Dolefil and Mahintana assist SoCot communities amid COVID-19 quarantine

Amidst the enhanced community quarantine in South Cotabato, Dole Philippines, Inc. and Mahintana Foundation, Inc. sustains its cooperative efforts to support the community. On March 24, 2020, the local government unit of Polomolok received 250 hygiene kits—each kit included 1 bar of soap, 1 small towel, 2 reusable masks, and 1 500ml bottle of isopropyl alcohol for their COVID-19 frontliners. In the same week, 45 hygiene kits were distributed to barangay health workers of Brgy. Cannery. Dole Philippines, Inc. through Mahintana provided 10 sprayers and 10 1L disinfectants to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of South Cotabato. Through the help of Brgy. Cannery, TIBUD, Dole Gawad Pag-ibig, and Elmer’s Tailoring, as of March 27, 23,293 face masks are being produced and distributed to employees of Dole Philippines, Inc.

Mask production at Elmer’s Tailoring

SOLARES holds Social Marketing and SUKELCO Member Consumer Sign-Up at Lebak

Lebak: one of seven municipalities included in the SOLARES project

After completing profiling and validation in Lebak, the SOLARES project staff marketed the solar home system (SHS) units to barangays in the area. Consistently, SUKELCO conducted a membership consumer (MC) orientation and application.

Households gained knowledge on the use of the SHS unit, including minor standard operating procedures. Through the activity, the team addressed a common misconception regarding the project: Once they are signed up for the SHS unit, they are no longer eligible for the grid connection.

Once electric grid distribution is available in their area, there will be a recall of SHS units to be transferred to an off-grid community.

The SHS package includes an ERC mandated tariff of Php 7.40 a day. Replacement of worn out or damaged parts will be covered by the maintenance fee. After the project duration of 3 years, the units will be turned over to SUKELCO as part of their sustainability mechanism.

MC sign up will continue until the end of March 2020. Community members are required to submit accomplished PVM membership forms to their barangay secretary along with the one-time membership fee of Php 255.

Membership orientation by SUKELCO at Pansud, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

In line with the livelihood component, Mr. Stefan Babera, project officer from Peace and Equity Foundation, visited to monitor partner MFIs/people’s organizations/associations. Mr. Babera assisted Keytodac Coffee Growers Association (KCGA) with possible partnerships and preparation of a consolidated financial statement. He also visited Kalamansig Farmers Agricultural Development Marketing Association (KFADMA) and Bacbacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMPC) for a possible partnership as well. As a result of the monitoring, the project organized a financial systems installation training in support of partner MFIs/POs/associations.

SOLARES conducts Accounting for Non-Accountants: A Financial System Installation Workshop

Keytodac Coffee Growers Association (KCGA) and Kalamansig Farmers Agricultural Development and Marketing Association (KFADMA) participated in the Financial System Installation Workshop conducted through the SOLARES project. Ms. Phoebe Montefalcon, CPA assisted by Ms. Donna Funticha both from the PP Montefalcon Accounting Service shared their expertise to the associations in terms of improving their financial documentation in the 2-day workshop last February 27-28, 2020 at the Q Citi Park Hotel, General Santos City.

Sessions consisted of lectures, exercises, and workshop. Ms. Montefalcon discussed introduction of accounting, accounting elements, books of accounts, and the accounting cycle. The participants accomplished sample source documents and posted in book of accounts. The participants prepared trial balances, worksheets and a financial statement. Ms. Montefalcon and Ms. Funticha assisted and assessed their outputs and offered guidance in the preparation.

Regardless of their educational attainment and work experience, participants shared the ease of learning because of how the workshop was packaged specific to operations of their associations, and examples of application in their context.

Mr. Stefan Babera from Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) facilitated the workshop. Mr. Jobe Tubigon, SOLARES project manager, provided insight in his opening remarks on the need for and advantages of proper financial documentation. Ms. Shunie Palacios (PEF) provided clarification and assistance to the associations and thanked both resource speakers and participants to a successful workshop.

People in Need Philippines (PIN) Benchmarks SOLARES & ASEP-PVM Window 1 Projects

As one of the seven (7) awardees &/or implementers of EU ASEP-CfP, the People in Need Philippines (PIN), together with its partner Entrepreneurs du Monde, benchmarked SOLARES & ASEP-PVM Window 1 projects (under SOCOTECO II) on 3 February 2020 for a learning exchanges on project operations, financial and procurement, especially approaches to off-grid lighting solutions and livelihood support (RE or agri-based).

