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DAR, DENR to distribute Upals, titled timberlands Category: Nation Published on Sunday, 10 February 2013 18:54 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter UNTITLED private agricultural lands (Upals) in excess of 12 hectares and titled timberlands that fall under the mandate and jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be distributed to qualified farmers to be identified by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). This was assured by Agrarian Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, who said that the DAR and the DENR technical working groups are now preparing the mechanics for the distribution of such lands, including those in the problematic areas in Bondoc peninsula in Quezon province. Last week delos Reyes led the symbolic distribution of 1,712.2 hectares of lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) to 807 farmers from eight towns in Quezon, while Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala turned over some P33 million worth of support services to various farmers’ organizations in the province. The lands distributed include 480 hectares of “problematic land” in the Bondoc peninsula. Of the 16,000 hectares that are targeted for distribution in Quezon under CARPer, 10,000 hectares that belong to Hacienda Villa Reyes, with about 2,000 potential farmer-beneficiaries, are actually problematic land or lands with “chaotic classification.” But a study conducted by the Quezon Association for Rural Development and Democratization Services (QUARDDS) and Building Bridges for Peace (BBP) indicates that of the 10,000hectare claim of Hacienda Villa Reyes, about 2,000 hectares are Upals and another 2,000 are titled timberlands; another 2,000 hectares are untitled timberlands and 1,000 hectares are untitled alienable and disposable lands. QUARDDS and BPP are helping the DAR to fast-track the distribution of CARPer-covered lands in the province, considered an agrarian-reform hot spot but with high land acquisition and distribution rate. The chaotic land classification of the Villa Reyes landholdings has been identified as the reason for the delay in the implementation of the program in that part of the province for more than a decade. Delos Reyes earlier announced the plan to turn over these “problematic lands” back to the DENR to fast-track their distribution through various land-transfer agencies under the Public Lands Act.


There are more than 66,000 hectares of Upals in excess of 12 hectares that, according to a Department of Justice opinion, are technically public lands and should be reverted back to the state. Delos Reyes said the DAR and the DENR are still finalizing talks on the issue of problematic lands covered by the program, particularly Upals and titled timberlands, and will come up with a joint memorandum circular or order that will ensure their speedy distribution to qualified farmers at less cost. “The DENR will be in charge of the distribution but the DAR will be the one to identify the qualified farmer-beneficiaries. We will make sure that the farmer-beneficiaries under CARPer will be the ones to get the lands to be distributed by the DENR,” delos Reyes said. Coconut, corn production area ON top of coconut, the Bondoc peninsula is being eyed as a corn-production area under the convergence initiative of the Department of Agriculture Department of Agriculture (DA) and the DAR. Hundreds of agrarian-reform beneficiaries who were issued certificates of land ownership awards last week were provided with hybrid yellow-corn seeds as part of the P33-million support service package turned over by the DAR and the DA. “While waiting to harvest coconut, the farmers might as well plant corn,” Alcala said. Alcala said coconut and corn can be intercropped, along with other high-value crops such as coffee. Aside from hybrid yellow corn seeds, the DA turned over to farmers’ organizations in the province tree farm tractors, farm animals and seedlings of assorted fruit-bearing trees, coconut and coffee and organic fertilizers. Alcala said agrarian-reform beneficiaries in Quezon, including the Bondoc peninsula, will be encouraged to cultivate corn. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/nation/9045‐dar‐denr‐to‐distribute‐upals‐titled‐ timberlands        


Expoort ng bigas?? Paano ‘yon? Monday, 11 February 2013 00:00 | 

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Si Pangulon ng Noynoy Aquino A mism mo ang nagssabi na kungg hindi masassalanta ng baagyo o mahabang g tag-init anng taniman ngg palay maggiging masaggana sa bigass sa taong itoo. Baka nga magkaroon m p ng surpluss para ma-exxport. pa Maliwanag g na binigyann si PNoy ngg maling imppormasyon. Hindi H na kaiilanman magiging sapat ang biggas para sa duumaraming Pilipinong kumakain k nitto. Una, kulaang sa suporrta ng gobyeerno ang mgaa magsasakaa. Patunay diiyan ang malliit na budgeet ng Department of Agricculture. Ang kakulangan ng ani ng haalaman, hinddi lang palayy, ang nagtuttulak sa maram ming magsasaka na lumuuwas sa Mayynila at ilan pang p modernnong ciudad sa pagbabakkasakali na makakita m ng trabaho o anno mang parraan para maabuhay ang malaking m pamilya. Ang nanggyayari ay nagiging n squaatter sila. Marami ang mga m batang namamalimo n s sa halip naa mag-arall sa public scchool. Ang ibba ay napipiilitang gumaawa ng masama, tulad ngg pagnanakaw w, pagtutulaak ng droga para p mabuhaay. Ang ilann sa mga dalaaga ay napippilitang magbbenta ng lam man para maggkaroon ng pambili p ng biigas. Totoo naaman na sapaat ang supplyy ng bigas att hindi mabillis tumaas anng presyo niito. Pero hindi ani ng magsasakang Pilipino angg bigas na iyaan. Dahil kuulang sa ani, napipilitan tayong t mag-import saa Thailand na n sa Los Bañños natuto ng n maramingg modernongg paraan paraa lumaki angg ani. Maraminng malalakass sa pamahallaan ang bilyyong piso anng kinikita saa pag-smugggle ng bigas. Ang importatiion at smugg gling kasamaa ang kakulaangan ng supporta ng gobyerno sa agrrikultura angg mga dahiilan kung baakit maliit anng ani ng biggas sa Pilipinnas. Sa halip na n gastusin ang a pera ng bayan sa im mportation, daapat gamitinn itong pangssuporta sa prresyo ng palay ng gobyerno o. Bigyan anng mga magssasaka ng prresyo ng palaay na mag-iiiwan sa nagtataniim ng sapat na n kita. Kung ito ang mangy yayari, magsisipag ang magsasaka m saa pagtatanim m. Hindi sila luluwas sa Maynila dahil nagugu utom sa kabbukiran. Ang importation ng bigas b ay suporta sa mga magsasaka sa s pagtatanim m. Hindi silaa luluwas saa Maynila dahil nagugu utom sa kabbukiran. Ang importation ng bigas b ay suporta sa mga magsasaka sa s Thailand at Vietnam. Bakit hindi magsasakkang Pilipino o ang suporttahan sa paggbili ng palayy sa mataas na n presyo. Walang suporta. s Kulang ang ani.. Sa import umaasa. u


