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Traders ask gov’t to shield them from Thai ‘corporate behemoth’ By Yolanda Sotelo Inquirer Northern Luzon 12:02 am | Saturday, January 12th, 2013 Saying an international “corporate behemoth” has threatened to overwhelm the country’s food producing industry, businessmen and leaders of civic organizations have joined hands at an agriculture summit to stop Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods Corp. on its track. CP Foods Corp. has been granted a six-year tax holiday and a 30-percent tax incentive covering the importation of corn and other raw materials by the Board of Investments (BOI) for its plan to develop a P2.32-billion integrated production project. “We ask the government to immediately revoke the incentives granted to [CP Foods Corp.] to [prevent] the local producers from closing shop,” said Rosendo So, one of the agriculture industry leaders who convened the 6th Multisectoral Agricultural Summit at Club Filipino in San Juan City on Friday. The 300 participants adopted a resolution denouncing the national government’s “incoherent policy direction on agriculture.” “The unlawful grant of incentives and tax breaks by the BOI to CP Foods Corp. will kill the swine, livestock, aquaculture and other allied industries in the Philippines,” the resolution said. Jayson Cainget, executive director of Rural Urban Peoples Linkages, said CP Foods engages in mergers and acquisitions, as well as opens its own food manufacturing facilities when it deals with developing markets. He said the Thai firm has been investing in countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, China and India, which have high growth potentials. CP Foods was started by migrant Chinese brothers Chia Ek Chaw and Chia Seow Whooy in 1921 as a shop in Bangkok’s Chinatown. By 1995, CP Foods had emerged as the largest agro-industrial venture in Asia, with a reported turnover of $4.05 billion and a workforce of over 100,000, Cainget said. But Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño said the Thai company’s incentives from the Philippines were tantamount to “treason.”

“It is difficult to think how officials would favor a foreign company [and dislocate] local stakeholders. CP Foods is already enjoying subsidies from the Thai government. We do not want to reach a point where they are in control and can do predatory pricing [in the Philippines],” he said. If the preferential treatment of CP Foods is not withdrawn, other foreign companies may demand the same incentives from the government, further dislodging Filipino farmers and businessmen, he said. Former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco said handing out big favors to a foreign company was an example of the Filipino becoming a second-class citizen of his own country. “The reason the BOI granted tax incentives to CP Foods is because it is investing P2 billion. What about the P300 billion collective investments by local players?” Cojuangco said. So, who is also a director of the Swine Development Council, said demands for the revocation of incentives granted to CP Foods, as well as the need for a more effective antismuggling campaign, must be addressed by the national government. “These two issues are our biggest concerns, although for hog and poultry producers, the incentives granted to CP Foods cause us our biggest headaches,” he said. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he shared the industry leaders’ concerns, adding that he was bypassed by the BOI when it granted pioneer status to the Thai firm. “We want the government to be forthright with us: Does it want local producers to close shop or does it want us to continue with our business? The government is targeting food self-sufficiency but its policies are killing the domestic producers. Does it want to leave the fate of our food security to a foreign country?” So said.

FPA to pursue raps vs alleged smugglers By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 12, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) vowed yesterday to pursue criminal charges against alleged smugglers of pesticides and other crop protection products in the country. The FPA issued the statement after P37.8 million in smuggled pesticides were seized in a raid on the facilities of Wang Teng, also known as Tommy Wang, and Victor Feng in Pampanga on Nov. 20, 2012. The raid was conducted based on a search warrant issued by the Angeles City regional trial court. Pesticide products sold in the country have to be licensed by the FPA to ensure that they are safe for use in the Philippines. “Who can tell what poisons are in those bottles, can or cartons? The contraband may have compromised the safety of farmers and consumers alike had they found their way to the farms,” FPA executive director Norlito Gicana said. “Being smuggled, they had not passed the regulatory test protocols at all,” he added. Feng is questioning the legality of the search warrant.

300 Agriculture Groups Score Government By CHITO A. CHAVEZ January 11, 2013, 3:41pm MANILA, Philippines --- Some 300 agricultural groups yesterday demanded the government to immediately revoke the alleged preferential treatment accorded to Thai firm Charoen Pokphand (CP), claiming that the survival of the local agricultural industry is threatened by the entry of foreign food conglomerates in the country. In a meeting among agricultural stakeholders, the group denounced the “national government’s incoherent policy direction on agriculture’’ during the 6th Multi-Sectoral Agricultural Summit held at the Club Filipino in San Juan City. The group adopted a resolution to save local producers from going bankrupt due to the incentives allegedly given by the Board of Investments (BOI) to the Thai firm and other foreign companies. “The unlawful grant of incentives and tax breaks by the BOI to Charoen Pokphand Food Corporation, a foreign-owned corporation, will kill the swine, livestock, aquaculture and other allied industries in the Philippines,” the resolution read. “The BOI move favoring Charoen Pokphand undermines our national sovereignty and food security. It will also result in the loss of employment for millions of Filipinos as the agriculture sector employs 33 percent of the entire Philippine labor force,” it said. Industry stakeholders vowed to prevent CP and similar foreign-owned firms from “permanently crippling the country’s swine, livestock and aquaculture industry,” and looked at various government agencies for actions that may be “inimical to the interests of our country and people.” Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So said that demands for the revocation of the incentives granted to CP and the need for a more effective anti-smuggling campaign must be addressed by the government squarely. “These two issues are our biggest concerns, although for hog and poultry producers, the incentives granted by the BOI to Charoen Pokphand cause us our biggest headaches,” So, also director of Swine Development Council, claimed. Domestic meat growers protested the alleged seven-year tax holiday granted to CP, claiming that granting incentive for the importation of corn and other raw feed materials would kill the domestic industry.

