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Agri output up 1.93% in 1st 9 mos By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated November 07, 2012 12:00 AM MANILA, Philippines - The country’s agricultural production grew at a slower pace of 1.93 percent in the first nine months of the year from a growth rate of 4.72 percent a year ago because of continued slowdown in fish production, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported yesterday. The gross value of farm output in the first nine months of the year was valued at P956 billion at current prices, down by 0.23 from last year. “Declining prices of major commodities in the crops and livestock subsectors led to the 0.23 percent decrease in gross earnings during the reference period,” the BAS said. Crop production, which accounted for 50.73 percent of the total agricultural output in the first nine months of the year, grew by 3.33 percent. Palay and corn production increased by 6.91 percent and 7.49 percent respectively. Higher output was also seen in coconut, pineapple, coffee, tobaco and rubber. The subsector had a gross value of P566 billion, lower by 1.61 percent from last year. The livestock subsector, which contributed 15.62 percent to the total agricultural output, recorded a 0.86 percent growth in production in the first nine months of the year. Slower production was seen in hog and cattle.Gains were mostly seen in dairy production. The gross value of production in the livestock subsector was P150.9 billion at current prices, down by 1.32 percent from the previous year. Production volume in the poultry subsector, which had a share of 14.28 percent in total farm output for the period went up by 4.62 percent. All components of livestock and poultry components posted output gains except duck. Gross earnings of the subsector amounted to P121.7 billion at current prices, higher by 4.82 percent from 2011. The fisheries subsector, which accounted for 19.37 percent of the total agricultural production, suffered another output reduction with a 2.57 percent contraction during the first nine months of the year. At current prices, gross value of fisheries production amounted to P117.4 billion, 3.10 percent higher than last year’s earnings. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=867483&publicationSubCategoryId=66


Gov’t Backs Organic Agriculture Program November 6, 2012, 6:04pm Manila Bulletin COTABATO CITY (PNA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Central Mindanao is asking farmers to embrace the Organic Agriculture Program to increase productivity and help protect the environment. Through the Farmers’ Field School-Integrated Pest Management (FFS-IPM) on Palay Check System with Emphasis on Organic Agriculture, some 26 farmers in Barangay Rotunda in Koronadal City were confirmed graduates over the weekend. According to DA-12 regional techno-demo coordinator Soraida Bangoan, the farmers underwent training on the eight keys of “Palay Check System” incorporating the promotion of organic farming practices. “These newly confirmed graduates were introduced to the primary and key checks toward greater rice productivity,” Bangoan said. She explained that “Palay Check” is a dynamic rice crop management system that presents the best key technology and management practices. She said this includes eight key checks like – Seed Quality, Land Preparation, Synchronous Planting, Sufficient Number of Healthy Seedling, Nutrient Management, Water Management, Pest Management and Harvest Management. Emelita Miguel, city agriculturist, said advancing organic agriculture is part of the threeyear executive development plans of the local government unit (LGU) of Koronadal led by City Mayor Peter Miguel. According to Miguel, Koronadal’s LGU has allotted a bigger budget for 2013 in an effort to promote organic agriculture in the 27 barangays (villages) of the city. “A bigger portion of the said amount will be intended for the training that would equip our farmers in this farming practice,” he added. Miguel also announced that the Koronadal LGU is fast-tracking the documents to avail of the P1.5 million worth of organic trading post that would serve as food depot for organically-grown products in the locality. Besides “Palay Check,” DA-12 regional IPM coordinator Diosdado Miro said these farmers were also taught in the identification of beneficial insects or the “kaibigang peste” from harmful insects as one of the cultural pest management practices pushed by the agency. Some of the identified “kaibigang peste” include dragonfly, lady bug, cricket, earwig, and orb spider, while yellow stem borer, black bug, brown planthopper, and green leafhopper are harmful rice insects. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/380274/gov-t-backs-organic-agriculture-program#.UJm5JmcTgok


