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BFAR Clears Central Luzon Waters December 31, 2012, 5:10pm SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (PIA) - The coastal waters of Bataan, Bulacan, and Zambales provinces remain free from toxic red tide as of this writing, Shellfish Bulletin No. 29, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported. BFAR Regional Director Remedios Ongtangco said coastal waters of Bulacan and Bataan - towns of Mariveles, Limay, Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Orani, Abucay and Samal in Manila Bay; Masinloc Bay in Zambales are free from toxic red tides. Shellfish from the mentioned areas can now be gathered, harvested, and sold in markets for human consumption. Meanwhile, shellfishes collected at Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur; and Murcielagos Bay in Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental, are positive for paralytic shellfish poison beyond the regulatory limit. Ongtangco noted that all types of shellfish and Acetes ap or alamang from the said areas are not safe for human consumption.

DTI Pushes Coffee For Kalinga December 31, 2012, 5:04pm TABUK CITY, Kalinga (PIA) - Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Kalinga Provincial Director Grace Baluyan is encouraging coffee farmers to engage in coffee propagation and processing. Baluyan said farmers here are now getting interested in the coffee processing business after seeing its commercial potentials. She said that with the continuous advocacy and assistance of DTI, its partner agencies and local government units, local farmers in the coffee pilot barangays of Balawag, Mananig and Gawidan have increased their income by at least 50 percent margin monthly by selling roasted or ground coffee. The DTI-Cordillera regional office identified Kalinga as coffee champion with aforesaid barangays as pilot areas. “These three barangays are now showing how farmers could gain more with coffee,” she said. Instead of directly selling coffee beans to traders, farmers are now roasting and processing their beans to supply their specialty markets such as the local consumers and processors including Nestle and Figaro. Production of gourmet Robusta is also being encouraged since earning from the wet processed coffee demands at least an additional P35 in the selling price compared to dry processed coffee. “Coffee corporations are buying per metric tons of gourmet Robusta, and this is what we are trying to tell the farmers so they would also take interest of planting additional coffee trees in their farms to meet the demands of corporation instead of buying from coffee traders if their stocks run-out,” she said. To address this, the coffee project in the province in partnership with the Rural MicroEnterprise Promotion Programme (RuMEPP) and the City Agricultural office (CAO) and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Tabuk has included in the program component the input provision the production and planting of quality seedlings. Focus she said is now on the revival of old coffee plantations and the propagation of more trees to ensure the steady and sufficient supply of coffee from the province.

Scientific Farming By RESTITUTO A. CAYUBIT December 31, 2012, 3:55pm CATARMAN, Northern Samar — Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza is encouraging farmers here to adhere to scientific methods of rice farming to attain better harvests and farm incomes. Daza told local reporters in an interview that part of his administration’s strategy for the province’s attaining of self sufficiency in rice and improve the economic conditions of the farmers is by encouraging rice growers to practice modern ways of farming. To convince farmers here to practice modern rice growing technology he has directed the provincial agricultural office to conduct trainings, seminars and field schools for the farmers and introducing them to scientific farming methods and their advantages. Daza explained that the obsolete and traditional payatak system practiced in rice production is the main factor why local rice farmers have poor harvests and very low income. He said the payatak farming system only has an average harvest of 30 cavans or 1.5 tons per hectare per cropping. He also said that with their low harvest, farmers remain poor and cannot provide for the basic needs of their families.

Higher sin taxes take effect today By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 1, 2013 - 12:00am 35 117 googleplus0 2

MANILA, Philippines - The New Year ushers in higher taxes on cigarettes, beer, liquor, wine, and other tobacco and alcohol products. When he signed Republic Act No. 10351 on Dec. 20, President Aquino said, “Today, we are again making history: for the past 15 years, we have been trying to reform the tax structure of imposing excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products. After 15 long years, we have finally succeeded.” “As the people’s servant, I shall personally ensure that this government shall implement the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012 in a transparent and accountable manner starting Jan. 1, 2013,” he said. Starting today, the tax on cigarettes packed by hand, which comprise the bulk of tobacco products sold in the country, is P12 per pack for those with a net retail price (excluding the excise tax and the 12-percent value added tax) of P11.50 and below. For those with a higher retail price, the tax is P25.

