Page 1

Puno reportedly eyeing DA job By Michael Lim Ubac Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:47 am | Friday, December 28th, 2012 Rico Puno, who resigned from his post as undersecretary at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) about three months ago, is reportedly looking for a job at the Department of Agriculture (DA). But presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Thursday that Puno’s job-hunting in the DA had no official sanction from Malacañang. “That’s not accurate,” Lacierda said, when asked by phone if President Aquino was poised to return his erstwhile shooting range buddy to the government fold. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told the Inquirer by phone that Puno met with him twice earlier this month about a vacancy for an undersecretary in the DA. Puno did not say that Aquino wanted him in the DA. But Alcala said: “No problem, I can work with anyone. But it’s the President who appoints.” Another Cabinet member told the Inquirer by phone that Puno had indeed approached Alcala. “I heard [he is interested in the] DA,” said the Cabinet member, who was not authorized to talk about the issue. Asked if Aquino had asked Alcala to find Puno a job, the Cabinet member said: “I don’t even know if P-Noy knows [about it].” At the Palace briefing earlier Thursday, Lacierda was asked if it was true that Puno was looking for a job in the DA. “There has been no discussion on that point, so we cannot make any comment on that,” Lacierda said. “What we are waiting for is actually the next appointee to the position of chief presidential legal counsel. But with respect to Rico Puno, we have no official word on that, so I cannot confirm if he is going to be part of the DA. That’s as far as our information is [concerned],” Lacierda said.

Puno appeared to have voluntarily stepped down from his post in September, giving newly appointed Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas III a free hand to form his own team. But the Inquirer later reported that an irregular rifle deal had triggered Puno’s fall from grace with Malacañang. The Inquirer quoted an administration insider as saying that the President had personally asked Puno in July to resign because of the allegedly overpriced M4 rifles, a deal that the Philippine National Police insisted was above board. According to the administration source, Puno’s resignation had nothing to do with his purported “raids” on the offices or the condominium unit of Jesse Robredo less than 24 hours after the plane carrying the secretary of the interior disappeared on August 18 off Masbate and an intense search for the aircraft was in progress. The source stressed it was all about the gun deal that Aquino found overpriced when he searched Google on the Internet. On the impending appointment of a new chief presidential legal counsel by January 2013, there is no official word whether or not lawyer Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa will get the post. Caguioa was a classmate of Aquino at Ateneo de Manila University from grade school to college. The lawyer is a senior partner of the Caguioa and Gatmaytan law firm, which specializes in litigation and arbitration, and is the son of the late Court of Appeals Justice Eduardo Caguioa. “He is under consideration” was all Lacierda told reporters.

Corn, rice farmers earned more in 2011–DA agency Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:03 Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter CORN and rice farmers earned more in 2011 than in 2010, based on the share of producers in the final price of commodities sold locally, according to a report released by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). In its report, titled “Prices and Marketing of Agricultural Commodities 2012,” the BAS said that white-corn farmers were the biggest gainers as their share in consumer peso went up to 76 percent in 2011 from 56 percent in 2010. Yellow-corn farmers also earned more last year as their share also increased to 60 percent in 2011 from 58 percent in 2010. The share of paddy-rice producers in consumer peso also climbed to 44 percent last year from 43 percent the previous year. The Bas, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said the producers’ share in consumer peso gave a measure of their share compared to the traders’. It added that the producers’ share also indicated which commodity gave the farmer the bigger share. Among producers of vegetables and legumes, peanut farmers had the biggest share in consumer peso at 77 percent last year. Among fruits, papaya farmers had the highest share, rising to 59 percent in 2011. Producers’ shares also went up for calamansi at 48 percent and pineapple at 42 percent. Prices received by farmers for their produce continued to increase based on the producer price index (PPI), which refers to the movement of farm prices by commodity and commodity groups compared to a base year. The PPI for 2011 reached 141.6 percent, indicating that the average farm price last year was higher by 41.6 index points from the 2006 price level. Last year the PPI of rice went up to 143.8 from 137.3 in 2010, while that of yellow corn also rose to 145.3 from 142.3 the previous year. Among vegetables and legumes, the biggest jump was noted in red onion as its PPI jumped to 122.5 last year from 54.6 in 2010. The PPI of black pepper, green pepper, pechay (Chinese cabbage), Baguio cabbage and ampalaya (bitter gourd) also went up last year.

Growth in fish production seen by 2H of next year Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 23:00 Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala yesterday said that fish production will hopefully grow by the second semester of next year. This year production contracted due to the sardine fishing ban. Alacala said that by the first quarter of next year, hopefully production will at least equal that of this year. From January to September this year, the fisheries subsector, which account for 19.37 percent of the total agricultural production, suffered a 2.57-percent contraction because of the sardine fishing ban implemented in the Zamboanga from December 1, 2011 to February 28, 2012 and the closure of the high seas for tuna fishing. Last January 2010, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) banned tuna fishing in parts of the Pacific Ocean, where 60 percent of the world’s tuna are sourced, to conserve the population of the bigeye tuna, which scientists classified as overfished. Other tuna species like skipjack, yellowfin, and albacore are also found in the Pacific high seas. Last March, the WCPFC approved the request of the Philippine government, the third top tuna harvester in the Pacific after Japan and South Korea, to fish in pocket 1 of the Pacific from October to February 28. Alcala meantime announced that the Philippines’ conservation and management measures for tropical tunas has been extended until the year 2015 by WCFPC. The WCPFC is composed of 24 member countries, 7 territories and 11 cooperating nonmember countries that bind together to ensure the proper management of tuna harvesting in the western and central areas of the Pacific Ocean.

Philippines lifts ban on Dutch poultry Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:05 Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter THE Philippines has lifted the temporary ban it imposed on poultry meat, eggs and dayold chicks from the Netherlands after determining that Amsterdam was able to contain the outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) in Utrecht. The Department of Agriculture (DA) issued Memorandum Order 37, series of 2012, authorizing the lifting of the ban. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the government decided to again allow the entry of Dutch poultry meat and other poultry products after the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) declared that the risk of importing these products from the Netherlands is “negligible.” Alcala said the BAI, an attached agency of the DA, may start processing import permits for Dutch poultry meat, day-old chicks and eggs. The Netherlands, however, is not a major source of poultry meat for the Philippines. Manila usually imports chicken leg quarters and other poultry products from the United States and Canada. The Philippine government imposed the temporary ban in August after LPAI serotype H7N7 was detected in free-range laying hens in a farm in Utrecht. Alcala said the ban was slapped on Dutch poultry meat as a “precautionary measure” to ensure that the local poultry population will not be infected with the dreaded avian influenza virus. So far, the Philippines remains free from avian influenza.

YEARENDER: Typhoons dent agri production in 2012 By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 28, 2012 - 12:00am

AP MANILA, Philippines - The massive devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo to plantations in several provinces in Mindanao is expected to put a dent on the government’s target farm output growth of four to five percent for 2012 although positive growth can still be expected for the year. In the first nine months of the year, farm output grew at a slower pace of 1.93 percent from a growth rate of 4.74 percent in the comparable period last year because of continued slowdown in fish production. The agriculture sector grew 2.34 percent in 2011, much lower than the revised three to 3.5 percent projected by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). As of the latest assessment conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA), damage inflicted by the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year was placed at P29.12 billion with the banana industry sustaining the bulk of the production damage valued at P22.3 billion. The extent of damage to banana crops prompted the postponement of the maiden shipment of Cavendish bananas to the United States to fulfill pending export obligations to other major markets like Japan and Korea. Production loss to palay was placed at 19, 658 metric tons (MT) valued at P476.21 million. Despite the damage, the DA still expects production to hit the target of 18.4 million MT for the year because most of the areas hit by the typhoon were already able to harvest. Most of the standing palay is also in the vegetative stage that may still recover. Because of the third cropping scheme that was carried out in September, farmers were able to recover production losses caused by Typhoons Ferdie, Gener and the southwest monsoon that dumped torrential rains over rice producing regions in July and August. The DA and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are already conducting immediate interventions to make sure irrigation in affected provinces is sustained as preliminary repairs to damaged irrigation facilities are being done to prevent the

disruption of the cropping calendar of farmers. Full repairs of facilities are expected to begin in January. The cost of damage to irrigation facilities has risen to P1.18 billion. Production loses to palay caused by the typhoon would account for only a 0.47 percent reduction to the production forecast of 4.2 million MT made by the BAS for the first quarter of 2013. This would keep the targeted rice sufficiency goal of 100 percent for 2013 and the exportation of premium rice varieties on track. The country is currently 97 to 98 percent self-sufficient in palay. Palay production sustained positive production growth throughout the year because of the early cropping and third cropping schemes conducted to boost production. In the first nine months of the year, palay production grew by 6.91 percent to 11.5 million MT valued at P9.9 billion from the comparable production of 10.7 million MT valued at P9.3 billion in the comparable period last year. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala assured that with the good results produced by this cropping scheme, the department would gradually increase the volume of palay produced during the dry season to 60 percent of the production target while the remaining 40 percent of the annual palay requirement would be produced during the wet season and the third cropping period. This would be complemented by increased farm mechanization and addition of postharvest facilities. In 2013, the department would encouraging farmers to produce at least 55 percent of the production target of around 20 million MT during the dry season. Production losses to corn caused by the typhoon was placed at P112,859 MT valued at P1.64 billion. This was expected to cause a 5.6 percent reduction in the BAS production forecast of two million MT for the first quarter of 2013. As far as reaching the production target for this year, Alcala said the projected output of 7.8 million MT is still likely to be attained this year. At present, corn production “matches� the feed requirment of the livestock sector. Because of higher prices in the international market,livestock raisers are compelled to source their corn needs from local farmers. Alcala said that if domestic buying prices fall lower than the current level, the exportation of corn may be allowed to allow farmers to earn more. corn farmers currently enjoy good buying prices at P14 per kilogram against P18 per kilogram in the world market.

No official appointments By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00am | 110 views Malacanang on Thursday said there is no official word on the supposed appointments for the position of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and for the Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Palace is looking at possible nominees for the position as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and lawyer Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa is under consideration. However, there is no official word on the supposed appointment of former Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno to the Department of Agriculture as undersecretary for livestock. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala earlier said the DA welcomes former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rico Puno if ever he is appointed as undersecretary for livestock.

DAR chief defends self amid calls to quit By DJ Yap Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:49 am | Friday, December 28th, 2012

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes MANILA, Philippines—The open letter of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes to his department defending himself against a host of issues was met with disdain and rebuttals by a peasant group that is leading calls for his resignation. The Negros Occidental-based Task Force Mapalad (TFM) said De los Reyes’ message to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) community explaining why he was being accused of poor performance was full of empty boasts. “De los Reyes may already be hallucinating, announcing record accomplishments when, in fact, there is nothing to gloat about,” TFM said in a statement. In his letter, De los Reyes said he considered 2012 a good year for DAR, saying it was able to accomplish much more than what his critics were claiming. He noted that DAR had issued memoranda of valuation (MOV) to 13,327 landholdings covering 92,129 hectares as of November. He said the public did not know that the issuance of the MOV, following a long and tedious process, meant that DAR’s work was basically finished. “Very few among the agrarian reform advocates, much less the general public, know that with the issuance of the MOV, the DAR’s work is essentially done,” he said. But TFM-Negros president Alberto Jayme said De los Reyes was only trying to make a “grand thing” out of the issuance of the MOV, which did not yet involve the land being paid for, taken over and distributed to farmers. “MOVs are simply memoranda, and the Land Bank of the Philippines will have to pay the landlords before the land can be subdivided and distributed,” he said.

