NGO

"People-Powered Markets" to hold exhibit-cum-trade fair in run-up to EDSA 25

Business leaders, microentrepreneurs, and NGO workers will gather at the NBC Tent, Fort Bonifacio, Global City from Feb. 22-23 to celebrate the work of the private sector in providing poverty-stricken Filipinos with livelihood opportunities, and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

The “People-Powered Markets” exhibit will also serve as venue for the participants to discuss and plan how to build on the work of companies and microfinance institutions in engaging enterprising Filipinos in poor communities and empowering them with funds, training, and outlets for their products.

President Benigno Aquino III will attend the event.  Among the business leaders who will attend the event are Philippine Long Distance Company chair Manny V. Pangilinan,  Philippine Investment Management, Inc. president and chief executive officer Ramon del Rosario,  and renowned accountant-philanthropist  Washington Sycip.

“We seek to bring about a People Power to transform the market into an instrument for shared progress for all Filipinos,” said Dan Songco, president and chief executive officer of the PinoyME Foundation, a key organizer of the exhibit.

“I am inviting all Filipinos who believe that we can bring growth to our lives and to society through hard work and unity. The exhibit will not only show models on how we can participate in supporting microentrepreneurs, but also share knowledge and encouragement for people to start their own microenterprises.”

PinoyME

People-Powered Markets also marks the 5th Year Anniversary of PinoyME, which was started by former president Corazon Aquino in 2006 with the aim of reducing poverty by championing microenterprise and microfinance. In one of her last speeches, the People Power icon urged Filipinos to join PinoyME in its mission.

“Over the past year, I have been inspired by the noble work of microfinance institutions which have reached out to the entrepreneurial poor, giving them the means to uplift their lives through honest and hard work. To many of us, livelihood loans of P1,000 to P10,000 may not mean much, but to those outside the fringes of the mainstream economy, these are vital in tiding them over from day to day. The small but steady income from their micro-enterprises makes it possible for them to eat decent meals, to send their children to school and to nurture dreams of a better life,” Aquino said.

In a mere five years, PinoyME has established itself as a driving force in different microfinance and microenterprise areas.   Today, it is more than a source for funds; it has stimulated more academic research on microfinance, gathered information experts to help automate microfinance institutions, and helped microentrepreneurs find outlets for their products. Not surprisingly, its growth has coincided with the advancement of microfinance in the country. Microfinance now reaches more than 5 million Filipinos through the services of 500 microfinance institutions with a combined portfolio of P12 billion.

Value chains that work for the people

PinoyME has not been alone in efforts to promote microenterprise as poverty reduction tool. There have been various allies–from companies and universities to microfinance institutions and consolidators. The unity of these institutions to support microentrepreneurs will be showcased as  “value chains that work for the people.”

A value chain is a physical representation of the various processes that are involved in producing goods. For instance, there is a chain between Jollibee Foods Corporations and farmers from Nueva Ecija, Bukidnon, and Nueva Vizcaya. Jollibee partners with the farmers for its requirement of fresh ingredients like onions and bell peppers. However, the two would not have been able to transact without the collaboration of The Catholic Relief Service Philippines, which promotes market-driven strategies to facilitate farmers’ participation in the mainstram market, and the National Livelihood Development Corporation, a government corporation mandated to provide for the credit needs of farmers. The chain hence is not merely between Jollibee and the farmers, but also includes CRS and the NLDC.

Labeled by Lopa as a “reverse trade fair”, the exhibit is innovative in the sense that it allows microentrepreneurs to learn of ways of doing business with established companies by being part of their value chain. This is an inversion of the traditional trade fair wherein microentrepreneurs market their goods to the companies and to consumers.

“On the other hand, businessmen can learn from these models and say ‘I want to use this model to meet my requirements and also help out the people in my community. Or a NGO could say ‘I want to be part of this value chain and organize people into a cooperative so they can meet the delivery requirements of a company’,” said Songco.

