SL Agritech ties up with 3 Asean countries By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Hybrid rice seeds producer SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with companies in Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar for a rice production and exportation venture in Myanmar. In a statement issued yesterday, SLAC president Henry Lim Bon Liong said the partnerships would enable the company to position itself strategically before the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) takes effect in 2015, effectively lowering tariffs on goods to between zero and five percent. “We have this opportunity to form an ASEAN joint venture where the Philippines takes the lead in hybrid rice technology,” said Lim “We already own SL-8H trademarks in several Asian countries, but this MOA offers opportunities for us to export to the big markets.” Signatories to the MOA are Thailand’s Capital Rice International Co. (CRIC) director Anant Pichetpongsa, U Aung Moe Kyaw of IBTC Group of Companies-Myanmar, and Singapore-registered Radiant Stone Pte. Ltd. (RSPL) managing partner Julio Sy Jr. CRIC is one of the biggest rice exporters in Thailand, accounting for 20 percent of Thailand’s total rice export. IBTC is one of Myanmar’s biggest beverage firms and is a subsidiary of agribusiness firm International Sun Moon Star Agricultural Ltd. (ISMSA). Myanmar has an estimated rice cultivation area of 6.14 million hectares. The prospective rice production venture in Myanmar has the potential to satisfy demand in Indonesia and China. To date, China has imported 1.4 million metric tons (MT) this year. Indonesia normally imports about 500,000 to one million MT annually. A feasibility study for the joint venture is expected to be completed by December 2012 to determine the optimum area for planting and other opportunities for profit. Rice planting in Myanmar is targeted to begin upon completion of all documents required for an investment proposal that is seen to be completed by January. SLAC will develop a hybrid rice variety using Myanmar’s own germplasm. This will be accessible through the Los Banos-based International Rice Research Institute. At present, Myanmar has no existing commercial hybrid rice variety. The Myanmar government is opening up its agriculture sector to investors through a new law granting five-year tax exemption and land leases of up to 50 years for investments in agriculture. Its government targets one million (MT) of rice export in 2012. SLAC earlier shipped to Myanmar 10 to 11 MT of parental seeds. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=855262&publicationSubCategoryId=66
Century Pacific tuna unit gets tax perks By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - General Tuna Corp., the export arm of canning firm Century Pacific Group has qualified for tax perks for its P120 million tuna expansion project in General Santos City. In a statement yesterday, the Board of Investments (BOI) said it approved the application for registration of General Tuna for its tuna facility. “The BOI approved last week the registration of General Tuna, an export producer of frozen tuna loins with an annual capacity of 374,727 cases or 7,495 metric tons (MT),”it said. By being registered with the BOI, the company will be entitled to incentives such as income tax holidays. The company intends to ship the frozen tuna loins to countries like Thailand, Japan, and the Middle East. The project will start its commercial operations in February 2013 and is expected to generate 350 jobs. General Tuna manufactures private label canned, pouched and frozen tuna products. The firm’s plant which was initially located in Taguig City moved to General Santos in 1999 given the proximity to the Western Pacific Ocean, its source of supply. Century Pacific was established in 1978 as Century Canning Corp. Century Pacific Group is behind the brands Century Tuna, 555 Tuna, Blue Bay Tuna and Fresca Tuna. Century Pacific Group likewise owns Argentina Corned Beef, Angel Filled Milk, Birch Tree Powdered Milk, Kaffe de Oro, Yoshinoya and WOW brands. The BOI said the project is expected to help boost the country’s tuna exports. Production and manufacture of export products is among the activities being promoted by the BOI under the Investment Priorities Plan 2012 or the country’s blueprint for investment promotions.
Red tide affects 3 Mindanao provinces By J. A. Rimando The Philippine Star Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines â€“ Red tide toxin continues to affect some coastal waters in Mindanao, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office said yesterday. BFAR officer-in-charge Remedios Ongtangco said the affected areas are Dumanquillas Bay in this province, Murcielagos Bay in Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Norte and Balite Bay in Mati City, Davao Oriental. Shellfish Bulletin 18 released recently by BFAR said all types of shellfish and Acetes specie or alamang gathered from the three coastal areas are not safe for human consumption. However, Ongtangco said fish, squids, shrimps and crabs harvested from the affected areas are safe to eat provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly with their internal organs such as gills and intestines removed before cooking. Marine biotoxin monitoring section chief Juan Relos, Jr. said red tide toxin in Zamboanga and Misamis coastal waters is more infectious than the type that affected the waters off Bataan, Zambales and Pangasinan.
Thunderstorms to hit Metro Manila, more Luzon areas - PAGASA Home Updated October 03, 2012 08:38 AM MANILA, Philippines - Thunderstorms will hit Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon on Wednesday due Tropical Storm "Marce". The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that "Marce" intensified into a storm while hovering over the waters of Pangasinan province at around 10 p.m. Tuesday. PAGASA reported that as of 4 a.m. Wednesday, the storm's center was estimated at 310 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales. The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 90 kph while moving southeast at a speed of 7 kph. PAGASA said Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and the provinces of Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabea, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya will experience moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms. Occasional light to moderate rains are expected over Western and Central Visayas and Zamboanga peninsula and other parts of Luzon, the weather bureau added. The Pasay City government has suspended afternoon classes from pre-school to high school levels. Classes in all levels were also suspended in Sasmuan town, Pampanga province. The management of St. Scholastica's College in Manila has also suspended classes. http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=200&articleId=8 55499
Government via DA’s MRDP remains bullish on country’s banana industry Tuesday, 02 October 2012 20:03 Sherwin Manual / Contributor
DAVAO CITY—The Department of Agriculture (DA) believes the banana industry remains a leading export incomeearner for farmers. Melani Provido, coordinator of high-value crops in the Davao Region, said there are no major losses in the banana industry and that based on 2011 data, there is a 7-percent steady growth in production, of which there is a 1.8-percent growth on the Cavendish variety. She said in terms of areas planted, the banana is continuously expanding by 2 percent. “There are some setbacks but no major losses although profits of exporters might have decreased,” she said over a phone interview. “China, which is just one of the banana-importing countries, has never closed its market for the Philippines but it has upgraded its quality standards. In the previous years we deliver the B and C [classification of] bananas. Now they would like to import those with the same banana quality which we export to Japan,” Provido said. In response to the higher standards set in the market in the recent past, the DA frontloaded funds and built the necessary infrastructure to help local banana growers meet the export market. “Over and above the funds earmarked by the DA, we also have the P50 million Presidential Social Fund to assist us in our various infrastructure projects and technology training to meet the standards of the export market,” she said. In a recent press briefing, Provido said the DA has already allotted P100 million for the packing houses of 14 cooperatives in the region. One of these cooperatives is the indigenous farmers in Sibulan that are exporting the “bongolan” type of bananas to Japan.