So said their concerns are also shared by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who was allegedly bypassed by the BOI in its decision to grant pioneering status to the Thai firm. Alcala was among those present during the summit. “We want the government to be more forthright with us: Do they want local producers to close shop? Or do they want us to continue with our business?” So asked. “The government is targeting food self-sufficiency, but their policies are killing domestic producers. That is illogical. Do we want to leave the fate of our food security to a foreign country?” So added. Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones who was also in the summit said the approved resolution showed the solidarity and unity of the stakeholders in the agriculture industry. Briones, who is also a member of the Swine Development Council, stressed the need for the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to address the technical smuggling of prime cut pork meat passed off as offal, or waste parts of butchered animals. “We feel that the BoC is not doing enough to address the scourge of smuggling. The BoC claims it has no expertise to determine whether the meat being imported into the country is offal or not, but that is unacceptable,” he alleged. “We hope Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon will realize that he cannot be complacent in addressing our urgent concerns,” Briones said. National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. Chairman Daniel Javellana Jr. said it is important to “level the playing field” by revoking the incentives extended to CP and curbing the smuggling of prime meat cuts. “We have to save our industry. Right now we don’t see a good future for the agriculture sector,” Javellana said. “We hope President Benigno Aquino III will hear our sentiments and not wait for us to close shop one after the other. We know globalization is inevitable but give us time to prepare,” he added. Lawyer Jose Inciong, president of the United Broiler Raisers Association, suggested the government must end it “cheaper to import” mentality, claiming “the rice crisis in 2008 will be replicated across other agricultural commodities if the government continues with this mentality.” “On one hand, you have Secretary Alcala trying to bring back confidence in the agriculture sector that has been neglected for so long. And on the other hand you have the

BOI inserting uncertainty. This summit is an urgent statement of concern on the state of Philippine agriculture,” Inciong claimed. Edwin Chen, president of Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., said the BOI should also change its policy of not consulting other government departments and agriculture stakeholders in granting pioneering status to CP. “CP is just the tip of the iceberg. What is to prevent other giant foreign firms from entering the country, distorting the playing field, flooding the market, and killing local producers?” Chen claimed. “It is also an issue of livelihood security for those employed in the agriculture sector. If we are to move as a country towards food security, the government must do better than this,” he said. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said the government must have better agriculture policies. “CP is such a big company that is already enjoying subsidies from the Thai government. We do not want to reach a point where they are in control and can do predatory pricing,” he said. The House committees on agriculture and on food security earlier called on the BOI to suspend implementation of the tax perks granted to CP while the matter is being investigated by Congress. In a privilege speech last December 2012, Butil Rep. Agapito Guanlao accused the BOI of “murdering” the local hog and poultry industries in granting pioneering status to CP. “It is lamentable that the BOI appears to have put aside the interest of the local industry which is just beginning to recover from losses amounting to R28.5 billion because of technical smuggling in the past three years. Now, the BOI is in a hurry to support a foreign competitor in various areas in Central Luzon,” Guanlao claimed. “Amid strong opposition from our local industry, and most especially our backyard hog raisers that account for 80 percent of our hog production in the country, it is time for Congress to start a deep probe into this at the soonest possible time,” he added. Guanlao, citing industry stakeholders, claimed the 1,800 jobs to be generated by CP’s projects will not compensate for the 7 million Filipinos who stand to be displaced if domestic hog and poultry growers close shop.

Agri Plain Talk

Soils Mapping Is Very Important By ZAC B. SARIAN January 11, 2013, 3:49pm

Recently we had the good fortune of joining a dinner with Dr. William Dar, the director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India. The dinner was tendered by our friend Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness which was attended by agri-people like Dr. Rolly Dy of the University of Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Joy Eusebio of PCAARRD and Dr. Pons Batugal of a foundation engaged in rural development. If he were to recommend something that would help the Philippines produce not only more rice but also other crops, what would Dr. Dar recommend? Massive soil mapping would be a priority. He related that in a recent year, they implemented a soil mapping project on one million hectares in India. In soil mapping, they wanted to find out what plant nutrients are available in the soil and what are lacking. The trace elements or micronutrients status is particularly important. By knowing the status of the soil, the experts will know what to tell the farmers in managing their fertilization systems. And by providing just the right amounts needed in particular areas, the farmers will not only increase their yields, they will most likely save on unnecessary fertilizers that they usually apply without considering what nutrients are actually present in their farms. Dr. Dar recommends a really massive soils mapping in the country. He said that the Department of Agriculture has a lot of money but it may not be the best for the DA to do the mapping by itself. A more practical way would be to involve, say 14 or 16 state colleges and universities in different regions in the country. The first thing that the DA should do is to fund the establishment of state-of-the-art soils laboratories in the

agricultural universities and colleges. He said that with P10 million for each educational institution, they would be able to put up very good soils laboratories. A soils map is a most important tool that could significantly increase yields and profits. A few years back, Dr. Dar said, they only had a target of 20 percent yield increase in the mapping of one million hectares in India. To their pleasant surprise, Dr. Dar said, the yield increased 40 percent on the one million hectares. That is why they are now finalizing a project that will map the soils on four million hectares. In the Philippines, after the massive soil mapping, what next? There should be a pool of trained technicians that would help the farmers in coming up with the right amounts of fertilizers applied at the right time. Efficient massive extension service is a must in disseminating the right technologies on plant nutrition management. Also very important is the availability of the macro and micronutrients that would be needed by the farmers at reasonable and affordable rates. Only then the benefits of massive soils mapping would be realized. MINDING THE BOTTOM LINE – We gathered that the Department of Agriculture will soon launch a farming derby whereby farmers will compete with each other not in producing the highest yield but the highest profit. That’s minding the bottom line. How will the mechanics be implemented? Will the farmers grow the same crop on the same number of square meters? Or should they plant the same area with crops of their choice and then find out which of them will make more money after deducting all their production expenses? Profits could differ, depending on how smart is the farmer in marketing his produce. There are really many variables which could determine the best bottom line. **** ******** MANGO MEETING – Members of the Aani Mango Industry Network (AMIN) Foundation headed by Antonio S. Rola will hold their monthly meeting on Sunday, January 20, at the AANI lecture room at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. **** ******** HORTICULTURE 2013 – The Philippine Horticultural Society will hold its annual garden show on January 31 to February 10 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The president of PHSI is May Caballero Dumlao. The chairman of the show is Norma Villanueva.

AGRI-KAPIHAN ON JAN. 13 – The next Agri-Kapihan will be held on Sunday, January 13 at the AANI Urban Farm at the Kingsville Court Subdivision in Antipolo City. Free range chicken production will be discussed among others. The place can be reached through Sumulong Highway, about one kilometer from Marcos Highway, right side. Entrance is in front of Shell gas station. **** ******** Log on to: for practical farming tips, ideas and interesting agripeople.