“These are not just value chains but models of People Power. In a sense that is what we are celebrating and what we want to bring about more–People Power that has transcended the political and that makes a direct impact in the lives of people,” he added.

People-Powered Markets will also feature product development clinics on niche marketing and seminars on how to partner with companies by being part of the value chain. Admission is free. For more information on PinoyME, please visit the website http://www.pinoyme.com/.

People Power to provide poor with sustainable livelihoods

Business leaders, microentrepreneurs, and NGO workers will gather at the NBC Tent, Fort Bonifacio, Global City from Feb. 22-23 to celebrate the work of the private sector in providing poverty-stricken Filipinos with livelihood opportunities, and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the People Power Revolution.
The “People-Powered Markets” exhibit will also serve as venue for the participants to discuss and plan how to build on the work of companies and microfinance institutions in engaging enterprising Filipinos in poor communities and empowering them with funds, training, and outlets for their products.
The exhibit will be opened by President Benigno Aquino III.  Among the business leaders who will attend the event are Philippine Long Distance Company chair Manny V. Pangilinan,  Philippine Investment Management, Inc. president and chief executive officer Ramon del Rosario,  and renowned accountant-philanthropist  Washington Sycip.
“We seek to bring about a People Power to transform the market into an instrument for shared progress for all Filipinos,” said Dan Songco, president and chief executive officer of the PinoyME Foundation, a key organizer of the exhibit.
“I am inviting all Filipinos who believe that we can bring growth to our lives and to society through hard work and unity. The exhibit will not only show models on how we can participate in supporting microentrepreneurs, but also share knowledge and encouragement for people to start their own microenterprises,” said Rapa Lopa, the favorite nephew of former President Corazon Aquino and president of the Ninoy and Cory Foundation, a partner in organizing the exhibit.
PinoyME
People-Powered Markets also marks the 5th Year Anniversary of PinoyME, which was started by Cory Aquino in 2006 with the aim of reducing poverty by championing microenterprise and microfinance. In one of her last speeches, the People Power icon urged Filipinos to join PinoyME in its mission.
“Over the past year, I have been inspired by the noble work of microfinance institutions which have reached out to the entrepreneurial poor, giving them the means to uplift their lives through honest and hard work. To many of us, livelihood loans of P1,000 to P10,000 may not mean much, but to those outside the fringes of the mainstream economy, these are vital in tiding them over from day to day. The small but steady income from their micro-enterprises makes it possible for them to eat decent meals, to  send their children to school and to nurture dreams of a better life,” Aquino said.
In a mere five years, PinoyME has established itself as a driving force in different microfinance and microenterprise areas.   Today, it is more than a source for funds; it has stimulated more academic research on microfinance, gathered information experts to help automate microfinance institutions, and helped microentrepreneurs find outlets for their products. Not surprisingly, its growth has coincided with the advancement of microfinance in the country. Microfinance now reaches more than 5 million Filipinos through the services of 500 microfinance institutions with a combined portfolio of P12 billion.
Value chains that work for the people
PinoyME has not been alone in efforts to promote microenterprise as poverty reduction tool. There have been various allies–from companies and universities to microfinance institutions and consolidators. The unity of these institutions to support microentrepreneurs will be showcased as  “value chains that work for the people.”
A value chain is a physical representation of the various processes that are involved in producing goods. For instance, there is a chain between Jollibee Foods Corporations and farmers from Nueva Ecija and Bukidnon. Jollibee partners with the farmers for its requirement of fresh ingredients like onions and bell peppers. However, the two would not have been able to transact without the collaboration of The Catholic Relief Service Philippines (CRS), which promotes market-driven strategies to facilitate farmers’ participation in the mainstram market, the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), a government corporation mandated to provide for the credit needs of farmers, and the Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), a microfinance insitution that directly delivers the funds to the farmers cooperative. The chain hence is not merely between Jollibee and the farmers, but also includes CRS, NLDC, and ASKI.
Labeled by Lopa as a “reverse trade fair”, the exhibit is innovative in the sense that it allows microentrepreneurs to learn of ways of doing business with established companies by being part of their value chain. This is an inversion of the traditional trade fair wherein microentrepreneurs market their goods to the companies and to consumers.
“On the other hand, businessmen can learn from these models and say ‘I want to use this model to meet my requirements and also help out the people in my community. Or a NGO could say ‘I want to be part of this value chain and organize people into a cooperative so they can meet the delivery requirements of a company’,” said Songco.
“These are not just value chains but models of People Power. In a sense that is what we are celebrating and what we want to bring about more–People Power that has transcended the political and that makes a direct impact in the lives of people,” Lopa added.
People-Powered Markets will also feature product development clinics on niche marketing and seminars on how to partner with companies by being part of the value chain. Admission is free. For more information on PinoyME, please visit the website http://www.pinoyme.com/.

