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LandBank offers loans to banana farmers Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 20:17 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor RESPONDING to appeals for financial assistance, the Land Bank of the Philippines has offered a rehabilitation program for cavendish banana growers who were affected by Typhoon Pablo (international code name Bopha). Under the program, banana growers, including cooperatives and small- and mediumsized enterprises, may avail themselves of loans worth P430,000 per hectare, with a 6percent interest rate fixed for 10 years. The program also provides borrowers with more time to pay for the loan, since it carries a grace period of two years on principal and interest. LandBank is also looking into restructuring existing banana-production loans under the program’s terms and conditions. “LandBank is one with the Aquino administration in its programs to help rehabilitate the banana industry in typhoon-hit provinces by addressing the financing needs of banana growers,” said Gilda E. Pico, LandBank president and chief executive officer. The Department of Agriculture earlier reported that banana farms were the hardest-hit by the typhoon, with losses estimated at P7.44 billion. Pablo also damaged 154,446 metric tons of crops and left 25,907 hectares unrecoverable. The Davao region is the country’s top banana producer and the world’s third biggest. Also part of LandBank’s efforts to help typhoon victims is its ongoing distribution of 4,000 sacks of rice and 14,000 bags of relief goods totaling P12 million. Of the amount, P2 million came from the bank’s employees. Pico led the distribution of these goods to beneficiaries in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province this week. More than 200 LandBank employees in Mindanao, including their families and friends, volunteered to pack the goods. Of the 4,000 sacks of rice, 2,000 are being distributed through LandBank branches in hard-hit areas, while the rest will be distributed to affected local government units. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri-commodities/5919-landbankoffers-loans-to-banana-farmers


DA’s Hybrid Rice Technology Demo Shows Increase In Farmer’s Income By MELODY M. AGUIBA December 18, 2012, 5:04pm The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) technology demonstration programs are bringing a significant impact in raising farmers’ technical know-how as shown by a top SL-8H hybrid rice farmer who netted P1.31 million in 2011. DA has carried out numerous technology demonstrations (techno-demo) on hybrid rice in 2002 to 2004 which led to rice farmers’ awareness of hybrid rice technology during the Arroyo Administration. One of the beneficiaries of this technology was Laoag City which is now the origin of a Gawad Saka awardee hybrid rice farmer Ricarte Corpuz. He has achieved a total yield of 34 metric tons or 685 cavans (of 50 kilos each) of palay (paddy rice) per hectare. This came from three croppings – 240 cavans for the first crop, 245 cavans for the second, and 200 cavans for the third crop. “The techno-demo was in my (own) farm of three hectares,” said Corpuz in an interview, implying it was unreasonable not to believe a technology whose evidence of benefit was right before his eyes. An outstanding trait of the rice is its tolerance to highly-infesting bacterial leaf blight (BLB). Without BLB tolerance, damage to crop can be very significant at 40 percent of expected yield. If there is one assistance that government could give to farmers in helping them attain high yield and increased income, top among these must be support for technology demonstration, according to SL Agritech Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong. Still, Corpuz said there are many aspects in rice farming where government should intensify aid to farmers. Corpuz, for one, together with his entire barangay through the Madiladig Multi-Purpose Cooperative which he heads is seeking assistance from government on a multi-purpose flatbed dryer. “We’re requesting the DA regional office to give us a grant for a solar dryer because that will increase the quality of our production,” he said. “We’re also requesting an additional


tractor where we can provide 15 percent equity and government provides 85 percent (funding.)” Corpuz said he has been an oustanding farmer, and this can largely be attributable to the trainings DA gave them. Gawad Saka is a national search and is awarded by the Office of the President. Among those that he attended was the season-long Farmers Field School. Another training he received was the Kasaganaan ng Sakahan at Kalikasan, an integrated pest management program aiming for both environment-friendly farming and high yield. Market orientation is also a big plus factor for a farmer. Corpuz put up his own stores at the Laoag City public market. He now has three stalls there. He also has his own rice mill where he gets an additional income of around P90,000 yearly. Even despite many criticisms against the programs of the National Food Authority (NFA), Corpuz cited that NFA’s palay (unmilled) buying program helps him a lot. He sells to NFA 50 percent of his rice production. NFA pays farmers a higher P1 per kilo price compared to traders for well-dried palay. Corpuz also cited Laoag City municipal government’s assistance to farmers – the grant of two sacks of 7-14 fertilizer and two sacks of organic fertilizer per hectare per cropping. Many trainings of DA attached agency like Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) on the use of color leaf chart on fertilization – a chart helps on whether one should fertilizer his plants based on the color of the leaf, if it is light green for example – helped him. In effect, Corpuz practised Philrice’s Palayamanan, an integrated farming system where an entrepreneurial farmer should harness all resources to maximize his land and income. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/386185/da-s-hybrid-rice-technology-demo-showsincrease-in-farmer-s-income#.UNEfF6xFyKE


‘Pablo’ caused P32-B damage, says Neda Category: Top News Published on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 20:40 Written by Max V. de Leon / Reporter THE total damage inflicted on Mindanao by Typhoon Pablo has reached P32 billion, or about 0.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) revealed on Tuesday. A measure of economic performance, GDP is the amount of final goods and services produced in the country. Earlier, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the banana and coconut industries incurred the biggest damage in the agriculture sector. But the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the DA gave lesser estimates on the damage of the typhoon that hit Mindanao. The NDRRMC reported that the estimated cost of damage as of December 18 was P24.22 billion. The agriculture sector sustained the highest at P16.35 billion, followed by infrastructure, P7.8 billion, and private property, P48.96 million. The DA, on the other hand, said latest estimates showed the farm damage reached about P11.6 billion. The typhoon affected 701,257 families or 6.2 million people in 2,911 barangays in 34 provinces. As of December 18, the NDRRMC said the typhoon left 1,046 people dead, 2,662 injured and 841 missing. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top-news/5924-pablo-caused-p32-bdamage-says-neda


