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Domestic Rice Production Rising 6% By Whitney MCFerron (Bloomberg) January 19, 2013, 7:20pm Rice production in the Philippines, the world’s fourth-biggest importer, may rise 6 percent year-on-year due to increased planting, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. Aggregate rice production, including the main season and ongoing secondary season, may total 18 million metric tons, up from 16.998 million tons a year earlier, the Romebased FAO wrote today in a country report on its website. That’s equivalent to 11.8 million tons of milled rice. The main-crop harvest, which finished in mid-December, rose 11 percent from a year earlier to a record 10.1 million tons, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics’ estimate cited in the report. “The increase mainly reflects an expansion in the planted area and higher yields following favorable weather as a result of the La Niña phenomenon during the main season,” the FAO said, referring to the weather pattern caused by cooling equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean. Corn production may total 7.42 million tons, up from 6.97 million tons a year earlier, the FAO said. Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), which brought heavy rain and wind to parts of the country in early December, likely will have only a minimal impact on national grain production, the FAO said. The storm may have damaged about 28,000 hectares of rice and 35,000 hectares of corn, mostly in the Northern Mindanao and Davao regions. Philippine grain import requirements in the 2012-13 marketing year that began June 1 may total 4.2 million tons, 21 percent less than a year earlier, as domestic production expands, the FAO said. The country is expected to import 3.2 million tons of wheat.

Agriculture secretary in quandary over transfer of Mali to Thailand • •

Written by Tribune Sunday, 20 January 2013 00:00

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala yesterday said he is in the process of determining whether his department is the right agency that must decide if elephant Mali must be transferred to Thailand from the Manila Zoo for its permanent habitat.

Alcala added he already instructed his legal department to look at their charter if they have jurisdiction over Mali or it is the Manila government that must decide if the 35year-old elephant can be shipped to Thailand.

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has been critical of the DA for the past few weeks by urging the agency to permit the elephant’s transfer to its bigger, more natural habitat outside the Philippines.

The animal group said Mali, being a domesticated animal, should not be confined at Manila Zoo because the zoo’s facilities are not conducive to such huge animal.

They said the breed of Mali is fast being extinct that’s why the animal must be transferred to its permanent habitat.

“Maybe they think I have jurisdiction on the animal. But I have to verify first. The people in Peta think so just like the dogs that were being killed through muffler exhaustion,” Alcala told the Daily Tribune in an exclusive cellphone interview.

The Agriculture secretary advised the group to do similar appeal to Mayor Alfredo Lim because Manila Zoo is a city government-owned facility and not under DA.

“I understand the elephant is very old and one of the few remaining of her kind in the world. What if I decide then my legal department tells me that it is not our jurisdiction? The Bureau of Animal Industry is under DA but there is a local government unit that operates where Mali belongs,” Alcala, a civil engineer by profession, explained.

According to Peta, the elephant was still a nursing baby when she was taken from her home in Sri Lanka in 1977. The group said being a wild elephant, Mali engages in activities for up to 20 hours every day, moving about and socializing with other elephants. But the zoo measures only 0.055 square kilometers, and Mali’s enclosure is one small piece of that. For her physical well-being, the animal needs grass to cushion her aching joints and room to move, not a cramped pen. The elephant hasn’t seen another elephant in more than 30 years. Mali has been denied proper veterinary care. In the entire time she has been at the zoo, she has never received proper preventive foot care — which other reputable zoos in the world provide — or even basic blood work. An elephant expert who has examined him determined that the elephant already suffers from potentially fatal cracked nails and foot pads which are open to infection and overgrown cuticles. Ed Velasco

