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DA urges Pinoys: Buy indigenous fruits for New Year By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2012 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - One of the local traditions in celebrating the coming of the New Year is to prepare 12 round fruits to bring luck and prosperity for the next 12 months. Keeping this tradition in mind, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala urged Filipinos to patronize indigenous fruits in season. He said among these fruits are pomelo, atis, duhat, rambutan, santol, melon, calamansi, dalandan, lanzones, chico, langka, pineapple, mango, durian, avocado, mabolo, chesa, balimbing, aratilis, mangosteen, pakwan, bignay, dragonfruit, papaya, buko, granada, kalumpit, sampinit and yambo. Sampinit is known as wild raspberry while kalumpit is known as wild plum. Yambo, on the other hand, is a fruit that resembles makopa, Alcala said.

Planting rice is fun — DA Posted by Online Balita on Dec 31st, 2012 // No Comment Hindi na lang kakantahin kundi gagawin na mismo ng mga mag-aaral ang pagtatanim ng palay, hindi lang sa bukid kundi sa paaralan. Ito ay makaraang ilunsad ng Department of Education (DepEd) at Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) ang “Palayan sa Paaralan“, na sisimulan sa susunod na taon. Ayon kay Education Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro, ituturo sa mga estudyante sa piling paaralan ang tamang paraan ng pagtatanim ng palay sa rice garden. Aniya, hindi lang ito sa pagtupad sa pagtatakda ni Pangulong Benigno S. Aquino III sa 2013 bilang Year of Rice, kundi upang mahubog ang kabataan bilang magsasaka, na sa kasalukuyan ay matatanda na. Naiulat na inatasan ni Luistro ang mga technical at vocational school sa buong bansa na gumawa ng programa para mapalakas ang agrikultura at pangingisda sa bansa. – Mac Cabreros

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Cloud seeding sa Cagayan, tagumpay Posted by Online Balita on Dec 31st, 2012 // No Comment Tinugunan ng Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) ang hiling ng SN Aboitiz na magsagawa ng cloud seeding sa Magat Dam at sa mga taniman sa Cagayan Valley (Region 2), partikular sa Isabela. Sinabi ni BSWM Executive Director Silvino Q. Tejada na dahil sa cloud seeding noong Disyembre 21-26 ay nadagdagan ang dam elevation, at nakinabang ang mga nagtatanim ng palay at mais. Nauna rito, hiniling ng SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) sa BSWM na magsagawa ng cloud seeding sa Magat Dam at sa mga watershed area. Ang SNAP ang may-ari at nangangasiwa ng mga hydroelectric facility sa Magat Dam, at bukod sa 217,000 ektaryang sakahan sa Cagayan Valley, Magat Dam din ang nagbibigay ng kuryente sa mga hydroelectric facility ng SNAP. Sinabi ni Tejada na hindi umuulan sa Cagayan Valley sa nakalipas na mga buwan kaya bumaba ng anim na metro ang tubig sa Magat Dam. – Jun Fabon

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DA To Launch Drought-Tolerant Rice Farming Project In Bicol By ELLALYN B. DE VERA December 30, 2012, 3:53pm A P6-million upland rice farming project in the Bicol region that will capitalize on native drought-tolerant rice varieties will soon be implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA). The two-and-a-half-year project is also expected to boost Bicol’s contribution to national rice production. Bicol used to account for a hefty 20 percent of Philippine rice output. Over the years, upland rice production in Bicol has gradually decreased due to local farmers’ shift to the planting of other crops such as corn and legumes in expectation of higher incomes. The DA has reported that as of 2008, upland rice in Bicol was planted on a total of 3,281 hectares, just a fifth of the upland rice area in the region in the 1960s. Bicol has been among the Philippine regions adversely affected by destructive typhoons and other adverse weather disturbances attributable to climate change. The upland rice variety that will be used under the program is seen to outperform other modern rice varieties as this will be higher in grain production and more drought-tolerant. Generally, upland rice varieties have an average yield of only one to two metric tons (MT) per hectare, but these selected Bicol varieties can exceed such yield average, according to the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR). Citing a report by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the BAR pointed out that a total upland area of 63,699 hectares in Bicol were once completely rice productive in the 1960s. While the productive upland rice area dropped to 53,480 hectares in the 1970s, all these lands can be revived now that a climate change program is crucial, the IRRI further cited.

Central Luzon PRDP Component OK’d December 30, 2012, 3:50pm SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga (PIA) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) recently approved a resolution favorably endorsing the Central Luzon component of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) which is aided by the World Bank. “The PRDP, whose Central Luzon part covers the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Zambales, is a national government platform for an inclusive, value-chain based and climate-smart agriculture to be implemented in partnership with local government units and agri-fishery stakeholders towards improved food security," said RDC Vice-Chairman Severino Santos, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) regional director. Santos added, “The PRDP aims to increase farm and fishery productivity and income in the targeted areas in all 16 regions of the country by improving access to strategic networks of infrastructure systems, market information and support services, and increasing the value of producers’ market surplus within priority value chains.”