Top Story

Posted on November 06, 2012 10:37:43 PM By Bettina Faye V. Roc, Reporter

Farm growth picks up INCREASE in agricultural output picked up in the third quarter, but nine-month growth still fell short of the government’s full-year target as contraction of fisheries offset gains in crops and poultry, the farm department reported on Tuesday. The latest report of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said volume of the country’s farm production grew 1.93% as of September -- better than the first half’s nearly flat increment but still slower than the 4.28% recorded in the same nine-month period last year -- on the back of improved palay and corn harvests. BAS Assistant Director Maura S. Lizarondo said in a text message yesterday that growth for the third quarter alone picked up to 4.3% from the 1.59% uptick recorded in the same three months last year. Sub-sector specifics were not immediately available. The bureau had reported in August that farm output expanded by 0.93% in the first semester, with growth in the first quarter coming in at 1.1% and the second quarter at 0.73%. Ms. Lizarondo said "there were few revisions" to second-quarter growth figures, but data were not immediately available yesterday. The entire crop subsector, which accounted for 50.73% of total agricultural output as of September, expanded 3.33%, driven primarily by increased palay and corn production. The bureau noted that higher output was also registered by coconut, pineapple, coffee, tobacco and rubber. In those comparative nine-month periods, palay production increased 6.98% annually to 11.5 million metric tons (MT) from 10.75 million MT. The bureau attributed the gain to improved yield, early harvests and more plantings. "Our efforts are paying off," said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala in a statement yesterday. He added that palay harvest for the entire year "could reach 18 million MT, with a forecast production of roughly 6.5 million MT for the fourth-quarter palay crop." "The projected fourth-quarter palay output would include those from 100,000 hectares under the third cropping scheme, where thousands of farmers were encouraged to plant in September," he explained. Fourth-quarter palay production in 2011 totaled 5.94 million MT.


The department’s official full-year palay production target is set at 18.46 million MT, 10.67% more than the 16.68 million MT actually harvested in 2011. Corn output likewise grew 7.49% to 5.9 million MT from 5.49 million MT, an increment BAS attributed to increased harvest area and favorable weather. Poultry production, which made up 14.28% of total agricultural output from January to September, went up 4.62%. BAS data showed that chicken and duck egg production accelerated by 5.99% and 5.31%, respectively. The livestock subsector posted a nearly flat 0.86% output growth in the period and contributed 15.62% to the country’s total agricultural production. The minimal growth, BAS noted, was caused by a slowdown in hog and cattle production, which was however offset by a gain in dairy output. Fishery production, which made up 19.37% of total farm output, contracted 2.57% as all its subsectors saw lower volumes. BAS blamed reduced output on reduced fishing activities due to bad weather. Sought for comment, Rolando T. Dy, executive director of the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Food and Agribusiness, via text that the department’s full-year target may now be difficult to achieve. "It will be a steep climb. Agriculture production must grow by at least 7% in the fourth quarter to grow 4% for the whole year," said Mr. Dy. "Maybe 3% could be doable." http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Farm-growth-picksup&id=61043


2013 Declared National Year Of Rice By GENALYN D. KABILING November 6, 2012, 6:47pm MANILA, Philippines --- In anticipation of attaining rice self-sufficiency next year, President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared the year 2013 as the National Year of Rice. The President, in Proclamation No. 494, directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to lead the celebration of the National Year of Rice and raise public awareness on responsible rice consumption. “The year 2013 is hereby declared as the National Year of Rice. The month of November of every year is also affirmed as the National Rice Awareness Month,” the proclamation read. In line with the government’s strategy to meet rice self-sufficiency next year, the President emphasized the need for an intensified information campaign and social marketing to encourage producers, consumers and policymakers to help achieve such goal. “A sustained and nationwide campaign to boost farmers’ morale and motivate them to adopt technologies to further improve farm productivity and encourage the general public to be responsible rice consumers are necessary to complement the government’s efforts to achieve rice self-sufficiency,” the proclamation read. The agriculture department was also authorized to tap other government agencies and the private sector for assistance in celebration of the National Year of Rice. Funds for the program will be sourced from the DA budget. The proclamation was signed by the President last Oct. 18. The President has often trumpeted the government’s imminent attainment of rice selfsufficiency by next year due to higher production of the staple. After decades of importing rice, Aquino said the country can also start exporting rice to Asian neighbors by 2013.

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/380305/2013-declared-national-year-ofrice#.UJm3LmcTgok


Inflation eases to 3.1 percent in October Published on 07 November 2012 Hits: 175 Written by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter The Philippine’s annual headline inflation at the national level eased to 3.1 percent in October, the lowest rate since June, data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed on Tuesday.

The October inflation rate was lower than the 3.6 percent recorded in September, reaching the 2.9-percent to 3.8-percent projection of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Inflation a year ago was at 5.2 percent. “Inflation outlook is very benign and the expectation of the general public is very close to the forecast of BSP,” said Diwa Guinigundo, central bank deputy governor. The NSO data said that the decline can be attributed to the deceleration in the annual increases recorded in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index, and recreation and culture index. For its part, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) revealed that cheaper prices of agriculture and fish products slowed down headline inflation, bringing average inflation in the first three quarters at the low-end of government’s target. According to Dr. Rosemarie Edillon of NEDA’s National Planning and Policy Staff, the year-to-date headline inflation is at a stable rate, which is still within the Development and Budget Coordination Committee’s target range of 3 percent to 5 percent for 2012. Meanwhile, core inflation, which represents a more long-term inflation trend, as it excludes certain items that have short-term and volatile price movements, also slid to 3.6 percent in October from 3.8 percent in September. On monthly basis, the data showed that prices of consumer items continued to post a negative monthly rate of -0.1 percent in October, because price declines were observed in the heavily weighted food items, particularly rice and vegetables. “The continued benign inflation for the period suggests an easing of demand pressures on consumer prices. This should be able to contain inflation for the rest of the year,” Edillon said. Food, fuel prices Also contributing to the downtrend were reductions in the prices of selected food items such as fish, cooking oil and some condiments and seasonings, along with lower charges in electricity rates and the price decreases in gasoline and diesel in many regions.


