters strike hardest at the most vulnerable group, the poor – especially women, children and the elderly.

Myth # 7:

Locating disaster victims in temporary settlement is the best alternative.

Reality:

It should be the last alternative. Many agencies use funds normally spent for tents to purchase building materials, tools, and other construction-related support in the affected country.

Myth # 8:

Things are back to normal within a few weeks.

Reality:

The effects of a disaster last a long time. Disaster-affected countries deplete much of their financial and material resources in the immediate post-impact phase. Successful relief programs gear their operations to the fact that international interest wanes as needs and shortages become more pressing.

Source: Emergency Humanitarian Assistance, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific. Action, Preparedness, Collaboration Fact Sheets. Manila: WHO-WPRO. 2005.

Work from Home Law

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act which allows employees to work from home.

The Telecommuting Act allows an employee in the private sector to work from home or an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication or computer technologies. The law aims to address traffic congestion and to promote work-life balance.

Editorial Cartoon by KVTorrecampo

An employer may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis. The adoption of such scheme remains a prerogative of employers but the program should not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law on health and safety of workers, schedule and workloads, work hours and social security. An employer is required to ensure that a telecommuting employee will not be isolated from the rest of the working community by giving him opportunities to meet with colleagues and allowing access to company information.  

Related article: Work from home is timely, beneficial to workers and business; Good for PWDs, women

The country’s largest workers group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) applauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law a measure allowing workers to work from home as alternative work arrangement in the light of heavy traffic congestion and poor mass transport system.

“After pending in both congress for so many congresses, Duterte’s signing into law allowing workers to work from home alternative work arrangement finally sets the clear parameters for both employees and employers who wants to jointly practice the scheme. This alternative work scheme will benefit both employers and their employees,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said.

He said those who work from home would be able save from transport and food costs. Employees would also be able to minimize stress caused by traffic congestion and ageing mass transport system. 

Employers meanwhile would be able to minimize operational costs and ensure higher productivity from home working employee.

This will also widen the employment horizons for Person with Disabilities, senior citizens and working mothers who need not to report at work.

According to Mendoza, the alternative work arrangement will not change the 8-hour standard working time. There is also no diminution of wages and benefits including overtime pay, sick leave, maternity leave and all other benefits that employees have been receiving.

However, these rights must be ensured in the drafting of its Implementing Rules and Regulations spearheaded by the Labor department, workers and employers groups particularly workers’ right to form a union and collectively bargain are complied with.

Mendoza expects the IRR finished by March this year.

On one hand, the work from home arrangement is not applicable in other industries particularly those working manufacturing and services sector.

Press Release