• EU delegates join Guimara’s ‘Sikaran’

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    In their bid to reiterate environment advocacy, the European Union led by Ambassador Franz Jessen together with the Romanian Chargé d’Affaires Mihai Sion and German Deputy Ambassador Michael Hasper joined “Sikaran” (Bike Tour) in Jordan, Guimaras on April 16.

    During this mission, the EU ambassador and his colleagues met with Governor Samuel Gamarin, Iloilo City Administrator Norlito Bautista, Jordan Mayor Cresente Chavez Jr., mango industry stakeholders, the press and other local government officials in Western Visayas.

    Covering up to 25 kilometers, Sikaran was held in conjunction with the “Manggahan” Mango Festival. It was organized by Jordan Municipal government together with Guimaras Provincial Government and John B Lacson Foundation Maritime University.

    “The EU is looking forward to participating in ‘Sikaran’ as a pre-Earth Day advocacy initiative to call on all stakeholders to help in countering climate change and to meet with mango industry stakeholders to see how to further boost EU-Philippines’ trade particularly to increase access of Guimaras mangoes to international markets by way of adherence to intellectual property rights and to geographical indications’ standards,” expressed Jessen.

    The participation to the bike tour was also part of the 25th year anniversary of the EU Delegation in the Philippines.

    The EU recently committed to lowering carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This binding commitment forms part of the EU package implemented in the framework of the first-ever universal global climate deal which 195 nations, including the EU and the Philippines, adopted at the Paris Conference last December 2015.

    In the Philippines, the EU has been supporting various energy efficiency actions under the SWITCH Project. Technical advice was provided to support the Philippines National Roadmap for Energy Efficiency, which aims to generate 30 percent energy savings in the Philippines by 2030, compared to the business as usual scenario. Targeted energy conservation measures for the private sector were also funded by the EU, including tourism establishments operating in remote areas where electricity is less reliable and costly.

    On the other hand, the meeting with the mango industry stakeholders is linked to the Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme 3 (TRTA).

    To boost the competitiveness of specific Philippine products in the global markets, the Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Project 3 has mobilised experts to support the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPh) in developing, promoting and protecting the “Guimaras Mango” as a Geographical Indication (GI). The “Guimaras Mango” GI serves as a label that characterizes the mangoes as both originating in Guimaras as well as reputedly fresh and sweet.

    Geographical indications are distinctive signs used to identify a product as originating in the territory of a particular country, region or locality where its quality, reputation or other characteristic is linked to its geographical origin.

    The TRTA Project 3 has conducted workshops and trainings designed to assist the Guimaras mango producers and processors in putting together the Code of Practice for Guimaras Mango as a GI that will be duly certified by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPh). Marketing GIs, international standards on food safety, packaging and labelling for the Guimaras Mangoes were also covered in these capacity building activities.

    At present, the Guimaras mango producers and processors continue to work on the Code of Practice to define the rules and procedures for using the GI.

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