By commodity group, the NSO data stated that on an annual basis, the increase in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index in the Philippines moved slower to 2.5 percent in October from 3.7 percent in September and recreation and culture index, 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent. It added that the rest of the commodity groups retained their last month’s rate except in furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house index, whose annual adjustment went up to 4.8 percent from 4.6 percent. For food alone index, the annual adjustment in inflation rate at the national level further decelerated to 2.5 percent in October from 3.6 percent in September. The data noted that prices in Metro Manila further improved to 2.9 percent in October from 3.5 percent in September, affected by the slowdowns in the annual increments of the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages and restaurant, and miscellaneous goods and services. On the other hand, annual inflation in areas outside Metro Manila also eased to 3.3 percent in October from 3.7 percent in September, because of slower annual hikes in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; and recreation and culture. However, the NEDA said that from January to October 2012, the year-to-date inflation in Metro Manila stood at 2.9 percent, which is still slower compared to 3.2 percent outside the capital. “This problem may have to do with inefficient distribution systems outside Metro Manila,� Edillon said. She added that Metro Manila also has the advantage of agglomeration of consumers, which attracts many producers and more competition unlike those outside the metropolis. For its part, the BSP said that it will continue to monitor closely the evolving balance of risks to both inflation and output, to ensure that monetary policy remains supportive of sustained non-inflationary economic growth. With Report From Raadee S. Sausa

http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/top-business-news/34800-inflationeases-to-3-1-percent-in-october


Botcha mamatyagan sa Kapaskuhan Published : Wednesday, November 07, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 18 Written by : Jojo Sadiwa

NAKAHANDA na sa pagmamatyag ang National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) laban sa pagdami ng hot meat at botcha ngayong Kapaskuhan. Ayon kay NMIS Director Minda Manantan, kabilang sa mga palengke sa Metro Manila na binabantayan nila hinggil sa talamak na bentahan ng hot meat, mishandled meat at botcha ang Divisoria, Balintawak sa Quezon City at Pasay Market. Pinag-iingat din ang publiko sa pagbili ng karne sa mga talipapa at sa mga inaalok na nakalagay sa bilao dahil hindi anya ito dumaan sa tamang pagsusuri. Sa ngayon, nagdagdag na ng meat inspectors ang NMIS sa mga palengke partikular sa pampublikong pamilihan. Nakikipagtulungan na rin sila sa mga local government units (LGU) para masugpo ang pagkalat ng hot meat at botcha. Ilan sa mga palatandaan na botcha o double dead ang karneng ibi-nibenta ay masyadong mura, nangingitim na ang laman o ’di kaya’y maputla at may masangsang na amoy. Nitong huling linggo ng Oktubre, magkasunod na nakasabat ang mga otoridad ng mishandled meat sa Bacoor, Cavite at Balintawak at Susano Market naman sa Quezon City. Babala ng NMIS, posibleng makulong at matanggalan pa ng business license ang mga mahuhuling nagbebenta ng hot meat at botcha sa mga pamilihan.

http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/provincial/41036-botcha-mamatyagan-sakapaskuhan


Ormoc now has 2 tramlines Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 18:42 Written by Felix N. Codilla III / Correspondent

ORMOC CITY—The Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit 8 turned over to the barangay government a tramline in sitio Catmonay, Cabingtan last Sept. 28. The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization funded the project for P1.8 million and also provided technical assistance. The tramline transports agricultural projects from the upland to the lowlands. It has a load capacity of 350 kilos or 4 tons and a maximum length of 390 meters, project leader Bartolome Tesorero Jr. said. Cabingtan is a mountain barangay 25 kms. east of the city proper. Kagawad Rodelito Cantay said the tramline will be a big help in hauling vegetables at a cost of only P15 per sack compared to P35 per sack if transported manually. The high transport cost often resulted to spoilage of Chinese cabbages. Codilla is proud of the project which he said “was cleared by proper authorities,” an apparent swipe to another similar project being claimed by Rep. Lucy Marie TorresGomez in the same barangay. The congresswoman inaugurated another tramline at sitio Sulpa last Aug. 23. The tramline inaugurated by Codilla was supposed to be located at sitio Sulpa but the site did not pass safety standards.


