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DA chief fields son for Quezon governor By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 14, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has fielded his congressman-son Irvin for governor of Quezon. The young Alcala, who is on his first term as congressman and is qualified for two more terms, is up against incumbent Gov. David Suarez, son of outgoing third district Rep. Danilo Suarez, who heads the minority bloc in the House of Representatives. “Procy fielded his son for governor even though the younger Alcala is just a neophyte congressman and could run for a second term, and a third term after his second. They could have decided not to oppose Gov. Suarez’s re-election,” Rep. Suarez told reporters yesterday. He said the Agriculture secretary obviously wanted his son to seek the gubernatorial post while the elder Alcala is a member of the Cabinet. “They also want to take advantage of President Aquino’s popularity, like the senatorial candidates of the administration,” he said. Secretary Alcala and Suarez were allies during the Arroyo administration. They both received huge amounts of 11th-hour pork barrel fund releases during then President Arroyo’s last months in office. Alcala was on his second term as second district representative when he joined the Aquino Cabinet. Rep. Alcala is among several House members seeking local posts. They include Bem Noel of the party-list group An Waray, who is running for mayor of Tacloban City; Jesus Crispin Remulla, for mayor of Tagaytay City; Rex Gatchalian, for mayor of Valenzuela City; Edgar San Luis, for governor of Laguna; and Rodolfo Albano, for mayor of Cabagan, Isabela. Albano’s son Rodito, the incumbent vice governor of Isabela and a former congressman, is seeking to return to the House. http://www.live.philstar.com/nation/2013/02/14/908439/da-chief-fields-son-quezon-governor


‘Cabinet men not barred from joining campaign sorties’ By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 14, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Cabinet members are not barred from joining the campaign sorties of the senatorial candidates of the administration party, a Palace official said yesterday. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there is no legal impediment for Cabinet secretaries, being alter egos of the President, to join the campaign rallies of administration candidates. Lacierda cited the President’s visit to the provinces when he would need Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to accompany him to provide details on agricultural projects, or Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes for inputs on agrarian reform programs. “This is part of what we would like to tell the people. This is what we have done for you and these are the things that we intend to continue doing for you,” Lacierda said, justifying the presence of Cabinet members in campaign sorties. Lacierda noted that Cabinet members usually visit areas where the projects of their respective departments are launched or inaugurated. “The President will be there also to attend to those things. The presence of the President will involve governance in all things that he does,” he said. Lacierda assured the public that no government funds would be spent for the campaign of administration candidates. “All of these (campaign expenses) will be shouldered by the Liberal Party. The government will not be spending a single centavo for this campaign,” he said. Lacierda said President Aquino could run the country and be the campaign manager of the Liberal Party at the same time. He said the President is “mindful of his responsibilities as the President and this (campaign) is part and parcel of pushing forward his reform agenda.” He said the President is also banking on LP candidates to ensure the implementation of his reform agenda. The President earlier said he might join the afternoon campaign sorties of the LP senatorial bets.


“We have worked out the schedule already.... While the President will be doing some campaigning, it is just part of his schedule. He will not be on the campaign trail everyday,” Lacierda said. He said Malacañang would announce the areas where the President will join the campaign sorties of LP candidates. http://www.philstar.com/election‐2013/news/2013/02/14/908605/cabinet‐men‐not‐barred‐joining‐ campaign‐sorties                                         


January rice stocks good for 74 days By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 14, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The country’s total rice stock inventory as of January fell month-onmonth and year-on-year with stocks sufficient for 74 days, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). The total rice stock inventory as of January 1 was placed at 2.52 million metric tons, 3.4 percent lower than the previous month’s inventory of 2.61 million metric tons and 3.9 percent lower than last year’s record of 2.62 million metric tons. Of this month’s stock inventory, 51.9 percent were held in households, 24.6 percent were with the commercial warehouses and 23.5 percent were with the NFA depositories. Month-on-month, stock levels in all sectors were lower. Stocks in the households fell by one percent. Those in the commercial warehouses went down by 10 percent. Stocks in NFA depositories, of which 31 percent were imported rice, dropped by 1.1 percent Year-on-year, stocks in the households increased 33.3 percent and those in commercial warehouses 2.9 percent. In NFA depositories, stocks declined 43 percent. The total rice stock inventory would be sufficient for 74 days. Household stocks would last for 39 days. Stocks in commercial warehouses would last for 18 days while those in NFA depositories would be enough for 17 days. Corn stocks also fell month-on-month and year-on-year. The Jan. 1 corn stock inventory was estimated at 161.3 thousand metric tons, 21.2 percent lower than the previous month’s level of 204.7 thousand metric tons and 2.9 percent less than last year’s record of 166.1 thousand metric tons. About 30 percent of the stocks were held in households and 61.9 percent were with commercial warehouses. The NFA depositories accounted for the balance. Month-on-month, corn stocks held in households dropped by 6.6 percent. Those in the commercial warehouses and NFA depositories decreased by 28.1 percent and 40.8 percent, respectively. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/02/14/908454/january‐rice‐stocks‐good‐74‐days     


Agribusiness  Posted on February 13, 2013 09:02:23 PM 

Farm dep’t to put up corn labs by 2015 THE AGRICULTURE department plans to put up two germplasm laboratories by 2015 for the  preservation and development of corn varieties in the country, a senior official said recently.    "This project will make sure that all our corn varieties are preserved and  maintained for breeding purposes," National Corn Program (NCP) Coordinator Edilberto M. De Luna said  in a telephone interview last Feb. 5.    Two germplasm laboratories will be established: one in University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)  and one in Bukidnon, Mindanao.    The laboratories will serve as a repository for the genetic materials of corn varieties which will be  collected from across the country.    "Aside from conservation, this project will make sure that we have the materials to work with if we want  to develop and improve existing corn varieties," Mr. De Luna explained.    The project has three stages: preparation or planning stage this year; construction of facilities and  training of corn experts next year; as well as implementation of the collection and preservation process  in 2015.    Mr. De Luna said the department plans to spend  10 million this year for the preparation stage.    "We will start the construction of the facilities needed and training of the corn experts in 2014," Mr. De  Luna said.    He said that Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has formed a project technical committee, headed  by Bureau of Plant Industry Director Clarito M. Barron and composed of representatives of UPLB and  Central Mindanao University (CMU). "This technical committee will take care of the technical aspects of  this project," Mr. De Luna said.    Each laboratory will be managed and operated by corn experts from UPLB and CMU.    UPLB has already identified a facility which will be transformed into a germplasm laboratory, while CMU  is still ascertaining if it has such a facility.   


"By 2015, we want to start the collection and preservation process," Mr. De Luna said, adding that the  project aims to collect varieties from other countries as well.    "We also want to develop climate change‐resilient varieties, but this will come after the collection and  preservation stage." ‐‐ R. J. R. Portillo   http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Agribusiness&title=Farm‐dep%E2%80%99t‐to‐put‐ up‐corn‐labs‐by‐2015&id=65805                                     


Dairy body seeks more investments to  strengthen PHL milk industry     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:48   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor   BILLIONS of pesos are needed for local milk producers to make a dent on a dairy market dominated by  the  United  States,  New  Zealand,  Australia  and  France,  the  National  Dairy  Authority  (NDA)  said  on  Tuesday.  NDA  Administrator  Grace  Cenas  said  the  country  should  support  local  milk  producers  if  it  wants  to  reduce its imports of milk and other dairy products.  According  to  her,  the  dairy‐industry  value  chain’s  production  segment,  which  covers  the  breeding  of  dairy  animals  and  the  harvesting  of  milk,  is  a  priority  investment  area  since  it  will  spur  growth  in  the  processing and marketing segments.  “With our need to increase milk output, the production segment needs investment inflows the most,”  Cenas said. “The market is becoming more demanding and the price of imported milk is cheaper than  those produced locally.”  Raw milk production rose by 12 percent to 18.45 million liters in 2012 from 16.45 million liters the year  before, exceeding the NDA’s target of 10 percent.  Cenas said that though milk production has been growing at an average of 7 percent annually in the last  five years, she wants that figure to breach 10 percent.  Despite  these  figures,  Filipino  milk  producers  only  account  for  about  1  percent  of  the  country’s  total  dairy‐product requirement of 1.8 billion kilograms, with New Zealand, the United States, Australia and  France supplying the balance.  Cenas said local milk production currently satisfies 40 percent of domestic demand for both processing  and consumption.  The  NDA  is  trying  to  raise  the  country’s  milk  sufficiency  level  to  43  percent  by  2016  and  reach  full  sufficiency by 2021.    With  increased  milk  production,  processors  could  raise  its  output  of  processed  cheese,  which  enjoys  huge demand. 