Partnership Brews New ‘Coffee Wave’ By Melody M. Aguiba January 19, 2013, 7:44pm A “third wave” coffee trend is being initiated by the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCB) in a partnership with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) which can create consumption growth for coffee produced by Filipino women farmers. The third wave refers to the introduction in coffee shops of hand-drip coffee that uses allfresh raw materials brewed in simple devices like a manual coffeemaker instead of automated espresso machines. While Starbucks may be credited for having led the “second wave” of coffee drinking lifestyle that gave a boost to the price of good quality coffee produced by farmers, the third wave can also give opportunities to farmers from different Philippine regions, according to IWCA-Philippines officials. PCB and IWCA are starting off with a program at Enderun to train baristas (bartender in Italian) - those preparing espresso-based (concentrated) coffee in shops-by Filipino lead barista Selina Viguera of San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee. “It will be a training on Hand Drip Coffee and Latte Art,” said Viguera at a demonstration of hand drip coffee at the ECHOcafe. “A third wave of coffee culture is happening. (And) we should take baristas’ (skills) to the next level.” PCB, which has been pushing for increased use among local coffee shops of Philippinesproduced coffee amid dominant import supply, may carry out the program two times a year at the Enderun culinary arts school, according to PCB Chairman Pacita U. Juan. It is in its recognition that more skilled coffee shop workers should be trained in an industry that could contribute to raising local coffee production which is just at the 25,000 metric tons (MT) level. This production is just a fourth of the 100,000 MT yearly Robusta coffee consumption. Filipino farmers’ production of the specialty Arabica coffee variety is just around a fifth at 1,000 MT yearly of the consumption which is at 5,000 to 6,000 MT. Value of imports is estimated at R10 billion yearly and could reach to R15 billion in five years given consumption trend growth. The program of PCB and IWCA-Philippines is intensifying contribution of women in the coffee sector, from production to retail. The “Benguet Blend” is specifically produced by women in various coffee communities in Benguet.

“Through coffee, these women (Benguet Blend producers) are able to meet their daily needs and also save some for the future. They achieve financial freedom giving them price and self esteem,” according to “Women in coffee.” This is also specifically promoting geographic origin of coffee as IWCA-Philippines is championed by coffee women producers from different provinces. In Sulu, it is represented by Princess Kumalah Sug-Elardo; Benguet, Christine D. Abellon; and Batangas, Josephine V. Ramos. “While gathering more women’s groups around the country who are engaged in coffee production, processing and trading, IWCA and ECHOstore already took the lead in selling the ‘Women in Coffee’ brand because most of the coffee farmers we buy from are women – even way back in 2008,” said ECHOstore’s Reena Francisco. The IWCA Philippines will also supply coffee to international buyers like Accenture, Marriott, and IBM. Aside from coffee, though, the Women in Coffee is also producing local Philippine artisanal chocolates. “We’ve only just begun,” said Juan. “Many other variants of the chocolate and coffee products are in the pipeline, most likely to be sold first in ECHOstore before launching them in international events for possible exports of value-added coffee.”

SEC to require TIN from foreign investors By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Corporate regulators have stepped up efforts in making sure foreign company officials are paying proper taxes for their income here in the Philippines. In a memorandum, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it will require the tax identification number (TIN) on foreign investors in a local company. “No application for incorporation of a corporation, or registration of a partnership shall be accepted unless the TIN or passport number of all its foreign investors are indicated in its registration documents like Articles of Incorporation,” SEC said. Applications for amendments of a company’s registration documents will not be accepted by SEC unless the TIN of all the foreign investors, natural or juridical, resident or nonresident, are indicated. “All documents to be filed with the SEC by corporations and partnerships after their incorporation like General Information Sheets shall not be accepted unless the TIN of all its foreign investors are indicated therein,” the SEC added.

The new ruling stemmed from last year’s Revenue Regulation 7-2012 or the “Amended Consolidated Revenue Regulations on Primary Registration, Updates and Cancellation.� Under the revenue regulation, non-resident aliens not engaged in trade or business or non-resident foreign corporations will be issued TIN for the purpose of withholding taxes on their income from sources within the Philippines. Prior to or at the time of the filing of their monthly withholding tax return, the withholding agent will apply for the TIN on behalf of the non-resident aliens. The government, through its tax collection agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs, is intensifying its tax collection efforts to support public spending and lessen the budget deficit. Losses from tax leaks are estimated at P200 billion annually, government data showed. SEC said the memorandum is also in line with Executive Order 98 of 1998 that requires all persons dealing with all government agencies to incorporate their TIN in all forms, permits, licenses, clearances, official papers and documents which they secure from these government agencies including government owned and controlled corporations and local government units. The memorandum, the first for the corporate regulator this year, took effect on January 7.