The Energy Development Corp. (EDC) also refused to issue a geothermal clearance on the site for fear that farmers might encroach on the forested area and engage in kaingin (slash and burn). However, the DA went on with the project which Gomez claimed to be hers even if she didn’t fund the project. The tramline at sitio Catmonay took four months to finish as the local government unit (LGU) had to secure necessary permits. Aside from the geothermal clearance from EDC, the LGU also secured a safety clearance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau which conducted a soil analysis to ensure the site does not stand on an earthquake fault.

In Photo: Ormoc City Mayor Eric C. Codilla (second from left) is assisted by Barangay Captain Alfredo Panchacala in the ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the new tramline. They are joined by Well Capangpanga (beside the mayor), chief of the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Field Unit engineering division; and Councilor Demosthenes Tugonon.

http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri-commodities/2012-ormoc-nowhas-2-tramlines


Calata Supports DA Growth Goal November 6, 2012, 5:38pm Leading agriculture products and technology distribution firm Calata Corp. recently said it supports the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) bid to raise the country’s food production target by 3.5 percent to five percent next year. Calata Corp. chair and CEO Joseph Calata said he believes the DA goal is “reasonable and attainable” and calls for “the all-out support of private sector players in the agriculture industry.” The DA farm growth goal for 2012 stands at 4.1 percent and is based on expected increases in the output of the crops subsector. Calata said the growth targets “underscore the seriousness of the government’s bid for greater food sufficiency while further uplifting the farming sector.” According to Calata, the conglomerate is supporting the DA target with its own expansion program. “With more Calata Corp. outlets in areas close to food producers, the crops subsector gains better access to agricultural technologies and farm inputs,” Calata said. “This is crucial because technologies and inputs have much impact on farm productivity,” he explained. The conglomerate earlier announced that it is increasing the number of its outlets from 120 to 250 using the proceeds generated by its recent listing in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Calata Corp. is a multibillion-peso conglomerate which distributes agrochemicals, fertilizers, veterinary products, seeds and feeds from leading manufacturers in the country and abroad. These include foods and feeds sector leaders San Miguel Corporation, Syngenta and Monsanto. Calata Corp. also earlier inaugurated soil-testing facilities to support DA’s bid to encourage farmers to use fertilizers and chemicals prudently. The facilities help farmers identify the type of soil in their farms and to use only those fertilizers that are compatible with the soil type. Calata said the use of compatible fertilizers ensure higher farm productivity and protection for the soil from long-term damage. It also results in savings and higher earnings for farmers, he added.

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/380258/calata-supports-da-growth-goal#.UJm5gGcTgok


Dam eyed for Davao del Sur By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Nov. 07, 2012 at 12:01am | A mining firm is proposing to build a fresh water dam in Davao del Sur, and Hagonoy town mayor Franco Magno Calida has said “the proposal is very welcome and much needed in the province”. Sagittarius Mines Inc., the government contractor for the $5.9-billion Tampakan coppergold mine, is proposing to build the dam and other facilities to help support the operation of the mine while serving downstream water users in Davao del Sur. The mining firm says the fresh water dam is a vital component of its overall water strategy for the Tampakan mining project. It will store excess water during the rainy season to augment the mine’s water supply while providing compensatory flow for downstream users during dry periods. “The proposed dam will have a good impact on agriculture for the irrigation needs of not just Hagonoy but the entire Davao del Sur”, Calida said. He said his municipality, in particular, an agro-industrial town, “will surely benefit from the world-class dam being proposed by the mining company”. “We must learn from the story of the Pantabangan Dam”, Calida said. Calida and other Hagonoy officials recently visited the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija to learn how a big dam helps agricultural areas. Calida said they learned that the Pantabangan Dam had been supporting agriculture not just in Nueva Ecija but in the entire Luzon. “We visited the Pantabangan Dam to learn about the infrastructure and also to check with the dam’s management with regard to risks such as earthquakes,” Calida said. He said officials from the National Irrigation Administration and those in charge of managing the dam were able to give them satisfactory answers on their concerns. “We need to manage our water supply to balance the impact of the rainy and drought seasons in our province and a dam is the key to this,” Calida said.

http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/11/07/dam-eyed-for-davao-del-sur/


Price of copra in Sorsogon dropped to P14 a kilo in October Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 18:46 Written by Oliver Samson / Correspondent

SORSOGON CITY—The price of copra dropped to P14 per kilo in October, a Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) official here said. Copra is toasted coconut meat. “P14 per kilo is the lowest for copra in the last two years,” Lourdes Martizano, PCA officer in charge, said during an interview. The price was expected to gain strength after August, when production started to decline, she said. But since the bulk of copra is exported, its local price is influenced by the international market, she noted. In 2010 coconut farmers experienced a boon when copra sold for between P40 and P45 per kilo before its price finally took a dive early this year, Martizano said. Copra did well to sustain its value until early this year, when local dealers were buying at P38 per kilo, Martizano said. It went down to P20 per kilo in the second quarter, dropped to P18 per kilo in the third quarter, until it went down to P14 per kilo in October, she added. According to Martizano, the international market dictates the price of copra. When Bicol drops the price, the rest of the country also hit bottom. The PCA official pointed to the leading coconut-producing countries in Asia as a primary reason for the drop in the price of local copra. “One major cause for the drop in the price of copra is our competition with several Asian countries, like Indonesia, that had outdone the Philippines in coconut production,” she said, noting that “we had gone from being the top coconut exporter in the past to only the third at present.”


