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Two faces of Subic SEE PAGE 8 (Backpage)

Vol 1 No 30

Metro Express

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MANILA

A VALIANT STAND ON SPREADING THE GOOD SIDE OF PH

Manila, PHILIPPINES

Jan. 2 - Jan. 9, 2012

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Aquino to groom successor who’ll sustain reforms in government President Benigno S.Aquino III said he wants a successor who will sustain the momentum he has set in government when he steps down in 2016. During an interview overABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the President said it is important that the reforms he has initiated in the bureaucracy are sustained in the future so that the country doesn’t go back to its previous state. He also said that maintaining these gains needs collective efforts of the people and the public shouldn’t solely rely on their leader to realize it. “The point is if we are able to really transform the country, sulit. So siyempre yun ang target,

that we will be successful in training our successor and the successor is an inheritor of something that is so good that people are so used to that system that there’s no possibility of backsliding,” the President said when asked about how he views retirement in 2016. Expressing his views over anointing a successor, the President said he always encounters question from some community leaders asking him how these reforms are continued after his stint as President. “I responded in this manner: ‘Kako kung iaasa ninyo sa akin lahat, ‘di wala naman talagang Cont’d on page 2

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Task force created to unify, strengthen performance monitoring of gov’t agencies President Benigno S.Aquino III has created an inter-agency task force that will simplify, harmonize and further boost the monitoring and reporting systems of the performance of national government agencies. Administrative Order No. 25, signed by the President on December 21, seeks the development of a collaborative instrument that will warrant “a unified and integrated” ResultsBased Performance Management System (RBPMS) across all department and agencies in government. “In line with the President’s commitment to streamline processes and systems in the bureaucracy, as well as his administration’s commitment to transparency, accountability, participatory and effective governance, our office initiated efforts to bring into line and integrate government performance monitoring systems,” said Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Sunday. “We conducted several meetings on this with NEDA, Presidential Management Staff (PMS), DBM, CSC and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), and it was the consensus that there is a need for a Cont’d on page 2

Salary hike of gov’t workers to minimize corruption - solon FLAG-RAISING - President Benigno S. Aquino III (right) leads the flag-raising ceremony during the commemoration of the 115th anniversary of the Martyrdom of Filipino National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal at the Rizal Park (Luneta), Manila. Assisting the President, anchored on this year’s theme “Rizal: Haligi ng Bayan”, were (from right) Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chair Maria Serena Diokno, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa, among others.

Bill exempts capital town from annual income requirement of P100M

Accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa, President Noy reviews the honor guards during the Arrival Honors for the commemoration of the 115th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal National Monument, Rizal Park in Manila on Friday (December 30). Rizal was exiled in Dapitan (now Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte) from 1892 – 1896. The Spanish authorities accused him for allegedly keeping subversive pamphlets in his possession. He was arrested and charged the crimes of rebellion and sedition. On December 30, 1896, Rizal was executed by firing squad at Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park).

A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income of at least P100 million for the last two consecutive years. Under House Bill 5429, authored by Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), the capital town of provinces will also be exempted from paying the annual income requirement of P100 million if it has no existing city. The bill seeks to amend Section 450 of the Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government code of 1991, as amended by RepublicAct 9009. Given the role as the commercial, political and socio-cultural centers in their respective provinces, Sarmiento said it becomes necessary to further capacitate these municipalities by elevating their status to component cities.

“The change of status will give them more autonomy and taxation powers and an increased share in the internal revenue allotment,” Sarmiento said, adding that cityhood will boost investor confidence and invigorate the business and even tourism climate. Furthermore, a contiguous territory shall be at least 100 square kilometers, as certified by the Land Management Bureau (LMB) or have a population of not less than 150,000 inhabitants, as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO). The bill provides that the Commission on Election (Comelec) shall conduct and supervise plebiscites in qualified towns within 120 days from receipt of the list from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The capital town concerned shall shoulder the expenses of the plebiscite. Press Release

Increasing the salary and benefits of government workers is one of the priority measures the State should adopt to address the unabated corruption in the bureaucracy, a lawmaker said. In a privilege speech, Rep. Sherwin Tugna (Party-list, CIBAC) said the government should adopt a comprehensive and integrated national plan that would reduce corruption in the bureaucracy and address the security of government workers. “We can start by increasing the salaries of government workers. Government workers must earn salaries decent enough to sustain their families, a wage that will provide a decent and humane standard of living and improved quality of life,” Tugna said. “Given the inflation, the soaring prices of basic commodities and services, the value of government worker’s salary has significantly decreased. Government employees whose basic needs are not addressed are more likely to succumb to temptations since what they would gain is far greater than what they would lose,” Tugna said. Tugna said the government seems to have overlooked the basic needs and security of government employees. “The need of the government employees for a decent standard of living and security Cont’d on page 2


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THE NATION

Jan 2 - 9, 2012

MetrEx: RP’s 1st & only WEEKLY Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Add’l P1.1-B for TESDA’s education, training means opportunities for 125,000 more workers — Baldoz The additional P1.1 billion released by the government for TESDA’s education and training programs meant productive and quality employment opportunities for 125,000 more workers in construction, semi-conductor and electronics, agribusiness, and tourism —- the five priority sectors under the Aquino III administration’s disbursement acceleration program. Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday as she disclosed that graduate-trainees and retrainees from the Technical Education and Skills DevelopmentAuthority’s technical-vocational education and training (TVET) courses has reached a total of 1,129,179 workers between January to November 2011. “This number represents an accomplishment of 83.99 percent of the 1.3 million workers in various technical and vocational courses that the TESDA targets for 2011,” Baldoz said, citing a report of the TESDA on its yearend accomplishments. The TESDA, according to its report, also overshot its target of 50,000 workers to be trained under the Training for Work Scholarship Program, or TWSP, by 35 percent when it trained 67,581 workers during the JanuaryNovember 2011 period, and its target of 15,000 students under the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) program 23.5 percent when it assisted 18,539 students. The TWSP is a TESDA program that aims to boost supply of skilled workers to meet industry needs. Under the TWSP, workers are provided proper training on skills directly connected to existing jobs for immediate employment. On the other hand, the PESFAoffers educational grants to qualified college freshmen both in degree and non-degree courses. The TESDA partners with the Commission on Higher Education to implement this program. Baldoz credited these remarkable accomplishments to the support of the national government to the TESDA’s key mandates. In October, Baldoz said the Office of the President provided the TESDA with an additional budget of P1.1 billion for the skills training of workers in five key priority sectors under the Disbursement Acceleration Program of the Aquino III administration. Of this amount, P600 million is for the training of 60,000 workers in construction, semiconductor and electronics, agribusiness, and tourism. Todate, 21,321 scholarship vouchers amounting to P153.625 million have been released to TESDA regional offices (ROs) representing identified training slots requirements per sector per region based on approved qualification maps submitted by the regions. Another P29.161 million had also been released to the regional offices for the purchase of tool kits and to cover the administrative costs for the implementation of the

