Holcim Philippines to help in Manila Bay rehab with Circular Explorer

The Circular Explorer is heading to the Philippines to help clean the Manila Bay.

Holcim Philippines, Inc. is lending a hand in the sustainable rehabilitation of the Manila Bay through a vessel that will help collect marine litter, study the pollution, and raise awareness of communities and students on caring for the seas.

The company will receive in first half of 2022 from the Holcim Group the Circular Explorer, a solar-powered catamaran that can recover four tons of plastic wastes from bodies of water for recycling. To be deployed in Manila Bay, the vessel was launched by the Holcim Group in Germany on 21 July 2021 to symbolize its commitment to driving the circular economy and preserving nature.

The Holcim Group is a world leader in building solutions and recycling. It is reusing 50 million tons of resources across its business and set to double recycling volumes by 2030. The Circular Explorer is part of the Holcim Group’s stronger focus on sustainability and innovation, which includes the launch of the world’s first green cement made with 20% recycled demolition and construction wastes. The Circular Explorer will be operated by environmental organization One Earth One Ocean and supported by Holcim Philippines.

To further strengthen this initiative, the company signed a partnership with the Marine Environment and Resource Foundation, Inc. (MERF) at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) on 29 July 2021 to develop innovative solutions against plastic pollution and advancing research on this field.

MERF and Holcim also agreed to develop capacity building materials to communicate the effect of marine plastic pollution and opportunities to change behavior.

Jan Jenisch, Holcim Group CEO: “Everyone has a role in preserving our oceans. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer to be part of the solution. I am inspired to see how young changemakers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programs are designed to mobilize them to take action.”

Horia Adrian, President and CEO of Holcim Philippines: “We are excited to help restore the Manila Bay through the Circular Explorer. Its focus on science and education will greatly complement ongoing clean up efforts. Through the Circular Explorer, we will further advance circular economy or the preservation of natural resources by reusing materials as much as possible and have a more positive impact in building progress in the Philippines. Finally, this is a flagship initiative of the Holcim Group to advance sustainability and innovation. We are greatly motivated to drive its success here in the Philippines.”

Dr. Maria Vanessa B. Rodriguez, President of MERF: “We at the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc. as well as UP Marine Science Institute are thankful for the partnership with Holcim Philippines. This a good project that can help come up with baseline studies on the impact of macro- and microplastics to the environment especially now that this is a big problem in the Philippines. This initiative can also help us better understand the other challenges to the marine environment, map our resources, and promote conservation through education.”

Holcim Philippines is leading circularity in the country in its operations through waste management unit Geocyle, which converts qualified wastes as alternative fuel in manufacturing cement through the co-processing technology. In 2020 alone, Geocycle co-processed 130,000 tons of qualified waste materials, preventing these from ending in landfills and seas. Replacing traditional fuels with recycled materials also helps Holcim Philippines reduce its carbon footprint and conserve natural resources.

HPI and MERF officials strike a pose after signing a partnership to advance marine science and identify solutions for the plastics polluting waters. From left are Holcim Philippines ACM & Infrastructure Performance and Business Development Christine Bellen, Geocycle Project Manager Allan Cuyno, Holcim Vice President of Communications Cara Ramirez, MERF President Vanessa Rodriguez, MERF Vice President and Treasurer Charissa Ferrera, Vice President of Geoycle Albert Leoveras, and Holcim Stakeholder Relations Manager Joneil Ano.


Holcim Philippines, Inc. (Philippine Stock Exchange: HLCM) is one of the leading building solution companies in the country. The Company has a deep portfolio of innovative solutions fostered by a full range of products from structuring to finishing applications that can help local builders execute with high performance and efficiency a wide range of projects from massive infrastructure to simple home repairs.

With cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Davao, as well as aggregates and dry mix business and technical support facilities for building solutions, Holcim Philippines is a reliable partner of builders in the country.

Holcim Philippines is also committed to the highest standards of sustainable operations and manufacturing excellence with its plants certified under ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental Management System), ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System) and OHSAS 45001:2018 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System).

Holcim Philippines is a member of the Holcim Group, the world leader in the building materials industry present in 80 countries with over 75,000 employees.

Holcim exists to build progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people passionate about building progress for people and the planet across its 70 markets and four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.