Government P5.36 trillion in debt as of October Category: Top News Published on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 20:36 Written by Vg Cabuag / Reporter THE debt of the national government swelled in October as a result of the combined effects of the issuance of debt papers and the depreciation of the US dollar and the euro against the peso. As of October, the government debt stood at P5.359 trillion, higher by P146 billion compared with the level in September, data from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) showed. Of the total debt, P1.986 trillion or 37 percent, is owed to external creditors and P3.373 trillion to domestic creditors. External debt decreased by P42 billion from the previous month due to the P31-billion appreciation of the peso against the US dollar, P10-billion net depreciation of third currencies against the US dollar and P1-billion net repayment. On the other hand, domestic debt increased by P188 billion from September as a result of the effects of the P189 billion net issuance of government securities and P1-billion depreciation of the US dollar and the euro against the peso on the retail Treasury bonds. Total guaranteed debt of the national government reached P528 billion, lower by P12 billion from end-September 2012 level of P540 billion. “The decrease was attributed to the external guaranteed obligations due to the P6-billion appreciation of the local currency against the US dollar, P1-billion net repayment and P5billion net depreciation of third currencies against the US dollar,” the BTr said. The national government debt is expected to hit P5.348 trillion this year or 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced domestically. Next year, the government’s outstanding debt is expected to increase to P5.779 trillion, equivalent to 49.5 percent of GDP. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top-news/5923-government-p5-36trillion-in-debt-as-of-october


Rubber Production December 18, 2012, 4:29pm KORONADAL CITY (PIA) – Efforts to develop the potential of Maitum town in Sarangani for massive rubber production have continued, according to the Region-12 office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-12). The DA-12 said that last week, at least 40 local farmers completed a season-long farmers’ field school (FFS) on rubber production technology and management geared toward building the capacity of the industry’s manpower in Maitum. The FFS was conducted by the DA-12 in partnership with attached agency, the Agricultural Training Institute, from September, this year. Graduation ceremony was held Tuesday. Rolando Delcano, FFS-rubber facilitator, said farmer-trainees were trained in an actual rubber farm on the cultural management of rubber. Most importantly, they were trained on the proper time and method of tapping the rubber tree’s trunk for its latex. For better latex production, Delcano explained, tapping should be done between 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Care on the depth of the cut is also a major concern in rubber tapping so as not to injure the cambium layer that produces the tree’s wood and bark. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/386165/rubber-production#.UNEfZaxFyKE


Agriculture sets sights on $60-M overseas markets for mud crabs Published on 19 December 2012 Written by James Konstantin Galvez The Department of Agriculture is now pushing for the massive propagation of a Zamboanga-native giant mud crab under community farmers’ program in Oriental Mindoro, which will potentially raise the country’s $60-million export market. In a statement, the Agriculture department’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said that its community-based parcipatory action research for giant mud crab, achieved a successful survival program in Oriental Mindoro and is now being advanced to second phase. Highly esteemed gourmet seafood, mud crabs—especially females that have fat or “aligue”—are exported by the Philippines to Hongkong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, China and Japan.The crabs grew to weight 350 grams apiece or three pieces in a kilo, making it attractive for the export market. Under the second phase of the program, research bureau aims to involve natural breeding of the giant mud crab through cross breeding with native mud crabs in Oriental Mindoro, in order to assure their long-term survival and increased population. “We’re looking at stocking of gravid crabs in mangrove areas, adopting the sea ranching concept from the harvest we have in January [which will complete Phase 1],” BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar said. The cross breeding between the giant mud crabs from Zamboanga Sibugay and the native crab of Mindoro is necessary in order to ensure sustainability in a full life cycle production, according to Daisy Ladra, aquaculturist, a mud crab specialist of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Crabs should produce seedstocks in order to complete the life cycle. This should be repeated many times over which is a usual process in a breeding program that aims to start an aquaculture industry. In 2011, the Philippines produced 15,730 metric tons of mud crab. Mud crabs can yield 1,200 kilos a hectare per cropping of five months. At P400 a kilo, it can give an additional income to farmers of P480, 000 per cropping or P960,000 for two cropping a year. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/37709-agriculture-sets-sights-on60-m-overseas-markets-for-mud-crabs


Fish caught off Davao Oriental safe -- BFAR Published : Wednesday, December 19, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 24 Written by : Jun Icban-Legaspi

FOLLOWING the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo in both upland and coastal communities in Davao Oriental, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Asis G. Perez allayed fears of local residents that fish caught in the area are not safe for consumption. Perez said that fish, especially the marine fishes caught along the shores of Davao do not feed on decaying matters. “Ang mga isda tulad ng galunggong, tamban, matang-baka, skipjack at iba pang isda na nahuhuli sa inyong lugar ay kumakain ng mga plankton, mga halamang dagat at maging ng maliliit na isda,� he stressed. He added that the likelihood for other aquatic organisms considered as scavengers or detritus feeders (those that feed on decaying matters) to feed on human cadaver in the area is very nil because of the strong water current. In fact, many of the dead bodies were recovered in areas many kilometers away from the province. Also, the strong current and big waves characterizing the fishing grounds surrounding Davao Oriental are mostly due to its deep waters as these are in the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, BFAR has organized a motor caravan that will provide relief assistance to affected fisher folk families in the area. A total of seven newly-acquired vehicles of the agency will travel from Manila to Davao del Norte beginning today and is expected to reach Davao City by Thursday. Perez said the BFAR relief caravan will also drop by other regional offices in Regions 5, 8 and 13 to fetch whatever goods had been collected from donations in those areas. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/41351-fish-caught-off-davaooriental-safe-bfar


Livelihood program for sugarcane farmers urged Published : Wednesday, December 19, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 29