TESDASpecialista Technopreneurship Program (TSTP). The balance of P500 million is earmarked for the training of 65,000 ‘near-hires’ in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Some 10,447 scholarship vouchers amounting to P73.960 million have been released to the TESDA RO network nationwide for this purpose. “The DOLE, through the TESDA, provides massive technical-vocational skills training, retraining, and upgrading of workers, in response to the requirements of modern industries for highly-skilled, flexible, and more productive manpower,” Baldoz explained. “Next year, the TESDA as the third pillar of the country’s educational and human resources development system shall keep pushing forward the frontiers of productive collaboration with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, industries, the private sector, and tripartite partners, in pursuit of the aim of President Benigno S.Aquino III to “invest in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice,” she added. The labor and employment chief emphasized that President Aquino III, in his Social Contract with the Filipino people, envisions inclusive growth that generates and shares the fruits of growth and leaves no one behind. “The Philippine Development Plan 20112016 speaks of inclusive growth as that kind of growth that creates jobs, draws the majority into the economic and social mainstream, and reduces mass poverty, and the Philippine Labor and Employment 2011-2016, the accompanying sectoral document to the PDP 2011-2016 pinpoints its practical realization by means of decent and productive work,” Baldoz said. For this purpose, she said the development of the Filipino workers is indispensable in addressing the labor-mismatch by promoting better coordination between employers, academia, and government through strengthening both public and private sector labor market information and exchange institutions, especially at the local levels. TESDA’s training and scholarship program responds to Item No. 13 in the 22-point labor and employment agenda of the President which aims to “invest in the formal and regular skills training and upgrading of our workers with TESDA” and “to utilize returning OFWs to conduct training so that they may transfer skills learned abroad”. This will contribute to enhancing human capital to improve workers’ access to employment opportunities, a strategy embodied intheLEP2011-2016upondecentworkbased inclusive growth, particularly under the employment and social protection pillars of the Plan. (Press Release)

A general view shows rows of tents set up for tropical storm Washi survivors in the southern Philippines city of Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao January 2, 2012. Thousands of homeless residents are still in evacuation centers more than two weeks after raging floodwaters brought by Washi swept their houses in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The deaths in the Philippines from Washi, one of the country’s worst natural disaster in two decades, has risen to 1,257 with about 1,100 missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. Picture taken January 2, 2012.

P115.6-M released for addt’l operating expenses of PNP To enhance the capability of the police force to effectively fight criminality and maintain peace and order, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) greenlighted the release of P115.6 million for additional maintenance and other operating expense (MOOE) of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the additional funding will support the efforts of theAquino administration, through Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Gov-

ernment and the DBM, to secure sufficient operation funds for precinct-level police operations. “The fund will be directly distributed to the provincial, district, city and municipal stations based on the number of policemen for each PNP station. With this release, the smallest units in the PNP will be more capacitated to perform their duties. This is also a more transparent mode of providing funding for the police force,” he said. He noted the National Capital Region and

Task force created to unify, strengthen performance ... cost-effective and integrated framework to simplify existing reporting mechanisms used by the oversight agencies and ensure that the data requirements are met by the reports submitted by the government agencies,” he added. According to Ochoa, various oversight agencies currently employ different performance monitoring and reporting systems within the Executive Branch that have resulted in redundant data, reports in different formats, delay in submissions, inaccurate results and inefficiencies in performance monitoring evaluation and reporting. To date, oversight agencies such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) uses Results Matrix (RM); the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Organizational Performance Indicators Framework (OPIF); the Civil Service Commission, Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS); and Career Executive Service Board (CESB), the Career Executive Service Performance Evaluation System (CESPES). But with the creation of the inter-agency task force, Ochoa said a Common Set Performance Scorecard and Government Executive Information System shall be developed and designed, among others, towards addressing deficiencies and duplication in the present performance monitoring systems and processes. Ochoa said the RM and OPIF shall be the underlying framework for the proposed RBPMS, which will be used by all government agencies mandated to exercise broad oversight over the performance of all agencies. The harmonized RBPMS, he added, shall also be used for determining entitlement to performance-based allowances, incentives, or compensation of government personnel. “In order to attain Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact status, the Philippine government had previously committed three Policy Improvement Processes (PIPs) to further improve good governance. One of them is the introduction and institutionalization of a bal-

(Cont’d from page 1)

anced scorecard framework,” Ochoa noted. “So, there is a need for this unification of the efforts of government agencies mandated to exercise broad oversight of government agencies’ performance relative to our commitments and targets, as well as the National Leadership’sAgenda and Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.” The Executive Secretary added this effort also strengthens public institutions in order to regain the trust and confidence of the public in government. “This measure is one big step toward the specific goal of strengthening the capacity of government institutions to link their respective budgets with performance outcomes and enabling citizens and civil society to monitor and evaluate these.” Under AO 25, the inter-agency task force shall compose of the DBM, as chair with the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) as co-chair. Members of the task force include the NEDA, PMS and the Department of Finance (DOF). Other government oversight offices like the CSC and the CESB shall also be involved in the inter-agency task force in order to align the SPMS and CESPES to the proposed RBPMS. The Commission onAudit and the Office of the Ombudsman may also be invited by the task force to provide insights on the harmonization process. The private sector will likewise be involved in the task force through the National Competitiveness Council for the purpose of providing inputs and aligning other performance management systems with the proposed unified RBPMS. The DAP, meanwhile, shall serve as the Secretariat of the inter-agency task force as well as its technical resource institution, according to the President’s directive. PresidentAquino also directed the task force to submit to him within six months its recommendation on the RBPMS through the Executive Secretary. Funding of which provided for by the DBM.

theAutonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao will receive the highest budgetary augmentation of P24.82 million and P19.54 million, respectively. The PNP has a budget for MOOE of P5.72 billion this year. This has been increased to P6.13 billion for 2012.

Aquino to groom successor... (Cont’d from page 1) mangyayari sa atin. Mangyari na ang mangyayari, maski gaano ako ka-health conscious, tatawagin tayo ni Lord at some point in time. So it has to be a collective effort,’” he said. The President mentioned some allies he wants to be in the legislature as the country gears up for the mid-term election in 2013. Having more allies in Congress means speedier implementation of the administration’s economic and political agenda, he said. Some of the names mentioned by the President include formerAkbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Customs chief Ruffy Biazon, Sen.Antonio Trillanes and former general Danilo Lim. “I said four and that’s a third of the whole slate who is supposed to foster the interest of the nation as a whole. We have such a broad coalition. We’d like to say that they’re all equal partners,” he said. The President’s interviewTuesday focused on his views for the coming year and his accomplishments in 2011.


Jan 2 - 9, 2012

BUSINESS & POLITICS

3

MetrEx: RP’s 1st & only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Filipino traders celebrate during the last day of trading this year at the Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines Thursday Dec. 29, 2011. The Philippine Stock Exchange index was up 0.82 percent or 35.33 points to close at 4,371.96. Inset shows a trader blowing a horn during the year-end closing of trade in front of a giant electronic board at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila on December 29, 2011. The Philippine economy is facing major risks from abroad that could limit its growth prospects next year, the central bank governor said.

