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Agri chief faces graft raps from his time in Congress By Cynthia D. Balana Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:06 am | Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala was slapped with graft and falsification charges in the Office of the Ombudsman for the allegedly fraudulent disbursement of some P3.5 million in pork barrel funds intended for farmers during his term as congressman of the second district of Quezon from 2007 to 2010. In a seven-page complaint, Ramon Talaga Jr. on Monday sought Alcala’s preventive suspension from office while the graft case is being investigated. Talaga said that in 2008, Alcala allocated P3.5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to support a project of an organization called Sir Pelagio Alcantara Development (Spade) Foundation Inc. entitled “Proceso sa Pag-asenso: Proyektong Lingap-Kalinga para sa Kabuhayan ng mga Piling Magsasaka ng Ikalawang Distrito ng Quezon.” He said the project was supposedly intended to provide livelihood assistance to poor farmerfamilies in his district. Faked signatures A report submitted by the Spade Foundation to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, duly noted by Alcala, said there were 65 farmer-families that received P50,000 each from the capital assistance project as of May 15, 2008, based on 65 disbursement vouchers. Talaga said the money never reached most—if not all—the named beneficiaries. He said a number of farmers who denied having received the funds through vouchers claimed their signatures were faked. The farmers were being required to pay back sums they had not received for a loan or fund assistance project they never made or participated in, he said. Talaga submitted a sworn affidavit of one Mario Magadia, a supposed farmer-beneficiary, who claimed he never received P50,000 despite a voucher showing he had signed it. Talaga also cited 15 other sworn affidavits with the same complaint. “It is thus plain that Mr. Alcala’s PDAF allocated for this project was not given to its intended beneficiary and, worse, documents pertaining to its disbursement were falsified with Mr. Alcala’s full cooperation to successfully defraud the government of funds intended for public use,” he said.

Dubious selection The complaint further said that documents pertaining to the project showed the “dubious selection” of Spade Foundation as beneficiary considering that it is not even a nongovernmental organization based in Quezon province but in La Union. It said the foundation’s articles of incorporation say it is not meant to help farmers in the province but to promote, undertake, manage, establish or otherwise set up funds for socioeconomic, cultural, civic or charitable ends for the poor within the Ilocano-speaking provinces. The complainant urged the Ombudsman to also investigate and file criminal charges against Alcala’s alleged coconspirators, including Claron Alcantara, president of Spade Foundation, Pelagio Alcantara Jr., Dylan Alcantara, Crescencia Alcantara and Venido Alcantara, all directors of the foundation. “Falsification and graft and corruption are malevolent acts that have no place in government. Public service requires utmost integrity and discipline,” Talaga said.‐chief‐faces‐graft‐raps‐from‐his‐time‐in‐congress                          

Phl bananas cleared for export to US By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines could proceed with the shipment of highland Cavendish bananas to the United States within the first quarter of the year, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) said yesterday. BPI director Clarito Barron said Kelan Evans of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) formally informed him of the importation ruling during their meeting yesterday. Dole Philippines would now be allowed to ship 3,000 metric tons Cavendish bananas to mainland US. Barron said that during the same meeting, Evans informed him that USDA- APHIS has also certified as pest-free mango plantations in Davao Oriental, and Samal Island. “This means that we may also export mangoes from these areas other than Guimaras,” he said. Barron said, however, there is still no volume specified for mango shipments to the US. “We are still working on the protocols for that,” he said. Because of the destruction caused by Typhoon Pablo to banana crops in Davao region and Compostella Valley, the country postponed the maiden shipment of Cavendish bananas to the US to fulfill export obligations to its premium markets like Japan and Korea. Dole Philippines was supposed to ship an initial 3,000 MT of Cavendish bananas to the US in December. The Philippine banana industry is now setting its sights on shipment contracts to US defense commissaries.‐bananas‐cleared‐export‐us

Agriculture dept reduces rice imports to  150,000 MT     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 20:01   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor   ONE hundred fifty thousand metric tons (MT) of rice may be imported this year to serve as buffer stock  for the lean June‐to‐August period, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala.  The figure is lower than the 500,000 MT of the staple imported last year.  Based on the daily national rice consumption of 35,000 MT, rice imports this year may only last less than  five days.  Alcala  made  the  reduction  on  the  strength  of  additional  yield  from  the  early  cropping  scheme  implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its National Rice Program, led by Agriculture  Assistant Secretary Dante Delima.  The agriculture chief is banking on this yield to meet rice requirements during the third quarter of the  year.  “The  volume  will  only  serve  as  our  buffer  stock  for  the  lean  season,  which  actually  became  shorter  because  of  the  interventions  we  have  implemented  early  last  year,”  Alcala  told  reporters  on  the  sidelines of the opening ceremony for the Philippine Rural Development Program.  “Due to our early cropping scheme, we were able to break tradition, so we can now expect [a] harvest  by June. In other words, we have shortened our lean months…We may no longer need to import [rice]  that much this year,” he said.  The  agriculture  secretary,  however,  admitted  that  the  National  Food  Authority  (NFA)  Council  is  yet  to  decide on the exact volume of rice imports, since the final figure will depend on the results of the wet  cropping season.  Of  the  500,000  MT  of  rice  imported  last  year,  only  120,000  MT  was  purchased  by  the  NFA,  with  the  balance bought by the private sector.  In 2011 the total import volume was 860,000 MT. The private sector bought  600,000 MT  of the crop;  farmers’ groups, 60,000 MT; and the NFA, 200,000 MT. 

The Philippines  became  the  world’s  biggest  rice  importer  from  2008  to  2009  when  the  Arroyo  administration purchased  2.45 million MT of the crop, pushing global rice prices to soar to more than  $1,000 per MT.  Increased palay procurement  ALCALA  also  announced  during  the  ceremony  that  the  NFA  would  increase  palay  (unhusked  rice)  procurement from farmers to raise rice reserves.  Palay can last up to two years in granaries and warehouses without spoiling.  “Continuing rice importation this year doesn’t mean that we are off with our self‐sufficiency target. In  fact,  we  even  increased  our  food  security  by  beefing  up  the  procurement  of  local  palay,  while  maintaining the balance of imported rice,” Alcala said.  “We have projected record‐high rough palay production this year….Definitely, we will achieve rice self‐ sufficiency by end of 2013,” he added.  Newly installed NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag said his agency plans to buy 615,985 MT of palay this  year to ensure rice supply and buffer stocks.  He promised to meet the target volume through intensified local procurement.  “For us to finally achieve rice self‐sufficiency, we need to help our farmers produce more and provide a  ready market for their produce,” Calayag said.  Once  achieved,  it  will  be  the  NFA’s  second‐largest  palay  procurement.  The  largest  was  the  Marcos  administration’s purchase of more than 700,000 MT of the crop in 1979.  In 2012 the NFA bought only 356,667 MT or 7.133 million bags of palay, lower than its target of 591,675  MT or 11.883 million bags, due to a huge cut in its budget.  This year, the DA targets to produce 18.46 MMT of palay, and more than 20 MMT by 2013 to attain 100‐ percent sufficiency.  In  2011,  the  country  harvested  16.68  MMT  of  palay  despite  strong  typhoons,  a  5.8‐percent  increase  from the 15.77 MMT produced the year before.‐commodities/8766‐agriculture‐dept‐reduces‐ rice‐imports‐to‐150‐000‐mt   

Economy Posted on February 04, 2013 10:51:25 PM 

Rice imports estimate raised THE PHILIPPINES may import 150,000 to 200,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year, higher  than the previous estimate of 100,000 MT, to make sure there is adequate supply of rice in the  local market during the lean months of June to August, a government official said yesterday.    THE PHILIPPINES, once the world’s biggest rice importer, is aiming for self‐sufficiency in the staple and as  such will make less imports this year. ‐‐ AFP    "We may import 150,000 to 200,000 metric tons of rice this year to use as buffer stocks," Agriculture  Secretary Proceso J. Alcala told reporters yesterday at the sidelines of an appraisal by the World Bank of  a project it is funding and to be implemented by the Agriculture department.    "This 150,000‐200,000 metric tons of imported rice will be kept in our warehouses to ensure there is  enough supply of rice in the lean months," Mr. Alcala said.    Most rice farmers normally plant during the wet season, which starts in May and extends up to  November. They harvest in October and April. Only a few plant and harvest during the dry months of  June, July and August.    Last December, Mr. Alcala said the Philippines may import less than 100,000 MT of rice this year.    The National Food Authority Council, which he heads, will decide the final volume. The council will meet  either this month or in March. The planned imports this year are drastically lower than the 500,000 MT  of rice bought from abroad last year. Of the 500,000 MT total, private rice traders imported 380,000 MT  while the NFA imported 120,000 MT.    The Philippines, said Dante S. Delima, National Rice Program coordinator and Agriculture assistant  secretary, is nearing self‐sufficiency in rice and therefore needs to make less imports of the staple.  Actual rice production last year reached 18.03 million MT, 0.56% higher than the government’s revised  target of 17.93 million MT.    This year, the government aims to produce 20 million MT of rice ‐‐ 11% higher than last year’s actual  output ‐‐ to reach self‐sufficiency. ‐‐ Raymond Jun R. Portillo‐imports‐estimate‐ raised&id=65371 

