Monday, August 20, 2007

Let's go back to eau de faucet

I shared with friends two recent internet articles about going back to the pipeline to quench thirst with pure water. I got this reaction from Ray Laudano of Chicago:

"I agree that the consumption of bottled water drives phenomenal wasting of the earth's natural resources, causes metric tons of trash and litter (not all bottles are recycled), and is fantastically expensive (most bottled waters cost more per gallon than gasoline in some countries).

"I've adapted the "Think Globally, Act Locally" saying to better fit and bring attention to the problems caused by bottled water processing and consumption. If you think it is appropriate, please promote the saying, "Think Globally, Drink Locally", to reflect the idea that it requires less energy and natural resources to drink the local tap water than it does to drink 'fancy' waters from exotic locations."

The World Health Organization website says: "While the term bottled water is widely used, the term packaged water is perhaps more accurate. Drinking-water may be contaminated by a range of chemical, microbial and physical hazards that could pose risks to health if they are present at high levels. Examples of chemical hazards include lead, arsenic and benzene. Microbial hazards, include bacteria, viruses and parasites, such as Vibrio cholerae, hepatitis A virus, and Crytosporidium parvum, respectively. Physical hazards include glass chips and metal fragments. Because of the large number of possible hazards in drinking-water, the development of standards for drinking-water requires significant resources and expertise, which many countries are unable to afford. Fortunately, guidance is available at the international level.

"WHO publishes Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality which many countries use as the basis to establish their own national standards. In applying the WHO Guidelines to bottled waters, certain factors may be more readily controlled than in piped distribution systems and stricter standards may, therefore, be preferred in order to reduce overall population exposure. This has, for example, been argued for the case of lead. Similarly, when flexibility exists regarding the source of the water, stricter standards for certain naturally-occurring substances of health concern, such as arsenic and fluoride, may be more readily achieved than in piped distribution systems.

"Contrary to this, some substances may prove more difficult to manage in bottled than tap water. This is generally because bottled water is stored for longer periods and at higher temperatures than water distributed in piped distribution systems. Control of materials used in containers and closures for bottled waters is, therefore, of special concern. In addition, some micro-organisms, which are normally of little or no public health significance, may grow to higher levels in bottled waters. This growth appears to occur less frequently in gasified water and in water bottled in glass containers compared to still water and water bottled in plastic containers. In regard to infants and other vulnerable individuals, as bottled water is not sterile, it should be disinfected - for example, by boiling for one minute - prior to its use in the preparation of infant formula.

A few facts about bottled water from

· The containers are made of plastic or glass. When full, both become very heavy. It costs a fortune in oil to ship heavy bottles around the country, much less around the world.

· Close to 2 million tons of plastic was used to make bottles for water last year. That manufacturing involves an enormous about of petroleum, since it is a key ingredient in plastic. Recycling them costs another small fortune in gasoline to haul them to plants.

· Bottled water is being promoted all over the world by a host of companies who are staking their future on getting you to drink water from bottles since it is getting harder and harder to persuade you to drink soda and other sugared water from their cans — and it's working.

· Then there's the cost. Why pay dollars per gallon for bottled water packaged with a fancy name and aesthetically impressive label when you can get pure and healthy New York City, Geneva or Singapore (or MWSS) tap water for pennies without adding to environmental problems?

In other words, if you want to do something to really reduce global warming and cut down the earth's pollution burden, stop buying bottled water. The containers mean oil in the shipping, oil in the refrigerating and oil in the recycling, not to mention the oil that's also needed in the manufacturing of plastic bottles. That's a whole lot of oil to quench your thirst in a most unethical way.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Feeding minds and souls

The Baldrige Criteria for Business Excellence are built on a set of interrelated core values and concept. One of which is social responsibility.

It states, "Practicing good citizenship refers to leadership and support—within the limits of the organization's resources—of publicly important purposes. Such purposes might include improving education and health care in your community, pursuing environmental excellence, practicing resource conservation, performing community service, improving industry and business practices, and sharing nonproprietary information. Leadership as a corporate citizen also entails influencing other organizations, private and public, to partner for these purposes."

Long before the Baldrige Criteria was even established, the Lopez group of companies has already gotten on their version of corporate social responsibility.

According to Rosan Cruz of Benpres Holdings, "The Lopez Memorial Museum was founded on 13 Feb 1960 by business tycoon Eugenio "Eñing" Lopez, Sr. He built the museum in order to provide scholars and students access to his personal collection of rare Filipiniana books, manuscripts, maps, archeological artifacts and fine arts, particularly his collection of Luna and Hidalgo.