‘Pinoys to feel growth benefits next year’ By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 30, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government wants to ensure inclusive growth benefits for every Filipino next year through job generation and pro-poor programs to carry through the people’s optimism, Malacañang said yesterday. A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that nine out of 10 Filipinos were looking forward to 2013 with hope. President Aquino’s net satisfaction rating, however, dropped by 12 points but still remained “very good” in December, another SWS survey showed. The President’s net satisfaction score dipped to 55 (72 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied) from 67 (77 percent satisfied, 10 percent dissatisfied) in August, according to the poll conducted from Dec. 8 to 11. Valte said there was nothing to cry about the drop in rating because “from excellent to still very good” meant that the President was enjoying a very wide margin of support among the people. Also, Valte said in a radio interview over state-run dzRB that the administration was still focusing on job generation as well as inclusive growth. “We see that the GDP (gross domestic product) has been surprising everybody; it seemed to be candid about it in the sense that the third quarter was really a very pleasant surprise for everybody,” she said. “So the task is to continue making that growth inclusive, not just to wait for it to trickle down but to have direct intervention at the fifth quintile,” Valte said.

Landbank Offers Banana Rehab Program By EDU LOPEZ December 30, 2012, 3:05pm The Land Bank of the Philippines is offering a rehabilitation program for cavendish banana growers that were gravely affected by Typhoon Pablo. Under the loan program, banana growers which include cooperatives and small and medium enterprises, may avail of P430,000 financing per hectare, with a 6-percent interest rate fixed for 10 years. The program will provide borrowers with more time to pay for the loan as they are given a grace period of two years on principal and interest. In addition to the new loan, Landbank is also looking into restructuring the existing banana production loans, under the same terms and conditions of the rehabilitation program. “Landbank is one with the Aquino Administration in its programs to help rehabilitate the banana industry in the typhoon-hit provinces by addressing the financing needs of banana growers,” Landbank President and CEO Gilda E. Pico said. Initial reports by the Department of Agriculture cite that the banana industry suffered the worst devastation wrought by "Pablo," with estimated losses of P7.44 billion, damaging 154,446 metric tons of crops and leaving 25,907 hectares unrecoverable. The Davao region is the country’s top producer and the world’s third biggest banana producer. For its other initiatives to help the typhoon victims, Landbank distributed 4,000 sacks of rice and 14,000 bags of relief goods which are part of Landbank’s total donation of P12 million.

Below P200-B Budget Deficit Seen By CHINO S. LEYCO December 30, 2012, 4:49pm The national government’s budget deficit is unlikely to reach P200 billion this year, First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Capital Markets Research said. FMIC and UA&P estimated that the government’s fiscal deficit would fall to around 1.8 percent of the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), from 2 percent last year. As of November, the government’s budget deficit stood at P127.3 billion, well below than the P279.1 billion ceiling for the year. But the figure is expected to increase in December after the budget department approved the release of P32.29 billion for quickdisbursing priority programs and projects. The P32.29 billion releases include the P20-billion capital infusion for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. In November, the government registered its highest-spending month for the year at P166.9 billion, 10.7 percent more than the P150.7-billion spent in the same month last year. “We expect a further decline in the deficit percentage in 2013, as tax collections gain traction with a faster moving economy, the approved hike in sin taxes which is expected to generate P33.5 billion, and improved tax administration,” FMIC and UA&P said. In December, President Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012, a key reform agenda especially for the young and the poor, who are unduly exposed to the ill-effects of smoking and excessive drinking. The two institutions, likewise, estimated that the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio would fall to some 48.8 percent by the end of 2012, and likely to be slightly lower in 2013. “By next year, the country will have a lower debt ratio than Thailand (and it was already lower than Malaysia in 2011),” said FMIC and UA&P.

Farmers’ New Year’s wish: Return of levy Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:16 am | Monday, December 31st, 2012 0 50 0 Quezon coconut farmers on Sunday asked President Aquino to give them hope for the New Year by returning to them the multibillion-peso coco levy fund. Jansept Geronimo, secretary general of the Coalition of Coconut Farmers of Quezon (Coco-Farm-Quezon), said that while the prospect of the return of the coco levy fund to the farmers is bleak, they still hoped the President would do the right thing. Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon


Coffee Evolution (Part II) By FLORO L. MERCENE December 30, 2012, 5:01pm Realistically, a cup of brewed coffee, according to experts, costs only R10 but price variations are due to value-added tax, marketing strategy, the store’s location, and many other factors. Like wine, every cup of joe is different – every coffee bean has a unique flavor, aroma, and color. Worldwide, 25 million small producers rely on coffee for a living, Wikipedia says. “Brazil alone, where almost a third of all the world's coffee is produced, over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of over 3 billion coffee plants; it is a labor-intensive culture compared to sugar cane or cattle, as it is not subject to automation and requires constant attention.” Today, the Philippines produces 30,000 metric tons of coffee a year, up from 23,000 metric tons just three years ago, according to the International Coffee Organization. Here’s a list and description of the four varieties of coffee that are all grown in the country. — Pure Excelsa, a lowland coffee with a distinct sweet and fruity aroma like jackfruit. It is a lot woodier than liberica. Usually found in Mount Malaray in Lipa, Mount Banahaw in Sorsogon. — Liberica or barako, considered lowland coffee, has a pungent aroma and a strong woody taste. Among all the four coffee varietals, liberica has the biggest bean. Usually found in Batangas, Cavite, and Bulacan. — Philippine Arabica is a highland coffee that grows from 1,000 to 1,600 meters above sea level. The country has five species of Arabica – tipica, Ramona, and Bourbon predominately found in Cordillera; and Meisor and Catimor mostly found in Mindanao. Usually abundant in Benguet, Mountain Province, Sagada, Ifugao, Mt. Matutum, Sultan Kudarat, Mt. Apo, and Agusan del Sur. — Robusta is also considered a lowland coffee and sometimes referred to as filler coffee. It has the highest caffeine content, and has the most woody taste. Usually found in Compostela Valley, Bukidon, Saranggani, South Cotobato, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental.