Imports up 2.3% in Oct The country’s merchandise imports expanded by 2.3 percent in October compared to a year ago, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO). Data from NSO showed that the total merchandise imports for October amounted to $ 5.019 billion from $ 4.904 billion last year. Month-on-month, however, it dropped by 1.1 percent from $ 5.076 billion in September this year. This led imports in the first 10 months of the year to grow by 12.2 percent to $ 50.521 billion compared to $ 45.028 billion posted during the same period last year. The country’s trade deficit in October stood at $ 932 million, bringing the 10-month tally to $ 9.228 billion. Electronics, which accounted for 24.6 percent of the total import bill declined by 19.9 percent to $ 1.235 billion from from $ 1.542 billion registered in October last year. Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials amounted to $ 1.159 billion, up by 28.4 percent over last year’s figure of $

902.82 million. Industrial machinery and equipment recorded a total import of $ 267.20 million, an annual growth of 13.4 percent from last year’s $ 235.60 million. Imports of iron and steel rose 38.6 percent to $ 132.89 million from its year ago level of $ 95.89 million. Purchases of transport equipment dropped by 9.1 percent to $ 337.49 million from $ 371.32 million posted a year ago. Rounding up the list of the top ten imports were plastics in primary and non-primary forms amounting to $ 123.77 million; organic and inorganic chemicals valuing at $ 122.39 million; telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery including telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment, $ 98.90 million; cereals and cereal preparations, $ 84.94 million; and medicinal and pharmaceutical products, $ 78.25 million. Total payment for the country’s top ten imports for October reached $ 3.640 billion or

72.5 percent of the total import bill. Japan remained the country’s biggest source of imports in October with $ 606.42 million, an increase of 0.8 percent from $ 601.36 million in October 2010. United States ofAmerica (USA) including Alaska and Hawaii, was the second biggest source of imports at $ 493.68 million from $ 481.58 million. Imports from People’s Republic of China amounted to $ 476.34 million, higher by about 9 percent from $ 437.16 million during the same month in 2010. Other major sources of imports for October were Singapore, $ 407.08 million; Republic of Korea, $ 402.91 million; SaudiArabia, $ 335.25 million; Taiwan, $ 327.80 million; Thailand, $ 287.20 million; Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, $ 271.41 million; and Indonesia, $ 232.63 million. Payments for imports from the top ten sources for October amounted to $ 3.841 billion or about 76.5 percent of the total. Press Release

CAB approves SEAIR petition to form a subsidiary The CivilAeronautics Board (CAB) said it has approved the request of Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) to form a unit to focus on leisure destinations. CarmeloArcilla, CAB executive director, said the regulator would issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for SEAIR International Inc. “SEAIR International is going to be like a full service airline but its main focus is on leisure destinations,” Arcilla said. He, however, said that SEAIR would remain a low cost carrier. The new unit would fly long-haul using Airbus, as well as domestic destinations such as Batanes and El Niño using turbo-prop aircraft. At present, SEAIR has 11 aircraft, four of which are Dornier 328s and seven Let 410 UVP-Es. The airline also flies between Manila-Clark and Singapore, and serves 18 Philippine destinations, including Caticlan (Boracay) and Cebu in the Visayas; Clark in Northern Luzon; Busuanga, Cuyo, El Nido, Puerto Princesa and Rodriguez in Palawan; and Camiguin, Cotobato, Zamboanga, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.

ICTSI sets $21m capex next year

Seafarers from Magsaysay MOL Marine, Inc. (MAGMOL) load boxes of relief goods onto a Philippine Coastguard commissioned ship at the Philippine Coastguard’s headquarters in Manila on December 28, 2011. The ship will deliver relief goods to the Cagayan de Oro, southern Philippines, devastated by typhoon Washi. The death toll from killer floods in the Philippines surged by more than 200, more than a week after the disaster struck, with officials expecting more corpses to be found. The confirmed toll reached 1,453, up sharply from 1,236 the previous day as navy and coastguard ships fished more bodies out of the waters off the southern island of Mindanao, the civil defence office said.

The International Container Terminal Services Inc. on Monday said its board approved the $ 21 million capital expenditures next year. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ICTSI said the capex would be used to finance domestic expansion projects as well as investment in foreign ports next year. In addition, ICTSI Warehousing Inc. has declared dividends amounting to P995 million. The Razon-led port operator said net income increased 35 percent to $ 41.4 million in the July to September period from $ 30.7 million in the same period last year. In the first nine months, ICTSI posted a net income of $ 101.4 million, up 39 percent over the $ 73 million earned last year. “The higher net income was mainly due to the upsurge in revenues, lower effective tax rate for the period and a one-time gain on sale of non-core assets,” ICTSI said. ICTSI is a leading port management company involved in the operations and development of 22 marine terminals and port projects in 17 countries worldwide.


OPINIONEWS

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Jan 2 - 9, 2012

Metro Express: PH’s 1st & only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

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Fitzgerald Cecilio Asst. Editor Benjie Alejandro Editorial ContributorColumnist The Metro Express is a weekly broadsheet newsmagazine published by el amigo media solutions and distributed widely in Metro Manila at LRT/MRT Stations, the House of Representatives, the Senate and other government offices. For press, photo releases and advertising inquiries, text or call Hotlines Globe 0915-5517486 and Smart 09491661022. Emails: esns03@yahoo.com & 2011metroexpress@gmail.com.

NEXT PICTURE: CORONA IMPEACHMENT (bulatlat.com)

We never learn By the looks of it, we Filipinos never ever learn from past New Year’s revelry based on the latest report by the Department of Health. Said report says New Year’s celebration-related injuries this year eclipsed last year’s record, yes, in thousand cases. We wonder what is with it that we need to sever our fingers, damage our eyesight (or another) and cause undue injuries to other parts of our body to celebrate the coming of a New Year? That’s extremely, extreme. Beyond logic in fact. My family never ever bothered to buy a single piece of firecracker and we felt contented just watching fireworks from neighbors as they explode in full splendor in mid-air. In fact, you could even claim as though they were your very own and they just lit them up for you. As the smoke from all sizes of firecrackers and fireworks subsided, my family exchanged greetings and wishes for the brand new year and that was it.

EDITORIAL

Stiffer penalties on theft of govt’s risk reduction equipment theft sought With the Philippines being prone to typhoons and other natural disasters, lawmakers have sought stiffer penalties to those who would steal or tamper government equipment or devices used to collate and disseminate risk reduction warnings and advices on weather, earthquakes, volcanic or tsunami activities and other natural calamities. Agham party-list Rep.Angelo Palmones, one of the authors of the bill, said stealing or tampering of government equipment is a crime against the people. “What will happen during natural calamities if government services become ineffective,” he said. Under the bill, the government risk reduction and preparedness equipment accessories include equipment or devices, or parts thereof that gather, store, archive or monitor meteorological and seismological date and information which are analyzed and used in warning the public regarding natural occurrences like calamities. The proposed measure imposes 12 to 15 years imprisonment or fines ranging from P1 million to P3 million or both at the discretion of the court for unlawful taking or possession without authority of government disaster monitoring devices. Tampering, dismantling, or disassembling any of the said devices shall also be meted six to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of P500,000 to P1 million or both, at the discretion of the court. Attempting to commit any of the prohibited acts shall also have a penalty of six to eight years imprisonment or a fine of P500,000 to P1 million or both. Benefiting from the proceeds of any of the prohibited acts also carries a penalty of two to seven years imprisonment or a fine of P200,000 to P500,000 or both at the discretion of the court. Aside from criminal penalties, any person found guilty of violating the proposed Act shall pay the full cost of repair or replacement of said government equipment or other vital items which are objects of the crime. The bill likewise provides for incentives to any person or persons who will give information leading to the apprehension and conviction of violators. The incentive system shall incorporate a cash reward of P10,000 to P50,000, with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) having the authority to review and revise the ceiling of the cash rewards as appropriate. The House committee on revision of laws has already endorsed the bill for plenary deliberation, which is a consolidation of measures declaring stealing or tampering with government equipment as a crime. Co-authors of the bill are Reps. EricoAumentado (Bohol), Romero Federico Quimbo (Marikina), Homer Mercado (1-UTAK party-list), TomasApacible (Batangas), and Rachel Del Mar (Cebu). EDITOR’S NOTE: All commentaries and or opinions submitted by columnists and herein published shall remain as personal opinion of writers. As such, these cannot and never be construed nor considered as similar to that of this publication (Metro Express)’s stand on issues discussed. Be that as it may, Metro Express shall not be held liable on any legal issues related/pertaining to, or any column/commentaries that may appear herein.