Upon coordination with SOCOTECO II, PVM-W1 Site Sitio New Antique was the area being visited. Along with 4 other colleagues, Mr. Diosdado Mendoza, PIN Project Manager, visited and interviewed several beneficiaries of the Window 1 PVM Site. SOCOTECO II and SOLARES project team assisted the PIN team to the site.

Ms. Khristin Hunter, Mr. Karol Skalowski, and Mr. Mendoza took turns interviewing the residents of New Antique regarding their experience with the Solar Home System (SHS) Units of the Window 1 PVM. A few residents welcomed the team into their home and shared about using the unit for 2 years. They were thankful and noticed how they could use power for 24 hours compared to using kerosene, and mentioned their children could study and do homework in the evening. New Antique sitio leader also shared the differences in experiences and preferences of residents. She herself used personal solar equipment for power like others; she did not answer on behalf of the community, instead recognized it was up to the residents whether they wanted to avail. She added if there were another project that would open to avail SHS units, she is positive there would some who would request to be included.

The PIN team went around the sitio before proceeding to another venue for a brief exchange of experience over coffee and snacks. Ms. Hunter and Mr. Skalowski gave their questions to SOCOTECO II, Mr. John Tindoy and Mr. Angelico Boiser. Their queries revolved around the system and process used by SOCOTECO II other queries related to their line of work and experience.

For the livelihood component of the project, Mr. Mendoza, Ms. Hunter, and Mr. Skalowski openly asked regarding the arrangement between the project and Peace and Equity Foundation from Mr. Stefan Babera, PEF project officer. Mr. Babera shared the process of how PEF assisted microfinance institutions, people organizations, and associations included in SOLARES.

The exchange continued at General Santos City wherein Mr. Jobe Tubigon, SOLARES project manager properly introduced the SOLARES project to PIN, along with Mr. Martiniano Magdolot, project director, and Ms. Liza Hora, admin and finance officer. The PIN team was able to expand their queries on specifics on the project, such as database, process of data collection, electric coops participation, sustainability, co-financing, beneficiaries, and updates on SOLARES.

The PIN team expressed their gratitude towards SOLARES project staff and Mahintana Foundation, Inc., for the learning experience and prompt, useful advice for their approach to the REACH project.

Other than their visit with the SOLARES & SOCOTECO II Projects, PIN is set to visit DASURECO’s franchise areas in Brgy. Baluntaya, Don Marcelino and Brgy. Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental for the Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) technologies.

SOLARES conducts Factory Acceptance Test Training

Part of the SOLARES Project bidding and procurement process is the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) and before the contract signing, a successful conduct of FAT must take place first. For a successful FAT, it is important that the project’s FAT team is equipped with technical know-how on how FAT is done. To do this, the SOLARES project requested the technical assistance of ASEP-TA/GIZ, through Mr. David Balleza as technical consultant, for the FAT training and actual conduct of FAT.

The FAT training was aimed at equipping the FAT team/TWG on how to conduct FAT, especially in preparation of actual conduct of FAT in China. The 5-member FAT team is composed of key technical persons from SOCOTECO II (1), SUKELCO (1), Mahintana (2) and ASEP-TA/GIZ (1). Aside from the FAT team, the training was also participated by the key project staff of the SOLARES project as part of building local capacities in FAT, PSI, O&M and other related activities. The 2-day activity was conducted on 30-31 January 2020 at Q CitiPark Hotel, General Santos City with Mr. Balleza of ASEP-TA/GIZ as technical resource person given his experience and expertise in solar/renewable energy.

Key results of the training include sharing and demonstrating the FAT process, protocol, steps, test procedures and FAT requirements per major Solar Home System (SHS) component – the device under inspection (DUI). During demo, visual screening as part of the test procedure was conducted on PV module, battery and battery management system, charge controller, LED lamps, and vending machine/management system (VMS) of the sample SHS unit of PVM Window 1. The demo was based on the draft FAT manual/ guidelines designed by the project (part of the bid documents). Accomplishing sample FAT forms and report by the FAT team was also part of the key results.

Meanwhile, the actual conduct of FAT which was originally scheduled on 10-15 February 2020 in China was postponed due to travel restrictions brought about by the novel Corona virus outbreak.