E-Payment Procurement System Launched By Chino S. Leyco January 19, 2013, 7:18pm The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), in partnership with Landbank of the Philippines (Landbank), launched its new electronic payment facility that allows agencies to complete online purchases for supplies procured through the PhilGEPS Virtual Store. Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that the new system will help agencies ensure a quicker and more efficient procurement system, as well as boost the Aquino administration’s overall transparency campaign. “This is a ground-breaking feat for the Philippine bureaucracy, especially in view of the wide-ranging reforms that the Aquino administration has successfully instituted over the last two years,” Abad said. “The establishment of the e-Payment system effectively brings us to the realm of cashless transactions, where procurement activities can be tracked and accounted very quickly and accurately,” he added. The PhilGEPS ePayment facility allows agencies to pay for items procured through the Virtual Store at any time of the day. This reduces the time needed to complete a transaction, which normally involves the processing of financial documents and the preparation of checks. Transactions made via the e-Payment facility can also be monitored and tracked conveniently through LANDBANK’s WebAccess portal. “The development of this online payment facility is particularly important for liquidating expenses that are charged against public funds. Because every step of the process can now be tracked and monitored, we can begin to close off all avenues for irregularity and, ultimately, establish better accountability across government,” Abad said. Abad said that besides the e-Payment feature, PhilGEPS is also developing a system that will allow bidders to make electronic payments for membership fees and other charges. This feature is expected to evolve into an online payment system for bid documents. He added that with the PHILGEPS e-Payment facility, LANDBANK can now offer similar e-Payment services for other government services, such as license applications with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and clearance applications with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

NEDA clears P147 B infra dev’t projects By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved five infrastructure and social development projects worth a combined P147 billion. In particular, the board gave the go-signal to start the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project which costs P35.58 billion. The CALAX project, to be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), involves the financing, design and construction of a new 47.02 kilometer, fourlane expressway from the end of the Cavite Expressway or Cavitex in Kawit, Cavite to Mamplasan Interchange of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Biñan, Laguna. The project, to be completed in 2017, aims to provide fast, safe, comfortable and reliable means of transportation in Cavite and Laguna provinces. The NEDA board also gave the green light for the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road project estimated at P25.56 billion. This project, with target completion in 2016, will complete the north-south industrial development beltway transport axis that consists of a 13.4-km and four-lane elevated expressway connecting the North Luzon Expressway and SLEX. The project aims to decongest Metro Manila traffic and provide better access to Manila ports. NEDA also approved the allocation of P1.03 billion for the so-called “Adapting to Climate Change Through the Construction of Water Impounding Facilities in the Philippines: Pasa Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (Pasa SRIP).” Pasa SRIP project will involve the construction of a 36.70-meter-high earth-filled dam across Pasa River with a reservoir of active storage. It also includes the construction of irrigation facilities with a main canal of about 5.93 km. and lateral canals of 16.20 km. and the improvement of 4,187 meters of farm-to-market roads. The project aims to improve food security and rural incomes by increasing agricultural and fishery production through the establishment of a climate-resilient agriculture infrastructure.

The project, targeted to be completed in 2016, would be jointly undertaken by the Department of Agriculture – National Irrigation Administration. Another P2.94 billion, on the other hand, would be used to finance the Change in Scope of the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP II), the NEDA board said. The proposed changes in the project’s components will entail reallocation of funds among various project components such as the adjustment of the land tenure improvement targets and the scaling down of the documentation and dissemination of indigenous forest management systems, among others.

US Ship Aground In Tubbataha Faces Appropriate Laws – Palace By MADEL SABATER NAMIT and ELENA L. ABEN January 19, 2013, 7:50pm MANILA, Philippines --- Malacañang yesterday said appropriate laws will be implemented on the US Navy ship that ran aground in Tubbataha Reef. Yesterday, US authorities blamed inaccurate navigation chart data that displaced the location of the Tubbataha Reef for the grounding of the minesweeper, USS Guardian. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there will be an investigation on how the USS Guardian had ran aground. “The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said concerned agencies will be conducting their own investigations on how the USS Guardian ended up somewhere in Tubbataha Reef,” Valte said. “There are laws that we have to implement... provided it is a World Heritage Site,” she said. “As we all know, it is a World Heritage Site and hindi basta-basta nakakapunta dyan lalo na (one cannot just enter the area, especially since) it is a highly protected area and we have to find out the circumstances,” she added. “We will see what the investigation will yield and what their recommendations will be and then we will move forward with the guidance of what the law provides,” Valte said. The Palace official said what is more important is for the ship to be extricated “with minimal damage.” The US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian was from Subic for a regular port call when it got stuck in the Tubbataha Reef, the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the country measuring 97,030 hectares. It lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the geographic center of world marine biodiversity, and was included as a World heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1993 and inscribed on the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance in 1999. Inaccurate Navigation Chart Data Blamed With the inaccurate navigation chart data, the US Navy said a comprehensive investigation is continuing to determine other potential contributing factors. Latest statement released yesterday afternoon by the Pacific Fleet public affairs indicated that, “The US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) today provided

