Pinay scientist discovers world’s largest caldera in Benham Rise

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 24, 2019   •   1003

Filipina scientist, Jenny Anne Barretto, along co-authors Ray Wood and John Milsom have discovered what may be the world’s largest caldera located in Benham Rise.

The New Zealand-based scientist recently published a paper describing the morphology and formation of the Benham Rise.

Among their discoveries is the Apolaki Caldera which may be the world’s largest known caldera.

A Caldera is a crater-like feature that forms when a large eruption of magma leaves a gigantic empty chamber underground.

Based on their paper, the Apolaki Caldera has a diameter of ~150 km or twice the size of the Yellowstone in the United States.

“For comparison, Earth’s largest calderas, like the Yellowstone, is only about 60 km. The size is comparable to shield calderas in Mars (Olympus Mons; 80 km x 65 km) and Venus (Sacajawea; 150 X 105 km),” according to the University of the Philippines (UP) MSI Geological Oceanography Laboratory.

The researchers named the caldera Apolaki, meaning “giant lord”.—AAC

PH, Japan meet tackle closer cooperation on key infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan both agreed to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in implementing key infrastructure projects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that during the high-level meeting held in Hakone last Dec. 6, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Japan’s Hiroto Izumi, special advisor to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, discussed Japan’s continued assistance for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects.

The two sides also expressed readiness to sign the JPY4.409 billion supplemental loan agreement for the Metro Manila Priority Seismic Bridge Improvement Project in the coming months.

During the meeting, the two officials signed the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) signifying the latter’s commitment to provide technical support to the Duterte administration’s formulation of a regional development master plan designed to maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.

In November, the DOF said that Japan have committed to support the masterplan which includes the development of possible projects that will help boost economy in the Subic Bay area.

Japan also committed to extend additional technical assistance that are critical to the Philippines’ campaign to bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

Both sides likewise confirmed to work towards the signing of the exchange of notes and the loan agreement for a supplemental loan to finance the ongoing Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP).

The two countries also committed to speed up the formulation of the Central Mindanao Highway Project (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section), as a candidate for Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

In addition, the DOF said that Japanese officials have expressed their intention to conduct pre-feasibility studies for four of the Philippines’ priority projects: the Cebu Circumferential Road, Second San Juanico Bridge and Access Road, Central Mindanao Highway (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybay Section), and Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Logistical Highway (4th Butuan Bridge.)

Japan also reiterated its intention to provide a loan for the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, as well as additional technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Most Affected Areas (MAA) in Marawi City.

The two sides also discussed other loan financing arrangements for the Philippines as it transitions to Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status ahead of schedule in 2020.

PH, Japan infrastructure meet set in Hakone on Dec. 6

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

(FILE) From left to right: Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr. Hiroto Izumi (Courtesy: Philippine Embassy to Tokyo website)

MANILA, Philippines – Economic officials from the Philippines and Japan are set to meet on Dec. 6, Friday to discuss the progress of the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure projects being financed by Tokyo.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Economic and Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will lead the Philippine delegation, while Dr. Hiroto Izumi will head the Japanese team in the next high-level meeting set in Hakone town in eastern Japan.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement the meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation will be the ninth such dialogue between the two countries.

The first meeting was convened in March 2017 at Kantei, the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, Japan, while the most recent was held at a hotel in Clark, Pampanga.

Dominguez said the regular meetings held between the two countries is part of the “fast and sure” approach adopted by the two countries to ensure the smooth and swift implementation of the Japan-funded projects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program.

“A clear demonstration of this ‘fast and sure’ approach was the signing of 10 loan agreements between Manila and Tokyo since President Duterte assumed office in June 2016,” he added.

These loan agreements include Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II), Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST); Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project; Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Bulacan; New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (II); Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV); North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project or NSCREP (1st tranche of loan); Metro Manila Subway Project or MMSP (Phase I), which is the single biggest venture under the “Build, Build, Build” program; and Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.

The finance chief noted that several of these agreements involving infrastructure projects were each processed and approved in a short span of 3 to 4 months.The DOF also said that as of December 2018, Japan is still the top provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and grants totaling US$8.26 billion or 46 percent share of the Philippines’ total ODA loan portfolio.

Reforms in PH basic education eyed after PISA reading results

Marje Pelayo   •   December 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Edcuation (DepEd) acknowledges the result of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) released on Tuesday (December 3).

In a statement, the Department said the PISA results, along with the agency’s assessments and studies, will aid in policy formulation, planning and programming towards further improvement in the quality of basic education in the country.

PISA is a worldwide study that examines students’ knowledge in reading, mathematics, and science conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Philippines scored the lowest in reading comprehension among the 79 participating countries, with an average reading score of 340.

The Philippines score is 100 points less than the average performance score of 487 set by the OECD, lagging behind its ASEAN neighbors in PISA’s Overall Reading Literacy – Singapore (549); Malaysia (415); Brunei (408); Thailand (393); and Indonesia (371).

The DepEd said it is committed to improving its quality of basic education in order to pass the global standards.

“With the PISA results also reflecting the learners’ performance in the National Achievement Test, DepEd recognizes the urgency of addressing issues and gaps in attaining quality of basic education in the Philippines,” DepEd’s statement read.

To do this, the Department vows to strengthen its efforts through aggressive reforms under its program “Sulong Edukalidad” by reviewing and updating the K to 12 program; improving learning facilities across the country; upskilling and reskilling of teachers and school heads through a transformed professional development program; and engaging all stakeholders for support and collaboration.

It was the first time that the Philippines joined OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) as part of DepEd’s reform plan towards achieving quality basic education and make it at par with global standards.

The Department of Education joined the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018 as part of the…

Posted by Department of Education – Philippines on Tuesday, 3 December 2019

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