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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Newly published global report features BAN Toxics’ successful women empowerment initiatives in the small-scale mining sector

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

"Despite women holding up half the sky, they remain invisible in the mining sector. As we celebrate Women’s Month, it is crucial to recognize the value and significance of women miners and workers in small-scale gold mining, an already marginalized sector," environmental NGO BAN Toxics said as the Philippine case made its way into a newly released global report.

The recent report by the World Bank on the status of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector highlights a case study conducted by BAN Toxics, focusing on its women empowerment initiatives within the Compassionate Gold program.

The report titled “2023 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector” focuses on the contributions of the ASM to the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5): Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.

Featuring 14 case studies contributed by 23 other organizations from Latin America, Africa and Mongolia, the report examines whether and how legal frameworks impede or promote women’s equality and empowerment in ASM. It also analyzes several other key barriers to women’s participation and empowerment in the sector, including social protections and access to occupational health and safety.

Challenges Faced by Women in ASM Sector

The country's ASM sector plays a vital role in providing livelihoods, employing approximately 500,000 miners, and supporting millions of individuals. According to estimates from the International Labour Organization, between 18,000 to 20,000 women and children are engaged in ASGM-related employment in the Philippines.

“Patriarchal perspectives prevail in small-scale mining where women are relegated to auxiliary roles with unequal access to job opportunities and income. They engage in flexible and seasonal work in the sector, such as panning, sluicing, and cleaning, to earn supplemental income for their families. Women’s community management roles, such as processing of papers and attending meetings and dialogues are usually unpaid,” Arleen Honrade, co-writer of the study and BAN Toxics Community Development Officer, laments.

“Moreover, as women are often responsible for chemical processing, they conduct the mercury amalgamation, such as cooking the amalgam, disproportionately impacting them to the toxic effects of mercury,” Honrade elaborates.

The Delve report confirms that this societal experience of women in ASM permeates even at the institutional level through prejudicial and gender-blind legislation favoring mining as a male occupation where women's issues are left out. Additionally, women's limited involvement in project development exacerbates gender disparities within ASGM communities.

“The Philippine case is not far off from other countries. The 2023 State of the Sector study underscores the critical role of women in the ASM sector with an estimated 13.4 million women working in ASM worldwide, comprising 30% of the global 44.67 million ASM workforce. Women in the ASM face persistent legal, social, and economic challenges, aggravated by the gender-blind nature of mining laws, leading to discrimination and impeding their access to resources, education, and economic opportunities, placing their safety and well-being at risk,” said Jam Lorenzo, author of the study and BAN Toxics Research and Policy Officer.

The group stated that as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is poised to amend Republic Act 7076, also known as the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, there is the need of incorporating a gender perspective in the amendment process to account for differences in roles assigned to women, as well as biological, environmental, and other factors, for effective solutions. They also highlighted the importance of integrating a gender dimension into occupational safety and health laws in the country.

Empowering Women in Philippine ASM Communities Through Compassionate Gold

The case study presented by BAN Toxics shares the outcomes of its efforts to address gender inequity in the ASM sector through the Compassionate Gold program. Launched in 2018, Compassionate Gold serves as a flagship project by BAN Toxics aimed at contributing to the formalization of the artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in the Philippines and the elimination of mercury use. It follows national and international standards such as the Minamata Convention on Mercury, that of the Organization for Economic Cooperation, and international labor Standards and ILO Conventions and Recommendations.

“The Compassionate Gold program identified gender issues in the ASGM sector by utilizing a certification tool developed by BAN Toxics, aligned with international standards. Key issues include women balancing work and home responsibilities, their earnings being perceived as only “augmentative" rather than substantial contributors to family income, and the prevalence of gender-based violence,” Lorenzo said.

BAN Toxics addressed these issues through various activities with special focus on community organizing, gender sensitivity training, regular gender mapping, and linking communities with government partners for livelihood development.

“Livelihood development projects were provided for women mining groups with individual complementary livelihood starter kits and financial assistance worth more than Php 800,000 from the Department of Labor and Employment. Skills and business training were conducted with the assistance of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Cooperative Development Authority, as well as the provision of seedlings, farm tools, and equipment from the Department of Agriculture for families seeking to shift away from mining-related work,” Andrade added.