A METRO Manila congressman has urged the government to implement a long-term livelihood program for local sugarcane farmers in view of the stiff competition that will be posed by foreign sugar suppliers such as Thailand starting 2015. San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada made the call amid the expected influx of imported sugar in the local market as a result of the country’s free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Under the Asean Free Trade Area-Common Effective Preferential Tariff (AFTA-CEPT), the duty for imported sugar will be lowered to 5% in 2015 from the current 28%. The lawmaker warned that without a viable support program in place by the time the sugar tariff is lowered in 2015, some 500,000 sugarcane farmers stand to lose their livelihood. He said the government should come up with alternative livelihood projects for sugarcane farmers. The lawmaker noted that producing handicrafts such as rattan chairs may be a viable alternative for sugarcane farmers as these appeal to the export market. Ejercito Estrada earlier asked the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to improve the economic condition of thousands of sugarcane farmers, who are mostly from Negros -the home province of his mother San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez. Among ASEAN member-countries, Thailand is considered as one of the major suppliers of sugar in the region. The Thais produce sugar more efficiently, allowing farmers to sell their sugar at a lower cost. Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/41354-livelihood-program-forsugarcane-farmers-urged


Malacañang declares holidays for this month By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has declared Dec. 25 (Christmas Day), Dec. 30 (Rizal Day) and Jan. 1 as regular holidays while Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 are special nonworking holidays. “To foster closer family ties and enable our countrymen to observe Christmas more meaningfully, it is but fitting to declare Dec. 24 as an additional special non-working day throughout the country,” stated Proclamation 361 issued by Malacañang last March 29. Under Proclamation 295 that Aquino issued in December 2011, Dec. 24 was not included in the list of holidays for this year unlike Dec. 25, which falls under “regular holidays” or important dates in the country’s culture and history. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported that aside from Christmas bonus and 13th month pay, workers nationwide are also entitled to holiday pay. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said all employers must comply with the pay rules and other core labor and occupational standards or face sanctions for violating regulations. DOLE issued an early reminder for employers nationwide so that they could properly comply with the holiday pay rules. Under the law, Baldoz said workers are entitled to receive at least 200 percent or double their regular daily pay if they opt to work during regular holiday. If an employee worked in excess of eight hours (overtime work), he or she will be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on that day (hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 200 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked).


Workers required to work during a regular holiday on their day off will receive additional 30 percent of their daily rate of 200 percent. If an employee worked in excess of eight hours during a regular holiday that also falls on his or her rest day, he or she will be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate. Those who work during special non-working days will get an additional 30 percent on top of their regular daily pay. Baldoz said the “no-work, no-pay� principle will apply to those who would not report for work, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement granting payment on a special day.– Mayen Jaymalin http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/19/887644/malacanang-declares-holidaysmonth


Metro water rates to go up next year By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Beginning Jan. 1, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Inc. will increase water rates to adjust to inflation and foreign exchange rates. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has approved the actions of the two Metro Manila water concessionaires. Every five years, the concessionaires file business plans for approval of the MWSS. These plans contain the tariff rates imposed on customers, as well as service and investment. Their allotted capital expenditure influences rate increases for water services in proportion to their net income. Also considered are: current inflation levels; foreign exchange adjustments affecting the companies’ outstanding foreign-denominated obligations; and extraordinary price adjustments applicable during the enactment of a law affecting the firms’ cash flow or force majeure resulting in additional expenditures not covered by insurance. Beginning Jan. 1, the average all-in charge of Maynilad will rise by 2.8 percent, equivalent to P1.26 per cubic meter (cu.m) for unsewered customers and P1.47 for sewered customers. Water charges of unsewered residential customers consuming 30 cu.m. per month will increase from P828.72 to P851.24. Those consuming 20 cu.m. a month will increase from P413.25 to P424.22. Maynilad’s one-time discount of one peso per cu.m. for lifeline customers will expire this year. As a result, the monthly water fees of unsewered residential customers consuming 10 cu.m. or less will increase from P106.71 to P119.62. Data that Manila Water released yesterday showed that the monthly water charges of lifeline consumers or those consuming 10 cubic meters and below will rise by three percent to P83.14 from the current P80.61. Regular 10 cu. m. residential consumers will see a one percent increase in their monthly water bill to P139.11 from the current charge of P137.82.


Customers consuming 20 cu. m. will be charged P306.72 monthly from the current charge of P303.90. Those consuming 30 cu. m. monthly will be charged P624.67 in 2013 from the current P618.94. Those consuming 50 cu. m., on the other hand, will be charged P1,361.26 monthly in 2013 from the present P1,348.74. Maynilad serves Manila, except portions of San Andres and Sta. Ana, Quezon City (west of San Juan River, West Avenue, EDSA, Congressional, Mindanao Avenue, the northern part starting from the districts of the Holy Spirit and Batasan Hills), Makati (west of South Super Highway), the cities of Caloocan, Pasay, Para単aque, Las Pi単as, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, in Cavite. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/19/887641/metro-water-rates-go-next-year


6%-7% Growth Forecast For 2013 By EDU LOPEZ December 18, 2012, 5:25pm The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is projecting an economic growth of 6 to 7 percent in 2013 and 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014. In a year-end media briefing, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan is confident that the economy would breach the high-end of the 5 to 6 percent growth forecast for 2012 following a remarkable 6.5-percent growth in the first three quarters of the year. “We hope to see a more vibrant industry sector and an improved manufacturing sector buoyed by the semiconductor and electronics industry, as the world economy is expected to recover between 2013 and 2014,” says Balisacan. “Construction is also expected to grow robustly in 2013 due to the onset of major public infrastructure projects and additional boost from private construction, while utilities will be driven by the growing demand for power, water and gas.” The continuous expansion in the IT-BPO industry, tourism, financial intermediation, and trade are seen to fuel growth of the services sector. On the demand-side, household consumption would remain robust, and the expected expansion of exports and construction will further boost growth. Capital formation, especially in the private sector, is expected to contribute a greater share of overall growth. “We remain vigilant of the global and domestic risks to growth. Problems in the Euro area remained unresolved and the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ in the US.” Balisacan noted that the slow recovery in the US continues to affect the Philippines as their monetary authorities try to prop up their economy through quantitative easing. “Combined with our strong macroeconomic fundamentals and good economic prospects, these had resulted in the appreciation of our currency that threatened to erode our competitiveness.” With the expected recovery of the global economy in 2013, Balisacan hinted the possibility of oil price increases due to higher global demand for petroleum products, especially in the advanced economies. Balisacan stressed that the government would continue its efforts to improve the investment climate in the country and reduce the cost of doing business. “The institutional reforms that we have started are pushing the frontiers of our economy and accelerating the confidence in the market.”