Kapeng barako has had a revival of sort, thanks to the efforts of many local coffee growers and connoisseurs who swear that it tastes better than imported brands. An article that appeared in “Batangas Coffee, Philippine History” said: “At the height of its popularity, Kapeng Barako commands five times the price of other Asian coffee beans. In 1889, however, coffee rust and insect infestation affected all the coffee trees which forced many farmers to shift to other crops." An Agriculture Business Week article says that the barako coffee is getting a new kick due to the effort of a local citizen, retired Col. Nicetas Katigbak to revive high-level production. He was surprised to find out that the top producer of barako is no longer Batangas but its neighboring province of Cavite. He aims to reclaim his province’s dominance as barako capital by embarking on a campaign to overtake Cavite in coffee production by offering his expertise and, for a fee, will maintain a coffee farm to encourage more people to go into barako farming. By restoring Batangas’ reputation as the Barako capital of the country, Katigbak believes that he is reacquainting the people with their rich history and cultural heritage. (To be continued)

Is the peso too strong? PHILEQUITY CORNER By Valentino Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2012 - 12:00am The Philippine peso closed 2012 at its strongest level in five years – evidence of the country’s much improved economic fundamentals. The peso strengthened 6.5 percent against the US dollar year-on-year, ending 2012 at 41.005. Spurred by confidence in the Aquino government, accelerating economic growth, strong OFW remittances and BPO revenues, sharp increase in the current account surplus and record GIR, the peso beat almost all the major currencies. Peso vs. major currencies As seen below, the peso strengthened against all major currencies in 2012. The peso appreciated 16.6 percent against the Japanese yen, 6.5 percent against the US dollar, 5.5 percent against the Chinese yuan and 4.6 percent against the euro.

Source: Bloomberg Peso vs. Asian currencies The peso appreciated against all Asian currencies, except for the Korean Won. Note, however, that the peso strengthened against the Indian rupee by 9.5 percent in 2012 and by a total of 30 percent the past two years.

Source: Bloomberg The great global monetary easing Another major reason for the peso’s strength is due to the excess liquidity worldwide. In 2012, major central banks such as the FED, ECB, BOE and BOJ have stepped up their quantitative easing (QE) programs to stimulate their respective economies (see The Great Global Monetary Easing, Oct. 22, 2012). New money is injected by central banks to purchase assets from commercial banks and private institutions in a bid to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels. Some of this new money eventually ended up in emerging markets like the Philippines in the form of portfolio inflows. Currency wars An offshoot of QE is currency wars because of competitive devaluation that usually accompanies it. Most economies want their net exports to improve given the anemic domestic demand. To counter these currency wars and at the same time stimulate their own respective economies, other central banks from countries such as China, India, Brazil and Australia likewise lowered their respective interest rates. The Philippines did its part with the Bankgo Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) cutting benchmark rates four times this year down to 3.5 percent. BPOs may lose competitiveness In our past articles, we warned about the danger of excessive peso strength and its negative long-term economic impact if left unchecked. In one of these articles, when the peso has just breached the 42 level against the US dollar, we mentioned that further peso strength is worrying especially for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. “What’s more alarming for us in Philequity is how the peso has appreciated against the Indian rupee since the 2nd half of 2011 which may have a big impact on our BPO sector where India is our primary competitor… The rupee is now cheaper by almost 30 percent compared to the peso.” – (see Too much of a good thing, July 9, 2012)

Last week, the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) also warned that the steadily rising peso is already eroding their competitiveness and could threaten their ability to expand. Calls for capital control The strong appreciation of the peso this year has prompted calls for new measures aimed to deal with “speculative” capital inflows and excessive volatility in the foreign exchange. Even IMF, which has been vocal against capital controls in the past, has indicated its willingness to relax its stance. In a recent policy paper, the IMF recommended capital control to address the surge in capital inflows that may destabilize economies thru formation of asset bubbles. BSP’s prompt response Always on top of the situation, the BSP responded by imposing new limits on nondeliverable currency forwards (NDFs) to temper speculative inflows. This is comparable to what Korea did starting Dec.1 to address a similar problem. The BSP now caps local banks’ NDF exposure to 20 percent of capital and foreign banks’ exposure at 100 percent of capital. The cap essentially makes speculating in NDF harder and therefore discourages speculation. Antonio Moncupa Jr., president of East West Bank and chairman of the Open Market Committee of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) said that the BAP is amenable to the new measure. “We respect the BSP’s position. The BSP is in command of data which no one else has. Their agenda is much bigger than any bank,” he was quoted as saying. Earlier this year, the BSP has already banned overseas investors from its special deposit accounts (SDAs) and ordered lenders to provide more funds to cover risks on nondeliverable currency forwards. A rosy 2013 Overall, we see positive things happening to the Philippine economy and the Philippine stock market in 2013. With the continued slowdown in the West, we see more QE coming from the US, the EU, Japan and UK which means that the global interest rate environment should remain low. Inflation is also expected to remain low with the BSP targeting four percent for 2013-2014. The recent passage of the Sin Tax bill and the RH bill has also received very positive response from investors. Not only does it improve the country’s credit outlook but it affirms the Aquino government’s ability to pass key structural reforms. The expected credit upgrade in 2013 would mean more investments coming to the Philippines. Moreover, the revenues generated from the Sin Tax bill and other revenue