Economy Posted on February 04, 2013 10:50:03 PM  By Raymond Jun R. Portillo 

Q1 launch of agri program eyed THE AGRICULTURE department targets to launch this quarter a six­year project costing more  than $600 million that will help improve the lives of farmers and fishermen nationwide, a  government official yesterday said.    THE PHILIPPINE Rural Development Program will replicate nationwide the Mindanao Rural Development  Program, which raised farmers’ and fisherfolk’s income by close to 17%. ‐‐ Jonathan L. Cellona    Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the Agriculture department will launch the Philippine Rural  Development Program (PRDP) this month or in March.    "We are fully prepared to implement this project and we are only waiting for the NEDA Board to give us  the go signal," Mr. Alcala told reporters at the sidelines of a World Bank appraisal of the PRDP.     The National Economic and Development Authority Board will meet either this month or in March.    PRDP aims to replicate the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) nationwide. Mr. Alcala said  the MRDP program was able to increase the household income of poor farmers and fishermen by 16.7%.    The World Bank’s week‐long appraisal of the PRDP focuses on the assessment of key technical,  institutional, economic, financial, environmental and social aspects of the project. It will also assess the  Agriculture department in terms of its readiness to implement the project, a document from the  department read.    "PRDP is designed to increase farmers’ and fishermen’s income through investments in climate‐smart  physical and ecological infrastructure and in broad‐based, value‐adding enterprises," Mr. Alcala said.    The project will be funded by the Agriculture department, local government units (LGUs), the United  Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank.     The DA will provide P6.7 billion for this year while the World Bank will provide a $500 million loan to the  Philippine government for the entire project duration. The UNDP‐Global Environment Facility will  provide a $7 million grant.     Mr. Alcala said the program will require LGUs to submit project proposals to the Regional Advisory  Board, which will decide whether the projects meets the criteria they have set. 

"In order for a project to be approved by the Regional Advisory Group, it must aim to increase the  income of farmers or fishermen and it should also address the effects of climate change," Mr. Alcala  said.     Once approved, the project will be implemented and 10% of the project cost will be shouldered by the  LGU.     In an interview yesterday, World Bank Lead Rural Development Specialist Carolina V. Geron said LGUs  "are also in charge of the feasibility study and making sure that the project is sustainable and properly  monitored."     Mr. Alcala said PRDP has four components:    • I‐PLAN or investments in Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan (AFMP) planning at the local  and national levels    • I‐BUILD or "intensified" building up of infrastructure and logistics for development.    • I‐REAP or investments in rural enterprises and agriculture and fisheries productivity.    • I‐SUPPORT or the implementation of support programs for the PRDP    The Agriculture department, through PRDP, is targeting to build 2,343 kilometers farm‐to‐market roads  and bridges costing around P12.69 billion. The project will also aim to support the department’s Food  Staple Sufficiency Program through the construction and rehabilitation of some 30,000 hectares of  irrigation systems. It is also expected to create some 5.902 million jobs for the duration of the project.    "We are also partnering with other government agencies for the effective and efficient implementation  of the project," Mr. Alcala said. The Trade department will provide the Agriculture department the  access to value chain analysis studies and technical assistance on enterprise development. The Social  Welfare department will provide support to target beneficiaries (farmers and fishermen) through its  conditional cash transfer program.    Science and Technology department of will provide access to research facilities.     The Department of Public Works department will provide technical assistance in the design of farm‐to‐ market roads and bridges while the Agrarian Reform department will ensure the harmonization of  priority areas to prevent project duplication.‐launch‐of‐agri‐program‐ eyed&id=65370 

Looming crisis in agriculture   Category: Opinion   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 20:17   Written by Butch del Castillo  

THE government’s  seeming  inability  to  stanch  the  continuous  flooding  of  the  local  market  with  smuggled  rice  and  other  agricultural  goods,  plus  its  “incoherent  policy  direction  on  agriculture” have put the sector on the very edge of an unprecedented agricultural crisis.  If  it  does  not  act  decisively  on  the  smuggling  problem  and  does  not  correct  its  major  policy  blunder  (granting a giant Thai agribusiness company a “pioneering license”), massive dislocations in the sector  would ensue and greatly swell the ranks of the millions of families already below the poverty line.  Dislocations in the sector would be inevitable if the nation’s rice farmers stop planting in disgust. (For  example, without the usual palay harvests, where would the feed makers get their bran? Without the  discarded palay hulls from the mills, there can be no biomass fuel).  This  is  the  main  message  of  the  joint  resolution  forged  recently  by  25  agribusiness  federations  and  party‐list groups during their “multisectoral agricultural summit” at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.  Actually,  the  joint‐resolution  chorus,  calling  itself  the  multisectoral  agricultural  summit,  actually  refrained from calling it a looming crisis. But the urgent tone and the substance of the joint resolution  unmistakably meant the same thing: That unless the government solves the  twin problems bedeviling  the sector right now, millions of families dependent on agriculture would lose their livelihoods.  (The fact that the “summit” was organized and led by party‐list politicians like Rosendo O. So, chairman  of  the  Abono,  and  Rep.  Nicanor  M.  Briones  of  Agap  as  members  of  the  Swine  Development  Council  probably  explains  the  bland  rhetoric  of  the  resolution.  Politicians  normally  try  to  sound  like  sober  statesmen and thus, become too picky with the words they use).  The joint resolution actually demands immediate government action on the following crucial problems: 

The rampant and unabated smuggling into the country of practically all sorts of agricultural products that are already being produced locally. This has greatly hurt local producers who must contend with higher production costs. What is unacceptable to the agribusiness summiteers is that the Bureau of Customs has largely been ineffective in addressing the problem.

Instead of fulfilling its mandate to protect local producers of swine, livestock, aquaculture and other farm products, the Board of Investments (BOI) has illegally granted “pioneering status” to a giant Thai agribusiness corporation called Charoen Pokphand Food Corp.—and given it all the incentives and tax breaks that go with the pioneering license.

Incidentally, among the more prominent agribusiness leaders who were at the agricultural summit were  Herculano  “Joji”  Co,  president  of  Philcongrains,  the  nationwide  association  of  10,000  rice  and  corn  millers; Edwin G. Chen, president of the Pork Producers Federation; Jose Elias Inciong, president, United  Broiler Raisers Association;  Jesus L. Arranza, president of Federation of Philippine Industries Inc.; Gregorio A. San Diego, president of  the Philippine Egg Board; and Jayson H. Cainglet, president, Agri‐business Action Initiatives.  The resolution said the BOI move lavishing favors on the Thai agribusiness corporation was equivalent to  economic sabotage, which is the same thing that rampant smuggling does to the country’s agricultural  economy.  The  license  and  the  accompanying  incentives  and  tax  breaks  “undermine  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 labor force.”  Granting  preferential  treatment  to  Charoen  Pokphand  “reveals  the  national  government’s  incoherent  policy direction on agriculture,” the resolution said.  (To be continued)‐looming‐crisis‐in‐agriculture           

Agriculture dept reduces rice imports to  150,000 MT     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 20:01   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor   ONE hundred fifty thousand metric tons (MT) of rice may be imported this year to serve as buffer stock  for the lean June‐to‐August period, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala.  The figure is lower than the 500,000 MT of the staple imported last year.  Based on the daily national rice consumption of 35,000 MT, rice imports this year may only last less than  five days.  Alcala  made  the  reduction  on  the  strength  of  additional  yield  from  the  early  cropping  scheme  implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its National Rice Program, led by Agriculture  Assistant Secretary Dante Delima.  The agriculture chief is banking on this yield to meet rice requirements during the third quarter of the  year.  “The  volume  will  only  serve  as  our  buffer  stock  for  the  lean  season,  which  actually  became  shorter  because  of  the  interventions  we  have  implemented  early  last  year,”  Alcala  told  reporters  on  the  sidelines of the opening ceremony for the Philippine Rural Development Program.  “Due to our early cropping scheme, we were able to break tradition, so we can now expect [a] harvest  by June. In other words, we have shortened our lean months…We may no longer need to import [rice]  that much this year,” he said.  The  agriculture  secretary,  however,  admitted  that  the  National  Food  Authority  (NFA)  Council  is  yet  to  decide on the exact volume of rice imports, since the final figure will depend on the results of the wet  cropping season.  Of  the  500,000  MT  of  rice  imported  last  year,  only  120,000  MT  was  purchased  by  the  NFA,  with  the  balance bought by the private sector.  In 2011 the total import volume was 860,000 MT. The private sector bought  600,000 MT  of the crop;  farmers’ groups, 60,000 MT; and the NFA, 200,000 MT. 