The government would institute more reforms continue to leverage monetary and fiscal policies to achieve inclusive economic growth, says Balisacan. Fiscal prudence will be maintained and inflation expectations will be well managed. “We will continue social investments on the poor through the conditional cash transfer program, PhilHealth, socialized housing, and the community-based employment program to stimulate the economy in the countryside.” Sec. Balicasan pointed out the government’s key priority sectors in 2013 are tourism, business process outsourcing (BPO), electronics, housing and real estate, agribusiness and forest-based products, logistics, and shipbuilding, will be given more focus. “We need also to consolidate the various industry roadmaps to further fuel the industry sector, especially manufacturing.” The government would also take advantage of bilateral partnerships to further diversify external trade and undertake measures to improve trade relations. “Given the strong growth of our Asian neighbors, the government will actively adopt policies to fully utilize the institutional setup provided by the ASEAN and our existing free trade agreements with Japan, China, and India to increase the Philippines’ role in the regional production chain,” he added. (EHL) http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/386193/67-growth-forecast-for-2013#.UNEnrqxFyKE


Noy signs P2-trillion budget today By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 19, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is scheduled to sign the proposed P2-trillion 2013 national budget into law today at Malacañang. Invited to the signing ceremonies were Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and other leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. “The President will sign the budget tomorrow. Hopefully, within the week or next week, he will also sign the sin tax bill,” Belmonte told reporters yesterday. “For three consecutive years, we have approved the national budget before yearend, allowing the administration to release funds at the start of the incoming year,” he said. He said early release of funds next year would enable the economy to sustain the remarkable growth it has attained this year. The economy has expanded by a surprising 7.1 percent in the third quarter, prompting financial and investment institutions to improve their growth forecast for the entire year. The House and the Senate approved Aquino’s proposed 2013 national budget almost intact. Revenue projections in the budget include additional revenues to be generated from the sin tax bill, which seeks to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. For next year, close to P40 billion in additional taxes is expected to be collected. Belmonte has lamented that current sin tax rates had been frozen for 16 years before the House approved last July the bill increasing them. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/19/887646/noy-signs-p2-trillion-budgettoday


DAR expects final list of Luisita beneficiaries by January By DJ Yap Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:04 pm | Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio “Gil” delos Reyes. PHOTO FROM GOV.PH MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Agrarian Reform will be working through Christmas and New Year to evaluate all remaining claims to the Hacienda Luisita sugar estate and to draw up the final list of farmer beneficiaries by the end of January. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes said the DAR was in the process of assessing the requirements of 900 people who claimed to be working for the Cojuangcoowned estate at the time it was placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Of that number, 300 had petitioned to be included in the preliminary master list released by the DAR in October, while 600 others were included in a provisional list but who were asked to submit additional documents to support their claims, the official said. Delos Reyes said the DAR would be interviewing the 300 petitioners for inclusion in the next few weeks. The DAR hopes to release the final list by the last week of January, he added. On Oct. 31, the DAR released two lists: a preliminary master list of 5,365 people who stand to receive land, and a provisional list of 1,221 others whose documents were not complete.


Claimants were given until Nov. 30 to file petitions to be included in the list or to exclude somebody from the list. Those already in the provisional list were asked to submit additional evidence they were employed as farm worker in Hacienda Luisita in 1989. But Delos Reyes said nobody ended up petitioning for the exclusion of anybody on the preliminary master list in spite of allegations aired by a militant group that some of the names were dummies. Last month, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas bared five names included in the preliminary list who they claimed were not actually farm workers but stable hands looking after the horses of President Aquino’s relatives on the Cojuangco side. In 1988, when the Carp took effect, the owners of Hacienda Luisita gave the farmers an option to own shares of stock instead of land in what was seen as an attempt to circumvent the law. After a prolonged court battle, the Supreme Court in May upheld with finality the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council in 2005 to scrap the stock distribution option of Hacienda Luisita. The court ordered the distribution of 4,915 hectares of the estate to 6,296 farm workers. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/326395/dar-expects-final-list-of-luisita-beneficiaries-byjanuary


Pamalakaya says GenSan boat operators ‘forced’ fishworkers to sail despite typhoon ‘Pablo’ By Tetch Torres INQUIRE.net 5:04 pm | Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to file criminal and other appropriate charges against tuna fishing boat owners for allegedly compelling fishworkers to sail despite advisories to temporarily shelve fishing operations days before typhoon “Pablo” hit Mindanao. Records from the Philippine Coast Guard showed that 315 fishermen from General Santos have gone missing. The area has been battered by “Pablo.” Pamalakaya, in a statement, said owners and operators of RAFI Incorporated, RLG Fishing, DSG Fishing, LPS Fishing and Salazar Fishing, all based in General Santos City has allegedly dispatched more than 300 fishworkers and crew on board 46 tuna fishing boats at the height of the typhoon. “In the name of social justice, we ask the office of Secretary de Lima to do its job and that is to send the greedy owners of tuna fishing boats to the court of justice and behind bars,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said.