What insights we can learn from Coca-Cola to help in Reproductive Health

Melinda French Gates

This is a great talk from Melinda French Gates.

Melinda French Gates talked about what can governments and NGOs learn from Coca-Cola– especially in the context of delivering health care and for Filipinos, it might let us know some insights for our own reproductive health program.

Three things she said makes Coca-Cola successful:

  • Real-time data and immediately use it to measure progress
  • Great at tap local entrepreneurs – micro distribution
  • Marketing

Lastly, she said, “If we really understand what people want in health and development, we can change communities and help change nations.”

How do we adapt those three things for health care?

BSAIII action plan on urban poverty

Covenant with the Urban Poor

Action Plan on Urban Poverty

Our country’s most valuable resource is its people.

Every Filipino has the right to basic human needs, a decent standard of living, and the equal opportunity to develop his or her potentials to the fullest.

In a modern economy every person must be a productive citizen contributing the best of his or her abilities to the development of the country.

However, poverty denies many Filipinos their basic rights and the opportunities to improve their lives and help in nation building. Bad governance and corruption are the primary causes that subvert development and growth.

As candidates for public office, we pledge to build a just society for all Filipinos. We shall vigorously rid our government of corruption and channel these resources to address the basic needs of our people, especially the poor and marginalized.

We shall also implement sustainable solutions through institutionalized policies to combat poverty and provide basic needs, including housing, health, education and jobs for the poor, rather than the “stop gap” measures and empty political gestures of the past and present.

We commit ourselves to the following goals and principles:

No evictions without decent relocation.

We will end illegal forced evictions. We will not allow any public or private authority to evict families and leave them homeless in the street. The government must provide decent relocation, near-city or in-city, if possible, quality housing, adequate basic services and jobs.

We will not tolerate a situation where wage earners have to stay in the city to work while the other members of the family stay in distant relocation centers. This separation weakens and often fractures family life. We will not institutionalize such situations by building sites in the city where they will live apart from their families. As the work force in the cities, the poor, up to the extent possible, should be given the opportunity to stay in the cities.

We will strengthen efforts to achieve balance and equitable urban-rural development and established sustainable livelihood activities in relocation areas to proactively address the problems of in-migration and informal housing.

Provide support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement.

We will shift the emphasis in our housing program to area upgrading and in-city resettlement through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). We will accelerate CMP and promote its localization (LCMP).

We will strive to proclaim land in favor of as many poor families as possible anchored on the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of their local governments and in consultation with their beneficiary families.

We will order a review of all Presidential Proclamations to determine the status of their implementation. We will not revoke any Presidential Proclamation without thorough study and adequate consultation.

Provide basic services that benefit poor communities.

Over the six years of our term, we will significantly increase the health and education allocations in our national budget. This will bring us closer to the level of spending of our neighboring countries. We will extend health insurance coverage to all urban poor people, put an end to shifting in public schools and provide full set of quality textbooks for our public school children.