‘PH economy looks bright in ‘12’ NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: Never ever country. CHANCES ARE forget to write my column throughout the Year of the “Higher 2012 growth hinges on improvement in Dragon. With it here we go… exports, acceleration of PPP projects and private sector Ahigh-ranking World Bank official hinted economies investment, and a full recovery of public spending with of the United States and that of Europe may remain the possibly a medium-size fiscal stimulus,” the lender same as they are now even as he pointed out Philippine said. economy may take an upward swing. For this year, the economy is projected to grow 3.7 In fact, the World Bank averred Ph’s economy may percent from an earlier forecast of 4.2 percent. grow up to 4.2 percent this year due to the full recovery “Our projection hinges on the successful implemenof public spending and exports. tation of the government’s disbursement acceleration We hope that with the Season of Hope now over, program and an acceleration in private consumption WB’s economic term on public spending do not only and investment, which have begun to grow faster in the dwell on the public’s Christmas Season spending but last quarter. In addition, lower growth in the fourth ISMAEL A. AMIGO rather, on theAquinoAdministration’s ability to keep its quarter of 2010 should provide the added base effect 1 ST -APLUMA faucet open or flowing on public infrastructure projects boost. Significant downside risks largely stem from the this year. weaker external environment and less than satisfactory The year 2011 where even our good friends in public spending,” the World Bank report said. congress felt the pinch on budgetary slash on projects for public service TheAquino administration earlier announced a P72-billion disbursement was very much of a regretful kind of economic state as when one holds the acceleration plan to ensure that the budgeted items are spent by year end to purse on white knuckles, mula Aparri hanggang Jolo would also feel the boost the economy. economic pinch. The economy grew by 3.6 percent in the first three quarters of the year But it’s so good to note each one of us got away with and enjoyed the because of weak exports and government spending. spirit of Christmas complete with Noche Buena kahit papano along with The World Bank also said that the growth prospects in the medium to New Year’s Eve handaan. long-term could be sustained at above 5 percent, provided that reforms to To our distressed Kababayans in CDO and nearby Iligan, just have faith address structural bottlenecks are implemented. God is with you and all of us will be able to recover in time, in His time. It may be recalled that WB accordingly released P2.2 billion in financial For them, there had been no reason not to celebrate the Christmas just assistance to the Philippine government for the full recovery of areas hit by passed for it is the time we all commemorate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. “Sendong.” Back to WB’s report, it said that in its latest Philippines Quarterly Update, If handled properly, said assistance could keep Ph’s economy afloat until the Washington-based lender said the country’s gross domestic product next Christmas along with the government’s plan for “all-out, extensive (GDP) is projected to grow 4.2 percent in ’12 from an earlier forecast of 5 spending on infrastructure projects this year. percent. Indeed, the Philippine economic future looks bright in the Year of the GDP refers to the total value of final goods and services produced in the Dragon you may even consider wearing shades.

House passes Adopt-A-Wildlife Species bill In order to conserve and protect biological diversity and promote ecological sustainable development, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure establishing an “Adopt-A-Wildlife Species Program.” House Bill 5421 seeks to address major inhibiting factors to widen private sector participation in conservation by providing not only incentives but also a strong science-based framework that will guide programs and activities. According to Minority Leader Edcel Lagman (1st District,Albay), principal author of the bill, the Philippines has enacted various laws to protect the country’s threatened species, including Republic Act 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act” and Republic Act 7586 or the “National Integrated ProtectedAreas System (NIPAS)Act” and a number of existing laws aimed at protecting specific threatened species but unfortunately, all have yet to achieve their intended conservation impact. “These are primarily due to problems in implementation, poor coordination of various species protection efforts among NGOs, universities and the government, a dearth of appropriate monitoring mechanisms and a lack of interest and participation by local communities and the private sector,” Lagman said. Lagman said despite these conservation efforts, population estimates for some notable species, including the national bird of the Philippines, the Philippine Eagle and the largest mammal endemic to the country, the Tamaraw still continue to decline. The measure cites the policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. The bill provides the establishment of “Adopt-A-Wildlife Species Pro-

gram” to be implemented in all appropriate areas of the country with the active participation, involvement and assistance of local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), civil society and private individuals. The bill further provides for the prevention of species extinction and promotes the protection of threatened species and their habitats and encourages the conservation of threatened species and their habitats through the active participation of the private sector and all other sectors of society. Under the measure, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) shall be executed by and between the adopting entity or individual and the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), or the Secretary of the Department ofAgriculture (DA), or the Chairman of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) stipulating the terms and conditions of the adoption in accordance with R.A. 9147. The bill grants tax exemption on any donation, contribution, request or grant which shall be made to the “Adopt-A-Wildlife Species Program” by the adopting entity or individual from donor’s tax and shall be considered as an allowable deduction from gross income in the computation of the donor’s income tax. The bill mandates the DENR, DA, and the PCSD in consultation with the Department of Finance (DOF) to jointly formulate the rules and regulations to implement the relevant provisions of thisAct. Co-authors of the measure include Reps. Francisco Matugas (1st District, Surigao del Norte), Joseph Emilio Abaya (1st District, Cavite), Hermilando Mandanas (2nd District, Batangas) and Nancy Catamco (2nd District, North Cotabato). Press Release


Jan 2 - 9, 2012

THE METROPOLIS

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MetrEx: 1st & only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

MMDA to implement new guidelines regulating billboards Despite opposition from outdoor advertisers, the Metropolitan Manila DevelopmentAuthority (MMDA) has said it will implement new guidelines regulating billboards and other advertising signs along major thoroughfares in the metropolis next month. “Effective January 2012, guidelines for billboard operators, and billboard height and size requirements will be enforced,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said at the agency’s radio program Saturday. The new guidelines were supported by the Metro Manila Council (MMC) mayors and the MMDA after a series of consultative meetings early this year. The MMC, whose members are the 17 Metro Manila mayors, is the policy-making body of theMMDA. The first guideline deals with the issuance of structural and locational clearances for billboard operators where the MMDA shall enforce and implement the National Building Code provisions on billboards along major and national thoroughfares falling within its jurisdiction. A separate guideline deals with billboard height and size requirements. The guideline on locational and structural clearance and on height and size limitations further provides that effective January 1, 2012, all existing billboard building permits, business permits and clearances shall be disregarded or canceled, and all billboard sign owners shall be required to apply anew for clearances or permits from their respective local government units. Tolentino said that by January 2012, all billboards must have a size of 60x40 feet and be at least 100 meters apart, or they will be removed, adding that the campaign objective is to institute a standard on billboard similar to those implemented in other countries such as Sao Paulo in Brazil and Honolulu in Hawaii, United States where many areas are billboard-free. Tolentino said under the new guidelines, owners and operators of billboards along major thoroughfares such as Epifanio delos SantosAve. (EDSA), C-5, Roxas Blvd. and Macapagal Ave. shall obtain a clearance from the MMDA. Meanwhile, all billboard owners are required to submit their existing permits to the MMDA and their respective local government units for verification and validation. The agency said they are aiming to remove or dismantle some 424 billboards out of the 2,000 structures along the metropolis’ main thoroughfares for such violations as failure to show building permits, certificate of use, violation of the National Building Code and locational clearance. However, the MMDA chief said he will meet with members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) before enforcing the guidelines to impress on them the need to regulate the industry.