Jayme added that he was “stupefied” by De los Reyes’ claim in his open letter that DAR was on its way to exceeding last year’s accomplishment in terms of non-Land Bankcompensable lands. He said that in 2012, only 10,507 hectares of private lands were distributed by DAR, “practically nil compared to the original target of 260,000 hectares that De los Reyes cut to 240,000 hectares and then to 180,000 hectares.” “How on earth can this fellow claim to have done his best during 2012? His overall performance in land acquisition and distribution is only 18 percent when ranged against the target and the backlog, and only 25 percent when the target alone is considered?” Jayme said. As this developed, a Catholic bishop on Thursday urged De los Reyes to resign for failing to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said De los Reyes should leave his post because he was “underperforming” and had become a “hindrance” to the implementation of agrarian reform in the country. “The DAR secretary himself, Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, has become a big hindrance to the implementation of the law so we are for him to resign if he really cares about the farmers,” Pabillo told Church-run Radio Veritas. Pabillo dismissed as “theories” the data De los Reyes was presenting to the media to show DAR’s supposed accomplishments under his leadership. “He is giving out a lot of data but those are just theories. When we go to the ground, we see that a lot of projects have yet to be implemented,” he said.—With Philip C. Tubeza

Economy Posted on December 27, 2012 10:12:27 PM

Problems in mango production flagged KORONADAL -- Low financial returns due to the high cost of agricultural inputs and the absence of regional or local producers’ associations that will help oversee the industry, were the major issues identified by mango industry stakeholders in Central Mindanao in a consultation held last week. The meeting was organized by the Department of Agriculture’s Region 12 (DA-12) through its High Value Crops Development Program. Amalia J. Datukan, DA-12 director, said Central Mindanao ranked sixth nationwide in mango production in 2011 with a total production of 52,183 metric tons (MT), thus the department is determined to strengthen the industry. Additional issues aired out by the stakeholders included, among others: excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers by some growers; insufficient production equipment; influence of middlemen; and absence of laboratories in the region that would serve the industry’s testing needs.The meeting was attended by 15 mango grower-producers, contractors, traders and academic researchers. Rex A. Rivera, agronomist and an advocate of organic farming, suggested that growers should not rely on mango alone through mono-cropping system. He recommended intercropping and organic mango production.He also suggested that mango farmers organize growers’ associations at the community to regional level to have stronger links with assemblers, traders and exporters. The participants formulated resolutions seeking to address issues such as: assistance on soil and leaf analysis for more efficient use of fertilizers; promotion of cost-efficient processing technologies; and activation of local mango associations to directly supply institutional markets.Ellen Lantican, DA-12 regional high-value crop specialist, told growers there were more or less 16 power sprayers and flower inducers’ equipment for distribution to mango growers’ associations in the region. Central Mindanao is comprised by the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Tacurong, General Santos and Koronadal.The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that in 2011, Cotabato led the region in mango production with at least 28,528 MT. South Cotabato followed with 16,620 MT; Sarangani with 4,917 MT; and Sultan Kudarat with 2,269 MT. Ms. Datukan said in a statement the region accounted for 6.6% of the national mango production and 24% of Mindanao’s total mango production. -- L. O. Pacardo

‘Poor land record system caused delay in CARPer implementation’ Category: Nation Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:58 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter THE delay in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) is not caused by landowners’ resistance, but by problems in the technical description of private agricultural lands that are up for distribution to qualified farmer-beneficiaries. This was stressed on Thursday by Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes saying that CARPer-implementing agencies need to correct problems in the technical distribution of lands covered by the program, for proper land valuation by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). De los Reyes was reacting to claims by the Task Force Mapalad (TFM) that 60 landholdings covering about 4,000 hectares of private agricultural lands are enrolled under the voluntary offer to sell (VOS) scheme and as such should pose no problem to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in distributing them to qualified farmerbeneficiaries. “Their [farmers’] logic is flawed. Land owner resistance is not the only problem in distributing private agricultural land. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago that was true. But today, the problem is land records. The technical descriptions of the lands are problematic,” he said. According to Paje, if the LandBank is strict about land valuation of CARPer-covered lands, requiring the DAR to do a lot of physical research to check and detect the problem in the land record. “LBP will not pay kasi magulo ang technical description. So dapat i-tama muna ang technical description before valuation,” he said. Technical description of a land identifies the land’s exact location. Problems occur when the technical description leaves the supposed perimeter incomplete or open, often, as a result of typographical error. Before, the technical description of a land, are typed in official document for the titling of lands. De los Reyes said that if the technical description is wrong, the DAR has to conduct a land survey anew and compare the finding with the existing land record for correction.

The corrected technical description needs to be verified and certified correct by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA). The government, particularly the DENR and the LRA, is still in the process of digitizing land titles and encoding the technical description of the titled lands, to improve land records. However, CARPer is being implemented during the transition period or during the digitization, which is not yet complete and unavailable, explaining why DAR personnel need to literally dig up and check files of the mother land titles, down to the transferred certificate of titles. Most of the CARPer covered lands in Negros are already “chopped” or subdivided and new owners have been issued transfer certificate of titles, which has become a problem for DAR. Sometimes, these titles have been transferred two to three times already, he said. De los Reyes, explaining the logic and importance of correcting the technical description of the private agricultural lands being distributed by the government, said the government wants to make sure that it is spending the tax-payers’ money in paying for private agricultural lands for distribution to qualified farmer-beneficiaries based on the correct value of the land, with the correct title and technical description. “Whether by compulsory acquisition or by voluntary offer to sell, if the technical description of the land covered by CARPer is problematic, the process takes longer than usual,” he said. He said CARPer, a five-year extension of the program, is now on its final stretch and what were left for distribution are private agricultural lands, which happen to have problematic technical description. Unlike government lands, private agricultural lands have existing titles that sometimes have problematic technical description, which needs to be corrected, for proper land valuation and to ensure just compensation for the owners, he explained. Government lands being distributed under the program before, he said, are titled by the government and distributed for free, thus, skipping several steps such as the landvaluation process and payment to land owners, that also consume time that delay their actual distribution. De los Reyes said that is the reason why the transfer of a big bulk of the 74,000 untitled private agricultural lands covered by CARPer to the state, should not worry potential farmer-beneficiaries, because aside from being distributed for free and without the hassles of having to correct flawed technical description, being public agricultural lands, these lands cannot be excluded from CARPer to be awarded to cattle grazers.

The distribution, in fact, will be faster and will be at less cost to farmer-beneficiaries, because these lands are owned by the state and not by their individual claimants. Beside, de los Reyes explained that the agency is merely doing what was need to be done as opined by the Department of Justice, referring to the DOJ Opinion 100 Series of 2012 which provides that the so-called untitled private agricultural lands (Upals) in excess of 12 hectares should be reverted to the State in which case these can be distributed by the DENR to qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries as certified jointly by the DAR and the DENR. The DOJ explained that under the Constitution and the Public Lands Act, as amended, a person can only claim and can have title, whether administratively or through judicial process, not more than 12 hectares of untitled lands. In effect, the DOJ opinion says that while the DAR remains as the agency responsible for distributing Upals which are 12 hectares and below, in cases of this class of landholdings which are beyond 12 hectares, the DENR will be responsible for its distribution, since this portion is technically public agricultural land. CARP beneficiaries of lands awarded by the DENR need not pay amortization and will need to shell out minimal payment under miscellaneous sales or sales patent, or whichever is applicable. The department’s LAD or land acquisition and distribution database which identifies all landholdings still to be distributed by the DAR presently lists 6,414 landholdings with a total area of 74,733 hectares which are classified as Upals. As a result of the DOJ opinion, the DAR will turn over to the DENR the portions of these landholdings tagged as UPALs which are in excess of 12 hectares: this covers an area totaling at least 66,837 hectares, which will be turned over to the DENR for possible distribution. The remaining balance of 7,896 hectares will still be acquired and distributed by the DAR.Thus, the bulk of the more than 74,000 hectares of untitled agricultural lands will still end up with farmer-beneficiaries, he said. “What TFM really wants is for me to step down. They are accusing DAR officials and personnel of being corrupt and incompetent, publicly shaming us, but the fact is, their logic on these issues are flawed and are just being unreasonable,” de los Reyes added. “Hindi dahil nagreklamo ang TFM ay ititigil na namin ang ginagawa namin at susundin ang gusto nila. There is a process that we must follow in implementing the law,” he said.

BIR Bares ‘Sin Tax’ Guidelines By JUN RAMIREZ December 27, 2012, 6:54pm MANILA, Philippines --- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) came out on Tuesday with guidelines imposing higher taxes on cigarette and alcohol products starting January 1, 2013. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima signed the 12-page Revenue Regulations No. 17-2012 implementing the sin tax law (Republic Act 10351) based on the recommendation of BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares. Henares said the regulations are not much different from the law, prescribing upward adjustments of the excise tax rates for both cigarette and alcohol for the next five years. It reduced the old three-tier tax rate on cigarettes to two to simplify the collection of the specific tax. To illustrate , a uniform tax of P12 will be imposed on every machine-packed cigarette retailed at P11.50 and below, and a higher rate of P25 for those sold over P11.50. In 2014, the tax rate will be P17 and P27, respectively, for cigarettes sold at P11.50 and below and above P11.50. Reports reaching the BIR showed that this early some manufacturers have started reducing the retail prices of selected products to entile them to a lower tax rate. On the other hand, the regulations exempted distillers (alcohol producers) from paying the excise tax, but not income and value-added taxes. The excise tax will be shouldered by compounders ( alcohol beverage makers). The ad valorem tax rate will be 15 percent of the retail price, plus P20 specific tax per proof liter. Manufacturers of these twin products are required to pay the excise tax (ad valorm and specific) upon their removal from factories or warehouses. Lawmakers said the new sin tax law will generate additional income of up to P34 billion for the government. But many revenue officials described the projected goal as “purely speculative.”

“We don’t know how consumers will react to the imposition of higher taxes, definitely many of them will cut down on consumption to save on expenses,� said one revenue official who refused to be identified. But Henares said that increasing the collection from this source is not the only the only concern of the government but protecting the health of the people. She said increased prices will discourage people from smoking and drinking, thus reducing the incidence of cancer and other related-illnesses. The BIR chief noted that the government is spending more than what it collects from these sin products. She said the government decided to impose higher prices so that it will have more funds that can be used for the modernization of the health care system.

