Group hits ‘pressure’ against fishers Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:31 Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter
THE anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) on Thursday chided MacArthur, Leyte mayor Rene Leria for harassing fishermen. The mayor, according to a statement issued by ATM, wants fishermen to bolt from Unahin Lagi ang Diyos – Bito Lake Fishers Folks Association (Unlad-BLFA) and join an organization accredited by the local government of MacArthur or they will not be allowed to culture fish at Lake Bito. Unlad-BLFA is opposing the operation of black- sand mining in MacArthur, Leyte which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) ordered suspended for violation of the Minerals Processing and Sharing Agreement (MPSA). The company, Nicua Corp., allegedly allowed employees of another Chinese mining firm to operate within its MPSA. Nicua Corp. is blaming the other company’s operation as the reason behind the contamination of water bodies nearby, including Lake Bito, which led to massive fishkills since last year. Jesus Cabias, president of Unlad-BLFA, said a meeting with the mayor and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) was held Sept. 25, 2012, at a community chapel in MacArthur, where the local chief executive issued the threat. “What we only want is a decent means of livelihood. Is it because we are fighting against mining in our community that we lose our rights to fish in the lake? We’ve been fishing here for so long,” he said. “We denounce this harassment to the fishermen of Lake Bito. We are calling on Mayor Leria to be fair on this decision. What are the grounds that Unlad members all of sudden become ineligible to fish in the area considering that these fishermen are the ones fighting for the protection of the lake?” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM). Garganera said the mayor, instead of harassing fishermen, should train his eye on Nicua Corp. which should be penalized for the damage it caused during the fish kill. BFAR’s Provincial Office will be granting floating cages to about 50 fishermen but they will have to clear all the current cages in the lake.
Jose Ciervo, provincial fisheries officer, said the victims of the fish kill are actually the priority beneficiary of the project. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/53-agricommodities/33402-group-hits-pressure-against-fishers-
Posted on September 30, 2012 10:00:15 PM
CoA questions agency’s unauthorized spending THE NATIONAL Irrigation Administration (NIA) has been found to use the budget for locally funded projects to unrelated costs such as Christmas bonuses and incentives, the state audit body reported. "Review of the disbursements using General Fund 101 disclosed that expenses not related to the funds for the implementation of the locally funded irrigation projects in the amount of 48,498,189.00 were charged against the fund..." the Commission on Audit (CoA) said in a report. All offices of the NIA nationwide spent 43.56 million of the fund for incentives under the collective negotiation agreement (CNA), while the NIA central office spent almost 1 million out of the budget for locally funded and foreign-assisted projects. The CNA is a performance-based cash incentive that is taken from an agency’s savings. The NIA office in Region 6 (Western Visayas), moreover, obtained 497,051.90 and 1.5 million which was earmarked for the repair of office equipment and traveling expenses, respectively, for events such as the agency’s anniversary celebration and board meeting in the resort island of Boracay. The same regional office also used the fund for hotel accommodations and meals of visitors from the NIA central office, "pasalubong" [take-home goods], and utilities totaling 1.89 million. The costs were "recorded as construction-in-progress," according to the CoA, despite a CoA circular dated 1994 that limited the use of trust funds for a specific purpose, and that "in no case" will it be used for the "additional compensation to employees, incentive pay, bonuses, honorarium or other forms of additional compensation." Aside from the need to comply with laws on the use of trust funds, the CoA asked the NIA to return the amount paid for the expenses to the Bureau of the Treasury. In the same CoA report, the NIA management stated that the 5% management fee is "separate and distinct from the 3.5% general engineering and administration expense." On the CNA paid out of project funds, the management said that an agency circular allowed such payment. The NIA said it is authorized to charge for administration and engineering "5% of the total cost of projects undertaken by it" under the amended Republic Act (RA) 3601, which created the agency.