The rates will go up to P17 and P27 in 2014, P21 and P28 in 2015, and P25 and P29 in 2016. There will be a single rate of P30 per pack starting 2017, rising by four percent every year. This means that the four categories of cigarettes based on their retail prices and tax rates under the old law have been reduced to just two, with the new law providing for a uniform tax treatment beginning in 2017. The old levies ranged from P2 per pack for low-priced cigarettes to P28 for those classified as premium. For fermented liquor (beer), the tax is P15 per liter if the net retail price is P50.60 and below per liter, and P20 per liter for those with a higher price. The rates will rise to P17 and P21 in 2014, P19 and P22 in 2015, and P21 and P23 in 2016. A uniform tax of P23.50 will be imposed starting in 2017, which will increase by four percent every year. For distilled spirits, the tax is 15 percent of net retail price plus P20 per proof liter, rising to 20 percent plus P20 in 2015. In the case of wine, the tax is P200 per bottle of 750 ml (milliliter) if its net retail price is P500 or less, and P500 per if the wine costs more. According to Sen. Franklin Drilon, principal author of the Senate version of the sin tax bill, additional sin tax collections for 2013 would amount to P33.96 billion, P42.82 billion in 2014, P50.63 billion in 2015, P56.86 billion in 2016, and P64.18 billion in 2017, for a total of P248.49 billion in five years. Some 70 percent of such collections would come from tobacco products. The law allocates 15 percent of incremental revenues for programs that would benefit tobacco farmers. Of the remaining 85 percent, 80 percent “shall be allocated for universal health care under the national health insurance program, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and health awareness programs; and 20 percent shall be allocated nationwide, based on political and district subdivisions, for medical assistance and health enhancement facilities, the annual requirements of which shall be determined by the Department of Health.” The 20 percent for medical assistance and hospitals to be distributed among “political and district subdivisions” is additional pork barrel funds for members of Congress.

Oil prices up, LPG price down By Neil Jerome Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 1, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Consumers bid adieu to 2012 with higher fuel prices as oil firms jacked up pump prices yesterday following higher global benchmark prices. But cooking gas prices will welcome the year with a P2 per kilogram (kg) price rollback, with prices expected to further drop until the summer season. Independent retailers belonging to the party-list group Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) rolled back their LPG prices by P2 per kilo or P22 for every 11-kg cylinder at midnight last night. Major players Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., and independent firms Seaoil Philippines Inc. and Total Philippines Corp. marked up prices of premium and regular gasoline by 75 centavos and 65 centavos per liter, respectively. The companies also jacked up prices of diesel by 20 centavos per liter and kerosene by 30 centavos per liter. “This is to reflect price movements in the international petroleum market,” Seaoil said. International benchmark prices rose last week as investors remain wary of continuing political tensions in oil producing Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iran. This week’s price adjustment, which is the second consecutive weekly price increase, was effective yesterday. But Petron said it is still implementing a price freeze in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, which were battered by typhoon “Pablo.” Last week, major and independent oil players increased prices of premium and regular gasoline by 50 centavos and 55 centavos per liter, respectively. Prices of diesel also rose by 45 centavos per liter and kerosene by 60 centavos per liter. Since the start of the year, the net increase for gasoline hit P1.66 per liter while diesel posted a net decrease of P1.33 per liter, Department of Energy (DOE) data showed. On the other hand, consumers will welcome the year with lower LPG prices for the second straight month. Last month, LPGMA cut cooking gas prices by P4 per kg.

LPGMA is a group of independent cooking gas retailers in Metro Manila and neighboring areas. Its members include Island Gas, Regasco Gas, Pinnacle Gas, Cat Gas, M-Gas, Omni Gas and Nation Gas. Under Republic Act 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, oil firms can set the prices of petroleum products based on market forces to encourage competition. The deregulation law also prohibits the government from intervening or influencing the pricing schemes of the oil companies. However, the government, through the DOE, has the power to monitor prices. For monitoring purposes, the DOE has requested the firms to report to the department any price adjustments. Amid the rash of accidental fires, Ty renewed his plea for the passage of a bill proposing to establish a one-time exchange program for the benefit of consumers possessing dilapidated LPG cylinders. – With Jess Diaz

Noy promises sufficient rice, classrooms in 2013 By Camille Diola ( | Updated December 31, 2012 - 11:42am 5 38 googleplus0 0

President Benigno Aquino III declared 2013 as the "Year of Rice" as government hopes to produce enough of the food staple and save from further imports. MALACAĂ‘ANG PHOTO MANILA, Philippines - For President Benigno Aquino III, Filipinos can look forward to 2013 with optimism as his government has not only kept with the "straight path" it has promised but has "only just begun." Aquino, in his New Year message on Monday, said that his administration has assured that the country will not only produce enough rice for its citizens but will also be able to export it by next year. "Kung dati, milyun-milyong tonelada ng bigas ang nabubulok sa mga warehouse dahil sa maling pamamalakad, ngayon, dahil sa tamang pamamahala, hindi na lamang rice selfsufficiency, kundi ang pag-eexport ng matataas na klase ng bigas ang habol natin pagdating ng 2013," Aquino said.

He added that compared to the 66,800 shortage in classrooms during former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's term, the current government is set to provide enough classrooms as well as adequate tables, chairs and textbooks for young learners. Aquino also boasted of the 7.1 growth in the country's gross domestic product as among the highest in Asia and the setting of record highs of the Philippine Stock Exchange the past year, adding that the economic strengthening will continue in 2013. "Simula lamang po ito. Sa totoo lang po, ang kaisa-isang limitasyon sa tayog ng ating mararating ay ang ating ambisyon. Nasa pagtutulungan at tiwala natin sa isa’t isa ang susi ng tagumpay," Aquino said. Reiterating the list of accomplishments Malacanang released last Thursday, Aquino said that a major step toward peace in Mindanao had been taken through the Bangsamoro deal--a process which will carry on in the following months. Aquino, who is approaching the third year of his presidency, also admitted in his speech that 2013 would be a "critical chapter in (the country's) crusade to lasting prosperity and upright governance" also referring to the upcoming mid-term elections. "Ngayong bagong taon, mas maigting na pagkakaisa ang kailangan. Umaasa akong magiging mapanuri ang taumbayan sa pagkilatis ng mga itatalagang pinuno," he said. Toward the end of his message, Aquino urged his constituents to work hand-in-hand as the "only limitation" would be each one's ambition. "Ang aking hiling ngayong ngayong 2013: ituloy lang natin ang bayanihan. Kapit-bisig tayong humakbang tungo sa maliwanag at masaganang kinabukasan ng ating bayan," the president added. "Kasama po ninyo akong umaasa na ang ating bagong taon ay di hamak na mas maganda sa nakalipas na taon," he concluded.