“This  product  requires  a  large  amount  of  milk.  With  increased  milk  production,  processors  will  automatically  buy  local.  There  is  a  big  demand.  With  the  growing  number  of  pizza  restaurants,  for  instance, there is a huge demand for mozzarella cheese,” Cenas said.  To  increase  raw  milk  production,  the  NDA  is  importing  more  dairy  animals  for  breeding  purposes  this  year to improve the local stock. More multiplier farms will also be established to increase the breeding  stock.  The Philippines has only 40,696 dairy animals, only a little over 4 percent of the 1 million dairy animals  needed.  In  2011  the  NDA  imported  10  bulls  and  2,100  cows  for  breeding,  with  their  offspring  distributed  to  capable dairy farms.  Cenas  said  the  number  of  animals  to  be  imported  this  year  would  be  determined  once  the  animals  procured in 2012 have been distributed.    She added that dairy zones in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and  Cebu are being eyed for the new multiplier farms.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9207‐dairy‐body‐seeks‐more‐ investments‐to‐strengthen‐phl‐milk‐industry                   

 


Chinese turtles ‘invade’ Laguna bay, threaten  fishing industry   Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:50   Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter  

THE  Pambansang  Lakas  ng  Kilusang  Mamamalakaya  ng  Pilipinas  (Pamalakaya)  has  expressed  alarm  over  the  growing  number  of  Chinese  softshell  turtles  “invading”  Laguna  de  Bay,  threatening the multimillion milkfish and tilapia industry there.  Gerry Albert Corpuz, public information officer of Pamalakaya, said these turtles, scientifically known as  Pelodiscus sinesis and first reported to have infested fishponds in Region 3  (Central Luzon), have  now  reached the bay.  “They  [the  Chinese  turtles]  are  aggressive  eaters.  They  grow  fast  and  even  move  faster  than  local  turtles,” Corpuz said.  He added that the Chinese turtles were reportedly as big as the pawikan or Philippine sea turtle.  The  Pamalakaya  official  expressed  fears  that  the  turtles  would  adversely  affect  fish‐cage  and  fishpen  operators, as well as small‐scale fishermen, who depend on the bay for their livelihood.  The Chinese turtles are the latest non‐native marine species to have invaded the bay. Other non‐native  species like the janitor fish and knife fish have competed with milkfish and tilapia for food there.  Officials  of  the  militant  group  saw  how  aggressive  the  turtles  can  be  during  a  recent  dialogue  with  fishermen  working  at  Laguna  de  Bay,  where  Pamalakaya  Vice  Chairman  Salvador  France  was  shown  a  predatory turtle caught by fisherfolk from Barangay Layunan in Rizal province’s Binangonan town.  According to him, the turtle tried to attack one of the fishermen after it was released in the bay.  In  a  statement,  France  expressed  dismay  that  government  agencies  are  doing  nothing  to  prevent  the  Chinese turtles from multiplying in the bay. 


“We  are  just  puzzled  why  officials  of  the  Laguna  Lake  Development  Authority  and  the  Department  of  Environment  and  Natural  Resources  [DENR]  continue  to  play  deaf  on  complaints  [about]  the  proliferation  of  predatory  turtles  across  the  94,000‐hectare  Laguna  de  Bay.  They  never  report  the  presence of this predatory creature in Laguna Lake to the general public,” he said.  Threatening  DENR  officials  in  Central  Luzon  earlier  confirmed  that  the  turtles  have  proliferated  in  the  region  and  threatening the milkfish and tilapia industry there. In response, the department created a task force to  look  into  the  distribution,  feeding  habits  and  reproductive  features  of  the  turtles,  which  were  introduced in the country in the 1990s.  The  officials  fear  that  the  continued  proliferation  of  the  turtles  might  adversely  affect  rivers  and  streams, and seriously threaten the aquaculture industry in Central Luzon.  Fishermen  and  fishpond  owners  in  the  towns  of  Arayat,  Candaba,  San  Luis,  Minalin,  Macabebe  and  Apalit  in  Pampanga  province  likened  the  turtle  menace  to  the  “golden  kuhol”  because  of  its  adverse  impact.  One  measure  the  officials  are  implementing  to  address  the  problem  is  catching  the  turtles  for  local  consumption. In Pampanga, three individuals were granted a permit to collect a combined 36,820 heads  of live turtles in 2013, or about 30,700 kilos of turtle meat.  In 2012 about 349,170 heads of live turtles, or 236,250 kilos of turtle meat, were caught.   

In Photo: The Chinese softshell turtle. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9208‐chinese‐turtles‐invade‐ laguna‐bay‐threaten‐fishing‐industry             


Agribusiness  Posted on February 13, 2013 09:03:50 PM 

Plant-based diets’ impact on environment under scrutiny NEW YORK ­­ A nutritious diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables might be healthier for  humans but not necessarily healthier for the environment, according to a French study.    After analyzing the eating habits of about 2,000 French adults, and the  greenhouse gas emissions generated by producing the plants, fish, meat, fowl and other ingredients,  researchers concluded in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that such a diet might not be the  greenest in environmental impact.    "When you eat healthy, you have to eat a lot of food that has a low content of energy. You have to eat a  lot of fruits and vegetables," said Nicole Darmon, the study’s senior author from the National Research  Institute of Agronomy in Marseille, France.    Growing fruits and vegetables doesn’t produce as much greenhouse gas as raising cattle or livestock, but  food production ‐‐ including the use of farming equipment and transportation ‐‐ is estimated to be  responsible for 15%‐30% of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, the authors said.    Scientists have long advised people to switch to a plant‐based diet to benefit the environment and their  own health.    To more closely examine that premise, Ms. Darmon and her colleagues used food diaries from 1,918  French adults to compare the nutritional quality of people’s real‐world diets and how much greenhouse  gas they produced.    From the diaries that were kept for seven days between 2006 and 2007, the researchers identified the  400 most commonly consumed foods.    They then used a database to find out how much greenhouse gas was emitted to produce each one,  measured as the grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per 100 grams of food.    All aspects of a food’s life cycle were taken into account, including how it was cooked, Ms. Darmon said.    "The only step that wasn’t taken into account was the transport from the supermarket to the home,"  she added. 


Overall, about 1,600 grams of carbon dioxide were emitted for every 100 grams of meat produced.  That’s more than 15 times the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during the production of fruits,  vegetables and starches and about 2.5 times as much greenhouse gas as that from fish, pork, poultry  and eggs.    That gap narrowed, however, when the researchers looked at how many grams of carbon dioxide were  emitted per 100 kilocalories (kcal) ‐‐ a measure of energy in food.    The most greenhouse gas ‐‐ 857 grams ‐‐ was still emitted to produce 100 kcal of meat, but only about  three times the emissions from a comparable amount of energy from fruit and vegetables.    Greens also ended up emitting more gas for the calories than starches, sweets, salty snacks, dairy and  fats. It was also about as much gas as pork, poultry and eggs.    When Ms. Darmon and her colleagues looked at what people actually ate to get a certain amount of  energy from food every day, they found that the "highest‐quality" diets in health terms ‐‐ those high in  fruit, vegetables and fish ‐‐ were linked to about as much, if not more, greenhouse gas emissions as low‐ quality diets that were high in sweets and salts.    Overall, the documented diets were responsible for around 5,000 grams of greenhouse gas emissions  per day per person.    Ms. Darmon said that’s because people who eat a plant‐based diet need to eat more produce to get the  amount of energy they’d have in a piece of meat.    Roni Neff, the director of research and policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s  Center for a Livable Future, cautioned against taking the findings too literally. For example, according to  the study’s calculations, people would need to eat about four kilograms (nine pounds) of fruit and  vegetables to make up for a smaller serving of meat.    "I think they’re raising a lot of important questions that need further investigation," she said. ‐‐ Reuters   ‐ See more at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=21&title=Plant‐based‐ diets%E2%80%99‐impact‐on‐environment‐under‐scrutiny&id=65806#sthash.mcO53VCu.dpuf  http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=21&title=Plant‐based‐diets%E2%80%99‐impact‐ on‐environment‐under‐scrutiny&id=65806     