SOLARES conducts Training on Leadership and Financial Management to Partner Coops/POs

In order to empower and enhance capacity and skills of microfinance institutions (MFIs)/coops/people’s organizations (POs), Mahintana Foundation, Inc. through the SOLARES project and its livelihood component conducted the 3-day Training on Leadership and Financial Management, facilitated by Peace and Equity Foundation. Two resource speakers shared their expertise on their respective topics; Ms. Mary Luzviminda ‘Dayluz’ Herezo for leadership, and Ms. Phoebe Montefalcon on financial management. Keytodac Coffee Growers Association (KCGA), KFADMA, KIMEMCO, KPS-SEED, Sta. Cruz MPC actively participated in the training.

For the first day, Ms. Dayluz covered various topics on leadership, mainly starting with the self and gradually progressing to roles, leadership, and management. She engaged the participants with different activities involving situational problems solving, group dynamics, as well as pre- and post-tests for participants to self-evaluate and be aware of their progress throughout the training. Such activities prompted the participants to reveal their innate leadership skills, and also improve and develop them from then on.

On the second day of the training, Ms. Montefalcon discussed the module entitled Accounting for Non-Accountants which covered most topics that would be expected of a personnel assigned in finance. For the participant MFIs/coops/POs, it was most helpful for them to identify ways and means to improve their overall financial management. The financial management assessment tool became one of the highlights for the participants. Mahintana Foundation, Inc., Peace and Equity Foundation, and Ms. Montefalcon and her staff were present to directly assist in their checklist and output. The participants made and presented their action plans and Ms. Montefalcon was generous with her professional advice regarding improving the current situation, to any questions, and with implementation hurdles the participants may face after taking home their learnings to their respective MFIs/coops/POs.

Ms. Liza Hora, Admin and Finance Officer of Mahintana Foundation Inc., Mr. Dennis Oman Salvo, PPU Manager of Peace & Equity Foundation, and Mr. Martiniano L. Magdolot, President & CEO of Mahintana Foundation, Inc. were present to warmly welcome and give recognition to the participants from several areas such as Lebak, Kalamansig, Kiamba, and Maasim.

 

URGENT HIRING

Mahintana is looking for a Registered Pharmacist to be assigned at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital with the following qualifications:

Interested applicants may submit their application letter, resume, Transcript of Records and other pertinent documents to mahintana_mfi@yahoo.com or to healthplusppf@gmail.com addressed to:

Mr. Martiniano L. Magdolot
President and CEO
Mahintana Foundation, Inc.

PEF and Mahintana conduct SOLARES Financial Management Assessment and Monitoring

The SOLARES team composed of Ms. Grace B. Miguel, SOLARES Project Bookkeeper and Mr. Stefan H. Babera, PEF Livelihood Project Officer visited the partner MFIs and POs in the SOLARES covered municipalities in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani Province to conduct a financial management assessment and monitoring on December 17-19, 2019.

The first partner visited was the Kalamansig Farmers Agricultural Development and Marketing Association (KFADMA), formerly the Kalamansig Coffee Industry Development Council (KCOINDECO), located in Brgy. Sta Clara, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. The team discussed with key officers headed by Mr. Fernando Saycon, KFADMA President. As of today, the association has registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

On December 18, the team visited the office of Ms. Maria Magdalena Ruiz, Loan Officer of Bacbacan Multi-purpose Cooperative located in Poblacion, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat. The team gathered information regarding the financial management system of the cooperative which was fairly established and were closely monitored by MICOOP Area Officers. The system can generate updated financial reports which makes their credit and saving operation easier. With regards to the training needs of the cooperative, they want an in depth analysis and understanding of the financial reports so as to capacitate their staff in interpreting the figures in the report for faster decision making.

The team proceeded to Brgy. Keytodac in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat. The team was welcomed by the association officers headed by Mr. Arnel Butron, the association’s president. They are practicing the traditional financial recording but is maintaining a revolving fund with a higher amount because their geographic setting is far from the bank and it is costly for them to regularly go.