He said the DOJ should also compel the tuna fishing boat owners to properly compensate the grieving families of missing fishermen He said the tuna companies ignored the government’s advisory. The missing fishing fleets were reportedly located around 115 nautical miles off the Davao Oriental seaboard when the storm warning came, he said. Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy and several fishing companies are conducting search and rescue operations for the missing fishing boats and their crewmembers. The PCG said two of the patrol boats of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), MCS-3005 and MCS-3009, departed from Mati port last Sunday night for search and rescue operations. The BFAR boats are now located 11.2 nautical miles Southeast of Balut Island in Sarangani province. The PCG said another search and rescue vessel, ARV-3504, left Mati port Monday night and is expected to scour the sea area up to the Indonesian border for two days. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/326363/pamalakaya-says-gensan-boat-operators-forcedfishworkers-to-sail-despite-typhoon-pablo


Divorce bill next in line after RH By Maricel Cruz | Posted on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 450 views

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Tuesday said time has run out for the current Congress to tackle a divorce bill, but said the issue will likely be taken up by lawmakers after the passage of the hotly contested reproductive health bill. “It is there in the back of our minds,” Belmonte said at a news conference when asked about a bill to legalize divorce filed by Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan. Belmonte added, however, that the 15th Congress would not have enough time to pass a divorce law, which he said was important to free couples from troubled marriages. “I am in favor of the divorce bill, if a couple’s life has become intolerable,” Belmonte said. Ilagan urged Belmonte to open the debates and said her group would refile the bill in the next Congress if it fails to pass during the current one. Gabriela filed a divorce bill during the 13th and 14th Congresses. Before the implementation of 1950 Civil Code, divorce was legal and was widely practiced among ancestral tribes in Palawan, Nueva Vizcaya, the Cordilleras, the Manobos and Muslims of the Visayas and Mindanao Islands.


Divorce was prohibited when the New Civil Code took effect on Aug. 30, 1950 and only legal separation was available. The Office of the Solicitor General earlier disclosed that the number of annulment cases in the Philippines increased by 40 percent from 4,520 cases in 2001 to 8,282 in 2010. It noted that 61 percent of those who filed for annulment were women. About 8,000 to 10,000 petitions for annulment are filed before the OSG, more than 90 percent of which have been granted by the courts. House Bill 1799 has been languishing before the House committee on revision of laws. The measure allows those who have been separated for five years and those already legally separated for two years to apply for divorce. The grounds for legal separation may also apply when these same grounds have already caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. As provided under Article 36 of the Family Code, psychological incapacity is one of the prime grounds for legal separation or nullity of marriage. Lack of authority of the solemnizing officer, bigamous or polygamous marriages and marriages where one or both parties were below the marrying age allowed by law are among the other grounds for the marriage to be nullified under the law. At the same press conference Tuesday, Belmonte said House leaders have committed to passing the freedom of information bill on second reading when Congress resumes session next year.


But Belmonte said he expects a tumultuous debate on the measure, with those who support the controversial right of reply bill authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino. “We expect a lot of questioning, particularly those pushing for the inclusion of the right of reply in the FOI bill,” Belmonte said. Belmonte’s statement came after the Senate approved on third and final reading its version of the FOI bill, which guarantees ordinary citizens access to information on matters of public concern. Belmonte said he does not see any reason to delay the passage of the FOI bill after most of the members of the House committee on public information approved a substituted bill. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/12/19/divorce‐bill‐next‐in‐line‐after‐rh/                      


RH a moral time bomb — Church By Vito Barcelo | Posted on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 311 views

The Catholic Church on Tuesday said the Reproductive Health bill if signed into law would be a “moral time bomb” gift-wrapped in time for Christmas. “It is only a matter of time, and then we will see more violations of ‘Thou shall not kill’ and ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ among our families, our youth and children,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a pastoral letter that he signed. “This law will open more doors to abortion and more crimes against women,” said Villegas, vice president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The RH bill was approved in the House of Representatives on third and final reading on a vote of 133-79 with seven abstentions, while the Senate voted 13-8 in its favor with two senators failing to cast their vote. The RH bill aims to guarantee universal access to the methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternal health care. “They might have won through the tyranny of numbers but it does not mean that they are right,” Villegas said in his letter entitled Let Us Move On. He called for a more intensified moral and spiritual education of the youth and children in the archdiocese of Lingayen to strengthen their morals. He also urged the use of all means available to safeguard the health of expectant mothers in the communities. He called on parents to teach sex education to their children so they would understand that sex was a “gift of


God” and “must never be taught separate from God and isolated from marriage.” “We might not see eye to eye but we can work hand in hand for the real progress that our people so richly deserve,” but it should be “progress with God, in God and through God,” Villegas said. “Daang matuwid [the straight and narrow path] without God is a dead-end street.” Rep. Juan Miguel Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday said the people opposing the RH bill could question it before the Supreme Court if it became law. “As far as I’m concerned, maybe the Supreme Court is an option,” he said. “There’s such a thing as right to life.” Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes on Tuesday described the approval of the RH bill as “a sad day for our country.” He criticized Malacañang for its passage. “What is very sad also is that Malacañang has pressured our congressmen to vote yes,” Reyes said. “Had Malacañang not pressured our congressmen on second reading, we would have won.” Still, Reyes said the Church would always be committed to educating the people on the evils of contraceptives. The members of the Pro-Life Movement on Tuesday said the approval of the RH bill on Monday was accompanied by irregularities. “In the first place, both in the second and third reading, [Budget] Secretary [Florencio] Abad, [Malacañang spokesman Ramon] Carandang and


[Interior Secretary] Mar Roxas were seen in the inner sanctum,” said Linda Valenzona, an expert on demographics. “And some people even saw the distribution of envelopes here [in the House]. The allowances were released.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/12/19/rh‐a‐moral‐time‐bomb‐church/                                        


Banana growers get LBP funding By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 127 views

Tweet Land Bank of the Philippines is offering a financing package for cavendish banana growers, whose farms were recently destroyed by typhoon Pablo. Under the loan program, banana growers, which include cooperatives and small and medium enterprises, may avail of P430,000 credit per hectare, with an annual interest rate of 6 percent fixed for 10 years. The program will provide borrowers with more time to pay for the loan as they are given a grace period of two years on the principal and interest. In addition to the loan, LandBank plans to restructure existing banana production loans under the same terms and conditions of the rehabilitation program. “LandBank is one with the Aquino administration in its programs to help rehabilitate the banana industry in the typhoon-hit provinces by addressing the financing needs of banana growers,” said LandBank president and chief executive Gilda Pico. Initial reports by the Agriculture Department indicated the industry suffered losses of P7.44 billion. About 154,446 metric tons of crops were destroyed, leaving 25,907 hectares unrecoverable, the reports said.