The Philippines  became  the  world’s  biggest  rice  importer  from  2008  to  2009  when  the  Arroyo  administration purchased  2.45 million MT of the crop, pushing global rice prices to soar to more than  $1,000 per MT.  Increased palay procurement  ALCALA  also  announced  during  the  ceremony  that  the  NFA  would  increase  palay  (unhusked  rice)  procurement from farmers to raise rice reserves.  Palay can last up to two years in granaries and warehouses without spoiling.  “Continuing rice importation this year doesn’t mean that we are off with our self‐sufficiency target. In  fact,  we  even  increased  our  food  security  by  beefing  up  the  procurement  of  local  palay,  while  maintaining the balance of imported rice,” Alcala said.  “We have projected record‐high rough palay production this year….Definitely, we will achieve rice self‐ sufficiency by end of 2013,” he added.  Newly installed NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag said his agency plans to buy 615,985 MT of palay this  year to ensure rice supply and buffer stocks.  He promised to meet the target volume through intensified local procurement.  “For us to finally achieve rice self‐sufficiency, we need to help our farmers produce more and provide a  ready market for their produce,” Calayag said.  Once  achieved,  it  will  be  the  NFA’s  second‐largest  palay  procurement.  The  largest  was  the  Marcos  administration’s purchase of more than 700,000 MT of the crop in 1979.  In 2012 the NFA bought only 356,667 MT or 7.133 million bags of palay, lower than its target of 591,675  MT or 11.883 million bags, due to a huge cut in its budget.  This year, the DA targets to produce 18.46 MMT of palay, and more than 20 MMT by 2013 to attain 100‐ percent sufficiency.  In  2011,  the  country  harvested  16.68  MMT  of  palay  despite  strong  typhoons,  a  5.8‐percent  increase  from the 15.77 MMT produced the year before.‐commodities/8766‐agriculture‐dept‐ reduces‐rice‐imports‐to‐150‐000‐mt   

It’s the end of your term, DAR chief told     Category: Nation   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 19:47   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor   TASK  Force  Mapalad  (TFM)  on  Monday  said  that  Agrarian  Reform  Secretary  Virgilio  delos  Reyes  was  doing  an  actor’s  job  when  he  insisted  that  June  30,  2014,  is  “not  the  end  of  the  world”  since  the  Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) would go on and on.  TFM  Negros  President  Alberto  Jayme  said,  “delos  Reyes  had  been  performing  the  role  of  a  third‐rate  actor since 2010, with his acting turning bad in 2011. What he is doing now is a farce.”  As agrarian reform secretary, Jayme said “delos Reyes should be the first to understand that any delay in  the distribution of land impacts on the landless peasants who had been waiting for decades to become  genuine  agrarian‐reform  beneficiaries  [ARBs].  You  treat  peasants  in  a  cavalier  fashion  when  you  insist  their sufferings would continue beyond June 30, 2014.”  Jayme  made  the  statements  as  Manila  Auxiliary  Bishop  Broderick  Pabillo  celebrated  mass  at  the  Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) compound in Quezon City at noon on Monday.  Pabillo  has  been  supporting  the  TFM’s  campaign  for  a  faster  implementation  of  CARP  as  promised  by  President Aquino during a meeting with the farmers and prelates in Malacañang on June 14, 2012.  Jayme said what is clear is that “it is now the end of his term as 84 Roman Catholic bishops, 36 national  and  provincial  peasant  organizations,  as  well  as  his  own  personnel—78  provincial  chapters  of  the  Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association [Darea]—have signed petitions seeking his relief,  along with more than 25,000 farmers belonging to TFM.”  Reading the petition of 36 national and provincial organizations for delos Reyes’s ouster, Pabillo said it  was clear that farmers pushing for CARP are united in seeking the secretary’s relief.  Moreover,  Pabillo  argued,  that  the  bishops  who  signed  the  letter  seeking  the  ouster  of  delos  Reyes  “cannot be cajoled, coaxed or intimidated” by TFM or any other organization.    “If Malacañang continues to believe in delos Reyes in spite of the position of the broad national alliance  and  the  many  organizations  supporting  his  relief,  malamang,  Malakanyang  na  ang  may  problema,”  Pabillio added.  On  the  other  hand,  Jayme  noted,  the  basis  for  the  action  is  that  “delos  Reyes  had  not  met  his  own  targets for land acquisition and distribution [LAD] from 2010, 2011 and 2012, and the ‘end of his world’ 

should have come last year but President Aquino and agrarian‐reform beneficiaries gave him a lease on  life after the June 14, 2012, meeting in Malacañang.”  Jayme said by telling the bishops that the end of the world did not come on December 12, 2012, and  CARP will not end on June 30, 2014, “delos Reyes was actually mocking the opposition to his continued  stay at the DAR.”  Facts  are  facts,  he  said,  “and  the  less  than  25‐percent  accomplishment  rate  of  delos  Reyes  for  LAD  nationwide last year is the worst record in the history of all DAR secretaries.”  Jayme laughed off the claim of de los Reyes that he had distributed 116,831 hectares last year, saying  official DAR figures showed the LAD accomplishment rate was 70,000 hectares less than what the DAR  chief is trumpeting now.  In addition, delos Reyes estimated that the balance for CARP land distribution by June 2014 would only  be 300,000 hectares “by the simple declaration that landholdings in the DAR database would no longer  be covered by CARP.”  Jayme said delos Reyes had been going around town to explain away his dismal performance, insisting  that the forest land covered by CARP should be taken out of the coverage, and 177,000 hectares with  dubious titles and multiple claims must likewise not be included under agrarian‐ reform coverage.  TFM also took issue with the claim that the bishops were “panicking” and stressed “the farmers are the  suffering by the gross and inexcusable non‐performance of de los Reyes, who had been offering a slew  of justifications for his failure to achieve the targets he had thrice reduced in 2012, eventually settling at  180,000 hectares.”  What  is  worse,  the  organization  added  “is  that  delos  Reyes  is  working  on  landholdings  covered  by  voluntary offer to sell [VOS], with the landowners not opposing CARP at all. In spite of this, his record for  Negros Island alone is a shameful 8 percent for 2012.”  Everyone is panicking, Jayme explained, “since the CARP deadline is nearing, and all that delos Reyes can  say is that the ‘end of the world does not come on June 30, 2014,’ an oblique way of saying that farmers  can wait forever before they can become agrarian‐reform beneficiaries.”  Jayme lashed out at the DAR chief for tagging TFM as the propagator of false information and declaring  that the bishops were misled by the peasant organization that had called for his resignation.‐it‐s‐the‐end‐of‐your‐term‐dar‐chief‐ told   

Mayor Files Complaint Vs. Alcala  By Chito A. Chavez   February 4, 2013, 5:58pm 

A former mayor of a city in Quezon province has filed charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala for his alleged falsified disbursements of government funds from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during his term as second district congressman of the province from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2010. In a press conference in Quezon City, former Lucena City Mayor Ramon Talaga Jr. said the liquidation report submitted by the Sir Pelagio Alcantara Development Foundation Inc. (SPADE) to the Social Welfare Department disclosed that each of the 65 farmers received P50,000 duly signed by the supposed recipients of the fund. However, the fund allegedly failed to reach most of the intended beneficiaries as a number of farmers denied having been given the funds attributed to them through the vouchers they supposedly signed, said Talaga.‐files‐complaint‐vs‐alcala#.URBjKPJFyjs                      

Land distribution to be completed in 2016– agrarian reform secretary     Category: Nation   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 19:43   Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter   AGRARIAN  Reform  Secretary  Virgilio  delos  Reyes  on  Monday  said  the  land‐  distribution  component  of  the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) will be completed before President Aquino’s term  ends in 2016.  Delos Reyes made the assurance as he disputed allegations by Catholic bishops that the country is facing  an  agrarian‐reform  crisis  because  of  the  alleged  poor  performance  of  the  Department  of  Agrarian  Reform (DAR) under him.  He was reacting to the move of Catholic bishops who signed a petition asking Mr. Aquino to revamp the  DAR leadership, blaming delos Reyes for the slow‐paced land‐acquisition and distribution process under  the Aquino administration’s two‐and‐a‐half‐year watch.  Delos Reyes said the bishops’ apprehension that the land‐distribution target will not be met is based on  a misreading of available data and on a mistaken interpretation of what the law provides.  “Whoever  is  feeding  the  good  bishops  with  this  information  is  either  misinformed  or  is  acting  with  dubious motives,” delos Reyes said.  He said there is nothing in the law that states that the DAR cannot distribute CARP‐covered agricultural  lands beyond June 2014.  “In  fact,  Section  30  of  Republic  Act  [RA]  9700  provides  that  the  DAR  can  continue  its  acquisition  and  distribution of landholdings with pending cases or proceedings even beyond 2014.  “This is the reason why the DAR has been diligently working to issue and validly serve before June 2014  all notices of coverage for lands that will be subjected to compulsory acquisition,” he said.   Delos Reyes added that once a notice of coverage has been served by the DAR, the landholding it covers  is deemed encompassed by Section 30 of RA 9700.  “This is the reason why the DAR is stepping up the issuance of notice of coverage to land targeted under  the extended CARP.” 