WFP Extends ComVal Food Aid January 11, 2013, 4:02pm COMPOSTELA VALLEY (PNA) -– The World Food Program (WFP) has committed help to the provincial government of Compostela Valley after the devastation caused by super typhoon Pablo. WFP Head of Program for Mindanao Masanobu Horie said they will closely work with the province for its rebuilding effort especially in ensuring food security to the five hardest-hit municipalities of New Bataan, Compostela, Monkayo, Montevista, and Laak. “We are here in ComVal because in emergencies we give food to where it is needed, saving the lives of victims of war, civil conflict, and natural disasters. After the cause of an emergency has passed, we use food to help communities rebuild their shattered lives,” Horie said. The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency involved in fighting hunger worldwide. It is a part of the United Nations system and is voluntarily funded. It is looking at implementing three major initiatives that are aimed at achieving food security. The first mechanism is the Food for Work program wherein the provincial government will offer food as payment when people render services like building roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, ports, and other essential elements of their communities’ infrastructure. It is an effort to address the need of the people who are working to feed their families while they share effort to rebuild their place in the wake of natural disasters. This particular initiative has already started in Tamia, Compostela Valley, where typhoon victims work together in cleaning their community in exchange for food for their families. The local government unit (LGU) said the program will continue until everything returns to normal. Meanwhile, the second mechanism is called Cash for Work. In exchange for the effort of people working (typhoon victims), WFP will provide cash incentives at P225 per day. This is 75 percent of the recommended minimum daily wage. This will take off by early February and will end in June or July of this year.


Agrarian reform and the urban illusion By Walden Bello 9:10 pm | Friday, January 11th, 2013 There can be no doubt that the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has made significant strides in terms of reform. The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was a major breakthrough, not only for women’s rights but also for development, owing to the central importance of our country’s having a sustainable rate of population growth. The anti-corruption campaign is creating that confidence in government that is an indispensable ingredient of an economic climate that would encourage investment, both local and foreign. The conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which now reaches over three million families, is the country’s most successful anti-poverty program, one that the Asian Development Bank has toasted as a model for other countries. Unfortunately, these successes have not been matched by advances in agrarian reform. Some one million hectares still have to be distributed. DAR figures show that the average number of hectares distributed under the current administration yearly came to 103,732 hectares, the lowest of the last five administrations. At this pace, it will be hard for the administration to complete land redistribution by the date mandated by law, June 2014, since to achieve that goal, from January 2011 onwards, the DAR would have to distribute 320,242 hectares per year. It is difficult to see how president can live up to the promise he made at a meeting with farmers over six months ago that all lands covered by Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms Act of 2009 (CARPER) will be distributed to all qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries by the target date. Who the president places at the helm of the agrarian reform effort is undoubtedly critical, and with the program in the doldrums, it might be time for the president to evaluate the performance of his top land reform aides. But the problem is, in our view, more profound. Undoubtedly, there are people in the administration that believe in agrarian reform, some of them passionately. However, there are also those who either do not consider it central to the program of reform or see it as a “sakit ng ulo,” one that one must pay attention to, but largely with palliative rhetoric rather than energetic commitment. Unfortunately, the latter tendency is dominant, and this is the reason the land reform program has lost the dynamism it regained when the CARPER law was passed in 2009. It seems that the dominant view in the administration is that agricultural development is principally a productivity issue and not a social justice concern, that what is important is making the investments in physical infrastructure, marketing, and credit that will unleash the potential of agricultural entrepreneurs. The problem with this perspective is that

production cannot be separated from justice. The main element that would unleash the productive potential of our millions of farmers is security of tenure over their land. Moreover, poverty-stricken tenant farmers and rural workers who have long been in the chains of feudal relations need assistance from government to be transformed into vibrant small farmers responding to market incentives. You do not create farmer entrepreneurs overnight. This is why Section 13 of CARPER provided that at least forty percent (40%) of all appropriations for agrarian reform during the five (5) year extension period would be immediately set aside and made available for support services. If there is one thing we can learn from the experiences of successful agrarian reform in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, it is that land redistribution, secure property rights, and production assistance or subsidies for support services make up the formula for a dynamic agricultural sector. The absence of one of these factors is what torpedoed many other land reform efforts in the Philippines and elsewhere. But the problem goes beyond a narrow focus on productivity on the part of some administration technocrats. Much development thinking in the country today is centered on improving the atmosphere for business activities in the city, promoting the dynamism of the real estate industry, supporting the growth of financial services, and attracting more investment in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO’s) activities. It is on servicing the needs of a growing globalized middle class. In this mindset, agriculture is an afterthought, and food security is one that can be met with increased imports. In this paradigm, the over 50 per cent of the people that live in the countryside are not regarded as a dynamic source of development, the main engine of which is seen to lie in urban economic activities fuelled by foreign investment and OFW remittances. From this perspective, the bulk of the population that remains in agriculture is “excess baggage” constituting a drag on economic takeoff. But the neglect of agriculture is not simply a development paradigm problem. The truth of the matter is that the most dynamic sectors of our economic elite have lost interest in agriculture as a source of wealth. As sociologist Kenneth Cardenas argues, “Filipino capitalists are going back to land as a source of wealth, but instead of using it as a base for a rural, cash-crop-oriented economy, it is being used for urban development.” The highest rate of returns on investment come from shopping malls, office buildings, and middle and upper class housing. Yet even as the most energetic sectors of the upper class have moved into urban real estate development, seeking to capture demand for housing fueled by the billions of dollars in OFW remittances, their less enterprising brethren cling on to rural land, less and less for production and more and more for speculation or security. Increasingly, it is mainly small producers and rural workers that have an interest in making a living from farming, and even large numbers of them are abandoning the countryside for what they see as the lack of opportunities owing to continuing inequalities and the absence of incentives. Their logic is compelling: better to take your chances in Saudi Arabia than scratch a living from land from which you can get evicted any time. It is a big mistake to write off the countryside instead of seeing it as a central source of economic dynamism–one that can be a key engine of our economy if its base were a

population of prosperous small farming families. The aim of agrarian reform, one must remind our production-oriented policymakers, is not only to achieve social justice but to creative the incentives that will make agriculture a vibrant trigger of economic development and avoid the emergence of a lopsided urban-driven economy. Indeed, one can go further and say that without a just settlement in the countryside, not only will urban-driven development be economically unsustainable; it will continually be threatened by political instability spawned by protracted injustice in the countryside. The generation of farmers that won the struggle for CARP and CARPER may be succeeded by a younger generation angered by the failure of its implementation. It is an illusion to think that the countryside will remain quiet for long. * columnist Walden Bello is a representative of Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives. He can be reached at