reforms can then be used to accelerate investment spending, thus ensuring the higher growth trajectory for the Philippine economy. Too much of a good thing can be a problem “Managing the peso will become more challenging in 2013 given that the Philippines would likely reach investment grade by then,” according to BSP Deputy Gov. Diwa Gunigundo. So far, the government is doing all the right things. The BSP is also correct in saying that we have to watch out for excessive volatility in the peso and damage to the economy that a deluge of “fickle” hot money may bring. Too much of a good thing can also turn out to be a problem. In view of this, we believe that more forex measures or capital control may be warranted in the future. Recent moves of global central banks which came out with innovative and unconventional measures like the Fed’s QE, ECB’s OMT and Japan’s Asset Purchase Program will justify similar unconventional measures from our BSP. If the BSP is not proactive, the peso may become too strong which will make key industries, like our exporters and BPOs, uncompetitive. Thus, while an excessively strong peso may lift asset prices, ultimately, it will not be good for the economy. Learning from Japan The Philippines should learn from what happened to Japan. Due to a strong yen in past years, many of Japan’s export industry became unprofitable and lost market share to competitors like South Korea. The Japanese stock market stagnated and lost almost 80 percent in value since it peaked in Dec. 1989. The economy never recovered in what is known as Japan’s lost decade. Today, under the leadership of Shinzo Abe, Japan is trying to weaken the yen to fight deflation and bolster the economy. PSEi target of 6,700 for 2013 2012 was another good year for Philippine stocks. The PSE index reached our upgraded year-end target of 5,800 on the dot (see Italy defeats Germany, July 2, 2012) for a 32.95percent return. We are proud to say that our flagship Philequity Fund beat the index again with a return of 33.69 percent for the year.For end-2013, we expect the PSE index to hit 6,700. Our key assumptions and computations will be discussed in subsequent articles and during our investors briefing. We wish our shareholders and readers a prosperous New Year! For further stock market research and to view our previous articles, please visit our online trading platform at or call 634-5038. Our archived articles can also be viewed at

800 kilos of ‘botcha’ seized in Divisoria Published : Monday, December 31, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 65 Written by : Itchie G. Cabayan

SOME 800 kilos of ‘botcha’ or double-dead meat, mixed with spoiled imported meat, were seized by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) in a public market near Divisoria in Manila. NMIS chief Dr. Joey Diaz said that at around 1 a.m. , the NMIS intercepted the meat, consisting of 500 kilos of spoiled imported meat and 300 kilos of double-dead meat, as they were unloaded at the corner of Juan Luna Street and Claro M. Recto Avenue in Tondo, Manila. It was learned that the seized meat, which are unsafe for consumption, are being mixed by unscrupulous vendors with the fresh ones without the buyers’ knowledge. Diaz said inspections are continuing especially now that the public is more into buying meat in preparation for New Year parties. He also advised the public to thoroughly examine the meat they buy and make sure they are fresh. Double-dead meat, he said, are either too pale or too red and are usually slippery and foul-smelling.

The word now is ‘Imperial Malacañang’ By Francisco S. Tatad | Posted on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:01am | 2,982 views

Denied an organized opposition from the start of his term, President Benigno Aquino III has finally found what he never sought—fierce antiAquino sentiment in the vote-rich province of Cebu, the first bastion of Filipino resistance to early and now resurgent foreign colonialism and to present-day despotism. From there, it could spread to the other regions and beyond, even to the diaspora of 12 million Filipinos overseas. The new anti-Aquino forces seem determined to see to it. This inchoate opposition portends to raise at least three major national issues, and mobilize dormant national sentiment behind them. These are: territorial integrity and national sovereignty, religious liberty, and political freedom. First, they want to protest Aquino’s inability to protect the country’s territorial integrity from foreign intruders (notably China), and his collusion with alien powers, notably the US, the UK and certain UN agencies, to impose population control upon Filipino families. Second, they want to protest the crushing of religious liberty of Filipinos who reject contraception and sterilization as a matter of religious belief or moral conscience. Third, they want to protest Aquino’s attempt to control the three coequal and coordinate branches of government, which began when he ordered

his henchmen in Congress to impeach and remove the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who had preceded him in office. There could be any number of ancillary issues. Why this phenomenon should begin in Cebu rather than in Manila, the usually more active capital city, is not hard to understand. In 1986, God-fearing and prayerful nuns of Cebu City sheltered Cory Aquino from any possible harm from the civilian-backed military revolt in Manila that eventually put her in power, after she had lost the February 7, 1986 snap presidential elections to the incumbent strongman. Twenty-four years later, her only son would take power as the country’s first machine-elected president and proclaim her not simply as the first beneficiary of the EDSA ‘revolt,’ but rather as its inspiration and “icon.” The Cebuanos went along with all this view of history until Aquino stamped his totalitarian foot on the face of the Catholic opponents of the foreigndirected Reproductive Health bill. Then the once pro-Aquino province quickly took a U-turn, and withdrew the most visible support for the middleaged bachelor president who is in the middle of his six-year term, but whom not too many observers would dare accuse of governing the nation. Gone is the affectionate regard that greeted Aquino in Cebu in 2010. The estrangement is complete; it is a self-inflicted irony of the first order. Cebu’s political and cultural resentment against “imperial Manila” is well known. In Cory’s time, Governor Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmeña and the Cebuano elite encouraged their fellow Cebuanos to render the national anthem in Cebuano rather than in its Filipino (Tagalog-based) original. They also advocated federalism as a way of expressing their