WONDROUS NEW YEAR’S REVELRY is nothing but wonderful if done of course without damage to life and limbs. Sadly though, the DOH reported this year’s number of new year’s celebration-related cases of injuries surpassed to that of last year’s.

Upgrading of maritime curriculum pushed The maritime education in the Philippines needs a lot of upgrading to make its graduates more competitive in their chosen profession. Capt. Hernando Eusebio, a member of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) technical panel, said this will also enable the country maintain its standing as the premier supplier of quality seafarers to the global merchant marine fleet. “Only through upgrading our maritime training curriculum can the Philippines maintain its lead as the world’s number one supplier of efficient and highly trained seamen,” he emphasized. Eusebio opined that the CHED technical panel and its working group is doing everything in its power to come up with updated training syllabus that will further cement the Filipino seamen’s excellent reputation. “We are being aided in this task by other government agencies (with maritime functions) and manning industry stakeholders,” he added. Apart from updating the maritime schools’ curriculum, Eusebio said training centers must also invest on quality people and equipment to make their graduates more competitive internationally. “This is the only way we can survive and compete internationally.Adequate funding must be set aside to obtain these requisites,” Eusebio said.

Probe on P60-B Navotas reclamation projec urged A lawmaker has asked the committees on natural resources and aquaculture and fisheries resources of the House of Representatives to conduct an investigation on the impact of the P60-billion reclamation and development of the Navotas Bay on the plight of the fisherfolks in the area. Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano, author of House Resolution 1746, urged the two House bodies to look into the plan to reclaim and develop a 3.3-kilometer area in Navotas Bay that will run parallel to the city’s shoreline from C-4 to Tangos —48.41 hectares of offshore land and 22.04 hectares of offshore area in Navotas City. Under the P60-billion Navotas reclamation project, the Department of Public Works and

Highways (DPWH) will construct a baywalk from C-4 to North Luzon Expressway traversing the cities of Malabon, Valenzuela and Caloocan. Mariano said several concerned groups like the fisherfolks alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), the Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersiyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), and the Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Mamamayan ng Navotas (PIGLASNavotas) expressed opposition to the proposed reclamation project. He said the memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the reclamation and development of the Navotas Bay area project was signed between former City Mayor and now Navotas

City Rep. Tobias Tiangco and the First Sea Front Renew, Inc. Tiangco earlier said the construction of the project will place the fishing city in the National Capital Region’s roadmap of national development. Displacement TheAnakpawis party-list solon, however, said the project will result in the displacement of fisherfolks in the area as 80 percent of the people of Navotas City rely mainly on the fishing and fishing-related industries. He said the project will not only affect the marine environment but also the livelihood and housing rights of some 75,000 families living along the shorelines of Navotas City. Press Release

BI deports 144 illegal aliens in 2011 The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it has so far deported 144 illegal aliens this year that resulted to decongestion of its detention center in Bicutan, Taguig City. BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said the aliens were expelled pursuant to deportation orders against them for violating the country’s immigration laws, and had placed them in the immigration blacklist, banning them from re-entering the Philippines. The bureau’s legal and jail officials have been instructed to facilitate the immediate deportation of foreign detainees once their cases are resolved. David stressed that the BI cannot deport a foreign detainee unless the necessary clearances are secured from courts, police and the National Bureau of Investigation. The deportees also included several fugitives who were arrested while hiding in the country to evade prosecution for crimes committed in their homeland. BI records showed, 53 Chinese are top on the list of deportees, followed by 18 Americans, 17 Indians, 15 Koreans, and 10 Taiwanese. Also deported were seven Japanese, 7 Nigerians, three Germans, two Bangladeshis, two Africans, a Briton, an Australian, a French, a Malaysian, a Singaporean, a Slovenian, a Norwegian, Spaniard, a Syrian, and a Vietnamese national. As of December 19, there are at least 89 foreigners detained at the Bicutan jail, most of whom could not be deported yet due to cases pending against them before the local courts.

A Filipino clerk lists patients injured by firecrackers at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center during New Year celebrations in Manila, Philippines on Sunday Jan. 1, 2012. More than 200 people have been injured by illegal firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines despite a government scare campaign against reckless New Year revelries, officials recently said.

DBM fast-tracks P128-M release for Paranaque elementary school The Department of Budget and Management approved the release of P128 million to the Department of Education (DepEd) for the immediate reconstruction of 80 classrooms in the F. Serrano Elementary School campus in Parañaque. Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the program will be charged against the 2011 Calamity Fund, since the Quick Response Fund of the DepEd is already programmed for the reconstruction

and rehabilitation of other projects. An entire building in the campus burned down after a five-seater Beechcraft Queen Air crashed into the school grounds in early December. “A thorough evaluation by the DepEd found irreparable damage to the building, which then had to be completely demolished. Given that, we need to quickly allocate funding toward the reconstruction of the whole school. We are now fast-tracking the release

of funds to begin the construction as soon as possible,”Abad said. Reconstruction He added that the reconstruction, once completed, should sufficiently accommodate the school’s 2,652 grade school pupils. “We will build enough rooms so the school administration can conduct a single-shift program for its students, instead of putting them on the usual double shift. Once the reconstruction is finished, classes will be back to

normal and students can have a school environment more conducive to learning,”Abad said. Meanwhile, Abad announced that the DepEd is closing in on its classroom construction target for this year. Zero backclog “TheAquino administration is committed to closing the supply gap in much-needed learning facilities. We are serious in our bid to have a zero backlog of classrooms by 2013.

To be able to do this, theAquino government has been tapping different approaches in constructing school buildings, including an important collaboration with the League of Cities to fast-track the construction of classrooms,” he added. The budget chief also noted that classroomconstruction projects will be included in the Administration’s Public-Private Partnership program to build the required number of classrooms in one year.


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FAITH, HEALTH, EVENTS, PLACES & PEOPLE

Jan 2 - 9, 2012

METRO EXPRESS NEWSMAGAZINE

House leader assails 100% hike in OFW PhilHealth premium Jesus’ amazing salvation “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them” (Hebrews 11:33) Please pray for those who are far away from hearing about Jesus. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy; the sinners, not the righteous. Pray that God would give every Christian access to the hearts of unbelievers to tell about Jesus’ amazing salvation and forgiveness. I want to hear from you! What issues are most important to you? What do you need help with and want to see at www.godlife.com ? Every day this week, I will be asking you at our Facebook page for your thoughts and dreams and needs. Get the daily posts by “Liking” our page! Thanks! Just Keep Swimming. When I was little, my parents made me go to swimming lessons. I was so afraid that I got sick to my stomach every time I stood in front of the pool. But I had a nice coach who wanted to give me the accomplishment of swimming the entire pool. It was so long! There was no way I thought I could do it, but here’s what he would do: He would stand in the shallow-end of the pool and invite me in. “Just swim to me,” he said. Ok, that I can do. But then he would move back a little farther. “Just keep swimming, Amy. Don’t stop paddling.” I swam a little more. He kept doing this until suddenly I was at the end. I was so amazed—I never dreamed I could do that! He helped me the entire way with his closeness, the promise of his reach to save me, his encouraging voice saying, “Just keep swimming.” That’s what faith is. It is the continual reach to get something great. Try this with me now, even though it seems a little silly: Reach out your hand as far as it will go, as if for something just at the edge of your grasp. I want you to remember that feeling as we read about one unlikely woman’s amazing reach of faith: As Jesus went with him, He was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of His robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against You.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched Me, for I felt healing power go out from Me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of Him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched Him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Jesus said it was her faith that made her well, showing how much God values faith. Imagine this woman’s obstacles: all the crowds, the larger men, the people who disdained her because of her sickness, and the countless disappointments of failed cures. But to push through the crowds, bear the shame, and reach out to Jesus, she had to believe that what was on the end of her reach was worth it: that Jesus had the power no one else had. This is the essence of faith. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Maybe you’ve been treading water awhile in the pool of your promise. You haven’t quite given up, but you don’t feel you have the strength to keep paddling. God wants to help you today. Just like my swim coach was there to help me if I got tired or scared, God is near you to uphold you and encourage you to keep going. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny Himself.” God wants you to know today that He is faithful when you are faithless, and He wants to help get you to the other side to receive your promise. Reach out today and tell Him, “Help! I want to keep kicking. Please give me Your strength.” So this week, let’s all pray together—for ourselves and each other—that: 1. God would renew the vision of the promise He has given us 2. We would reach out to God to receive His strength to keep going in faith 3. Global Media Outreach would reach those we haven’t been able to reach before Why don’t you post about the promise you are believing for at the GodLife Prayer Wall? We can all pray for each other and see God help us as a united group get to the other side. Your Friends at GodLife.com