Run government like a business, Aquino  urged   Category: Top News   Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 20:53   Written by Miguel R. Camus / Reporter   The  Aquino  administration  should  learn  how  to  “fire  friends”  and  increase  the  pay  of  its  qualified  officials  to  help  speed  up  its  initiatives  such  as  rolling  out  needed  infrastructure  projects,  a  venture  capitalist speaking on behalf of the private sector said at the first Philippine Economic Briefing for 2013.  Francisco  Sandejas,  managing  partner  of  Manila‐based  Narra  Venture  Capital,  underscored  on  Wednesday  various  economic  and  fiscal  improvements  under  the  administration  but  also  noted  that  more  needs  to  be  done  in  terms  of  deepening  the  country’s  science  and  technology  sector  and  information technology (IT) infrastructure.  Sandejas  urged President Aquino  to “just do it” when it comes to bringing in private‐sector investments  as the latter may lose interest  and suggested that the government take its cue from how corporations  run their business.  His  advice  came  amid  delays  in  the  government’s  Public‐Private  Partnership  (PPP)  Program  launched  more than two years ago. PPP projects were meant to harness private‐sector expertise and funding to  address the country’s underdeveloped infrastructure.  There are close to 50 PPP projects identified by the state‐run PPP Center, although many of these are  still in various stages of development or study. Of that number, seven have been rolled out while two  have been awarded.  “You  are  actually  doing  a  good  job  of  talking  less  and  doing  more.  But  we  need  to  work  faster….  The  patience in the business world only runs so far,” Sandejas said.  He  gave  special  focus  on  instances  when  friends  are  favored  over  more  qualified  individuals.  The  venture capitalist, who says he worked for more than two decades in the Silicon Valley technology hub  in California, said the most important factor was “to get the right people to lead and manage projects.”  “One thing I’ve learned working in the Valley is if things are not moving fast, normally the problem is at  the top. And oftentimes we fire the chief executive officer,” Sandejas said.  “We need to get used to firing people and we need to get to the root cause,” he added. “Sometimes, we  need  to  make  changes,  we  need  to  learn  to  fire  our  friends.  But  we  need  to  learn  to  do  it  well  with  dignity and fairness.” 


On  government  pay,  Sandejas  said  that  he  favored  a  model  akin  to  Singapore  where  government  officials and employees are paid similar to their private‐sector counterparts as an incentive to perform.  While  acknowledging  that  this  may  be  a  long‐term  plan,  he  added  that  there  was  some  “leeway”  in  terms of how government funding is disbursed to increase compensation for public servants.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐news/9237‐run‐government‐like‐a‐business‐aquino‐ urged                                       


Agri Plain Talk 

Seed Firm Eyes Tropical World  By Zac B. Sarian  February 13, 2013, 3:19pm 

 

  TOMATO PLANT BREEDER — Karina van Leeuwen is the crop breeding manager of the East‐West Seed Group that  operates in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India, Africa and lately in South America. 

The seed company that started in the Philippines 30 years ago is poised to conquer the tropical world with its high-yielding vegetable seeds that have many other desirable characteristics. This is the East-West Seed company founded by Simon N. Groot of the Netherlands and Benito M. Domingo, his co-founder, from the Philippines. Last February 4, the company showcased more than 200 commercial varieties as well as those that are being developed for various markets in the tropical world. This was at the International Field Day held at the Simon N. Groot Research Center in Sansai, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Growers and various stakeholders from 25 countries attended the field day. Many may not realize it but good seeds could have very big impact on the livelihood of farmers in the tropical developing countries. The impact could be greater than the donations of cash from well-meaning donor countries because the production of high quality seeds is sustained by the plant breeders of various seed companies. And these are responsible for the increased incomes of farmers, traders and processors. They also benefit the consumers. The many outstanding hybrids that were showcased at the field day are too many to mention in a limited space. But let me mention some of them. The rest will be featured also in this page as well as in our writings in the other publications of the Manila Bulletin, including the vernacular magazines.


First to impress us was the good job that Karina van Leeuwen is doing as crop breeding manager for the East-West Seed Group. She was posted for several years in the Philippines and was responsible for developing the front-running D-Max tomato variety that is making many Filipino farmers rich. At the field day, she also showed us the Millennium variety of salad tomato (beef is another term for this), the first to be released for commercial planting under the beef tomato breeding program of the company. The Millennium is an indeterminate variety that can grow up to 10 feet under greenhouse conditions. One plant can yield 10 to 12 clusters of four fruits, each cluster weighing about a kilo. This is a high-value tomato that could fetch as much as P70 per fruit in upscale supermarkets in Metro Manila, according to Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc, East-West’s general manager in the Philippines. Another that impressed us so much were the finger peppers that the plant breeders are developing for various markets. One is being intended for the Philippines that will most likely replace the Django which has been a long-time money-maker for a lot of local farmers. Tentatively named Batur, according to Nongluck Milerue, a lady pepper breeder, this new variety is in a number of ways better than Django. The fruits are a bit big bigger, the plant is more prolific, and it is also more resistant to bacterial wilt. Another variety is being developed for India which is also very prolific and the color of the fruit is darker green than the one for the Philippines. The Indian consumers, we were told, prefer the very green color of the fruit that also has to be very pungent. Other varieties are also being bred for China and many other places. We were particularly impressed by the way they are culturing the eggplants and peppers in the field demonstration. The plants are made to develop single trunks and are staked so they grow upright. The lower leaves are pruned so that there is free flow of air at the bottom of the plantation. The fruits also become very visible. Waxy corn for the green corn market is also a subject of serious development. A number of varieties, mostly white or bicolor, were showcased at the field day. The visitors who tasted the same, including us, really liked the soft waxy kernels of the boiled ears. The waxy corn is fast becoming very popular in Thailand and the dream is to spread the same to the rest of the tropical world. We have learned that East-West seeds have become bestsellers in a number of countries. In Sri Lanka, for instance, the longest-running squash hybrid in the Philippines, the Suprema, has also become a favorite in Sri Lanka. Rechristened Arjuna, no less than 8 tons of seeds of this squash were sold last year in Sri Lanka, according to Priyanka Nanayakkara of Best Seeds. That’s a lot of squash, if you ask us. More in our succeeding reports. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393818/seed‐firm‐eyes‐tropical‐world#.URxPMvJFyjs 


Dairy body seeks more investments to  strengthen PHL milk industry   Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:48   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor   BILLIONS of pesos are needed for local milk producers to make a dent on a dairy market dominated by  the  United  States,  New  Zealand,  Australia  and  France,  the  National  Dairy  Authority  (NDA)  said  on  Tuesday.  NDA  Administrator  Grace  Cenas  said  the  country  should  support  local  milk  producers  if  it  wants  to  reduce its imports of milk and other dairy products.  According  to  her,  the  dairy‐industry  value  chain’s  production  segment,  which  covers  the  breeding  of  dairy  animals  and  the  harvesting  of  milk,  is  a  priority  investment  area  since  it  will  spur  growth  in  the  processing and marketing segments.  “With our need to increase milk output, the production segment needs investment inflows the most,”  Cenas said. “The market is becoming more demanding and the price of imported milk is cheaper than  those produced locally.”  Raw milk production rose by 12 percent to 18.45 million liters in 2012 from 16.45 million liters the year  before, exceeding the NDA’s target of 10 percent.  Cenas said that though milk production has been growing at an average of 7 percent annually in the last  five years, she wants that figure to breach 10 percent.  Despite  these  figures,  Filipino  milk  producers  only  account  for  about  1  percent  of  the  country’s  total  dairy‐product requirement of 1.8 billion kilograms, with New Zealand, the United States, Australia and  France supplying the balance.  Cenas said local milk production currently satisfies 40 percent of domestic demand for both processing  and consumption.  The  NDA  is  trying  to  raise  the  country’s  milk  sufficiency  level  to  43  percent  by  2016  and  reach  full  sufficiency by 2021.    With  increased  milk  production,  processors  could  raise  its  output  of  processed  cheese,  which  enjoys  huge demand. 