Filipinos urged to eat more fruits, veggies, lessen meat intake By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:39 pm | Monday, December 31st, 2012

Senator Gregorio Honasan. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Lawmakers are concerned that Filipinos are eating more meat and chicken and less fruits and vegetables based on a government study covering 30 years. Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II said the data compiled by the National Statistical Coordination Board from national nutrition surveys made from 1978 to 2008 merely confirmed fears of the poor food choices made by the Filipinos in the face of their changing environment. “There are lots of factors why Filipinos eat less fruits and vegetables and more meat and poultry and one of them is the mass migration to urban centers and the stress of a city lifestyle during the last three decades. Lifestyles have changed and sadly, our nutrition has taken a big hit for it,” said Honasan. Honasan, vice chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said the government should take a more active role in reminding the public about the benefits of keeping a balanced diet and active lifestyle. Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, vice chair of the committee on health, shared Honasan’s concerns as she noted that chronic diseases have “alarmingly increased” which she blamed on the country’s eating habits and sedentary lifestyle “wherein people take a tricycle even for short distances.” NSCB secretary general Jose Ramon Albert said that his agency’s report, released December 30, showed that Filipinos ate an average of 58 grams of meat products a day in

2008, up by 152 percent from 23 grams in 1978. Filipinos are also eating more chicken at an average of 25 grams per day in 2008, up from 7 grams in 1978. “With these observed increases, it is thus not surprising that increases were likewise observed in fats and oil consumption, which increased by 15.4 percent (from 13 grams per day in 1978 to 15 grams in 2008,” said Albert. The same report showed Filipinos munching fewer vegetables (down 24 percent to 110 grams in 2008 from 145 grams in 1978) and fruits (down 48 percent to 54 grams in 2008 from 104 grams in 1978). During the same period, fish, which accounts for the bulk of the Filipinos’ diet, increased by 7.8 percent to 110 grams per day in 2008 from 102 grams in 1978. Albert noted that these distinct changes in food consumption came in tandem with the rise of heart diseases as the primary cause of death in the country starting from 1990 to 2006. Albert said in the 1980s, heart disease was only second to pneumonia as the main cause of mortality among Filipinos. “Is this the effect of our preference for high octane food over fruits and veggies?” asked Albert who also noted an alarming increase in cancer among the top 5 leading causes of deaths in the country. “While this may be partly an issue of better identification of cancer, in recent times, but it also may suggest something about our nutrition and lifestyle choices.” Garin said the government has to step up its awareness campaign on having a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. “The impact of these diseases should not be underestimated. Exercise, healthy eating with the inclusion of fruits and vegetables plus adequate sleepshould be encouraged,” said Garin in a text message. Garin proposed that part of the funds to be raised from the recently approved hike in sin taxes should be diverted for this information campaign.

Expansion Of Bank Networks Makes Fin’l System Become More ‘Inclusive’ By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN December 31, 2012, 5:28pm The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Filipinos have more access to financial services today and this “financial inclusion” is the inclusive growth that will ensure that the expanding economy as measured by GDP (gross domestic product) will actually and finally translate in real terms (peso value) to the masses. “The (Philippine) financial system has become more inclusive over the years, a system that provides access for everyone that needs them,” said the BSP in a report first released in the third quarter. The expansion of banking networks in terms of the number of branches, the automated teller machines and other financial providers (FSPs) such as non-bank financial institutions including pawnshops have made inclusive growth all the more possible. Based on BSP data the number of banking branches have increased by 22.6 percent to 9,301 as of end-September from 7,585 in 2001. The ATM locations, in the meantime, expanded by 202.7 percent from 3,882 11 years ago to 11,752 as of the third quarter of 2012. At the end of 2011, there are also 26,000 alternative access points such as pawnshops, money changers, foreign exchange dealers, remittance agents and mobile banking agents, added the BSP in a statement. “While there is a general increase in the number of access points, there are regional disparities that show concentration in highly populous and urbanized regions,” said the BSP. These are the National Capital Region, CALABARZON and Central Luzon. The regions MIMAROPA, Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, CAR and ARMM are areas that need improving. The report noted however that over the past years, Zamboanga Peninsula reported one of the highest increases in the number of banks at 11 percent from 2009 to 2011 while MIMAROPA achieved the fastest growth of 48 percent in the number of ATM outlets. “This is a positive indicator of increased access to areas that are underserved,” said the BSP. “One of the seen opportunities for financial inclusion is the presence of alternative FSPs,” the BSP added. There are still 609 unserved municipalities as of the end of September out of 1,634 which cover about 15.2 percent of the population. These FSPs are expected to increase financially served municipalities by another 237.

