Tag Archives: featured

SIBAT Attends Training in Malaysia to Help Promote the IPAM Portal

Together with representatives from the Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific (PANAP) and Kudumbam of India, SIBAT attends a two-day training workshop from March 17-18, 2017 held at Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort, Penang, Malaysia.  SIBAT sent its representatives April Joy Balmaceda, Jose Raphael Lopez and Shen Maglinte to learn how to utilize the International People’s Agroecology Multiversity (IPAM) portal with its different platform to promote agroecology.   IPAM is an initiative to establish a university-type learning mechanism using the web as a tool where the vast reserves of knowledge on agroecology practice and experience are shared so that more people would be knowledgeable about it and hence could be able to practice and do advocacy. SIBAT is one of IPAM’S Field Learning Site (FLS).

This  is a form of alternative learning approach where ownership of agro-ecology knowledge are reverted back to their rightful owners- the farmers,  especially those who go against  chemical farming  espoused by agri-corporations.  This is also veering away from traditional university practice where only certified degree holders are recognized as owners of knowledge leaving out producers of this knowledge especially the farmers and their experiences.  IPAM is not meant to be just any ordinary database of knowledge that can be googled out but aims to be more interactive. 

IPAM’s portal has five platforms namely Knowledge – a one stop resource centre on agroecology, Research – a forum to promote and share ideas and do collaborative work on participatory researches, evidence based documentation,  innovations and case studies on agroecology, Learning – a platform that offers both on-farm  and online training courses, learning modules, webinars and videos for short-term sessions and long-term curriculum, Community Building – inspiring stories from the ground  on agroecological practices, innovations and techniques and Action – a platform for community and movement-building through campaigning, networking and mobilization.

Apayao and Nueva Viscaya Reps met to exchange experiences on Microhydro

PO leaders from Micro hydro partners in Apayao and Nueva Viscaya provinces, met in a consultation hosted by SIBAT held at Mangarita Organic Farm (MOF) on February 23-24, 2015. The event aimed to gather said partners to share lessons about their MHP projects. the status of the projects was also discussed, that led to the formulation of upgrading plans for more than a decade-old MHPs.

The MHP sites represented in the consultation are: Sitios Lapat, Buneg, Bubog and Katablangan in Apayao and Nueva Viscaya.

The consultation was preceded by a meeting of representatives from 18 MHP projects in Abra Province last May, 2014. The representatives of Kimbutan MHP(now equipped with ELC, with civil works rehabilitated, transmission line replaced and watershed forested) shared their experiences on upgrading their system in 2011.

LGU representatives were invited to both consultations to create strong collaboration so that they can extend their support for future upgrading. The Apayao event was attended by Engr. Freddie T. Nicolas and Engr. Henry B. Caluducan from the Provincial Planning Development Office of Apayao.

The sharing revealed the capability of organized communities to sustain the system in the long run, despite the problems encountered such as: poor maintenance, lack of technical know-how of local MHP operators and poor tariff payment.

The participants are capable of performing basic repairs and maintenance of the project, and expressed their desire for more technical training, for operators with proper criteria. The CBRES organizations will also undergo training in July 2015.

The Apayao LGU representative committed support through small funds for post-harvest applications to be powered by MHPs. They suggested that the communities formulate resolutions, send these to the board member of the provinces, who have previously donated rice mills now being operated by the CBRES.

Furthermore, SIBAT expressed its commitment to support the system upgrading through technical advisory and assistance and sourcing for potential funders.

The partners from different sites expressed their gratitude on the electrification provided by the MHPs, and to SIBAT for the continuing of assistance provided to the projects. SIBAT in turn, thanked the community representatives for their resilience to sustain MHPs, and to harness the water source for the long-term benefit of the community.