Gov’t to borrow P120B for Q1 Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 23:00 The Philippine government will borrow P120 billion from the domestic market in the first quarter of 2013, higher than the P90 billion programmed this quarter, as the government continues to take advantage of the liquidity in the local market as well as low interest rates. In a memorandum to eligible dealers of all government securities, dated Dec. 27, 2012, National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said that the government will borrow P45 billion in the form of treasury bills, and P75 billion in the form of treasury bonds. The Bureau of Treasury will sell P15 billion worth of treasury bills each month. But instead of offering P7.5 billion worth of short-term IOUs per auction scheduled twice a month, as was done this quarter, the entire P15 billion will be offered through a single auction every month. The treasury bills will be sold on January 7, February 4, and March 4. The government will sell P2 billion worth of 91-day papers, P5 billion for the 182-day IOUs, and P8 billion for the 364-day securities, for every treasury bills auction. The Bureau of Treasury has also raised the volume of treasury bonds to be offered, from P45 billion this quarter to P75 billion in the first quarter of 2013. The government will offer 7-year, 10-year, and 20-year securities, with a volume of P25 billion each. The treasury bonds auctions are scheduled on January 22, February 19, and March 19. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has repeatedly said that the plan to increase local borrowings is in line with the government’s strategy to reduce the foreign currency component in the government debt, lengthen maturities, and reduce the borrowing costs.The government is looking at an 80-20 borrowing mix next year, in favor of domestic borrowings. “For this year, we’ve had challenges in terms of the (external) crisis, but at the same time, because of the good economic management, we’ve seen a low inflation rate,” De Leon earlier said. As of end-November, the country’s headline inflation rate stood at 3.2 percent, which is at the lower end of the government’s 3 to 5 percent target. “At the same time we’ve been working with the DOF, we’ve taken advantage of the market conditions to meet our objectives for the year, in terms of liability management, in terms of stretching our maturities, and lowering our borrowing costs, so I think some objectives were met,” De Leon said. “We’ve also increased our domestic borrowings for the year. So overall we’re pleased with our performance,” she said.

BSP sees slower December price hikes Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 23:00 The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas says price increases for major commodities may have actually slowed in December. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco said that the central bank’s forecast range for December is between 2.6 and 3.5 percent. He said this is due to “lower food and fuel prices and the appreciation of the peso.” The actual December inflation rate will be released on January 8. If it hits 2.6 percent, the December inflation will be the slowest for the year. Lower prices of food, water, electricity and fuel brought down inflation in November to 2.8 percent, slower than the previous month’s 3.1 percent and last year’s 4.7 percent. The National Statistics Office said that this resulted from the deceleration in annual growths in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; and transport. Excluding selected food and energy items, core inflation was 3.4 percent in November, slower than the 3.6 percent growth in October. Annual inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) likewise eased to 2.6 percent in November from 2.9 percent in October. Similarly, annual inflation in Areas Outside NCR (AONCR) slid to 2.9 percent in November from 3.3 percent in October. Lower annual growths, however, were recorded in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels; transport; and education. Ample supply of agricultural products and fish and lower prices of domestic petroleum helped slow down price movement in November 2012, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The NEDA made this statement after the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that headline inflation eased to 2.8 percent in November 2012. “The abundant supply of agriculture and fishery products in November 2012 resulted in greater annual reductions in the prices of various food items compared to the previous month,” said NEDA Officer-in-Charge Rolando G. Tungpalan.

Compared with October 2012, the NSO said that prices of consumer items generally inched up 0.1 percent in November from -0.1 percent. Higher electricity rates and price increments in alcoholic beverages, tobacco, clothing items, meals eaten outside the home and some items for personal care and effects in selected regions were observed during the month. Higher monthly rates were recorded in five regions with the highest increment of 0.5 percent in Northern Mindanao. Meanwhile, the lowest rate at -0.2 percent was posted in the Ilocos provinces, Cagayan Valley and Bicol region. Increments in consumer prices were generally faster in Mindanao compared with those in Luzon and the Visayas. Meanwhile, the policymaking Monetary Board earlier this month decided to keep the key rates of the BSP steady at its lowest level of 3.5 percent for overnight borrowing and 5.5 percent for overnight lending. Tetangco said that the decision is based on the board’s assessment that current monetary settings remain appropriate, “as the cumulative 100-basis-point reduction in policy rates in 2012 continues to work its way through the economy.” “The latest baseline forecasts follow a slightly lower path but remained within the lower bound of the target over the policy horizon,” Tetangco said. He added that risks to the inflation outlook appear to be evenly balanced around the baseline forecasts, with inflation expectations broadly aligned with the inflation target range. BSP deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said that the board also revised lower its fullyear 2012 forecast for inflation to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent. Lower inflation forecasts are also the case for 2013 (3.1 from 3.9 percent) and 2014 (2.9 percent from 3.1 percent).

Rains forecast in parts of PH By Frances Mangosing 7:26 am | Friday, December 28th, 2012

MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 7:00 a.m., 28 December 2012 MANILA, Philippines—Although tropical depression Quinta has moved out of the Philippine territory and eventually dissipated into a low pressure area, rains will still be experienced in parts of the country due to northeast monsoon or “hanging amihan,” the state weather bureau said Friday. The northeast monsoon affecting Northern and Central Luzon will bring cloudy skies with light to moderate rains in the regions of Ilocos and Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Bicol region and the provinces of Aurora and Quezon, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. Meanwhile, the rest of the country including Metro Manila will have partly cloudy skies with brief rainshowers or thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast to east will prevail throughout the archipelago and the coastal waters will be moderate to rough, Pagasa said.

Nat’l debt growing by P214 B annually – COA By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 28, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government’s domestic and foreign debts have been increasing at an average rate of P214.19 billion every year, a Commission on Audit (COA) report shows. Based on COA data, the national debt rose from P4.701 trillion in 2010 to P4.940 trillion in 2011, with P2.860 trillion representing domestic debts and P2.080 trillion foreign. “From year 2002 to 2011, domestic debt showed an average growth rate of 6.58 percent or P132.85 billion per year, while the annual growth of foreign debt is 5.38 percent or P81.34 billion,” COA chair Ma. Grace Pulido Tan said in her agency’s annual financial report. President Aquino, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. have been furnished copies of the report. The COA report said domestic borrowings representing 57.90 percent of the national government’s total debt increased by P156.02 billion, while foreign borrowings grew by P83.25 billion. COA said the government has to resort to borrowings for deficit financing as well as to back up expenditures for various development projects, including infrastructure. In 2011, the Bureau of the Treasury issued Benchmark Bonds, the largest domestic bond swap transaction of the national government. The government also issued Retail Treasury Bonds to raise funds. As of Dec. 31, 2011, COA said the national government’s total assets stood at P3.299 trillion and its total liabilities at P5.382 trillion.The COA report said the national government’s P3.299-trillion asset was P160.58 billion or 5.12 percent higher than the P3.139 trillion reported in 2010. “Investments’ growth of P174.14 billion this year was brought about by the P161.20 billion or 26.19 percent increments in Sinking Fund contributions and P12.94 billion improvement in Investment in Securities,” COA said.

Gov’t disbursements reach P1.54 T in 2012 – DBM By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 28, 2012 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - National government disbursements in 2012 reached P1.54 trillion or P200 billion more than in the previous year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) disclosed yesterday. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that “public spending has sustained its momentum” due to reforms set into motion by the administration. “The reforms have certainly made a significant impact, not only in terms of accelerating the pace of disbursements but also by deepening transparency and accountability in public financial management,” Abad said. From January to November, government expenditures reached P1.35 trillion. He reported that disbursements net of interest payments during the 11-month period have increased by 14.5 percent year-on-year to P1.25 trillion, and that growth rate of agency disbursements is faster than the 12.3-percent growth of interest payments. “With a stronger fiscal environment, we are confident that public services are delivered with impact, that our country’s risk profile is being further improved, and that our economy continues to grow in a rapid, inclusive and sustained manner,” he said. He said that with bigger public spending, the national government deficit as of November reached P127.3 billion, or 32.3 percent more than the P96.3-billion deficit incurred in the same period in 2011.

GSIS disbursed P4 billion in loans for ‘Pablo’ victims Category: Economy Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:14 Written by VG Cabuag / Reporter Pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said it has released P3.9 billion in emergency loan to benefit those who were affected by Typhoon Pablo in the Visayas and Mindanao. The agency said in a statement that it received more than 213,000 loan applications since the window was opened on December 7. Of the total loan applications filed, about 90 percent were transacted online through the GSIS’s Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks. The pension fund has more than 700 GWAPS kiosks deployed throughout the country located in GSIS branch offices, as well as in provincial capitols, municipal halls and selected malls. Affected members may apply for an emergency loan until January 5, 2013. The program is open to GSIS members working or residing in Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Aklan, Antique, Basilan, Biliran, Bohol, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Capiz, Cebu, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Iloilo, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. The provinces of Leyte, Maguindanao, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Sarangani, Siquijor, Southern Leyte, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur are also covered by the loan program. In August the GSIS provided a supplemental budget of P10 billion for the program. The pension fund also offered a moratorium on loan repayment to both its members and pensioners residing in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur, which are the provinces hardest hit by Typhoon Pablo. Application for the moratorium must be filed not later than January 15, 2013. In addition, GSIS members in Cagayan de Oro who already availed themselves of the moratorium last year due to Typhoon Sendong, will be given an extension of another six months.

BSP: Household savings up 6.3 percent in 2011 Category: Economy Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:13 Written by Filipino households increased their savings by 6.3 percent in 2011, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Thursday. In its 2011 Flow of Funds (FOF) report, the BSP said savings in the Philippines grew 6.8 percent to P1.854.3 trillion, with the household sector accumulating P909.8 billion, the fourth year in a row that it accounted for the biggest share in the country’s savings. The FOF is a summary of financial transactions among the various institutions of the economy and between these institutions and the rest of the world. This shows which institutions are net borrowers and net lenders. The higher savings rate of the Filipino household could be traced to the sustained inflows of overseas Filipino worker remittances and “favorable domestic labor market conditions.” The non-financial corporations sector generated savings of P672.5 billion as industry and services sustained their profitability. The government posted the highest growth in savings at 65.3 percent to P193.6 billion, thanks to the reversal in its position from a net borrower of P17.6 billion in 2010 to a net lender of P28.8 billion in 2011. In contrast, the financial sector’s savings dipped by almost a quarter to P78.4 billion due to the large benefit payment by the life insurance industry, along with the higher interest payments by the BSP. Investments in 2011 expanded by 16.2 percent to P1.544 trillion, with the household sector as the biggest accumulator of capital at P661.4 billion. The non-financial corporations sector’s real investments surged by 53.2 percent, but private companies’ capital spending slowed to 9.4 percent from 72.9 percent in 2010 due to weak economic growth. The deferral of the government’s power sector privatization program resulted in less disposal of assets. Banks, however, sped up their disposal of soured assets, bringing the financial sector’s fixed asset transactions to P40.3 billion, 43.7 percent lower than in 2010. The government’s capital accumulation fell by 10.9 percent to P250.3 billion with the help of the “cautious” fiscal spending.