The Davao region, the country’s top and the world’s third biggest producer, suffered the biggest loss. LandBank, meanwhile, started the distribution of 4,000 sacks of rice and 14,000 bags of relief goods to typhoon victims as part of the lender’s total donation of P12 million. LandBank employees across the country contributed P2 million to the amount. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/12/19/banana‐growers‐get‐lbp‐funding/                                    


Unemployment rate rises By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:00am | 52 views

Unemployment rate climbed to 6.8 percent of the labor force in October from 6.4 percent a year ago, the National Statistics Office said Tuesday. The NSO said 2.76 million Filipinos had no jobs as of October, up from 2.64 million during the same month last year. Data showed the number of jobs in the country fell over a 12-month period, from 38.55 million in October 2011 to 37.67 million in October this year. Underemployment rate, or the percentage of workers desiring additional hours of work, however, eased slightly to 19 percent in October this year from 19.1 percent a year ago. Some 7.16 million Filipinos were underemployed in October, down from 7.38 million during the same month last year. The NSO said of the 37.7 million employed persons in October 2012, workers belonging to the services sector comprised the largest proportion with 52.6 percent. Workers in the agriculture sector represented 32.3 percent while the industry sector accounted for 15.2 percent. Laborers and unskilled workers comprised the largest group making up 33.5 percent of the total employed persons during the month. Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen were the second largest group with 14.4 percentage share. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/12/19/unemployment‐rate‐rises/  


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Returning to the basics of the long-term deposit or investment certificate By Gerry Geronimo | Posted on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 178 views

The otherwise placid waters of the investment community of the country were recently stirred, not so mildly, by the issuance of the Department of Finance of Revenue Regulation No. 142012. What caused a lot of consternation amongst the always sober and somber investment community is Section 3 which deals with Section 22(FF) of the National Internal Revenue Code relating to a bank product known as the “long-term deposit or investment certificate.� If my recollection serves me right (and I intend to confirm this as soon as I am able to do research at the Senate archives), the banks were at that time under severe criticism for their lending practice: they were predominantly lending short-term. This forced companies to borrow shortterm in order to fund their projects which had long-term gestation periods. The defense of the banks was simple. They lent short-term because the money they have, aside from their capital, is also short-term, in the form of savings deposits which can be withdrawn any time and in time deposits which ordinarily are in 30, 60, or 90-day maturities. Thus, they cannot, said the banks, afford the risks involved in the mismatch of borrowing short and lending long. The solution was therefore to supply the banks with long-term money. A source for long-term funds that was identified was the pool of savers in many households who kept their excess funds, not in the banks but under


their mats and, for the more affluent ones, mattresses. The idea was to entice these savers to put their savings with banks and the enticement, was, tax-exemption on the interest income.This history explains the characteristics demanded by Revenue Regulations No. 14-2012 and reiterated Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 81-2012 that was issued on Dec. 10, 2012. First and foremost is that the persons benefited by the tax exemption are individuals, not corporations. The reason is that it is persons who keep their money in mats and mattress. Corporations have their safes. Not all individuals, however, are benefited. For obvious reasons, non-resident aliens who are not engaged in trade or business in the Philippines are not included because they do not stay here long enough. In fact, they are, in their incomes from the Philippines, taxed on the gross. It follows, from the fact that the owner is the individual, that the name of the said individual must be what appears on the certificate itself. Not the name of the bank managing his or her account, regardless of any authorization, private to the bank and the individual, authorizing the bank to put the certificate in the bank’s name. It also follows that the denominations of the certificate be in small amounts, specifically, P10,000 or other denominations prescribed by the BSP. Again, we are after the small depositors; hence, the threshold ought to be at the low level that small depositors can afford. Because the arrangement is a bank product, it is similarly logical that the form be that prescribed by the regulator of banks, the Bangko Sentral. To my knowledge, the BSP has yet to formally prescribe a form for this type of certificates.


The law, unfortunately, had an imbedded defect right at its inception, with regard to the arrangement that was to be benefited. There is no doubt that savings and time deposit certificates are “issued” by banks; they are the bank’s liabilities. However, for reasons which I will deal with later, the tax code also gives the same treatment to “common or individual trust funds, deposit substitutes, investments management accounts…” The error is that while savings and time deposits are bank liabilities, common or individual trust funds and investment management accounts are not. They are service arrangements where the bank does not owe the owner money (as in the case savings and time deposits) but instead owes the owner the duty of managing the owner’s money. In other words, whereas in savings and time deposits, banks do business with their clients. In trust and investment management accounts, the banks do business for their clients. The former has maturities (time when the money owed must be paid back; the latter has none, and in most cases terminable at will depending on the confidence that the owner of the money has in the managing bank.In trusts and investment management accounts, what has maturity are the instruments in which the money is placed by the trustee or the agent, not the relationship of trustor-trustee or owner-agent. The question that arises is therefore which ought to be for five years? Is it the relationship of trust or agency or is it the instruments that the trustee or agent has placed the money? Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 81-2012 makes it very clear: the trust or investment management account must be for five years and the underlying investments (the outlets where the money was placed) must be also for five years. Those underlying investments must also comply with the requirements of Section 22(FF) of the tax code. And, very important,


the trust or investment management account must hold on to the underlying investment for at least five years. What is also crucial is that the certificate be issued by banks and not by any other institution, even if they happen to be financial institutions. It was only the banks who could issue the certificates because it is they who had complained, in the defense of their predilection for short-term lending, that they had no long-term funds to lend. Other financial institutions were legally constrained by their very nature to go into this or that type of lending. Only the banks had the statutory authority to lend short or long as the exigencies of their business demanded. Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 81-2012 stresses that the bank needs to have a license to do banking by the Bangko Sentral. The maturity period of the deposit or investment must be for at least five years. This is written in the law itself to ensure the long-term nature of the money placed in the hands of the bank. As a way of supporting this longholding period, there is some sort of “penalty” for pre-terminating the placement. This penalty is graduated, according to the length of time that the deposit or investment was maintained in the bank.The longer it had stayed in the bank, the lighter the penalty, which is the imposition of a tiered system of tax on the interest that would otherwise have been taxfree if the depositor or investor had stuck with the original intent of the arrangement.In effect what the Commissioner had done was to return to the original purpose and intent of the long-term deposit or investment certificate. In the process, some pruning had to be done. But pruning is essentially a life-enhancing exercise. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/12/19/returning‐to‐the‐basics‐of‐the‐long‐term‐deposit‐ or‐investment‐certificate/  