We will work with the private sector, utility cooperatives and the donor community to provide access to water and electricity for all urban poor communities. We will encourage our public utilities and government-owned and controlled corporations to incorporate these goals as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility.

Housing budget.

Our desire is to have a government which will provide adequate housing for every Filipino and protect their housing rights.

To this end, we are committed to support and replicate successful housing programs to cover the estimated housing need by providing sufficient funds through the use of the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act (CISFA) and other financing sources.

We will also work with the Local Government Units and the private sector, especially those in the financial sector, in coming up with new, innovative and sustainable housing and financial products that will provide access to housing to the marginalized and poor of our country.

We will strengthen government’s partnership with non-government organizations and support people’s initiative to provide the poor with housing.

Jobs.

We will create large-scale public works programs that can generate substantial number of jobs for poor men and women. At the onset of our term, we will emphasize labor-intensive public works programs that can generate significant numbers of jobs for our poor people and give them access to at least the minimum amounts of money, food and dignity needed for their daily survival and well-being. We will help those in the informal sector to avail of relevant incentives, services and benefits, such as access to social security and other forms of assistance.

Recognizing that the primary and most important resource of our country is its people, we will emphasize the creation of jobs that empower the work force, jobs that build capacity and create opportunities for the poor and marginalized. This requires advance training and preparation for appropriate skills needed for modern economy. This also presumes sound elementary and high school education. We promise to focus on generating jobs that will encourage entrepreneurship including-pro poor tourism. We will create an environment that is conducive to growth, competitiveness and full-employment.

Increased cooperation with local government units.

We will work with Local Government Units for the full implementation of the provisions of the UDHA and to empower them to address the housing needs of their constituents through existing provisions in the UDHA such as the provision of land for socialized housing and the inventory of informal settlers within their respective jurisdictions.

To encourage Local Government Units to take the lead in addressing housing needs, we will provide incentives to LGUs like co-financing schemes, technical assistance and other support services so that they could take an active role in socialized housing.

We will institutionalize and strengthen participatory shelter planning at the local level and identify other fund sources to support housing programs particularly for informal settlers at the local level.

Peace.

I will make every effort possible to begin sustainable and uninterrupted peace negotiations in Mindanao. We will not give up this peace-making effort. We will respond to the needs of dislocated/displaced people in Mindanao due to continued conflict between Christian and Muslim brothers.

Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We recognize that most people living in risk prone areas are forced by circumstances to live in these areas because government has failed to give them viable alternatives. This is the basic premise of the Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We will appoint capable persons to plan and implement intensive post-Ondoy rehabilitation projects. We will explore new approaches that address both the housing and livelihood needs of affected families. We will review Executive Order 854 in consultation with the affected communities and look for appropriate solutions for the families living in Manggahan Floodway and Lupang Arenda. We will ensure that local and international public and private efforts are closely coordinated.

Appointment.

The appointment of reform-minded persons is essential to the attainment of the objective of HUDCC to institute reforms and steer this office and other shelter agencies to become more responsive, efficient and effective agencies in the delivery of housing services to poor families. Cabinet positions and portfolios including the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries would be distributed among the three major islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) without sacrificing competence and trustworthiness criteria.

We will appoint a person with a track record and demonstrated capacity in delivering social housing as HUDCC Chairperson. We will appoint NGO and PO representatives in the boards of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and in the council of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. We will also appoint an NGO representative with observer status to the board of the National Housing Authority (NHA). We will also appoint an NHA General Manager, the SHFC President and Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in consultation with civil society groups.

Participation and stakeholdership.

We will emphasize the role of stakeholders in finding solutions to the problems that they face. In fact, the process that we will go through to provide the details of this plan we have presented today will be consultative and transparent.

All these goals with the urban poor will be part of our development agenda and platform to build an inclusive urban society.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Covenant With The Urban Poor

Our country’s most valuable resource is its people.

Every Filipino has the right to basic human needs, a decent standard of living, and the equal opportunity to develop his or her potentials to the fullest.