feelings about Manila and their intense desire to cut off the clutches of Malacañang. That advocacy continues. A revision of the Constitution is needed to transform the country’s unitary system into a federal system, but the advocacy persists and has become a major political plank of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, among others, which recently signed a “framework agreement” with Aquino’s personally handpicked negotiators on the setting up of a “Moro political entity”, with the active participation of some foreign powers, to replace the Moro National Liberation Front-led Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Political passions may have waned somewhat in the intervening years. But Aquino’s neo-pagan imperialist stance in railroading the RH bill, which the political and Church leaders of Cebu have opposed as one, and his order suspending Cebu’s three-term Governor Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia for the next six months, on highly questionable grounds, appear to have given Cebuanos reason to believe that the biggest danger to the nation now comes from “Emperor PNoy” and “imperial Malacañang.” They rage against Aquino’s “duplicity” in his dealings with the Catholic Church and the rest of the nation on the most serious moral questions. They cite his last Cebu visit to prove their point. This refers to Aquino’s coming to Cebu City on November 30 to join the more than one million Catholic pilgrims in solemn thanksgiving for the canonization of their first Cebuano martyr-saint, San Pedro Calungsod, a 17th century lay catechist who died for his faith in Guam. Aquino had earlier sent Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to represent him at the canonization rites in Rome on October 21, 2012. In Cebu, he delivered what some observers called a “presidential homily” to the delight

of his official entourage. Although it amused some churchmen, the “homily” appeared, at least for the moment, to connect the usually indifferent politician to the Church officials led by Cebu’s archbishop and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Jose Palma and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the archbishop emeritus. However, following the reelection of US President Barack Obama, whose support for abortion activities worldwide had earlier caused Aquino to publicly embrace population control, and the holding of a “Family Planning Summit” in Manila by the British government, the UN Fund for Population Activities, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which had earlier raised $4.6 billion at the first such summit in London to fund RH activities for some 220 million women in at least six countries, Aquino cracked the whip and rolled out the pork barrel in Congress to railroad the widely opposed and highly divisive RH bill. That was particularly offensive to Filipino Catholics who were celebrating not only the canonization of their second martyr-saint but also the proclamation of the Year of Faith by Pope Benedict XVI, the elevation of their youthful Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle to the College of Cardinals, and the start of their traditionally longest Christmas season in the world. To the Cebuanos who considered themselves province-mates and even kinsmen of St. Calungsod, it seemed a direct personal and sacrilegious offense. Despite this rank display of presidential power, the pro-life and pro-family forces saw in the RH vote a chink in Aquino’s political armor. Although Aquino succeeded in getting the bill passed, mainly by coercing and corrupting Congress, the numbers were far fewer than he and everyone else had expected. After rolling out the pork and going out of

his way to call congressmen to make sure they delivered their votes, only 133 congressmen voted for it on final reading, while 79 courageously voted against it, and 74 chose to absent themselves. For all the vote-buying and political bullying that had gone into it, Aquino got no more than a minority vote—11 votes less than the quorum required of the 286 total House membership (not 287 as earlier reported), and 20 votes less than those who actively and passively opposed it. No wonder on December 21, Aquino signed the RH bill into law, calling it Republic Act 10354, in the secrecy of his official chamber, without the fanfare and hoopla that the vast army of foreign-funded NGOs and the conscript media had prepared for, to proclaim their victory and the “second colonization of the Philippines.” According to its text, the new Republic Act should take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. At this writing no such publication has appeared. The only story that has appeared about it so far has been a “leak” rather than an official release, which the usually voluble deputy palace spokesperson refused to either confirm or deny. Thus the biggest pro-Aquino and RH mouthpieces have been deprived not only of substantial advertising revenue but also of the psychic pleasure of running one more pro-Aquino, pro-RH banner headline The secrecy, usually associated with conspiracies, was apparently intended to avoid any massive protests on the ground. Enough that Aquino’s foreign patrons had been advised that the unjust anti-Catholic law had been signed, and that whatever payoff had been agreed upon should be delivered now. Assuming, of course, it has not been delivered yet.

Assuming this was a valid law, it does not take effect until it is duly promulgated, 15 days after official publication. But to the vast numbers of its opponents it remains an unjust law, and no amount of promulgation could make it valid and binding on any true and well-formed conscience. Its official publication in two newspapers of general circulation is certain to unleash the much awaited constitutional challenge to it before the Supreme Court, for which the prolife and pro-family forces have been preparing. Under the circumstances, Aquino had nothing to gain in creating more problems for himself and the nation. But he allowed himself to be led further down the garden path by his erstwhile vice presidential candidate and now-DILG secretary and LP president “on leave” Mar Roxas. Obviously inebriated by the LP’s questionable “success” in forcing its partymen to toe the line on the RH bill, the LP decided to unleash its imagined political juggernaut on Gwen Garcia, the governor-daughter of Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia who, together with Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and other distinguished congressmen, led the floor action against the RH bill in the House of Representatives. As governor, Garcia was in no position to create any trouble for Malacañang. She had not intended to do so. Barred by the Constitution from running for a fourth term, the 60 year-old governor is no longer running for reelection, but running for a congressional seat instead. Nonetheless she was not required to vacate her office until June 30, 2013, when her term expires and she begins a new term as congresswoman, if she is successful in her bid. That was unacceptable to Aquino’s Liberal Party henchmen who would like to capture the Cebu governorship next year, for strategic purposes in