preliminary findings of a review on Digital Nautical Charts (DNC) that contain inaccurate navigation data and may have been a factor in the Guardian grounding that occurred in the Sulu Sea on Jan. 17.” Because of this, the US Navy said that investigation to assess the circumstances surrounding the grounding of the minesweeper will include information on faulty digital chart used by the Guardian to navigate Philippine waters. The Pacific Fleet added that since DNC mapping is also used for safe navigation by other US Navy ships using similar electronic charts, Navigator of the Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White has released “precautionary guidance” to all Fleet and ship commanders after initial review of navigation data “indicates an error in the location of Tubbataha Reef” on the digital map. US Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Darryn James said that while the erroneous navigation chart data is important information, “no one should jump to conclusions.” The US Navy, meanwhile, emphasized that proper coordination was promptly made with the Philippine government when the 224-foot long minesweeper ran aground. The US 7th Fleet also assured that all efforts are being done to ensure the safety of the coral reef as they work to recover the grounded ship. In an exchange of email communications with Manila Bulletin, Lt. Commander Ralph Kris Hooper, public affairs officer of the 7th Fleet stressed, “The government of the Philippines was promptly notified of the incident and is being updated regularly on the status of events and recovery efforts.” This is in response to allegations that the US Navy did not immediately report the incident until Philippine authorities discovered their situation. But a spokesman for the Philippine Navy (PN) said, “No, we were not informed immediately.” Lt. Cdr. Greg Fabic, the acting director, PN PAO, said “it was the park superintendent, Ms. Angelique Songco who informed Navforwest (Naval Forces West) and Wescom (Western Command) and asked for assistance.” Navforwest and WesCom have jurisdiction over the area.

Best saving strategies on estate, donor’s and inheritance taxes (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - When death strikes a property or a business owner unexpectedly, heirs suffer. Huge estate taxes have financially wiped out many family fortunes. The best time to prepare for this is when you are still alive. And when you really plan ahead, you outsmart the tax system legally. To help and guide you on this, the Center for Global Best Practices is hosting a two-day pioneering seminar entitled, “Best Saving Strategies on Estate, Donor’s & Inheritance Taxes,” scheduled on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 & 23 at the Peninsula Hotel, Makati City. (For details and a complete list of seminars, you may log on to or call (02) 842-7148/ 59 and 556-8968/ 69, Cebu lines: (032) 512-3106 or 07 or Baguio line: (074) 423-5148.) On this one and half -day seminar, learn the secrets of tax-savvy rich families who are able to save millions of avoidable taxes with the right tax exempt and tax saving strategies in the transfer and disposition of their assets to their families and the next generation. Expert practitioners will help you align your tax strategies with the recent tax laws and most recent BIR regulations and rulings. We will teach you novel asset protection strategies, including solutions and remedies to unlock frozen assets due to unpaid taxes. Best of all, we will show you the correct method of valuation of your property so you can deal fairly and squarely with the tax authorities who at times can be vague about how they arrive at their own valuation. This one-of-a-kind seminar will feature taxation expert, Danilo A. Duncano, and asset protection law expert, Jim V. Lopez. Duncano authored 23 tax books and has over 38 years of experience as a tax practitioner both in the private and public sector. Lopez is an author of five best-selling books and an expert practitioner in asset protection law who has helped many property and business owners protect themselves and families from predators and bad relatives. Attend and leave a lasting legacy! Interested participants are encouraged to avail of the early registration savings and group discounts for three or more participants. Seats are limited and pre-registration is required.

Dagupan: Clean, Green, And Safe By Iiezle Basa Inigo January 19, 2013, 8:00pm DAGUPAN Philippines, Pangasinan — The search team for the Safest and Greenest City 2013 title visited this city earlier this week to validate the improvements in its maintenance of a “clean, green, and safe environment.” Search Committee Head Laarni Joy Mandap said her impression is that the city has indeed improved this year’s survey as compared with her first sojourn here in 2010. The inspection took the team to the Malimgas Market, the City Museum, the City Plaza and the City Police Station. Mandap, the representative of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 1 office, was also amazed over the big improvements done in the city’s dumpsite in Bonuan Binloc. She noted the success of Mayor Benjamin S. Lim in properly planning the conversion of the dumpsite into an ecological park. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) representative in the search team also lauded the city’s peacekeeping and environmental rehabilitation thrust which showed great change from his last year’s visit here.