CBCP slams ‘dictator‘ Aquino Published on 19 December 2012 Hits: 375 Written by Jhoanna Paola Ballaran and Llanesca T. Panti Reporters

Church to bring RH fight to SC President Benigno Aquino 3rd could be a threat to democracy because of his domination of Congress, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Tuesday as he claimed that the President prevented the sure rejection of the reproductive health (RH) bill on second reading by the House of Representatives last week. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, claimed that threats by the Aquino administration to withhold the release of the pork barrels of lawmakers opposed to the measure had prevented them from voting according to their free will. Reyes said that Aquino’s push for the bill was indicative of his dictatorial tendencies. He said that the President had “dictator-like control” of all branches of the government, particularly of the legislature and the judiciary. “If only Malacañang did not intervene at the House, I’m convinced the ‘no’ would have won. The bill could have been blocked at the House if Aquino did not pressure the lawmakers to vote for it,” Reyes said in a press conference. He said that he sensed this sentiment to the majority of the lawmakers because he was at the House every night lobbying against


the bill. “They are bribing the congressmen by threatening not to release their pork barrels. Isn’t this a form of corruption?” the bishop said. The House passed the measure on second reading by a plurality of just nine votes, 113-104 with three abstentions. The vote became 133-79 with seven abstentions on third reading. Reyes noted that five representatives who voted ‘no’ on second reading changed their vote to ‘yes’ on third reading. He did not identify the lawmakers. Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao province, one of the authors of the measure, earlier disclosed that the Liberal Party members opposed to the bill decided to skip the voting rather than defy the party stand to support it. Baguilat admitted that this padded the vote in favor of the bill. Observers said that presence of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad at the House on Monday when the chamber voted on the bill on third reading was an added pressure on the lawmakers. Fight not over Church leaders pledged to continue their fight against the controversial bill, with an appeal to the Supreme Court and a campaign to oust its supporters in May’s general election. Reyes said that a group of Catholic lawyers was preparing to challenge the legality of the bill in the Supreme Court as soon as it is signed into law. “We will support that petition . . . in the Supreme Court against the RH bill,” he said.


He added that the Catholic church would also continue to urge the nation of 100 million people—80 percent of whom are Catholic—to ignore the provisions of the bill once it passes into law. “We will tell Catholics ‘even if you are given free contraceptives, do not use them,” he told reporters. Reyes said that it would be up to each individual bishop to decide whether to urge their dioceses to vote against legislators who supported the bill. CBCP Secretary General Monsignor Joselito Asis said that the bill was a “watershed” and would be followed by bills for the legalization of divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. He stressed that if that were the case the church would fight against those laws too. The church had effectively blocked the passage of birth control legislation for over a decade, cowing legislators and presidents by mounting huge protests and threatening to turn the public against them. Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. laughed off claims that the vote on the bill was a choice between the CBCP and the Department of Budget and Management. In a press conference, Belmonte Jr. predicted that there would be no animosity between the lawmakers who voted for the bill and the Church and that any bitterness generated by the controversial issue should wear off within a few days. He also said that the so-called Catholic vote will have little effect on the upcoming elections. He was referring to the threat of the church to call on the faithful not to vote for pro-RH lawmakers.


Belmonte said that majority of the members are shoo-in for reelection and only members about to end their third and last term will leave the House. He even welcomed the decision of the CBCP to bring the case to the Supreme Court, saying he would do the same if he were in their position. At the same time, he said the LP would not impose sanctions on members who voted ‘no’ to the bill. “Prior to the voting, the leaders of the LP are calling up on its members to vote ‘yes.’ It is part of the process. But at the end of the day, it is their decision,” Belmonte said. He noted that some LP lawmakers who voted ‘no’ during second reading could not be persuaded to change their vote. “If some of them were absent [during the voting on third reading], that is their choice,” Belmonte added. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top‐stories/37698‐cbcp‐slams‐dictator‐aquino                    


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Rice traders admit being used as rice imports dummies Published on 18 December 2012 Hits: 179 Written by Jefferson Antiporda Reporter

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SEVERAL rice traders on Monday admitted that they were used as dummies by big businessmen to join government bidding on rice import allocation.

During the resumption of the Senate committee on agriculture and food hearing on the rice smuggling attempt at Subic Freeport, the traders identified a certain Willie Sy as their financier, who promised them commissions in exchange for their cooperation. The traders said that they were offered P100,000 by Sy if they put up their own companies, bid and win rice allocations of the National Food Authority. The traders who admitted transacting with Sy were Inigo Espiritu, Nemic Fusion Rice and Grains Enterprises; Jenny Reyes, West Point Rice and Food Enterprises; Mary Joyce Lim, Loui London Trading; Jason Contreras Colocado; Denis Gonzales, Saint Dominique Rice and Food Enterprises; Michael Villanueva, Jaded Ranch Grains and Cereals Trading; Sandra Lim, Lexant International Trading; Eugene Pioquinto, attorney-in-fact for Nemic Fusion, West Point and Saint Dominique. All nine traders were placed under the custody of Senate sergeant-atarms until the members of the Senate panels involved in the investigation decides what to do with them.