Among the sectors, the household turned out to be the top net lender at P248.4 billion as the sector preferred to put its money in currency and deposits. In contrast, the nonfinancial firms’ net fund provision fell by 70.8 percent to P79.7 billion, with accounts receivables as the dominant financial instrument. Financial firms’ net lending grew 19.9 percent to P38.1 billion with the combined hike in net lending of banks and insurance companies outweighing the BSP’s net borrowing. The savings generated by the national government allowed it to lower its borrowing by 65.4 percent from P56.6 billion in 2010. The BSP said the local economy’s net lending to the rest of the world fell 23.9 percent to P309.5 billion as growth in capital accumulation outpaced growth in total savings. This can also been seen in the narrowing of the current account surplus in the balance of payments. The FOF showed that the most preferred financial instrument are securities, particularly investments of depository corporations on the asset side and government-issued securities on the liability side.

Treasury bureau to reduce debt-paper auctions in 2013 Category: Banking & Finance Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:27 Written by VG Cabuag / Reporter THE Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) will reduce the number of auctions of its debt papers during the first quarter of 2013 but increased the volume, a move seen to make the government securities more tradeable in the secondary market. In a BTr memorandum released on Thursday, the bureau offered to borrow P120 billion from the local market through the auction of its Treasury bills and bonds for the first three months of the year. The amount would be higher than this quarter’s P90-billion offer. The memorandum, signed by National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, called for a P15-billion, once-a-month auction of the shorter-term T-bills. At every auction, the government will offer P2 billion for the 91-day paper, P5 billion for the 182-day securities and P8 billion for the 364-day debt. Auction dates are set every first Monday of every month, or on January 7, February 4 and March 4. The BTr also increased the volume of the offer for T-bonds to P25 billion, with auction dates set for every third Tuesday of the month. A tenor of seven-year paper will be auctioned off on January 22, 10-year debt on February 19 and 20-year securities on March 19.In previous quarters, the BTr auctioned off only P7.5 billion of T-bills and P9 billion of T-bonds twice a month. De Leon said earlier that the new scheme would help government debt papers become more tradable in the secondary market, since the volume is much higher and it takes advantage of the strong market liquidity that resulted in lower interest rates. “For this year, we’ve had challenges in terms of the [external] crisis, but at the same time, because of the good economic management, we’ve seen a low inflation rate,” De Leon said.The Department of Finance said the plan to increase local borrowings is in line with the government’s strategy to reduce the foreign-currency component in the government debt, lengthen maturities and reduce borrowing costs. The government is looking at an 80-20 borrowing mix next year in favor of domestic borrowings.

BSP releases regulations compelling local banks to put in more equity Category: Banking & Finance Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:26 Written by Jun Vallecera / Reporter THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has released new regulations requiring the country’s regular commercial and universal banks to put in more equity capital than they usually do as part of global efforts to make lenders able to absorb losses without closing down. BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the regulations would take effect on Thursday January 1, 2014. These regulations, which essentially ask banks to put in more of their own money to be able to do certain things, compel local lenders to comply with the terms under the Third Basel Accord, or Basel 3. The regulations also affect the so-called capital adequacy ratio (CAR)—set at 10 percent—that banks must observe in putting in fresh equity to remain in operation. That ratio has not been changed, although the components making up the ratio had been reconstituted, according to Tetangco. Shareholders actually own very little of the capital structure of the banks they run, translating to no more than 10 percent in certain lenders—something the new regulations addressed. The BSP governor said that beginning January 1, 2014, the shareholders’ stake in the bank must be substantially above the current 5-percent average equity participation. The regulations also said that shareholders’ core equity participation rate must average above 8.5 percent. Deputy BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., who oversees the banking system as head of the supervision and examination sector of the central bank, said banks unable to hurdle the above 8.5-percent average are prevented from declaring dividends. Thus, a bank with core equity capital of only 8.5 percent may distribute only half of its earnings. Preventing shareholders from receiving the fruits of their investments due to the failure of bank managers to go beyond the hurdle rate ensures compliance with the higher core equity participation requirement, according to Espenilla. He stressed, though, that local lenders are not facing any shortfall of capital because the average CAR on solo basis stands at 16.85 and at 18.01 on consolidated basis.

Roughly 14 percentage points of CAR is tier-one capital, or core equity capital, according to the BSP governor. “As a matter of principle, the BSP supports a high quality of capital as a mitigant for risks. We like to see the banks as the source of strength for the financial system,” Tetangco said. On why the BSP has accelerated the country’s compliance with the terms of Basel 3, he said: “Forcing the banks to wait until 2019 to fully implement the capital standards will only lead to market uncertainty. This can only deter productivity as giving the banks an excessively long period to effect what they could, in principle, do sooner.” Basel 3 observes a CAR of only 8 percent, two percent lower than the BSP’s.

Aquino Administration Lists 2012 Achievements By MADEL SABATER-NAMIT December 27, 2012, 8:43pm The Aquino administration says 2012 has been a “year of rebuilding and renewal.” In a statement on the achievements of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2012, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that while 2010 and 2011 were years of renewal, the year 2012 has been a year of “rebuilding and restoration.” “This year, we saw the full effect of political will used correctly and for the right purposes, knowing that power is merely lent by the people to their leaders to ultimately serve the country’s best interests,” Lacierda said. “In 2012, we turned the corner, fixed the damage wrought by the crooked ways of the past, and established further that the straight path is the only way forward,” he said. Despite the devastation in Compostela Valley and Davao region wrought by typhoon Pablo, and the death of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Lacierda said 2012 “was the best year for the Philippines in a long time, a time for celebration and pride for the reclaimed standing of our country as we stand shoulderto-shoulder with other rising nations of the world.” “As the administration embarks on 2013, there is all the more reason for Filipinos to travel on the straight path under the leadership of President Aquino and the adherents to his noble cause,” Lacierda said. Among the achievements of the Aquino administration in 2012 were signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, and the appointments of new Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. Also seen as achievements were the signing of the Sin Tax Reform and the Anti-Enforced Disappearance laws, and the enactment of the Responsible Health (RH) Bill by both chambers of Congress; the signing of the 2013 National Budget on time for the third year in a row; and the robust economy. According to Lacierda, the Aquino administration will continue with its reforms, warning criminals that their days are numbered. “The message is clear: If a Chief Justice can be impeached-- and a former president put under hospital arrest for alleged plunder and electoral sabotage-- then so can anyone; a crime is a crime, regardless of wealth or status in society,” he said.

“Without doubt, we are moving towards a society where fairness reigns-- fueled by a people empowered by its government,” he said. As for the biggest challenge for the Aquino administration, Lacierda said it is to continue inclusive growth and good governance and the alleviation of poverty. “We have our responsibility to make inclusive growth a continuing reality and also our poverty alleviation campaign is continuous, also our good governance. These are the pillars of the governance of the Aquino administration,” he said. “The Philippines has taken the lead in upholding a peaceful, multilateral, and consensusdriven diplomatic approach as regards territorial disputes. In this regard, President Aquino has stood his ground thus gaining the admiration of his fellow leaders in the global arena,” Lacierda said. “We hope for the coming year that there will be a continued cooperation among the various branches of government,” he said.

Agri Plain Talk

Recommended Crops For Pablo Victims By ZAC B. SARIAN December 26, 2012, 3:12pm

The order of the day for the Typhoon Pablo victims is for them to produce food within the shortest possible time. There are crops that can be harvested within just a few weeks from planting. Just like camote, for instance. As early as three weeks from planting the vines, tender shoots could be harvested. What is important now is for the agencies of the Department of Agriculture and maybe NGOs to provide the planting materials. Maybe, the Philippine Root Crops Research Institute in Baybay City, Leyte, could help provide the planting materials. Camote shoots are nutritious and most people are used to eating this vegetable. The shoots could be blanched and made into salad with tomatoes and bagoong. The shoots could be cooked with fish sinigang or some other food preparations. The water used for boiling the shoots could be made into a refreshing drink. It could be sweetened with sugar and a few drops of calamansi juice will enhance the taste. If camote vines for planting are in short supply, the roots could also be used for planting although it will take a longer time to produce the shoot-producing vines. ALUGBATI — This is a favorite of many Visayans in cooking their mungo dish and other favorite preparations. Alugbati is very easy to establish simply by planting cuttings. Shoots from cuttings will be ready for harvesting in less than one month. One household can plant just a few cuttings for a start and then multiply their plants very easily from then on. Just the same, what is important is for the agencies of the government and private groups to provide the planting materials. Aside from cuttings, seeds can be used for planting.

UPLAND KANGKONG — This is another vegetable that can be harvested as early as 20 days from planting the seed. What’s good about upland kangkong is that there are seed companies that are distributing the planting materials. Maybe, seed companies like East-West Seed Company, Allied Botanical Corporation, Ramgo and Harbest Agribusiness can help in supplying the seeds, not necessarily for free if they can’t afford to donate them. Maybe, they can donate some but the rest could be for the account of the Department of Agriculture and other do-gooders. Aside from vegetables, the families can plant white and yellow corn. The white corn could be used for human food while the yellow corn could be used to feed their chickens as well as their pigs. If they can produce commercial volume of yellow corn, they could sell their harvest for money. There are many other crops that could be planted by the typhoon victims. These include eggplant, tomato, squash, okra, ampalaya and many others. To reiterate, what is very important is to make the planting materials available soonest. Government or private technicians should also be out there to help the victims grow their plants properly. ****



Log on to: for practical farming tips, ideas and interesting agripeople. More than a thousand pageviewers are visiting the site every day.

Budget gap hits P127b By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:01am | 87 views

The government incurred a budget deficit of P11.6 billion in November, lower by 47.4 percent from a year ago, the Treasury reported Thursday. This brought the 11-month budget shortfall to P127.3 billion, although this was 32.3 percent higher than the fiscal deficit recorded in the same period last year. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the fiscal deficit in the first 11 months represented just 45.6 percent of the deficit ceiling for the whole year amounting to P279.1 billion. “With the solid government fiscal performance due to respectable improvements in the Aquino administration’s spending and collection, the risk of fiscal slippage—or of the deficit exceeding the program—is nearly eliminated this year,” Purisima said. Purisima said revenue collection in the first 11 months grew 12.7 percent to P1.4 trillion, on the back of a 20.6-percent increased in November. Expenditures in the JanuaryNovember period surged 14.1 percent to P1.54 trillion. “Netting out interest payments, the national government continues to operate at a primary surplus for January to November amounting to P155.037 billion,” he said. Data showed of the total revenues in the first 11 months, P1.2 trillion or 89 percent were tax collections while non-tax sources contributed the balance of P161.6 billion.

GSIS hiking old age pension starting next month By Danny Dangcalan (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 27, 2012 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – It’s going to be a happy new year for old-age pensioners of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Their minimum monthly pension will be raised to P5,000 starting next month. Daniel Lacson Jr., GSIS chairman, said pensioners receiving P5,000 but below P8,000 will also get staggered hikes. Lacson made the announcement at the Christmas forum for old-age pensioners here last Dec. 20. Lacson said some pensioners are still receiving amounts as low as P200 to P300 per month. Pensioners receiving below P5,000 comprise some 35 percent of the 220,000 GSIS retirees, he added. Lacson said the 15 to 20 percent receiving P5,000 but below P8,000 will get staggered increases until their pension reaches the P8,000 level. “More than half of our old age pensioners will get an uplift,” he said. “The new policy is designed to help our pensioners who had worked for government a long time ago whose pay can now be considered so low when the standard of living is so high.” The forum, the first to be held exclusively for old-age pensioners, is part of a continuing consultation program that the new GSIS board launched nationwide in 2010, Lacson said. At least 150 pensioners attended the forum. Ma. Vilma Fuentes, GSIS Negros Occidental branch manager, was also present.