the 2016 presidential elections, without any hitches. So Aquino suspended Garcia for the next six months—her last months in office—without any allegation or proof of criminal wrongdoing, just to get her out of the way while Mar Roxas and company run her office during the campaign period. Unhappily, Malacañang miscalculated. Instead of submitting meekly to the unjust order, as some weak-kneed official elsewhere might have done, Garcia decided to stand her ground. Malacañang had to show its raw power by deploying hundreds of heavily-armed policemen on the ground, setting up street barricades, dispersing the peaceful assembly of Garcia supporters, closing down some media outlets, and shutting down the water supply at the provincial capitol. All this puts in a much clearer perspective a point raised earlier by Archbishop Palma to the members of Congress before they voted on the RH bill. On the feast-day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, the CBCP president, quoting Pope Benedict XVI and making the Pontiff’s words his own, reminded the lawmakers that the strength of the law should prevail over the law of the strongest, that it should always be used as an expression of justice rather than as “the product of despotism, of an arrogance that is clothed in the garments of a law by those who have the power to do so.” The law should never be suspect, he told the lawmakers, otherwise it could not bind anyone in conscience but would rather tend to invite disobedience, if not popular resistance. Aquino would be well advised to ponder the Pope’s and Palma’s words. How could he expect his Republic Act to be obeyed if the plainest of his fellow citizens see that its real purpose is to carry out a war on Filipinos by foreign population controllers, and trash the constitutional right of individuals and families to live their lives as creatures of God rather

than as automatons of a totalitarian-inclined government? Can anything be more absurd than members of the power clique calling for “national healing” after they had driven their poisoned spear through the nation’s heart? In Governor Garcia’s case, can anything be more absurd than Malacañang calling upon her to accept what is clearly an unjust and preposterous order, and claiming with utter folly that majority of Cebuanos favor her suspension, according to “a survey” or “surveys” conducted by Malacañang’s paid propaganda pollsters? Has the nation been so politically idiotized that matters of right and wrong, just or unjust, legal or illegal, good or bad are now decided by means of unverified and unverifiable, very often manufactured, fudged, and crooked propaganda surveys, to which even supposedly intelligent people are now expected to submit? This is just part of the problem Aquino has created for himself and everyone else. To this the nation, not just the Cebuanos, must now respond with clarity, coherence, conviction and courage.‐word‐now‐is‐imperial‐malacanang/            

Cash for work By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:01am | 1,112 views Tweet 5

Trust Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman to come up with a novel idea. In the wake of the massive damage left by recent typhoons, the Social Welfare secretary said her department had set aside millions of pesos for a “cash-for-work” program that would benefit thousands of evacuees by paying them a daily wage to help clear storm-damaged areas. The initial fund for the program in the Davao region is P42.7 million, which will enable the government to hire some 28,000 typhoon victims to do rehabilitation work, including the construction of bunkhouses. The concept is not a bad one—but publicly funded make-work programs are hardly new. In fact, those of us who work for a living realize that this is the normal state of affairs outside the government: You work, you get paid. The reverse is also true in the real world: If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. From this perspective, even the term “cash-for-work” seems self-evident and even redundant, and would only be misconstrued as novel when juxtaposed against this administration’s P39-billion “cash-for-no-work” program, usually called by its official name, the Conditional Cash Transfer or CCT program. The Aquino administration’s centerpiece for fighting poverty, the program gives monthly cash doles of P500 to P1,500 to some 3 million poor families, depending on the number of their school-

aged children. To qualify for these monthly doles, beneficiaries must be among the “poorest of the poor” and agree to send their children to school. Under the P2-trillion national budget for 2013 signed this month, the program will get a P5-billion increase in funding next year to P44 billion. Ironically, because beneficiaries must be poor to qualify for the monthly doles, the program actually discourages any kind of regular employment. In effect, taxpayers who do have jobs must shoulder the P44-billion burden of paying people not to work, in a program that offers the economy no quantifiable gains —no roads, bridges, classrooms or irrigation systems are built. Such a program is even more problematic during an election year, when the monthly doles can easily be used for campaign purposes. Already there are scattered reports of administration candidates being present when the doles are handed out. But the biggest irony of all is that this is the same ill-considered program pushed by the Arroyo administration as a stop-gap measure against the financial crisis. This fact alone should have been the kiss of death for the CCT program in the Aquino administration, which abhors anything remotely related to its predecessor. But to our great misfortune, the Social Welfare secretary—who held the same post in the Arroyo administration—has managed to peddle the same “cash-for-no-work” nonsense twice, and has secured even more funding for it under the Aquino administration. This would certainly qualify as a joke on all of us during Innocents’ Day, which Filipinos often mark with harmless pranks during this time of the year. But the CCT program is by no means harmless, and those who understand why it is wrong will not be laughing. Tweet 5‐for‐work/             