Meanwhile, the NIA also said that it based the management fee rate on the allotment released by the Budget department for locally funded projects instead of the total cost of completed undertakings, the CoA report stated. The management further said in the report that the agencyâ€™s operations will be "hampered" if the management fee will be collected only after the projects are completed. The CoA, however, noted that the management fee was at a higher 5.61%, or beyond the ceiling set under RA 3601, resulting in overpayment. The NIA collected 480.3 million, which is higher by 52.05 million based on the 5% fee rate, out of the 857 million received for the implementation of locally funded projects. The CoA then requested the agency to "remit to the Bureau of the Treasury the noted overpayment of management fee amounting to 52.052 million and 18.015 million for 2011 and 2010, respectively." -- M. J. O. Cantilero
1.8-M sakahan patutubigan ng NIA Ni Butch Quejada (Pilipino Star Ngayon) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)
MANILA, Philippines - Target ng pamunuan ng National Irrigation Administration (NIA) na patubigan ang may 1.8 milyong ektarya ng lupang sakahan sa bansa sa susunod na taon. Ayon kay NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel, nakasalalay sa irrigation system ang tagumpay ng â€˜rice sufficiency programâ€™ ni Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala na inaasahang makakamit sa 2013. Sa ngayon ay umaabot na sa 1.5 milyong ektarya ng lupang sakahan ang nalagyan nila ng irigasyon o patubig mula nang umupo siya sa NIA bilang administrator noong 2010. Si Nangel na hall of famer bilang best regional director ng DA simula noong 2007 hanggang 2009 ay kilala sa kanyang mahusay na pagtatrabaho sa lahat ng hawakan niyang opisina kabilang na rito ang pagpapaunlad sa Upper Pampanga River Irrigations System (UPRIS) sa Pampanga. Ang NIA ang isa sa mga nangunang departamento para maisakatuparan ang rice sufficiency program ng DA sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng sapat na patubig sa mga sakahan. Si Nangel din ang nagpasimuno nang pagpapatayo ng mga mini-hydro power plant sa mga water dams at irigasyon para makatulong sa pagbibigay ng kuryente sa ibang lugar ng bansa at malilinis na tubig na maaring mainom sa mga malalayong lugar sa bansa. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=854643&publicationSubCategoryId=92
2-3 bagyo papasok ngayong Okt. Ni Ricky Tulipat (Pilipino Star Ngayon) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Dalawa o tatlong bagyo ang maaring pumasok sa Philippine Area of Responsibility ngayong Oktubre. Ayon sa PAGASA, pagkatapos ng Oktubre, isa hanggang dalawang bagyo naman sa Nobyembre, at sa Disyembre ay posibleng zero o hanggang isang bagyo na lamang ang maaring pumasok sa PAR. Kahapon, isang potensyal na bagyo ang tinutugaygayan ng PAGASA na maaring pumasok, pero malayo pa umano ito sa bansa. Sa sandaling pumasok sa PAR at maging isang ganap na bagyo, tatawagin itong Marce. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=854639&publicationSubCategoryId=92
‘Give money back to farmers’ By Fernando del Mundo Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:45 am | Monday, October 1st, 2012
Sen. Joker Arroyo compares the travails of the coconut farmers on the cusp of recovering some P100 billion in martial law-decreed tax to that of “The Little Red Hen.” In the folktale, the hen finds a grain of wheat. She then asks animals in the barn who wants to help her plant the grain. “Not I,” purrs the cat. “Not I,” barks the dog. “Not I,” quacks the duck. “Then, I will,” says the hen. And so the exchange goes on through the growing, harvesting, milling and finally baking the bread. When all is said and done, the hen asks, “Who will help me eat the bread?” The chorus is, “I will.” Arroyo says that’s exactly where coconut farmers stand today, after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled last week that 24 percent of sequestered shares of stock in San Miguel Corp. (SMC) acquired with proceeds of a coconut levy tax imposed from 1973 to 1982 belonged to the government and should now be used for the benefit of the industry and the farmers. “Give the money back to the farmers,” Arroyo said in an interview on the weekend as the government grappled with the question of what to do with the recovered assets after a quarter century of judicial litigation. “The government should spell out now what it should do,” the senator said. “They have been ominously silent.” He recalled that little of the P52.9 billion amassed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority in the sale of military facilities went to the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Arroyo shrugged off reported government intention to use the money for the rehabilitation of the coconut industry and its 3.5 million farmers. The rebuilding of the industry is a function of the government, he said, and the farmers should not be asked to shoulder this expense. Some 20 million Filipinos, comprising the nation’s poorest of the poor, depend on the industry. Many of the farmers who paid the tax on copra imposed during the martial law