UBS lowers Phl inflation forecasts for 2013,2014 By Zinnia B. dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Switzerland-based investment bank UBS has lowered its inflation forecast for the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 as it expects food prices to remain benign. In a report, UBS economist Edward Teather said he sees inflation rate easing to 3.5 percent this year and eventually rising to four percent next year. These were lower than the bank’s original forecast of 4.3 percent and 4.1 percent for 2013 and 2014, respectively. The inflation rate measures a broad rise or fall in prices that consumers pay for a standard basket of goods. The country’s annual average inflation rate decelerated to 3.2 percent last year from 4.6 in 2011, the slowest pace inflation has grown on year on year basis. In December alone, inflation increased marginally to 2.9 percent.

Teather said Philippine inflation has been slower than expected in the fourth quarter of 2012, mostly due to lower than expected consumer prices. The central bank expects inflation rates for the next two years to remain within the lower bound of the target. The Development Budget Coordination Committee, an inter-agency body that sets the macroeconomic targets, expects consumer prices to range within three to five percent for 2013 and 2014. Benign inflation dynamics should keep monetary policy settings in the Philippines on hold in the first half of the year, Teather said. “Philippine policy settings seem set to remain unusually loose through early 2013, in line with our standing forecasts,” Teather said. With the country’s GDP showing little sign of weakness over the last couple of years, the rationale for sustainably lower inflation in the Phiippines is anchored on an increase in the pace of potential growth, he noted. “In the Philippines we are hopeful that a recovery in investment relative to GDP will occur alongside a favorable reform dynamic and boost potential growth again in the future,” Teather said. The potential growth of an economy, according to Teather, rests on increasing the availability of capital, labor or improving the efficiency with which these factors of production are put together.

Romeo V. Pefianco

Public Office Is Not Property By ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO, Plain View January 11, 2013, 6:21pm (Editor’s note: The number of high officials’ relatives receiving tax money as big monthly pay is still not known to DBM and COA, as noted by the author.) Real or personal property is properly defined in the Civil Code. It can refer to land, building, table, book shelves, etc. But a public office has a very specific description in the Constitution and the Revised Administrative Code as one vested with public trust and broad powers. And public officers like governors, mayors, town councilors, and barangay officials swear to an oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution... obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities, etc.” Extension of a home? But our political culture is a different matter and treats a public office like an extension building of an official’s home/residence. Public officials appoint their wives, children, and nearest kin as confidential assistants, secretaries, consultants, and other funnysounding designations or jobs. Nearest kin mean unemployed/unqualified brothers, sisters, uncles, nephews, nieces, in-laws, etc. Some Cabinet members have platoons of consultants to do this and that without getting the expected result.

Bigger pay/bonuses We may ignore or not believe it but the grim reality is bigger emoluments are given to them than to the most competent and qualified staff. Bonuses and all kinds of allowances are enjoyed by this army of relatives by blood or affinity. If the public official gets a lawful income of R150,000 monthly, his relatives can each earn about R40,000 a month all for the benefit of the official’s family.

Underground economy Relatives can also engage in some lucrative “underground economy” by dropping names and influence for a fee from persons who badly need the official’s help or endorsement. This is commonly called influence peddling.

This nepotistic practice of “freely giving aid/comfort to relatives” is common-place among members of Congress and in important offices like the constitutional commissions, government corporations, bureaus, etc. where the salary package is huge.

Longer exemption There’s a provision in the Constitution that “appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined... by competitive examination.” But the exemption has a wider/larger role, because it exempts from taking the competitive examination appointees “to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical...” One House member in the NCR once summoned the guts to test the Constitution by appointing her housemaid (yes atsay) to a confidential position. It passed the constitutional test but the congresswoman lost her bid for reelection.

Why the exemptions But why the long list of exemptions? Because the framers of the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions themselves made it a happy practice to employ their nearest kin, added to the fact that most or some of them had aspired to become members of Congress as senators and representatives or heads of the more attractive bureaus that raise revenues for government operations.

UST Years ago, one member of a constitutional commission named his spouse to a confidential item. His colleagues teased he was UST (under da saya totally). His reply was quick: So lazy employees won’t leave their desks for coffee break three times in the morning and four times between 1 and 5 p.m. He narrowly passed the UST jest, but the staff’s comment was different: The confidential item had a salary scale about three times the average monthly pay of a civil service eligible.

No estimate by DBM and COA There’s no accurate estimate by COA or DBM of the huge sums appropriated yearly for hundreds of officials’ nearest relatives designated to so-called jobs that are “policy-

determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical,� or a clear exemption from the merit system. One board member in a government corporation may have a staff of 12 claiming this exemption. We have hundreds of such board members, say 100 x 12 = 120 confidential executives and assistants. If they are paid R480,000 each per annum, including fringe benefits, 120 of them would earn R57,600,000 yearly for DOING NOTHING but have coffee or merienda many times daily. Wasting tax money It’s doubly hard to approximate the sums given to hoards of confidential assistants in Congress and the courts, from the Supreme Court down, and other favored agencies. This is one example of how we wasted TAX MONEY for decades. We can add the platoons of consultants (called solsoltants) hired by some Cabinet members. (Comments are welcome at