In a modern economy every person must be a productive citizen contributing the best of his or her abilities to the development of the country.

However, poverty denies many Filipinos their basic rights and the opportunities to improve their lives and help in nation building. Bad governance and corruption are the primary causes that subvert development and growth.

As candidates for public office, we pledge to build a just society for all Filipinos. We shall vigorously rid our government of corruption and channel these resources to address the basic needs of our people, especially the poor and marginalized.

We shall also implement sustainable solutions through institutionalized policies to combat poverty and provide basic needs, including housing, health, education and jobs for the poor, rather than the “stop gap” measures and empty political gestures of the past and present.

We commit ourselves to the following goals and principles:

No evictions without decent relocation.

We will end illegal forced evictions. We will not allow any public or private authority to evict families and leave them homeless in the street. The government must provide decent relocation, near-city or in-city, if possible, quality housing, adequate basic services and jobs.

We will not tolerate a situation where wage earners have to stay in the city to work while the other members of the family stay in distant relocation centers. This separation weakens and often fractures family life. We will not institutionalize such situations by building sites in the city where they will live apart from their families. As the work force in the cities, the poor, up to the extent possible, should be given the opportunity to stay in the cities.

We will strengthen efforts to achieve balance and equitable urbanrural development and established sustainable livelihood activities in relocation areas to proactively address the problems of in-migration and informal housing.
Provide support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement.

We will shift the emphasis in our housing program to area upgrading and in-city resettlement through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). We will accelerate CMP and promote its localization (LCMP).

We will strive to proclaim land in favor of as many poor families as possible anchored on the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of their local governments and in consultation with their beneficiary families.

We will order a review of all Presidential Proclamations to determine the status of their implementation. We will not revoke any Presidential Proclamation without thorough study and adequate consultation.
Provide basic services that benefit poor communities.

Over the six years of our term, we will significantly increase the health and education allocations in our national budget. This will bring us closer to the level of spending of our neighboring countries. We will extend health insurance coverage to all urban poor people, put an end to shifting in public schools and provide full set of quality textbooks for our public school children.

We will work with the private sector, utility cooperatives and the donor community to provide access to water and electricity for all urban poor communities. We will encourage or public utilities and governmentowned and controlled corporations to incorporate these goals as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility.
Housing budget.

Our desire is to have a government which will provide adequate housing for every Filipino and protect their housing rights.

To this end, we are committed to support and replicate successful housing programs to cover the estimated housing need by providing sufficient funds through the use of the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act (CISFA) and other financing sources.

We will also work with the Local Government Units and the private sector, especially those in the financial sector, in coming up with new, innovative and sustainable housing and financial products that will provide access to housing to the marginalized and poor of our country.

We will strengthen government’s partnership with non-government organizations and support people’s initiative to provide the poor with housing.
Jobs.

We will create large-scale public works programs that can generate substantial number of jobs for poor men and women. At the onset of our term, we will emphasize labor-intensive public works programs that can generate significant numbers of jobs for our poor people and give them access to at least the minimum amounts of money, food and dignity needed for their daily survival and well-being. We will help those in the informal sector to avail of relevant incentives, services and benefits, such as access to social security and other forms of assistance.

Recognizing that the primary and most important resource of our country is its people, we will emphasize the creation of jobs that empower the work force, jobs that build capacity and create opportunities for the poor and marginalized. This requires advance training and preparation for appropriate skills needed for modern economy. This also presumes sound elementary and high school education. We promise to focus on generating jobs that will encourage entrepreneurship including-pro poor tourism. We will create an environment that is conducive to growth, competitiveness and full-employment.
Increased cooperation with local government units.

We will work with Local Government Units for the full implementation of the provisions of the UDHA and to empower them to address the housing needs of their constituents through existing provisions in the UDHA such as the provision of land for socialized housing and the inventory of informal settlers within their respective jurisdictions.