"Up to this day, the museum carries on Eñing's mission to promote arts and letters, Philippine heritage by opening up its collections to the public. It hopes in the process to instill a sharp sense of inquiry, and personal and collective stewardship that leads to engaged responses to past and present Philippine social contexts. In the pursuit of cultural excellence rooted in informed citizenship, this museum continues to seek Filipino intellectual expertise contributing to the critical analysis and reception of Philippine history and contemporary culture.

"Curatorial consulant Rileen Legaspi-Ramirez says that the challenge has always been to bring in what is today with what is in the past. The museum is still very much into heritage conservation and the challenge is getting younger audiences to look at pieces that have been in the museum since the 1960s.

"Thus, for its current exhibits, the Lopez Museum presents its invaluable collection (both library and art) in a new light in an exhibit called "Cut and Paste" and "Dime a Dozen" . Both exhibits hypothesize on how rarities propped up as fine and precious, easily slip into the domain of pop.

"Cut and Paste showcases the library collection of advertisements from the 1800s to the present. "Dime a Dozen" worked with three contemporary artists – Alwin Reamillo, Gerardo Tan and (video artist) Tad Ermitaño– to look into the notions of replication and reproduction of the 19th century masters into the 21st century. To showcase treasure trove of modern art (20th century) and Rizal collections, the film of Nick de Ocampo ("Edades", 2002) goes back to the post war debate between Edades and Tolentino regarding modern art. And Mike de Leon's film (Bayaning Third World) is surrounded by computers dedicated to Frenster account of Jose Rizal and Rizaliana items from the museum collection to depict the various incarnations of Rizal as hero in popular consciousness.

"Both exhibits will run until September 22, 2007. The Lopez Museum is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig and is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., except Sundays and holidays."

I like the fact that this museum is open on Saturdays when parents and children could get together and do their bonding in a cultural way.

For companies planning on their own CSR project, let us remember that CSR doesn't simply mean doling out grocery items or doing one-day medical missions. It entails a continuing service and interaction with the community where you operate. You need not be a big organization to do CSR or hire people or organizations to do it for you. Contributing to curbing global warming in many creative ways is a good project.

Baldrige asserts, "Social responsibility implies going beyond a compliance orientation. Good citizenship opportunities are available to organizations of all sizes. These opportunities might include encouraging and supporting your employees' community service."


Friday, August 10, 2007

Important HR events in September

September will be an exciting time for human resource professionals and other organizational leaders.

The first is PMAP (as in People Management Association of the Philippines, aka Personnel Managers Association of the Philippines) 44th Annual Conference & Exposition on September 26-28 in Cebu City. Ric Abadesco, FPM, PMAP vice president and conference chair, says, "People practices is the main context of this conference. As we explore the theme 'People Deliver', we look into the various aspects of effective people management approaches that deliver excellent bottom line results."

The keynote speaker will be Dr. David Spong, the current chair of the Board of Directors for the Baldrige Foundation. He holds the distinction as the only business leader who has won for his company in both manufacturing and service categories the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest award giving body for business excellence and for strengthening national competitiveness of US businesses.

The conference will explore opportunities in foundational issues like values, compensation, industrial peace and talent management; promises of new trends in talent acquisition, work-life balance, risk management and knowledge management; excitements in people practices such as executive coaching, performance management, training and development, succession planning, conflict management and employee wellness; tradition-breaking institutional tools such as Investors in People, Balanced Scorecard, perception management and other integrating approaches to business excellence; and prospects of nation building such as corporate social responsibility, building ethical companies, business results that impact Philippine economy and a roadmap for national competitiveness.

On the second day, these topics will be discussed by a powerhouse of speakers: Dr. Art de Guia (EVP and group head, FPHC), Raffy Alunan (Lopez Group wellness czar), Rey Angeles (economist, author, entrepreneur), Bing Portugalisa (HR authority, CP Kelco ), Regina Clamor (Food for the Hungry Minds Philippines), Dr. Pacito Madrono (inventor, entrepreneur), Dr. Jojo Mutuc (professor, business planner), Dr. Ed Garrovillas (professor, marketing expert), Dr. Victoria D. Caparaz (professor, work-life balance advocate), Dexter Mendoza (organizational peacekeeper, mediaman), Chit Ventura, FPM (human capital expert), Faye Corcuera, FPM (organization development expert), Capt. Art Gatbonton (chief learning officer, PAL), and Dr. Poch Macaranas (adviser to Philippine presidents, AIM policy maker) among many notable presenters.

Dr. Wyna Medina, president of St. Paul University; Cecilia Flores Oebanda, president of Visayan Forum and Francis Monera, president of Cebu Holdings and Cebu Chamber of Commerce will take part in the CEO Forum to further thresh out the ramifications of the theme, People Deliver.