“Gender is a cross-cutting issue and should be addressed from a multi-stakeholder perspective. There is a continuing need to educate both women and men about gender perspectives within the context of ASGM. Similarly, government stakeholders should be made aware of these issues,” Lorenzo said, highlighting some of the key learnings in the report.

For the recommendations, Lorenzo said that “There is a need to emphasize the importance of conducting social research on the status of women in ASM and ensuring that gender is integrated into data collection and analysis. Affirmative action programs need to be developed and implemented to address gender inequalities and enable women to progress. Moreover, institutions must ensure that women participate in key community processes and train them to become independent skilled workers.”

BAN Toxics meanwhile further affirms its commitment to working with small-scale mining communities through Compassionate Gold and other programs, to achieve gender equality, empower women, and ensure the safety, prosperity, and dignity of all individuals involved in the ASM sector.


Saturday, March 2, 2024

DepEd grateful to Metrobank Foundation for PEACE recognition

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The Department of Education (DepEd) extended its gratitude to the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) for citing the agency as one of the recipients of the Partner in Empowerment, Advocacy, and Commitment to Excellence (PEACE) Award during its 45th Founding Anniversary last February 29.

Vice President and Secretary of the Department of Education Sara Z. Duterte, in a message, emphasized that DepEd’s partnership with the Metrobank Foundation led to various opportunities and innovations to inspire the education sector.

The PEACE Award is presented every five years by the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) to recognize partners that have collaborated impactfully in the mission of uplifting the lives of the most vulnerable and underserved sectors in Philippine society.

DepEd also acknowledged the Foundation, led by MBFI President Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, for being an active partner of the agency in its various activities for the celebration of the National Teachers’ Month.

MBFI also honors excellent educators, military, and police personnel through its Outstanding Filipinos Award. During the 2023 awards, Mr. Rex Sario of Balogo Elementary School in Bukidnon, Mr. June Elias Patalinghug of Catalunan Grande Elementary School in Davao City, and Mr. Edgar Durana of Don Jose Ynares Memorial National High School in Binangonan, Rizal were recognized in the basic education sector.

Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Atty. Michael Wesley T. Poa credited the Department’s teaching and non-teaching workforce when he received the award on behalf of the agency during the ceremony.

“This PEACE Award is a recognition of the men and women of DepEd who embody excellence in their profession and passion to serve our communities. More importantly, it is a recognition of the unrelenting dedication and efforts of our teachers to deliver quality education and contribute to realizing the MATATAG Agenda,” Usec. Poa said.

In the awarding ceremony, the Department is one of the five government agencies cited by MBFI, which also include the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

One More Chance, The Musical featuring the songs of Ben&Ben

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One More Chance, The Musical is based on the motion picture One More Chance (2007), produced by ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc.

One More Chance is a popular Filipino romantic drama film released in 2007. The movie tells the story of Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo), a couple whose long-term relationship faces numerous challenges.

PETA’s musical adaptation not only brings the iconic love story of Popoy and Basha to life but also creates a more nuanced and expanded experience for audiences, thanks to Ben&Ben's poetic, emotionally charged, and LSS-inducing songs. The musical includes the band’s smash hits “Kathang Isip,” “Araw-Araw,” “Leaves,” and “Paninidigan Kita,” to name a few.

With the stage play adaptation, we relive the moments of the central characters with much more intimacy, intensity, dimension, and perspective. Here we see them in the flesh; we are with them in the same room, watching them and seeing what goes behind every choice made and chance taken or not taken by the characters we all love so well.

The musical features the songs of the massively popular and award-winning Filipino nine-piece band, Ben&Ben.

One More Chance, The Musical is slated to run from April 12–June 30, 2024, at the PETA Theater Center in Quezon City. The musical is presented by PETA and co-presented by Metrobank and Robinsons Malls.


One More Chance is a classic and an icon. Loved by a generation that saw themselves in Popoy, Basha, and the many friends and lovers that came into their lives. In them, we saw how a seemingly picture-perfect and solid relationship can easily crumble when the small cracks are ignored, or worse, covered up. With Popoy, we learned that giving your best doesn’t mean you won’t get your heart broken, and with Basha, we hoped to be chosen once again for another chance for a better kind of love. In the present context, this story about taking chances and living life without regrets resonates more than ever.