years from 1973 to 1982 are either dead or dying and would no longer enjoy the fruits of their labors, said industry activists. Farmers need to be heard Danny Carranza, secretary general of the peasant coalition Katarungan-Quezon, said genuine farmers should be involved in any government initiative on securing and using the funds to avoid the shenanigans of the past. Carranza pointed out that the levy was imposed by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos supposedly “for the benefit of the farmers,” but few of the peasants gained from it. “It is important here to establish a coconut farmers trust fund to ensure that the coco levy fund will not again be squandered. It would be good if the program would directly benefit the small farmers. The government should ensure that the recovered coco levy fund would not be used again for the benefit of big capitalists,” he said. Omi Royandoyan, executive director of the advocacy group Centro Saka, also supported the issuance of an executive order or law establishing a trust fund for the farmers. Royandoyan warned against moves by the Nationalist People’s Coalition headed by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco to block a bill by Rep. Erin Tañada of Quezon to establish a trust fund. Joey Faustino, head of the Coconut Industry Reform Movement, called on President Aquino to certify for urgent legislation bills in the two houses of Congress that would establish a Coconut Farmers Trust Fund to be initially funded by any recovered coco levy funds. He said genuine farmers should be represented in coconut-related agencies of the government, including the group of companies comprising state-owned United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UCPB) and the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF). “To date, personalities closely related to Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. have been appointed/reappointed to the group of companies,” Faustino said. Getting it right “The farmers have waited this long and have had to survive on so much less. In my book, getting it right is worth the wait, even if it means waiting a little while longer,” said Marco Sardillo, a volunteer lawyer for the coalition. Cojuangco was a member of the triumvirate that supervised the coconut industry during the martial law years. The others were then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and the late Clara Lobregat, then head of the Philippine Coconut Planters Federation.
In a decision last year, the Supreme Court said that another 20-percent block of SMC shares that was sequestered in 1986 following the Edsa People Power Revolution belonged to Cojuangco, throwing out claims by coconut farmers that it was part of the illgotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies. A dissenting justice described the decision as the “joke of the century.” This 20-percent block of shares is worth P54.36 billion of common shares (based on P110/share). All told, 51 percent of the shares of stock of SMC, now one of the nation’s highly diversified conglomerates, were acquired in 1983 for P2 billion, allegedly using coconut levy funds deposited in UCPB headed by Cojuangco, an uncle of President Aquino. For election purposes? The shares were reduced to 48 percent of the SMC stock as part of the company’s expansion with the subsequent entry of Japan’s Kirin brewery. Four percent of the package estimated at P15.3 billion has been converted into treasury warrants, representing holdings of then SMC boss Andres Soriano and his employees. The 24-percent block of SMC shares that the court had ruled belonged to the farmers was acquired using a complex arrangement with 14 holding companies. The scheme was conjured by Cojuangco’s lawyers, some of whom later became senators. In 2009, this portfolio, estimated to be worth around P70 billion, including interests and dividends, was converted from common to preferred shares pegged at P75 per share. Oil mills acquired by the government during the martial law years are worth P6.5 billion. If liquidated, the bundle could be worth at least P146.16 billion. Although the court decision on the Cojuangco shares has become final and executory, coconut reform advocates are seeking a review of the ruling. Letters, including one signed by the head of the Catholic bishops’ National Secretariat for Social Action, have been sent to the court questioning its April 2011 ruling on this 20percent block of shares. A week after the high tribunal ruled in favor of Cojuangco, the President convened an interagency meeting in Malacañang to discuss strategies on what to do with the SMC shares once recovered. A presidential task force on coco levy headed by Secretary Joel Rocamora of the National Anti-Poverty Commission was created. The group met 10 times, but none of the farmers’
groups was represented, the Inquirer has learned, although companies with links to Cojuangco subsequently were involved. The group later came up with a so-called road map using levy funds for the development of the industry and a poverty reduction in the distressed sector “to complement the government’s overall antipoverty and rural development agenda.” Apart from this, nothing has so far been heard from the government amid speculation that the money might be used in the elections next year.