Shamcey reveals plans for ‘12 Beauty queen Shamcey Supsup is still unsure what lies next in her possible showbiz career but reveals she is willing to take projects that are near and dear to her heart. Supsup said she is open to doing more shows in 2012 but only if it is socially relevant. “Something that is about home design, lifestyle or about charities. Somewhere I can express my opinion and help people,” she said. She also said that what really excites her is to continue her studies next year. She said she plans to take distance language courses instead of going abroad to study. Supsup said she never knew that joining the Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant would bring her to the Miss Universe pageant and a 3rd runner-up finish in the competition. She said it was in December last year when she asked her dad if she could join the Bb. Pilipinas pageant. Supsup said her initial motivation in joining the pageant was to change people’s perceptions of beauty queens. However, she said she was changed when she started learning the other contestants and had a chance to join the Miss Universe pageant. “Akala ko I was there to change people’s minds but what happened, it was me who changed...Hindi pala siya madali. For me, in all the things I’ve done, board exams, architecture school, this was one of the hardest but it was all worth it,” she said.

A senior administration lawmaker has urged Malacanang to recall a decision by the Philhealth Corporation to make the cost of government health insurance restrictive to millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza said that an “unconscionable” hike in insurance premium will greet OFWs at the start of 2012 due to a directive issued by PhilHealth which states that premium payments for health insurance covering OFWs should further increase by mid2012. Under PhilHealth Circular No. 22-11 released 10 days before Christmas day, premium payments for OFWs will increase from P900 to P1,200 by January 2012. The amount will double to P2,400 by mid-2012. “Malacanang should stop PhilHealth from playing ‘Scrooge’to the unsung heroes of Philippine economy. Circular No. 22-11 only serves as a spoiler to the Christmas spirit of generosity and selfless concern for others,” said Mendoza. “The increase is both drastic and unjustified as doubling of fees collected by a government agency is unheard of in recent history,” he added. Mendoza, who heads the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) contingent in the Lower House, assailed the state-run health care agency for imposing the insurance premium adjustment without sufficient public consultation. “If PhilHealth should be true to its mandate to serve the people rather than act as a financial monster that it wants to be by nibbling even the morsels earned by our OFWs,” he said. Mendoza echoed the appeal of non-government organizations representing OFWs for the scrapping of the PhilHealth circular, saying that public hearings must or repeated if the state-run firm insists on pursuing its plan. PhilHealth officials earlier explained that imposing higher premiums has become necessary to pave the way for the implementation of performance targets, accomplish the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and pursue a universal health care coverage for Filipinos. “We cannot continue to be insensitive to the plight of the poor in these times when many are growing hungrier by the day and hundreds are dead and thousands were rendered homeless by the recent typhoon,” the Batangas solon said.

DOLE online posting of labor cases promotes transparency, accountability Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday reported that the DOLE marks the end of the year with a total of 37,619 labor cases posted on its online docket system. The online case status mechanism covers all collated cases from the DOLE’s bureaus, agencies, and services. As of November 30, 2011, the Philippine Overseas EmploymentAdministration topped the list of online cases posted, with 29,202 cases; National Labor Relations Commission, 4,111 cases; and the Bureau of Working Conditions, with 1,372cases. Other agencies and services that have posted their labor cases are the Legal Service with 993 posts; Professional Regulation Commission, 618; National Conciliation and Mediation Board, 504; Bureau of Labor Relations, 458; and Employees Compensation Commission, 361. All DOLE bureaus, agencies, and services have been regularly updating their online case postings. “Workers and employers can check this out at the DOLE’s website at www.dole.gov.ph,” Baldoz said. Secretary Baldoz said the continuous online posting of the status of labor cases is part of its reforms in promoting transparency, accountability, and accessibility in labor arbitration and adjudication, and in boosting efficient and just resolution of all filed labor cases. “Through the online posting, we provide our workers and employers with an accessible and cost-effective feedback mechanism to avoid delay and ensure impartiality in the settlement of their cases. Hence, we urge them to use our online system in monitoring the status of labor cases,” she said, adding: “By just one click at the DOLE’s website, concerned parties can directly view the status of their case(s) instead of going to DOLE offices and agencies to do personal follow-up. This online mechanism promotes our “no-contact” policy,” she added. All labor and employment cases have already been posted on the website since the online system’s inception on September 15 last year. Through the system, one can check the status of the labor case in three easy steps, to wit: (1) log on at www.dole.gov.ph; (2) click on case status icon on the lower left portion of the web page; and (3) type in the text box the complete and exact case docket number of a particular case one would like to check. Upon clicking the search button, the nature of a case, the case title, date case was filed, and status of the case will be displayed and can be seen. “From time to time, they can check if their filed case is pending, for review, for evaluation, or already settled with signed order/resolution. We encourage parties to self-monitor their own cases as we give them an instant feedback online,” Baldoz said. Baldoz said case status reports can be accessed not only at DOLE’s website, but also in links at the websites of the aforementioned bureaus and attached agencies.

Government channels more aid into potable water programs In a move to increase access to safe water in Sendong-hit Cagayan de Oro and other waterless areas, President Benigno S. Aquino III directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release P52.8 million for the rehabilitation of Cagayan de Oro’s water supply system, as well as P619.6 million for the continued implementation of the Potable Water Supply Project. The funds will be released to the Local Water UtilitiesAdministration (LWUA), which oversees the development of water supply systems in provincial cities and municipalities outside Metro Manila. “TheAquino administration pledged swift action in providing disaster relief to all Sendong-affected areas, beginning with Cagayan de Oro’s compromised water systems,” said Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B.Abad. “We are releasing P52.8 million to the LWUAso we can jumpstart repairs in the city’s water facilities and restore the water supply in the local community.” P32.4 million of the LWUA fund for Cagayan de Oro will be used to repair source and production facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Sendong. The rest of the fund—amounting to P20.4 million—will be directed to restoring critical service connections to local concessionaires. “At the same time, the administration recognizes the urgent need for potable water in several municipalities around the country. Through the Potable Water Supply Project, we can provide safe drinking water and basic sanitation services in waterless communities, thus ensuring better public health—and a better quality of life—in impoverished localities,”Abad said.