“This  product  requires  a  large  amount  of  milk.  With  increased  milk  production,  processors  will  automatically  buy  local.  There  is  a  big  demand.  With  the  growing  number  of  pizza  restaurants,  for  instance, there is a huge demand for mozzarella cheese,” Cenas said.  To  increase  raw  milk  production,  the  NDA  is  importing  more  dairy  animals  for  breeding  purposes  this  year to improve the local stock. More multiplier farms will also be established to increase the breeding  stock.  The Philippines has only 40,696 dairy animals, only a little over 4 percent of the 1 million dairy animals  needed.  In  2011  the  NDA  imported  10  bulls  and  2,100  cows  for  breeding,  with  their  offspring  distributed  to  capable dairy farms.  Cenas  said  the  number  of  animals  to  be  imported  this  year  would  be  determined  once  the  animals  procured in 2012 have been distributed.    She added that dairy zones in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and  Cebu are being eyed for the new multiplier farms.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9207‐dairy‐body‐seeks‐more‐ investments‐to‐strengthen‐phl‐milk‐industry                       


Prices of agriculture lands in Bulacan  town rise   Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:46   Written by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro / Correspondent   BOCAUE, Bulacan—Prices of agricultural lands in Bocaue have increased drastically due to the economic  growth the town is expected to experience once the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) finishes  building its Philippine Arena there, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy‐Alvarado of Bulacan province said on Tuesday.  During a forum on post‐harvest loss or reduction of palay (unhusked rice) held at the Bocaue municipal  hall, Sy‐Alvarado said reports reaching him showed that before the indoor arena’s construction began,  the price of farmlands in the town was P300 per square meter, before ballooning to P7,000 per sq m as  construction progressed.  The Philippine Arena is the INC’s centerpiece project and is expected to be completed within 30 months  in time for the religious organization’s centennial in 2014, according to a report by Jerry Caguingin of the  investment and promotion unit of the Provincial Cooperative and Enterprise Development.  The indoor arena has a seating capacity of 50,000 to 55,000, a floor area of 74,000 sq m and its dome  measures nearly 36,000 meters, making it the world’s largest. Its construction cost is estimated at $212  million or approximately P9 billion.  The  Ciudad  de  Victoria,  where  the  Philippine  Arena  is  being  constructed,  will  be  home  to  the  EGM  Memorial  Medical  Center,  the  New  Era  University‐Bulacan  campus,  the  New  Era  University  Sports  Stadium Complex and the EVM Convention Center.  The governor advised the town’s farmers to consider any offer to buy their land very carefully, saying  that  once  the  indoor  arena  and  other  structures  within  its  vicinity  are  built,  the  value  of  real‐estate  properties will increase.  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9206‐prices‐of‐agriculture‐lands‐ in‐bulacan‐town‐rise   

 


Food for the Heart  This school for the poor provides nourishment for the mind and soul…   By Rachel C. Barawid   February 13, 2013, 11:15am   

  The students of Food for the Hungry Minds School take a break from their studies to enjoy the rides at  the Star City complex in Pasay City. 

Among the large crowds queuing for the various rides at the Star City, one couldn’t help but notice the particular group of gradeschoolers from the Food for the Hungry Minds School (FHMS) who were patiently and quietly waiting for their turn. For most, if not all of these kids, it was their first time to go to Star City, or any other amusement park. But while excitement could be gleaned from their eyes and their animated conversations with classmates, the children were, nevertheless, very disciplined. They practiced such decorum that would normally be hard to find in an amusement park, especially among kids who are having the time of their lives. The more surprising thing is that these kids came from the poorest communities in Pandacan, Paco, San Andres, and Bulacan, living along esteros and under bridges, and yet they did not look the typical underprivileged child. Apart from looking clean, fresh, and confident during school activities, they were also able to communicate their thoughts to others in English, and felt a sense of pride and dignity in themselves. This is because their basic needs such as food, education, care, and support are provided by the school that was established just for them. BREAKING STEREOTYPES FHMS principal Candice de Ausen says breaking such stereotypes is one of their goals to help empower the children and make them reach their full potential. “People always associate being poor with looking dirty, smelling bad, knowing less, and improper behavior. This is what we want to change. Our pupils are like any other students from


other schools, and some even excel more than their counterparts from other institutions,” says Ausen. In fact, the FHMS’ sixth graders have consistently topped the National Achievement Test (NAT), beating students from private schools in Makati, and contributing to the sterling record of the Makati division of the Department of Education as the highest performing division in Metro Manila. Ausen says their students even manage to get into the top schools in high school and college as scholars. Many have gone to Manila Science High School, the University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, and Ateneo de Manila University. One student, she shares, is a full scholar taking a double major at the DLSU. According to her, the school only offers Grades 4, 5, and 6, as this is the time that the students have deeper comprehension, absorption, and are more serious in their studies. ADVANCED CURRICULUM The principal credits the children’s success partly to the advanced curriculum that the school offers. She says the DepEd curriculum has been beefed up with more focus on English, Math, and Science. Apart from a partnership with Ayala Foundation’s Center of Excellence in Public Elemetary Education (CENTEX) project, FHMS is also using US textbooks. On Fridays, FHMS volunteers conduct art and music appreciation to develop the creativity and artistic side of the children, and make them well-rounded individuals. “Our students spend more hours in school. The story books for fourth graders have 10 or more pages, and are three pounds heavy. We also have a Read Naturally program where students listen to CDs and read at the same time to improve their speed in reading,” says Ausen, revealing that one of their fourth graders who was asking help from a high school freshman in a public school, discovered that they even had the same lesson! The advanced curriculum, however, is also among the reasons why only a few get accepted to the school, and are also able to stay on. “Its really quite difficult for them at the start. They have to put in a lot of hard work and get a lot of physical and emotional support. Grade 4 is usually the most difficult. But if you survive the first month, usually things go smoothly. But after a year, we advise parents of some kids who we think will do better in another environment, to look for another school. Fortunately, these kids excel and even top their classes when they go back to the public schools,” says Ausen. NURTURING AND LOVING More than its curriculum, the secret to the success and total development of the children at FHMS are the daily food they provide (breakfast and lunch) as well as the emotional and spiritual sustenance given by the teachers, and their families.


FHMS Malolos sixth grader Clarisse Langit, for instance, developed her leadership skills and academic ability. The second in a brood of four children, Langit is still living a difficult life with separated parents, but her drive and enthusiasm to learn makes all the difference. Despite her family problems, she is still a consistent topnotcher and is the class president. Fellow sixth grader from FHMS Makati Anna Dominique Dimaculangan, is also an achiever and vows to exert more effort in her studies to be able to give back to the school that nurtures and helps her realize her dreams. “The profile of a successful scholar is first, he or she has an inner drive to learn. Second, the child is receptive to feedback from school and teachers. Third, there is parental support. We have had scholars whose parents were sick, had no money, did not have a job, but had so much love for their kids and that was enough. We’ve also had scholars whose parents have work but they have no support, so the kids don’t really succeed. So a lot of this is really family support,” says Ausen. Of course, parental support is also coupled with the school officials’ genuine concern and care for the well-being of the children. In fact, most teachers sometimes reach out to those who don’t even have money to buy materials for their project, or those who couldn’t find scholarship in high school and college. FHMS provides free tuition, food, transportation, schools, uniform, shoes, and other school supplies to the students. COLLECTIVE EFFORT But what makes all these possible for the kids are the donations they get from various kindhearted individuals, groups, and organizations. Now on its ninth year, FHMS thrives on cash and in-kind donations to support its 141 students in its Makati and Malolos campuses. The school building itself in Makati is being lent to the FHMS on weekdays by the Union Church of Manila. Volunteer-professionals go out of their way to teach kids during art appreciation classes every Friday. Last summer, the kids were able to go on their first camping activity at the Boy Scout compound on Mt. Makiling in Laguna, through a grant sponsored by GE Corporation. And just two weeks before Valentine’s Day, they were able to go on this much-awaited field trip to the Star City. FHMS Sustainability consultant Cynthia Manzanares says everything just fell into its rightful place, a week before the field trip. “At the last minute, the Star City management approved the free entrance and rides for the kids, while Victory Liner provided the transportation. It’s so heartwarming to find people who are all willing to help and contribute to the kids’ education,” she says. While the school was founded by American company Navitaire, its primary goal is to be able to sustain its own needs through the collective effort of its stakeholders – the school officials, the parents who provide parental support and assistance through campus utility work, and the community who provides donations that ensure continuous quality education for the kids.