Workshop on “Scaling Up Decentralized and Community-Based Renewable Energy Systems in the Philippines

A two-day workshop on “Scaling-up Decentralized and Community-Based Renewable Energy Systems in the Philippines”, was held on 25 – 26 February 2015 at the Mangarita Organic Farm in Barangay Manga, Capas, Tarlac.  The event was organized jointly by Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT) and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippines with support from Climate Action Network-International (CAN).  It was attended by 21 representatives from NGOs, four (4) Microhydro partners from Apayao and Nueva Viscaya, academe, and individual consultants working in the Renewable Energy sector.

The Workshop did a stock-taking of all implemented decentralized and community-based RE systems, through the presentation made by Victoria Lopez, SIBAT’s Executive Director. She discussed the developmental framework on which community-based renewable energy systems are anchored, that includes respect to cultural traditions and recognition of the ownership and stewardship by the community of their water and renewable energy resources. She explained that despite the lack of policy support, the communities have sustained their CBRES for more than 20 years, and had effects in transforming the lives of people. To support this claim, the PO representatives from Apayao and Nueva Viscaya shared their stories on tackling the hardships they went through in building the Microhydro power, in sustaining these and in conquering all challenges through hard work and determination.  The PO representatives claimed that the projects have empowered them as communities, beyond providing them with energy for their basic and productive needs.

The stories invoked varied perspectives from the participants.  Some of the words elicited in the exchanges were: “empowering,” “sense of awe,” “does not impose on local values,” “lighted up hope,” “magical,” “bridges communities,” “encourage love,” “positive advocacy,” “solutions-focused” and “transforming lives.”

Mr. Roberto Verzola gave a presentation entitled “Crossing Over: The Energy Transition to Renewable Electricity”, that provided a brief overview of the current policy environment for renewable energy development and current socio-political realities of shifting towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy.  The lecture advocated for the maximization of use of renewable energy so all energy needs can be sourced out from renewables, avoiding the dependence trap or of being “locked-in” on fossil fuels, including coal technology.

Mr. Erwin Serafica, Program Manager of Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines (REAP), talked on the Philippine energy situation and the need to ensure energy security to lessen dependence on imported energy with emphasis on renewable and green resources. He pointed out the need to employ innovative and alternative solutions towards the judicious utilization of energy resources. He also discussed the challenges of decentralized, community based renewable energy systems vis-à-vis the current energy-related laws in the Philippines like the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). He proposed a harmonization of current policy and regulatory frameworks to provide a horizontal separation between large-scale RE and CBRES developers,  for the CBRES framework to fully develop.

A set of presentations came from academic and civil-society players who are mostly practitioners of decentralized and community based energy systems. Most of their presentations talked about the practices and challenges they have experienced in implementing decentralized RE and CBRES.

Dr. Renyl Barroca, Ph.D. of Ateneo de Davao University, explained that as part of the university’s effort in advocating vigorously for environmental protection, the University established the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology (CREATE), to focus on environmental protection through green and environment-friendly technologies. Given such mandate, Dr. Barroca said that CREATE has been able to help communities affected by Typhoon Pablo  in 2012 and continues to find and research on innovations for solar technology and other renewable energy systems.

Ms. Dipti Vaghela of Hydro Empowerment Network gave an Asian perspective through a presentation that highlighted experiences from Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Ms. Vaghela’s organization works on micro-hydro programs in the South and Southeast Asian regions. The presenter focused on the organizations’ mission of getting people and the environment to work together through technology advancement. Its main thrust is to transform knowledge exchange into action, by building the capacity of community-level change agents for technology design and dissemination and building sustainability mechanisms. These are translated into engagement like knowledge exchange, advocacy strategies and research and innovation. The organization also faces challenges like technology gaps and access to funding. To cap her session, a short film on Microhydro power grids in Nepal was presented to the group.

Finally Mr. Reuben Muni of GreenPeace, talked about the global strategy that was developed by his organization, premised on the principles of fair energy access for all, and respect of natural limits on natural resources.  This strategy has three elements: energy efficiency, renewable energy and the smart grid. The latter, the integration of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in the production and distribution of electricity.

Finally, recommendations were also formulated through workshops, in the areas of: policy development, financing, communication/storytelling, and technology and knowledge management.