The BSP said that based on a demand study on domestic payments, of the 55 percent of the population, about 95 percent which are classified as either poor or very poor now have access to banking transactions such as remittances and payments. “With the BSP’s enabling policy environment together with technology-driven innovations, these alternative FSPs can become effective channels to access financial services,” noted the BSP. “The BSP is now benchmarking its progress to see if indeed the deliberate efforts toward financial inclusion are bringing financial services to the unbanked and underbanked who need these the most.” The banking system recorded year-on-year deposits growth of 7.4 percent to R4.1 trillion as of the end of the third quarter. Savings and deposits remained as the banking sector’s main sources of income. The central bank said savings and deposits accounted for almost half of the funding base of banks. Savings deposits alone went up by 10.4 percent while demand deposits rose eight percent. Time deposits also increased 1.3 percent year-on-year after reporting declines in the previous quarter. While banking networks continue to grow, the number of banking institutions because of consolidation and mergers especially in the smaller rural banking sector are decreasing. As of the end of September, the BSP is supervising 705 banks from 712 in June and 723 in March. Since September of 2011, a total of 33 small banks have been closed down for various reasons, mostly insolvency and not enough capitalization. The BSP’s supervised banks are universal/commercial banks, thrift banks, rural and cooperative banks. The universal and commercial bank category includes private domestic banks, subsidiaries of foreign banks and branches of foreign banks. As of the end of the third quarter, there are a total of 37 universal/commercial banks from 38 in March after the closing of commercial bank, Export & Industry Bank last April. It was the first commercial bank closed since Urban Bank in 2001. Thrift banks have also decreased in numbers from 71 in March to 69 as of end-September. The BSP is especially active in trimming the number of smaller rural and cooperative banks which as of end-September is just 599 from 606 in June and 614 at the start of 2012. Non-financial banks that are monitored by the BSP, also called FSPs, number about 17,323 in total, of which 6,449 are head offices. Pawnshops have the largest operations among non-financial banks or about 6,317 of 6,449.

Outstanding T-bonds reach P3.131 trillion By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2012 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The government’s outstanding Treasury bonds (T-bonds) have reached P3.131 trillion as of end-Nov. 30, latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed. The outstanding bonds issued have varying tenors of three, four, five, seven, 10, 20 and 25-year bonds, data showed. The multi-currency retail treasury bonds (RTBs) issued in 2010 and maturing in 2013 and 2015 also comprise the outstanding T-bonds, Treasury data also showed. For 2013, the government is still firming up plans on whether or not it would continue offering RTBs. National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the Treasury has to determine if RTBs indeed cater to retail investors as intended or are only chalked up by institutional investors. She said that the better option may be to stick to the borrowing program.

Under De Leon’s leadership, the Treasury is reviewing previous borrowing practices in the domestic market, taking into consideration the high-level of liquidity in the local mart. For instance, the Treasury has opted to do away with the weekly debt sales starting next year in favor of twice-a-month auctions. The government has programmed to borrow P120 billion from the local debt market in the first quarter of 2013, higher than the P90 billion programmed this quarter. The Treasury decided to increase the auction size but cut the frequency of the debt sales to twice a month instead of the usual weekly program given the high level of liquidity in the domestic market. Of the P120 billion, the Treasury will sell P45 billion worth of T-bills and P75 billion worth of T-bonds. According to the new borrowing program, the government will auction P15 billion worth of T-bills on Jan. 9, Feb. 6 and March 6, 2013 or a total of P45 billion. The P15 billion is double the current T-bill auction size of P7.5 billion. The government is also set to auction P25 billion worth of T-bonds per auction date on Jan. 24 (seven-year T-bonds); Feb. 21 (10-year T-bonds); and on March 21 (20-year Tbonds). The P25 billion is more than double the current T-bond auction size of P9 billion. The bigger but less frequent debt sales is more appropriate given the high level of liquidity in the domestic market. Banks have been tendering more than the program during the weekly debt sales of Treasury bills and bonds. The government borrows from the local debt market through the issuance of Treasury bills and bonds.