Eighty percent of Philippine copra is exported, with Europe taking in the largest volume of the export, and only 20 percent is processed and consumed locally, Martizano said. With that figure, the production of oil abroad using alternative sources like corn, soybean and safflower also influences the drop in the price of local copra, she said. To bring coconut growers some economic relief, the agency distributes free salt fertilizer to farmers. “The 6,696 bags of salt fertilizer, the last batch that arrived in September, were distributed to coconut farmers in the province’s 14 municipalities and one city,” Martizano said. “The recipients numbered more than 2,000, mostly small coconut farmers.” The PCA had distributed a total of 9,829 seed nuts to farmers as replacement stock for senile coconut trees for the agency’s 60,000-hectare target size to replant, Martizano said. The province has 97,000 hectares of land planted to coconut. Another batch of seed nuts totaling 7,900, still at the nursing stage in the municipality of Prieto Diaz, will be distributed to coconut farmers as soon as they are ready for planting. The PCA budget is for the procurement of seed nuts only, Martizano said. It encourages local government units to meet the agency’s deficiency in fund by assuming the responsibility of nursing the young seed nuts until they are ready for distribution. She said only 7.6 million of the province’s 9.5 million coconut trees are bearing fruits at present. Based on the agency’s statistics, almost 50,000 farmers in the province are coconutdependent. Ernesto Enraca, a coconut farmer in Barcelona town, said three to four whole coconut meat, depending on size, accounts for 1 kilo of copra. He suggested that to maximize coconut land production, farmers should plant other high-value crops like banana and pili. A whole fresh coconut sells for P8 to P10 in the wet market here, and from P22 to P35 in Metro Manila. Martizano said the price of copra had taken its most devastating fall to P4 to P6 per kilo. Enraca and Teodorico Escanilla, another coconut farmer, said that happened late in the 1980s, when the price of copra hit the bottom rung and stayed there for more than half a year, after the fall of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

In Photo: Coconut farmers step back from the fire they made to smoke out pests plaguing coconut trees. Setting on fire a pile of dry leaves and other burnable wastes to smoke coconut trees is an old practice to eliminate pests. (Oliver Samson) http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri-commodities/2018-price-of-copra-in-sorsogondropped-to-p14-a-kilo-in-october


Navy intercepts P10M contraband rice in Sulu Published on 07 November 2012 Hits: 180 Written by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL OPERATIVES of the Philippine Navy (PN) has foiled another attempt by smugglers to sneak in into the country some P10 million worth of contra-bands off the coast of Sulu province.

The contraband goods, consisting of 12,000 sacks of rice and 1,412 boxes of assorted foodstuff and 400 sacks of wheat flour were loaded on board ML Shayna when intercepted on Monday by combined forces of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao and Navy patrol gunboat BRP Emilio Liwanag. Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesman, on Tuesday said that the illegal shipment came from Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia and was on its way to Warid Pier in Jolo, Sulu. Investigation revealed that the shipment has no legal importation documents such as import permit from the National Food Authority as in the case of rice importation. According to Tonsay, the vessel is owned by a certain Jaiton Jadjap and Darcy Tan, both of Port Area, Jolo, Sulu but the owner of the contraband has yet to be determined. According to Tonsay, the owners of the vessel and its 12 Filipino crewmembers would be slapped with smuggling charges for violation of Republic Act 1937 or the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. Last week, Navy operatives also apprehend P15 million worth of smuggled fuel and cigarettes off the coast of Tulian Island in Sulu province. The port of origin of the said shipment has not been determined, but authorities believed that it also came from Sabah, Malaysia, which is usually used by smugglers as jumped off point in sneaking smuggled goods into the country. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/regions/34818-navy-intercepts-p10mcontraband-rice-in-sulu