More Root Crops, Corn Consumption January 11, 2013, 6:42pm The government is encouraging Filipinos to diversify their diet to include more root crops and corn as studies have shown that root crops are good sources of carbohydrates and contain dietary fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, while corn is a good source of dietary fiber, B-Vitamins, folate, and phosphorus. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has initiated programs to encourage the planting of high-value and indigenous crops such as cassava (kamoteng kahoy), taro (gabi), yam (ube), and sweet potato (kamote). Root crops are good substitute staples when rice is not available. Calcium-rich kamote and cassava are essential for bone growth, iron-rich taro helps body fights infection, and tannic acid-rich yam has anti-bacterial, anti-enzymatic, and astringent properties. The World Health Organization reported that chronic diseases account for 57 percent in the Philippines. At least 80% of premature heart sickness, and Type-2 diabetes, as well as 40% can be prevented through a healthy diet that includes root crops, physical activity, and avoiding tobacco products. A study by the Food and Nutrition Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) showed that eating root crops significantly decreases the total cholesterol levels of adults and can prevent colon tumor formation and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. FNRI-DOST also said that Folate present in corn is good for the heart because it lowers the level of homocysteine, an amino acid responsible for damaging the blood vessels and increasing blood clotting, which may lead to heart disease. Corn also contains carotenoid betacryptoxanthin, which aids in lowering the chances of lung disease. We wish the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Food and Nutrition Research Institute Director Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, all the best and success in their collaborative efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

‘Revoke tax incentives granted to Thai food firm’ By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 12, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Leaders of the agriculture industry yesterday asked Malacañang to revoke the tax incentives it had granted to Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand to save local producers from closing shop. In a press conference at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan following the 6th multisectoral agricultural summit, agriculture stakeholders led by Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So said that 33 percent of the Filipino labor force in the agriculture sector stand to lose their jobs. So, along with 300 agriculture stakeholders who participated in the forum, adopted a resolution denouncing the national government’s “incoherent policy direction in agriculture.” He said the government must revoke the tax incentives it has granted to Charoen Pokphand because it is killing local producers. Aside from the tax incentives, rampant smuggling is also crippling local hog and poultry raisers and the agriculture industry, So said. “The entry of Charoen Pokphand is a serious threat to the local industry. It is a policy direction that would not only annihilate local farm producers, but it will also gravely affect the country’s food security,” So said. He said the government must be forthright with local producers. “Do they want local producers to close shop? Or do they want us to continue with our business? The government is targeting food self-sufficiency, but its policies are killing domestic producers. That is illogical. Do we want to leave the fate of our food security to a foreign country? That is the question that they have to answer,” So said.

Noy: Corrupt gov’t agency will get severe jolt By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The relentless campaign against graft and corruption would continue, President Aquino yesterday said, warning that one of the perceived “most corrupt” government agencies “will get a very severe jolt” in due time. “I cannot go into details but let me promise you that very soon one of the most perceived corrupt agencies will get a very severe jolt. We are preparing the necessary actions. Our prosecutors might have a hard time (going after them) if they get to hide the evidence,” Aquino said during the station managers conference of the Radio Mindanao Network in Malacañang on Thursday. “But once and for all, we are no longer kidding when we appeal that they join the straight path. It seems they feel that they can disobey us and continue with their irregular activities. We are going to show them that they are mistaken,” the President said in Filipino. Aquino said he wanted to show that his administration was serious in fighting corruption and belied observations that government efforts to fight graft and corruption had not cascaded down to the lower levels of the bureaucracy. He cited for instance the Land Transportation Office, which in the past had so many fixers that victimized the public. He said the LTO was now being praised for its better service in the absence of fixers. The President also said that a recent ranking by Transparency International put the Philippines at a better status in terms of diminishing corruption. This jump in ranking is substantial, the President said, as he assured the public that his administration will work harder to achieve even better results in the future.

Farmers’ show of force: LP senatorial bets junked By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on Jan. 12, 2013 at 12:01am | 1,683 views

SOME 300 farm-sector leaders representing at least three million farmers on Friday vowed to junk the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party coalition, and hit out at the Aquino administration for failing to stop smuggling of pork, chicken, rice, fish and vegetables. They also denounced President Benigno Aquino III for allowing the Board of Investments to grant incentives to a foreign firm that put the local producers at a great disadvantage. In a “show of force” at the 6th Multisectoral Agricultural Summit at the historic Club Filipino, the farmer-leaders also demanded the ouster of Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon for allowing smuggling to kill 20 percent of the pork-and-chicken backyard industry. At least five lawmakers—Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, Nicanor Briones of Agap, Agapito Guanlao of Butil, Robert Raymund Estrella of Abono and Mark Llandro Mendoza of Batangas – joined the farmer-leaders in demanding that the President and BoI revoke the perks granted to Thaiowned Charoen Pokphand Foods Corp. as the 7-year income tax holidays and duty-free imports Mendoza and Guanlao, chairmen of the House committees of agriculture and food and special committee on food security, respectively, filed a resolution urging Congress to suspend the grant of Charoen’s tax incentives such s the 7-year income tax holidays and duty-free importations.

It was also at the Club Filipino where President Aquino presented the 12member slate of the LP coalition. The six-party LP coalition senatorial candidates that the farmers thumbed down include former Senators Jamby Madrigal and Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and President Aquino’s nephew Bam Aquino of the Liberal Party; Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano and former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar of the Nationalista Party; Senator Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition; Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino; Senators Francis Escudero and Aquilino Pimentel III and Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who were with the coalition as independent and Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan. The National Unity Party did not field any candidate to the coalition. “This early, we warn the President if the administration slate (LP coalition) may find themselves losing a huge chunk of votes. We will not support the candidates whose leaders ignore our pleas and warning that there will be food shortage in the coming years, that the country’s food security is being threatened due to this government’s inefficiency in catching smugglers and its preference to foreign-owned firms,” said lawyer Jose Inciong, president of the United Broiler Raisers Association. Inciong said the government must end its “cheaper to import mentality” at the expense of the local producers and food security. “The rice crisis in 2008 will be replicated across other agricultural commodities if the government continues with this mentality,” Inciong told a news conference.

“The unlawful grant of incentives and tax breaks by the BoI to Charoen will kill the swine, livestock, aquaculture and other allied industries in the country,” the summit’s resolution said. The rice and vegetable farmers also started complaining that they were forced to reduce the farm gate prices of their products because they cannot compete fairly with the importers and smugglers that flood the wet markets at half the local farmers’ price. Briones, also director of the Swine Development Council, said the farmerleaders passed a resolution during the summit to prove that the stakeholders were united in raising the food security concerns. “We demand that BoC Commissioner Biazon is replaced. We feel that the BoC is not doing enough to address the scourge of smuggling. The BoC claims it has no expertise to determine whether the meat being imported into the country is offal or not, but that is unacceptable,” Briones said, referring to imported prime meat that was being misdeclared as offal to avoid paying the correct levy. “We have to save our industry. Right now, we don’t see a good future for the agricultural sector,” said Daniel Javellana Jr., chairman of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala addressed the summit and told the farmer-leaders that his department would do everything to make the BoI reconsider its decision in granting tax perks to Charoen. Alcala said he would see the President and ask him that if the incentives granted to the Thai firm cannot be revoked, then the same incentives should be given to local producers.