“We are establishing this packing houses for the small farmers because they are the ones who cannot cope with the high-export quality,” Provido said. “Aside from infrastructure, we are also providing technical assistance such as observance of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to strengthen the quality control of banana produce,” she said. Philippine bananas in the export market include the Cavendish type for the fresh market and the saba/carbada for chip-making and staple. The DA is also looking at other local alternative markets to cope up with some industry setbacks. One is the agreement with the Department of Education (DepED) for the supply of banana in the school’s feeding program which is expected to require 240 million boxes of bananas in a year. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that in 2011 the Davao Region attained the highest production with 3.855 million metric tons (MMT) followed by Northern Mindanao with 1.726 MMT and Soccsksargen with 1.095 MMT. “After the vigorous implementation of infrastructures, the GAP training, and the continual search for other potential export markets, we are confident that we will regain from the setbacks we have had,” Provido said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/53-agricommodities/33620-government-via-das-mrdp-remains-bullish-on-countrys-bananaindustry
CIIF urges Ledac to discuss coconut road map Monday, 01 October 2012 20:20 Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter THE head of sequestered firm CIIF-Oil Mills Group (OMG) appealed to President Aquino and Congress to convene the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) to discuss the government’s road map for coconut farmers. “I respectfully appeal to the President and leaders of Congress to immediately convene the Ledac to meet and discuss the government’s road map to alleviate the plight of our coconut farmers, as well as develop the coconut industry,” CIIF-OMG President and Chief Executive Officer Jesus L. Arranza said in a statement. Arranza said some bills now pending in both the Senate and the House of Representatives seek to privatize all the companies or assets organized, acquired or funded using the coco levies collected during the time of President Marcos. He said that is also a proposal from the Cabinet for the President to issue an executive order directing the proceeds of CIIF-OMG’s preferred shares with the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to be deposited in a trust fund. “But what is important is that these pending bills in Congress and the executive order being proposed both authorize a new trust fund to be created and whose fund shall finance the implementation of projects beneficial to the coconut farmers and the coconut industry,” said Arranza. “Since both executive and legislative branches have the same basic objective, our leaders should sit down together to agree on a common and concrete plan and whether this plan should be implemented through the passage of a new law or through an executive issuance,” he said. In any case, Arranza said he is supporting the recommendation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that the proceeds of the privatization and the redemption of the SMC shares be utilized to purchase treasury bonds or other government securities. “The proceeds of the SMC share redemption will amount to about P70 billion inclusive of the cash dividends now in escrow with the UCPB [United Coconut Planters Bank]. Putting them in government securities will translate to an income of roughly P3 billion to P3.5 billion a year for the trust fund that can sufficiently finance projects for the welfare of the coconut farmers and development of the coconut industry,” said Arranza. The chief of the CIIF-OMG made the statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling sustaining its earlier decision declaring the government the owner of the sequestered firm, the 14 holding companies and roughly 750 million preferred shares of stocks in SMC.
â€œThis ruling now allows the government to finally plan and decide on how to utilize these assets for the benefit of our coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry,â€? he said. On Jan. 24 the High ribunal affirmed a 2004 decision of the Sandiganbayan naming the government the owner of said assets. Records show that the CIIF-OMG companies are the parent companies of the 14 holding companies that are the registered owners of the SMC shares. The six CIIF-OMG companies are Legaspi Oil Co. Inc., San Pablo Manufacturing Corp., Cagayan de Oro Oil Co. Inc., Southern Luzon Coconut Oil Mill Inc., Granexport Manufacturing Corp. and Iligan Coconut Industries Inc. Earlier, SMC officially advised the CIIF-OMG that the SMC would redeem all of its shares owned by the CIIF-OMG Group on Oct. 5. At the agreed redemption price of P75 per share, SMC will be paying about P56 billion for these shares.
The science of eating rice By Anselmo Roque Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:48 pm | Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 With rice being a regular feature of the average Filipino’s daily diet, many have taken this staple for granted. According to 2008 figures from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), each Filipino wastes an average of two spoonfuls of cooked rice, or nine grams of uncooked rice, every day. The volume of rice wasted is worth P6.2 billion a year or P17 million a day, the Philippine Rice Industry Primer Series of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) shows. This could have fed 2.6 million Filipinos, says Dr. Eufemio Rasco Jr., PhilRice executive director. To ensure a sustainable rice supply and a healthy population, Rasco says Filipinos should practice what he calls “scientific consumption” of rice. “We should do it. It will [bring health benefits] to us and there will be less pressure in ensuring a steady supply of this staple,” he says. By scientific consumption, Rasco means considering science and prudence in the consumption and handling of rice. “Only one-fourth of our regular meal should be rice. The greater bulk should be vegetables, fruits and other healthy food groups,” he says. He says an average Filipino’s consumption is three-fourths (75 percent) rice and onefourth (25 percent) other food groups. This big quantity of rice in a regular meal, he says, contributes largely to the big per capita consumption of rice in the country, which is 119 kilograms a year. This, he says, is equivalent to five cups of rice per person a day for every Filipino. Compared to other Asian countries where rice consumption is declining, per capita consumption in the Philippines rose to 13 percent, from 106 kg in 2000 to 119 kg in 2009. Ideal “The ideal should be 70 to 75 kg per capita rice consumption per year,” Rasco says. “If we can do that, and be more conscious of adding more healthy food in our diet, it can help prevent illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart ailments and make the body fit.”