Solons grill Subic chief on rice smuggling By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:04 am | Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The Bureau of Customs formally seized the shipment of smuggled Indian rice worth at least P450 million. ROBERT GONZAGA / INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON MANILA, Philippines—Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Tuesday faced a hostile House committee over their apparent failure to sanction a local consignee implicated in the smuggling of nearly P500-million worth of Indian rice last April. Members of the committee on good government took turns castigating SBMA administrator Roberto Garcia, noting that he had yet to sanction Metroeastern Trading Corp. some six months after the Bureau of Customs confiscated the shipment. Metroeastern was the free port locator to which 420,000 50-kilogram sacks of rice were consigned. “I’m quite surprised why you have not taken any action against this locator when clearly, [it] has made some misdeclarations,” Rep. Jerry Trenas, committee chairman, told Garcia in a hearing. Incensed Trenas was incensed by the seeming inconsistency of Garcia’s response to another representative’s query as to whether or not the SBMA had imposed any administrative sanction on Metroeastern. To an earlier query by Leyte Rep. Andres Salvacion on whether the SBMA had suspended Metroeastern’s operations in light of the confiscation of the Indian rice, Garcia had replied that the agency was in the process of “suspending” the consignee. But he changed his tone when Salvacion asked for a copy of the suspension order. Under


pressure, Garcia later apologized to the committee for his mixed response, and promised to suspend Metroeastern’s operations. Garcia earlier said the SBMA was still “waiting for the whole process to be completed” before imposing any sanction against Metroeastern. But he said the agency would take a “close look” if the locator applied for another import permit. Legal implications “Let’s put it this way. We will take a look at the legal implications of our suspending (Metroeastern) in the light of the cases filed, and on that basis we will come back to the committee and tell you what our decision is,” he told the representatives, who did not agree. Salvacion said the alleged attempt to smuggle Indian rice was “already a ground for the suspension of the operation of that company.” “We are only talking about suspension,” he said. “We are not talking about cancellation of license.” The committee also tackled the purported smuggling of 94,000 bags of rice in Legazpi, Albay. Diverted rice Surigao del Sur Rep. Philip Pichay quizzed National Food Authority (NFA) officials on why the shipment landed in Albay when it was supposed to have been bound for Mindanao. NFA officer in charge Ludovico Jarina said the agency could come up with a “management decision” on a shipment’s route, say, in case of calamity. But Pichay noted that there was no such incident when the bags of rice ended up in Albay. Tarlac Rep. Jeci Lapus reminded Jarina about a previous admission that the shipment arrived in Albay by “mistake.” “When it was caught…now the NFA is justifying it,” the congressman said. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/55402/solons-grill-subic-chief-on-rice-smuggling


Only Paje is defending despised Zambo miner GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) Updated November 07, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)

A predecessor is opposing Ramon Paje’s confirmation as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources for incompetence. But conservationists think worse, wanting the Congress Commission on Appointments to reject Paje for improbity. Resistance to Paje revolves mainly around the Lupa Pigegetawan Mining Corp. that is extracting gold and other minerals in Zamboanga del Sur. Governor Antonio Cerilles has been trying to close down the mine for alleged pollutive ways, false representations, and other illegalities. Lupa Pigegetawan operates as a small-scale mine of tribesmen. But from numerous reports, its real capitalist is one Manuel “Manny” Go, a businessman from Cebu who allegedly fronts for mainland Chinese. A former environment-natural resources secretary, Cerilles says that Lupa Pigegetawan is operating under a baseless concession granted by the previous Arroyo administration. Paje, who was nominated to the plum post under President Noynoy Aquino, supposedly played a crucial role in the shady licensing. Then-Secretary Lito Atienza gave Lupa Pigegetawan a Special Ore Extraction Permit (SOEP) towards the end of the Arroyo tenure, Cerilles recounts. Paje got Atienza to do so as his adviser on mining, undersecretary for operations, and president of the Mineral Resources Development Corp. under the Office of the President. (If Paje’s name sounds familiar, it could be because he was widely accused of having allowed the denudation of the seaside forests of Real and Infanta in Quezon. Mud and timber engulfed the two towns during downpours in December 2004, leading to the deaths of hundreds of barrio folk.) The basis for granting Lupa Pigegetawan an SOEP was its supposed ownership by indigenous mountain dwellers in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur, in western Mindanao. But the listed tribesmen are from Bukidnon province, two regions and hundreds of miles far to the east. More than that, Cerilles laments, there is no such thing as an SOEP under the Mining Act of 1995 or the Small-Scale Mining Law of 1991. Still, the unfounded special grant enabled Lupa Pigegetawan to skirt the requirements for indigenous peoples to acquire mining permits. That, according to Cerilles, was how outsider Manuel Go entered the picture. In a letter to the Commission on Appointments, Cerilles alleges that Paje during the past