Casino, for his part, pledged his party’s support in calling for the cancellation of the government’s grant of incentives and tax breaks to Charoen. “The Makabayan Coalition joins the summit, our colleagues in Congress from the party-lists Abono and AGAP, and the various agriculture industry associations in calling for a stop to the government’s preferential treatment to Thai firm Charoen Pokphand Food Philippines Corp. The 6-15 year holiday on taxes and import duties granted by BoI at the minimum undermines our national sovereignty and food security,” Casiño said.‐show‐of‐force‐lp‐senatorial‐bets‐junked/                              

PNoy will let Garcia be for now By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on Jan. 12, 2013 at 12:01am | 1,653 views

President Aquino belittled on Friday the defiance of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and said she will be allowed to continue to lock herself inside her office at the provincial capitol. “There is no need to make a martyr out of her,” Aquino said, but he also warned Garcia and her supporters not to disrupt government operations. “Because the provincial government is not prevented from carrying out its functions, we will just let her be,” Aquino said. Garcia, whose term ends in May, was suspended for six months last December 19 for alleged abuse of authority. She fought back by barricading herself in her office while thousands of supporters held protest rallies. The suspended governor is a candidate of the opposition for congressman in Cebu’s the 3rd district. Her brother, John Pablo Garcia, is a candidate for governor but her suspension means she will be out of power during the campaign period. Tension in the provincial capitol has been high because of rumors that she will be bodily carried out or that Acting Governor Agnes Magpale will cut off power and water supply to her office to force her to move out. But Aquino said the government will exercise maximum tolerance in dealing with the problems caused by Garcia’s defiance of his orders. “Let her have her five minutes in the sun,” Aquino said.

“For as long as she does not violate any law and she does not prevent the provincial government from serving the people of Cebu, we will exercise maximum tolerance,” Aquino said. Garcia has asked the Court of Appeals to stop the suspension, which she claimed was illegal and arbitrary, and the case has been submitted for resolution after legal arguments on Thursday. Associate Justice Vicente Veloso said Garcia could lose her case on a technicality because her lawyer cited the wrong rule in her petition.‐will‐let‐garcia‐be‐for‐now/                                

Peso climbs to 40.61 per dollar; foreign investments rise By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Jan. 12, 2013 at 12:01am | 300 views

The peso climbed to its highest level in nearly five years, on reports that exports and foreign direct investments grew and after several banks predicted that the local currency will sustain its gains this year. The peso rose 0.2 percent to close at 40.61 against the US dollar on Friday, its highest level since Feb. 29, 2008. It was up 0.7 percent this week. Data showed the local currency touched an intra-day high of 50.57 against the greenback, before closing slightly lower. Some $1.1 billion worth of currencies were traded Friday, in line with daily average. Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the bank was “looking at tools� to manage inflows, but there were no specific measures at the moment. The monetary authority imposed limits on currency forward positions at banks last month. Meanwhile, foreign direct investments increased by a third in the first 10 months of 2012, despite the slower inflows in October, the Bangko Sentral said. The Bangko Sentral said FDI net inflows amounted to $1.1 billion in the January-October period, up by 32.6 percent from $853 million recorded a year ago.

Data, however, showed net inflows in October fell 46.5 percent to $38 million from $71 million in the same month in 2011. The Bangko Sentral said FDI data covered actual investment inflows in the forms of equity capital, reinvested earnings and borrowings between affiliates. It said net inflows of equity capital increased by more than sevenfold to $1.2 billion in the 10-month period from $170 million a year earlier. “The cumulative increase in FDI during the 10-month period reflected investors’ positive reaction to the country’s robust economic performance and the improved outlook following the successive favorable credit rating actions by the Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service in June, July and October 2012, respectively,” the Bangko Sentral said. Gross equity capital placements reached $1.5 billion, almost thrice the year-ago level of $575 million.‐climbs‐to‐40‐61‐per‐dollar‐foreign‐ investments‐rise/                  

Palace urged to dump tax perks of Thai food giant Published on 12 January 2013 Hits: 395 Written by Neil A. Alcober Reporter

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and private sectors have agreed to forge a program on how to protect local agriculture from the threats to local industry by Thai food conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand (CP).

In his keynote address during the sixth multi-sector agriculture summit on Friday, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala underscored that the entry of the firm threatens to cause financial ruin to hundreds of backyard farmers and feed suppliers. Alcala, who is challenging the validity of providing incentives to Charoen Pokphand, added that even without the entry of a foreign firm “food self-sufficiency program is still attainable.” “This is a wake-up call to come up with united stand against the giant food conglomerate,” Alcala said, as he pointed out that any incentives granted to the foreign firm should be offset by similar incentives to local growers. “The fight is not yet over. The position of DA is behind the position of the local industry to livestock raisers,” Alcala said. “Dapat din bigyan ng incentives ang local growers [Incentives must also be given to local growers],” he added, as he renewed calls to rationalize tariffs on offals to “to lower the margin of those engaged in smuggling.”

For his part, chairman Rosendo So of Abono party-azlist warned that the survival of the Philippine agriculture industry is again being seriously threatened by the entry of global food conglomerates, a policy direction that would not only annihilate local farm producers, but also gravely affect the country’s food security, if not restricted. He stressed that demands for the revocation of the incentives granted to Charoen Pokphand, and the need for a more effective antismuggling campaign must be addressed by the government squarely. “These two issues are our biggest concerns, although for hog and poultry producers, the incentives granted by the BOI [Board of Incentives] to Charoen Pokphand cause us our biggest headaches,” So, also director of Swine Development Council, lamented. Tax holiday Domestic meat growers were alarmed that seven-year tax holiday granted to Charoen, along with a percent incentive for the importation of corn and other raw feed materials would kill the domestic industry. So said that their concerns are also shared by Alcala, who was bypassed by the Board of Incentives in its decision to grant pioneering status to the Thai firm. “We want the government to be more forthright with us: do they want local producers to close shop? Or do they want us to continue with our business?” he asked. “The government is targeting food self-sufficiency, but their policies are killing domestic producers. That is illogical. Do we want to leave the fate of our food security to a foreign country?” So said.