To encourage Local Government Units to take the lead in addressing housing needs, we will provide incentives to LGUs like co-financing schemes, technical assistance and other support services so that they could take an active role in socialized housing.

We will institutionalize and strengthen participatory shelter planning at the local level and identify other fund sources to support housing programs particularly for informal settlers at the local level.
Peace.

I will make every effort possible to begin sustainable and uninterrupted peace negotiations in Mindanao. We will not give up this peace-making effort. We will respond to the needs of dislocated/displaced people in Mindanao due to continued conflict between Christian and Muslim brothers.
Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We recognize that most people living in risk prone areas are forced by circumstances to live in these areas because government has failed to give them viable alternatives. This is the basic premise of the Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We will appoint capable persons to plan and implement intensive post-Ondoy rehabilitation projects. We will explore new approaches that address both the housing and livelihood needs of affected families. We will review Executive Order 854 in consultation with the affected communities and look for appropriate solutions for the families living in Manggahan Floodway and Lupang Arenda. We will ensure that local and international public and private efforts are closely coordinated.
Appointment

The appointment of reform-minded persons is essential to the attainment of the objective of HUDCC to institute reforms and steer this office and other shelter agencies to become more responsive, efficient and effective agencies in the delivery of housing services to poor families. Cabinet positions and portfolios including the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries would be distributed among the three major islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) without sacrificing competence and trustworthiness criteria.

We will appoint a person with a track record and demonstrated capacity in delivering social housing as HUDCC Chairperson. We will appoint NGO and PO representatives in the boards of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and in the council of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. We will also appoint an NGO representative with observer status to the board of the National Housing Authority (NHA). We will also appoint an NHA General Manager, the SHFC President and Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in consultation with civil society groups.
Participation & Stakeholdership.

We will emphasize the role of stakeholders in finding solutions to the problems that they face. In fact, the process that we will go through to provide the details of this plan we have presented today will be consultative and transparent.

All these goals with the urban poor will be part of our development agenda and platform to build an inclusive urban society.

Party-list ads cost P24M, use Villar ‘basura’

Party-list ads cost P24M, use Villar ‘basura’
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Where did the money come from?

A party-list group claiming to represent poor children has been able to afford television ad placements costing about P24 million with the country’s biggest network, according to an election consortium monitoring campaign spending.

That the party-list group “mimicked” a popular political advertisement of a presidential candidate has raised the eyebrows of a member of the consortium.

Akap Bata appeared to be an “affluent party-list” group because it was able to afford an advertising contract worth P23.6 million with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., said Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

“What we are curious about is the spending capacity of Akap Bata as well as its use of the ‘Dagat-ng-Basura’ (Sea-of-Trash) advertisement of Sen. Manuel Villar … Why is it mimicking the ads of someone running for president?” Mangahas said at a press conference Wednesday.

Akap Bata “has signed three advertising contracts for 100 ad spots worth P23.6 million with ABS-CBN 2 alone and cover the periods March 5 to 13, March 14 to 20, and March 21 to 27,” said a PCIJ report to Pera’t Pulitika.

Another party-list group, A-Teacher, has a contract with the same network “for a more modest P777,815 worth of ads,” the PCIJ said. A-Teacher represents teachers and other school personnel.

The PCIJ is part of the Pera’t Pulitika Network, a consortium of nongovernment organizations monitoring candidates’ campaign spending.

Subliminal endorsement

Mangahas raised two questions about Akap Bata’s Dagat-ng-Basura ad. Is it subliminally endorsing Villar and thus circumvents the allotted airtime for each candidate? Is the party-list a marginalized group?

Mangahas pointed out that Akap Bata could afford to spend so much on TV ads even if it was representing a marginalized sector.

“It’s very ingenious!” Mangahas said of the group’s use of Villar’s ad that has had a viral effect on the public.