As of  December  2012,  the  department  has  issued  some  95  percent  of  the  notices  of  coverage  for  all  agricultural landholdings above 10 hectares for which the DAR has a copy of title in its possession, delos  Reyes added.  The  DAR,  he  said,  will  start  issuing  the  remaining  notices  of  coverages  for  all  5‐  to  10‐hectare  landholdings starting in April.  He said they plan to complete the issuance of all notices of coverage by the end of June 2013, a year  before CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPer) ends.  Delos  Reyes  said  the  law  is  one  of  the  major  reasons  why  the  land‐acquisition  and  distribution  component of agrarian reform cannot be finished by June 2014.  Aside  from  adding  two  major  mandatory  requirements  in  the  compulsory  acquisition  of  private  agricultural  land,  the  phasing  mandated  by  CARPer  means  that  the  DAR  cannot  distribute  until  July  1,  2013, more than 180,000 hectares of Phase 3B lands (lands that are 10 hectares and below) and about  160,000  hectares  of  the  10‐hectare  portion  of  Phase  3A  land  (lands  above  10  hectares  up  to  24  hectares).  “This  totals  to  more  than  340,000  hectares  or  about  40  percent  of  the  remaining  undistributed  lands  and these lands have to be distributed within one year and only at the last year of CARP extension,” he  also said.  Delos  Reyes  explained  that  the  DAR’s  work  is  not  limited  to  just  the  acquisition  and  distribution  of  agricultural landholdings.  Meanwhile, delos Reyes said President Aquino has directed the Department of Budget and Management  (DBM) to release P1 billion to be used as socialized credit for agrarian reform beneficiaries.  The Agrarian  Production  Credit  Program  was  created  using  the  P1  billion  released  through  the  Department  of  Agriculture (DA) to be used as socialized credit.  The credit facility will be implemented mainly by the LandBank, with the DAR designated as the agency  who  will  verify  if  the  applicants  are  agrarian‐reform  beneficiary  organizations.  Around  P300  million  of  the P1 billion released is reserved for agrarian‐reform beneficiaries of Negros Occidental.  For 2013, delos Reyes said, another P1 billion was appropriated in the budget of the DA for the credit  facility for agrarian‐reform beneficiaries.‐land‐distribution‐to‐be‐completed‐in‐ 2016‐agrarian‐reform‐secretary   

Good and bad news on rice in 2012 BIZLINKS By Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2013 - 12:00am 0 6 googleplus1 6 A good summary of the rice and palay situation of the country in 2012 is aptly conveyed by our reader, Manuel Bondad, in the following letter he sent recently. Please read on. “Reports that the 2012 palay production reached 18 million metric tons (MMT) is good news. For the first time, the highest ever attained output of 16.8 MMT in 2008 was bested as well. “The milled rice equivalent of the record palay tonnage is sufficient to cope with the country’s annual consumption of 10.9 MMT and a 21-day buffer stock based on the government’s assumed per capita consumption of two sacks and 15 kilos a year. “The feat may allay critics’ unwavering stand that the road to rice self-sufficiency is a dream never to be attained in our lifetime. On this score, the impact of population growth on rice selfsufficiency was not considered by the critics. “A perusal of the Food and Agriculture (FAO) published statistics shows that while the hike in combined population of the four most populated countries outside the Philippines in the ASEAN, i.e., Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, reached 9.8 percent in 2010 from 2001, the country’s growth of 18 percent – the highest – when halved to nine percent could have made the country self-sufficient with consumption correspondingly reduced to 10 MMT against the milled rice equivalent of 11.5 MMT of the 2012 palay output of 18 MMT. “On palay productivity, the Philippine yield per hectare of 3.62 tons, or equivalent to 80 cavans in 2010 from 70 cavans in 2001, bested Thailand’s stationary 62 cavans and 64 cavans in 2001 and 2010, respectively. Moreover Thailand’s output of 32 MMT, or twice the Philippine production, is on account of palay areas 2.5 times the Philippines’ 4.3 million hectares. “Vietnam’s expanded rice output (40 MMT) is a classic case, what with a record 118 cavans per hectare attained with palay land area of 7.5 million hectares practically remaining constant from 2001 to 2010. “Indonesia, with a 240-million population in 2010, is not far behind with 111 cavans, and boosted by 1.8 million hectares more or 15 percent from 2001, without sacrificing yields.

Bad news “The not so good news is based on Bureau of Statistics (BAS) data for the first three quarters of 2012 (fourth quarter not yet available). “Though harvests from 2008 peak tonnage improved by 8.5 percent, the share of irrigated palay output (8.867 MMT) for the period dropped to 77 percent from 78.5 percent in 2008. “It is not enough that harvests from irrigated lands increased (by 6.7 percent), compared to a faster rate of 15 percent from rain-fed areas. Increased remarkable yields from irrigated lands could sustain our rice production with dwindling limited land areas suitable to the staple. “Emerging rice producers in the ASEAN have increased cultivated areas by 26 percent to 42 percent accompanied by improved yields, while the Philippines registered a seven percent hike in cultivated areas with modest yields. “Climate change or droughts are realities we must contend with. How much has the government spent for irrigation from 2001 to the present? We do not have the luxury of the Mekong waters! “The bad news is that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed “smuggling” cases for the “illegal rice shipment” of 78,000 bags (3,900 MT) from Vietnam that arrived in Legazpi City in early September 2012 on board the MV Minh Tuan 68. Not acceptable “Why is this bad news, and in fact, not acceptable? “First, the 3,900MT shipment arrived September or three months after the NFA Rice Council imposed a June 30 deadline for imports to arrive preparatory for the lean months or the typhoon season. Legazpi from Vietnam is only a week’s sailing time, yet the vessel arrived in September. Second, a review of published international statistics from Vietnam, shows rice exports to the Philippines to have reached 500,000 MT in the first semester 2012, which level corresponds to the NFA Council-approved 40 percent duty free importation from all country sources for year 2012 awarded in March 2012 for cooperatives and traders (at 190,000 tons each), and the NFA (at 120,000 tons). “We have surpassed the 2012 Council ceiling since an additional 500,000 MT estimated at P9 billion were deemed exported to the Philippines in the second half of 2012. Validation needed “Government should validate the statistics from Vietnam. The “Legazpi” rice shipment worth “P96.5 million” appears to be a drop in the bucket compared to “unregistered imports” by the Philippines (USDA GAIN Report, 3/2/2012).