The seriousness of these problems prompted some 300 agriculture industry leaders to call on the government to immediately revoke the incentives granted to Thai firm Charoen Pokphand to save local producers from closing shop because of the preferential treatment given by the Board of Incentives to foreign companies. In a show of force, some 300 agriculture stakeholders adopted a resolution denouncing the “national government’s incoherent policy direction on agriculture” during the summit.‐palace‐urged‐to‐dump‐tax‐perks‐ of‐thai‐food‐giant                                

Economy likely grew 6.6 percent in 2012 Published on 12 January 2013 Hits: 508 Written by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter

The Research Department of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) has revised its growth forecast for full-year 2012 Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) to 6.6 percent, citing the stellar growth of the economy in the first three quarters of the year.

In its latest report entitled The Economic Weather Report 1Q 2013 Outlook and Forecasts, the bank said that the country’s economy seems to be on the road to a higher growth trajectory, surprising markets with remarkable expansions in the first three quarters of the year. The country’s economy posted a third quarter GDP growth of 7.1 percent, 6 percent in the second quarter and 5.9 percent in the first quarter. It averaged to 6.5 percent and is one of the highest among Association of Southeast Asian Nations economies, including China. “The economy is thus seen to cap 2012 way stronger than what was previously expected,” the report said, adding that the strong growth for the last three quarters surprised global markets that the country has now become the new darling of global investors. On the demand side, it noted that household consumption will remain the growth driver, while consumer spending will still be supported by the sustained inflow of remittances and the still well-anchored inflation expectations.

“Government spending will also support GDP growth amid the expected boost from midterm election spending,” the report added. On the supply side, it mentioned that the services sector will be supported by the rosy outlook for the real estate and tourism subsectors. Public construction is expected to sustain its growth in the second half of the year on accelerated government spending ahead of the congressional elections next year, while the agricultural sector is seen to remain resilient even with the damage caused by Typhoon Pablo in the latter part of 2012, the report said. For 2013, it added that economic prospects appear bright for the reawakened “Asian Tiger,” as it projected a 6-percent GDP growth for this year. The report explained that the growth will be supported by solid consumption spending, higher government spending, and favorable outlook for the real estate and tourism sub-sectors. Meanwhile, the report warned that the global economy faces an uncertain horizon in 2013, as economic events in the past year proved to be gloomy. “The spillover effects of the dragging saga of the eurozone crisis are expected to persist this year as current policy stances continue to fall short of what is needed to prevent further weakening of economies,” it observed. It also said that that the US is also seen to post sluggish growth as structural weaknesses are still left unaddressed. However, emerging economies will remain the bright spots of growth opportunities. DTI forecast Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also

forecasts a 6-percent GDP growth for 2012, and vowed to support inclusive economic growth through robust investment promotion and assistance to micro-, small- and medium-entrepreneurs (MSMEs). “The 2012’s GDP growth can be attributed to the increased confidence of foreign investors in the country, the administration’s good governance initiatives, and improved tax collection,” said Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo. He said that economic growth in 2012 can be sustained in the following years based on the influx of foreign investors, improved consumer spending and increased export activities. Domingo added that there is growth in the country’s major sectors such as manufacturing, services and agriculture. According to latest government data, services sector grew by 7 percent in the first three quarters of 2012, agriculture up by 4.1 percent and the manufacturing sector at 3.9 percent. He said that there are also priority programs that are geared towards developing MSMEs, such as the P700-million Shared Services Facilities Project. Under the project, about 1,000 pieces of equipment will be granted to industry clusters, cooperatives, and local government units nationwide to enhance the production capabilities of MSMEs. The DTI will push for the development of the tourism and agriculture sectors, which are mostly made up of MSMEs that could attract more investments and create jobs in the countryside.‐business‐news/39141‐economy‐likely‐ grew‐6‐6‐percent‐in‐2012    

PH may have enough rice to feed growing population Published on 12 January 2013 Hits: 236 Written by James Konstantin Galvez

The government is currently pushing for a review of its rice sufficiency data, citing that the expected record-high palay (unmilled rice) production in 2012 is “already enough” to cover consumption requirements of the 95.8 million Filipinos.

Dante Delima, Department of Agriculture assistant secretary and National Rice Program coordinator, said that they would start by February 2013 the review of rice sufficiency targets in line with the latest population and per capita consumption data provided by the National Statistics Office. For 2012, Delima said that palay production is likely to reach 18.03 million metric tons (MT) to 18.05 million metric tons, higher than 17.98 million MT forecast of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. Meanwhile, the total population of the Philippines as of May 10, 2010 was placed around 92.337 million based on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing. The census counts up to the barangay level were made official with the signing by President Benigno Aquino 3rd of Proclamation No.362 in March 2012. With a 1.90-percent annual growth rate, the country’s total population is now estimated at about 95.8 million with per capita rice consumption placed at 115 kilos. At this rate, annual rice consumption is pegged at 11.02 million MT, he added. “If we compare the population rate with our production of 18.03 million MT, minus the 351,763MT seed requirement for planting, our total rice equivalent at 65 percent recovery rate is around 11.492 million MT… more than enough to supply our food requirement,” Delima said. At present, the National Rice Program is using 119 kilos per capita under its rice selfsufficiency roadmap. But even at the current consumption rate, Delima said that the country still have a surplus in rice production as compared to the actual population. Delima, however, said that consumption requirement excludes the rice wastage and use in other purpose other than food, saying that the review will confirm their estimates.

“That is why is important that we conduct a review of all the figures/data with regard to our consumption. This will confirm that we are already sufficient in our rice production,” he said. The DA official said that the government may still import about 100,000MT of rice this year to be used as buffer stock, noting that the government needs to secure at least a 90day rice supply to ensure stable prices. “Traditionally, we are only required to have at least 30-day buffer stock. But for security proposes, we have hiked our rice stock requirement to about 90 days. This will help the National Food Authority [NFA] to stabilize prices and ensure that we have enough supply of rice should there be calamities,” he said. As of December 2012, the BAS said that country’s rice stock inventory was pegged at 2.61 million metric tons, enough for the next three months. It added that the household stocks would last for 39 days, while stocks in commercial warehouses would last for 20 days and those in NFA depositories would be good for 18 days.‐business‐news/39145‐ph‐may‐have‐ enough‐rice‐to‐feed‐growing‐population                          

FDI inflows reach $1.1B as of October last year Published on 12 January 2013 Hits: 219 Written by Raadee S. Sausa Reporter

FOREIGN direct investment (FDI) inflows reached $1.1 billion in the first 10 months of 2012, surpassing the $853 million recorded in the same period in 2011, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.