Classes resume on Jan. 3 – DepEd By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 27, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Classes in public schools will resume on Jan. 3. Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the Jan. 3 class resumption is provided in the calendar for school year 2012-2013 laid out in Department Order 26. The Department of Education (DepEd) has made arrangements for the deployment of mobile classrooms in tents in typhoon-hit provinces. Luistro said these schools can also be the venue for government social workers to give trauma counseling for children exposed to the ravages of a catastrophe. Private school may opt not to follow the Jan. 3 class resumption schedule, as long as they follow the minimum 180 actual teaching-learning days, the DepEd said.


CARP: Many farmers believed owning land would not happen, says DAR secretary By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:29 am | Thursday, December 27th, 2012 (Last of a series) When personnel of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) drove across rugged roads to far-flung villages in Tarlac province months ago to explain the Supreme Court decision awarding Hacienda Luisita to its farm workers, they were met with skepticism. Who could blame the workers? They had been tilling the sprawling sugar estate for decades under a stock distribution plan (SDP) without any hope they could ever own a piece of it. And then suddenly, the high court ruled this would be parceled out to more than 6,000 farm workers. “There were many people crying. Many did not believe this would happen,” Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said in an interview at the Inquirer office last week. “There were many skeptics among them.” Many farmers across the country might have the same skepticism about the impact of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) begun by President Corazon C. Aquino in 1988 and which some hope would come full circle under the CARP extension with reforms (Carper) during her son’s watch. Did CARP achieve its goal of ameliorating poverty after 25 years? Could the DAR under the second Aquino administration distribute the balance of close to 1 million hectares of agricultural land by June 2014? After a series of activities and interviews with prospective beneficiaries, the workers eventually saw that indeed they could own the land. “When we came out in November with a list, and told them, ‘This is it,’ and began the surveys, and the surveyors were there, they were pretty convinced this was going to happen,” De los Reyes said. He said the DAR had a game plan for more or less 6,296 farmers who each will get an estimated 0.6 hectare out of the 4,300 hectares the high tribunal ordered distributed in a final decision in April 2012.

But he warned that the process, including the valuation of the land to determine just compensation for the Cojuangco clan, could take longer, and possibly go back to the courts. What to do with land What’s crucial is that once the land is awarded to them, they would have to know what to do with it, what crop to produce that would generate the most income for them, De los Reyes said. The DAR personnel would begin workshops next month to help the workers decide what to do with the land, and train them to manage it profitably, he said. This way, the government would know what support services to provide. “That’s essentially the game plan,” said De los Reyes, who was vice dean of De La Salle University College of Law when Aquino tapped him to head the DAR. “The choice of what to plant is theirs.” The DAR’s P21-billion budget for 2013 covers land acquisition and distribution and compensation for the landowners, and includes more than P2.3 billion for support services, up from P800 million this year, De los Reyes said. “This is the first time it’s being done under the CARP that we have a budget for support services outside of rural infrastructure,” he said. That’s on top of the Department of Agriculture’s P1-billion credit for agrarian reform beneficiaries, he said. Coco levy funds eyed The DAR is also eyeing coconut levy funds, monies collected from 1973 to 1982 during the Marcos regime from the coconut farmers, who are also potential CARP beneficiaries, to finance support services, De los Reyes said. What looms as a possibly contentious process in the Hacienda Luisita case is land valuation, which will be computed according to capitalized net income, market value and comparable sales in November 1989, when the SDP was approved. If the final valuation is contested, the issue will go to the DAR adjudication board, whose decision can be appealed to the special agrarian courts, the regional trial courts and all the way to the Supreme Court again, De los Reyes said. “Rules say that preliminary determination of just compensation is essentially a judiciary function, not an administrative function. It will go back to the court,” he said.

But while the case is being litigated, cash will be deposited and bonds will be issued to the landowner. “That will not stop the acquisition from going on,” he said. “Once we have segregation, it’s going to be fast. We expect that the list of segregation and valuation are all going to come out February.” Like winning lottery The DAR is targeting the distribution of Hacienda Luisita land between May and June next year. De los Reyes, however, conceded that awarding the land was no assurance the beneficiaries or their heirs would till it and make it productive. All this is happening against the backdrop of a stoppage in the operation of the sugar estate from 2004 to 2012 following a strike by the workers. It has been 23 years since the stock option was hammered out in 1989. “A lot of people who were hale and hearty, if they were 40 at the time, they are already 60 by this time. A lot of their children perhaps have no more concept of what it is to plant. The decision they have to make will have to do with the land,” said De los Reyes, who himself inherited 2 hectares of sugarcane land in Batangas province. Like a poor guy winning the lottery, owning land could be overwhelming, he said. “Are they going to plant on it? The reality of life is that there’s leasing going on there. Are they going to lease it? Are their kids going to work on the land? It’s a very valuable piece of real estate, however you look at it. I’m hoping a lot of them, a significant majority of them, will use this farmland to produce what they want to produce on that land,” he said. All-out support “But I’m also not blind to the idea that there are speculators talking to them. Based on the rules they can convert after five years, and sell after 10 years. That’s why the government is serious about providing the support services,” he continued. Indeed, the government, through its various agencies, would go all-out in its support for the Luisita farmers, he said. Outside of Luisita, the DAR is also racing against time to acquire and distribute 961,974 ha of land before June 30, 2014, when Carper expires. De los Reyes said the DAR could complete the acquisition, but not the distribution because 596,000 hectares, or 60 percent of the balance, had to be done by compulsory acquisition.

According to a July 2012 DAR report, more than three-fourths of distributed lands from 1972 to 2011 were either government-owned, or estates distributed through voluntary modes, or lands that were easier, less tedious to cover. What’s left are mostly private agricultural lands, with close to 80 percent being compensated by Land Bank of the Philippines and 60 percent requiring coverage by compulsory acquisition, according to the report. “What is left for us in 2009 to 2014 are the hardest lands to distribute,” said De los Reyes, who served as DAR undersecretary for legal affairs during the early years of the Arroyo administration. Distribution in stages And then, of course, land acquisition and distribution is done in phases, depending on the hectarage. Because of the phasing, the DAR could not distribute 187,759 hectares of lands 10 hectares and below, and 163,660 hectares of the 10-ha portion of Phase 3A land (lands above 10 hectares up to 24 hectares) until July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, according to the same report. This totals 351,619 hectares, or more than a third of undistributed lands, and these lands have to be distributed within one year, and only in the last year of Carper. If measures are taken to speed up distribution, the DAR is projected to cover 640,000 hectares from this year up to June 2014, while it’s likely some 321,974 hectares would be in the “pipeline for acquisition” but its distribution would not be completed by that time, according to the DAR report. De los Reyes agreed that DAR could only do so much “according to schedule.” He admitted the DAR could not distribute the entire balance by June 2014. He clarified, though, that what would expire in June 2014 would be the Presidential Commission on Good Government’s automatic appropriation for CARP, and after that, the government could still fund the program from the national budget. “Section 30 of RA 9700 (Carper Law) says if there is a case pending you can continue with the case,” De los Reyes said. “That’s why we’re sending notices of coverage.” After 2014, De los Reyes, however, is proposing the creation of an agency that “does nothing but distribute private and public lands.” Clear focus needed

In De los Reyes’ view, the physical transfer of land under CARP spells a lot of difference in the life of a farmer because he could earn from it, whether by tilling, leasing or selling it. But he asked: “If the farmer decides to sell the land … has social justice been achieved? He gets money for that land in restitution of the suffering he had for the past 20 to 30 years. “The moment there is land transfer, there’s going to be an improvement in the life of the farmer, whether, in the immediate, he sells it, or in the long term, because he’s able to have a productive asset.” Contrary to claims of some landowners, economies of scale could occur even among holders of small lands if only they come together and pool their inputs and outputs, the secretary said. De los Reyes also believed that CARP had worked, and if some farmers remained poor, it was because of the government’s failure to bring farmers together and invest in postharvest facilities. “It will work when land is distributed and we have a clear focus of support services,” he said, maintaining that the program has resulted in social mobility. “The moment you give a productive asset—land to the farmer—at the very least he has an asset in his name.” If there was a mistake in CARP, it was because it wasn’t implemented fast enough like in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, now highly developed countries, De los Reyes said. “It was not implemented fast enough, which Japan, Taiwan and Korea did in 10 years. We’re now in our 24th year, and we’re still distributing lands. This should not have happened if the focus were the large private agricultural lands, which we did not do,” he said.

4 coastal areas in Pangasinan now red tidefree By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 28, 2012 - 12:00am

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 1 has declared four coastal areas in Pangasinan red tide-free based on its latest bulletin. In an advisory dated Dec. 26, Nestor Domenden, BFAR-Region 1 director, said the coastal waters of Alaminos City, Wawa in Bani town, and Bolinao and Anda towns are now free from red tide. With the new advisory, gathering or harvesting and marketing of shellfish from these areas are now permitted, he said. Domenden gave assurance that the BFAR will regularly monitor these areas to safeguard public health and promote the local shellfish industry.

Bangus from fish kill area seized in Pangasinan By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 28, 2012 - 12:00am ALAMINOS CITY, Philippines – A total of 752 kilograms of bangus (milkfish) believed affected by the fish kill in Anda, Pangasinan was confiscated on Wednesday by a joint team of the police, city government and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources while being sold at a market here. Five vendors caught selling the bangus were arrested for violation of Republic Act 7394 or the Consumers Act of the Philippines. The seized bangus was brought to Barangay Dulacac here for proper disposal.

Come back. PNoy is out By Dexter A. See | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:01am | 686 views

Malacanang on Thursday appealed to people not to bother President Benigno Aquino III who is in Baguio City with his family for “a welldeserved break.” “This is really a vacation for President Aquino,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

On vacation. President Benigno Aquino III makes a stop at Wright Park in Baguio City, a spot for horse-riding or horsing around, on Thursday. Mr. Aquino is vacationing in Baguio for three days. “He said that he really wants to rest based also on the recommendation of Health Secretary Enrique Ona.” Ona had advised Mr. Aquino to take regular breaks after he had flu, allergic rhinitis and a bum stomach last month. “Instead of the President meeting with people to discuss governancerelated work, we have other public officials whom they can talk to. Let us give the President some me-time,” Lacierda said.