BusinessMirror.com.ph Home Top News Subsidies to GOCCs dropped in August
Subsidies to GOCCs dropped in August Sunday, 30 September 2012 20:33 Vg Cabuag / Reporter
SUBSIDIES given by the national government to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) dropped in August as the Aquino administration disbursed smaller funds to them, data from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) showed. According to the BTr data, the subsidies dropped by more than a third to P1.36 billion from last yearâ€™s P2.13 billion. The National Housing Authority (NHA) received almost half of the financial assistance for the month (P600 million), followed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which got P258 million. Other top recipients for the month were the Philippine Coconut Authority with P185 million, while state-owned hospitals Lung Center of the Philippines received P70 million and National Kidney and Transplant Institute was given P65 million. The August subsidies brought the total financial assistance to the GOCCs to P14.81 billion, lower by close to 15 percent from last yearâ€™s P17.4 billion. Also for the month, the National Food Authority (NFA) received P4 billion, which will mainly go to payment for rice imports that the Aquino administration heavily subsidizes to keep prices low. The NHA received the second-largest subsidy for the eight-month period with P2.4 billion; Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), P2.12 billion; National Electrification Administration, P1.56 billion; and NIA, P1.28 billion. The subsidies to the GOCCs went down despite spending by the Aquino administration growing by more than 10 percent in August to P126.9 billion. Non-interest expenses surged by 14 percent, while interest payments were lower by 5 percent, according to data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Expenses for January-August grew by 14 percent to P1.085 trillion. Budget deficit for the period remained at P71.2 billion, way below the programmed P183.34 billion for the first three quarters of the year. The Aquino administration has set a deficit cap of P279 billion for 2012. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/33525-subsidies-to-goccs-dropped-inaugust
Consumers urged to help government achieve rice selfsufficiency Sunday, 30 September 2012 19:07 Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter THE government is asking consumers to do their part in helping the country become self sufficient in rice by not wasting cooked rice. The Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) said Filipinos throw away 9 grams of cooked rice every day. “If this is not wasted, it could result in P5.3 billion import savings and feed about two million hungry Filipinos in a year,” said Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, PhilRice socioeconomist, in a statement. Based on official figures, Bordey said the government is on track in becoming rice selfsufficient next year. She said the country was 92 percent rice “self-sufficient” in 2011 at current domestic rice prices while import dependency was reduced to 8 percent with about 800,000 to 900,000 metric tons (MT) of rice bought from other countries. “Rice production in all rice ecosystems grew by more than 428,000 MT every year from 2000 to 2010. Opportunely, in 2010-2011, our production grew by 911,743 MT,” Bordey said. She said the country’s harvest area also increased to about 4.24 percent. According to Bordey, the country registered 47,773-hectare growth per year from 2000-2011. In 20102011, harvest area jumped to 182,481 ha. “So far, a large portion of the increase came from non-irrigated areas where harvest area is more dependent on weather. When the government’s interventions on irrigation will be fully implemented, irrigated areas will be the source of increase in production, thereby improving the reliability of supply and be less dependent on vagaries of weather,” she said. Despite the increase in rice production, Bordey said domestic output has yet to meet the nation’s rising demand for the staple. In 2011, the country produced about 10.85 million metric tons (MMT) of rice. The total utilization in 2011 is estimated at 12.14 MMT, if the utilization in 2010 was maintained and only the population increased. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., Philrice executive director, emphasized the need for rice selfsufficiency as food insecurity is a global phenomenon.
“Food miles or the distance that a food travels from the farm to the consumers’” plate are getting longer. Before, we import our rice from Vietnam and Thailand, now, (it gets farther) as we are importing from India,” said Rasco. “Where will we buy our rice supply when [exports become less]? If we are not [selfsufficient], we will be dependent on others’ supply,” he stressed. For 2012, the government is targeting to produce 17.8 MMT of unmilled rice. The government is banking on its interventions such as the change in cropping calendar and the use of certified seeds to prop up palay production.