“If the Vietnam government statistics are reliable, which we think they are, our imports from Vietnam alone for 2012 could reach $430 million (P18 billion), of which amount “only”P2 billion or 11 percent is attributed to the NFA’s procurement, and the rest presumably financed by the private sector. “With the size of the Minh Tuan 68, it is a puzzle since the 138 voyages needed to load the tonnage were unreported by media in the various ports of entries! Nobody noticed. Was it just manna from heaven? This “extra” rice importation is twice Calabarzon’s palay annual output. “BOC’s Biazon should rush the “review of all rice importations” to be incorporated in the BAS’s computation of the country’s per capita consumption (and make it) indispensable in forecasting rice self-sufficiency levels for 2013 and beyond. “Why the unexplained drop from 128 kilos per capita in 2008 to 120 in 2009, and 115 kilos in 2010 and 2011 respectively? The statistics appear to be inconsistent with those of other comparable ASEAN neighbors.” Facebook and Twitter We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us at and follow us at Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at For a compilation of previous articles, visit‐and‐bad‐news‐rice‐2012                

Senate passes amendments to meat  inspection code, 2 other laws     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 20:00   Written by Mia M. Gonzalez / Reporter   THE Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading several bills, including amendments to the  Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, the Insurance Code and the National Health Insurance Act of  1995.  Senate Bill (SB) 3388 seeks to amend Republic Act 9296, otherwise known as the Meat Inspection Code  of the Philippines, to end the proliferation of so‐called botcha or double‐dead meat in markets through  stiffer penalties on its sale, transport and handling.  “We  hope  that  in  passing  this  bill,  we  will  finally  see  an  end  to  botcha  and  impose  the  appropriate  sanctions on all those who participate in this unacceptable practice,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan, chairman  of  the  Senate  Committee  on  Food  and  Agriculture  and  sponsor  of  SB  3388,  said  in  his  sponsorship  speech.  According to him, the enactment of the measure into law will ensure that meat and meat products are  properly prepared and handled, and that Philippine regulations on meat inspection will be at par with  international standards.  The  second  measure,  SB  3280,  seeks  to  revise  Presidential  Decree  612  or  the  Insurance  Code  by  formulating a legal framework to allow the insurance industry to adequately address the various issues  and challenges arising from domestic and foreign insurance markets.  Sen. Sergio Osmeña III earlier said the “end in view is the enhancement of growth by maintaining a safe,  sound  and  strong  industry  that  enables  the  insurers  to  efficiently  achieve  their  business  ends  and  expand  their  insurance  activities  while  further  promoting  the  security,  protection  and  interests  of  the  insuring public.”  The  third,  SB  2849,  seeks  to  amend  Republic  Act  7875,  or  the  National  Health  Insurance  Act  of  1995,  which institutionalizes mandatory universal health‐care coverage for the poor.‐commodities/8765‐senate‐passes‐ amendments‐to‐meat‐inspection‐code‐2‐other‐laws   

WB Reviews DA Development Projects  By Ellalyn B. De Vera  February 4, 2013, 5:38pm 

MANILA, Philippines --- Two flagship rural development projects implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) will undergo review by the World Bank (WB) for duplication in the entire country. “The WB team is doing a joint week-long review mission for DA’s second phase Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) and the appraisal activities for the proposed Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP),” said WB lead rural development specialist Carolina Geron. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the MRDP and PRDP help attain and sustain sufficient and affordable food for the people. “These are the programs that are designed to increase farmers’ and fishers’ incomes through investments in climate-smart physical and ecological infrastructure and in broad-based valueadding enterprises,” Alcala said. “With these programs we aim not only to improve agriculture but also improve the way we do agriculture,” he said. Geron said WB is in full support for the agricultural and fisheries competitiveness for broadbased inclusive growth in the country. “MRDP has modeled and found the ‘secret formula’ how a national government agency can effectively, in a cost–efficient manner, work with the local government units (LGUs),” Geron said. She added that this notion disproved the perception that LGUs, particularly in Mindanao, are weak and less capable in delivering agri-fishery services since the MRDP experience has shown otherwise. “If this has worked in Mindanao, why can’t it not do the same for Luzon and Visayas?” she asked. At present, MRDP has disbursed 56 percent, or $46.901 million, of the US$83.752 million. According to the WB analysis, MRDP is best-case scenario for the program, to complete the project within the two-year extension period. Ian Shuker, WB sector manager for East Asia and the Pacific for the social, environment and rural development, “The World Bank is contributing only little resources here, it is the

government that has spent so much. And the direction you are heading, the forward thinking and the enthusiasm is so encouraging.” Meanwhile, Geron said PRDP will be the nationwide replication of MRDP with some distinct improvement. “This will also provide a platform for a real operational convergence for government agencies like the Departments of Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, and Public Works and Highways, as well as showcase reforms in the delivery of support services based on a demand-driven approach,” Geron said.‐reviews‐da‐development‐projects#.URBu9vJFyjs                                    

Protesters in prison shirts hound DAR chief By Jeannette I. Andrade Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:24 am | Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes: Playing cat and mouse MANILA, Philippines—Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes on Monday played cat and mouse at Quezon Memorial Circle with protesters seeking his resignation for alleged incompetence. De los Reyes had just conducted a press conference at Max’s restaurant, where he slammed “misinformed” bishops calling for his ouster, and was proceeding to another restaurant, Bacolod Chicken Inasal, nearby to brief “friends” from the National Anti-Poverty Council-Farmers and Landless Rural Workers Council (NAPC-FLRW) about the programs of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Along the short route, some 30 farmers belonging to the Church-backed advocacy group Task Force Mapalad (TFM) showed up, wearing orange prison inmate shirts to show that they were not afraid of being jailed, carrying placards calling for the sacking of the DAR chief for his alleged failure to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which is expiring in 2014. A stunned De los Reyes was shepherded by DAR staff inside Bacolod Chicken Inasal as park security guards held back the protesters who attempted to storm the restaurant. The DAR secretary slipped out through the back door and disappeared. After around 30 minutes, obviously after being told that the protesters had left, De los Reyes returned to continue the briefing with the NAPC-FLRW. But soon, the protesters resurfaced and surrounded the restaurant.

De los Reyes decided to leave, this time through the front door, protected by a contingent from the Quezon City Police District from the howling protesters. De los Reyes headed to his sport utility vehicle, barely missing being hit by a placard, and drove off. TFM national president Alfredo Jaime explained that the farmers were clad in prison shirts to show that they were not afraid of landing in jail for their stunt. He said that the farmers only wanted to send their message that De los Reyes should be fired. During the press briefing, De los Reyes explained that his department was on target with the implementation of the land-to-the-tiller program, contrary to claims by his critics that with nearly a million hectares of prime agricultural lands still to be distributed, the timetable could not be met. “I think they (bishops) were misinformed. The data they have, I think, is inaccurate,” De los Reyes told reporters. “The decision for me to resign and let go is the President’s decision. I will continue doing what I need to do while I am still here because that is my job,” he said. De los Reyes pointed out that the bishops’ apprehension that the department only had until June 2014 to distribute land to beneficiaries was based on “a misreading of available data” and “a mistaken interpretation of what the law provides.” De los Reyes cited Section 30 of the law—CARP with extension and reforms, or Carper— allowed the DAR to continue acquisition and distribution of landholdings with pending cases or proceedings even beyond 2014. The agrarian reform secretary said that he has started to send letters to the bishops to explain the real status of the Carper implementation as well as the process of land acquisition and distribution as provided by the law. President Aquino has said that he intends to complete the agrarian reform program which his mother, democracy icon Corazon Aquino, launched in 1988 as the centerpiece of a social justice promise to ease poverty and remove one of the major causes of the communist insurgency.‐in‐prison‐shirts‐hound‐dar‐chief        

30,000 ARMM farmers to get help from Italy Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:52 pm | Monday, February 4th, 2013 DAVAO CITY—Ten towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will benefit from some P2.5-billion assistance, mainly from the Italian government, to uplift the conditions of over 30,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries in the area. ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the Italian aid will go a long way in improving the lives of people in 35 agrarian reform communities through the building of rural infrastructure and providing start-up financing for livelihood projects and microenterprises in the area, not only for agrarian reform beneficiaries but also for indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and upland farmers in these communities. The project, funded mainly by a soft load of 26,190 euro (P1.57 billion), a grant of 1.35 million euro (P81 million) from the Italian government and some P866-million Philippine government counterpart, will benefit 53,000 households and will be carried out in the next six years, said Hataman during the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agrarian Reform for the implementation of the program. “This means a lot to us, especially in the context of the signing of the framework agreement,” Hataman said, referring to the document signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in October last year that is expected to pave the way for the end of the fourdecade old Moro conflict in Mindanao. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said the project would be poured into the Maguindanao towns of Datu Montawal, Datu Piang, North Upi, SK Pendatun and Sultan Mastura; and the Lanao del Sur towns of Wao, Bubong, Kapatagan, Balindong and Malabang, among others. The project seeks to increase agricultural productivity of agrarian reform communities, develop viable markets for traditional crops and cash crops and fishery products, strengthen the organizations of agrarian reform beneficiaries and improve their access to quality economic and basic support services. Hataman said the six-year development project seeks to address rural poverty and promote sustainable development in rural Mindanao. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao‐armm‐farmers‐to‐get‐help‐from‐italy    

Visayas Newsbits 

Enough Rice   February 4, 2013, 6:26pm 

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo (PNA) — The National Food Authority (NFA) has buffer stock good for 68 days based on Iloilo City and province’s residents’ consumption. NFA Iloilo Asst. Manager Jose Pacificador said the city’s residents’ daily rice consumption is 21,080 bags and current inventory shows NFA Iloilo has some 1.4 million bags of rice, including rice traders’ stocks, with households and in the NFA warehouse here. “We have sufficient rice right now,” Pacificador assured. “No need to worry.”

