Tuesday, May 17, 2022

School Principal Wages War on Waste in Cavite

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“It’s really easy to turn used plastic bottles into bottle bricks,” shares Rhodora Sacramento, a school principal from Cavite. “Just collect as many empty wrappers of candy or junk food as possible, then cut them into small strips and stuff them tightly inside the used plastic bottles. When full, the bottle bricks can be arranged as fences and pathway guides in our schools and homes.”

A veteran school administrator, Rhodora has been waging a War on Waste (WOW) since 2016, leading programs to minimize garbage by convincing her students to stuff plastic wrappers into bottle bricks, giving them their own personal eco-bags and persuading them to throw used bottles and cans in convenient wireframe baskets. Collected bottles and cans are then sold to recyclers. Sales proceeds reached PHP2500 in just the first three months of the program, enough to fund one of Rhodora’s school organization’s Christmas parties.

Bottle bricks were traded to Robinsons Hypermart Bacoor for canvas eco-bags. The bottle bricks were used to build homes for the Yangil tribe in Zambales, while the eco-bags were distributed to Cavite students for their personal use. To further motivate students to maintain the school’s cleanliness, certificates and prizes were awarded to the cleanest rooms at the end of the school year.

“Our War on Waste has drastically reduced the garbage we generate. From around 20 garbage bags a week, we were down to five,” reveals Rhodora, who is currently principal of the Mabolo Elementary School in Bacoor.

The plucky principal is just one of many champions promoting viable ways to reduce plastic waste, preventing them from entering Philippine waterways. She says there are more solutions that can be developed and shared by other schools across the country.

According to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Cavite generated an average of 1514 tons of waste daily in 2018, 22% or 333 tons of which could still be recycled. The Imus River traverses the highest waste-generating cities in Cavite – Bacoor, DasmariƱas and Imus – making it a conveyor belt for leaked plastic waste flowing out to Manila Bay.

“The Philippines has good solid waste management laws, like Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” explains Norlan Talay, a barangay secretary in the municipality of Silang. “The problem is effective implementation, because there are too many residents and too few enforcers. Aside from ramping up enforcement efforts, we need residents to be more cooperative in managing waste. We should do all we can to take care of the world our past generations left us.”

Funded by the Government of Norway, Project ASEANO is led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Indonesia in close collaboration with the PEMSEA Resource Facility and ASEAN Secretariat under the purview of the endorsing ASEAN sectoral body, the ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment (AWGCME).

Project ASEANO promotes the development of sound and sustainable measures to reduce the impacts of plastic pollution and their implications on socioeconomic development and the environment. The project focuses on the local level, with Cavite’s Imus River as one of two project sites in Southeast Asia.

The results of the project will be synthesized into knowledge products (LGU toolkit and best practices policy handbook, monitoring tools and technologies for plastics management and so forth) that can be used as a reference by local governments across the ASEAN region with similar priority management concerns.

How Residents Can Reduce Their Garbage

“Residents can do a lot to minimize the trash they generate. On the household level, they should start with proper segregation, separating waste from items that can still be reused, salvaged or recycled,” says Dr. Ed Lineses of De La Salle University DasmariƱas, who led a part of Project ASEANO’s series of studies. “Households can also choose not to use plastic. There are many things we can buy without using plastic packaging. Policymakers should also be more creative in finding ways to incentivize the refusal of plastics by collaborating with sellers, giving them sensible incentives to minimize their reliance on single-use plastics.”

Through the efforts of local champions like principal Rhodora, Asian waterways might soon become a bit cleaner and clearer.

“If a war on waste is what it takes to clean our rivers, then so be it. Schools are one avenue, apart from households to educate young people on the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. The youth are destined to inherit the future, but how it looks shall depend on what they choose to do today,” concludes PEMSEA executive director Aimee Gonzales.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Microsoft introduces Microsoft Security Experts to help organizations achieve more secure, compliant, and productive outcom

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Microsoft announced that it is offering new and expanded services for security under a new service category, Microsoft Security Experts. Security Experts includes three new managed services—Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, Microsoft Defender Experts for extended detection and response (XDR), Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise—as well as two existing services, Microsoft Security Experts for Modernization, and Microsoft Security Experts for Incident Response.