Corn farmers want to join NFA council representation in NFA council Sunday, 30 September 2012 19:06 Jennifer A. Ng CORN farmers are again urging the government to allow them to become part of an inter-agency council that decides on matters related to the rice and corn sectors. The Philippines Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize) said they reiterated their request to be represented in the National Food Authority (NFA) council during the eighth Philippine National Congress held in Cebu City which was attended by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. “The request for representation in the NFA council is part of the resolutions we presented to the government. It is important for us to be part of discussions about (government) policies that could impact on corn farmers,” said Philmaize President Roger Navarro in a telephone interview. Navarro said corn farmers in the past had asked the government to consider their membership in the NFA council and serve as replacement for the Philippine National Bank (PNB) which is no longer state-owned. Apart from the NFA council, he said corn farmers are also keen on being part of the boards of the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). “There are certain dynamics in the corn industry which can be articulated better if corn farmers are represented [in these agencies],” said Navarro. He said while there are one million hectares planted to corn all over the country, corn farmers do not have “significant participation” in policy making for their industry. “Look at tobacco. How many hectares are planted to tobacco but you have the National Tobacco Authority. Ganon din sa fiber, you have the Fiber Industry Development Authority,” said Navarro. As for their plans to export corn, the Philmaize head said they have been assured by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala that the request is under consideration and is being studied by a technical working group. “We were told by Secretary Alcala that if it were up to him, he will allow us to ship out corn. But he said he needed a technical basis,” said Navarro. (Jennifer A. Ng) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/53-agri-commodities/33500-cornfarmers-want-to-join-nfa-council-representation-in-nfa-council
Department of Agriculture urges higher-value dairy processing By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM
A TOAST FOR THE MILK INDUSTRY: Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala pledges his full support to the dairy industry while urging the stakeholders to realign their focus from fattening to milking. With Alcala are NDA director Grace Cenas, Hilario ‘Jun-Jun’ Davide III, and Consolacion mayor Teresa Alegado. MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered the National Dairy Authority (NDA) to help farmers move to higher-value dairy processing from livestock fattening to increase their income and fill gaps in demand. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is also encouraging local consumption of local dairy products to encourage production in the local dairy sector. Last month, the department, through its Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), launched the program called “Acquisition and Upgrading of Milk Collection and Processing Facilities and Market Expansion Project” in Cebu to promote enhancements in the local dairy industry. At present, local production of fresh milk does not satisfy domestic demand. NDA data shows that local consumption of fresh and processed dairy products in 2011 was 1.8 billion kilograms, with local production contributing only 16.45 million kilogram in liquid milk equivalent. The balance was covered by imports coming from New Zealand, USA, Australia and France. Developing the local dairy industry is one of the government’s strategies to help reduce poverty in the country. The Agriculture department is encouraging growers of cows, carabaos and goats to reverse focus from fattening to dairy production.
â€œDairy production augments profit and uplifts the income and lives of farmers in the rural areas,â€? Alcala said. One milk-producing animal can raise an average monthly income of P7,000 for a grower. A well-trained farming family can raise six dairy animals, resulting to an income of P40,000 to P50,000 per month. NDA administrator Grace Cenas said cows produce milk for 300 days after giving birth. Farmers usually let them recover for two months while raising their calves, then get them to reproduce again. The process continues until the cows become too old to bear offspring. Cebu has an active, albeit small dairy industry. The Cebu Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (CEFEDCO) provides livelihood to 300 farming families in the province. The cooperative produces fresh milk, milk bars, pastilles, butter, yoghurt, polvoron and white cheese under the Cebu Dairy Fresh brand. CEFEDCO was formed when four dairy cooperatives merged as the Liloan-Consolacion Federation of Dairy Cooperatives through the initiative of the NDA to address the growing problem of supply deficiency in 1989. Cooperative members underwent training in Bukidnon and were given 281 pregnant dairy cattle imported from New Zealand. Each cooperative was awarded P5,000 each, making up for the P20,000 initial federation investment in addition to the P250,000 they collectively availed from the government. In 1991, construction of the P12-million Pitogo dairy plant started and was officially turned over to the federation a year later. In 1994, more cooperatives expressed interest, prompting the management to change its name to CEFEDCO to reflect its broader coverage.
Senators spend P507 million on crops, medical missions By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - At least seven senators have spent more than half a billion pesos in taxpayers’ money on two common projects: growing high value crops and conducting medical missions. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr., Vicente Sotto III, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Loren Legarda spent a combined P435.5 million for such projects this year. Last year, Marcos, Lapid and Sotto disbursed P72 million for high value crops and medical missions. Thus, total disbursements for this year and last year amounted to P507.5 million. The money was taken from the senators’ annual P200-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations. PDAF is the official name of the congressional pork barrel. The seven senators not only have common projects; save for a few areas, they also have common fund destinations, which are several lucky towns in Pangasinan, Quezon, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan. A Department of Budget and Management (DBM) report shows that this year, for growing high value crops, Estrada allocated P95 million, Marcos 65 million, Enrile P50 million, Legarda P40 million, Sotto P40 million, and Revilla P30 million. Lapid is a big spender on medical missions, including medicine purchases. He has so far spent P92 million for this purpose this year, while Sotto has disbursed P26.5 million. In 2011, Marcos spent P40 million for high value crops, while Lapid and Sotto spent P27 million and P5 million, respectively, for medicine purchases. In the case of medical missions, beneficiaries receive medicines and medical care. For projects involving the growing of high value crops, previous beneficiaries received seeds. Recipients of Estrada’s largesse were the towns of Calasiao, P5 million; Sual, P10 million; Umigan, P10 million; Balungao, P5 million; and Mangatarem, P5 million, all in Pangasinan; Bulacan in Bulacan, P5 million; Sariaya in Quezon, P5 million; Javier in Leyte, P5 million; Dinalupihan in Bataan, P18 million; Pilar, also in Bataan, P5 million; and General Nakar, P8 million; San Antonio, P7 million and Lucena City, P7 million, all in Quezon.
