Holcim Philippines to help in Manila Bay rehab with Circular Explorer

The Circular Explorer is heading to the Philippines to help clean the Manila Bay.

Holcim Philippines, Inc. is lending a hand in the sustainable rehabilitation of the Manila Bay through a vessel that will help collect marine litter, study the pollution, and raise awareness of communities and students on caring for the seas.

The company will receive in first half of 2022 from the Holcim Group the Circular Explorer, a solar-powered catamaran that can recover four tons of plastic wastes from bodies of water for recycling. To be deployed in Manila Bay, the vessel was launched by the Holcim Group in Germany on 21 July 2021 to symbolize its commitment to driving the circular economy and preserving nature.

The Holcim Group is a world leader in building solutions and recycling. It is reusing 50 million tons of resources across its business and set to double recycling volumes by 2030. The Circular Explorer is part of the Holcim Group’s stronger focus on sustainability and innovation, which includes the launch of the world’s first green cement made with 20% recycled demolition and construction wastes. The Circular Explorer will be operated by environmental organization One Earth One Ocean and supported by Holcim Philippines.

To further strengthen this initiative, the company signed a partnership with the Marine Environment and Resource Foundation, Inc. (MERF) at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) on 29 July 2021 to develop innovative solutions against plastic pollution and advancing research on this field.

MERF and Holcim also agreed to develop capacity building materials to communicate the effect of marine plastic pollution and opportunities to change behavior.

Jan Jenisch, Holcim Group CEO: “Everyone has a role in preserving our oceans. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer to be part of the solution. I am inspired to see how young changemakers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programs are designed to mobilize them to take action.”

Horia Adrian, President and CEO of Holcim Philippines: “We are excited to help restore the Manila Bay through the Circular Explorer. Its focus on science and education will greatly complement ongoing clean up efforts. Through the Circular Explorer, we will further advance circular economy or the preservation of natural resources by reusing materials as much as possible and have a more positive impact in building progress in the Philippines. Finally, this is a flagship initiative of the Holcim Group to advance sustainability and innovation. We are greatly motivated to drive its success here in the Philippines.”

Dr. Maria Vanessa B. Rodriguez, President of MERF: “We at the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc. as well as UP Marine Science Institute are thankful for the partnership with Holcim Philippines. This a good project that can help come up with baseline studies on the impact of macro- and microplastics to the environment especially now that this is a big problem in the Philippines. This initiative can also help us better understand the other challenges to the marine environment, map our resources, and promote conservation through education.”

Holcim Philippines is leading circularity in the country in its operations through waste management unit Geocyle, which converts qualified wastes as alternative fuel in manufacturing cement through the co-processing technology. In 2020 alone, Geocycle co-processed 130,000 tons of qualified waste materials, preventing these from ending in landfills and seas. Replacing traditional fuels with recycled materials also helps Holcim Philippines reduce its carbon footprint and conserve natural resources.

HPI and MERF officials strike a pose after signing a partnership to advance marine science and identify solutions for the plastics polluting waters. From left are Holcim Philippines ACM & Infrastructure Performance and Business Development Christine Bellen, Geocycle Project Manager Allan Cuyno, Holcim Vice President of Communications Cara Ramirez, MERF President Vanessa Rodriguez, MERF Vice President and Treasurer Charissa Ferrera, Vice President of Geoycle Albert Leoveras, and Holcim Stakeholder Relations Manager Joneil Ano.


Holcim Philippines, Inc. (Philippine Stock Exchange: HLCM) is one of the leading building solution companies in the country. The Company has a deep portfolio of innovative solutions fostered by a full range of products from structuring to finishing applications that can help local builders execute with high performance and efficiency a wide range of projects from massive infrastructure to simple home repairs.

With cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Davao, as well as aggregates and dry mix business and technical support facilities for building solutions, Holcim Philippines is a reliable partner of builders in the country.

Holcim Philippines is also committed to the highest standards of sustainable operations and manufacturing excellence with its plants certified under ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental Management System), ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System) and OHSAS 45001:2018 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System).

Holcim Philippines is a member of the Holcim Group, the world leader in the building materials industry present in 80 countries with over 75,000 employees.

Holcim exists to build progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people passionate about building progress for people and the planet across its 70 markets and four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.


DA chief rallies youth to help solve hunger

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said agriculture offers today’s young generation a chance to make a difference by growing enough food to feed not only the hungry in the Philippines, but also in other countries.