“Is it not that the doctor’s advice is to cut on rice consumption to make our body slim? That’s because we are heavy eaters of rice,” he adds. “From harvesting to threshing, milling, drying of the palay and consumption of cooked rice, there is too much wastage,” Rasco says. “If we can have zero wastage, we can feed 15 million Filipinos a year. We might be able to export rice.” A major reason most Filipinos do not give due appreciation to rice is the lack of adequate knowledge on the science of rice production, the official says. “Does everybody know that we need about 25 drums of water to produce a kilogram of palay? Do we take into consideration the tremendous resources, labor and risk in producing palay? The fact is, rice is the only crop that needs huge resources and effort to produce,” he says. Rasco says cutting down on rice consumption and avoiding rice wastage can help reduce the volume of rice that the government imports. PhilRice, in its website (www.philrice.gov.ph), has started promoting its “Save Rice, Save Lives” campaign, which encourages Filipinos to eat rice right—“the right amount, and no leftovers.” “Rice usually covers half of a typical Filipino plate as most rely only on rice for energy source. A diversified diet by adding other alternative [carbohydrates] to rice will make one healthier,” it says.
Balkan folk may soon enjoy PH fruits By Erika Sauler Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:55 am | Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 Share The Philippines is looking at Croatia as a gateway for exporting bananas, pineapples, coconut and mangoes to the Balkan region, among other places. This was one of the areas of cooperation discussed during Monday’s subministerial meeting between officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and their Croatian counterparts. “We are looking at the port of Rijecka as a gateway to facilitate trade. Philippine tropical fruits have great potential in the Balkan region,” Foreign Undersecretary Linda Basilio said in her opening statement. Basilio noted that a Philippine company, International Container Terminal Services Inc., operates a container terminal at the Croatian port. The DFA also discussed the possibility of deploying Filipino medical workers to Croatia. “We are identifying the channels of communication and discussing how to intensify and deepen our mutual cooperation. We saw that there is great possibility to cooperate in shipbuilding, mining, food processing, tourism, and research and development industries,” Croatian Foreign Minister Josko Klisovic told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Defense was also one of the mutual interests between the two countries, Klisovic said. Croatia has expressed interest in the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Croatian Defense Minister Ante Kotromanovic discussed with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin a memorandum of agreement on logistics and defense industry cooperation. “We will definitely establish defense cooperation. Weapons produced in Croatia are up to Nato standards,” Klisovic said. The new Croatian government, identified as “center-left” as opposed to the previous conservative rulers, was recently integrated into the European Union and is looking at establishing ties with Asian countries. The Croatian delegation went to China before coming to the Philippines.
Yesterday’s meeting was the second political consultation between the Philippines and Croatia, the first being in the Croatian capital Zagreb. Officials of both countries also met on the sidelines of the 19th Asean-EU ministerial meeting in April. Klisovic said Croatia could provide technology and equipment for mining and for a light railway system. “We will identify what exactly is needed and then we will present a project.” Klisovic said the Croatian delegation, including Ambassador Zeljko Cimbur, will also meet with President Aquino. Croatian President Ivo Josipovic intends to visit the country soon, he said. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/51904/balkan-folk-may-soon-enjoy-ph-fruits
No TRO on Cyber Crime Law By Camille Diola and Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) Updated October 02, 2012 12:35 PM MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Tuesday did not issue a temporary restraining order against the newly-passed Cyber Crime Law, paving the way for its full implementation on Wednesday. Instead,the SC will decide Tuesday next week whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the controversial measure. The petitions against the law were included in the en banc agenda of the SC. A member of the court, who requested anonymity, said the magistrates of the High Court have yet to thoroughly study all the petitions opposing the implementation of the measure. During the en banc session, the SC justices said they will rule on the seven petitions now consolidated against the Cybercrime Act next week, the source said. Quorum Though having a quorum, the SC spokesperson and lawyer Gleo Guerra said the justices need more time to study the petitions. "The SC did not issue a TRO in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 petitions which are up for further study,"Guerra said. Among those present at the SC en banc session were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Portugal Perez, Jose Catral Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe. Absent were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, and Mariano Del Castillo, who are all on official business abroad. "Black Tuesday" Eighteen student and media organizations meanwhile lead demonstrations outside Supreme Court building along Padre Faura Street in Manila and dubbed October 2 as "Black Tuesday". The groups encouraged Internet users to change their profile photos on their social media accounts into a plain black image in protest against the new law, believed to curb the freedom of expression, signed by President Benigno Aquino III in early September. Media groups such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Press Institute will also file a
petition of collected electronic signatures against the act on Wednesday before the high court. "Unlawful" Meanwhile, a New Zealand-based rights group has called on the SC to declare the anticyber crime law unlawful. The Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) also expressed alarm over the passage of a bill that would curtail people's freedom of expression. "We hope that when President Aquino comes for his State visit to New Zealand on the 22nd October, he would come bearing good news that the cybercrime law has been junked and the Freedom of Information Bill finally passed," the PSNA said in a statement. "With the Cybercrime law that includes online libel, we are concerned that the Filipino peopleâ€™s freedom to express their views and criticize erring public officials is seriously threatened," the group added. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=855169&publicationSubCategoryId=63
JICA funds 2 hydro projects By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) Updated October 02, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the construction of two hydropower projects worth more than $2 million. The mini-hydropower projects will increase available capacity in the provinces of Ifugao and Isabela by 2015, an official said. “JICA has granted the Philippines with an aid to build mini-hydro projects in Ifugao and Isabela,” said Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. The power project will increase generating capacity in Ifugao by 800 kilowatts (kw). The province has a demand of 2.4 MW. “With that, we will address half of their requirements. There is no need for [transmission] connection because this is embedded,” Layug said. Given the mountainous terrain in Ifugao, power transmission has proven to be a challenge in the province. Layug said this will be solved as the additional output will supply the local electric cooperative. “Part of the proceeds from this project will go to the rice terraces conservation fund,” Layug said. Meanwhile, JICA is also funding the construction of a 150-kw mini-hydropower project in Isabela, which has a demand of 10 MW. Benchmark investment for every MW is $2.5 million, Layug said. “The model is JICA will build [the power plants] and then train the local governments for the operations,” Layug said. Layug said construction is expected to start in the second quarter next year and will be completed in 2015. “This is a candidate for feed-in tariffs (FIT),” Layug said. The FIT scheme, whose implementation is already delayed by almost three years, guarantees investments of renewable energy firms through fixed rates that would be shouldered by consumers over a set period of time.