Marcos gave P5 million to Balungao, P10 million to Sual and P10 million to Calasiao; and P10 million each to Pilar, General Nakar, Bulacan town in Bulacan, and San Antonio, Nueva Ecija. Enrile allocated P10 million for Dinalupihan, P10 million for Javier, P10 million for Sariaya in Quezon, and P10 million for Zamboanga del Sur. Legarda disbursed P10 million to San Antonio in Nueva Ecija, P10 million to Balungao, P5 million to Bulacan town, P5 million to Umingan, and P10 million to San Carlos City, also in Pangasinan. Revilla gave P10 million each to Umigan, Pilar and Sariaya. In the case of Sotto, he allocated P5 million to Umingan, P5 million to Calasiao and P10 million to San Carlos City, and P5 million each to the Nueva Ecija towns of Bongabon, Quezon, San Antonio, and San Leonardo. For medical missions, Sotto gave P5 million each to Angat, Pandi and Malolos City, all in Bulacan; P5 million to Tanay in Rizal, and P1.5 million to Teresa, also in Rizal. Lapidâ€™s allocations for medical missions and medicine purchases are P5 million for Lagayan, Abra; P10 million for Pasay City; P4 million for Bauang, La Union; P4.5 million for Narvacan, Ilocos Sur; P5 million each for Sta. Maria, also in Ilocos Sur; Bolinao, Pangasinan; Obando, Bulacan; San Isidro, Nueva Ecija; Candelaria, Zambales; San Nicolas, Batangas; Lumban, Laguna; Binangonan, Rizal; Goa, Camarines Sur; San Andres, Sampaloc, Unisan, and Lucena City, all in Quezon; P4.5 million for Nasugbu, Batangas; and P4 million for Botolan, Zambales. In 2011, for high value crops, Marcos gave P15 million to Umingan, P10 million to Pilar, P10 million to Sariaya, and P5 million to Rosales, another Pangasinan town. Lapidâ€™s allocations for medicine purchases last year amounted to P6 million for Angat, Bulacan; P5 million for Bulacan town; P5 million for Morong in Rizal; and P5 million for Castillejos, P5 million for San Antonio and P1 million for Botolan, all in Zambales. On the other hand, Sotto allocated P5 million to San Agustin in Romblon for medicine purchases. The beneficiary-towns of releases for high value crops and medical missions are the implementing agencies for such projects. The DBM has been encouraging lawmakers to designate national government agencies to implement their projects.
For instance, in the case of medicine purchases, the Department of Health should be able to assure quality and low prices if it procures them in bulk instead of each beneficiarytown doing the procurement. The Department of Agriculture could do likewise for seeds. Most senators allocate small amounts for their projects so that more people would benefit from their funds. Some senators, however, prefer huge allocations. Gregorio Honasan has given the first district of Quezon P90 million worth of road projects, and P30 million to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos for livelihood programs for Muslims in Metro Manila and Zambales. On the other hand, Miriam Defensor Santiago has set aside P30 million for the improvement of the road leading to the Rizal provincial sanitary landfill and another P30 million for an unspecified “infrastructure” also in Rizal. Her other projects include two units of “infrastructure” in Tagaytay City costing P12 million and P8 million, a school building worth P13 million in Quezon City’s second district and P62 million worth of drainage and farm-to-market road projects in Nueva Ecija. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=63&articleId=854617
Coco farmers urge SC to reconsider decision on Danding's SMC shares By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - A group of coconut farmers has asked the Supreme Court’s Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards, through Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, to reconsider the April 2011 decision favoring San Miguel Corp. (SMC) chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. The group calls itself “Mga Magniniyog at ang Kanilang mga Kababayang Nakikisangkot sa Pagtaguyod ng at Panawagan Para sa Katarungan.” In a letter to the committee, the coconut farmers said the April 2011 decision that declared Cojuangco’s 20 percent shareholdings in SMC were not ill-gotten was questionable. The farmers claimed that the decision was in conflict with the SC’s decision in January this year that SMC shares, which represent 27 percent of the total stock of the company was owned by the government, was ill-gotten and that it should be used for coconut farmers. The Supreme Court upheld this ruling on Thursday, a move hailed by coconut farmers. The April 2011 decision was based on three petitions filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government. (PCGG) against the Sandiganbayan, Cojuangco and the Marcoses. The High Court said the government failed to establish enough evidence that the shares in question were illegally acquired. The contested SMC shares were brought using coconut levy funds, according to the coconut farmers. The government sequestered these shares after the 1986 People Power Revolution. The government said the shares were part of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos dictatorship administered by Cojuangco.