Ngayon sasabihin pa ni Pangulong PNoy na puwedeng mag-export pa ang Pilipinas ng bigas sa taong ito. Hindi mangyayari iyan. Kulang na nga sa bigas ang hungkag na tiyan ng mahihirap sa Pilipino, mag-e-export pa? Naglolokohan ba tayo. Ang bigas ay kaakibat ng pulitika. Kaya nagbubulag-bulagan ang pamahalaan sa smuggling. Basta sapat sa bigas at mura ang halaga, walang reklamo ang mahihirap. Sila ang naghahalal ng Pangulo. Kailangang lagi silang kuntento. Kung ang paraan ay smuggling, iyon ang gagawin o pababayaan. Kung hindi kaakibat ng bigas ang pulitika, hindi mangyayari na hiwain sa maliliit na piraso ang malawak na taniman ng bigas at ipamahagi ito sa mga walang lupa. Naging land owner nga naman ang mga kawawang kasama ng mga haciendero. Walang kalabaw, baka o kabayo o araro ang mga nakinabang sa land reform. Paano nila bubuhayin ang maraming anak. Mahirap. Ang malimit mangyari, isinasangla sa bangko ang lupa. Sa halip na gamitin ang utang sa pagpapalaki ng ani, isinusugal ang kuwarta, ginagamit sa mga magastos na okasyon tulad ng binyag at piyesta. Kung ganyan ang nangyayari sa kabukiran, paano lalaki ang ani ng palay sa Pilipinas. Hindi lalaki ang ani. Kung hindi lumaki ang ani, saan kukuha ng bigas na pang-export? Sanay na kaming mahihirap sa maraming pangako ng mga pulitiko na hindi natutupad. Huwag naman sanang sumali si PNoy. Maganda ang pagtingin sa kanya ng mga mahihirap. Kaya nga mataas ang kanyang rating sa mga survey. Hindi bababa ang rating na iyan kung kuntento ang mga mahihirap lalo na sa bigas. Hindi kailangang magpasikat o magsinungaling. ‘Wag lang magnakaw, tama na sa amin iyon. Ang totoo, pababayaan ng pamahalaan na ‘wag mahinto ang smuggling ng pagkain, bigas, manok, karne, gulay, paminta at marami pang iba para lamang laging kuntento ang mahihirap. Ang kuntentong ito ang magpapanatili sa mataas na rating ng Pangulo. E, paano naman ang bayan? Bayan? Problema iyan ng susunod na administrasyon. http://www.abante.com.ph/opinion/index.php/kung‐sabagay/604‐export‐ng‐bigas‐paano‐yon  


DA, PhilRice finish ‘golden rice’ trials in CamSur Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Sunday, 10 February 2013 17:39   Written by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro / Correspondent   THE  Department  of  Agriculture‐Regional  Field  Unit  5  (DA‐RFU  5)  and  the  Philippine  Rice  Research  Institute  (PhilRice)  have  completed  two  seasons  of  multilocation  field  trials  of  so‐called  golden  rice  in  Camarines Sur province.  The  trials  are  part  of  the  Golden  Rice  project  that  the  International  Rice  Research  Institute  (IRRI)  is  working on with other leading nutrition and agricultural‐research organizations to develop and evaluate  golden rice as a new way to reduce vitamin A deficiency in the Philippines. Dr. Antonio Alfonso is the  project leader.  Similar trials were conducted in Batac City in Ilocos Norte province, Muñoz City in Nueva Ecija province  and San Mateo town in Isabela province for two cropping seasons beginning March 2012. Each trial was  conducted on fields that are not more than 1,000 square meters.  The trials in Camarines Sur were conducted on two sites last year, while those in Ilocos Norte and Nueva  Ecija were carried out on one. Isabela has completed only one season.  Field trials for genetically modified (GM) crops like golden rice are permitted only after the DA’s Bureau  of Plant Industry (DA‐BPI) reviews the plans for the tests and establishes that these pose no significant  risks to human health and the environment.  The  DA‐BPI  approves  the  design  and  conduct  of  each  trial  (including  the  size  and  exact  location),  and  requires  that  it  be  conducted  at  an  appropriate  distance  from  other  crops  and  that  the  neighboring  community is informed about the test before it begins.  All  field  tests  of  GM  crops  are  conducted  according  to  national  biosafety  regulations  and  to  the  conditions listed in each individual testing permit. The DA‐BPI will monitor the trials for compliance with  all  conditions  and  each  site  will  be  supervised  by  members  of  the  Institutional  Biosafety  Committee,  including scientists and representatives of local communities.  The trials are an important step in evaluating the performance of golden rice and in determining if it can  be planted, grown and harvested just like other popular varieties of the staple. These trials are also part  of the safety assessment of the crop.  Data about golden rice that are collected from the trials are being compiled and will be submitted to the  DA‐BPI for evaluation as part of its biosafety regulatory process. Golden rice will only be made available  to farmers and the public if it is approved by the DA‐BPI and shown to reduce vitamin A deficiency. 


Nutrient‐rich GOLDEN rice is one of the nutrient‐rich rice varieties being developed by PhilRice, with the support of  IRRI, to help reduce malnutrition in the country. The GM crop is said to contain the same beta carotene  found in many nutritious food items and supplements. The genes put in golden rice are not related to  any known allergen or toxin.  Rice  is  essentially  self‐pollinating,  so  the  chances  of  cross‐pollination  between  golden  rice  and  other  varieties are very small. Other measures are also in place to ensure that no cross‐pollination takes place.  The  PhilRice  has  noted  that  many  people  in  the  Philippines  do  not  get  enough  vitamin  A  or  beta  carotene from the food they eat.  Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune system and increases the risk of death from certain common  infections among young children. It is also the leading cause of blindness among children.  Lack of vitamin A also affects pregnant or nursing women. Among pregnant women, this deficiency can  cause night blindness and may increase the risk of mortality.  Because  rice  is  widely  produced  and  consumed,  golden  rice  can  reach  many  Filipinos,  including  those  who do not have reliable access to or cannot afford other sources of vitamin A. Research indicates that  eating about one cup of golden rice a day could provide half an adult’s vitamin A needs.  Golden rice is intended to be used with existing approaches to overcome vitamin A deficiency, including  eating  food  high  in  or  fortified  with  vitamin  A  or  beta  carotene,  taking  vitamin  A  supplements  and  optimal breastfeeding practices.  Golden rice varieties will be developed  with the same high yield,  pest resistance and grain  and eating  qualities as non‐golden rice varieties. Golden rice can be planted, harvested, threshed, stored and milled  like any other rice.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9021‐da‐philrice‐finish‐golden‐ rice‐trials‐in‐camsur           