Rural Projects  By Mike U. Crismundo   February 4, 2013, 4:24pm 

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur – The Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program of the national government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) continue to benefit the residents in the countryside, and this time, more projects were formally turned over to local officials and residents here. The turnover of the anti-poverty projects was recently led by Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza together with other municipal officials. He turned over to the village officials of Bitan-agan and Lucac in San Francisco town the rehabilitation of the Bitan-agan and Lucac roads worth some P2.5 million. Bitan-agan village chieftain Reynaldo V. Navarro expressed his gratitude to President Aquino through Plaza for choosing their village as one of the beneficiaries of the PAMANA project. Plaza told the local residents that the project of the national government will help improve the economic situation of the villages as their agricultural products will easily be transported to the town and nearby places due to the improve road network.

Trillanes to COA: Check other senators’ expenses By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV urged yesterday the Commission on Audit (COA) to check how other senators used their funds in the oversight committees following reports that he was the top spender of Senate funds in 2011. Trillanes said he should not be adjudged as the biggest spender at the Senate because he has been using his funds judiciously. He justified his expenses of P16.76 million on personnel services, saying he has reached the quota on the number of employees with 40 staff members. “It is not a crime, it is not illegal to employ the right number of employees that we are allowed to employ,” he added. Trillanes called a news conference at the Senate yesterday to explain that other senators even got higher allocations because they hold oversight committees, which have higher budgets. “In my oversight (Procurement), I have P10 million, so compared to others, that’s a P30 million difference,” Trillanes said. But Sen. Edgardo Angara rebuffed Trillanes, saying the congressional oversight committees were created by laws and that the funds were shared both by the Senate and the House of Representatives. “Since it was provided by law, the budget is determined by what is prescribed in the law, and then put into the annual budget,” explained Angara, who chairs that congressional oversight commission on science and technology that is getting P36 million in the 2013 budget. A COA official met yesterday with the finance and budget officers of each senator to map out guidelines on how to liquidate Senate funds, including the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). Mario Lipana, resident auditor of the Senate, said he met with the Senate finance officers following orders by COA chairman Grace Pulido-Tan to implement full liquidation of Senate funds instead of mere certification. The Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed with the COA chief’s move not to allow the use of certification on liquidation on Senate funds in 2013. This puts to naught

Concurrent Resolution No. 10 that allows liquidation by use of certification, a long time practice followed by lawmakers until state auditors called the Senate’s attention to it in 2010. Lipana said the official COA report on the itemized expenses of the Senate would be published in newspapers of general circulation within the week. He also validated the news reports that Trillanes topped the list with most expenses for 2011, with P27.62 million spent by his office and P27.34 million for his committees, for a total of P54.96 million. After Trillanes, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada was second with P52.7 million that included P25.2 million in office expenses and P27.5 million for his committee chairmanships. Estrada said he has nothing to hide about his expenses, saying he can liquidate them properly. “So being on the top list, sometimes it is a misnomer. It does not mean you are wasting people’s money. You give it back through the public services,” Estrada said. Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. came in third with P49.82 million that included P22.88 million in office expenses and P26.94 million for committee expenses. Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was fourth highest spender with P49.2 million including P24.6 million for office expenses and P24.6 million for committee expenses. Marcos was number 20 in the list of spenders when he entered office in 2010. In fifth spot is Sen. Francis Escudero with P48.6 million including P22.4-million office expenses and P26.2 million for committees. Sen. Gregorio Honasan had total expenses of P47.1 million that included P21 million office expenses and P26.21 million on committees. Next is Sen. Francis Pangilinan at 7th with 46.87 million including P25.2 million for office expenses and P21.66 million spent on committees. Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III spent P46 million with P21 million office expenses and P25 million for committees. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s expenses were at P46.58 million with P22.8 million used for his office and P23.78 million for committees.

Senate approves stiffer penalties against  erring banks in Anti­Money Laundering Act   Category: Top News   Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 21:30   Written by Mia M. Gonzalez / Reporter  

The Senate on Monday night approved on third and final reading  Senate Bill (SB) 3123, which  seeks to strengthen the Anti‐Money Laundering Act (Amla) and keep the Philippines from the  blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  Fifteen  senators  voted  in  favor  of  the  measure  certified  as  urgent  by  President  Aquino,  and  there were no objections nor abstentions.   The Senate panel in the bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provisions of Amla  are  Senators  Teofisto  Guingona  III,  Sergio  Osmeña  III,  Francis  Pangilinan,  Franklin  Drilon,  Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Joker Arroyo and Antonio Trillanes IV.  The  amendments  approved  at  Monday’s  session  include  steeper  penalties  for  banks  that  “knowingly” accept deposits from money launderers, as earlier proposed by Arroyo.  Guingona, the sponsor of the bill, crafted the amendment in the penal provisions of SB 3123, as  proposed by Arroyo.  “The penalty of imprisonment ranging from four to seven years, and a fine corresponding to not  more  than  200  percent  of  the  value  of  monetary  instrument  or  property  laundered  shall  be  imposed  upon  the  covered  person,  its  directors,  officers  or  personnel  who  knowingly  participated in the commission of the crime of money laundering,” the amendment read.  When  Arroyo  sought  a  clarification,  Guingona  explained  that  he  decided  to  use  “covered  person”   instead of “covered institution” since the former would apply to “two kinds of persons, natural  and juridical.”  The  Senate  also  approved  increasing  threshold  amount  for  covered  transactions  involving  dealers of precious stones, P1 million, from P500,000.  Sen.  Pia  Cayetano  had  argued  that  P500,000  may  be  too  low,  and  initially  proposed  that  the  amount be increased to P2 million, but she and Guingona agreed at P1 million, after the latter 

assured her  that  the  Amla,  because  of  the  “creative”  nature  of  money  launderers,  would  be  constantly amended.   Earlier amendments to SB 3123 include the qualified inclusion of casinos and Internet gaming  among  covered  institutions  of  Amla,  dropping  tax  evasion  as  a  predicate  crime,  and  the  conditional inclusion of persons who buy and sell real estate in those covered by Amla with the  proviso that the concerned sale is “at least P25 million.”‐news/8787‐senate‐approves‐stiffer‐penalties‐ against‐erring‐banks‐in‐anti‐money‐laundering‐act                                       

Satisfaction with gov’t officials slipped–SWS survey Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:28 am | Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 MANILA, Philippines—The satisfaction ratings of top government officials slipped amid controversies surrounding the reproductive health bill and the devastation wrought by Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao in December, a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed. The SWS survey, conducted between Dec. 8 and 11, showed that the net satisfaction rating of Vice President Jejomar Binay slid by six percentage points from an “excellent” plus 76 (82 percent satisfied, 6 percent dissatisfied) in August to a still “excellent” plus 70 (79 percent satisfied, 9 percent dissatisfied). In an earlier report, President Aquino’s net satisfaction rating dropped by 12 points from plus 67 in August to 55 plus in December, his lowest rating in his two-year presidency. On the other hand, the net satisfaction rating of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile declined by eight points from a “very good” rating of plus 65 (73 percent satisfied, 8 percent dissatisfied) in August to a “good” rating of plus 47 (63 percent satisfied, 16 percent dissatisfied) in the latest survey. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s net satisfaction rating slid by five points, from plus 20 (40 percent satisfied, 20 percent dissatisfied) in August to plus 15 (37 percent satisfied, 23 percent dissatisfied) in December. Both are within the “moderate” rating. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was included in the survey for the first time, registered a “moderate” rating of plus 14 (32 percent satisfied, 18 percent dissatisfied). The SWS considers net satisfaction ratings of plus 70 and above as “excellent”; plus 50 to plus 69, “very good”; plus 30 to plus 49, “good”; plus 10 to plus 29, “moderate”; plus 9 to minus 9, “neutral”; minus 10 to minus 29, “poor”; minus 30 to minus 49, “bad”; minus 50 to minus 69, “very bad”; and minus 70 and below, “execrable.” At the time of the survey, there were intense debates on the reproductive health bill, which both the House and the Senate eventually passed on Dec. 13 and 17, respectively. There was also the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo, which slammed Davao Oriental on Dec. 4, claiming at least 1,067 lives and destroying property worth P36.9 billion. The net satisfaction ratings of major institutions also declined with the Senate slipping from an all-time high of plus 67 (74 percent satisfied, 7 percent dissatisfied) to plus 51 (65 percent

satisfied, 14 percent dissatisfied) in the latest survey. Both ratings were within the “very good” category. Public satisfaction with the House of Representatives slipped from an all-time high of plus 42 (55 percent satisfied, 14 percent dissatisfied) in August to plus 31 (50 percent satisfied, 20 percent dissatisfied) in the latest survey, maintaining its “good” rating. From its record rating of plus 33 (50 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied) in August, the Cabinet still got a “moderate” rating of plus 26 (45 percent satisfied, 19 percent dissatisfied). Bucking the trend was the Supreme Court, which gained a single point from August’s plus 35 (52 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied) to December’s plus 36 (55 percent satisfied, 18 percent dissatisfied).—Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research‐with‐govt‐officials‐slipped‐sws‐survey                                  