administration did not lift a finger to stop Atienza from issuing a fake permit. Not only that, Paje is even defending the SOEP’s questioned legitimacy under his present watch at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Paje’s basis for upholding the SOEP is Lupa Pigegetawan’s supposed ownership by Bayog tribesmen. This is despite the latter’s written complaints against the mining firm to the DENR, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Environment Management Bureau, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the provincial capitol. For this, Cerilles in his letter to CA chairman, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, describes Paje in big bold letters as “INCOMPETENT.” Still, the question for environmentalists is Paje’s ties to Lupa Pigegetawan financier Manuel Go. Go, contrary to the low-profile habit of Chinese-Filipino entrepreneurs, often is seen in newspaper photographs with high government officials, among them Paje. He is branded in several reports and blogspots as a user of tribesfolk as front for “small-scale” mines. His clients allegedly are Chinese nationals whose mission, like in Africa, is to suck up all the precious metals and minerals they can, for China’s commerce and military. Go is also said to be a close friend of Paje’s. Licenses for “small” operations do not go through the usual rigors — and taxes — imposed on “large-scale” miners. But Go’s operations are said to be anything but small and fit only for poor tribesmen. The one in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, is guarded by men with high-powered weapons from a security agency owned by retired generals. Violence has broken out several times, as true tribesmen of Bayog have been trying to stop the outsiders from taking their gold. Cerilles and the town mayor have ordered the closure of the mine, to no avail. Avoiding the question of his ties to Go, Paje prefers to pound on the supposed legality of Lupa Pigegetawan’s special permit. While no law allows it, he has stated that no law forbids it either. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima contradicts Paje, however. In a memo as far back as September 2011 she told him that special permits should not elude but follow the requirements of law. In the Bayog case, the application of Lupa Pigegetawan should have been evaluated first by DENR bureaus that are tasked with such functions, not sneaked through political connections. *

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I got out of the threatened US East Coast in the nick of time, on the Sunday night before Superstorm Sandy struck 21 states. So instead of being caught in days-long blackouts, I had the chance to review how a developed country prepares for and reacts to disaster (and


am happy to be back). Five days prior, the news media already were reporting that a huge storm was looming. Weathermen initially forecast Sandy possibly to strike the Atlantic coast on the weekend, but later changed this to Monday afternoon. The accuracy of the storm trackers and the warnings by news networks enabled government, business, and civic leaders to plan accordingly. Airlines, trains and bus companies ferried hundreds of thousands of passengers till the deadlines set by government authorities to stop. Residents determined to be in harm’s way forcibly were evacuated to snug, warm, carpeted storm shelters. Policemen patrolled the evacuated communities against looters. Guardsmen and other volunteers looked after the victims’ needs, from food to special communications to evacuation even of pets. It’s no wonder that a storm that packed winds double that of recent supertyphoons in the Philippines resulted in the death of only a little over a hundred people. Most of the affected US states, counties, cities and townships were prepared. They had detailed disaster management plans, which they rehearsed over and over. A superstorm such as Sandy had been anticipated as far back as 12 years ago. Scientists had said so, and most officials believed their analyses of the effects of climate change. *

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., on DWIZ (882-AM). E-mail: jariusbondoc@gmail.com

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=64&articleId=867614


No forex rate target — Tetangco By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Nov. 07, 2012 at 12:00am | 91 views

Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said Tuesday the Bangko Sentral does not target a particular exchange rate. The peso has appreciated 6.33 percent against the US for the year, second to Singapore dollar, which climbed 6.37 percent. “We have always maintained that external competitiveness is more than the exchange rate. It is principally increasing productivity and reducing cost. The exchange rates affects different sectors differently that is why the BSP does not target a particular exchange rate, but instead maintains a presence when the volatility is excessive,” Tetangco said. “Stable exchange rates in our view provide businesses room to plan and strategize better from experience we have found this policy to be fair, efficient and equitable,” he said. Tetangco said the peso had been strong mainly due to inflows, which are market reactions to positive macrofundamentals. He said the Bangko Sentral had tools besides market presence that it could use to maintain price and financial stability.

http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/11/07/no‐forex‐rate‐target‐tetangco/                      


Aquino to Congress: Higher sin tax better By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on Nov. 07, 2012 at 12:01am | 154 views

President Benigno Aquino III said he will be happy if Congress passes a version of the sin tax bill that will bring in P40 billion in extra revenues, but said a P60-billion take would make him even happier, as this would give the government enough to fund its universal health care program. “At P40 billion, we’re happy. At P60 billion, we’ll be happier. For P40 billion is already sufficient to meet the objectives both in terms of gaining more resources, managing the deficit but most importantly addressing the health issues. Most of the funds that will be generated are earmarked for supporting our health program,” Mr. Aquino said while he was in Laos. Earlier, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace sees no need to come up with a contingency plan in case the bill, which aims to raise more tax revenues from the sale of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, is not passed before Congress goes on recess next month. Senator Franklin Drilon, a staunch ally of the President, on Tuesday sponsored a substitute committee report on the sin tax bill, which wiped out the earlier version presented by Senator Ralph Recto, who resigned as chairman of the ways and means committee when the Palace attacked him for proposing a much lower tax target of P15 billion. In his sponsorship speech, Drilon noted that the differences between his proposal and that of Recto probably lie in the appreciation of the inherent nature of this measure. “In general, we agreed with the basic assumptions and data used by Senator Recto but the difference is basically on how we view the reforms. Senator Recto viewed it as a fiscal reform package while we remain steadfast in our position that the sin tax reform legislation is a critical health reform measure in the exercise by the government of its police power,” said Drilon. Taking turns to question Drilon, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Recto observed that the P40 billion to P45 billion in additional excise taxes from tobacco and alcohol was “unrealistic.” They said the government would not realize this extra income because the sale of cigarettes and alcohol would go down as their prices went up. Recto added that Drilon’s substitute report would favor imports over locally manufactured cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. The three senators also said an exorbitant increase in excise taxes would hurt workers in the tobacco and alcohol industries.