The Conference will be very interactive and will use such new technologies as World Café, a strategic dialogue methodology, and Learning in Concert, a learning activity that combines music, dancing, theatre, IT and inspiring talks.

Cacay de Leon and Malou Bustos will be happy to give you more details when you call them at 726-1532 or email and

In Taiwan, just across Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte, two other HR events are creating excitement among HR professionals in the region. These are the 2007 Summit for Globalization of Human Resources (September 28-29) and the Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp (Oct 1-2) with Bob Pike, a leading star in the firmament of learning and development.

The Summit will feature a mix of international speakers on the topics of leading for performance, global mobility, leadership, talent management, innovation in HR, workplace and global learning, organizational and personal learning, change culture, human capital for global competitiveness, HR in Mainland China, trends in globalization, managing SMEs for global competition and many others.

Two Filipino speakers will be featured. One is Roger Collantes, regional training and development director for Citibank Asia Pacific, Global Consumer Group, based in Singapore. He is a multi-awarded organization development consultant, international professional trainer and human resource professional.

The other speaker is this columnist.

Trainers will have the very amiable and revered trainer-of-trainers Bob Pike as Boot Camp Director. In 2003 the more than 80,000 subscribers of Training Magazine voted The Bob Pike Group the best "Train-the-Trainer" company in the industry. In 2007 Bob received the Instructional Systems Association's "Thought Leader" award for his outstanding contributions to the field. I attend Bob's sessions at the ASTD Conference every year and he has always something exciting and new to share.

For details please visit or email Bronte Hsiao at


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Need responsive strategy for OFWs

Aside from Antonio V. Ranque (Sorry I misspelled his name as Jarque), Ruben Claudio also sent an earnest reaction.

I just returned a week ago from a visit to the Philippines after almost 2 years in between my last and I couldn't agree with you more on the plight of our OFW, are they heroes or hostages to fortune? To me, some of them who are capable are victims of graft, corruption, dishonesty and greed that had plagued the annals of Philippine government bureaucracy for decades.

Francisco, who is one among millions of Filipinos who are displaced and living in the shanties outside Mapayapa Village in QC, has to drive a P200-a-night tricycle as a second job to being a trusted family driver to a millionaire in nearby Capitol Hills that gives him P10,000 a month wages. After paying his shanty landlord P1,400, he has enough saved to see his family in Pangasinan once a month while incidentally spending another P600 for the round trip bus fare via Victory liner and another P80 to reach his barrio by jeepney.

Rosie, for 6 years now, works as a 3rd maid to a physician household in San Carlos City and earns P4000 a month but is available on-call 24 hours daily anytime her services are needed. She sends her savings to support her mother that cares for her fatherless child.

Francisco and Rosie would mortgage their farm and farming animals if only to have a shot of becoming an OFW.

I saw the OFWs replacing the "kings" of the provincial towns of the 50's and 60's which were the U.S. Navy recruits. The latter group were once the "new money in town" owning the palatial homes with their fairest of spouses but now it is the OFW who owns my town. There is Martin from Dubai, Rachel formerly Raquel from London and Greg returning from a power plant installation in Pacificos, Mexico.

For these OFW who remitted to the country over $50Bn last year from all sources, they are the heroes of the republic today. To their families that benefited from the winds of change enabling the operations of the SM, Trinoma, Ayala Centers, 168 and the bustling malls of Tutuban while enduring the loneliness and emptiness of their absence, they are the consequential hostages of fortunes.

I consider myself an OFW without the palatial home in my Pangasinan, with irregular remittances to my folks in Pangasinan, not a hero or hostage to fortune. I chose to live in Los Angeles with my small family where I found the warmer and drier climate all year round conducive to my respiratory health. The winds of change will soon be blowing my way as I expect to be a grandpa soon before Christmas.

Mabuhay kayo, Tony and Ruben!

Recently, a senator observed that there is lack of "responsive strategy" to deal with the rapidly growing overseas employment of Filipinos. In President GMA's recent Sona, "she did not mention migrant Filipino workers in her speech, except in passing when she said that the country's business process outsourcing industry is seen to generate $12Bn in annual revenues by 2010, the same amount remitted by our overseas Filipinos today. If we cannot stop labor migration, government might as well manage the trend, and make sure that outbound Filipinos are directed to the best possible labor markets overseas, where they will enjoy the strongest protection and the greatest possible reward for their skills. Figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show that a total of 1.1 million Filipinos left the country to work abroad last year alone and from January 1 to July 11 this year, total of 564,320 Filipinos left for overseas employment."

In the meantime, HR professionals are lamenting the lack of talents for local employment to boost local business.