“He is already in touch with us when it comes to matters of state, so our request is to ask those people who intend to visit him or who want to pay a courtesy call to the President to refrain from doing so and give him the freedom to rest properly.” Also joining the President in his a three-day break at the Presidential Mansion were Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communication Development and Strategic Planning Office. Mayor Mauricio Domogan had also appealed to Baguio’s residents and visitors to give the President ample time with his family and close allies because his visit to the city was purely on “private time.” “We have always made ourselves available in case the President wants to dialogue with local officials,” Domogan told the Manila Standard. On Tuesday, the President and his entourage had lunch and dinner at the Baguio Country Club before he visited the Christmas Village, where he was photographed with some residents and visitors. Since he assumed the presidency on June 30, 2010, Mr. Aquino had always made it a point to spend either Christmas or the New Year at the Presidential Mansion, which is the official residence of the country’s highest official when in the mountain city. Domogan expressed the city government’s gratitude to President Aquino for approving the immediate release of around P85 million representing the city’s share from the gross receipts paid by the locators in the Loakanbased Philippine Economic Zone Authority, which was mistakenly remitted to the National Treasury.

The city government also received another P80 million from the calamity fund to restore the damaged retaining wall of the 5.2-hectare Irisan dump, which killed six people at the height of Typhoon Mina on Aug. 27, 2011. Domogan said Baguio City’s officials and residents were awaiting the signing into law of the city’s amended century-old charter, which was passed by the bicameral conference committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate. “We are optimistic that the President will sign the new city charter anytime, which will be his best gift to the people of Baguio during the Yuletide season,” Domogan said. He said the city’s charter was 103 years old and some of its provisions, particularly on the disposal of alienable and disposable land, were no longer applicable. With Joyce Pangco Pañares‐back‐pnoy‐is‐out/                      

Task force seizes P762m logs By Florante S. Solmerin | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00am | 23 views

The Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force on Thursday said P762 million worth of illegally cut logs worth P762 million seized since its operations began in 2011. Under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the AILTF is led by executive director Renato Miranda, a retired general. “For the past 22 months since February 2011, the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force was able to confiscate more than 21 million board feet of illegally sourced logs valued at P762 million, which were donated to public schools nationwide,” he said at the awarding of the “GAWAD MUYONG” with the AILTF and the Environmental Law Enforcement Task Force, both under chairman DENR Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje, in which this reporter was among those cited at the DENR Main Building, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. “The series of news article that you wrote were testament to the commitment of the mass media sector in bringing environmental issues and concerns closer to the mind and heart of every Filipinos,” Miranda said. “With the balance presentation of the issues on environment and presenting the true state of the country’s environment and natural resources, every one of us were moved to reflect, speak, act, and be involved in the defense our environment.”‐force‐seizes‐p762m‐logs/    

Basel III guidelines issued By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00am | 84 views

The Bangko Sentral’s Monetary Board approved the implementing guidelines for the adoption of the revised capital standards under the Basel III Accord for universal and commercial banks beginning Jan. 1, 2014. “The transition to the Basel III standards is an important step towards further strengthening the banking system,” Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said. The guidelines set new regulatory ratios related to bank capital. Banks must now meet specific minimum thresholds for common equity tier 1 or CET1 capital and Tier 1 or T1 capital in addition to the capital adequacy ratio. The Bangko Sentral said this was in lieu of hybrid instruments which did not fare well in the latest global crisis as far as absorbing losses. “The ability to absorb losses is central to Basel III,” Tetangco said. The Bangko Sentral maintained the minimum capital adequacy ratio at 10 percent. In addition to CAR, the new framework set a CET1 ratio of at least 6 percent and a minimum Tier I capital ratio of 7.5 percent. The guidelines also introduced a capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent which shall be made up of CET1 capital. Banks which issued capital instruments from 2011 will be allowed to count these instruments as Basel III-eligible until end-2015.‐iii‐guidelines‐issued/    

Inflection By Maya Baltazar Herrera | Posted on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:01am | 100 views


2012 is ending. The 21st of December was marked by “end-of-the world” parties but was otherwise uneventful. As the year draws to a close, we look back at the events of 2012. Challenges and choices As the year began, protests continued. Occupy Wall Street rallies continued in New York and other cities. Protests against the austerity measures continued in Greece. Although the economy seemed to be easing in some countries, the crisis was clearly far from over. In the United States, the economy continued to be a critical talking point in the Presidential elections. While the US reelected Obama, many countries chose new leaders in 2012. In France, Francois Hollande, who campaigned for a “kinder, more inclusive France” was elected president. Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s new president, promised twin goals of increased economic opportunities and reduced violence. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, newly elected president, oversaw the passing of a new constitution a scant six months after taking office. Controversy surrounding Morsi’s actions continues since taking power and the legitimacy of the new constitution is not an exception. The job of nation building and leadership did not ease this year. Natural disasters continued to pummel the globe. Superstorm Sandy slammed the east coast of the United States, paralyzing many neighborhoods in New

York and exposing how vulnerable that city is to flooding. In the Philppines, major flooding caused by the monsoons spawned wisecracks about the “flood that could not be named” and set the populace to wondering how much more needs to be done to protect the country’s capital. Pablo battered the southern Philippines and again raised questions about the process and policies around zoning. Critics pointed out that the worst disasters in both the National Capital Region as well as in Compostela Valley were in areas that had been identified as vulnerable (in the case of Compostela Valley, downright dangerous). In a world where scientists continued to push the envelope, nature seemed intent on reminding all of us of her power. Trailblazing There was some amazing news in science. On July 4 of this year, scientists at CERN announced that they had had confirmed existence of the Higgs Boson particle. Perhaps it was the nickname “God particle,” or simply that it is supposedly responsible for all of the mass in the universe. But for a brief time in the middle of 2012, a science story made news headlines and was the topic of conversation for more than just the science geeks. This year, for the first time since the modern day scourge was given a name, a scientist began to believe that a functional cure has been found for HIV. Timothy Ray Brown, often referred to as the “Berlin Patient,” himself announced that he continues to be HIV negative five years after the groundbreaking 2007 transplant performed by Gero Hutter. Hutter, Brown’s oncologist, decided to search for a stem cell donor who is among the roughly 1 percent of Caucasians who are genetically immune to the

disease. As 2012 draws to a close, other scientists are cautiously announcing positive results from similar procedures on two other patients. This year, the last of the NASA Space Shuttles was officially retired. The shuttle’s progress to its permanent home was covered by news programs worldwide. Also in 2012, SpaceX’s first operational flight to the International Space Station went smoothly. SpaceX, while this first commercial cargo flight is exciting, it is SpaceX’s plans for manned flights that have science mavens truly excited. The first manned flight is expected by 2015. Technology proceeds apace in our personal space. In homes across the country, convergence is becoming a reality. The Internet has invaded our television sets, our mobile phones and our land lines. In the year after the death of its founder, Apple is beginning to lose its stranglehold on the tablet market. Samsung is the new darling of the Asian crowd, with offerings ranging from smart TV’s to tablets to the slim sleek new phones. The laptop with the removable screen that converts into a tablet is on the “I want” list of most of my techie friends. 3D TV’s are now on the market at reasonable prices and personal size (and priced) 3D printers were introduced. Pocket size projectors for cameras and computers became commercially available last year and this year pen-sized projectors for functioning keyboards have become commercially available. In the next few years, appliances that recharge wirelessly should become widely available. Images and changes The summer Olympics were held in London this year. By all accounts, the London Olympics were successful, with about 80 percent of Britons polled by Guardian/ICM reporting that they believe that the nine-billion-pound

price tag was “value for money.” The Guardian reported that Britons believed the event did a valuable gob in cheering up a country in hard times.” Also in sports, Juan Miguel Marquez won over storied fighter Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round of their fourth battle. It was the first time either boxer had won via knockout over the other. That punch knocked Pacquiao out of the number one slot in the pound-for-pound listings which, he had held for years. While the Philippines mourned the defeat, it had reason to celebrate as ESPN named Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire its “Boxer of the Year.” In the Philippine Congress, the over a decade long effort to pass the reproductive health bill nears a successful end. On Dec. 19, both houses of Congress separately adopted the unified version of the bill. The bill now requires only the signature of the President of the Republic in order to become a law. As we near the end of the year that could have been our last, I look back at a year of dazzling discovery, shattering loss and changes large and small. More than anything else, it has been a year of possibilities. And that is a great way to look forward to a new year. Happy New Year to all! You can e-mail Maya at Or visit her site at or  

Farmers assail plan to use coco funds for land reform Published on 28 December 2012 Written by NEIL A. ALCOBER

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Thursday assailed plans by the Department of Agrarian Reform to use the multibillion coco levy funds for what it described as the sham Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). “Using small coconut farmers’ money for the sham CARP is totally revolting and highly unacceptable. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes should not dare touch our money as this would hasten his ouster from the Department of Agrarian Reform,” KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, said in a statement. “We will never allow the Aquino administration to use small coconut farmers’ money against farmers themselves. The Aquino administration would once again steal our plundered money,” he added. Milking cow Marbella insisted that using the coco levy funds for the sham CARP will only benefit big landlords, like the Cojuangco-Aquinos and corrupt officials. The KMP has been pushing for the immediate cash distribution of the coco levy funds in the form of social benefits to small coconut farmers, like pension, medical and educational benefits, among others. The peasant group is also pushing for the junking of the bogus CARP and is demanding the enactment of House Bill 374 or the genuine agrarian reform bill, which seeks the “free distribution of lands to

landless tillers.” “24 years of the bogus CARP failed to address the monopoly of big landlords over vast tracts of lands. Instead, landlessness and landgrabbing suffered by farmers worsened,” Marbella said. “Only a genuine agrarian reform program that will break the monopoly and control of big landlords over vast tracts of lands and haciendas and its subsequent free distribution to landless tillers will solve the centuries-old landlessness of peasants in the country,” the peasant leader added.‐farmers‐assail‐plan‐to‐use‐coco‐ funds‐for‐land‐reform                              

Palace claims 2012 best year for Philippines Published on 28 December 2012 Written by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

THE ouster of the former Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona and imprisonment of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the passage measures backed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd are among the reasons why Malacañang considers 2012 as the best year for the Philippines in a long time. According to Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, the executive branch was able to make good its commitment to introduce institutional change in the judiciary, particularly the removal of Corona and the appointment of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and associate Justice Marvic Leonen. “Once the new justices are in place we can only hope that the judiciary will be in step with executive branch in advancing reforms in their particular branch of government,” Lacierda said. The Lacierda also noted that if a chief justice can be impeached and a former president put under hospital arrest for alleged plunder and electoral sabotage, it only shows that the current administration is serious in implementing that laws regardless of an individual’s wealth or status in society. “This year we saw the full effect of political will used correctly and for the right purposes, knowing that power is merely lent by the people to their leaders to ultimately serve the country’s best interests,” he added.Lacierda also cited that important bills, which were signed by the President as among the accomplishments of the administration this year including the responsible parenthood, sin tax reform and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Acts.