Drilon, on the other hand, said the proposed sin tax reform measure was the single most important health policy legislation in the past decade, and will have a reverberating impact to the lives of an estimated 100 million Filipinos in the foreseeable future. Before his sponsorship speech, Drilon acknowledged Recto’s efforts and legislative scholarship. “We were there when the good Senator invited all stakeholders in this debate to five lengthy, impassioned yet productive committee hearings —hoping, without a doubt, to ferret truth from fiction and the facts from myth,” Drilon said. He also disowned a comment from the Palace that senators who did not support the Finance Department’s original P60-billion target could be suspected of receiving bribes from the tobacco and alcohol companies. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/11/07/aquino‐to‐congress‐higher‐sin‐tax‐better/                          


Posted on November 06, 2012 08:19:19 PM

Bill eyes P45B from ‘sin’ tax A SENATE committee yesterday unveiled a substitute "sin" tax bill calling for higher tax rates on cigarettes than those proposed by the House, with the revenue take expected to be larger at P40-45 billion. "Our version adopts that of the Lower House with added features... and amendments," Senate ways and means Acting Chairman Senator Franklin M. Drilon said in his sponsorship speech yesterday. The earlier version sponsored last month by Senator Ralph G. Recto -- who quit as ways and means chairman after receiving criticism for supposedly watering down the bill -- was expected to generate only P14 billion. House Bill (HB) No. 5727 scrapped the unitary rate proposed by the Finance department and set two tiers for tobacco and three for alcohol products, with standard increases every two years after a transition period beginning 2015. HB 5727 is expected to generate P30 billion in incremental revenues. The National Internal Revenue Code has a four-tier classification for cigarettes and three for fermented liquor and distilled spirits. Mr. Drilon said the scheme will raise P40-45 billion in incremental revenues on the first year -P26.87 billion from tobacco products, P7.17 billion from distilled spirits, and P12.5 billion from fermented liquor. The new bill states that "on Jan. 1, 2016, all cigarettes will have a unitary tax rate of P32.00." Before that, rates for cigarettes packed by hand will go up to P12.00 per pack on Jan. 1, 2013, P22.00 on Jan. 1, 2014, and P28.00 on Jan. 1, 2015, from the current P7.56. The House version proposes only two tiers beginning January 2013, with an 8% increase every two years after the transition period, or from 2015 to 2025. For cigarettes packed by machine, Mr. Recto proposed three tiers for the period March 2013 to 2019, with an 8% increment every two years. The tiers were supposed to be reduced to two by 2020 with an adjustment of 4% every two years thereafter. "We also wish to introduce amendments to the excise tax provisions governing distilled spirits so that our laws would conform to our WTO (World Trade Organization) obligations. Under our version, we propose a mixed rate of P30 plus 30% of the net retail price (NRP)," Mr. Drilon said. For distilled spirits, the House version proposed three tiers with specific rates while the substitute bill is a combination of specific and ad valorem rates. The Recto version maintained four tiers, with a two-step increase in rates based on proof per liter on March 1, 2013 and on Feb. 28, 2015. "With respect to fermented liquor or beer, we shall be introducing a two-tier system with the products whose NRP do not exceed P22 taxed at P20. For those whose NRP exceed P22, the same shall be taxed at P25," Mr. Drilon said.


The House version proposed the same number of tiers but the NRP was set at P50.60 and below and P50.60 and above. Mr. Recto proposed two tiers during the transition period beginning March 2013, with an 8% increase every two years from 2015 to 2019 and 4% beginning March 1, 2020. President Benigno S. C. Aquino III was amenable to lowering the take to P40 billion from the original Palace proposal of P60 billion. "At P40 (billion), we’re happy. At P60 (billion), we’ll be happier. For P40 (billion) is already, I think, sufficient to meet the objectives both in terms of gaining more resources, managing the deficit but most importantly addressing the health issues," he said at the sidelines of the Asia-Europe meeting in Laos. -- K.M.P. Tubadeza with a report from Noemi M. Gonzales

http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Bill‐eyes‐P45B‐from‐ %E2%80%98sin%E2%80%99‐tax&id=61009          

2012 11 07 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2012 11 07

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