NPA rebels raid Dole-Stanfilco banana plantation in Surigao del Sur By Frinston L. Lim Inquirer Mindanao 3:17 pm | Sunday, January 20th, 2013

TAGUM CITY – Communist rebels on Friday raided a banana plantation owned by a multinational firm in Tago, Surigao del Sur, hacking down at least 15,000 full-grown trees and firing at several pieces of heavy equipment parked along a roadside, police on Sunday said. Superintendent Martin Gamba, spokesperson of Caraga police regional office, said an undetermined number of New People’s Army guerrillas “left a large swath of destruction” at the plantation owned by Dole-Stanfilco in Barangay (village) Anahao Daan around 9 p.m. The rebels chopped down some 15,000 fully-grown banana plants “with fruits ready for harvest”, according to Gamba. Four backhoes and a bulldozer parked by the roadside owned by a certain Edilberto Garay of Davao City were burned as the fleeing insurgents, believed to be members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 19-B under a certain Susay, passed by Sitio Ibo also in the same village, said Gamba. He said the attack may have caused millions of pesos of damage to crops and other properties. The police official said police and the military were now conducting operations against the attackers. He said an investigation into the incident has been launched. The incident in Surigao del Sur happened just a day after NPA rebels kidnapped a policeman and a soldier at a checkpoint the insurgents had set up along a village road in Laak town, Compostela Valley province, several hundred kilometers to the southeast.

Union Bank sets aggressive expansion for City Savings By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Union Bank of the Philippines plans to aggressively expand the network of City Savings Bank in Luzon, a top bank official said. Justo Ortiz, Union Bank chairman and chief executive officer, said they plan to expand the existing 30 branches of City Savings to 40. Ortiz said once approved by regulators, they plan to grow the branches of City Savings to about the same level as Union Bank which currently has 200 branches nationwide. According to Ortiz, they hope to get all the regulatory approvals for the purchase of City Savings within the next 90 days. He said they would probably keep City Savings as a separate subsidiary rather than merging its branches with Union Bank. Ortiz pointed out that City Savings has its own niche market not currently being served by Union Bank. “We are interested in City Savings because this is consistent with our focus and our 2020 goals what we set out to do…to become a retail bank as our historical roots are in the business of lending to corporate clients,” he said. He added the acquisition of City Savings would allow Union Bank to develop a retail base usually not being served by a universal bank. “It’s a profitable business and potential for growth particularly in Luzon, they can leverage on our operating platform and on our technology. Clearly a different market and a different brand, most probably be kept at a separate stand-alone subsidiary because the market is very specific, the behavior of the market is also different from our market,” he said. As for Union Bank, he said they are comfortable with the number of branches they have right now. “We are fine with where we are, 200,” he said. The Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) board recently approved the proposed offer of Union Bank to purchase all of AEV’s shares in City Savings. The purchase of 194,371 combined shares of AEV and Pilmico, which will be paid in cash, is subject to the results of a due diligence review. Total acquisition value is estimated at P5.7 billion.

As a thrift bank, City Savings is primarily engaged in offering loans to school teachers under the Education Department’s Automatic Payroll Deduction System. Other products include salary loans to government and private sector employees, home mortgage and home improvement loans, as well as small business loans. To date, AEV owns 44.82 percent of Union Bank’s total issued and outstanding capital stock and would have a resulting beneficial or attributable interest of 44.61 percent in City Savings’ equity after Union Bank’s acquisition.

Public urged to heed health warnings By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang reminded citizens yesterday to heed the Department of Health (DOH)’s advice to avoid contracting the flu this cold season, particularly in some parts of the country where the temperature has been unusually low. This developed as weather forecasters recorded a slight raise in Baguio City’s temperature yesterday morning, although they said the cold weather is far from over. “When temperature gets low, the chances of contracting flu are higher, which is why the health department continuously issues reminders on how to avoid the disease, and how to strengthen our body’s immune system,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio dzRB. Valte said there was no discussion yet on travel advisories or alerts even as a flu epidemic had been reported in the United States. During cold season, the DOH said more people would tend to get sick because of staying indoors, or being cooped up with family members to keep warm. However, the DOH said being with others for a long period - not wild swings in the weather - makes the body more vulnerable to ailments like respiratory diseases and influenza (flu), or even measles and chicken pox.The DOH said the public must pay attention and observe health measures like proper hand washing to avoid these illnesses. Health workers also discouraged sick people from going outside to prevent the spread of diseases, and advised them to always cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.The health department said flu usually occurs during cold season, but more so during the rainy season. Leny Ruiz, of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Baguio City registered an 11.6 degrees Celsius temperature yesterday morning, higher by 2 degrees than last Friday’s 9.5 degrees Celsius. In Metro Manila, PAGASA data taken from the Science Garden showed the temperature at 23 degrees Celsius, while its facility based at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) registered 24.4 degrees Celsius, or six degrees higher than the 18.8 degrees Celsius recorded last Friday.Ruiz said the increase in the temperature was not an indication that the cold days are over. – With Evelyn Macairan