Manzanares continues to come up with fundraising activities to cover the expenses for each student, which is at R72,000 per year, inclusive of books, transportation, meals, and uniform. She says that she is now tapping corporations, through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, and hopefully inspire them to render volunteer work to the school. On March 12, FHMS will hold a golf tournament dubbed “Tee Time for Hungry Minds” at the Valley Golf and Country Club. The funds will be used to pay for the meals, uniforms, learning trips, school supplies, and other expenses of the kids for the coming school year 2013 - 2014. The activity will be held in collaboration with partners Asia Cargo Container Line and Mileage Asia. These fundraising activities, Manzanares says, are geared towards sustaining the Food for the Hungry Minds School which, over the years, has become more than just a sanctuary for learning, but also a loving, nurturing home to the kids, providing food not just for their minds but also for their hearts. (Interested parties to the golf tournament may call 887-5717 or visit foodforhungryminds.org.) http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/393801/food‐heart#.URxR‐_JFyjs                           


MRDP builds more roads, opportunities in Mindanao Thursday, February 14, 2013 THERE are more road networks now in Mindanao, driving more economic opportunities for the rural people especially farmers. Lealyn A. Ramos, program director of the Department of Agriculture's (DA) Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) said the program has completed a total of 489.10 kilometer farm-to-market (FMR) roads amounting to P995.23 million, among other projects under the rural infrastructure (RI) component. "As the completed FMR measuring a total length of close to 500 kilometers and constructing over 800 kilometers more we are not just creating a network of community linkages but also generating jobs and other opportunities in many rural areas," Ramos said. In the program's report during the recently conducted World Bank review mission in Davao, the rural infrastructure component reflected that 71 percent of its 495 subprojects were FMRs; while communal irrigation projects account for 14 percent; potable water systems, 8 percent; bridges, 6 percent; and postharvest facilities mostly solar dryers and warehouses only 1 percent. "These roads stimulates agricultural production by providing access to markets. It also facilitates in the transition from subsistence farming to market-oriented production, which we expect as we scale-up famers in the value-chain of various commodities," said Ramos, who is also the regional executive director of DA office in Northern Mindanao. Roads, Ramos added, also increase rural non-farm enterprise and even creates off-farm income thus providing further economic even employment opportunities. She said that for a long time, Mindanao badly needs roads that link communities especially the remote places to town centers, and the partnership of the local government units and the program has created impressive impact to respond this problem. Ramos added the infrastructure projects have benefitted over 400,000 farmers who for the longest time had to endure bad road conditions and inaccessibility. "Despite all these, we understand more still needs to be done. The output of our partnership with the local government units and the DA regional field units as forefront of implementation are a little achievement for the bigger need of better and more road networks," she said. These roads have also improved the rapid and easy access of the residents to hospitals, increased attendance of children at school and enhanced the LGUs delivery of social services. "Some LGUs testified that with better roads they could actually conduct office caravans in remote areas where all the divisions of the LGU go from barangay to barangay," Ramos said. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/business/2013/02/14/mrdp‐builds‐more‐roads‐opportunities‐ mindanao‐268093 


Biazon to ‘profile’ rice, agri importers     Published : Thursday, February 14, 2013 00:00   Article Views : 24   Written by : Paul M. Gutierrez  

BUREAU of Customs Commissioner Rozzano “Ruffy” Biazon ordered his subordinates to conduct a more thorough “profiling” of importers of rice and other agricultural products in the wake of several recommendations by the Senate which just concluded its investigation on the extent of rice smuggling in the country. In a talk with People’s Tonight, Biazon said he would “fully comply” with the recommendations contained under Senate Committee Report 763, which was a joint report by the committees on agriculture and food, ways and means, trade and commerce and the blue ribbon, chaired respectively, by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Sen. Ralph Recto, Sen. Manuel Villar and Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona. The Senate probe, which covered 11 hearings, was triggered with the apprehension by the BOC of two separate rice shipments from India and Vietnam at the collection district of Subic last year. Mainly, the report has recommended for the filing of appropriate criminal charges against former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator, Angelito “Lito” Banayo and other agency officials. Banayo resigned late last year so he can run for Congress in the coming May elections. They were accused of abetting the operation of a “rice cartel” in relation to the importation of rice. Biazon said he is now checking the names of the importers, cooperatives and proprietors who have been identified in the report so that a “historical review” of their shipments and performance can be made by the bureau. The committee has likewise asked the BOC and the NBI to probe further and establish the identities of the following: Danny Ngo, David Tan, Danilo Garcia and Willy Sy. Their names cropped up during an executive session as among the “financiers” of suspected smuggled rice and part of the cartel identified by the committee. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/44822‐biazon‐to‐profile‐rice‐agri‐importers     


Grains smuggling foiled in Cagayan By Joel E. Zurbano | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 460 views Customs agents in Cagayan de Oro confiscated a shipment of 5,000 bags of smuggled rice worth P9 million from Vietnam. CDO collector lawyer Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang exposed the rice smuggling even House minority Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez urged the National Police and Customs to intensify the campaign against smuggling. Mangaoang said the shipment arrived July last year at the Sub-Port of Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental without import documents and quota allocation permit from the National Food Authority. “Since the law requires that import clearances should be issued before the arrival of the shipment, the importer and a few NFA people may have some explaining to do,” she added. Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Danilo Lim confirmed that the rice shipment in question was consigned to Bubog Farmers Cooperative and imported under the Private Sector Financed importation through the NFA Tax Expenditure Subsidy. Lim said that the NFA Grains and Marketing Operations Department had certified that the import documents presented by Bubog Farmers Cooperative were not “found in our records, hence cannot be validated and authenticated.” Mangaong said a decision would soon be made on when the rice would be auctioned off to raise revenue for the government. Suarez said that authorities have recognized the problem and a solution should be made soon. He said Purisima used as an example the Chinese data showing the Manila-Beijing trade at $32 billion while Philippine imports reached only $16 billion. With Maricel Cruz http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/grains‐smuggling‐foiled‐in‐cagayan/           


EDITORIAL - No end to rice smuggling (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 14, 2013 - 12:00am

The good news is that the contraband was intercepted. But six months after 5,000 bags of long grain white rice from Vietnam were seized by Customs authorities in Northern Mindanao, the consignee of the shipment remains unknown. The consignee could even end up getting the shipment, if the rice, in 10 shipping containers and valued at P9 million, is sold at an auction. Smugglers in Metro Manila and other ports reportedly retrieve their contraband by participating in auctions. Better connected smugglers see their contraband simply waved through Customs, such as those dressed chicken in more than 40 shipping containers that were driven out of the Port of Batangas several years ago at the height of the bird flu scare, without being subjected to inspection by agriculture authorities. Public officials are aware that rice smuggling imperils the livelihood of the country’s farmers and deprives the government of millions in revenue. Yet the staple remains a favorite product for smuggling, with culprits simply abandoning their shipments when caught. Reports of rice smuggling have persisted for many years, with few suspects – whether the smugglers themselves or their coddlers in the Bureau of Customs – being apprehended and penalized. Rice smuggling has not disappeared under the Aquino administration, with the former administrator of the National Food Authority accused of involvement in the illegal activity. The President should look into the accusations and see what can be done to clean up the NFA and curb rice smuggling. The public expects a more vigorous anti-smuggling campaign under the administration of daang matuwid or straight path. President Aquino must demand more from Customs officials in curbing an activity that is killing the livelihood of one of the poorest sectors of Philippine society. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/02/14/908545/editorial‐no‐end‐rice‐smuggling   


Farmers back probe of former NFA chief     Published on 14 February 2013   Hits: 118   Written by Neil A. Alcober   

FARMERS’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Wednesday said that they will be supporting the Senate recommendation for the Office of the Ombudsman, to investigate former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Angelito Banayo and other officials for possible graft, in connection with the alleged use of the authority’s licensed rice importers as dummies by certain moneyed individuals who cornered state rice import quotas worth millions of pesos. “It is highly condemnable that under the Aquino administration, the premier agency tasked to ensure food security is now involved not only in anomalous transactions but in the destruction of the country’s rice industry,” KMP deputy secretary general, Randall Echanis, said in a statement. “This clearly demonstrates what we are saying all along that the Aquino government’s policy of rice importation and trade liberalization is only a euphemism of rice smuggling. At the same, state-backed rice cartels are masked with the so-called farmers as importers program and other NFA-issued licenses,” Echanis added. The peasant group has been pushing for the immediate stop to rice importation and demanded the Food authority to increase the farm-gate of palay—unmilled rice—at P20 a kilo. According to Echanis, local farmers have been severely disadvantaged by the widespread availability of imported rice because it depresses farm-gate price of palay coupled with high production costs. “The unbridled rice importation has caused huge volume of imported rice to flood the domestic market,” he said. Echanis said that imported rice enters the country tax-free in addition to the 40 percent of tariffs waived by the government turning the country into a dumping ground of rice surpluses by other countries. “In the face of the very high costs of production, high land rent, cheapening of palay prices and wastage of taxpayers’ money in the importation rice, we demand that the NFA increase its buying price of palay to P20 a kilo,” he added. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/nation/41464‐farmers‐back‐probe‐of‐former‐nfa‐chief   