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile recommended that a show cause order be issued against other rice traders for failing to attend the hearing. No show Meanwhile, former chief Angelito Banayo of the food authority failed to attend the Senate hearing for health reasons. In a letter, Banayo informed the Senate panel that he just had a coronary procedure on December 13 at the Philippine Heart Center and his doctors advised him “not to move around.” “As much as I wanted to attend the hearing scheduled for today, I am constrained to ask for your indulgence,” he said. Banayo in a separate statement said that he is readying libel charges against a farmer cooperative leader who accused the Food department of rigging the bidding process for rice import permits. Banayo said that he decided to file a libel complaint against Simeon Sioson because he cannot allow lies and baseless accusations to destroy the reforms he started in the Food department. “When I took over the agency, I insisted that allocations for the right to import be bidded out and the government earned P 1.6 billion in 2011 and P 2.6 billion in 2012 in service fees, which was the basis for the highest bidder,” Banayo said. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top‐stories/37663‐rice‐traders‐admit‐being‐used‐ as‐rice‐imports‐dummies        


2.8 million Filipinos are jobless, says NSO Published on 19 December 2012 Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

The number of jobless Filipinos has been estimated at 2.8 million, according to the October 2012 Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office released on Tuesday. The unemployment rate was estimated at 6.8 percent, slightly higher than last year’s 6.4 percent. The LFS said that most of the jobless Filipinos were from Metro Manila, as the highest unemployment rate was registered at the country’s prime region at 11.0 percent, while Cagayan Valley recorded the lowest at 2.4 percent.Among the jobless, 62.1 percent were males and 37.9 were females, while 48.5 percent belong to the age group of 15 to 24 years old. The survey also showed that the number of employed persons reached an estimate of 37.7 million, or an employment rate of 93.2 percent, lower than last year’s rate of 93.6 percent. Metro Manila has the lowest employment rate at 89 percent, while Cagayan Valley reported the highest employment rate of 97.6 percent, and next is Zamboanga Peninsula with 96.6 percent. More than half, or 52.6 percent, of workers belong to the services sector, while workers in the agriculture sector appeared to be the second largest group with an estimate of 32.3 percent of the total employed. Only 15.2 percent of the total employed were working in the industrial sector.


The LFS noted that of the estimated 63.3 million people aged 15 and older in October 2012, 40.4 million were in the labor force. This figure translates to a labor force participation rate (LFPR) of 63.9 percent, up slightly from the 66.3 percent in October 2011. Among regions, the highest LFPR was posted in Northern Mindanao at 68.5 percent, while the lowest was reported in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at 57.9 percent.The country’s labor force is comprised of employed and unemployed people, 15 years old and older, who contribute to the production of goods and services in the country. Meanwhile, the survey stated that underemployed Filipinos reached 7.2 million, or the underemployment rate of 19 percent. It was slightly lower than last year’s rate of 19.1 percent. Underemployed people are those who either want an additional job or more hours in their current job, or have a new job with longer working hours. Less than half, or 44.3 percent of those underemployed were working in the agriculture sector, and 40.5 percent were working in the services sector. The National Economic and Development Authority said that given the latest labor and employment figures, generating employment and ensuring that these are of good quality remain the greatest challenge of the government. “We will continue our efforts to improve our country’s competitiveness as this will lead to more investments that will create the needed employment in the medium to long term,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said.He added that NEDA has been collaborating with other agencies, including the Department of Labor and Employment, to identify strategies to boost employment in the short term. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/top‐business‐news/37678‐2‐8‐million‐ filipinos‐are‐jobless‐says‐nso


Posted on December 18, 2012 10:31:45 PM

Gov’t sees 6.5% growth ECONOMIC GROWTH could be “around 6.5%” this year, a Cabinet official yesterday said, surpassing the government’s official 5-6% target.

"The first three quarters already gave us 6.5% [growth] and to break that 6% all you need is for your economy to grow around 4.6%," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a yearend briefing. "Much of the growth that we have seen in the industry -- [a] big part of that is public construction -has continued and is continuing until this time," he added, noting that state spending had buoyed the third quarter’s 7.1% expansion. Economic growth was a disappointing 3.9% last year, blamed on meager public spending. With disbursements having accelerated but with the deficit still well below target, Mr. Balisacan said: "We are still hoping we would be able to spend all based on what is projected for this year." Typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha), which devastated parts of Mindanao this month, is not expected to dampen the country’s growth momentum. The National Economic and Development Authority estimates the impact of Pablo, which claimed over 1,000 lives, to be 0.3% of GDP or P32 billion and spread over three quarters. Mr. Balisacan was also optimistic for 2013, citing improvements in manufacturing, services and construction, although he admitted that much has to be done in ensuring that growth trickles down to the grassroots. The semiconductor and electronics industry is expected to pick up as the world economy recovers, and construction is also expected to grow robustly due to start of major public infrastructure projects and an additional boost from the private sector. The bigger challenge, Mr. Balisacan said, is ensuring that quality jobs are available for Filipinos. -- N. M. Gonzales http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Gov%E2%80%99t-sees-6.5%growth&id=63163


Posted on December 18, 2012 10:06:17 PM

NDF cap fears, BSP dollar buys pull down peso CENTRAL bank dollar purchases and anticipation it would announce a new measure to temper the local currency’s appreciation pushed the peso lower yesterday.

The peso slid by three-and-a-half centavos to settle at P41.075 per dollar against its P41.04-to-thedollar finish last Monday. A trader, in a phone interview, said “the central bank was seen supporting the P41-per-dollar level yesterday, buying around $50 million worth of dollars.” The peso had opened four centavos stronger at P41 per dollar. It depreciated to as low as P41.08 per dollar during trading before recovering a little by the time trading had ended. “There were no leads for peso-dollar trading yesterday so rumors the central bank would limit NDF (non-deliverable forward) transactions prompted investors to sell their dollar holdings,” another trader said in a separate phone interview. Early this month, Bangko Sentral Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said the central bank was looking at putting a cap on banks’ NDF transactions -- which are used to hedge but also to speculate on the exchange rate -- to curb the peso’s appreciation against the dollar. The peso had gained 6.82% against the dollar on Dec. 5, closing at P40.85 per dollar -- its strongest for the year. The peso is seen trading within the P40.95- to P41.15-per-dollar band today. – ARRG

http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=NDF-cap-fears,-BSP-dollar-buyspull-down-peso&id=63152

2012 12 19 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2012 12 19

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