Government sets bid for Angat dam rehab By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The government is set to start the bidding for the rehabilitation work of the Angat dam, an official said. “By next week, we may be publishing (the notice) for the bidding of the Angat dam rehabilitation,” Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) chairman Ramon Alikpala told reporters in a chance interview. The rehabilitation of the Angat dam in Bulacan will involve thickening the wall of the dam in order to store more water. According to the proposed rehabilitation program, the improvement would allow the reservoir to hold an additional 400 million milliliters of water per day (mld) or even a maximum of 600 million mld. The rehabilitation work will likewise involve putting up spillways and a dike. MWSS officials earlier said the spilling level of the dam would be raised to 216 meters above sea level (masl) from 210 masl. Alikpala said the rehabilitation work would not only increase the dam’s storage capacity but likewise prepare the dam for possible earthquakes since it has been found to be sitting along the Marikina fault line. “This (rehabilitation work) can also help in flood management,” he noted. The National Economic and Development Authority Board approved the strengthening of the Angat dam and dike project which costs P5.72 billion last month. The 44-year old Angat dam provides 97 percent of water requirements of Metro Manila. The dam likewise generates 246 megawatts of power for Luzon and provides irrigation for Bulacan and Pampanga farmlands. Last week, the Korea International Cooperation Agency extended a $3.5 million worth of grant to the National Resources Water Board to secure Angat as one of the sources of water supply, power and irrigation. The grant will be used to fund the three-dimensional geospatial empowered technology to monitor on-site information and foresee overall system performance. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=854553&publicationSubCategoryId=66
Meat, fish processing seminar set (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The Golden Treasure Skills and Development Program will conduct a one-day seminar on meat and fish -processing combined with chocolate making and molding at the SMX Convention Center, Mezzanine Flr., Rm. 12, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Participants will get to experience how to make lechon manok, tocino, different kinds longanisa (skinless, vigan, lucban) bacon, chinese sausage, embutido deluxe, chicken and pork ham, pork quekiam, beef tapa, fish ball, fish fillet, spanish and tomato sardine, pork and bangus sisig, squid ball, corned beef and a bonus course of how to make achara, peanut butter, and actual demo on bangus deboning is also included in the seminar. The seminar will also tackle chocolate making. There will be food tasting of the finished products. Lunch and snack will be served. Handouts, and all the raw materials for hands-on experience will be provided. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=854578&publicationSubCategoryId=66
Phl getting nearer to no rice imports (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the country’s lead in rice research and development, maintains optimism that the country could be rice selfsufficient in 2013. Flordeliza H. Bordey, PhilRice socio-economist, said the country was 92-percent rice self-sufficient in 2011 at current domestic rice prices while import dependency was reduced to eight percent with about 800,000-900,000 mt of rice bought from other countries. “Rice production in all rice ecosystems grew by more than 428,000 mt every year from 2000 to 2010. Opportunely, in 2010-2011, our production grew by 911,743 MT,” Bordey explained. The country’s harvest area also increased to about 4.24 percent. According to Bordey, the country registered 47,773 -ha growth per year from 2000-2011. In 2010-2011, harvest area jumped to 182,481 has. “So far, a large portion of the increase came from non-irrigated areas where harvest area is more dependent on weather. When the government’s interventions on irrigation will be fully implemented, irrigated areas will be the source of increase in production, thereby improving the reliability of supply and be less dependent on vagaries of weather,” she stressed. Despite the increase in rice production, the program leader on Impact Evaluation, Policy Research and Advocacy said locally produced rice is yet to meet the nation’s rising demand. In 2011, the country produced about 10.85M MT of rice. The total utilization in 2011 is estimated at 12.14 million MT, if the utilization in 2010 was maintained and only the population increased. Given the volume of existing stocks in the economy, only 800,000 to 900,000 MT of rice was imported in 2011. “The gap has narrowed though. [And consumers could lessen the gap by minimizing rice wastage]. Filipinos waste nine grams of cooked rice every day that when not wasted, could result in P5.3 billion import saving and could feed about two million hungry Filipinos in a year,” Bordey said. Meanwhile, Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., PhilRice executive director, emphasized the need for rice self-sufficiency as food insecurity is a global phenomenon.