Traditional farming holds all aces Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Sunday, 10 February 2013 17:38   Written by Manipadma Jena / Inter Press Service   KORAPUT,  India—Last  monsoon  season,  65‐year‐old  Sunadhar  Ramaparia,  a  member  of  the  Bhumia  tribe in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, mixed indigenous crops like para paddy, foxtail millet and oil  seeds in his upland plot.  The rains came, then played truant for 23 days and in the scorching heat even lowland farmers’ hybrid  paddy saplings burnt to dust. But Ramaparia harvested a full crop.  Deforestation and climate change have resulted in erratic rainfall, shrinking water bodies and severe soil  degradation in Ramaparia’s hamlet of Tentulipar, located in the Eastern Ghat region of Odisha’s Koraput  province, leaving scores of farmers vulnerable to extreme hunger.  But  the  Bhumia  tribe  is  simply  falling  back  on  the  wisdom  of  their  3,000‐year‐old  traditional  farming  systems to ensure a year‐round supply of healthy food.  The tribe uses local seeds from the biodiversity‐rich Eastern Ghats, a discontinuous mountain range that  runs parallel to the Bay of Bengal along India’s eastern coast at an average of 900 meters above mean  sea level.  The agricultural system here has adapted to the intensely hilly terrain, built resilience to the changing  climate  and  developed  a  natural  pest‐control  mechanism.  Tribal  farmers  grow  hardy  crops  on  the  highlands, and more water‐intensive crops on the midland and low‐lying areas.  Though the Indian government has offered the tribe a subsidized hybrid paddy, which yields about 3,700  to 4,800 kilograms per hectare—a much larger haul than the 2,400 to 3,300 kg farmers can expect from  traditional  seeds—Ramaparia  and  his  20‐member  family  have  no  intention  of  abandoning  their  indigenous crops.  “The rice from government seeds not only has no taste or aroma, they [also] demand costly medicines  [chemical fertilizers and pesticides] and give diseases to those who consume them,” Ramaparia told IPS.  “A  lifetime  of  eating  our  own  grains  has  kept  an  old  man  like  me  strong.  Let  any  young  man  try  arm‐ wrestling with me,” he challenged jovially, looking around at the assembled villagers.  This is not an isolated example of a single tribe holding out against chemically altered seeds. 


According to  the  2003  India  National  Sample  Survey—on  which  the  National  Policy  for  Farmers  (NPF  2007)  is  based  and  from  which  the  agricultural  program  of  the  11th  Five  Year  Plan  (2007‐2012)  evolved—69 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people are rural. Tribal communities constitute 10 percent of  the total rural population; of this, roughly 8 percent follow traditional agricultural practices.  Forty‐six percent of farmers use the government’s hybrid seeds, while 47 percent use “saved” seeds, the  survey said.     Food security and dietary diversity  ACCORDING to Saujanendra Swain, a senior scientist with the Jeypore‐based MS Swaminathan Research  Foundation  (MSSRF),  multi‐cropping,  where  up  to  six  crops  are  cultivated  together,  provides  dietary  diversity.  “More food is produced with limited land and labor, and the staggered harvest greatly reduces the risks  of crop failure, as crops have varying maturity periods,” Swain said.  An MSSRF study of seven tribal villages in 2009 found that 80 percent of the tribal community favored a  crop mixture of hardy millet and pulses, which promised a high degree of food security.  Harvesting  starts  in  September,  with  early‐maturing  finger  millet,  and  ends  in  January,  with  the  harvesting of pigeon pea. The process requires very light labor: at the start of the monsoon, seeds are  planted  in  shallow  furrows  filled  with  cow  manure  and  left  to  grow  by  themselves.  In  smallholdings,  women form the backbone of this practice.  For 46‐year‐old Chandra Pradhani, a tribal farmer in Nuaguda village, three buzzwords define the tribal  system: organic, recyclable and sustainable.  These  principles  are  reflected  in  the  practices  employed—food  and  fuel  products  are  grown  in  their  natural  environment  without  using  artificial  inputs  and  hand‐gathered  for  consumption;  agricultural  waste products are used for crop treatment and pest control; and seeds are preserved in “gene‐seed‐ grain banks” for the next generation.  During the July and August monsoon months, the leanest in terms of food availability, tribes forage in  the forest for “green leafy vegetables and mushrooms,” a farmer named Gari Mathabaria told IPS.  “Seasonal berries and fruits form a good part of our food, though their quantity is declining as forests  are shrinking,” she said.  Pulses, which comprise a minor part of the local diet, are grown as a cash crop. Vegetables are confined  to backyards, where local beans form the lifelines of many farming communities. 


These practices  need  not  be  limited  to  the  Eastern  Ghats.  According  to  the  Indian  National  Sample  Survey, 60 percent of the country’s 140 million  hectares of sown farmland are rain‐fed and can easily  replicate similar traditional farming systems.     FAO honors indigenous farming  THE Eastern Ghats has a long history as a biodiversity hot spot. Numerous rice varieties originated in the  Jeypore “tract,” or valley, in Koraput some 3,000 years ago.  Human interference with this delicate ecosystem and the industrialization of agriculture, however, have  destroyed much of the diversity. A 1950 survey by the Central Rice Research Institute found 1,750 local  paddy varieties; in 1990, the MSSRF could trace only 324 varieties.  “Now an informed guess is that 100 varieties are perhaps available,” Swain told IPS.  The MSSRF also recorded eight species of minor millets, nine species of pulses, five species of oil seeds,  three species of fibrous plants and seven species of vegetables in the region.  Experts fear that these varieties, too, could soon disappear.  “Just  15  years  ago,  we  recorded  25  varieties  of  local  beans,  called  simba.  Today,  they  have  dwindled  down to four,” Swain said.  But  things  may  be  looking  up.  In  January,  the  Food  and  Agriculture  Organization  (FAO)  accorded  the  status of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) to the traditional agricultural system  in the Koraput region.  This status, akin to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage  Site tag, grants farmers the support they need to continue to nurture and adapt their ancient practices  to a changing climate and shrinking landholdings in order to ensure food security, without succumbing  to modern agricultural practices.  “The  Koraput  Agricultural  Systems  are  both  environmentally  sustainable  and  climate  smart,”  M.  S.  Swaminathan,  chairman  emeritus  of  the  MSSRF  and  widely  considered  the  “father”  of  India’s  Green  Revolution, told IPS.  “Their relevance will increase with [more frequent] disturbances in climate. It is therefore appropriate  that the FAO has recognized the system as a GIAHS,” he said. 


