Monday, August 10, 2015

Foundation for a Sustainable Society Holds Several Activities to Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Wazzup Pilipinas!

We were recently invited last August 9, 2015 to attend a media briefing announcing the 20th anniversary of the Foundation for a Sustainable Society (FSSI). The gathering was held at the Gloria Maris Banquet Hall located at the 4th level of Gateway Mall Araneta Center Cubao Quezon City.

The organizers were having a two-day activity-filled celebration which includes open forums on many topics ranging from the challenges to development of debt, tax and fiscal issues, good governance as electoral agenda for poverty reduction or for enabling environment, climate change effects and disaster preparation, enabling cooperatives, and empowering the rural poor through Social Entrepreneurship.

There was also a Social Entrepreneurship product and photo exhibit happening simultaneously at the ground level of the same mall while the talks were being held at the Gloria Maris Banquet Hall.

At the press conference, Mr. Jay Lacsamana, Executive Director of FSSI, showed the impact of FSSI's 20 years of work in helping poor communities get out of poverty through social enterprises.

Mr. Laurence Padilla, Executive Director, of the Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology (PCARRT) and Mr. Ernesto Lactao, General Manager of Malaya Development Cooperative, were also there to give testimonials of how FSSI has helped them.

Also present were Mr. Joel Saracho of PETA, Ms. Aurora Luz Villaviray, Ex Officio Member of Board of FSSI,  Ms. June Rodriguez, Corporate Secretary of the FSSI Board, Mr. Jerome Ignacio, Assistant Director of FSSI, and Ms. Kathleen Lungub, Advocacy and Communications Officer of FSSI.

FSSI: Celebrating 20 Years of Just, Sustainable and Empowered Communities

Mr. Laurence Padilla of PCART

Mr. Ernesto Lactao of Malaya Development Cooperative
Watch out for the video invites from both cooperative leaders, Mr. Laurence Padilla and Mr. Ernesto Lactao and also an overview from Mr. Jerome Ignacio.
I also attended the afternoon forums where I got so hooked listening to the very passionate and knowledgeable speakers namely Bubut Palattao of Freedom from Debt Coalition, Lidy Nacpil of Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development, Mr. Sammy Gamboa of Freedom from Debt Coalition, BAYAN MUNA Partylist Representative Hon. Neri Javier Colmenares, and Camarines Sur District 3 Representative Hon. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo.

The forum facilitators were Samuel Gamboa, Secretary General of Freedom from Debt Coalition and Atty. Alex Lacson, Convenor of Peoples' Primary. I like how Atty. Lacson delivered his introductory statements for the speakers. You can relate deeply to every issue mentioned as they have a national impact.

Ms. Lidy Nacpil of Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development

Mr. Sammy Gamboa of Freedom from Debt Coalition

Ms. Bubut Palattao of Freedom from Debt Coalition

Camarines Sur District 3 Representative Hon. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo
 Representative Robredo's talk was awe-inspiring. It was awesome to hear about how his husband, the late Jessie Robredo of DILG, ran Naga as Mayor, and how they lived modestly until now. True enough, there are only a few like his husband who remain strong and willful enough to go against malpractice within the government. She talked about how the districts of Camarines Sur were ruled by dynasties, and how she was able to beat the Villafuertes in her district.

BAYAN MUNA Partylist Representative Hon. Neri Javier Colmenares
I was particularly overwhelmed with the stories of  Representative Colmenares confirming corruption within the government is primarily motivated by greed especially when having lump sum funding that is controlled only by one individual. However you look at it, it's all wrong to let one individual decide on what to do with so much money. The temptation is so strong that not too many are able to resist.

Atty. Alex Lacson, Convenor of Peoples' Primary
I have so many video coverage, including talks of both representatives, so I promise to upload them as soon as possible at the YouTube channel:

More photos at the Wazzup Pilipinas Facebook page:

Below is their official press release:

Achieving just, sustainable, and empowered communities through triple bottom line social entrepreneurship

In light of the recent international talks on the post-2015 goals, Foundation for a Sustainable Society (FSSI) continues to present triple bottom line social entrepreneurship as an effective way of helping the poor develop sustainable communities.

In a recent forum on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ways forward, Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the MDGs, said that alongside economic development, governments and development institutions must also adhere to socially inclusive and environment sustainability goals.

Triple bottom line, coined as kita, kapwa, kalikasan, is the integration of economic, social, and environmental goals in solving pervasive societal problems such as economic crisis, inequality, and environmental degradation.

“For the past 20 years, FSSI demonstrated that development must come from the poor and this we do by maximizing their capacities to participate in economic activities, resulting to jobs, income, and protection of natural resources from which the poor communities get their livelihood,” says FSSI Executive Director Jay Lacsamana.

In its 20 years of existence, FSSI has helped more than 200 social enterprises or organizations of farmers, fishers, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, women, and other marginalized sectors in areas of organic agriculture, crafts, industrial raw input production, aquatic production, microfinance and cooperative development for the past 20 years.

Social enterprises are social mission-driven organizations that engage the poor as owners, workers, or suppliers in economic activities whose main goal is to reduce poverty in their living environments. A social enterprise aims to achieve social and environmental bottom lines and not only financial returns.

To date, there are around 30,000 social enterprises in the country taking the form of cooperatives, micro-finance institutions, and fair-trade organizations, among others.

In Luzon, one of FSSI’s partners is the Malaya Development Cooperative (MDC), a social enterprise producing dairy products like fresh milk and yogurt sold to walk-in customers, small groceries, and schools in Isabela and nearby provinces. Once beset with problems on debt to traders and typhoons, some farmers in Mallig now earn a daily added income of Php 660 out of milking three cows provided by the cooperative.

Founded in 1995, FSSI was established following a successful debt-for-development agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Swiss Confederation. The agreement paved way to Switzerland’s cancellation of the Philippine’s outstanding export credit debts amounting to 42 million Swiss Francs (approximately USD 34 million.) Following this, a counterpart fund, equivalent to fifty percent of debt amount, was put up and was channeled to FSSI to finance sustainable development projects for the marginalized sectors.

Aside from financial services, FSSI supports enhancement for entrepreneurial capacities, engages policy makers and facilitate the participation of poor communities in policy development and implementation and acts as facilitator, partner, advocate and implementer where appropriate.

Through social enterprises built with triple bottom line, FSSI hopes to continue building just, sustainable, and empowered communities with the poor benefitting the most.

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