“Food miles or the distance that a food travels from the farm to the consumers’ plate are getting longer. Before, we import our rice from Vietnam and Thailand, now, [it gets farther] as we are importing from India.” “Where will we buy our rice supply when [exports become less]? [If we are not selfsufficient], we will be dependent on others’ supply,” Rasco added. DA-PhilRice is a government-owned and – controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. For more information, visit or contact DA-PhilRice at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with telephone number (044) 456-0285 loc. 512 or any PhilRice station near you. You may also visit www.philrice.gov.ph or text your questions to 0920-911-1398. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=854580&publicationSubCategoryId=66
1.8 million hectares of farmlands irrigated next year â€“ Alcala By Michael Punongbayan The Philippine Star Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing the irrigation of 1.8 million hectares of farmlands next year to complete the governmentâ€™s rice sufficiency program. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala tasked the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to develop and irrigate more farmlands by the end of 2013. As of this year, the NIA has irrigated some 1.5 million hectares of farmlands nationwide. Alcala cited NIA chief Antonio Nangel for successfully starting the Upper Pampanga River Irrigation System which has benefited hundreds of farmers in the province. The NIA has also introduced mini-hydro power plants in selected water dams and irrigation systems that are now helping produce electricity in some parts of the country. http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationsubcategoryid=67&articleid=854 597
GOCC subsidies hit P14.8 billion in January-August By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration shelled out P14.817 billion in the first eight months of the year to subsidize the operations of government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other state agencies, latest data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed. The P14.817 billion is lower than the P17.402 billion the government spent in the same period last year as the Aquino administration tries to do away with unnecessary spending. In August alone, the government spent P1.367 billion in subsidies, also lower than the P2.137 billion given a year ago. Of the different agencies, the National Housing Authority (NHA) received the biggest subsidy during the month, with P600 million as against P258 million for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the second biggest recipient and the Philippine Coconut Authority with P185 million. For the eight-month period, the National Food Authority stood out as the single biggest recipient of government subsidy at P4 billion. Other recipients were the NHA (P2.399 billion), the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (P2.118 billion) and the NIA (P1.566 billion). The government has been trying to boost the economy by stepping up spending through various measures including the grant of subsidies. At the same time, the Budget department is also implementing measures to ensure that government subsidies to GOCCs are spent for activities and projects that would contribute to economic growth. In 2011, subsidies rose to P53.705 billion or 155.68 percent above the P21.005 billion disbursed in 2010, Finance data showed. Booked as expenses in the governmentâ€™s financial statement, subsidies are extended to state agencies to support various projects, initiatives or other operational needs that require additional funding. The government is stepping up efforts to boost spending to stimulate the economy and hit the five percent to six percent GDP growth. Last year, the Philippine economy, as measured by GDP grew by 3.7 percent, which was way below the official forecast range of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent for last year and less than half of the 2010 growth of 7.6 percent.
GSIS grants relief to government workers in Quezon City By Prinz Magtulis The Philippine Star Updated October 01, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - State workers residing in Quezon City may now avail themselves of P20,000 financial assistance from the state pension fund to help them cope with the effects of monsoon rains last August. The Quezon City local government has issued an ordinance authorizing government employees residing in its 60 barangays to secure financial assistance from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund and “other insurance and lending agencies,” a statement said. “The ordinance served as basis for the grant by the GSIS of emergency loan to its members in Quezon City in the absence of a formal declaration of a state of calamity by the local government,” the pension fund explained. Members have until Oct. 19 to apply for the emergency loan, it added. Loans will be credited to members’ electronic cards within one week, GSIS said. “If the loan proceeds are not credited within seven days from the date of application, members can go to the nearest GSIS office or the nearest kiosk for the status.” GSIS had been extending help to its members during calamities such as during the aftermath of tropical storm “Ondoy” in September 2009.