The office of the President, Lacierda said, is thankful to the leaders and members of the both houses of Congress for being supportive of the executive branch in advancing the reforms the president has envisioned for the country. The signing of the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the creation of the Bangsamoro is also one of the achievements of the administration as far as achieving peace in Mindanao is concerned. He added that the successful dialogues between the two parties may even be used as a model of other nations in addressing conflicts. Lacierda said that apart from enjoying the highest sustained public approval ratings in history, the president also gained admiration of his fellow leaders for taking a lead in upholding a peaceful, multilateral and consensus-driven diplomatic approach to territorial disputes.The Philippine economy also experienced strong growth and stable inflation despite the uncertainties of the global economy. Lacierda particularly cited the 7.1-growth on the country’s economy for the third quarter, which is the highest in Southeast Asia and among the top performing economies in Asia. The presidential spokesman said that the list of achievements and reforms implemented by the president in 2012, should silence all skeptics and doubting Thomases on his ability to rid government of its deeply entrenched image of corruption and lead the Filipino people to inclusive prosperity and justice. “Despite the tragedies that have visited the country in 2012—from natural disasters to the untimely demise of a beloved reformist [Interior secretary Jesse Robredo]—the Filipino people have shown that their spirit cannot be broken,” he added.‐palace‐claims‐2012‐best‐year‐for‐ philippines

Iloilo eyes P100M take from tobacco, liquor tax Published on 28 December 2012 Written by LYDIA C. PENDON

ILOILO CITY: The controversial sin tax bill that finally got the nod of the House of Representatives into law is a pro-poor good measure that will benefit the national capital region and areas outside it. This was the assessment of Rep. Jerry Treñas, a first-termer in the House by qualifying that Iloilo City will have an additional P100 million from the sin tax in 2013. As chairman of the ways and means committee and one of the co-authors of the measure in the Lower House, Treñas said that the government will earn over P33 billion from the sin taxes of liquor and cigarettes in the first year to be graduated every year. The Iloilo lawmaker said that the city still needs to complete various development infrastructures 2013 such as the completion of Buntatala Bridge, widening of Dungon and Ticud bridges, widening and rehabilitation of the coastal road, Tacas road and Molo streets, widening and completion of El 98 and diversion road widening. In his first term as a representative, Treñas was able to accomplish 10 bills into laws of national and local application. These projects alone need some P960-million to be completed in 2013, Treñas said. On the other hand, Treñas said that his major accomplishments in his first two years as member of the Congress include the passage of the common carriers tax, expansion of the conditional cash transfer program of the government and several laws of local application. Laws for the conversion seven city roads into national roads were already passed, so with the conversion of Western Visayas College of Science and Technology into full university status.‐iloilo‐eyes‐p100m‐take‐from‐ tobacco‐liquor‐tax

Jan.-Nov. fiscal deficit hits P127.3 billion Published on 28 December 2012 Written by RAADEE S. SAUSA REPORTER

The national government’s fiscal deficit reached P127.3 billion as of end-November 2012, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) said on Thursday. In a statement, the BTr said that the national government deficit in November was up by P31.046 billion or 32.3 percent than deficit level of the same period last year. But the cumulative deficit represented only 45.6 percent of the fullyear program of P279.106 billion for 2012. ”For the month of November, the national government posted a deficit of P11.564 billion, 47.4 percent lower than the deficit for the same month last year,” the Treasury said. Meanwhile, revenue collections reached P155.308 billion, 20.6 percent higher compared to the collections level of the same month last year. Actual collections for the month were recorded at P110.767 billion for Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and P23.749 billion for Bureau of Customs (BOC), which altogether represented 87 percent of total revenues. The remaining non-tax revenues include collections from other government offices and income by the Bureau of Treasury amounting to P12.185 billion and P8.607 billion, respectively. The BTr also noted that revenue performance for November reached P1.408 trillion for January to November this year, or an improvement of 13 percent compared to same period last year.

Of the total revenues, P1.247 trillion, or 89 percent were tax collections, while P161.574 billion were collections from non-tax sources. The BIR and the BOC registered a growth in revenue collection of 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively, for the first 11 months compared to same period last year. For January to November 2012, total disbursements of about P1.535 trillion, 15 percent higher than the comparable disbursements in 2011. For its part, the Department of Budget and Managemen reported that national government disbursements from January to November this year increased by 14.1 percent to P1.54 trillion, from P1.35 trillion in the same period of 2011. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that disbursements net of interest payments during the 11-month period increased by 14.5 percent year-on-year to P1.25 trillion. The growth rate of agency disbursements is faster than the 12.3percent growth of interest payments. Abad also noted that spending in November reached P166.9 billion, 10.7 percent higher than the P150.7-billion spent in November 2011. Non-interest disbursements during the month increased by 12.6 percent, however, this was tempered by the 4.6-percent decline in interest payments.‐business‐news/38245‐jan‐nov‐fiscal‐ deficit‐hits‐p127‐3‐billion      

Posted on December 27, 2012 09:30:05 PM By Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio, Reporter

Gokongwei buys thrift bank GOKONGWEI-LED Robinsons Bank Corp. (Robinsons Bank) has purchased a controlling stake in a Legazpi City-based thrift bank as it executes a plan to gain a stronger presence in the highly competitive commercial banking industry. In an e-mail to BusinessWorld, Robinsons Bank -- the country’s 28th largest bank in terms of assets -- said it secured last Dec. 26 the Monetary Board’s green light to acquire “a controlling interest” in Legazpi Savings Bank. Legazpi Savings Bank, which had assets amounting P2 billion as of September, was majority owned by Albay Representative Al Francis C. Bichara. The bank has 11 branches in the Bicol Region. “Robinsons Bank plans to utilize the capacity and branch network of Legazpi Savings Bank as its vehicle to engage in countryside banking and microfinance lending,” Robinsons Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Reynold Y. Gerongay said in the e-mail. He declined to disclose the acquisition price. Robinsons Bank extends microfinance loans through “SUPERLoan ng Bayan,” a microfinance program targeting small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs. The acquisition, Mr. Gerongay said, will give Robinsons Bank the opportunity to boost its microfinance business and to strengthen and expand its presence in the Bicol Region. Legazpi Savings Bank extends “barangay business” loans and “market vendors” loans, among other loan products, according to its website.

Robinsons Bank booked a net income of P353.5 million as of September, up 23.34% from the P286.6 million recorded in the same period last year, due to hefty trading gains. Banks are now training their sights on small and medium enterprises amid low income growth from corporate lending and highly variable gains from trading. Robinsons Bank is a subsidiary of listed JG Summit Holdings, Inc. It used to be a thrift bank until it purchased the Royal Bank of Scotland (Philippines) from The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and the Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. through a share purchase agreement in February 2010. A commercial banking license and several branches came with the purchase, which was approved by the central bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 9, 2010 and on May 25, 2011, respectively. Lance Y. Gokongwei, Robinsons Bank chairman, in the same e-mail concurred with Mr. Gerongay saying: “[Our] investment in Legazpi Savings Bank is part of our plans to reach out to a wider market. Robinsons Bank Corp. and JG Summit Holdings are always on the lookout for viable opportunities for growth, and this investment shows our commitment to being a strategic player in the industry.” For his part, Mr. Bichara, in the same e-mail, said: “We highly welcome this investment by Robinsons Bank. It is good to know that Legazpi Savings Bank will now be part of a big conglomerate to the benefit of businesses and people in Albay as well as neighboring provinces in the Bicol region.” Mr. Gerongay said the name of Legazpi Savings Bank will be retained as the savings bank has a “good franchise” in Bicol. Since the acquisition was under the Bangko Sentral and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (PDIC) Strengthening Program for Rural

Banks Plus program, Robinsons Bank will be allowed to put up branches in restricted areas in Metro Manila. SPRB Plus program, is an enhancement of SPRB, a P5-billion program initiated by the central bank and the PDIC in August 2010 to encourage healthy rural banks to come to the aid of troubled peers. Under the new program, universal and commercial banks may take over ailing rural or thrift banks. Asked if Robinsons Bank will add more branches to Legazpi Savings Bank, Mr. Gerongay answered, “We’ll do a lot of housekeeping first.”‐buys‐thrift‐ bank&id=63512                                

Posted on December 27, 2012 10:11:16 PM

DA lifts ban on poultry products from Utrecht THE AGRICULTURE department has lifted the temporary ban on the importation of poultry products from Utrecht, Netherlands after the country resolved an outbreak of avian flu. According to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Memorandum Order No. 37 dated Dec. 13 and signed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, which was distributed to reporters yesterday, "the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and their semen originating from Utrecht, Netherlands" is lifted. The document further stated that the avian flu outbreak in Utrecht was already resolved last Nov. 5, 2012 as reported by Dr. Christianne Bruschke, a veterinary officer at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to the Office Internationales des Epizooties or the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). "The cleaning and disinfection of infected premises was completed on Sept. 14, 2012 and no further case of Avian Influenza have been reported," the document read. Further evaluation of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) showed that the risk of contamination from imported poultry products from Utrecht is negligible. The DA banned the importation of poultry products from Utrecht in August because of an outbreak of a low pathogenic notifiable avian influenza of the strain H7N7. -- R. J. R. Portillo‐lifts‐ban‐on‐poultry‐ products‐from‐Utrecht&id=63524              

Posted on December 27, 2012 10:09:49 PM

Industry cluster program creates over 300 MSMEs A TOTAL of 354 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were created through a government program that clusters industries, the Trade department said in a statement yesterday.

"In advancing the industry cluster approach as an integral part of its industrial development policy, the Trade department was able to generate 354 new micro, small, and medium enterprises in its first year of implementation," it said. Trade Undersecretary Merly M. Cruz, in the same statement, said "After launching the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP) last May, our regional and provincial offices have shown strong commitment in adopting the industry cluster approach to support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in the country." The 354 new MSMEs, as well as 743 existing MSMEs assisted by the Trade department, have invested P415.2 million and created 9,641 jobs. They have generated around P261.8 million in domestic sales and $24.1 million in export deals. The NICCEP is a three-year project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and implemented by the Trade department. It employs the industry cluster approach to support MSMEs, and fosters inter-enterprise linkages among MSMEs. It was launched in May and has identified 24 pilot industry clusters: milkfish, dairy products, coffee, bamboo, tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), health and wellness, wearable and home style in Luzon; gifts, decors and housewares, tourism, ICT, health and wellness in Visayas; and banana, mango, coconut, seaweeds, wood, mining, tourism, ICT, rubber, poultry, tuna and oil palm in Mindanao. Ms. Cruz said development plans have been drafted for the clusters. "To strengthen the capacities of industry cluster development managers and implementers, we got experts from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ to introduce ValueLinks or value chain methodology as a tool in industry cluster development," she added.‐cluster‐program‐ creates‐over‐300‐MSMEs&id=63523  

Coco levy eyed for P10-billion Hacienda Luisita payment • •

Written by Charlie V. Manalo Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00

A move by the government to tap into the coconut levy funds which were liquidated recently through the redemption of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) shares that yielded more than P11 billion, to finance the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was criticized by a militant farmers group saying that it would probably be used to pay for the P10 billion compensation being asked by the clan of President Aquino for the distribution of Hacienda Luisita.

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the claimants’ movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) yesterday assailed plans by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to use the multibillion-peso coco levy funds for what it described as the sham Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The KMP and CLAIM issued the statement after reports quoted secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes saying that “the DAR is also eyeing coconut levy funds, monies collected from 1973 to 1982 during the Marcos regime from the coconut farmers, who are also potential CARP beneficiaries, to finance support services.”