A chance to get closer

The intimacy of theater and the nuanced expression

Hope, love, and chances. These are sentiments that don’t escape us, sentiments that were captured so well by One More Chance because of how the film provided a closer look at a couple growing into themselves as individuals, and as lovers. Now, with the stage play adaptation, we relive the moments of Popoy and Basha with much more intimacy, as lent by the theater. To see them in the flesh, to be with them in one room goes beyond what cinema captured. In this version, we not only show the nuanced and expanded experience of the couple but also their friends, the Thursday barkada—the level-headed Kenneth and Krizzy and their couple goals, the jovial Chino and his heartbreak, tough-loving Anj’s tenacity, and carefree JP’s adventures as a playboy. We can also look into the people who were there for the protagonists at their lowest, Mark and Tricia.

Beyond Love

Behind the choices and chances

A musical provides the avenue to pick the characters’ hearts and minds, for their inner monologues to be heard in song as they make their choices. With the adaptation, the relevant themes and issues presented in the film can be further explored. More than the relationship,

Popoy and Basha’s struggles were also tied up to the expectations shouldered by the age group they belonged to—young professionals making a name for themselves; breaking boundaries in society while establishing their own; expectations from family; expectations to hit the ground running in a rat race that diminishes the self and self-care. These, along with the interrogation of how one handles pressure, pain, heartbreak, and depression, among others, are possibilities the stage play could accommodate.


Sam Concepcion as Popoy

CJ Navato as Popoy

Anna Luna as Basha

Nicole Omillo as Basha

Kiara Takahashi as Tricia

Sheena Belarmino as Tricia

Jef Flores as Mark

Jay Gonzaga as Mark

Ada Tayao as Krizzy

Rica Laguardia as Krizzy

Poppert Bernadas as Kenneth

Paji Arceo as Kenneth

Via Antonio as Anj

Dippy Arceo as Anj

Jon Abella as JP

Johnnie Moran as Chinno

Chez Cuenca as Helen/Guia/Roselle

Coleen Paz as Helen/Guia/Roselle

JC Galano as Francis/Mr.Tan

Matthew Barbers as Francis/Mr.Tan

Neomi Gonzales as Rose/Edith

Carla Guevara Laforteza as Rose/Edith

Raul Montesa as Bert/Willie

Floyd Tena as Bert/Willie

Hazel Maranan as Elvie

Icon for an icon

Bridging generations with music

As an iconic film, One More Chance is only befitting of the iconic music that is Ben&Ben.

Their songs capture the emotional angst that will bring the scenes of the movie to the ‘now’.

The music of Ben&Ben reflects the brokenness of a person and his or her journey to heal from it and come out stronger. Their music is a fitting anthem to the film that embodies just those. This coming together of cinema, music, and live performance aims to be a heartwarming welcome for Filipinos back to the theater, for one more chance at love, healing, and the songs that go along with it.

Ben&Ben has endeared itself to many with their heartfelt lyrics, unique musicality, and their electric vibe onstage. In the prime of their youth, the band is keen on dedicating themselves to bringing richness to the music they create through songs of hope, love and positivity.

In a few years’ time, folk-pop collective Ben&Ben has maintained a level of cultural relevance that earned its place in the history of contemporary Philippine music. The award-winning band rose to prominence with heartfelt anthems that define an entire generation and show-stopping performances that mesmerize the audiences from all over the world.

For three years, the dynamic young band emerged as the most streamed OPM Artist and Group in the Philippines, being the first Filipino act to surpass more than a billion streams. In addition to this game-changing feat, Ben&Ben has averaged nearly three million monthly listeners on Spotify, and eclipsed its previous record by simultaneously charting a total of 10 songs on the platform’s Top 50.

Ben & Ben is a 9-piece band from the Philippines, composed of:

● Twin brothers Miguel Benjamin and Paolo Benjamin on acoustic guitars and vocals

● Poch Barretto on electric guitar

● Keifer Cabugao on violin

● Andrew De Pano and Toni Muñoz on percussion

● Pat Lasaten on keyboards

● Agnes Reoma on bass

● Jam Villanueva on drums

Show dates:

April 12 - June 30, 2024

📌 PETA Theater Center


Matinee Shows - 2:00 pm

Evening Shows - 7:30 pm


VIP - 3,000

Orchestra Center - 2,500

Orchestra Side - 2,200

Balcony Center - 2,500

Balcony Side - 1,500






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