Last year, the DOE approved a 760-MW installation target for renewable energy projects. It is composed of 250 MW each for hydroelectricity and biomass, 200 MW for wind power, 50 MW for solar energy and 10 MW for ocean technology. JICA has been helping the Department of Energy in technical and resource studies for renewable energy. Early this year, JICA completed its technical study for mini-hydropower projects. JICAâ€™s two-year study showed the viability of putting up 40 to 50 run-of-river hydropower sites in Luzon and Visayas. The government will conduct a bidding for the new hydropower projects late this year. JICA is also working with the National Electrification Administration in reducing system losses.
New BSP circular improves LGU access to bank resources By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued yesterday a new circular streamlining the borrowing requirements of local government units (LGUs) from banks. “The BSP issued the circular to streamline the requirements for LGU borrowings from banks and improve and facilitate the access of LGUs to bank resources,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a text message. Like the national government, LGUs — which include towns, municipalities, cities and provinces — may borrow locally through direct bank loan or bond floatation to generate additional money for their projects and programs. But before it can make a loan, LGUs would have to secure the approvals of the Department of Finance (DoF) and the BSP. Under the new order, however, banks are also given the power to defer loan release despite DoF and BSP approvals. In order for the money to be disbursed, LGUs should submit a copy of the approved ordinance laying out the loan’s terms and conditions, including the approved amount and purpose of loan. They would also have to waive the confidentiality of its investments and bank deposits, whether in peso or foreign currency, the circular stated. “The lending banks will now also play an active part in the process. (These) requirements will be asked by the banks from LGUs before the first tranche is released to the borrowing LGUs,” Guinigundo explained. Under its charter, BSP has the power to issue its opinion before public and private entities could borrow money locally or abroad. This is in line with its mandate to maintain price stability as too much money in the financial system may spur inflationary pressures. The central bank, under the new order, shall evaluate any borrowing request from LGUs and afterwards issue an opinion which will be “valid only for six months from the date of issue.” Previously, a BSP opinion does not have an expiration date. “Extension of the six-month validity period of the opinion may be granted based on meritorious reasons and subject to submission of supporting documents as may be prescribed by BSP,” the circular said. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=855238&publicationSubCategoryId=66
‘No to NFA import monopoly’ By Florencio P. Narito | Posted on October 03, 2012 | 12:02am
LEGAZPI CITY—Silverio Bonto, president of Angat-Ahon Magsasaka Inc., a nationwide farmers group, has opposed the plan of National Food Authority to be the sole importer of rice. “The right solution is to empower farmers organizations by giving them the financial capacity through loans from the Landbank of the Philippines,” he told the media in a forum here last week. “If this happens, farmers organizations will no longer rely on the financing of big rice traders, thus they will no longer be beholden to these unscrupulous traders who exploit their lack of capital to buy imported rice.” Bonto called on Malacañan Palace to have LandBank open a special loan window for farmers cooperatives and other groups that will allow them to finance their rice importation and prevent a cartel from controlling NFA’s public bidding. He said the loan collateral will be the imported rice won in the bidding to be stocked in an NFA warehouse, the release of which is preconditioned on the loan amount taken out by the farmers organization from LandBank. Bonto, also AAM chairman, serves as interim president of the National Confederation of Irrigators Associations and the Bicol Confederation of Irrigators Associations. According to Bonto, authorities need to curb technical smuggling which involves the recycling of import permits. In practice, NFA takes charge of the bidding while the Bureau of Customs minds the shipment, he said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/10/03/no‐to‐nfa‐import‐monopoly/
Recognizing top farm performers By Manila Standard Today | Posted on October 03, 2012 | 12:01am |
The search for young achievers among The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines is accepting nominees until October 30. The project started by the Junior Chamber International Philippines in ‘70s is now undertaken along with Universal Harvester Inc., a Filipino firm involved in the direct manufacturing, local distribution and exportation of a number of world-class quality fertilizers. Rommel Cunanan, TOFARM project chairman, JCI Ph, said nominations are open to farmers, farmer entrepreneurs, farming institutions, local government units, cooperatives, agriculture NGO’s. “The program is being revived this year to promote farming in the youth sector across all classes,” he said. “We want to increase the number of youth venturing into agriculture so we can invigorate investment and scientific advancement. The end goal is to achieve sustainable food supply for the country.” Milagros Ong-How, UHI executive president, called on a new breed of advocates. “Our farmers face great challenges but also have new opportunities,” she said. “If they get the much-needed support, they can turn the agriculture sector around so it can provide a steady food supply for present and future generations.” How said young people and second generation farmers should pursue this noble livelihood. “Agriculture is now an exciting field where they will welcome new technology, new products and business opportunities that will help them raise the volume of their crops or livestock while adhering to new environmental standards.” Nomination forms can be downloaded at <www.tofarm.org.> or contact TOFARM Secretariat at 709-5011 to 5004 or 709-5006 (Fax). http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/10/03/recognizing‐top‐farm‐performers/
Neda sees economy rising at least 6% By Bernadette Lunas | Posted on October 02, 2012 | 12:01am |
The government is now aiming for a gross domestic product growth of at least 6 percent this year, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Monday. Balisacan, who is also the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, said on the sidelines of the 23rd National Statistics Month celebration the Aquino administration was pushing to achieve, or even exceed the full-year GDP goal of 5 percent to 6 percent. “We are aiming for that,” Balisacan told reporters, when asked whether growth would grow by at least 6 percent this year. Balisacan said attaining the upper-end of the GDP target “is not difficult,” if the country would not experience another destructive calamity in the fourth quarter, such as the onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy in 2009. He said earlier the typhoon and monsoon rains in the third quarter, which affected the farm sector, would only pose modest effect on the GDP figure in the second half. “I have been saying that we could be able to reach 5 to 6 percent of the range, very likely the upper part for this year. Because now we are at 6.1 percent, I believe the GDP is on track,” Balisacan said. The economy expanded 6.3 percent in the first quarter and 5.9 percent in the second quarter, which brought the first semester average growth at 6.1 percent.