Speaking to members of various youth organizations and individuals, the agri chief emphasized that youth involvement is critical in the current state of the agriculture sector to attain a food-secure nation with lesser hungry people and families.

“For many years now, the barriers to agricultural progress have been low productivity and dire lack of value-adding rural enterprises. These two obstacles have resulted in the erratic growth of the sector over the past 10 years,” he said during the virtual 3rd Consumer Youth E-Forum, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on August 31, 2021.

“Youth engagement in agriculture is one of the key strategies we are implementing under our ‘OneDA Reform Agenda.’ We recognize that young Filipinos have the most to gain from our future-oriented development agenda. That is why we have invested in key programs to attract the skills, talents, and vigor of the Filipino youth into agriculture and agribusiness,” said Secretary Dar.

“The youth has the advantage of guts and idealism. You don’t censor seemingly crazy ideas with the cynicism experience has taught some baby boomers,” he added.

The “OneDA Reform Agenda” was designed to transform Philippine agriculture into a dynamic, high-growth sector that promotes investments and inclusive growth, he said.

To further improve the younger generation’s access to farming, the Duterte administration extends technical, livelihood, marketing, and financial support, and offers more opportunities through the “OneDA Family,” he added.

“As Secretary of Agriculture, I am committed to providing opportunities for the youth to ensure they would not only become the leaders of tomorrow, but also as agents of change, reform, and agricultural modernization. Our nation is in need of talented young public servants and leaders—especially in the field of agribusiness and food security,” he said.

The Philippines today has the largest generation of young people in its history. Thirty million young people between the ages of 10 and 24 account for 28 percent (%) of the population, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

For her part, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who also spoke during the virtual forum, said that “it is high time to strengthen the value network and inclusivity for the youth in terms of food security and sustainability.”

She cited the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, from June 23 to 26, 2021, that 13.6% or an estimated 3.4 million families experienced involuntary hunger, that is, hunger due to lack of food to eat at least once in the past three months.

“The upcoming generation of farmers has the opportunity to be the generation that will end world hunger and alleviate malnutrition, as well as help the sector adapt to climate change,” Secretary Dar concluded. # # # (Kuhlin Gacula / DA StratComms)

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Training course on onion postharvest technology and mechanization goes online

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) trained 35 participants in its Online Training Course on Postharvest Technology and Mechanization for Onion last August 18-19, 2021.

The training activity allowed participants from different LGUs, Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs), and private sectors in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, and Pangasinan to enhance their technical knowledge and skills on onion production and postproduction. The training likewise aimed to increase the adoption level for PHilMech-developed Multiple Row Onion Seeder in relation to addressing high labor demand and high onion production cost .

Ms. Helen Calica, chief of the Training and Technology Management Division (TMTD), in her opening remarks acknowledged interested technology end-users in the online training. She assured participants of hands-on activity to showcase the operation and maintenance of PHilMech Multi-Row Onion Seeder in the field setting.

The first day session of the training covered topics on the Onion Industry in the Philippines, Physical Characteristics of Onion, Land Preparation and Seedling Establishment, and Postharvest Practices. On the second day, Crop Management, Farmers’ Practices, PHilMech Multi-Row Onion Seeder, and Business Planning and Management were discussed.

Resource speakers during the training included Dr. Ma. Cecilia Antolin, Mr. Arturo Manipon, Ms. Jeanny de Guzman, Ms. Marietta Agregado, Mr. Francisco Alvarez, Engr. Marvin Estimada, and Ms. Kristina Luz Sebastian.

“We thank PHilMech for conducting this activity. As a new player in the onion industry, the topics laid out to us are really helpful to jumpstart our onion farming. Also, we really look forward to the hands-on training before the planting season starts,” said one of the participants, Mr. Jerry Guese, Chairman of Paroba Matamo Agriculture Association – Pampanga.

At the end of the training, Dr. Emelie Ablaza, SRS II – TMTD, commended the active participation of the trainees .She also reiterated physical conduct of hands-on and demo activities to respective areas of partner cooperators, and assured them of PHilMech’s continuous support of their farming endeavors.

This training course is part of the COVID-19 project of PHilMech entitled “Piloting of Modules for the Provision of Mechanized Planting of Onion and Other Vegetables”. This project is headed by Dr. Ma. Cecilia Antolin of the Socio-Economic and Policy Research Division. # # # (Leo Jay Sarmiento / DA-PHilMech)