Final Stakeholder Consultation for the Development of PNS on the Code of Practice for the Organic Agriculture Production of Traditional Rice Varieties

Traditional Rice Varieties (TRV) are among the treasures of rich national history, identity, and cultural heritage. Handed from generations to generations and normally grown by family farming communities, it is considered as an abundant treasure trove of genetic variation due to its superior grain and eating quality, nutritional value, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Due to its unique qualities, it has a colossal market potential in the local and international market. In fact, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reported that in 2005-2014, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) exported 142.2 million tons of heirloom rice (considered as a type of TRV) valued at Php 8.6 million pesos. Along with the CAR, TRV are also cultivated and produced in Western Visayas (Region VII), Northern Mindanao (Region X), and SOCCKSARGEN (Region XII).

Through its superior qualities, high demand, and market potential, the production of TRV encounters many challenges in the traceability and purity of the harvest, insurance of quality, and volume of production. Some of these varieties even face the threat of extinction.

Along with the efforts of IRRI and Department of Agriculture (DA) in preserving these varieties, the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) aims to develop a Philippine National Standard (PNS) that will recommend farming practices for the organic agriculture production of TRV. The PNS will help in promoting consumer safety and the cultural importance of organic TRV, and aid in the traceability of the varieties through the promotion of community registration.

The established Technical Working Group (TWG) for PNS on the COP for OA Production of TRV was composed of experts from regulatory agencies – National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), BAFS-Organic Agriculture Division (OAD), DA-CAR; academe and research institutions (Benguet State University, Kalinga State University, Ifugao State University, and Mountain Province Polytechnic College); and stakeholders (Benguet Heirloom Farmers’ Cooperative, Mountain Province Heirloom Rice Farmers Agricultural Cooperative, and Kalinga Rice Terraces Farmers Agricultural Cooperative).

On August 24, 2021, BAFS conducted the concluding Stakeholder Consultation (SC) for the PNS on the Code of Practice for the Organic Agriculture Production of TRV via Zoom Cloud Meeting. The consultation was attended by 45 stakeholders representing the regulatory agencies, academic and research institutions, NGOs and TRV farmers from Kalinga, Ifugao, Benguet, Bontoc, Mountain Province, Cebu, Bohol, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, and Cotabato.

After the final consultation, the comments/recommendations gathered will be deliberated by the TWG to finalize the working draft PNS for subsequent endorsement and approval of the DA Secretary. Once approved, the PNS will be used to provide guidelines in the organic practices of TRV for domestic and international markets promoting food safety for the consumers. This PNS will help in boosting productivity and farmer’s income while protecting our cultural heritage through these varieties. # # # (DA-BAFS)

To make milk available for all: USDA eyes partnership with Baguio Dairy Farm

While the Baguio Dairy Farm continues to establish the foundation for a sound and viable milk industry, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Counselor Morgan Haas along with the personnel from National Dairy Authority (NDA), visited the facility to have better appreciation of the Dairy Development Project of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) in the region.

Aimed at being the milk capital in Cordillera, the Dairy Farm Project seeks to help in addressing the challenges caused by the country’s dependency on imported milk, low productivity, and high production cost including weak market linkage.

During the discussion of Counselor Haas with NDA Administrator Marilyn Mabale and DA-CAR Regional Executive Director (RED) Dr. Cameron Odsey and his staff, Counselor Haas highlighted the need of improving the dairy industry as part of the campaign on advancing food security.

According to him, in line with their interest in promoting affordable access to safe and nutritious food and aside from trying to provide healthier diet for the young age, they also want to provide farmers and average Filipinos an alternative option in farming, instead of just growing vegetables.

“We are also looking on possible technologies that science can offer to hasten and improve productivity and deal with other challenges in dairy production,” he added.

On the other hand, Dr. Odsey explained the operations in the Dairy Farm over the years. He reiterated the primary goal of the Dairy Farm Project which is to make milk available to the highland communities.

 “We also want more farmers to engage in dairy production that’s why we continue to develop and share technologies to produce high value animals with proper feeds,” Dr. Odsey said.

In line with what the DA-CAR RED had mentioned, the Dairy Development Project has distributed cattle to qualified farmer beneficiaries and it also provide basic dairy training management as part of its extension services.

Meanwhile, in an interview, NDA Administrator Mabale said that the purpose of the site visit is to observe the farm facility and showcased the Dairy Farm operation to USDA. She shared that they are looking at possible projects in partnership with USDA in in order to upgrade the dairy industry in the region.

Currently, the Baguio Dairy Farm which is managed by DA-CAR located at Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center (BABRC) houses 48 heads of breeder stock and 55 heads of purebred calves.

From January to July 2021, the farm was able to supply an average of 9,338.86 liters of milk per month to Mt. High Dairy Cooperative. The cooperative spearhead the production and marketing of fresh milk from the Dairy Farm. # # # (Mark Hernandez / DA-RFO CAR, Research Division)