UCPB extends life by another 50 years By Manila Standard Today | Posted on October 02, 2012 | 12:01am
United Coconut Planters Bank secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to amend its articles of incorporation extending the bank’s corporate term for another 50 years until 2063. “With the renewed mandate, we can now pursue our growth plans for the future with much vigor and continue serving those who have bestowed their trust to us—our valued clients,” said UCPB president and chief executive officer Jeronimo Kilayko. “In the past, UCPB made significant strides amid the many challenges. As we face another 50 years, I am confident that we will succeed given your perseverance, hard work and commitment. We have bright prospects ahead of us. Together, let us seize this opportunity and prove once again that we are, indeed, one of the best in the industry,” he said in a message to the bank’s officers and staff. UCPB registered 22-percent increase in net income to P1.64 billion in the first six months of 2012 year-on-year, on double- digit earnings from loan portfolio and securities trading. UCPB bank officials are confident of achieving a net income target of P3.6 billion for 2012, primarily by creating more technology-driven products and expanding loan portfolio, remittance business, fee income and branch network. UCPB’s unaudited net income in 2011 reached P3.06 billion, up 25 percent, on loans, checking account and savings account, treasury trading, and sale of real and other properties owned and acquired.
Retail bond sale set By Maria Bernadette Lunas | Posted on October 02, 2012 | 12:01am |
The government will sell retail bonds to small investors on Oct. 9 to raise funds, lengthen its debt maturities and partly bridge the budget deficit, Deputy Treasurer Eduardo Mendiola said Monday. The government will sell 25-year bonds in denominations of as low as P5,000 from Oct. 9 to Oct. 22, with a target settlement date on Oct. 24. The government has tapped the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines as joint-issue managers for the 2037 debt paper. Co-issue managers are First Metro Investment Corp., Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Philippine National Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Deutsche Bank and BDO Capital. The government hopes to top the last RTB sale in February, which raised about P180 billion from 15-year and 20-year bonds. The Treasury, meanwhile, raised P7.5 billion from the sale of shorter-term Treasury bills in Monday’s auction. The average rate of the 91-year debt paper fell to its lowest this year at 0.712 percent, or 3.3 basis points down from 0.745 percent when it was last sold. Demands for the three-month government security were oversubscribed at P3.97 billion, with the auction committee accepting P1 billion.
LBP, PhilHealth adopt auto-credit payment plan Published on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00
THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to adopt payment to institutional health care providers (IHCPs) through auto-credit payment scheme (ACPS). PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Eduardo P. Banzon and Land Bank senior vice president Jocelyn DG. Cabreza led the signing. Cabreza represented LBP president Gilda E. Pico. The MOA calls for the use of ACPS, a payment scheme where providers’ claim is directly credited to their designated deposit account with LBP. This applies initially to all hospital claims under Fee-for-Service, Case Rates, Type Z Benefit Package and Global Budget Payment Program. Excluded under the new payment scheme and shall still be paid through checks are payments for Primary Care Benefits, Outpatient HIV-AIDS Treatment Package, Maternity Care Package, Animal Bite Treatment Package, Ambulatory Surgical Clinics and Outpatient Malaria Package. The reimbursement of provider claims through ACPS shall soon be applied to all packages.
Posted on October 02, 2012 09:21:51 PM
BSP tweaks capital guidelines THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has tweaked the guidelines for the risk-based capital adequacy framework of stand-alone thrift banks, rural banks and cooperative banks. According to Circular 770 dated Sept. 28 and published on the BSP’s web site yesterday, banks engaged in trading activities, including derivatives activities for hedging purposes, must include counterparty credit risk-weighted assets and market risk-weighted assets in the computation of their risk-weighted assets. Previously, this was required only of banks engaged in derivatives activities. Thrift banks, rural banks and cooperative banks that are not subsidiaries of any universal or commercial banks are covered by the Basel 1.5 framework. The circular amended the Basel 1.5 guidelines that took effect in January. The new rules also newly-defined the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) loan portfolio, which has a 75% risk weight. Aside from being a highly-diversified portfolio, that is, there must at least 500 borrowers from various industries, borrowers must not have any non-performing loans. NPLs are obligations that remain unpaid for at least 30 days after due date. Moreover, non-performing sales contract receivables and non-current assets held for sale are given a 150% risk weighting. Basel 1.5 requires stand-alone thrift banks, rural banks and cooperative banks to maintain a capital adequacy ratio of not less than 10%. Circular 770 will take effect on Jan. 1 next year. LGU BORROWINGS Also uploaded on the BSP website yesterday was Circular 769 dated Sept. 26 that detailed guidelines for local government units (LGUs) requesting a Monetary Board (MB) opinion on their proposed local borrowings. “This circular shall govern borrowings of LGUs within the Philippines... for requests for Monetary Board opinion on the probable effects of the proposed credit operation on monetary aggregates, the price level and the balance of payments,” according to Circular No. 769. In accordance with Republic Act No. 7653 or The New Central Bank, the government needs to request the opinion of the Monetary Board prior to any borrowings so the central
bank can assess the impact of these loans on money supply, prices and the country’s balance of payments. The LGUs, directly or through the lending bank, shall submit a written request to the BSP and if all the required documents have been completed, the application will be elevated to the Monetary Board. The MB opinion will be based on the documents submitted and will be limited to implications of the proposed borrowings. The opinion will be valid for only six months but may be extended as prescribed by the BSP. “No opinion will be issued by the MB in cases where the LGU borrowing/loan has already been partially or fully disbursed,” the circular read. The LGUs are required to submit a post-borrowing report to the BSP within 30 calendar days from the date of full disbursement of the loan proceeds. Circular 769 will take effect 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation. -- Kathleen A. Martin http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=BSP-tweaks--capitalguidelines--&id=59410