PH group, Malaysians eye oil palm tie-up By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 504 views A group of Filipino investors plans to tie up with a Malaysian company in oil palm propagation and later go into processing in the Philippines. Jesus Arranza, president of the CIIF-Oil Mills Group, said two Malaysian companies expressed interest to team up with the Filipino consortium. “It is possible that the Malaysian investors will be coming over to discuss the project. There had been preliminary talks. It’s now a matter of finalizing the talks to get the project going by 2013,” he said. Initial estimates put the cost of the 80,000-hectare oil palm plantation at a maximum of $100 million. The potential partners have not yet identified a suitable oil palm plantation site. Oil palm is the tree from where the oil, or palm olein, is extracted. Arranza noted palm oil production might soon outpace coconut oil volume. A one-hectare palm plantation can process 500 kilograms of oil, higher than the 450 kilos extracted from copra. “Coconut oil, though, has a premium over palm olein that makes it the best choice for high-end coconut oil-based products such as beauty soaps, pharmaceutical products and other value-added stuff,” said Arranza. The Southern Philippine Development Authority identified about 304,000 hectares of land in Mindanao that are suitable for oil palm production. At least eight oil palm plantations operate in the Philippines, all located in Mindanao. The Philippine Palm Oil Development Council Inc. said palm oil imports from Malaysia had steadily increased. The Philippines in 2009 imported just 119,229 metric tons of palm oil from Malaysia, before nearly doubling to 204,731 MT in 2010 and increasing to 543,000 MT in 2011 worth P28.03 billion. Imports from Malaysia alone could reach 597,000 MT in 2012. “Given these circumstances, the Filipino group, I learned, is looking at displacing a hefty amount of palm oil imports once it starts commercially,” said Arranza.

PNoy’s message for New year 2013 By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 563 views

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Mensahe ng Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III Pangulo ng Pilipinas Para sa Bagong Taon 2013

[Ika-31 ng Disyembre 2012]

Kaybilis po talaga ng panahon: Ito na po ang ikatlong bagong taon na ipagdiriwang ng sambayanan sa tuwid na daan. At hindi po maikakaila: sinasalubong natin ang bawat pagpapalit ng taon, nang may matibay na pag-asa, at kompiyansang mas magiging makabuluhan, at higit na makahulugan ang mga susunod pang taon sa landas ng tapat at mabuting pamamahala. Ang taong 2012 ay parehong panahon ng pagsubok at tagumpay. May ilan mang lubak sa ating paglalakbay; may mga pilit mang humadlang sa ating mga positibong hakbang; nanaig pa rin ang adhika nating ituwid ang baluktot na sistema, at baguhin ang dinatnan nating kalagayan ng bansa. Kung dati, milyun-milyong tonelada ng bigas ang nabubulok sa mga warehouse dahil sa maling pamamalakad, ngayon, dahil sa tamang

pamamahala, hindi na lamang rice self-sufficiency, kundi ang pag-eexport ng matataas na klase ng bigas ang habol natin pagdating ng 2013. Ang minana natin mula sa ating sinundan: 66, 800 na kakulangan sa silid aralan. Ang pamana ng tuwid na landas sa mga kabataan: sapat na classroom, sapat na mesa’t upuan, sapat na aklat, para sa kanilang mas mayamang kinabukasan.

Matagal rin po tayong binansagang “Sick Man of Asia.” Subalit dahil sa pambihirang arangkada ng ating ekonomiya, sunud-sunod ang mga namumuhunan sa ating bansa. At mukhang magpapatuloy ang ganitong kompiyansa ng mundo sa atin: ang 7.1 percent na pag-angat ng GDP nitong 3rd quarter, ay higit sa inaasahang target ng mga dalubhasa, at siyang pinakamataas sa buong Timog Silangang Asya. Hindi lang po rito natatapos ang pagbuhos ng mabubuting balita, tagumpay at biyaya sa bansa. Mula sa patuloy na pagangat ngall time high ng Philippine Stock Exchange, hanggang sa pagpapanday ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa Bangsamoro; Mula sa pagliwanag ng libu-libong mga sitio, hanggang sa pagkakapasa ng ilang makasaysayang batas; Mula sa pagpapantay sa timbangan ng katarungan, hanggang sa kahandaan at bayanihan ng sambayanan sa harap ng mga pagsusungit ng kalikasan, pinapatunayan natin sa buong mundo: basta’t handa tayong gawin ang tama’t magsakripisyo para sa ating kapwa; basta’t sumasagwan tayo nang sabay sa ngalan ng sambayanan; walang pangarap na hindi kayang abutin ang ating bansa. Simula lamang po ito. Sa totoo lang po, ang kaisa-isang limitasyon sa tayog ng ating mararating ay ang ating ambisyon. Nasa pagtutulungan at tiwala natin sa isa’t isa ang susi ng tagumpay. Ang 2013 ay kritikal na

yugto sa ating krusada ng pangmatagalang kaunlaran at tuwid na pamamahala. Ngayong bagong taon, mas maigting na pagkakaisa ang kailangan. Umaasa akong magiging mapanuri ang taumbayan sa pagkilatis ng mga itatalagang pinuno. Ang mga pinunong ito ang tutugon sa panawagan nating isulong ang dangal at katapatan sa paglilingkod-bayan; Ang mga pinunong ito ang aasahan nating didilig sa mga repormang ating ipinunla. Kaya naman mahalaga ang ating paninindigan at pagtitimbang kung saang direksyon tutungo ang ating bansa: Sabay-sabay ba tayong sasagwan patungo sa landas kung saan nangingibabaw ang kapakanan ng Pilipino? O hahayaan lang natin na muling matangay ang Pilipinas sa mga daluyong ng panlalamang, pagkakanya-kanya’t kurapsyon? Ang aking hiling ngayong ngayong 2013: ituloy lang natin ang bayanihan. Kapit-bisig tayong humakbang tungo sa maliwanag at masaganang kinabukasan ng ating bayan. Muli po, kasama po ninyo akong umaasa na ang ating bagong taon ay di hamak na mas maganda sa nakalipas na taon.                