The security landscape has become increasingly challenging and complex for all customers. Threats have grown at an alarming rate over the last year, and cybercrime is now expected to cost the world US$10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from US$3 trillion a decade ago and US$6 trillion in 2021.

Last year, Microsoft Security blocked over 9.6 billion malware threats and more than 35.7 billion phishing and other malicious emails. Microsoft Security is actively tracking more than 35 ransomware families and 250 unique threat actors across observed nation-state, ransomware, and criminal activities, and its technology has blocked more than 900 brute force password theft attempts every second.

Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance and Identity at Microsoft, said: “As attacks increase in scale, so must our defenses. It’s getting harder every day for organizations to build and maintain a full security team, let alone one with the ever-expanding skillset required to meet the range of today’s security demands. This is why we are launching Microsoft Security Experts, which combines expert-trained technology with human-led services to help organizations achieve more secure, compliant, and productive outcomes. It is our vision of delivering this category of services end-to-end, across security, compliance, identity, management, and privacy.”

New Managed Services from Microsoft Security

Microsoft has designed three new managed services that will help partners and customers scale their team of experts to fit their needs, without having to face hiring and training challenges.

1. Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting

Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting is for customers who have a robust security operations center but want Microsoft to help them proactively hunt for threats across Microsoft Defender data, including endpoints, Office 365, cloud applications, and identity.

Microsoft’s experts will investigate anything they find and hand off the contextual alert information and remediation instructions to the business for it to quickly respond. The ‘Experts on Demand’ offering will also provide businesses access to consultations with a Microsoft expert about a specific incident, nation-state actor, or attack vector. Businesses will also receive specific recommendations to help them understand and improve their security posture.

Defender Experts for Hunting will be generally available from mid-2022, and interested customers can request to be part of the preview.

2. Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR

Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR is available for customers who need to extend the capacity of their security operations center. It is a managed XDR service that extends beyond endpoints to provide detection and response across Microsoft 365 Defender, investigating alerts, and using automation and human expertise to respond to incidents alongside the business’ security team. This service allows the business to stay in control and reduce costs, excess noise, and manual processes.

Defender Experts for XDR will move into preview in late 2022.

3. Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise

Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise is available for large enterprises looking for more comprehensive, high-touch managed services from Microsoft experts. This comprehensive, expert-led service combines proactive threat hunting and managed XDR, leveraging Microsoft’s complete security information and event management (SIEM) and XDR stack to protect all cloud environments and all platforms. Dedicated Microsoft security experts will manage onboarding, daily interaction, practice modernization, and incident response for businesses.

Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise is sold through a custom statement of work and is available today; interested enterprise customers can contact their Account Executive to learn more.

Existing Security Services

Microsoft Security currently already offers a broad set of services for incident response and advisory through its Microsoft Industry Solutions group. These service offerings are designed to support customers in times of crisis and to help them modernize their security practices. They will become part of the Microsoft Security Experts portfolio moving forward and will be delivered by Microsoft’s global team of professional services experts.

1. Microsoft Security Services for Modernization

Microsoft Security Services for Modernization is for customers who want to take advantage of Microsoft best practices and know-how as they embrace new modern security capabilities and embark on their security transformation.

It provides consulting services that help customers at any stage of their security journey modernize their security posture and embrace a Zero Trust approach. Microsoft’s modernization services utilize extensive cybersecurity knowledge and industry expertise gathered over 35 years to keep businesses secure.

2. Microsoft Security Services for Incident Response

Microsoft Security Services for Incident Response supports customers before, during and after a breach. Incident response and recovery experts will help customers remove a bad actor from their environment, remediate their defenses after a breach, and build resilience against future attacks. Microsoft’s global team of experts will leverage their strategic partnerships with security organizations and governments globally, as well as with internal Microsoft product groups, to respond to incidents and help customers secure their most sensitive, critical environments. ​

Increased Investment in Managed XDR Partners

According to Gartner, 50% of organizations will be using managed detection and response services to contain threats by 2025. Microsoft is fully committed to working with an ecosystem of partners and technologies that provide customers the flexibility to choose what works for them, and to leverage those trusted relationships for the best outcomes and returns on their investment.