The decision  comes  not  a  minute  too  soon.  In  recent  years,  hybrid  paddy  and  commercial  crops  have  been  elbowing  the  staple  millet  out  of  the  local  food  chain,  even  though  millets  have  been  proven  to  have higher nutritional value than rice and wheat and can be consumed by adults and infants alike.  Kalidas  Biswas,  deputy  director  of  Jeypore’s  Agriculture  Department,  told  IPS  the  government  should  include millet in the country’s public‐distribution system, and, in districts where millet is a staple food,  procure it for a “supportive price.” At present, tribal farmers are compelled to sell millet at low prices in  local markets.  “This will motivate tribal communities to grow their indigenous cereal,” Biswas said.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9020‐traditional‐farming‐holds‐all‐ aces                                   


Economy Posted on February 10, 2013 08:35:21 PM 

Coconut oil exports surge as of January    COCONUT OIL exports nearly doubled as of last month as the global demand for the product  continues to "normalize," an industry official said.    THE COUNTRY’S coconut oil exports increased last month, buoyed by the recovery of the demand from  the product’s major markets like the US and Europe.  The volume of coconut oil exports increased by 81.35% to 115,186 metric  tons (MT) in January 2013 from the 63,517 MT reported in the same month last year.    "Demand for the product (coconut oil) improved," United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc.  (UCAP) Executive Director Yvonne V. Agustin said, explaining why the volume of coconut oil exports  rose.    Ms. Agustin added that the coconut oil exports in January last year was particularly "weak" since the  "normal" shipment volume of Philippine coconut oil is 80,000 MT. "Last year, our major markets (United  States and Europe) suffered from economic slowdown," Ms. Agustin said explaining the unusual drop in  coconut oil exports.    As much as 80% of the country coconut oil exports goes to the United States and Europe, Ms. Agustin  said.    Because of the impressive showing of the country’s coconut oil exports last month, the UCAP will likely  announce its target export volume for the entire 2013 within this week.    The average international price of palm kernel oil for last month was at $790 per MT. It is lower than the  price of coconut oil which was at $818 per MT.    "If this trend continues, we may see the market shift into palm kernel oil since they have basically the  same use," Ms. Agustin said.    However, she is confident that coconut oil export this year will be better than last year’s over‐all  performance as the country’s major markets recover from economic slowdown and consumers become  more health conscious.   


Coconut oil exports in 2012 grew by 3.17% to 852,000 MT from 821,000 in 2011. The country missed its  925,000‐MT export target as major markets were still recovering from the economic slowdown.    Coconut oil is a functional food, according to UCAP’s web site. Functional foods are foods that provide  health benefits in addition to their nutritional effects. Coconut oil as a functional food can "prevent  infections, boost immunity, reverse disease states and cure many types of illnesses," its web site added.  ‐‐ RJRP  ‐ See more at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Coconut‐oil‐ exports‐surge‐as‐of‐January&id=65631#sthash.eQqYQA8C.dpuf  http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Coconut‐oil‐exports‐surge‐as‐of‐ January&id=65631                               


Coconut oil exports rose 81% in January  By Niña P. Calleja  Philippine Daily Inquirer   2:06 am | Monday, February 11th, 2013  

Coconut oil exports jumped by 81.35 percent in January to 115,186 metric tons from 63,517 MT in the same month last year, preliminary data from the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (Ucap) showed. “There was an increase in the demand in our existing markets,” said Yvonne Agustin, Ucap executive director, noting that the industry’s major markets such as the United States and Europe continued to show signs of recovery from the economic slowdown. Ucap earlier reported that in 2012, the total outbound shipment of coconut oil fell short of its full-year target due to the softening of demand for the product. Last year, coconut oil exports reached 851,913 MT, a 3.7-percent increase from the 2011 level but short of the industry target of 925,000 MT. Agustin, in earlier interviews, attributed the poor performance of coconut oil exports to weaker external demand. In general, however, the value of coconut exports fell by 21.57 percent in 2012, mainly due to the lower prices of coconut products in the world market. To resolve the country’s dependence on the prices set by the world market, Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Euclides Forbes said the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture was crafting a plan to establish an industrial estate where coconut product processing will be done. The country’s output, thus, can be used for manufacturing products intended to serve the needs of the domestic market. http://business.inquirer.net/106927/coconut‐oil‐exports‐rose‐81‐in‐january      


Tillers decry Palace hold on coco levy  Philippine Daily Inquirer   3:44 am | Monday, February 11th, 2013  

Militant farmer groups on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, assailed the “extraordinary power” Malacañang had over the multibillion-peso coconut levy fund. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO LUCENA CITY, Philippines—Militant farmer groups on Sunday assailed the “extraordinary power” Malacañang had over the multibillion-peso coconut levy fund. Willy Marbella, deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) headed by Secretary Julia Abad and the National AntiPoverty Commission (NAPC) under Secretary Joel Rocamora went beyond their mandates in creating the Presidential Task Force on the Coco Levy Fund. Marbella said Rocamora admitted in a dialogue on Friday that the task force was created not by executive or administrative order but through a directive from Abad. “Despite the lack of a legal mandate in the creation of the task force, the PMS and NAPC, with the blessings of no less than President Aquino, are both exercising extraordinary powers and influence and are hell-bent on plundering the coco levy fund,” Marbella said. Rocamora, however, maintained the task force was not illegal, being based on an instruction of President Aquino to form a group that would study what to do with the coco levy fund. He said the task force had no power to dispose of the coco levy money. The task force, created in 2011, is composed of representatives of the NAPC, PMS, the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Finance and Budget and Management.


It has been pushing for the allocation of P11.17 billion from the estimated P70-billion coco levy fund to its Poverty Reduction Program for the Coconut Industry. Rocamora said the coco levy fund was intact at the National Treasury and no one had access to it. “There must first be an entry of judgment by the Supreme Court before we can even proceed to release the funds,” he said. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/356091/tillers‐decry‐palace‐hold‐on‐coco‐levy                                      


Fishery Assistance By Mike U. Crismundo February 10, 2013, 3:34pm TANDAG CITY – A significant number of fishermen in this infant city in Northeastern Mindanao is expected to benefit from the multi-million-peso equipment that their cooperative had received from the Department of Agriculture (DA). The group that received the vital assistance is the Tandag Boholano Fishermen’s Association (Tanbofisa) where a big number of fishermen here are members. It was learned that Tanbofisa operates a Barangay Food Terminal (BFT), as well as an ice plant at the public market here. Top officials of the DA, in coordination with the National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor), turned over the P4.6 million worth of Liquid Quick Freeze Machine to Tanbofisa officers during a recent ceremony held at the Tanbofisa Ice Plant here. It was also learned that the machine can also be used to freeze agricultural products like fish, poultry, and vegetables to prolong their shelf life. With the new equipment, officials of Tanbofisa hope that they will be able to meet the demand at the public market here, and also increase the income of the food terminal. It was gathered that their old ice-making machine can only produce some 72 blocks of ice per day, which is not even sufficient to meet the needs of the vendors in the market. But with the new machine, the cooperative officers are hoping that they will able to supply the demand. According to Tanbofisa business manager Wilma Evangelio, the new machine will be a big help to the fishing industry in this city. “This is really a big help to us,” she added. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393387/fishery‐assistance#.URhbofJFyjs        