2013 banana output seen declining by 33% By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:02am | 582 views

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A group of banana growers and exporters on Sunday warned that production may fall 33 percent in 2013, following the onslaught of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association said banana exports might decline to 100 million boxes from 150 million boxes, if measures to rehabilitate the industry would not be in place by the start of the year. “If what the Department of Agriculture said is true, then output, indeed, is bound to decline by at most half,� PBGEA president Steve Antig said in an interview Sunday. Banana growers and exporters earlier expected that production value would hit $1.1 billion in 2012, with 40 percent of exports going to China. Banana production reached 200 million boxes with a value of $760 million in 2011. Government data showed about 26,000 hectares of banana plantations were damaged by typhoon Pablo. PBGEA said the typhoon destroyed 14,000 hectares of farms operated by its members alone. The group met Friday to recast its budget for 2013, focusing on the required rehabilitation of farms.

“We are asking the Department of Agriculture to broker for us lower rates on loans available in the market. As it is, LandBank is not offering lower rates as previously reported. They maintained the 8-percent interest. Despite us being commercially big and all, we have no means to pay for that given our circumstances,” Antig said. The banana growers look forward to a loan package that will be offered by the Development Bank of the Philippines. Antig said the members of the group were not yet informed of the package. He said the group sought lower loan rates, “if possible, within our self-determined threshold of 4 to 5 percent.” The group also expressed concern over increased incidence of polevaulting, an emerging market trend by which growers sell their produce to buyers not covered by marketing contracts. Antig said this illicit practice might affect trading relations with long-time and trusted buyers. “We are not worried about defaulting on our commitments. We have always honored our obligations to our partners. We may not serve the new markets but we definitely strive to deliver to our traditional markets. And our members will never resort to pole-vaulting,” the group said. Tweet‐banana‐output‐seen‐declining‐by‐33/      

From here to sustainability By Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan | Posted on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:01am | 463 views

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My social engagements for the past two months gave me an inkling that ‘the best is yet to come.’ In communion with varied audiences, I found myself drawn into a vortex of ‘giant ideas’ that call for sustainable action. In that vortex is a journey from here to sustainability. Year 2050 and Rio+20 The conference of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business on greening the blue had nothing to do with UAAP. It addressed the nature of business green innovations and competitive advantage, focusing on: 1. Why go green and the role of business in sustainable development, 2. Operationalizing the green agenda, 3. Green Innovations, and 4. Green market and green branding: How green is green? On the last day of the conference, my three DLSU DBA CSR students were present. Prof. Anatacio Panahon presented a paper on “Greening the Corporation” with DAR Assistant Secretary Perry Villanueva and I were the discussants, while Kaye Felomino joined with the audience. Panahon made an urgent call to stop the uncontrolled extraction of the Earth’s natural resource. He echoed the alarm sounded by Sylvie Emmet at Rio +20 who said that: sixty percent of the ecosystem is already damaged; there will be 140 billion tons of global extraction of natural resources if current consumption stays at current rate; there will be 1 billion

to 3 billion additional middle class consumers by 2030 and the earth’s temperature will rise 3° or more due to the doubling of GHG emissions by 2050, if we do business as usual. Panahon’s bottom line: local corporations and consumers must act now to prolong the life of the Earth. Year 2030 and ASEAN social development At the Philippine Women’s University, I joined former PWU president Amelou Reyes, vice president for external affairs Alfredo Reyes, vice president for academic affairs Kristina Benitez, and social work Dean Nenita Cura in an exchange of ideas with University of Labor and Social Affairs acting rector Dr. Nguyen Thi Thuan and former Minister of Labor and Vietnam vocational training association chair Nguyen Thi Hang. The visit further strengthened the ULSA-PWU joint venture in training of some 600 Vietnamese social workers. Dr. Ngyen Thi Thuan would like to use this model for the ASEAN educational engagements. In my PWU social development class, Ernie Jarabejo reported that by 2022, the Philippine Department of Social Work and Development will be the hub for best practice in knowledge exchange and growth programs in Asia-Pacific. And by 2030, the DSWD aims to become the world’s standard for delivery of social protection by “creating an environment in which people experience and wisdom on social protection and welfare are valued and internal processes are structured to support policy makers, service providers in creating, sharing and using knowledge.” In another forum, President Sandra Camesa of National Council for Social Development invited me to speak at their 63rd NCSD general assembly. There, I joined Nicanor Perlas, president of Center for Alternative Development Initiatives and co-founder of the Movement of Imaginal for Sustainable Society Institutions, Organizations and

Networking, on the role of NGOs in civil society. I mentioned technology as a means of creating a network of networks for NGO communication and advocacy, the need for a three-way partnering among the NGOs, business and government agencies, and the urgent call for sustainable consumption and production. In response to the negative perception of social workers and NGO constituents, I made a case for corporate social initiative described by Dr. Raymund Habaradas of De La Salle University as a new corporate direction toward social development and social enterprise. Among others, Nic Perlas presented a notion that NGOs and non-profit and non-stock organizations must stop using such nomenclatures. He proposed the use of civil society organization as separate and distinct visà-vis government and business. He also noted that the CSOs are the gatekeepers and developers of culture, and that civil society must organize itself to be able to deal with business and politics. Year 2030 and the PNP I am a volunteer panelist of the National Police Commission’s Police Executive Service Eligibility validation interview. In November, I met Commissioner Luisito Palmera; Dir. Joseph D. Gonzalo, acting deputy executive officer; and Dir. Josephmar Gil, acting staff service chief who jointly briefed the panelists in assessing the professional competencies of the candidate officers. The interview covered strategic questions regarding the community, process excellence, learning and growth, resource management, and stakeholders’ support in achieving the transformation goals of the Philippine National Police. The PNP transformation roadmap holds a vision of “a highly capable, effective and credible police service working in partnership with a responsive community towards the attainment of a safer place to live, work