Posted on October 03, 2012 10:36:07 AM | BREAKING NEWS
Peso slides as Spain denies bailout news THE PESO tumbled against the dollar when trading began this morning after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied reports that Spain will ask for a bailout as early as this weekend. It shed seven centavos to open at P41.67 per dollar against its P41.60-per-dollar close yesterday. Other Asian markets were also downbeat when trading began today after Mr. Rajoy on Tuesday said a request for a bailout for the debt-laden country will not be made soon, addressing a report that Madrid will request for financial aid this weekend. The peso is seen trading within the P41.55-to P41.75-per-dollar band today. -- Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio
Posted on October 02, 2012 08:37:50 PM
RBS chief says banks need culture change LONDON -- Banks must undergo a wholesale change in their culture and refocus their behavior on meeting the needs of customers to restore trust in the industry, Stephen Hester, chief executive of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), said on Monday. (R) Energy Sec. Rene Almendras administers the oath of office to (L) Gil Buenaventura. -- DBP corporate affairs Speaking at the London School of Economics, Mr. Hester said he believed the finance industry’s problems had arisen as a result of banks losing sight of their role in serving customers. Britain’s banks have been rocked by a series of scandals including interest rate rigging, breaches of anti-money laundering requirements and the mis-selling of loan insurance and complicated interest rate hedging products. “It is possible to look at the many scandals that have hit banking in recent years and see them as individual episodes of bad judgment or wrong behaviours,” Hester said. “In fact, I think it’s more accurate to say that most of them are related to one big scandal: banks have simply not been good enough servants of their customers in the recent past.” Addressing questions after his speech, Mr. Hester welcomed plans to reform the process of setting Libor (the London Interbank Offered Rate), but said the industry and regulator could have been quicker to respond. “The sadness on adapting to a new way of setting Libor is that it could have been done a while ago, but neither the regulator nor the industry were focused on that particular index in the way that, with hindsight, they should have been.” “The other enormous sadness is that the misconduct of individuals is bad because it is used to reinforce people’s feelings of what banks are like. All industries can have individuals that are bad apples. All of us need to be clear that this behaviour can’t be tolerated,” he said. The Financial Services Authority on Friday announced a 10-point plan to overhaul Libor, but stopped short of scrapping the benchmark interest rate. RBS is expected to agree a settlement this year with US and UK authorities investigating its role in to Libor rigging. “We cannot afford to just fix Libor, to just fix money laundering controls, or to just fix the way we market our products. We have to address the root cause of the industry’s failings,” he said. RBS is 82% owned by the UK government following a 45 billion pound bailout during the financial crisis in 2008. It is under investigation for its role in a scandal over Libor and faces punishment over possible breaches of sanctions against Iran. – Reuters http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=RBS-chief-says-banks-needculture-change&id=59402
Posted on October 02, 2012 08:51:40 PM
New DBP chief appointed SEASONED banker Gil A. Buenaventura yesterday took his oath as new Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) president and chief executive officer (CEO), replacing Francisco F. del Rosario, Jr. who resigned effective Sept. 30. According to a DBP statement released yesterday, Mr. Buenaventura took his oath before Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras at the bank’s head office in Makati City. The new DBP chief was the senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Ayalaled Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) before his retirement on Sept. 30. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work in the public sector and at the same time challenged to serve in government,” Mr. Buenaventura was quoted as saying in the statement. “I will be bringing the experience and lessons I have learned from a fruitful career in private banking to my stint in DBP to further fulfill its mandate as a development financial institution,” he added. Mr. Buenaventura will assume his post on Oct. 22. In the meantime, DBP Director Cecilio B. Lorenzo will serve as officer-in-charge. At BPI, Mr. Buenaventura was also the head of Corporate Banking. His career in banking began when he joined Michigan-based Chemical Bank and New Yorkbased First National City Bank, now known as Citibank, as a trainee in 1973. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco in 1973 and his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975. Under Republic Act No. 8523 or the “Act Strengthening the Development Bank of the Philippines,” the president and CEO of DBP should be elected by the bank’s board of directors with the advice and consent of the country’s president. The bank’s president must be “of good moral character and reputation, with at least 10 years experience as a banker and has a reputed proficiency, expertise and recognized competence in banking or financial management.” DBP is a developmental bank mandated to provide banking services to small and medium-scale businesses. The bank’s priority areas are social services; environment; infrastructure and logistics; micro, small and medium enterprises; and industrial sectors. -- Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=New-DBP-chiefappointed&id=59403
Posted on October 01, 2012 09:35:45 PM