DENR-8’s E. Visayas Greening Target: 17,714 Hectares February 10, 2013, 3:56pm 

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte (PIA) — In line with the National Greening Program of the Aquino Administration, Eastern Visayas targets to cover 17,714 hectares of land with various trees in 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced. DENR-8 Regional Executive Director Manolito D. Ragub said that various trees include forest and fruit trees, as well as mangrove and other non-timber forest products. In pursuit of this endeavor, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar provinces in the Eastern Visayas region have their own individual targets to achieve. Ragub disclosed that this year, the DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Eastern Samar has the biggest share of the pie. Under supervision by the DENR-Ecosystems Research and Development Service (ERDS), PENRO Eastern Samar will plant 600 hectares with indigenous/premium tree species and 150 hectares of cacao. Another 3,650 hectares will be planted with timber, fuel, mangrove, urban and rattan which shall be supervised by the DENR-Forest Management Service. This brings the total area targeted for planting by PENRO Eastern Samar alone to 4,400 hectares for 2013. Under the supervision of the DENR-ERDS, PENRO Leyte will plant 815 hectares indigenous /premium tree species, 160 hectares of coffee, and 160 hectares of cacao. Another 3,165 hectares shall be planted with timber, fuel, mangrove, urban and rattan which shall be supervised by the DENR-FMS bringing the total area targeted for planting by PENRO Leyte to 4,290 hectares for 2013. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393393/denr8‐s‐e‐visayas‐greening‐target‐17714‐ hectares#.URhhevJFyjs        


Guatemala declares national coffee  emergency  Associated Press   10:34 am | Saturday, February 9th, 2013  

Workers walk in a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina has declared a national emergency over the spread coffee rust, a fungus that is affecting 70 percent of the country’s crop. Molina said Friday that the pesticides will start being applied to coffee plants in April and that two more applications will be needed during the year. AP GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s president declared a national emergency Friday over the spread of coffee rust, saying the fungus that has hit other Central American countries is affecting 70 percent of this nation’s crop. President Otto Molina Perez ordered the release of more than $14 million to aid coffee growers. He said the funds would help 60,000 small farmers buy pesticides and also finance instruction to teach them how to prevent the disease and stop it from spreading. “If we don’t take the needed measures, in 2013-2014 our production could drop by 40 percent,” Molina said in making his country the third in the region to decree emergencies in recent weeks. Coffee rust, which can kill plants by withering their leaves, also is affecting plantations in El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica. Mexico’s agriculture authorities said the fungus has been detected there but so far has not damaged plants. Molina said the pesticides will start being applied to coffee plants in April and two more applications will be needed during the year. Nils Leporowsky, president of the National Coffee Association of Guatemala, or Anacafe, said coffee is grown in 206 of the country’s 333 municipalities.


“We have planted 667,000 acres (270,000 hectares) of coffee and of that 477,000 acres (193,000 hectares) have rust, affecting 70 percent of the total,” he added. Leporowsky said coffee growing generates 500,000 direct jobs as well as 700,000 additional jobs in related businesses each year. “We have lost 100,000 direct jobs already and that will affect millions of people,” he said. Experts say the fungus has been present in Central American since the 1970s but production hadn’t previously been affected so severely as what is feared this year. Otto Cabrera, an adviser with Anacafe, said coffee rust arrived in Guatemala in the 1980s. “The fungus directly affects coffee leaves, initially with yellow spots that later turn orange and reaches around the foliage of coffee, then makes the leaves fall,” he said. “The plant loses its foliage. It’s not able to breathe, so it ceases producing and it eventually dies.” Cabrera said climate change has brought a rise in average temperatures of about 2 degrees Celsius in Central American areas where the fungus was present, encouraging its growth and increasing the threat of severe damage. Honduras and Costa Rica declared national emergencies over coffee rust last month. In Panama, the sixth largest producer of coffee in the region, the fungus has affected about 60 percent of the crop this year, according to industry estimates. Carlos Fuentes, spokesman for the association of coffee producers in Panama’s Chiriqui province, which borders Costa Rica, said coffee yields per acre have fallen 45 percent. Chiriqui is the largest coffee producer in Panama. “Of the 8,650 acres (3,500 hectares) we planted, more than half have been affected,” Fuentes said, adding that he wants his country to also declare a state of emergency. In El Salvador, the Salvadoran Coffee Council said the impact of coffee rust is the worst in 30 years. The council estimates the fungus has affected 100 percent of the country’s coffee plants. Honduras also declared a national emergency in January seeking to curb the fungus and save its coffee, which is its main export, with about $1.4 billion in sales in 2012. “Until now, we estimate that about 10 percent of the crops in the country have been affected,” said Victor Hugo Molina, director of the Honduran Coffee Institute. In Mexico, which borders Guatemala, agriculture officials said the fungus is present but it has not hurt production. Javier Trujillo Arriaga, director of vegetable health for Mexico’s pestcontrol agency, said the government has a contingency plan to fight the fungus in case it starts killings plants like it is doing in Guatemala. Coffee producers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica plan a Feb. 27-28 meeting in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to discuss common strategies for combatting coffee rust. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/355403/guatemala‐declares‐national‐coffee‐emergency    


Victorias Milling plans diversification  By Doris C. Dumlao  Philippine Daily Inquirer   5:14 am | Monday, February 11th, 2013  