and do business.” Their mission is to “Enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.” The roadmap on the PNP commission and the joint study conducted by the government of the Philippines and the United Nations Development Programme that resulted to strategic PNP transformation plan. There is a call for our community [business, civil society and politicians] to work and collaborate with our national police, our civilian peace keeping force, to achieve their 2030 goals. At the 6th PESE conferment rites, 174 policemen formally received their executive service eligibility. Commissioner Constancia de Guzman reminded them that they are “Pulis ng mamamayan, pulis ng bayan, at pulis ng Diyos.” In behalf of DILG Secretary and Napolcom chair Mar Roxas, Napolcom vice chair and executive officer Eduardo Escueta delivered the inspirational message. Responsibility and sustainability Peace and prosperity of the Philippines, in the ASEAN region, of the world is attainable, if we do not give up striving for sustainable development ‘now and forever.’ I ask: Do we see a link between eternity with earthly sustainability? In 1953, the movie, From Here to Eternity, starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Cliff and Frank Sinatra captured the human emotions of the men in uniform in Hawaii before the Dec. 8, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, which spelled death among nations at war. Seventy-one years later, we find ourselves at a brink of self-destruction and Earthdestruction. The New Year 2013 is the right time for a new consciousness. We are urgently called singly and collectively to act responsibly from here to sustainability.

Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan teaches at the Management and Organization Department. Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He lectures at the Graduate School of De La Salle Araneta University, Malabon; Far Eastern University-Makati; Philippine Women’s University, Manila; and San Beda University. His e-mail: and Web site:

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of De La Salle University, its faculty, and administrators.‐here‐to‐sustainability/                         

October imports up 4.3% to $5.240 billion Published on 29 December 2012 Hits: 397 Written by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter 0 2 0 4 

Total Philippine merchandise imports in October this year reflected the more upbeat sentiments of both business and consumers as it went up by 4.3 percent to $5.240 billion, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Friday.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that October imports were higher than $5.024 billion recorded in the same month of 2011. The NSO attributed the overall growth of import payments from the higher purchases of goods such as metalliferous ores and metal scrap, cereals and cereal preparations, transport equipment, telecommunication, equipment and electrical machinery, electronic products and industrial machinery and equipment. Month-on-month, October imports slightly went down by 0.5 percent compared to previous month’s level of $5.266 billion. Meanwhile, the data showed that imports for the first 10 months of the year slightly increased by 0.9 percent to $51.275 billion from $50.839 billion for the same period in 2011. It added that electronic products, which shared 25.7 percent of the aggregate import bill, rose by 8.7 percent to $1.345 billion reported value from $1.237 billion in October 2011. However, compared to previous month, higher purchases of semiconductors at 4.2 percent was registered, which offset the decline of electronic products at 1 percent. NSO data further showed that imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials ranked second among the top 10 imports with 20.5 percent share to total imports registering an annual growth rate decrease of 7.5 percent from $1.159 billion in October 2011 to $1.073 billion. Transport equipment was the country’s third top import for the month with 7.8 percent share to total imports valued at $410 million from $337.60 million of the same month a year ago. Rounding up the list of the top 10 imports for September 2012 were industrial machinery and equipment amounting to $277.98 million; metalliferous ores and metal scrap,

$222.93 million; cereals and cereal preparations, $187.67 million; iron and steel, $125.51 billion; organic and inorganic chemicals, $120.54 million; plastics in primary and non-primary forms, $115.39 million; and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, $108.31 million. Aggregate payment for the country’s top 10 imports for October 2012 reached $3.986 billion, or 76.1 percent of the total import bill. “The higher importation of capital goods, raw materials and intermediate goods was partly due to the anticipated increase in volume of production on account of improved orders and projects as well as the expansion of businesses and new product lines,” according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan. Balisacan added that these expansion plans, on the other hand, are backed by the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Top sources On the other hand, the United States emerged as the country’s biggest source of imports in October 2012 with 11.5 percent share. Payments were recorded at $603.96 million, an increase of 22.3 percent from $493.70 million in October 2011. China was the second top source of imports with 11.3 percent share to the total import bill amounting to $589.97 million, higher by 23.3 percent from $478.43 million in October 2011. Japan came in third, accounting for 9.9 percent share of the total import bill in October 2012 with negative growth of 14.6 percent from $607.45 million to $518.91 million. Other major sources of imports for the month of October 2012 were Taiwan, $516.36 million; South Korea, $353.83 million; Thailand, $318.60 million; Singapore, $307.50 million; United Arab Emirates, $267.34 million; Indonesia, $265.76 million; and Saudi Arabia, $248.80 million. Payments for imports from the top 10 sources for October 2012 amounted to $3.991 billion, or 76.2 percent of the total.‐business‐news/38306‐october‐imports‐ up‐4‐3‐to‐5‐240‐billion         

2012 12 31 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  
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