Treasury bill rates slide at auction TREASURY bill (T-bill) rates fell across the board at the auction yesterday as investors competed for the limited number of debt papers available this quarter. “The reduction in auction exercises this quarter generated more demand from investors,” National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan told reporters after the auction yesterday. “The fewer number of auctions is expected to generate more aggressive bids from investors who have cash and see investment opportunities, particularly in government securities,” he added. The Treasury has programmed P90 billion from T-bills and T-bonds in the fourth quarter, 15% lower than actual borrowings in the third quarter. Eleven auctions have been scheduled, down from 13 in the previous quarter. Mr. Tan also pointed out the T-bills sold yesterday got attractive rates from investors given the “country’s strong economic fundamentals that are expected to continue.” The Philippine economy grew by 6.1% in the first half, slightly above the government’s full-year target range of 5-6%. The government’s fiscal deficit stood at P71.208 billion as of August, well below the P279.1 billion cap for the year. Inflation, meanwhile, averaged 3.2% as of August, still within the central bank’s 3-5% target for the year. Inflation data for September would be released this Friday. The 91-day T-bill rate fell by 3.3 basis points (bps) to 0.712%. The six month papers were quoted at 1.05%, down by 39.5 bps, while the one-year securities got 1.35%, falling by 55.60 bps. Tenders for the debt papers reached P24.595 billion, more than twice the government’s P9-billion offer. Sought for comment, a bond trader, in a phone interview said: “I agree with Treasurer Tan. The reduction in the number of auctions resulted in strong demand from investors because if you look at the volume of debt papers that the government will issue this quarter, it is lower than in the previous quarter.” “Also, the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals definitely encouraged more investors to demand government securities,” she added. Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=Treasury-bill-rates-slide-atauction&id=59342
Posted on October 02, 2012 08:53:50 PM
Jobless, non-inclusive growth Core Benjamin E. Diokno THE ECONOMY grew 5.9% in the second quarter of 2012, after a surprisingly strong growth of 6.3% in the first quarter, or a first semester GDP growth of 6.1%. Yet, unemployment remained stubbornly high at 7%, while underemployment soared to a sixyear high of 22.7%. Relatedly, a recent (August) Social Weather Stations survey results showed that 21% of respondents (an estimated 4.3 million households) went hungry in the last three months, an almost three-point rise from the 18.4% recorded in May. What happened? How can such a strong growth result in so much joblessness and hunger? It’s in the nature of growth. Some economic expansions are broad-based, inclusive (few are left behind in the growth process) and employment generating. Others are limited, noninclusive, and do not create a lot of jobs. For some, this suggests that policymakers should go beyond the headline growth numbers. They have to be analyzed, scrutinized and responded to with other indicators of economic performance: employment, inflation, hunger rates, poverty rates, income inequality, state of education and health care, and so on. When the economy, measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), grows at 6%, it does not mean that the economic well-being of every citizen improved by 6%. The stark reality, depending on how income is distributed, is that for some it may mean 100% or higher, for others it may mean less than 6%, and for the jobless and those who lost their jobs, it means zero or negative growth. The recent jobs numbers should remind policymakers of the tough road ahead. The world economy continues to worsen. Europe is facing another round of recession and its leaders are still clueless on how to get out of current economic mess. The United States is on a long-term slow growth path. China has started to slow, and a lackluster world economy, its changes of restoring strong growth are getting quite limited. The Philippines has to look for means to strengthen the domestic economy. But it’s not going to be easy. The President and his economic managers have to stimulate growth of agriculture and industry. Agriculture, which employs about one-third of the country’s labor force, has to find new life. A big part of the sector’s growth is retarded by the uncertainty brought about by agrarian reform. The process of asset redistribution has to be completed soon. Yet, the present government’s accomplishments in agrarian reform are dismal.
Injecting new life in the industrial sector, the source of many productive, decent jobs, require better infrastructure, specifically better roads so that goods can be transported from one point to another at less costs. It also requires better, more reliable, and cheaper power. Yet, no new capacity from cheaper sources of energy (geothermal and hydro) have been put up, and no new capacity is expected to be provided during President Aquinoâ€™s term. The lead time for setting up new capacity is much longer than what remains of Mr. Aquinoâ€™s stay in Malacanang. Benjamin Diokno is professor of Economics at the School of Economics, University of the Philippines (Diliman) http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Jobless,-noninclusive-growth&id=59406
Posted on October 02, 2012 11:10:05 PM
Banana farms languishing DAVAO CITY -- Lack of buyers and destructive pests drove banana farmers to abandon up 20,000 hectares, or about a fourth of the total commercial-scale banana plantation hectarage in the Davao Region, a leader of a banana cooperatives association said. Ireneo D. Dalayon, president of the Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association, said compounding the problem is that August to November is considered a lean period, when the price of a 13-kilogram (kg) box of bananas generally goes down. Export price of Cavendish banana is roughly from $3.50 to $4/kg. Mr. Dalayon said a hectare of an abandoned farm due to pests will take nine months to rehabilitate and cost the grower who has not made a harvest after four weeks P400,000 to P500,000 in lost revenue. “The ones who are affected are the new growers who borrowed (money) to plant bananas. Now they are already buried in debt with no way of paying,” Mr. Dalayon said, adding that farmers in some areas have had no income for the past three months. A testament to how things have gotten worse was when he attended three villagefiestas and “nobody was around.” He said that since China resumed importing bananas from the Philippines after allowing containerized cargoes to rot in ports earlier this year, exporters and growers are already hesitant to send new shipments to China. On a weekly average, the region was sending 1.2 million boxes to China, which was considered an ideal market because of its proximity and looser phytosanitary requirements. “We are zero exports to China right now,” Mr. Dalayon said, referring to independent cooperative-based banana growers, which are much smaller compared to big plantations with multinational marketing tie-ups. “We still have collectibles from China worth millions of dollars,” he said. Melanie A. Provido, head of the High Value Commercial Crops Division of the regional office of the Department of Agriculture acknowledged the industry’s concerns, particularly the problem with China. The Agriculture department, she said, has allocated P100 million for the upgrading of packing houses and other facilities -- one of the Chinese government’s requirements in lifting the embargo on Philippine banana shipments. “We already identified 14 cooperatives as beneficiaries for the upgrading of packing houses,” she said, adding that one of the beneficiaries was an indigenous group in Davao City that received P4 million in post-harvest facilities.