“Using small coconut farmers’ money for the sham CARP is totally revolting and highly unacceptable. Delos Reyes should not dare touch our money as this would hasten his ouster from the DAR,” KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella warned.

“We will never allow the Aquino government to use small coconut farmers’ money against farmers themselves. The Aquino government would once again steal our plundered money,” Marbella, also CLAIM national coordinator, said.

“Our worst fears that the coco levy funds would be used as payment for the lands of big landlords like Hacienda Luisita of the President’s family appear turning into reality,” Marbella said citing reports of the “P10 billion asking price of the Cojuangco-Aquino family for Hacienda Luisita.” Marbella added that “De los Reyes’ statement affirms the Aquino administration’s so-called

‘roadmap for the coconut industry’ designed by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) chaired by Joel Rocamora.”

Rocamora heads the Presidential Task Force on the Coco Levy Funds that is pushing for the P11.17 billion five-year “Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry” that includes the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) Land Tenure Improvement, and so-called agro-enterprise development.

“Using the coco levy funds for the sham CARP will only benefit big landlords, like the CojuangcoAquinos, and corrupt bureaucrats,” Marbella said insisting that the CARP is no less than a milking cow of big landlords.

The KMP is pushing for the immediate cash distribution of the coco levy funds in the form of “social benefits to small coconut farmers, like pension, medical, and educational benefits, among others.”

The peasant group is also pushing for the junking of the bogus CARP and is demanding the enactment of House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) which seeks the “free distribution of lands to landless tillers.”

“24 years of the bogus CARP failed to address the monopoly of big landlords over vast tracts of lands. Instead, landlessness and land-grabbing suffered by farmers worsened,” Marbella said.

“Only a genuine agrarian reform program that will break the monopoly and control of big landlords over vast tracts of lands and haciendas and its subsequent free distribution to landless tillers will solve the centuries-old landlessness of peasants in the country,” he added.

“The CARP is the longest-running and most expensive agrarian reform program in the world and is not meant to address the problem of landlessness and rural poverty. 24 years of CARP is enough,” the KMP leader said.

Last April, Rocamora said the NAPC had drawn up a P10-billion, five-year “road map” to revitalize

the coconut industry and that the first year of the program could be funded with loans. “The plan is to borrow off the coco levy,” Rocamora said.

“We don’t trust Rocamora, like former Akbayan chief Ronald Llamas of pirated DVD and AK47notoriety, to use our money especially in light of next year’s elections where Risa HontiverosBaraquel of Akbayan is running for senator,” Marbella, a coconut farmer from Bicol who still holds his father’s certificates of stock in four coconut oil mills, said.

“Aquino’s coco levy task force stinks of political opportunism and its so-called coco industry roadmap polluted with corruption-ridden programs,” Marbella said adding: “with Aquino’s deafening silence on the issue, we have all the reason to fear that our money will be plundered again.”

Legislation seeking the return of the funds to small coconut farmers remains pending before Congress like Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano’s House Bill 3443 which seeks the “Constitution of the Funds into Coconut Farmers’ Fund for the Rehabilitation and Development of the Coconut Industry” and Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada’s House Bill 5070 which seeks to finance programs and help coconut farmers increase their productivity, develop coconutbased enterprises and promote anti-poverty programs.‐coco‐levy‐eyed‐for‐p10‐billion‐ hacienda‐luisita‐payment          

1M red ribbons readied against Noy signing RH bill into law — bishops • •

Written by Tribune

Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00

Now it’s red ribbons against yellow ribbons on the continuing controversy over the Reproductive Health (RH) bill that is slated to be signed into law by President Aquino.

The Catholic Church bishops have come up with the idea of using the colored ribbon technique, which is a repeat of what bishops did during the twilight of the Marcos years, as this helped topple former President Ferdinand Marcos and saw the birth of people power.

The red ribbon technique set to be luanched by the Catholic bishops and their laity is being done to show President Aquino their defiance against his signing of the RH bill into law.

This came after Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, two ranking officials of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philipines expressed full support for the launching of 1 million red ribbons for life and Family Movement dubbed “Merry Red Ribbon Christmas and Happy Red Ribbon New Year” today, Dec. 28, 2012 which falls on the Catholic celebration of the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The said the launching of 1M Red Ribbons for Life and Family Movement in the form of a “holy rosary” is also a rally for the newly dedicated Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pagsanjan, Laguna at 1 p.m.

Among the guest speakers in the rally will be Fr. Bing Arellano, Edwin Lopez of EWTN and Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros clarified that the launching of 1 million Red Ribbons for Life movement is an initiative of lay people which they wholeheartedly support.

“This is a laity initiative which I wholeheartedly support,” said part of the text message from Archbishop Arguelles and Bishop Oliveros which was aired over a radio program.

Archbishop Arguelles has urged all pro-lifers to pledge to the “Divine Infant” that they will continue to fight for life and the sanctity of family.

Prolife Philippines president Eric Manalang has also announced that the intention of this move is to show President Aquino that the prolifers will not keep their silence and merely ignore his signing into law the RH bill.

Manalang stressed that the President should veto the RH bill because the people will revolt if he decides to sign it into law.

“The idea is to show the President that his signing the bill into law will not be taken just sitting down and he needs to veto it.”

This was also .part of the message of Manalang during radio interview.

Manalang had also urged the Filipino people to continue fighting the RH bill by putting red ribbons in their vehicles, bags, gates of their houses, streetposts, trees, schools and church premises as a reminder that the sacred life is in danger once the RH bill becomes a law.

At the same time the Pro-life movement is inviting all who value life and love the Filipino family to join the launching of 1 million red ribbons for life and family.

If Aquino does not sign the RH bill into law within 30 days, it becomes law anyway, even without the signature of Aquino.

It is not likely that Aquino will veto the bill, as it was he who had pushed for its passage. Moreover, the passage of the RH bill has been cited by Malacañang as one of Aquino’s achievements.

Meanwhile, a Quezon City lawmaker yesterday said that he will oppose the proposed divorce bill now pending before the House of Representatives.

In his letter to Novaliches Bishop Rev. Antonio Tobias, Castelo said that he is going to support the Catholic Church in opposing the “un-Godly” bill.

“I will not countenance the advancement of the Divorce Bill in the House of Representatives. The

measure is essentially unscriptural, immoral and irreverent,” Castelo told Tobias in a letter dated Dec. 20, 2012.

Castelo was reacting to a statement by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte that the divorce bill could now be tackled by the House following the passage of the controversial reproductive health bill which is also being opposed by the Catholic Church.

“As for me and my household, we uphold the inviolability of the Christian way of family life,” Castelo said.

Castelo vowed to block the passage of the controversial bill.

“Rest assured that you can count on my support on counteracting any move to advance the Divorce Bill,” Castelo told Tobias.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, one of the staunch anti-RH lawmakers, said that he expected the revival of the divorce measure. He said that the country is now following in the footsteps of other western countries where the first controversial measure that is being passed is a law on reproductive health, followed by divorce and same-sex marriage laws.

Pat C. Santos, Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo‐1m‐red‐ribbons‐readied‐against‐ noy‐signing‐rh‐bill‐into‐law‐%E2%80%94‐bishops                

Divorce bill to divide Filipinos anew Published : Friday, December 28, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 19

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo has expressed strong objection to the proposed Divorce Bill, saying like the Reproductive Health Bill the measure will again divide the Filipinos. Castelo also assured the Catholic Church that he will block the bill’s passage in the Congress. “I will not allow the advancement of the Divorce Bill in the House of Representatives. The measure is essentially unscriptural, immoral and irreverent,” Castelo said. “As for me and my household, we uphold the inviolability of the Christian way of family life,” Castelo said. Quoting a Bible verse, he said, “man should not separate what God has joined together.” Jester Manalastas‐divorce‐bill‐to‐divide‐filipinos‐ anew            

Malacañang cash dole out program scored Published : Friday, December 28, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 15 Written by : Jester Manalastas

A party-list solon criticized the government for the alleged failure of the Conditional Cash Transfer or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to address the needs of the poor Filipinos. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino said the report of worsening malnutrition among public school students showed that CCT is not effective. Casino noted that the government’s CCT program failed to feed more than half a million malnourished children in the country’s elementary public schools. The solon issued the statement after the Department of Education reported that 562,262 pupils in kindergarten and elementary levels (Grades 1 to 6) enrolled in public schools this year are considered “severely wasted,” based on the nutritional status report as of Aug. 31 this year. “Considering DepEd’s admission that it does not have the funds to provide the proper nutrition to these kids and others suffering milder forms of malnutrition, it’s time the government consider abandoning the huge CCT program and instead implement a comprehensive nutrition program for malnourished kids in our public elementary and high schools,” he said.

Instead of allocating huge money for the CCT, Casino proposed to use the budget in other programs that will be more effective in alleviating poverty. He also filed House Bill 2308 or the Child Nutrition Bill and the House Bill 6311 or the Luntiang Lunes Act which are geared to help combat malnutrition among school-aged children. “Now if the funds are used for child nutrition then it would not have to rely on the ten percent of the recorded income of the general fund accruing from interest on deposit accounts and performance bonds and any forfeited amounts, ten percent of the total amount specifically identified and authorized intelligence and confidential funds as provided for in the budgets of departments, bureaus, offices or agencies of the national government and fifteen percent of the total amount automatically appropriated for debt service, as provided for in HB 2308,” the solon said.‐malacanang‐cash‐dole‐out‐ program‐scored                  

Marcos sees Palace nod on bill giving retirement benefits for barangay execs Published : Friday, December 28, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 25 Written by : Marlon Purificacion

SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has expressed confidence his proposal to provide retirement benefits for barangay tanods, officials and workers would get the backing of President Aquino. Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, believes the President would welcome the opportunity to provide such benefit for barangay officials and workers. He noted that barangay officials get the lowest pay compared to other government officials, considering the nature of their functions and the occupational hazards and risks attached to their work. “I am confident that the President would rally his allies in Congress for the enactment of a law to provide retirement pay for barangay tanods, officials and workers who have devoted years of service to their constituents,” Marcos said. Marcos added that he sees no reason Malacañang would choose to deny barangay officials and workers such benefit. Earlier, Marcos urged fellow senators to pass House Bill 6567, taking into consideration Senate Bill 3187. “Your committee on local government recognized the basic

premise that barangay officials are inadequately compensated by the government, and thus there is a need to fill that inadequacy,” Marcos said in his sponsorship speech. The proposed measure provides a lump sum retirement pay for qualified barangay officials and workers equivalent to their one-year honorarium, but not exceeding Php100,000. Entitled to receive such benefits under the proposed legislation are barangay tanods, members of the Lupon ng Tagapamapaya, barangay health workers and elective barangay officials. The covered retiring barangay official should be at least 60 years of age, with a minimum of nine years in service at the time of retirement. As funding source for the benefit, Marcos recommends the creation of a Barangay Retirement Fund (BRF), which shall be established through yearly investment equivalent to one percent of the National Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of the local government units. The proposed measure mandates the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to administer the fund.‐marcos‐sees‐palace‐nod‐on‐bill‐ giving‐retirement‐benefits‐for‐barangay‐execs      

2012 12 28 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2012 12 28

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you