DA, PNOC-EDC to develop “salad bowl” in Leyte, allot initial P92 M The Potable Water Supply Project is concurrent with the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as other key social protection programs initiated by theAquino administration. The communities chosen for the program were based on: a) poverty criteria of National Anti-Poverty Commission, b) “Seal of Good Housekeeping” standards of the Department of Interior and Local Government, c) priority areas identified by the DoH for the reduction of water-borne diseases, and d) guidelines of the National Economic DevelopmentAuthority-Investment Coordination Committee pertaining to national government grants for devolved services. The 2011 budget provided a total allocation of P1.5 billion for the Potable Water Sup-

ply Program. The complete amount was issued to the Department of Health in the last quarter of the year. The Department of Agriculture—in partnership with the PNOC-Energy Development Corporation (EDC), farmers’ groups, and other institutions—will develop a 20,000-hectare area at Tongonan mountain range, straddling Ormoc City and municipality of Kananga, in Leyte, into a “salad bowl” that will produce high value semi-temperate vegetables. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J.Alcala led the signing of a memorandum of agreement on December 12 to implement a five-year initiative, called Agri-Pinoy integrated and diversified program for the development of the “OK” upland range. OK refers collectively to Ormoc City and Kananga. The Ton-

gonan mountain range is 500 to 800 meters above sea level. The DA and EDC will jointly invest P92 million in the next five years to develop suitable areas surrounding the Leyte Geothermal Production Field (LGPF) to benefit 5,600 farmers, who are members of 23 farmers’ associations in Ormoc City and municipality of Kananga. Secretary Alcala said the DA through the DA Region 8 office and National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) will assist farmers in the land preparation, cultivation, harvesting, processing, and marketing of vegetables and other high value commercial crops. Currently, subsistence farmers at LGPF produce assorted vegetables and fruits like cabbage, green onion, tomato, eggplant, radish, chayote, cucumber (pipino), and pineap-

ple.About five tons are harvested weekly and sold at public markets in Ormoc City and Kananga. Under the five-year project, farmers will be encouraged to plant other crops like durian, rambutan, jackfruit, coffee, and abaca. Aside from the DA and EDC, the other project partners are the Visayas Sate University (VSU) and the Partners Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PMPC), representing the 23 farmers’ associations, located in 16 villages or barangays surrounding the LGPF at the OK upland range. Secretary Alcala said the joint project will not only uplift farmers from poverty but, more importantly, transform them into entrepreneurs. It will benefit about 3,000 subsistence farm-families in seven villages in Kananga (Rizal, Hiluctogan, Montebello, Aguiting,

Lim-ao, San Ignacio, and Tongonan) and nine villages in Ormoc City (Milagro, Nueva Vista, Cabaon-an, Danao, Gaas, Liberty, Tongonan, Mahayahay, and Dolores). “Sa pagsasamang ito, mahalaga na maliwanag sa bawat isa na hindi lamang tayo tutulong sa produksyon. Tutulong rin tayo sa processing, hanggang sa marketing. At sa marketing, mahalaga ang economies of scale. Hindi kayo makakakuha ng magandang presyo kung walang economies of scale,” said Secretary Alcala during a forum after the MOAsigning ceremony. Of the P92-million initial funding, the DANABCOR will share P29 million to establish a consolidation center and pilot packinghouse, and provide marketing support, said NABCOR president and CEO Honesto Baniqued, Jr. Another P13m is for research and dev’t.


Jan 2 - 9, 2012

BUSINESS & POLITICS 2

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MetrEx: 1st & Only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Gov’t invests P90.3 M for 1,050 DA scholars To boost the competitiveness of the agriculture sector, the Aquino administration recently invested P90.3 million in a comprehensive scholarship program to support 1,050 scholars in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and veterinary medicine education. “We need to develop a steady base of competent professionals who will unlock the potential of our agriculture and fisheries sector,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B.Abad said. “President Aquino is committed to ensuring rice self-sufficiency by 2013 and, ultimately, to developing a robust agriculture sector that provides meaningful and sustainable livelihoods for the rural poor. The scholarship program will help us achieve this goal,” he said. The scholarship, charged against theAgricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), covers the full amount of tuition and other fees, and will be paid directly to the school. TheACEF, enacted in 1996, aims to support farmers and fisherfolk, cooperatives, and agribusiness entrepreneurs to compete in an increasingly globalized agriculture market. Under RepublicAct 9496, “AnAct To Extend the Utilization Period of ACEF,” local government units, state universities and colleges or other government institutions involved in the research and development of agricultural products may avail of ACEF financial grants without collateral. It also added that 10 percent of the fund shall be earmarked for the funding of the comprehensive scholarship program for agriculture sector. TheAquino administration has committed to pursue development of and reforms in the agriculture and fisheries sector, being one of its five priority areas for economic growth and employment generation. The other priority areas are business process outsourcing, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, tourism and general infrastructure. Agriculture, fishery and forestry accounts for 16.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), rebounded to 5.4 percent from a decline of 2.9 percent in 2010, contributing 1.0 percentage point to the total GDP growth. The biggest contributors to growth in agriculture were palay, fishery, corn, poultry, and livestock.

To enhance the government weather forecasting system, President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Department of Budget and Management to release P150 million for the installation of 1,000 automatic water level sensors nationwide to aid forecasters in tracking river water levels and potential floods. Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the released funding issued to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will be used in the fabrication and installation of 1,000 automatic water level sensors to be placed in 18 river basins throughout the country. “The Aquino administration is moving fast in its relief efforts for the victims of Tropical Storm Sendong, as well as in providing additional technology to refine our country’s weather prediction systems. The production and installation of the automatic water level sensors are part of the Aquino administration’s immediate-response projects for Visayas and Northern Mindanao,” Abad said. He added that the government will prioritize the installation of the water sensors in the Cagayan de Oro River (two sensors upstream, 1 downstream), Iponan River, Cagayan de Oro-Iligan, Misamis Oriental (one sensor), and Iligan City (one sensor upstream, one sensor downstream). The installation of all units will begin in 2012. “Climate change adaptation and mitigation is part of the five key priority areas of the Aquino administration. We are working toward innovating the country’s weather facilities to preserve the safety and wellbeing of all Filipinos, and also to minimize the social, economic, and environmental damage wrought by natural calamities,” Abad said.