The following day, December 19, the team proceeded to Kiamba in Sarangani Province to visit Kiamba Micro Entrepreneurs Multi-purpose Cooperative (KIMEMCO). The team talked with Mrs. Jane Rojas, BOD Chairperson, Ms. Amaya Albaran, Bookkeeper. The cooperative also maintains a financial recording and reporting system for their credit and savings. Ms. Albaran also gave a demo on how to use the existing system particularly on updating of financial reports and status of credit of borrowers. The team went to Maasim, Sarangani Province to visit Sta. Cruz Multi-purpose Cooperative and they met with Mrs. Juvelyn Besin, Loan Officer of the cooperative.

Overall, the MFIs/cooperatives’ financial recording and management is in place with the help of installed systems in operations and report generation are easier for them. However, cooperatives will have to further improve their skills in interpreting and analyzing financial reports to aid in their decision-making.

SOLARES Project wraps up its first year with the Annual Review and Planning Workshop

SOLARES Year 1 officially concludes on December 13, 2019. The SOLARES project management and project implementation team were invited to participate in the Year 1 Annual Review and Planning Workshop cum Project Management Meeting. Together with Mahintana Foundation, Inc., representatives from Peace and Equity Foundation, Dole Philippines, Inc., SOCOTECO II, SUKELCO, Bacbacan MPC, KCOINDECO/KFADMA, Keytodac CGA, KIMEMCO, KPS-SEED, Sta. Cruz MPC participated in the workshop last December 10, 2019 which was held at Dolefil Clubhouse Kalsangi, Kalsangi, Polomolok, South Cotabato.

In order to assess project performance in terms of implementation and fund utilization, Year 1 project accomplishments and challenges were presented for assessments and action and financial plans for Year 2 and 3 were updated. Mr. Martiniano Magdolot, SOLARES Project Director and Mahintana Foundation, Inc. President & CEO welcomed the team with a brief background on how the project started up to the latest updates regarding SOLARES. Mr. Jobe Tubigon followed with an expectation check and workshop overview for the participants. Representing Dole Philippines, Inc. and on behalf of Mr. Nick Yiannakis, Dolefil Vice President and Managing Director, a message from SOLARES partners was delivered by Engr. Wilson Peria, Dolefil plant utility manager. Engr. Peria congratulated the team for its first year and recognized how through the project, Dolefil gained knowledge and experience in solar power. Mr. Tubigon proceeded to discuss the presentation of Year 1 Project Accomplishments and Challenges through the different components: social preparation and community mobilization, capacity building and technical assistance, SHS electrification support, and Mr. Stefan Babera, project officer of Peace and Equity Foundation presented for livelihood and financing support. Ms. Grace Miguel, project bookkeeper updated the team regarding the SOLARES Year 1 project financial performance and budget performance report.

From upper left, clockwise: Engr. Crisanto Sotelo, Mr. Stefan Babera, Mr. Martiniano Magdolot, Mr. Elmer Jay Seguma, Engr. Wilson Peria, Mr. Jobe Tubigon, and the SOLARES project.

Before proceeding to the open forum, a ceremonial turnover of livelihood assistance to Keytodac CGA was done. Mr. Elmer Jay Seguma, Keytodac CGA was present to participate in the turnover. In the afternoon, a planning workshop was done; different groups in the project developed their action plans and financial plans for Year 2 and 3. To officially conclude the workshop, Engr. Crisanto Sotelo, General Manager of SOCOTECO II expressed gratitude and congratulations to the SOLARES team for their first year.

SOLARES expresses support to coffee organizations in Sultan Kudarat

Mr. Arnel Butron, Mr. Stefan Babera, and Mr. Elmor Segume at the coffee processing site.

As a part of the livelihood component of SOLARES, Mr. Stefan Babera, project officer of Peace and Equity Foundation visited Brgy. Keytodac, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat on November 19, 2019.

Mr. Babera called a meeting on preparation for the next operation of the association, particularly for their coffee and corn consolidation and trading, and production loan support to officer-members. Mr. Arnel Butron, President and Mr. Arnold Colcolan, Business Manager participated in the meeting.

One of the agenda included setting up of financial management system. For coffee and corn operations, there were four (4) books of transaction presented to the association; inventory book (purchase of coffee), sales book (delivery), operating expense book and cash book. Discussion covered the content of these books and most importantly the division of work among Mr. Butron and Mr. Colancolan.

Participants also tackled documentation of operation flows. Constraints faced by the association were on the recording of transactions due to the voucher signatories which cause confusion, delays, and mixups of records. The association will implement the open-market marketing strategy for this year.

Mr. Babera assisted Keytodac for a few more days to guide the operation.