MANILA, Philippines—Sugar firm Victorias Milling Corp. plans to diversify into allied businesses to strengthen operations ahead of a low-tariff regime under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) by 2015. Within the next two years, VMC may raise fresh funds to go into new ventures, first of which will be power co-generation, then bio-ethanol production and allied infrastructure like coinvesting in a railroad system to transport sugarcane. “The challenge is Afta, but we’re transforming VMC,” company chairman Wilson Young said in an interview at the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting last week. VMC has obtained consent from its shareholders to amend its secondary purpose under the charter to allow the co-generation of electricity for its own use for lighting and other purposes. In addition to the leeway under its existing charter to go into manufacturing, agricultural, educational, mercantile, insurance, trading, real estate and fiduciary businesses, more amendments were made to include infrastructure, transportation, telecommunications, mining, water, power generation, recreation, financial or credit and consultancy. In manufacturing, it was specified in the amendment that this would include but not be limited to ethanol and potable alcohol production, harnessing synergies from its sugar milling operations. Young explained that the company was not planning to pursue all these activities, but only needed the flexibility. The amendments will be presented for approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission and creditor-banks. “We definitely need new money,” Young said, when asked how new ventures would be funded. “We will study that; maybe in the next two years we can tap new loans again.” Power co-generation could be prioritized, he said, because the feed-in-tariff (to encourage renewable energy) was already put in place by the government. Reviving a railway system to transport sugarcane and passengers is also part of VMC’s plan for the future. The company earlier announced plans to spearhead a new railroad project in Negros Occidental to transport sugarcane and passengers. Such an infrastructure could reduce cost by about a third, Young said. http://business.inquirer.net/107003/victorias‐milling‐plans‐diversification  


China reports 2 human cases of bird flu – state  media  Agence France‐Presse   7:11 am | Monday, February 11th, 2013  

AFP FILE PHOTO BEIJING – China reported two human cases of bird flu in the southwestern city of Guiyang on Sunday, with both patients in a critical condition, the official Xinhua news agency said. A 21-year-old woman and 31-year-old man tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus on Sunday after developing symptoms on February 2 and February 3 respectively, Xinhua said. “They are in a critical condition and medical workers are carrying out emergency treatment,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement, cited by Xinhua. People who had close contact with the two patients are under medical observation but none have been found ill so far, the agency said. It reported that the pair did not have contact with birds before they developed symptoms. The bird flu virus has killed 365 people worldwide since a major outbreak in 2003, according to the World Health Organization. It typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form transmissible between humans. China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world’s biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/356125/china‐reports‐2‐human‐cases‐of‐bird‐flu‐state‐media


Low Inflation To Sustain Growth By Lee C. Chipongian  February 10, 2013, 3:03pm 

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that in the next four years or until 2016, the growth of the economy will be sustained on a low inflation environment. The medium-term inflation target has been lowered to 2-4 percent for 2015-2016 from 3-5 percent this year and 2014. “The manageable inflation outlook provides room for monetary policy to support domestic economic activity amid uncertain global prospects,” said the central bank in a report. For this year and in 2014, sustained appreciation of the peso is expected to keep inflation at benign levels. In the latest inflation quarterly study presented by BSP Assistant Governor Cyd N. TuañoAmador, she noted that the 3-5 percent inflation target remains well supported by domestic prices outlook which rendered the “risks around inflation projections (to be) broadly balanced.” Downside pressures are tied to global economic recovery uncertainties and in particular the oil price trends, while upside risks stem from probable adjustments to utility rates and foreign exchange inflows. Based on the report, the overall growth momentum backed by strong private demand, government spending and stimulus will keep the balance between growth and inflation. “Brisk credit activity, ample liquidity, and more favorable global economic conditions also continue to give scope to keep policy settings unchanged,” said the BSP. As buffer against the uncertainty in the external environment, the monetary authorities reduced rates by 100 basis points last year and they did this only on benign inflation outlook. Also in the same quarterly inflation report, the BSP disclosed that private forecasters expect inflation rate to be lower than target for this year and 2014. According to the inflation projections of 18 banks and financial services companies that were tallied by the BSP, the mean inflation forecasts decreased to 3.2 percent as of end-December from 3.4 percent in the third quarter. The BSP said analysts lowered their inflation forecasts because of the continued appreciation of the peso which is expected to temper the effects of imported inflation.


The private forecasters think that there is a 61.8 percent chance that this year’s inflation rate could range to a low of 3.1 percent to a high of four percent. Last year, the country’s inflation rate averaged 3.2 percent, the low end of the government’s 3-5 percent target. As of the end of January this year, inflation rose to three percent from 2.9 percent in December mainly because of higher food, electricity, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco prices. The BSP noted that the strong capital inflows and additional electricity rate adjustments “continue to represent upside risks to the inflation outlook (but) these are counterbalanced by downside risks associated with the continued uncertainty over the strength of the global economy as well as the strengthening of the peso.” http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393362/low‐inflation‐to‐sustain‐growth#.URhZtfJFyjs                                


Banks Easing Credit Standards – BSP By Lee C. Chipongian  February 10, 2013, 3:12pm 

With the country’s sustainable economic growth, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the banking sector is easing its credit standards as demand for financing continues to rise. In its latest quarterly assessment of its Senior Bank Officers’ Survey, the BSP noted that the easing of banks’ lending standards is an indication of an improving industry liquidity portfolio. The BSP reported cited of increased demand for loans from both enterprises and households. “For loans to businesses, the higher loan demand was attributed to increased accounts receivable financing and working capital needs, lower interest rates, and improved economic outlook,” stated the BSP report. As for household loans, the demand reflected increased consumption, lower interest rates, banks’ more attractive financing terms, higher housing investment, and lack of other sources of funds, said the BSP. “Banks expect demand for credit from both firms and households to increase further in the next quarter.” In the last three months, enterprises or firms borrowing from banks have found it easier to access funds which the BSP said showed improvements in banks’ profits and liquidity on favorable economic outlook coming from last year’s robust 6.6 percent GDP growth. “Banks foresee an increase in loan demand from businesses owing largely to expectations of increased accounts receivable financing and working capital needs of borrowers in the next quarter, improvement in clients’ economic outlook, and sustained low interest rate environment,” said the BSP. The stiff competition among banks and non-bank lenders, the higher deposit-base of the banking system and improved credit profile of borrowers has also contributed to the loosening of credit standards. This benefited all corporations, big and small, which found more funds available for them in the last two quarters.