Review Of House Expenses Approved By Charissa M. Luci January 19, 2013, 6:09pm MANILA, Philippines --- The chairman of the House committee on accounts is ready to have the finances of the 287-man Lower Chamber scrutinized following calls of his colleagues to review their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). Saying that the House of Representatives has nothing to hide, An Waray party-list Rep. Bem Noel agreed to the proposed review of the House financial vault made by Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, and Assistant Majority Leader and Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna. "I'm okay with that," he said in an interview when asked if he would give in to calls made by the two House leaders. He maintained that each lawmaker was given additional MOOEs last December to provide bonuses to congressional staff. Noel stressed that the MOOE allocation has been a practice every December and there is nothing illegal with that, dispelling claims that congressmen have been given bonuses through the MOOEs. "There are more House members now, and our budget remained the same, which gives us little elbow room to give bonuses,” he said Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, already thumbed down calls to review the House finances, saying that the Commission on Audit (COA) regularly keeps an eye on government funds. He agreed with Noel that the amount given is in accordance with accounting rules and has been done for a long time, citing that all congressional funds are subject to regular annual audit by the COA. Treñas even disclosed that the funds for 2012 "will be undergoing" audit now by the COA.

Get ‘high’ with Dante Enage’s tuba artworks By Ronald Reyes | Posted on Jan. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 368 views

It all started with childhood sketches, then an exposure to art workshops done by Tacloban-based visual artists like UP Prof. Dulce Cuna, Ed Rompal and Rico Palacio, and finally, a realization that he can personally create masterpieces out of constant exploration of his craft. “Explore art, marami pang style na di pa nadidiskubre, ‘wag matakot magkamali, it’s a part of learning. Kung walang pambili ng art material, maghanap ng objects, mixed media, coffee or tuba gaya ng gamit ko,” says Dante Enage, 40, known for his exquisitely detailed and artistically unique paintings using tuba or native coconut wine which is popular in Eastern visayas being the 3rd coconut producing region in the country.

The Artist (2nd from left) with his students on tuba artworks during a workshop.

Sensitive and passionate, Dante admits that he is pursuing this medium as his way of paying tribute to the late Leo Villaflor, Leyte’s great tuba artist. “Besides, tuba as a medium is unique and more cheaper,” he adds. Though he finds that tuba is “monochromatic” he is confident that artworks can still be produced and that market can still be made out of it. Dante is currently working on a project dubbed as “Hin-o ako? (Who am I?)” tuba-painting series, about identifying oneself as a Filipino. According to Dante, his incoming artworks will feature banig patterns, Pintados tattoo patterns and the Baybayin native script which symbolize the natives of Leyte. His other finished artwork however was recently donated at Art for Humanity online auction to raise fund for the victims of typhoon Pablo. Dante’s recent clients include Lilibeth Solajes, owner of Rancho Maria Lucas of Leyte who is interested in paintings about horses being done in tuba, and Alfonso Moreno, owner of Vino de Coco who commissioned him to do their family portrait also using their own tuba products. On February, which is the National Arts Month, Dante will have an exhibit of his tuba paintings with his partner Ge-ann and his five-year old daughter Yumi who are also trying their hands on tuba artworks. To date, Dante is joining Art Philippines group exhibit at Formafuego Artist Space in Quezon city with other established and emerging Filipino visual artists in the country. “Manila experience is great! I meet new artist friends who are also amazed on the medium I used, and even asked about the process of tuba painting,” he shares, also humbled of the recognition from his contemporaries.

Aside from painting, Dante also plays percussion for ethno-tribal band Kulahig and works as a tattoo artist. His artworks are regularly featured at 8 Magazine, first travel and lifestyle magazine in Eastern visayas.‐high‐with‐dante‐enages‐tuba‐artworks/                

2013 01 20 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  
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