Buying from rice smugglers By Val Abelgas | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 732 views

While we want to praise President Aquino and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala for the increased production in rice the past year that, they said, would eventually lead to the Philippines becoming a rice exporter by 2014, we could not help but be alarmed by claims made by Abono chairman Rosendo So that the country faces a rice crisis because of an oversupply of the staple. After being the world’s largest rice importer to becoming a country that now faces oversupply of rice, shouldn’t So and the farmers be happy that they could become exporters by next year? Apparently, the farmers have increased their yield the past two years, but are unable to sell their produce at a profitable price because smuggled rice from China and Vietnam have flooded the market. The increased production and rampant smuggling have resulted in oversupply and huge losses for the farmers, and hefty profits for the rice cartels and the rice smugglers. So, instead of the Filipino farmers benefiting from their increased production, they are left with rice that they are forced to sell at a losing price to at least regain some of their costs. Or maybe the Department of Agriculture plans to solve the rice problem by exporting the rice produced by the farmers and letting the smugglers supply the country’s needs. Good for the farmers, bad for government and the consumers. For years, the country has been importing rice from rice-producing countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand to meet the food requirements of the country’s 92-million riceeating people. There was a time when the Philippines was one of the biggest rice-producing countries in the world but for some reason, the country started lagging behind. Up to the seventies, the Philippines was ahead of its neighbors in rice production. During those times, students from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia came to the Philippines to study in the International Rice Research Institute and the University of the Philippine College of Agriculture, both In Los Baños. Looking back, rice production in the country reached its peak during the time of President Marcos with the building of irrigation dams, farm-to-market roads and other infrastructure, and the government’s full support to farmers. Rice production fell to the global trend towards industrialization, the market inequities brought about by trade liberalization, the rise of the trade cartels, the loss of agricultural lands to


subdivisions and industries, the inconsistencies in climate brought about by the El Nino phenomenon, and the rise of graft and corruption. The rise of the rice cartels delivered the deathblow because the farmers were forced to sell at very low prices to these monopolies. While the farmers sold their produce at very low prices to these cartels, the latter jacked up rice prices because they controlled the supply. The government tried to intervene by putting up the National Grains Authority, (which later became the National Food Authority) which was mandated by law to buy directly from the farmers to resell to the public at affordable prices. But corruption soon seeped into the agency, and instead of selling the rice to legitimate vendors, unscrupulous NFA personnel diverted the grains to the rice cartels. The rice cartels continue to profit from this arrangement, but have become bolder. They now apparently smuggle billions of pesos worth of rice from China and Vietnam and bring them into the country obviously with the help of corrupt Customs officials. The Abono chairman said the nation is facing a rice crisis not because of shortage of produce but because of oversupply. Smuggled rice has been flooding the market, and millers cannot buy from local farmers because their warehouses are filled to the rafters, he said. “Where will the farmers go now with the harvest season and no one is buying? The smugglers are killing the industry,” So complained as he urged the President to go after the smugglers. So lamented that the NFA allotted only P10.9 billion for the procurement of 615,985 metric tons of palay from farmers this year, which, he said, is just three percent of the expected total harvest of 20.4 million metric tons this year. He said if the government is really serious in helping farmers, they must increase the volume to 30 percent or at least P105 billion worth of palay. But I don’t think the government is ready to listen to their plight. In fact in September 2011, then NFA chief Lito Banayo even suggested that the country should abandon its goal of achieving self-sufficiency in rice and encouraged farmers instead to plant “high-value” crops such as fruits and vegetables. Banayo added that the country cannot hope to compete with rice-importing countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam, which have largely flat lands, have rivers crossing through rice lands, and are rarely visited by typhoons. Obviously, Banayo was content with the Philippines depending on other countries for its rice requirements, which made us wonder why an agency that was supposed to help farmers by buying their produce was suddenly discouraging them from planting rice. It’s a good thing the government did not listen to Banayo because the people would then be completely at the mercy of the rice cartels, aka rice smugglers.


For all the boasts of the Aquino administration that it had curbed corruption in government, it has apparently failed to make a dent in what has always been perceived the most corrupt agencies in the government, including the Bureau of Customs. While we believe that Commissioner Ruffy Biazon is exerting his best efforts to go after unscrupulous men and women in his bureau, obviously his efforts are not enough to eliminate deep-rooted corruption in the agency. Biazon should go after the rice smugglers and their cohorts in the bureau so that the farmers would be better motivated to help Secretary Alcala attain his goal of increasing the country’s rice output to the point where the Philippines would not only be self-sufficient in rice, but also become an exporter by 2014. Val Abelgas is a former managing editor of Manila Standard. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/buying‐from‐rice‐smugglers/                                   


Make farmers part of cash aid, group urges gov’t Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:54 pm | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 ROSALES, Pangasinan—The government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, also known as the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino program, should also serve farmers who have been marginalized by rice smuggling, a party-list group said here. “If the government could not stop smuggling, then it should do something to help the farmers who are struggling to produce the staple food, by including them in the CCT program,” said Rosendo So, chair of the party-list group Abono. The CCT provides up to P1,400 in monthly stipend to poor families surveyed by the National Household Targeting System, provided they keep their first three children in school. The program also requires poor families to make sure the children undergo regular medical examination at the nearest government health facility. According to So, qualified CCT families receive P5,600 for four months, which is equivalent to a full palay cropping season. He said if farmers get the stipend for four months, the amount could essentially be a subsidy of P1.55 per kilo of palay, if P5,600 is divided by 3,500 kg (the average yield for one hectare). In this case, the CCT would help keep the price of domestic rice down and make smuggled rice unaffordable, he said. “Instead of P5,600, we are asking the government for a subsidy of P10,000 for every hectare tilled by the marginalized farmers, which would reduce the price of a sack of rice to P1,180, and eventually kill smuggling,” he said. Abono president Ponciano Onia, a farmer, said, the price of newly harvested, ready-to-mill palay has gone down to P16 a kilo for dry, ready to mill grain. The price of still to be dried palay has plummeted to P13 to P14. “Harvest time is not even full-blast yet. If the harvest goes full-blast in March, the prices will surely drop further. This means that farmers will earn nothing as farmers spend P13 to produce a kilo of palay,” Onia said. Prices of palay are way below P19 to P19.50 a kilo in February last year as there was no smuggled rice flooding the local markets, he said.


In an earlier statement, So said smuggled rice has flooded the market, reaching Nueva Ecija, Baguio City, Pangasinan, La Union and even Isabela, the country’s rice granary. He said if the government cannot curb rice smuggling, it should increase the volume of paddy rice that the National Food Authority is buying this year to help farmers who were hurt by the rice glut. The NFA has allotted P10.9 billion for the procurement of 615,985 metric tons of palay from farmers this year. “That’s a mere 3 percent of the total harvest. If the government is really serious in helping farmers, they must increase the volume to 30 percent or at least P105 billion worth of palay,” he said. The total rice harvest this year is projected at 20.4 million metric tons, which would translate into P351 billion worth of grain. Inquirer Northern Luzon http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/358251/make‐farmers‐part‐of‐cash‐aid‐group‐urges‐govt                                 


5,000 bags of Vietnam rice seized in De Oro Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:23 am | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Customs authorities, led by Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim, yesterday seized 5,000 bags of rice worth P9 million at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, that Lim said were smuggled in from Vietnam. The shipment was kept in 10 20-foot container vans that were stored at the MCT since July last year and consigned to Bubog Farmers Cooperative. The shipment, said Lim, was not covered by any documents or permits from the National Food Authority (NFA). Lim said the importer has been required to present valid import documents from the NFA because it brought in the rice under the private sector-financed importation scheme through the NFA tax expenditure subsidy. He said when the cooperative repeatedly failed to present the documents, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) sought NFA comment on the importation. Lim said the NFA replied that it cannot authenticate the documents the importer has presented because “the documents subject of your query could not be found in our records.” It was at this point that the BOC decided to seize the shipment and declare it illegal, said Lim. Cai Panlilio, Inquirer Mindanao http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/357635/5000‐bags‐of‐vietnam‐rice‐seized‐in‐de‐oro                 


Valentine wish for Aquino: True love By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 450 views

President Benigno Aquino III’s senatorial candidates on Wednesday wished him well and said they hoped he would find his true love even if he said he had no “special someone” today, Valentine’s Day. They said they hoped the 53-year-old bachelor would find a date and then marry eventually and raise a family. Senator Loren Legarda, a consistent front-runner in the poll surveys, said President Aquino, who celebrated his 53rd birthday on Feb. 8, had “to find his true love.” Senator Francis Escudero, a close friend of the President and another consistent topnotcher in the poll surveys, echoed Legarda. “I hope he finds true, genuine and an endless love,” Escudero said. Legarda is separated from her husband, former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste. Escudero’s marriage has been annulled, and he is now romantically linked with actress Heart Evangelista. Former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, who described herself as the “loving wife” of Senator Manny Villar, wished the President good health and more blessings. Senator Ramon Magsaysay hoped the President “will finally have a lifetime partner soon.” “PNoy deserves to be happy and he must have a love partner soonest,” he said. Former Senator Jamby Madrigal said Mr. Aquino deserved a love life. “Since he already has the love of the Filipino people, may he find more love in his personal life,” Madrigal said.