In contrast, the BSP said that credit standards for smaller capitalized firms such as microenterprises showed a slight tightening while standards for loans extended to small and medium enterprises or SMEs remained the same as in previous quarters. Overall, the BSP said that the easing of credit standards to enterprises is also caused by increased credit line sizes and less use of interest rate floors. The unchanged loan covenants across all firm sizes are also one of the factors for the relaxation. “Loans with longer maturities were also provided to enterprises, except SMEs,” said the BSP. In the next months however, the survey also noted that the 33 respondent banks expect wider loan margins for top corporations and SMEs as well as tighter standards on collateral requirements across firm sizes, except for top corporations. “Over the next quarter, respondent banks expect some tightening of credit standards for loans across all firm sizes given expectations of deterioration in the profitability of banks’ asset portfolio, decreased deposit base of banks, decreased access of banks to money or bond market financing, and banks’ reduced tolerance for risk,” said the BSP. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393367/banks‐easing‐credit‐standards‐bsp#.URhaNPJFyjs                            


Coal Asia Accelerates Production Sked By James A. Loyola  February 10, 2013, 3:28pm 

Coal Asia Holdings, Inc., through subsidiary Titan Mining & Energy Corporation (TMEC), is accelerating the development of its mine in Davao Oriental to move up the target commercial production date to October this year from the original goal of January 2014. In a statement, the firm said it is currently evaluating and testing two new large coal deposit areas within its Coal Operating Contract (COC) area in Davao Oriental which was previously undiscovered. The company said it is making full use of the proceeds from its P800-million initial public offering last October to build up capacity for TMEC and complete its exploration and mine development activities in the Mindanao area. In a previous disclosure, the firm said net proceeds from the IPO are earmarked to bring its Davao Oriental mine into production by 2014 and its Zamboanga, Sibugay mine by 2015. The expected start of commercial production for the Davao Oriental has been moved up as a result of the completion of drilling and exploration activities a few months ahead of schedule. Coal Asia chairman Harald Tomintz said he is pleased with the early completion of drilling and exploration activities as well as the exploratory results and credits this to the dedication of his team. “Coal Asia wants to bring the local industry into a sustainable level and developments like these not only keep us on track, but also further accelerate our goal in achieving that,” Tomintz said. He noted that “the developments in both exploration and production have only skimmed the surface of Coal Asia’s true value, which is why the majority shareholders have agreed to a longer lock-up period.” A reevaluation of Coal Asia’s reserves and resources is underway, and a better and improved reserve figure can be expected once the report in finalized before the end of the first quarter. Current sales figures for TMEC have amounted to P63 million, triple the sales from 2011. This can be attributed to output from the Zamboanga Sibugay area alone. Coal Asia is the holder of the country’s second largest coal reserves and resources, and with the potential to become the biggest producer of high-grade bituminous coal. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393382/coal‐asia‐accelerates‐production‐sked#.URha5fJFyjs  


NEDA eyes OFWs for job generation Published on 11 February 2013 Hits: 150 Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is targeting more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for integration back to the Philippines, through entrepreneurial programs to drive investments in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

“We are beefing up efforts to reintegrate OFWs so we can harness their experience and expertise in contributing to the country’s socioeconomic development,” NEDA Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated. He explained that the resources brought by OFWs back to the country will help generate employment and contribute to the growth of MSMEs in the country. According to the recently released Socioeconomic Report (SER): 2010-2012, the government through the Commission on Filipino Overseas and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has put up a website to help OFWs set up businesses and investments in the Philippines. The report added that the website BALinkBayan, or Business Advisory Link para sa Bayan provides a link to DTI’s One-Town-One-Product program, as well as other community-level convergence programs of the departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources. The SER said that other enterprise programs under the MSME Development Plan: 2011 to 2016 also aim to encourage local entrepreneurs and returning OFWs to invest their resources in the country. It mentioned that as of June 2012, 19,403 participants were trained in weaving, bamboo processing, making handmade papers, branding, management and values formation to increase their productivity and access to credit and markets, among others. In 2011, the report further said that a total of 2,034 OFWs were also provided training by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Philippine Trade Training Center to encourage them to become entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, it also reported that the Asenso, or Access of Small Enterprises to Sound Lending Opportunities, formerly the SULONG, has released a total of P254 billion worth of financial assistance, equivalent to 251,920 accounts and translating into 3.649 million jobs supported since its inception in 2004 until June 2012. The SER also disclosed that similarly, the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program continues


to provide financial by microfinance, as well as technical assistance to promote the development of microenterprises. It said that as of June 2012, 44,061 microenterprises have been provided microfinancing, while 22,073 had been provided business development services, including capacity building, product development, market linkages, among others. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/top‐business‐news/41214‐neda‐eyes‐ofws‐for‐job‐ generation                                        


NEDA eyes OFWs for job generation Published on 11 February 2013 Hits: 106 Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is targeting more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for integration back to the Philippines, through entrepreneurial programs to drive investments in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector. “We are beefing up efforts to reintegrate OFWs so we can harness their experience and expertise in contributing to the country’s socioeconomic development,” NEDA Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated. He explained that the resources brought by OFWs back to the country will help generate employment and contribute to the growth of MSMEs in the country. According to the recently released Socioeconomic Report (SER): 2010-2012, the government through the Commission on Filipino Overseas and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has put up a website to help OFWs set up businesses and investments in the Philippines. The report added that the website BALinkBayan, or Business Advisory Link para sa Bayan provides a link to DTI’s One-Town-One-Product program, as well as other community-level convergence programs of the departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources.The SER said that other enterprise programs under the MSME Development Plan: 2011 to 2016 also aim to encourage local entrepreneurs and returning OFWs to invest their resources in the country. It mentioned that as of June 2012, 19,403 participants were trained in weaving, bamboo processing, making handmade papers, branding, management and values formation to increase their productivity and access to credit and markets, among others. In 2011, the report further said that a total of 2,034 OFWs were also provided training by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Philippine Trade Training Center to encourage them to become entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, it also reported that the Asenso, or Access of Small Enterprises to Sound Lending Opportunities, formerly the SULONG, has released a total of P254 billion worth of financial assistance, equivalent to 251,920 accounts and translating into 3.649 million jobs supported since its inception in 2004 until June 2012. The SER also disclosed that similarly, the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program continues to provide financial by microfinance, as well as technical assistance to promote the development of microenterprises. It said that as of June 2012, 44,061 microenterprises have been provided microfinancing, while 22,073 had been provided business development services, including capacity building, product development, market linkages, among others. http://www.manilatimes.net/~manilati/index.php/business/top‐business‐news/41214‐neda‐eyes‐ofws‐ for‐job‐generation  


Soldiers, MILF rebels unite for Aquino Published on 11 February 2013 Hits: 453 Written by JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL AND AL JACINTO CORRESPONDENTS

Soldiers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front members share a historic meal as they prepare for the visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Sunday in Sultan Kudarat. PHOTO BY JULMUNIR I. JANNARALÂ