Practically the same

Akap Bata’s political ad is practically the same as Villar’s “Dagat ng Basura” ad with some minor changes, including the voice over of children’s wishes such as having a home, being able to go to school, and for a parent working overseas to come home.

For the unsuspecting viewer, the ad would seem another endorsement of Villar.

Dr. Joy Alcantara

Sought for comment, Akap Bata first nominee, Dr. Joy Alcantara, made no apologies in saying that her group used Villar’s ads because of its popularity.

She said Akap Bata, which started as a nongovernment organization eight years ago, asked for permission from the Villar camp to use the ad and paid the royalties to DM9, the advertising agency that made the Villar ad and owns the rights to it.

“The ad of Villar was very popular and we are a neophyte group. We want an ad that would make us popular right away. So we asked [the Villar camp] if we can use the ad,” Alcantara told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

She said that before the group adopted Villar’s ad, Akap Bata had checked his “track record” on legislation for children.

Alcantara said Villar had filed 26 bills addressing the concerns of children.

Same advocacy

“We don’t have a political alliance with [Sen. Villar] but we share the same advocacy for children,” she said.

As for Akap Bata’s funding, the group has “many donors,” Alcantara said. She said its ad contract with ABS-CBN was “much lower than the P23 million reported by Pera’t Pulitika.

Senatorial candidate Gilbert Remulla, Villar’s spokesperson, said in a text message that “as far as we know, the Akap Bata party-list group is supporting MBV’s (Villar’s initials) candidacy.”

“We concur with what they said and that they paid for the rights and airtime. They are not receiving any logistical support from us,” Remulla said.

Biggest spender

Villar, the billionaire presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party, remains the biggest spender for political advertisements on television, radio and print since the start of the official campaign period.

Not far behind is Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, according to Pera’t Pulitika’s campaign spending monitoring of the first month of the campaign.

Villar’s total advertising value in the trimedia from Feb. 9 to March 15 reached P195.1 million.

Aquino, standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, spent P154.6 million while deposed President Joseph Estrada shelled out P103.2 million, a huge jump from his modest expenditure three months before the start of the campaign period.

The figures were not yet the discounted amounts for ad placements given by networks and the 30-percent, 20-percent and 10-percent discounts on TV, radio and print ads allowed by law.

With the discounts, Villar’s ads may have cost him P106 million; Aquino, P83.3 million; and Estrada, P72.6 million for the first month of the campaign alone, the PCIJ said in a report for Pera’t Pulitika.

Sen. Richard Gordon, Bagumbayan standard-bearer, was fourth with a discounted total of P48.8 million, which apparently went to his TV ad placements.

Based on Nielsen Media

The consortium and the PCIJ obtained their data from the media monitoring agency Nielsen Media.

The PCIJ noted that the candidates’ ad spending from Feb. 9 to March 8 was “relatively tempered” compared to the three months before the official campaign period.

“Even Villar pulled back his ad expenses by about 26.7 percent, compared to his average ad spending bills three months before the campaign period started,” the PCIJ said.

Nielsen noted that Villar had spent on some P1 billion worth of ads from November 2009 to January 2010, but with the discounts his bill may have been cut by half, the PCIJ added.

The report noted that Aquino, Estrada and Eduardo Villanueva had increased their ad spending at the start of the campaign period.

Shelling out P715,149 for his ads, Villanueva “outspent” administration candidate Gilberto Teodoro who posted a total discounted ad expense of just P266,092 from Feb. 9 to March 8.

Teodoro spending down

The PCIJ described it as a “drastic dive” from the P115 million Teodoro spent last January alone. Teodoro was second to Villar in ad spending three months before the campaign period, shelling out P184.4 million.

Pera’t Pulitika also pointed out that Villar, Aquino and Estrada had already used up nearly half of their allotted ad airtime on the country’s two biggest TV networks with still more than a month and a half to go before Election Day.

The Fair Election Practices Act allows each candidate to have a maximum airtime of 120 minutes for TV ads per station during the official campaign period.