Antipoverty group, DAR ink agreement Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:25 am | Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 MANILA, Philippines—After sealing an agreement of cooperation with the National AntiPoverty Commission (NAPC) on Monday, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes insisted the move had nothing to do with the calls for his ouster. And signatories to the accord said a leadership change in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) would only slow down implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer). At the signing of the joint undertaking between the NAPC Farmers and Landless Rural Workers (FLRW) Council and the DAR at the Quezon Memorial Circle, both agencies said that identifying the obstacles to agrarian reform, as well as the areas of cooperation, would fast-track CARPer’s implementation. De los Reyes said his agency could not on its own implement CARPer, where the farmers would be at the center of land distribution. Time pressure For his part, NAPC Chairman Joel Rocamora said the agreement came at a time pressure was stronger for the implementation of CARPer, stressing that farmers and the government would have to work together. The Social Covenant on Fast Tracking Land Tenure Improvement-Land Acquisition and Distribution (LTI-LAD) 2013 and Beyond that they signed is estimated to deliver about 70 percent of the total LAD target of the DAR and is anticipated to benefit 300,000 farmers and facilitate the delivery of support services. The covenant will cover 40 provinces and involve 25 farmer federations and their local affiliates. The covenant is the result of a consensus drawn from CARPer assessments conducted in November last year by the NAPC-FLRW where a series of dialogues with the DAR identified areas of cooperation. Asked if the covenant signing was deliberately timed with the bishops’ call for a revamp at the DAR, De los Reyes said, “This has nothing to do with the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) because this has long been discussed by the NAPC and the farm workers. This is not in reaction to (that) or whatever.”

Priority provinces Roy Mahinay Sr., a representative of the NAPC-FLRW, said the assessment conducted prior to the signing of the covenant resulted in the identification of priority provinces where the backlogs on agrarian reform were high. Mahinay said they were able to identify obstacles to the full implementation of CARPer, which include opposition from landowners, the ineptitude of local agrarian reform officials, the connivance between landowners and registers of deeds, and the slow land valuation process of the Land Bank of the Philippines. In a statement, the NAPC-FLRW said: “Many secretaries have gone through the DAR but the problems have not been solved because they are not within the jurisdiction of the DAR secretary. The President should straighten this out and castigate erring officials under the other agencies.” “Having new leadership at the DAR will not facilitate the completion of CARPer but will slow it down and hinder its completion,” the group said, explaining that a new secretary will have to study and do it all in one year and four months.—Jeannette I. Andrade‐group‐dar‐ink‐agreement                        

Filipino more money-wise than before survey By Jovan Cerda ( | Updated February 4, 2013 - 2:02pm MANILA, Philippines - More Filipinos are becoming wiser in their finances, according to a survey commissioned by Citibank Philippines. Results of the annual Citi Fin-Q survey showed that among 500 Filipino respondents, nine out of 10 said they create a budget on a monthly basis, while 65 percent said it is important to stick to their budget. Eight out of 10 also said they own insurance products or own insurance protection, while 63 percent said they are on track with their retirement savings or had already set aside some savings for it. Citi added that among those surveyed, six out of 10 said they are aware of their net worth. The survey said more Filipinos now understand the value of budgeting and planning their finances, as respondents passed the 50-point mark and scored 53 out of 100 in the survey. Respondent in the survey were scored on 11 questions about financial well-being, with a maximum possible score of 100. "The improved score was driven by increased awareness among respondents of the importance of planning personal finances, ownership of several financial products such as investments and insurance, and a general optimism on their financial future," Citi said.Meanwhile, across Asia Pacific, the survey noted that the score was above the 50-point mark at 53.2 points. Sixty-seven percent added that they are optimistic about their financial futures. In terms of savings, 44 percent said they set aside or save money every time they receive their salary while 63 percent said they know how much they will need by the time they retire. Fiftyseven percent said they believe they have enough insurance for themselves and their families. "“Apart from the encouraging results of this latest survey, we are also seeing how Filipinos are taking a more active role in managing their finances and planning their future. Citi is proud to take part in this initiative and we hope to continue the conversation with consumers through more financial literacy programs this year,� Citi Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra said. The survey, conducted by research firm Bug Picture Qual and Quant Research in late 2012, covered 3,500 online respondents from countries that include the Philippines, Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.‐more‐money‐wise‐survey

Gov’t urged to focus on job creation WB says unemployment an ‘overwhelming challenge’  By Germelina Lacorte, Judy Quiros, Karlos Manlupig  Inquirer Mindanao   7:56 pm | Monday, February 4th, 2013  

DAVAO CITY—The World Bank said the big number of unemployed and underemployed in the Philippines was the big challenge for the Aquino administration. “The need for good jobs—jobs that raise real wages or bring people out of poverty—is an overwhelming challenge,” Motoo Konishi, World Bank country director, told hundreds of local and international delegates to the Philippine Development Forum at the Marco Polo hotel here. He suggested collaboration as a simple formula to address the situation. “We all need to collaborate a lot to ensure that all of our programs and assistance or policy reforms are filtered through the lens of the creation of jobs,” Konishi said. He said inclusive growth, which the conference was all about, meant addressing the need to create a total of 14.6 million jobs in the Philippines between now and 2016. Konishi said there were 10 million Filipinos who were either unemployed or underemployed and another 1.1 million enter the labor force every year, or a total of 14.6 million jobs. He said the domestic job market in the formal, services and manufacturing industries and employment opportunities abroad were not enough to absorb a lot of people getting into the labor force. Konishi said all other sectors in the economy, particularly agribusiness and agriculture, must contribute more significantly to address joblessness and reduce poverty. He made special mention of Mindanao as an island that urgently needed more jobs. “Job creation is more urgent in Mindanao as jobs contribute also to social cohesion,” said Konishi, who is also co-chair of the PDF.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that special focus should be given to priority economic drivers, specially employment, to meet the targeted inclusive growth of the Aquino administration. Balisacan, in an interview at the sidelines of the opening of the two-day PDF, said the country’s economic planners were giving “a big push to employment so growth will fully become inclusive.” He said the big challenge for 2013 was to focus on the fundamentals like employment so everyone could feel and experience the fruits of economic growth. Creating new drivers of growth, particularly manufacturing, BPO, tourism and agribusiness, would create more quality jobs, he said. In his speech, Balisacan said the government’s initial estimates suggested that $3 billion in investments in BPO, tourism and agribusiness would create 621,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly through multiplier effects. Tourism, he said, could expand job opportunities in the countryside. “To generate more and better employment, we need to simplify labor regulations to enable industries to adapt to the country’s changing economic structure. We will also continue to address problems of skills mismatch,” he said.‐urged‐to‐focus‐on‐job‐creation                        

WB: PH macroeconomic stability a ‘new normal’ Published on 05 February 2013 Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER

The World Bank congratulated the Philippines for its impressive economic growth of 6.6 percent in 2012, adding that its macroeconomic stability is now the “new normal” for the country. “In the last two and a half years, we have seen the economic fundamentals [of the country] consistently improve,” Motoo Konishi, World Bank country director for the Philippines stated in his opening statement in the 2013 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) held in Davao City. He said that the Philippines now possesses stable macroeconomic indicators such as low inflation, large current account surpluses, and a market-based exchange rate, adding that the government finances are strong and getting stronger, remittances have continued to grow, and construction is expanding. “ . . . but perhaps most of all, the nation and the world have confidence in the Aquino administration. This is great news, amid all the turmoil around the world,” he noted. Konishi added that the Washington-based lender also commends the country’s leadership for the difficult reforms it undertook, which sends a strong message that the Philippines is serious with its inclusive growth and governance agenda. “Clearly, the President’s campaign slogan ‘Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap’ [no poverty when there is no corruption] is working. If maintained and deepened, it holds the promise of inclusive growth—growth that would bring greater good to more people, in particular the poor,” he continued. However, the World Bank country director said that employment remains a challenge for the country’s thrust on inclusive growth. He related that as of now, 10 million Filipinos are either unemployed or underemployed, and 1.1 million new Filipinos enter the labor force every year, which totaled to 14.6 million jobs that need to be created between now and 2016. “The domestic job market in the formal, services, manufacturing, industries and jobs abroad are not enough to absorb so many people getting into the labor force,” Konishi further said. He mentioned that all other sectors in the economy, particularly agribusiness and agriculture, must contribute more significantly to address joblessness and reduce poverty. Furthermore, the World Bank official maintained that the need for good jobs—jobs that raise real wages or bring people out of poverty—is an overwhelming challenge.