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao: Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday joined hands to secure the sprawling MILF’s Camp Darapanan, where President Benigno Aquino 3rd is set to visit today. President Aquino, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, cabinet officials and representatives of government agencies will lead the launching of basic services program for Bangsamoro, known as Sajahatra Bangsamoro at the Bangsamoro Leadership Management Institute


compound. Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a Malay Bahasa term, which means Peace for Bangsamoro, is Aquino’s socio-economic peace initiative that aims to uplift the health, education and livelihood conditions of the Islam communities. A “fluvial parade” of dozens of colorfully decorated motorboats will welcome the President. Soldiers and Muslim guerrillas will meet in sporting events instead of combat. Col. Dickson Hermoso, local military spokesman, said on Sunday that soldiers and MILF fighters would guard the area, although presidential guards would handle Aquino’s security. The two sides, who once fought each other fiercely, will also play “friendly matches” of football, softball and volleyball to welcome the president, Hermoso told radio station dzBB. However, popular sports like basketball were deliberately left out, he said. “We did not include the contact games for now because there might be some people who will be provoked. They might lose their tempers and things might get heated,” the colonel said. There are no reports of any threat to the president, Hermoso said. But he added: “We are not complacent in our security precautions. The worst-case scenario has been considered.” At the kick-off of the joint security operation held at the old Maguindanao provincial capitol in Sultan Kudarat town on Sunday, soldiers and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the MILF gathered to signify their unity toward lasting peace in this war-torn region in Mindanao.


For the first time in history, soldiers and rebels shook hands, hugged like old-time friends and ate on the same table as if they never engaged in bloody combat on opposite sides of the battle. “I am happy that these things, which will bring about peace in Mindanao are happening here in Sultan Kudarat,” Mayor Tucao Mastura of Sultan Kudarat, said. “More than 40 years ago, we had gunfight. Now, we have boodle fight.” Major Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo, commanding general of the Sixth Infantry Division, underlined the need to forge unity. “We all come from the same nation. We are one blood, one color. We were shaped by one Malay race that everybody should be proud of. We are of one country,” Ordoyo joyfully said. “This is a momentous occasion and I hope we will replicate this.” “As they say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we therefore hope that we will finally achieve the peace that we have been longing for,” General Gilberto Jose Roa, chairman of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, added. Commander Gordon Zaipullah of the MILF Central Mindanao Task Force described the meeting of the forces as historic. He also urged the Armed Forces and the Bangsamoro Armed Forces, to respect each other. “Think of yourselves as one command. Not as MILF, not as government. Let unity be seen among you,” he said. Zaipullah also thanked the Aquino administration for extending its hand of peace to the Islamist group. “We see the sincerity of President Aquino in achieving peace in Mindanao,” he said.


Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said on Sunday that the President’s visit will send the message that his administration is serious about forging a just and lasting peace in Mindanao. She also said that the social welfare project for Muslim communities shows the sincerity of both parties in their peace efforts, as it will take place, while they are negotiating the annexes of a framework peace agreement. The MILF signed a framework agreement with Aquino’s government in October 2012, committing both sides to form a new autonomous entity on Mindanao by 2016, when the president ends his six-year term. “Tomorrow [Monday] will be very festive. This is a coming together of both sides. First time dumating ang pangulo sa teritoryo nila in peacetime, the mood will be festive and the significance will not be lost on all the participants,” she said. WITH REPORTS FROM CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND AFP http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines‐mt/41260‐soldiers‐milf‐rebels‐unite‐for‐aquino                    


BSP to ask SEC to probe check discounting in gov’t agencies • •

Written by Ed Velasco

Monday, 11 February 2013 00:00

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) finally acted to eradicate the widespread check discounting practice in many government agencies. The BSP is sending a formal letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Teresita Herbosa to act and investigate the matter. BSP deputy governor for supervision and examination sector Nestor Espenilla said the BSP must confer/consult with the SEC regarding the practice as regulating loan or lending institutions is not part of BSP function. “We’ll consult with SEC as it’s really a form of lending business that may fall under their authority,” the deputy governor explained to The Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview. Espenilla didn’t waste much time to act against the practice which was reported to him last Feb. 5. He said he will send anytime this week the formal letter to Herbosa requesting that the activity be checked. Check discounting is the process of encashing a check, usually issued by government depositories and banks such as Philippine National Bank and Landbank of the Philippines by private individuals instead of the banks themselves. Sources said the practice has become prevalent compared to previous years as many are “investing” in the business. The sources added that even personal checks issued by the three biggest banks — BdO, Bank of Philippine Islands and Metrobank — are also being encashed nowadays. “Many are now into the practice that’s why pensions or benefits of former employees are being accepted. It’s a lucrative business,” a source said.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/business/item/10341‐bsp‐to‐ask‐sec‐to‐probe‐check‐discounting‐in‐ gov%E2%80%99t‐agencies.html        


PH officials in US worry about Pinoys Published : Monday, February 11, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 59 Written by : Efren Montano

PHILIPPINE officials in the United States are monitoring the situation of Filipinos in areas affected by a massive snowstorm. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said they continue to hope no Filipino is among the casualties of the snowstorm. ”Nagbabantay ang ating embassy doon at mga consulate to monitor the welfare of Filipinos,” she said on government-run dzRB radio. Also, she said authorities there had already given warning to residents. A report on UK’s The Telegraph indicated the snowstorm had pounded the US Northeast and left at least six dead and thousands stranded Over the weekend, the Philippine Consulate General in New York advised Filipinos in the Northeastern US to avoid unnecessary travel due to the storm. It cited an advisory from the US National Weather Service that a major winter storm may hit Feb. 8 to 9. ”Members of the Filipino-American community are advised to avoid unnecessary travel and to monitor weather developments in their area. Community members are likewise advised to have a sufficient supply of basic items during the storm,” it said. Also, the Consulate General said Filipinos with emergencies after regular office hours may contact it via phone at 917-294-0196 and 347-327-1884. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐stories/44619‐ph‐officials‐in‐us‐worry‐about‐pinoys        


House okays soil, water technology bill Published : Monday, February 11, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 10 Written by : Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

THE House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill promoting soil and water conservation technologies that will ensure water availability for sustainable agricultural development. House Bill (HB) No. 6881 authored by AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin and Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara seeks to promote soil and water conservation technologies and practices. Angara said the measure would address the problem of land degradation that affects the state and management of the country’s natural resources. The bill will establish the National Soil and Water Conservation Program to encourage synergies between agricultural productivity improvement and sustainable land management through the promotion and implementation of soil and water conservation. Angara said some 1,000 Soil and Water Conservation Guided Farms to be established in many parts of the country will showcase soil and water conservation approaches and technologies. The potential sites shall be identified and selected, in coordination with concerned Local Government Units (LGUs) and farmers associations. Likewise, Angara said the bill would establish 10,000 units of small-scale rainwater harvesting systems consisting of rainwater reservoir development, watershed management and service area development in strategic upland areas in 80 provinces. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/44634‐house‐okays‐soil‐water‐technology‐bill    


2013 02 11 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2013 02 11

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