Banana-related concerns have prompted the Agriculture department and industry players to organize the first Mindanao Banana Congress on Nov. 7-9 at SMX Convention Center of the newly-completed SM Lanang Premier. Ferdinand Y. MaraĂąon, president of Philexport-XI, said the aim of the forum is to find ways to address the concerns of banana exporters and farmers. One is to form the Mindanao Banana Industry Development Council. â€œThe council will formulate and provide a road map that will show the direction and strategic initiatives toward achieving competitiveness and industry sustainability,â€? he said. -- Joel B. Escovilla http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Banana-farmslanguishing&id=59431
Posted on October 02, 2012 11:11:46 PM
Debt servicing falls DEBT SERVICING decreased by almost a tenth in August due to a drop in principal payments, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed. The government paid P66.294 billion to service its debts in August, down by 9.42% from the P73.186 billion posted last year. Broken down, P46.478 billion went to principal payments, a dip of 11.1% from the P52.28 billion the year before. Domestic creditors received P38.912 billion, while foreign ones took P7.566 billion. The government made P19.816 billion in interest payments, 5.21% lower than the P20.906 billion a year ago. The government paid P12.287 billion domestically and P7.529 billion abroad. For the first eight months, debt servicing stood at P511.082 billion, slightly lower than the P525.104 billion notched in the same period in 2011. Principal payments dropped by 11.73% to P289.967 billion from P328.497 billion, with P250.17 billion to domestic creditors and P39.797 billion to foreign ones. Meanwhile, interest payments contributed P221.115 billion, up 12.47% from the P196.607 billion last year. Domestic creditors were paid P138.428 billion while foreign investors received P82.687 billion. The government expects to pay P383.169 billion for principal payments and P317.653 billion for interest payments this year. Debt servicing is part of the governmentâ€™s expenditures, which hit P126.885 billion in August, higher by a tenth from the P114.928 billion a year ago. This brought public spending to P1.085 trillion as of last month, a jump of 14.5% from the P947.244 billion in the same period in 2011. Public spending is programmed to hit P1.84 trillion this year. The government must now disburse some P755 billion from September to December to meet the target. -- Diane Claire J. Jiao http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Debt-servicingfalls&id=59432
Posted on October 02, 2012 11:07:27 PM
US envoy gives reasons why Americans not investing in country CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Land ownership restrictions and court cases that take years to resolve are the main reasons why less Americans are investing in the Philippines, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas, Jr. told media during a roundtable discussion held here on Tuesday. “It is up to the Filipino legislators to change the system but if the Americans are not comfortable here, they would look for other places to invest,” Mr. Thomas said. “The US has allocated $150 billion as foreign direct investments for ASEAN countries and $100 billion of these is poured into Singapore,” he added. The US envoy also shared that there were American businessmen who came here, planning to invest in renewable energy, but they were cautious in pursuing new projects for various reasons. Mr. Thomas, however, said that he is constantly in touch with American investors since he has seen great potential of investing in the country. During the Investment Priorities Plan roadshow held here two weeks ago, Oliver B. Butalid, Board of Investments governor, said Filipinos comprise up to 95% of investors in the country. “We are getting only a small number of foreign direct investments,” Mr. Butalid said. The Philippines attracted only $1.262 billion in foreign direct investments last year, 3% less compared to 2010. Mr. Thomas said Cagayan de Oro would be one of the cities in the country where future programs of the US government would be poured but he declined to provide details of such projects. The US Agency for International Development is currently drafting a Growth with Equity in Mindanao Phase III program, which would include grants for infrastructure and institutional support to various provinces on the island. -- Rochie Lou A. Embodo http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=US-envoy-givesreasons-why-Americans-not-investing-in-country&id=59429
Posted on October 02, 2012 11:05:55 PM BY EMILIA NARNI J. DAVID, Senior Reporter
Supply chains, hubs needed to boost bamboo industry THE PHILIPPINES needs to build supply chains and hubs to encourage the growth of the bamboo industry, amid growing international and local demand for bamboo-based products. “There is a need to build a network like the one in China where the network extends down to the village where the production is and connect it to the source of design,” said I.V. Ramanuja Rao, director of the Livelihoods and Economic Development Program of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan during the Philippine Bamboo Congress held in Pasay City yesterday. “Designating ‘bamboo villages’ or hubs will also propel the growth of the industry.” He added that in order for the Philippines to take advantage of bamboo exports markets, the country must showcase its ability to work with the product. Global demand for bamboo products is estimated at $10 billion by the Trade department, with China emerging as the top exporter. Demand is expected to rise to $15 billion to $20 billion by 2015. Local demand at present is valued at P450 million or $11 million per year. Supply has been insufficient to meet the demand. “There is currently a supply deficit of two million poles for furniture and 340,000 poles for handicrafts, with demand at 3.5 million poles for furniture and 575,000 poles for handicrafts. For us to address this deficit requires additional plantations of 150,000 hectares to 166,000 hectares by 2015,” said Trade Undersecretary Merly M. Cruz during her speech. “The market in the country is also growing because bamboo can be used for power generation and the Education department is also in need of bamboo to construct school furniture,” she added. The department also said there is very high return of investment in the bamboo industry, which should attract more investors. Other agencies are also involved in promoting the bamboo industry. The Science department has said it is pilot-testing kiln driers and bamboo charcoaling machines that can be used by the private sector. “We are also looking into the possibility of creating a national standard for poles to help create standard pricing based on length and use,” said Romulo T. Agganan, director of the Forests Research and Development Institutes of the Science department. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Supply-chains,-hubsneeded-to-boost-bamboo-industry&id=59427
Posted on October 02, 2012 10:38:02 PM
Job creation should focus on dev’t payoffs JOB GENERATION as a policy response to growth should focus on employment that has a greater impact on improving living conditions, according to a World Bank report released yesterday. “Because some jobs do more for development than others, it is necessary to identify the types of jobs with the greatest development payoffs given a country’s context,” according to the World Development Report entitled “Jobs.” Identifying jobs that have a greater impact on development will depend on a country’s development, demography, endowments and institutions. For the Philippines, the Washington-based institution cited the private sector’s role in generating much of the employment opportunity, providing 95% of the job source within a decade or from 1995 to 2005. The report also noted the need for “effective legal protection to those who work outside of legal frameworks.” To this end, the Philippines was cited for providing legal protection for informal workers in line with commitments to the International Labor Organization, while pursuing a policy of protecting its overseas workers. The report also noted the need to address skills shortages as “around the world, available skills are not fitting well with the demands of the economy.” It cited, in particular, concerns on the issue raised by export-oriented firms in Indonesia and the Philippines. “... (I)t is that some jobs do more for development, while others may do little, even if they are appealing to individuals,” the report stated. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Job-creation-shouldfocus-on-dev%E2%80%99t-payoffs&id=59418