Bam Aquino, who married Timi Gomez in 2012, had only one wish for his cousin: to find his mate soonest. “I hope he will find somebody to take care of him like what he has been doing in taking care of the country,” the younger Aquino said. Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara wanted the President to experience the love and care of a loving wife. “I wish that he finds someone who will love him as much as he loves us. He deserves it,” Angara said. Senatator Alan Peter Cayetano said the President must find his “Lani,” referring to his wife who is the mayor of Taguig City. “Good things come to those who wait,” he said. Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who has also had his marriage annulled, said the President must find the time and date to enable him to have a relaxing Valentine’s Day dinner while listening to his favorite music. Risa Hontiveros, a former Akbayan representative, said she wished Mr. Aquino would always love in his heart. Grace Poe wished the President more time for himself. “I wish him some ‘me’ time, a date with himself, to do everything he loves us to do but has not been able to do because he has been too busy being President,” Poe said. “I remember that last Christmas, PNoy said he enjoyed getting a three-hour break and a chance to load songs to his iPod. The President badly needs some ‘me’ time.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/valentine‐wish‐for‐aquino‐true‐love/       


PH seen clearing US blacklist By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 617 views

President Aquino has signed into law the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act which the government hopes would boost the chances of the country in getting an upgrade in the US State Department’s human trafficking list. “We hope that with this expanded coverage of anti-trafficking, we will be able to remove ourselves from Tier 2. This is a concern and a priority of our President and this measure will be enforced by the different agencies especially the Department of Justice as well as our police agencies,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. The country was removed from the Tier 2 watchlist in 2011 but was kept at Tier 2 in the US State Department report last year. Republic Act No. 10364, signed on Feb. 6, included a provision directing the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to create a blacklist of recruitment agencies, illegal recruiters and persons facing administrative, civil and criminal complaints for trafficking. The blacklist would be posted in conspicuous places in government agencies and shall be updated monthly. Senator Loren Legarda, principal author of the measure, said the new law would provide added protection not just for victims of trafficking “but also, to a reasonable extent, law enforcement officers and social workers from harassment suits for lawful acts done in good faith during authorized rescue operations, investigation or prosecution of a case.” The new law fills the void in the existing law by expanding the list of acts that promote trafficking, to include an act to destroy or tamper with evidence, to


influence witnesses in an investigation, or to utilize one’s public office to impede an investigation or to obstruct the execution of lawful orders,” Legarda added. The new law establishes free legal assistance to overseas Filipino workers by the Department of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment, which will be in charge of providing temporary shelter to Filipino victims of trafficking overseas. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/ph‐seen‐clearing‐us‐blacklist/                                     


Exports rising 10% despite strong peso By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 152 views 1

The government is keeping the 10-percent export growth target in 2013, despite the peso appreciation that affects the price competitiveness of several industries. “We’re keeping the 10-percent growth [target]. We’re estimating that growth will come from electronics, fresh fruits, garments and wooden products,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the Philippine economic briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. The Trade Department said the strengthening of the peso would compel industries to step up their competitiveness in non-price dimensions, such as innovation and differentiation, branding and repositioning, production processes and value-enhanced after sales service to create an edge over price considerations. The agency also asked exporters to tap high-growth economies such as East Asia, Brazil, India, Russia, Middle East, Turkey and South Africa while pushing for growth in traditional markets such as China, Japan, Korea and the US. Merchandise exports posted a record $52 billion in 2016, or 7.6 percent higher than $48.3 billion recorded in 2011. The Trade Department said the export performance in 2012 was boosted by the country’s product-diversification program that highlighted the export of machinery and transport equipment, woodcraft and furniture, and fruits and vegetables. Domingo said the electronics industry would continue to grow and expand, as new investments in the sector were expected to come in this year.


The National Statistics Office said machinery and transport equipment export sales grew by 89.3 percent to $5.31 billion from the $2.806 billion in 2011. Woodcraft and furniture products export sales also went up by 26.6 percent to $2.34 billion from $1.848 billion in 2011 while petroleum products posted growth of 12.4 percent to $44.2 billion from $2.8 billion. Shipments of fruits and vegetables rose 22.15 percent to $1.2 billion from $984 million. Meanwhile, the Trade Department expects foreign direct investments to pick up in 2012. “Another benchmark that I also looked at was inbound missions. There was an increase of 64 percent in inbound missions in 2012 relative to 2011,” Domingo said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/exports‐rising‐10‐despite‐strong‐peso/                           


URC’s profit falls 3% By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:00am | 88 views

Universal Robina Corp. said net income fell 3 percent for the period October to December 2012, representing the first quarter of its fiscal year. The October-December profit was down from P2.21 billion the company earned in the same period in 2011, mainly because of unrealized foreign exchange loss amid the continued appreciation of the peso against the dollar. URC said in a report posted on its Web site first quarter core net income grew 27 percent to P2.6 billion from P2.05 billion, as net sales improved by 12 percent to P20.1 billion from P17.98 billion a year ago. Sales were driven by strong revenues from branded food group, which grew by 10 percent to P15.6 billion on lower prices of key raw materials. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/urcs‐profit‐falls‐3/                         


Bank loans rose 16.2% in 2012 By Julito G. Rada | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:01am | 121 views

Outstanding loans granted by banks climbed 16.2 percent last year, on higher demand for financing to support household spending and business expansion. The Bangko Sentral said outstanding loans reached P3.2 trillion as of endDecember, up from P3.1 trillion in November and P2.7 trillion a year ago. “On a month-on-month seasonally-adjusted basis, commercial bank lending in December increased by 1.6 percent for loans,” the Bangko Sentral said. Loans including placements with the Bangko Sentral also grew 15.4 percent to P3.5 trillion as of end-December from a year ago. Both investment and household loans posted double-digit growth in December. Loans for production activities, representing more than four-fifths of total loan, grew 16.6 percent in December, faster than the 14.6-percent rise in November. “The continued growth in bank lending, particularly to the productive sectors, is expected to support the growth momentum of the economy,” the Bangko Sentral said. Production loans were driven primarily by increased lending to real estate, renting and business services, with 29.7-percent growth; financial intermediation, 38.5 percent; wholesale and retail trade, 17.7 percent; transportation, storage and communication, 37.5 percent; and manufacturing, 9.3 percent. Consumer loans also jumped 14.1 percent in December, faster than 12.1 percent in November, led by the expansion of credit card receivables and auto loans, which grew by 13.4 percent and 14 percent, respectively.