Water Snake year: Best time to start afresh By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 6,092 views

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The Year of the Water Snake, which begins on February 10, 2013, is the best time to start a new life, according to feng shui expert Marites Allen. The United Kingdom-based Allen compares the year to a “reset button.”

Year of the Snake. A sales lady arranges a display of snake figurines in a store in Binondo, Manila. Feng shui experts said the Year of the Snake is the best time to start a new life, career or business. LINO SANTOS Thus, this is the year to start a new career or a business. “If you ask me, I’m back to zero all over again. I started Frigga (her feng shui-inspired clothing line). It’s a reset button for everybody,” she said. Compared to the Year of the Water Dragon, the Year of the Water Snake brings good tidings. This is because the coming year has “a complete set of elements.”

“Things will be very good because it has the presence of two wood elements, two water, two earth, a metal and a fire. So this is a complete set of elements. are hoping to go through a better time after so many years of [hardship],” said Allen. Allen said those who were born in the Year of the Tiger and the Year of the Ox will gain wealth-related luck during the Year of the Water Snake. Dragons and Snakes, on the other hand, are seen to be lucky in issues related to love, romance and education next year. Other “lucky” animal signs include the Horse, which is seen to have more “prosperity”; the Rat, predicted to get the energies of the “white star,” which is associated with overall success; and the Dog and Boar, said to have better “heaven luck” or karma. On the other hand, Allen said the Rabbit, Rooster, Sheep and Monkey will not be as fortunate during the Year of the Water Snake. Marites Allen will hold a feng shui convention on January 19, 2013 at the Infinity Ballroom of Best Western Premiere F1 Hotel at Fort Bonifacio Global City. After the Manila event, she will hold similar talks on February 16 in Monaco, March 23 in London, March 31 in Tokyo, April 27 in Alaska, May in Iceland, July in Norway, August in Belgium, Spain and Malta, and September in Denmark and Sweden.‐snake‐year‐best‐time‐to‐start‐afresh/          

2013: New dawn, new hope By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:02am | 1,960 views

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The year 2013 may shape up to become a year of better tidings for the Philippines following its mixed fortunes last year, when the economy soared but Mindanao was struck by a typhoon that killed over a thousand people, affected millions more, sent hundreds of others missing and caused billions of pesos in damage to agriculture, infrastructure and property. Indeed, analysts are predicting a record year for the economy in 2013— particularly for the equities and currency markets—as more investors bet on the stock market and support the peso in anticipation of the Philippines’ debt receiving an investment-grade rating. An investment grade rating means Philippine debt is safe and carries little risk, hence attracting more investors and, at the same time, reducing the interest rate that the country must pay for the money it borrows abroad. Adult Filipinos are also hopeful for this year as indicated by the results of a Social Weather Stations survey for the fourth quarter last year, when 92 percent of them said so. And the political front is expected to heat up as a result of the mid-term elections in May and the continuing dispute between the ruling Liberal Party and the United Nationalist Alliance, which are at loggerheads as a result of Malacañang’s suspension of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for alleged abuse of authority. Garcia has defied her six-month suspension and lived inside her office at the Provincial Capitol since the order suspending her was released on Dec.

19 and her replacement was announced. She has asked the Court of Appeals to step in and stop Malacañang. Both the peso and the stocks rose on Friday last week, ending trading this year on a positive note. The peso gained 0.2 percent to close at 41.05 against the dollar last week and 6.4 percent since the start of the year to become Asia’s best performing currency after South Korea’s won. The PSEi, the 30-company benchmark index of the Philippine Stock Exchange, also climbed, and by 17 points or 0.3 percent to close at 5,812.73 near a record level. The index had jumped by 1,440.77 points or 33 percent since the start of the year. The PSEi’s 33-percent gain was the second best in Asia, next to Thailand Stock Exchange’s 36.3-percent increase, according to First Metro Investments Corp. Economists and analysts see the peso and the stocks sustaining their gains in 2013, when the country is expected to receive an investmentgrade credit rating. Overseas funds invested in emerging markets with robust economic performance such as the Philippines led to the appreciation of the peso and the stocks. “The strong surges in inflows have resulted in considerable appreciation pressures on the peso,” Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. had said. “In order to help manage volatilities in the exchange rate movements, the Bangko Sentral maintained its presence in the foreign exchange market and built up its reserves to a record $84 billion as of November 2012.”

Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the strength of the peso reflected the Philippines’ strong macroeconomic fundamentals, including its external payments surplus and the capital inflows attached to the country’s positive outlook. “As we expect sustained BoP surplus next year, the peso will remain firm,” Guinigundo said. “The challenge to some economic sectors is to improve their efficiency and productivity so they can compete in the external markets. After all, a firm peso helps reduce production cost.” \BDO analyst Jonas Ravelas predicted that the peso will fluctuate from 39 to 43.50 to the dollar in 2013 before settling at 42.10 by the end of that year. \Philippine Stock Exchange president Hans Sicat said he was confident about the stock market’s continuing strong performance as he expected capital-raising activities in 2013 to match, if not exceed, the more than P200 billion raised through that market in 2012. Justino Calaycay, a stockbroker from Accord Capital Equities Inc., said the PSEi was expected to rise to a range of 6,800 to 7,000 points, with a fighting target of 7,500. “The momentum of 2012 may be expected to carry over to 2013, with additional impetus from the mid-term polls scheduled in May,” Calaycay said. “The market will keep tabs on the country’s ratings, pregnant with anticipation of reaching investment grade, or at the very least hints of getting there.” DA Market Securities sees the PSEi hitting 6,750 on the positive economic outlook.

“Optimistically, end 2013, there is a possible target of 6,750 and support at 6,280 to 6,300 level,” the company said. BDO analyst Jonas Raveles said inflation would continue to be manageable and interest rates low as the central bank would continue to protect the market from the volatility caused by the global economic slowdown. President Benigno Aquino III said this year would be much better than last year, and that it would be a critical stage in his administration’s crusade for continuing progress and good governance. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. vowed there would be a more responsive Congress this year. “We intend to maximize our chamber’s efforts for the rest of our term and hope to leave a mark as most responsive Congrees—one that has heeded the effectively represented the voice of our people from all sectors of our constituencies,” he said. “May 2013 be a new beginning for each of us and for our nation.” Senator Teofisto Guingona III said the 2012 Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front would pave the way for greater progress especially in Mindanao. “That agreement will stabilize our relationships and our activities,” he said. “As we support the process towards peace, we must remain vigilant that the products of the process will truly bring peace.” Senator Loren Legarda welcomed a recent Pulse Asia survey that showed the Filipinos’ growing awareness of the importance of protecting the

environment and increasing approval of the government’s environmental programs. But she said that although meaningful strides had been made to protect the environment, there was still a need to fully implement the environmental laws and to improve disaster risk management. Environment Secretary Ramon Paje urged the Filipinos to learn from the past in order to avoid a repeat of the destruction triggered by natural calamities including that inflicted by Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao. “We’re hoping for a hazard-free, disaster-free 2013,” Paje said. “We are calling on everybody to be more prepared for stronger typhoons that induce flash floods and landslides so we can avoid a repeat of Pablo and other destructive typhoons.” Pablo, the most powerful typhoon to hit the country in 2012, slammed into Mindanao on Dec. 4, killing 1,050 people, injuring over 2,000 and sending 800 missing. Pablo affected a total of 6.2 million people. Of the 168,227 homes that Pablo damaged, over 65,500 were totally destroyed and the estimated value of the property damage was $839 million. Close to 12,000 people are still in 43 evacuation centers. “The devastation was total,” Disaster Council head Benito Ramos said. With Jenniffer B. Austria, Maricel V. Cruz, Macon Ramos-Araneta and Othel V. Campos‐new‐dawn‐new‐hope/    

Helmets must be Tradecertified, gov’t warns By Julito G. Rada | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 243 views

The Trade Department will no longer extend the inspection of helmets of motorcycle riders. Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said motorcyclists caught wearing uncertified helmets will be penalized starting Jan. 2. “[There will be] no more inspection of owner’s helmets. Enforcement starts Jan. 2 for no helmet, [or] helmets without ICC [import commodity clearance] stickers or with fake ICC stickers,” Maglaya said in a text message. The department gave a one-time extension on Dec. 28 and 29 to accommodate motorcycle riders who were not able to get their helmets inspected by authorities. Helmets are marked with appropriate stickers.The inspection was held in SM Malls in Metro Manila, such as in SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa and SM Manila. Inspection is done to check if the safety parts (shell, comfort paddings, chin strap) are still intact. Dents, deformation or breakage, crack and distortion are also checked.Inspectors also look for traces of paint, stickers, petrol and other solvents or if brand name and size are still evident on the face of the helmet.Based on Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act, any person caught not wearing the standard protective helmet shall be punished with a fine of P1,500 for the first offense, P3,000 for second, P5,000 for third, and P10,000 and confiscation of driver’s license for the fourth offense.‐must‐be‐trade‐certified‐govt‐warns/    

Poor man’s magna carta okayed by Senate By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on Jan. 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 288 views

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The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to protect the rights of the poor by ensuring them equal access to basic rights and basic government services. Senate Bill 3309, the proposed Magna Carta of the Poor, was introduced by Senate President Pro-Tempore Jose Ejercito and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Pia Cayetano. Senator Francis Pangilinan, sponsor of the proposed measure said the proposed law seeks to ensure that no Filipino would be denied his or her basic rights and basic government services, and that no Filipino should be denied the opportunity to improve his or her station in life through education and employment, merely on the basis of his or her social standing. Once passed into law, Pangilinan said, the state will ensure the protection of five basic rights of every Filipino, namely, the right to food, employment, quality education, shelter and basic health services and medicines. “This measure seeks to ensure that pro-poor policies and programs will continue to be in place even after this administration’s term is over,” said Pangilinan, chair of the senate committee on social justice. He said that resources will continue to be allocated for anti-poverty alleviation programs.