Legarda sees approval of OPCAT to jump-start reform in jails

Senator Loren Legarda said on Monday the approval of an international agreement would jump-start the implementation of much-needed reform programs for jails and detention facilities and better treatment of prisoners, noting that the country’s jails “are 201 percent” congested. “Harsh prison conditions, overcrowded jails, inadequate nutrition and medical attention for prisoners — that sums up our prison and detention conditions today,” Legarda pointed out. Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations, said that the Optional Protocol to the ConventionAgainst Torture (OPCAT) promotes better rehabilitation of prisoners by ensuring that they are not subjected to physical abuse and poor living condition in jails and detention centers. “In March 2011, millions have witnessed on national TV the brutality of prison conditions, while a naked and bound robbery suspect was allegedly being tortured by police officers inside a station. There have also been incidents of rape inside police stations,” Legarda said. In June 2011, there had also been media reports that prison officials were receiving kickbacks from the food budget for National Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates, she added. “Cases were filed because people came out and spoke against these abuses. We want to institutionalize a visitorial and documentation system for our prison and detention facilities and we want to see outcomes of government action against these violations,” Legarda said. ”The OPCAT forwards the idea that through a system of regular jail visits by independent international and local monitors, torture and other forms of ill-treatment can be prevented in prisons and that jail conditions can be improved,” she explained. CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga In calling for the Senate’s concurrence in the accession to OPCAT, Legarda said that she — The revenue collections on quarry opera- supports the Department of ForeignAffairs’requests for a deferment of the implementation of tions in the province has reached more than the obligations in Part III of the treaty to allow for completion of the government’s reform P355.5-million since Governor Lilia Pineda became the provincial chief executive almost 18 months ago. Based on the records of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) announced that consolidated revenues of listed (PENRO) the collection on quarry operations from January to December 26, this year has firms increased by 15.4 percent to P2.78 trillion from P2.41 trillion in the first nine months of 2011. marked at least over P236 million. This is attributable to the improved performances in the financial, property and mining The record also shows that the province granted gratuitous permits to different mu- sectors. Combined net incomes of listed firms however dropped by 10.1 percent to P308.86 billion nicipalities which led to the delivery of 10,701 from P343.59 billion in the same period last year. truckloads of quarry materials. The decrease was mainly due to lower net profits recorded by the industrial, services and The extraction fee for each truckload is P300. For gratuitous permits, if duly convert- holding firms sectors. Data was gathered from the nine-month financial statements of 235 companies out of 248 ed, will give additional income of P3,257,400. Aside from this, the provincial government domestic listed companies. “While it’s good to note that revenues of our listed firms continue to improve, their net also facilitated the delivery of 5,415 truckloads of filling materials to various groups incomes had to contend with the challenges in the economy such as rising production costs and lower-than-expected demand,” PSE president and chief executive officer Hans B. Sicat and institutions. Last year, from July 1 to December 31, the said. “However, despite the uncertainties in the global landscape particularly in the Eurozone revenues of quarry collections is and US, some key sectors have managed to post higher net income figures. This, together P119,385,000. The provincial government attributed its with the country’s sound fundamentals and exciting growth potential, continue to bolster success in quarry collection to the coopera- interest in our listed companies,” he added. “This confidence has been reflected in the PSEi, which continues to be a top performer in tion of the stakeholders, mayors, quarry operators and truckers like the Pampanga Truck Asia this year,” Sicat emphasized. In terms of sectors, the financial sector’s collective income rose by 17.1 percent to P53.09 OwnersAssociation. The monthly quarry collection (in millions) billion during the nine-month period. Contributing to the growth was the increase in net interest income posted by Metropolitan for 2011 is broken down s follows: January, 20.280; February, 20.385; March, 21.780; Bank and Trust Company. Meanwhile, BDO Unibank, Inc. and Union Bank of the Philippines posted foreign exApril, 19.710; May, 23.175; June, 19.230; July, 20.415;August, 20.265; September, 17.595; change gains and higher incomes from service charges and fees. The property sector reported a combined income of P31.08 billion, P5.05 billion or 19.4 October, 19.755; November, 18.930 and until percent higher than last year. December 26, 14.670.

Quarry collection in P’anga hits P355.5M mark

DOST gets P150M funding to boost weather forecast system

programs for jails and detention facilities. Highlighting the need for such deferment, she noted the dismal situation in the country’s detention cells. Jails under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have a total cell area of 56,982 square meters, which can accommodate only 18,944 inmates. As of August 2009, BJMP facilities held a total of 57,007 inmates nationwide, translating into a 201 percent congestion level. As of 2010, the number of prisoners increased to 59,289. Furthermore, the country has a ratio of about one guard to every 48 prisoners, while the international standard is one guard for every seven prisoners. Regarding allowance for an inmate’s meals, the government provides P50 per inmate each day. The daily budget for medicines is a meager P3 per inmate. The lady senator explained that the deferment of the implementation of the obligations in Part III of the OPCAT gives the Philippines three years to improve prison, detention and custodial facilities before an international monitor can perform visits, but she emphasized that the deferment refers only to requests for visits by an international monitor and not on the establishment of the National Preventive Mechanism which is required by the OPCAT to be established within one year after accession. The OPCAT also enables States Parties to benefit from advisory, technical and financial assistance. “We are confident that the OPCAT will strongly assist us in keeping in check acts of torture, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of detainees. We are hopeful, that by our accession to this instrument, our jail conditions will finally be improved, making them conducive to promote the rehabilitation of its residents,” Legarda stressed. Legarda has already submitted the Committee Report on the OPCAT and has urged the Senate for the swift concurrence to the ratification of the treaty.

Listed firms’ revenues expand by 15.4% A nonrecurring gain from the sale of investment in available-for-sale shares boosted Megaworld Corporation’s (MEG) net income by 62.8 percent. Increased revenues from real estate sales through improved sales volumes of both residential units and commercial lots lifted the net incomes of Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and SM Development Corporation (SMDC) by 32.9 percent and 51.0 percent, respectively. The mining and oil sector’s aggregate income also surged 162.8 percent to P21.25 billion as average global metal prices improved. Philex Mining Corporation’s (PX) revenue from gold and copper grew by 50.7 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively, leading to an overall income growth of 102.9 percent in the first nine months of 2011. Semirara Mining Corporation’s (SCC) local and international sales of coal increased by 10.0 percent as average coal prices jumped 33.2 percent. Similarly, Nickel Asia Corporation’s (NIKL) net income rose 131.9 percent with the increase in nickel ore prices. Meantime, the industrial sector registered a P42.62 billion or 35.3 percent decline in collective income which totaled Php78.11 billion. One-time gains recorded in the same period last year caused a 97.4 percent and 23.0 percent decline in the net income of First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) and San Miguel Brewery, Inc. (SMB), respectively. Energy Development Corporation (EDC) andAboitiz Power Corporation (AP) also posted a 109.4 percent and 12.4 percent drop in net income, respectively, on account of lower average Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) prices. First Gen Corporation (FGEN) suffered from lower equity in net earnings of associate primarily due to the losses of EDC. Likewise, the Services Sector posted a lower net income of P51.95 billion, down by 16.6 percent from P62.26 billion a year ago. PAL Holdings, Inc. (PAL) registered a 168.1 percent or P5.66 billion decline in net profit as its passenger revenues were pulled down by the pesodollar exchange rate fluctuations. Press Release


SUBIC BAYFREEPORT – The Subic Bay MetropolitanAuthority (SBMA) has disclosed a two-point program which is expected to put the Subic Bay Freeport in a more competitive investment position over itsAsian neighbors. In a meeting with executives of the Investment PromotionAgencies (IPA) 1st Alliance of Provincial News Practitioners (APNP) composing the Technical Working Group of the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP), SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that he is now working on two points that will encourage investors to come in. The first point, he said, is the rationalization of investment incentives, which, when approved, will be given to all investors

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SBMA bats for 2-pt program to attract more investors

Vol 1 No 30

Metro

SUBIC & CLARK

Express A VALIANT STAND ON SPREADING THE GOOD SIDE OF PH

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equally by all investment promotion agencies in the country. “Here at the SBMA, we are not allowed to offer income tax holidays and that is a disadvantage [on our part] versus the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone

Jan 2 - 9, 2012

Authority). The incentives for investors should be the same as with the other agencies. Otherwise, investors will withdraw their proposals because we don’t have income tax holidays,” Garcia said. Second, Garcia said that his administra

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tion is currently working on making the incentives in Subic competitive with the incentives given in other countries. Press Release

metro express no. 30  

metro express no. 30 issue, english newspaper

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