To help enable its managed detection and response partners meet this growing demand, Microsoft will be making an incremental multimillion-dollar financial investment this coming year in its managed XDR partner community in three key areas:
Implementing a new managed XDR partner designation within the Microsoft Intelligence Security Association (MISA) to unlock an expanded set of co-marketing benefits, to ensure partner offerings are front and center in each customer conversation.
Launching a new co-sell benefit for managed XDR partners, to help them build their business around Microsoft’s advanced security products.

Building new APIs to help ensure partners have access to Microsoft threat intelligence.

These new investments will expand the way Microsoft integrates with its managed XDR partners and create exciting new go-to-market opportunities. More information on the new partner investments will be available during Microsoft’s worldwide partner conference taking place in July 2022, Microsoft Inspire. Further information can also be accessed via the Microsoft Security Experts Partner page.

Visit Microsoft Security Experts’ website to learn more about its solutions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Sheraton Manila Bay unveils new signature bar, coffee, and market concept with &More by Sheraton

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Sheraton Manila Bay unveils the first &More by Sheraton outlet in the Philippines with a grand launch cocktail event on April 28, 2022 at the hotel’s newly renovated main lobby. The event was attended by key influencers, media partners, and guests who were served with sumptuous buffet of &More signature cuisine and an overflowing sample of the outlet’s artisan coffees and cocktail concoctions savored amid the soothing backdrop of live acoustic performances of Sonny and Sunshine.

The event was opened with an inviting and equally moving welcoming remarks from the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Juvy Agudon who recalled the &More’s culinary journey to fruition. To launch Manila’s newest food and beverage hub, Sheraton Manila Bay’s General Manager, Richard Masselin described &More by Sheraton’s unique and inspiring branded concept, shared the upcoming hotel renovations and projects, and introduced the talented culinary team that brought the concept to life, including new Executive Chef Plaridelo Adora; F&B Manager, Karla Delos Reyes; &More Coffee Experience Master, Ronnie Sararana; and Unspoken Bar Mixologist, Aliuss Abrazado. A symbolic champagne toasting led by hotel’s executive committee marked the official opening of &More by Sheraton to the public.

&More by Sheraton is an elevated food & beverage space that is part bar, part coffee shop, and part market. It is a central pillar of the Sheraton brand’s vision of gathering people, transitioning guests and diners seamlessly from day to night with food & beverage options that are locally sourced, easy to consume while working, and customizable to accommodate all tastes and schedules. The &More by Sheraton boasts of a contemporary, upscale interior that features a bar, market display, extensive pastry counter, energy zone with basketball ring, private booths completed with electrical socket and comfortable seating for maximum productivity, a community table, and a private meeting room.

&More by Sheraton also aims to showcase local culture and heritage by featuring local artists and talents. Ushering the roster of artisans to be featured at &More by Sheraton, the grand launch event opened the pottery exhibit entitled “Out of Sagada”, which featured the pottery pieces of Siegrid Bangyay, a renowned pottery artist from Sagada, Mountain Province.

Siegrid Bangyay is a member of the Applai Kankanaey indigenous group and her work reflects the multiple influences derived from nature and tradition of Cordillera. Her pottery mirrors the grace of form and the purity and texture of the indigenous glazes. Siegrid also pioneered the integration of bamboo and woven rattan elements to her pottery creations. Some of her signature pieces are prominently displayed at &More by Sheraton Energy Zone including the “Facebowl” and “Hairy Pot” pieces. The exhibit was opened from April 28 to May 8, 2022. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the pieces will be donated to San Lorenzo Ruiz Home for the Elderly and Bahay Tuluyan, a non-profit organization for children's welfare.

&More by Sheraton is located at the Main Lobby, Sheraton Manila Bay, M. Adriatico cor. Gen Malvar Sts. Malate, Manila. For reservation please call +632 5318 0788 or email Like us on Facebook and Instagram @sheratonmanilabay and Twitter at @sheratonmnlbay. For more information, please visit our website at

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