“Given the enormity of the challenge, we all need to collaborate a lot more to ensure that all of our programs of assistance or policy reforms are filtered through the lens of the creation of jobs. Everything we do must contribute to job creation,” he said.‐business‐news/40835‐wb‐ph‐macroeconomic‐ stability‐a‐new‐normal                                          

PH eyes less rice imports this year Published on 05 February 2013 Hits: 50 Written by JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ

The Philippines may import 150,000 to 200,000 metric tons (MT) of rice this year to serve as food security buffer during lean season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the department is now looking at cutting rice importation by more than half in 2013—from 500,000MT in 2012—as the lean months become shorter as a result of the early cropping scheme implemented by the National Rice Program. “The volume will only serve as our buffer stock for the lean season, which actually became shorter because of the interventions we have implemented early last year,” Alcala told reporters on the sidelines of the kickoff ceremony for the Philippine Rural Development Program. Traditionally, the lean season covers three months starting June to August. “Because of our early cropping scheme, we were able to break tradition so we can now expect harvest by June. In other words, we have shortened our lean months . . . so we may no longer need to import that much this year,” he said. The DA chief, however, said that the National Food Authority Council has yet to decide on the final volume of rice imports, saying that they are still waiting for the results of the wet cropping production. Over the last few years, the country has reduced its rice imports in line with its goal of selfsufficiency in the staple after 2013.‐business‐news/40839‐ph‐eyes‐less‐rice‐imports‐ this‐year              

Early registration of Grade 11, transferees set on Feb. 20 • •

Written by Tribune

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

The city-owned University of Makati (UMak) has set an early registration period for incoming Grade 11 students and transferees from other schools for the school year (SY) 2013-2014 on Feb. 20. University president Tomas Lopez said the Testing and Admission Center of UMak will accept applicants for enrollment in Grade 11 of the Higher School ng UMak (HSU), which is piloting the K+12 Program of the Department of Education, from Feb. 20 up to May 25. Registration will be from Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Academic Building 3 Lobby. “We have set an early registration period in anticipation of the influx of applicants for Grade 11, which we experienced last year when enrollees in the first batch of Grade 11 under HSU reached 5,000,” Lopez said. UMak has implemented the Grade 11 curriculum for SY 2012-2013 after it was chosen as a pilot area for the DepEd K+12 program that offers Grades 11 and 12. The move has made UMak the first among colleges and universities in the National Capital Region to implement the program. According to Prof. Niño Faustino, director of Testing and Admission Center, each Grade 11 applicant needs to bring the Form 137/138, a certificate of good moral character, his birth certificate from the National Statistics Office; two 1.5” x 1.5” identical pictures and a voter’s ID/certificate. Applications with incomplete requirements will not be processed. Faustino also said minors are required to submit photocopies of their parents’ voter’s ID/certificate. Applicants should also accomplish a residency verification form from the Umak Accounting Office. For non-Makati residents, Faustino said applicants must have a high school average of at least 85 per cent to qualify for the admission test, while transferees should submit photocopies of their transcript of records with a general weighted average of at least 85 percent and with no failing grade; honorable dismissal certificates/rransfer credentials; two 1.5 x 1.5 ID pictures; and voter’s IDs/certificates if they are Makati residents.‐section/item/10098‐early‐registration‐of‐grade‐11‐transferees‐set‐ on‐feb‐20    

More Pinoys thrashing one-day millionaire habit — Citi survey • •

Written by Ed Velasco

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

Many Filipinos are now savings-oriented and are valuing the importance of budgeting. They are now thinking about a good retirement and, most importantly, throwing away “one-day millionaire” attitude. This is the result of the latest annual Citi-Fin Q (financial quotient) survey released by Citibank yesterday. The latest survey result has Filipinos 18 and above scoring 53 out of the highest 100. This is the second year that Filipino respondents scored above 50, which is considered remarkable by Citi. The very good survey result only proves that Filipinos now value the importance of personal finances and owning products that can be used in times of need such as life, health and risk insurance. This good attitude is a semblance of the ants’ attitude of saving for the rainy days. The survey questionnaire for this year was composed of 11 questions that tested Filipinos’ financial wellbeing — all serving as yardsticks if they have smart financial decisions and good financial habits. Nine of every 10 of the 500 Filipino respondents said they have a monthly budgeting they religiously follow. Citi regards this survey result as the most amazing among all of the results and a solid manifestation that an ordinary Juan de la Cruz today is no longer the same compared to the past years. Sixty-five percent of the 500 respondents said they were sticking to their budgeting and another 63 percent said they were on track in saving for their retirement. The survey, held in coordination with private research firms Big Picture Qual and Quant Research, was held in late 2012 but the result was only released late January 2013. A total of 3,500 respondents using uniform questionnaires in seven countries, including the Philippines, have participated in the Citi-Fin Q survey. Citi country manager for the Philippines Sanjiv Vohra said since launching the survey in 2007, the bank has two important goals — help respondents plan for their future and achieve their financial goals. The same survey was conducted in Australia, Indonesia, Korea, India, Singapore and Taiwan. Average result of the survey in these six countries was a bit high at 53.2 percent, with 67 percent claiming they are ready to retire with enough savings on their bank. “Citi is always on the lookout for opportunities to reach out to the wide range of audiences and go beyond our client base to promote financial literacy. When consumers are engaged on discussions on savings, budgeting and investing, it raises awareness on the importance of being able to make smart financial

decisions to make for their future,” Vohra explained. Citi has been a purveyor of smart spending, savings and planning for the future. The universal bank broadened that mission when it started the Fin-Q survey in 2007. In December 2012, it hosted the Citi-FT Financial Education Summit, a forum that tackled how to bridge the financial gap between people in different echelons of life.‐more‐pinoys‐thrashing‐one‐day‐millionaire‐habit‐ %E2%80%94‐citi‐survey                                  

SDA rate cut meant to help needy real sector — BSP • •

Written by Ed Velasco

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday it reduced the special deposit account (SDA) rate so banks may channel their funds to sectors that need more funding. “I reiterate that the recent move of the BSP in reducing the SDA rate by 50 basis points regardless of tenor was motivated by the need to push the funds into the real sector to increase the absorptive capacity for capital flows and into the capital markets to rationalize the distribution of liquidity in the system,” deputy governor for monetary stability sector Diwa Guinigundo explained to The Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview. BSP’s rate cut for SDA earned praises from various experts in the finance and capital industry, led by Goldman Sachs. The move was seen to be beneficial for small businesses as it prompts banks to increase their loan exposure to them. SDA is a tool that aims to siphon excess liquidity in the financial market. BSP is poised to siphon these excess funds through special credit facility as it will cause the inflation to shoot up if it will be left unguarded in the system. “Based on our calculation, a good portion could move out precisely into those areas and therefore such will not necessarily be inflationary. The real sector is expected to show greater productivity,” Guinigundo said. Aside from being beneficial to sectors that need funding, Guinigundo said BSP’s move will help diversify fund sourcing and deepen capital markets. “Those funds that chose to remain with BSP will remain siphoned off from the system itself and therefore will not contribute to incremental inflation. Hence our forecast remains at the lower half of the target of 3 to 5 percent,” he explained added. Since Jan. 31, 2013, the last meeting of the Monetary Board, SDA rate was flat at three percent for all tenors. It was the fourth cut in the rate for the facility since mid-2012. Had its rate wasn’t cut, deposits placed in it could have breached P1.8 trillion, the highest in history. However, borrowing and lending rates were retained to 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, as there is no need to reduce them further, according to the BSP. The borrowing and lending rates have been cut four times in 2012.‐sda‐rate‐cut‐meant‐to‐help‐needy‐real‐sector‐ %E2%80%94‐bsp

SC creates SALN committee Published : Tuesday, February 05, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 17 Written by : Hector Lawas

THE Supreme Court has created a committee to review the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth of all SC employees including the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. In a four-page resolution signed by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the SC constituted a Review and Compliance Committee to evaluate the SALN forms of the SC and PET employees. Vidal was designated as the committee’s chairperson, while lawyers Eden Candelaria and Caridad Pabello are its members. The SC said the creation of the committee is pursuant to the Rule VIII of the Rules Implementing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as amended by Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 06-031 dated Feb. 1, 2006.‐sc‐creates‐saln‐committee                      

2013 02 05 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2013 02 05

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