BSP data showed that the surge of FDI emanated largely from net infusion of equity capital amounting to $1.2 billion. The cumulative increase in FDI during the 10-month period reflected investors’ positive reaction to the country’s robust economic performance and the improved outlook, following successive favorable credit rating actions by the Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poors and Moody’s Investor Service in June, July and October 2012, respectively. In particular, gross equity capital placements during the period totaled $1.5 billion, almost thrice the year-ago level of $575 million. Inflows were channeled mainly from the United States, Australia, The Netherlands, Japan and the British Virgin Islands, and were primarily directed to the manufacturing, real estate, wholesale and retail, financial and insurance, mining, transportation and storage sectors. All FDI components posted positive balances during the month, reflecting foreign investors’ growing optimism over the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals. Meanwhile, the BSP added that the other capital account—consisting

largely of intercompany borrowing/lending between foreign direct investors and their subsidiaries/affiliates in the Philippines—posted net outflows of $252 million, a reversal of the $398-million net inflows in 2011. The BSP said that, for October alone, FDI yielded net inflows of $38 million, significantly lower than $71-million net inflows registered in the same month last year. Net inflows for the month consisted mainly of equity capital, which reached $62 million, compared to $22 million, almost thrice the yearago level. These inflows, mostly from the US, Japan and Switzerland, were channeled to the manufacturing, real estate and financial and insurance sectors. Also, reinvested earnings amounted to $15 million. However, these were partly offset by net outflows recorded in the capital account aggregating $24 million, a reversal of the $43 million net inflows posted in October 2011, the BSP added.‐business‐news/39143‐fdi‐inflows‐reach‐1‐ 1b‐as‐of‐october‐last‐year                    

Posted on January 11, 2013 07:11:39 PM

2012 palay production surpasses target THE PHILIPPINES produced at least 18.03 million metric tons of palay (unhusked rice), surpassing the Agriculture department’s revised target of 17.9 million metric tons, a government official said.

"We have produced at least 18.03 million metric tons of palay in 2012," Department of Agriculture National Rice Program (DA-NRP) Coordinator Dante S. Delima said in an interview yesterday. Mr. Delima said that in terms of consumption, this level of palay production is already enough. He said that based on data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), NRP computations showed that milled rice for 2012 came to 11.026 million metric tons. "This [level of rice production] is already enough for consumption if we will use the new BAS (Bureau of Agricultural Statistics) data regarding per capita rice consumption of 115 kilos of rice," Mr. Delima said. Asked to verify this data, BAS Assistant Director Maura S. Lizarondo said that the 115 kg of rice per capita consumption is based on preliminary data from their food demand survey in 2012. She said that they have yet to come up with an official figure because they are still evaluating the November survey results. NRP computation showed that based on 119 kg per capita, the rice requirement for 2012 is 11.41 million MT. If the new 115 kg per capita basis is used, the rice requirement for 2012 is 11.03 million MT. Both computations takes into account the annual seed requirement (for planting) of 351,764 metric tons and a population level of 95.88 million. However, Mr. Delima clarified that the "feeds and wastage" factor (the percentage of rice that are wasted and used for animal feeds) and the required level of buffer stocks -- a minimum of 100,000 metric tons -- have not yet been taken into account. As a result, the DA-NRP will start reviewing its Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP) data in light of this new development. Based on the FSSP data, the target is to produce domestic requirement by 2013 by producing 20.04 million metric tons of palay. "We will start reviewing our data in February this year," Mr. Delima said. -- Raymond Jun R. Portillo‐palay‐production‐ surpasses‐target&id=64161  

Posted on January 11, 2013 07:05:16 PM

DAR, LRA add obstacle to landowners trying to circumvent CARP IN AN EFFORT to prevent landowners from getting around the five hectare retention limit of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has come up with new requirements for landowners who want to apply for a subdivision survey. According to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2 series of 2013 from the DAR and the Land Registration Authority (LRA), when owners of agricultural land covered by CARP apply for a land subdivision survey from the LRA, they are now required to also apply for a clearance from the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO). The PARO has to certify if the landholding is covered by CARP or not, and may then interpose an objection to the application for approval of a subdivision plan, at which point the LRA may deny the application (subject to reconsideration). If the PARO has no objections, the application to subdivide the land may be approved. DAR Officer in Charge Undersecretary for Field Operations Jose Z. Grajeda said in a phone interview yesterday that the circular’s aim is to prevent land owners from subdividing land that is covered by CARP into smaller lots and selling them. By law if a landowner decides to sell land covered by CARP, he can only sell a maximum of five hectares, referred to as the landowner’s retention area, said Mr. Grajeda. "There are landowners who apply for a subdivision survey -- a survey conducted before the LRA approves the subdivision of a large tract of

land into smaller lots -- so that they can be given separate land titles for the smaller lots and then sell it, avoiding the five hectare retention requirement," Mr. Grajeda explained. "If a landowner owns 100 hectares of private agricultural land, he can only sell a maximum of five hectares," Mr. Grajeda said, "but if he subdivides it into smaller five hectare landholdings with different titles, then he can easily sell the entire 100 hectare land." The joint circular was issued to prevent the circumvention of the law, Mr. Grajeda said, noting that they also plan to ask the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Land Management Service (LMS) to issue a similar joint circular with the DAR. He said that the LMS and the LRA can both conduct subdivision surveys. The memorandum -- published in a general circulation publication on Jan. 11 -- also requirements on reporting and monitoring, repealing clause, and a separability clause. The joint circular will take effect 10 days after its publication. -Raymond Jun R. Portillo,‐LRA‐add‐obstacle‐to‐ landowners‐trying‐to‐circumvent‐CARP&id=64157                    

2013 01 12 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News Monitor for 2013 01 12

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