According to Pangilinanan, 27 percent of Filipinos live in poverty without access to food and shelter, employment, education and health care. He said farmers and fisherfolk suffer the most with 37 percent and 35 percent respectively living in poverty. He said 32 percent of farmers and fisherfolk cannot even fend for themselves. “As elected representatives of the people and as officials of government, we find it unacceptable that large segments of our population continue to live without their basic needs. WE have to ensure that the rights of these marginalized groups are upheld and protected,” he said.‐mans‐magna‐carta‐okayed‐by‐senate/                              

A GOOD YEAR FOR PNOY Published : Tuesday, January 01, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 195 Written by : Efren Montano

GOOD luck, money and a lovelier lovelife for PNoy in the Year of the Black Water Snake. But President Benigno Aquino should watch out for “pasaways” — troublemakers and rabble rousers — who would disturb his administration’s good achievements, Matuwid na Landas and reform agenda in the three and a half years left of his term. This is one of the highlights of psychics’ predictions for 2013. They say the year 2013 will be a luckier year for the President who was born under the Chinese animal sign of Rat.

He will generally have “smooth sailing� in his governance as well as a more colorful love life, according to psychic Maestro Mystico. Aquino would likely find this year his latest girlfriend with the initials G.I, or two others whose initials are M. and E. But another mystic, Bro. Mhon, sees PNoy marrying after he steps down from office. Whether or not he would finally walk down the aisle with his lifetime partner would depend on him since his love first love appears to be his country, according to Maestro. PNoy should be rested and recharged after his sojourn in Baguio City but Maestro advises him to cut down on smoking and to be careful with his health, especially with his stomach. Brother Mhon sees more political surprises and twists in the political landscape as there would be more substitutions of candidates. Presidential sister Kris Aquino could possibly even dare to make a bid for a Senate seat. There would be continued economic growth courtesy of more foreign investors owing to the growing confidence in the Philippines of the international community under Aquino’s leadership as he pushes his Matuwid na Daan reform agenda. On the race for the Senate, Maestro says that wannabes under the banner of Vice President Jejomar Binay enjoy the edge especially owing to the controversy over the suspension of Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia. Binay continues to be the man to beat in 2016, according

to Maestro.. But Bro. Mhon insists that Binay would be president only by a stroke of luck. Bro. Mhon said that Binay should watch out for DILG chief Mar Roxas, who could steal the show in the end by a twist of Fate. Maestro has his own dire predictions. He says there will be more natural calamities such as flashfloods and landslides affecting mostly Visayas and Mindanao, similar to and even worse than the devastation of cyclones Sendong and Pablo, Maestro said. He asked the Aquino administration to carefully and closely monitor developments at the West Philippine Sea where conflict could erupt in the third quarter of the year. “Sana po hindi maganap ang kaguluhan,” says Maestro. Master feng shui and geomancer Aldric Dalumpines also agree that Aquino is luckier in this year of the Black Water Snake. There would be balimbingans and conflicts, according to Dalumpines, adding the elections will certainly perk up our economy as well as the flow of money. “Ang Year of the Water Snake ay isang babala na ito ay isang maitim na ahas at mapanganib na babala sa sangkatauhan na nawa’y itoy malihis ang araw ng mga mapanganib na relasyon sa mangingibig at sa mga samahan na may kaakibat na pagtaraydor ng isang kasamahan. Ito’y babala sa buong taon at ito’y nawa ay mapag –ingatan,” said Maestro Mystico.

“Kailangan din mag- ingat sa taong ito dahil nagbabadya ng kahinaan sa paghanapbuhay, kung hindi maging matyaga sa kanyang trabaho ito ay mahaharao sa kahirapan. Mag-ingat din sa taong ito ang sobra ang kapaguran sa lahat ng gawain. “Dadaan sila sa maraming pagsubok sa buhay kaya kalimitan sa kanila ay hiwalayan. Sikmura at sakit sa bato ang dapat pag- ingatan sa mga isinilang sa taon ng ahas, maging masinop at huwag bigyan pansin ang luho sa buhay,” he added. Maestro further urged the government to address more actively and seriously the state of our forests to minimize deaths resulting from landslides and rampaging flashfloods as consequences of global warming and climate change. Maestro said the 2013 elections could be bloody. “Pinag –iingat ang ilang pulitiko sa taong ito upang hindi magbuwis ng buhay. Sa mga magkasintahan at mangingibig at mag kakaibigan pag-usapan ang kunting sigalot upang hindi ito lumala, may dahilan ito sa panahon ng taon ng ahas,” he said. The luckier animal signs this year apart from the rat are horse, sheep, rabbit and ox. Reelected US President Barack Obama was born under the sign of ox. It will be a challenging year for those born under the year of the snake, tiger and pig. Example is the fate of former President and now

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was born under the sign of pig. Apart from PNoy, those born under the rat include Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Those born under the dragon are half lucky and challenged and the dog is on a comeback route to sweet luck.


2013 01 01 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2013 01 01

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