Meanwhile, domestic liquidity as measured by M3 grew by 10.6 percent year-onyear in December to reach P5.2 trillion. The growth was faster than the 9.8percent expansion recorded in November. “The growth in money supply was driven by the expansion in net domestic assets by 19.2 percent year-on-year in December from 18.4 percent in the previous month, largely as a result of the sustained increase in net domestic credits,” the Bangko Sentral said. Net domestic credits grew by 7.8 percent, buoyed by the expansion in the claims on the private sector due to robust lending activity by commercial banks. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/bank‐loans‐rose‐16‐2‐in‐2012/                               


Spanish trains eyed By Lailany P. Gomez | Posted on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:00am | 114 views

The Transportation Department said Wednesday it will send a three-man mission to Spain on Feb. 20 to check Metro de Madrid’s offer to sell second-hand trains for the Metro Rail Transit. “There is offer from the Spanish government to buy second-hand trains. A small team of three will depart on Feb. 20 to check on Metro de Madrid to check if the trains will be compatible [to our existing facility] and if the timing will be shorter than the actual purchase,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters. Metro de Madrid is the metro system serving the capital of Spain. Abaya said the procurement would take four to six months, while manufacturing would take 1.5 to two years. The government plans to spend at least P4.5 billion for the purchase of 48 new couches for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3. “After considering all the options at hand, we will soon publish the procurement documents,” Abaya said. The department earlier deferred the public bidding for the supply of new trains for the 17-kilometer MRT Line 3 following a proposal from the government of Czech Republic to sell trains to the government under a concessional loan scheme or through the overseas development assistance. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/14/spanish‐trains‐eyed/       


LP using gov’t assets to sabotage UNA — Binay • •

Written by Charlie V. Manalo Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00

Tagbilaran City — The ruling Liberal Party (LP) was accused yesterday of employing underhanded maneuvers, including the abuse of government resources to stifle or disrupt public support to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Ranking UNA officials denounced alleged tactics of the LP which they said have deliberately sabotaged the first two days of the opposition coalition’s senatorial campaign. Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who is personally accompanying UNA’s senatorial bets, cited two instances where local government units and agencies and even resources were used to disrupt the coalition’s out-of-town sorties. “In Cebu, we received reports that at least six busloads of UNA supporters have been stopped by local police and were prevented from attending our proclamation rally,” Binay said. “Here in Bohol, in the town of Loon, local officials timed the distribution of PhilHealth cards and bags of rice containing three kilos each in a convention hall, some 200 meters away from where our senatorial bets made a whistle stop there so as to confuse the people and draw away their attention from our own activity,” Binay added. While the act of distributing the PhilHealth cards and the bags of rice was part of the government’s social function to the people, Binay said the timing and the proximity of the event were suspect. President Aquino also recently distributed Philhealth cards to residents of provinces that were expected to form part of the proposed Bangsamoro substate under an agreement between the government and the Moro islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Binay averred the two instances are clear cases of electoral offenses and that he intends to file cases before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to question these. “That is no joke. The vehicles were blocked. We will not let this pass,” warned Binay. Despite the twin incidents, UNA was able to attract 20,000 people to its proclamation rally in Cebu and some 50 people during its whistle stop in Loon in Bohol. UNA senatorial bet, re-electionist Senator Gringo Honasan lamented the way the administration is employing “dirty tactics to sabotage” their campaign saying those were the very issues supposedly criticized by those now in power against former President Arroyo when they were still in the opposition. “The cases of distribution of Philhealth cards and rice to people timed during opposition campaign and the prevention of people from going to opposition rallies are basically the same issues the present administration were raising against the former president when they were still running then under the


opposition banner,” Honasan said. “And now that they are in power, it’s okay for them to do that,” he added. “This is very alarming as they are now using government units, agencies and even resources just to sabotage the chances of their political opponents,” Honasan stressed. “This could impair the credibility and the integrity of the elections,” he added. UNA also cautioned the LP against exploiting legal loopholes and shortcuts in the provisions of the Fair Elections Act. “This is a gentle reminder to the Liberal Party that there should be no shortcuts in the ‘Tuwid na Daan’ especially in complying with election laws.Don’t force the crooked to be termed straight, and we hope that they will abide by the rules next time,” UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco said. Tiangco made the statement in connection with news reports quoting Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes’ clarifying that the administration coalition name “Team PNoy” is not registered with the poll body and cannot be legally used in political advertisements. As a consequence of Comelec’s decision on “Team PNoy’, the LP-led coalition cannot air any political advertisement and campaign materials using the said coalition name. UNA earlier announced it will be strictly following the law to the letter in complying with the requirements of the Fair Elections Act (Rep. Act 9006). In a memorandum issued last Feb/ 11, addressed to all senatorial candidates, Tiangco said that “all candidates are instructed to strictly comply with all Election Rules and Regulations, particularly Comelec Resolution No. 9615 which prohibits posters, streamers and other forms of campaign collateral that are not compliant with the Fair Elections Act on postering.” “Should there be instances of violations and infringements, you are likewise instructed to take the initiative of removing the said materials, prohibited election propaganda and non-compliant election materials.”Tiangco said. Tiangco likewise required the senatorial candidates to submit a monthly report every 15th of the month detailing their compliance. Under the said law candidates running for national posts in the May polls are allowed 120 minutes of airtime on television and 180 minutes on radio to air their campaign ads. These campaign ads in both television and radio are now “aggregate” and no longer per station. Likewise, under RA 9006, names, images, logo and initials of candidates in government cars, ambulance, lampposts and signage are treated as prohibited propaganda. Also prohibited are election propaganda on public utility vehicles like buses, jeepneys, taxis, pedicabs and tricycles, terminals and airports, as well as posting of election propaganda on trees. In justifying that there is no prohibition on the law, the President’s men have vowed to utilize the entire machinery of the bureaucracy in the campaign sorties of the administration coalition only to get a sweeping election results. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday that the entire Cabinet members of President


Aquino could join him in on the campaign trail without any fear of charges or an infraction of the law. “Let’s take it two-fold, legally, there is no prohibition. Supreme Court has already rendered a decision on that. That being alter-egos of the President, we are allowed—and being political appointees—we are allowed to campaign and there is no prohibition with that aspect,” Lacierda said. Lacierda said the only means to insure the winnability of the administration candidates would be to have the full backings of the President and his men. “On governance, we need the senatoriables. The people that the President has chosen to help us in the reform measures. So that’s the reason why we believe in the candidates of the President. We stand side by side with the senatoriables of the President and so we believe that we are in a position to also convince our countrymen the need to elect the 12 chosen candidates of the President,” Lacierda said. Lacierda said the result of the election would be reflective on how effective was the governance of the President. “I think this is a basis to see if where were we three years ago, and where are we now three years since the President was elected. We’ve introduced a number reform measures. We have introduced a number of poverty alleviation programs. We have instituted a number of anti-corruption objectives or, rather, measures as well,” Lacierda said. Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) today thanked the people of Cebu for the ‘surprising and very warm’ welcome for its senatorial candidates Tuesday. Cebu police estimated the crowd during UNA’s proclamation rally at 90,000. The rally was held at Plaza Independencia and was attended by Gov. Gwen Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, local officials as well as mayors from Metro Manila. “We were not wrong in choosing Cebu. Cebuos progressive. The Local officials are excellent and shpwed their all out support” the Vice President said. “The great turnout for our proclamation rally was a pleasant surprise for us, considering that Cebu had been a bailiwick of the Liberal Party (LP),” he added. UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco said the huge crowd that turned out for the rally and during the morning motorcade “is very, very encouraging for the candidates of UNA.” “The huge crowd in Cebu is a clear indicator that this former bastion of the Liberal Party is going all out for UNA in the May election,” he said. Tiangco also hoped that Cebu police officials will not be punished by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for estimating the Cebu crowd at 90,000. UNA candidates Nancy Binay, Tingting Cojuangco, Jack Enrile, JV Estrada, Dick Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Ernie Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay and Migs Zubiri were joined by the son of Grace PoeLlamanzares, Brian, and the father of Loren Legarda, Tony Legarda. Also present were former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, UNA’s executive committee. UNA proceeded to Bohol Wednesday for the second leg of their campaign.


Tiangco said the UNA leaders and candidates were able to explain to the people of Cebu the need for an independent and fiscalizing Senate, as well as their plans to improve the lives of the people. “This will be a high-minded campaign. We will raise the need to address unemployment, hunger and poverty. We will also emphasize the need to keep the Senate independent, to keep it loyal to the people and not to the incumbent administration, otherwise what we will have is a rubber stamp Senate,” he said. “Unlike the LP who demands party loyalty as a primary qualification and intimidates members who don’t follow the party stand, UNA only requires its candidates to be loyal to the Filipino electorate and be guided by their conscience,” he added. Paul Atienza

http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/item/10481‐lp‐using‐gov%E2%80%99t‐assets‐to‐sabotage‐una‐ %E2%80%94‐binay.html                                 


Solon gives advices to couples dating this Valentine • •

Written by Gerry Baldo

Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00

A champion of safe sex, who is now running for a Senate seat under the Liberal Party, yesterday called on young couples to learn about family planning first before going on a Valentine date. Risa Hontiveros, a member of the Malacañang-backed party-list group Akbayan, believes that young couples do get into sex during Valentine’s Day and that they should drop by family planning clinics before going on a date. “Maganda na ngayong Valentine’s Day bumisita muna ang ating mga young couples sa mga family health clinics at mag-aral tungkol sa family planning bago pa man lumabas para mag-date. Let’s make it a reproductive health habit,” she said. “Love should always come with responsibility,” Hontiveros said. “We know that teenage pregnancy is on the rise and while we are in the process of finalizing the implementing rules and regulations of the new RH law, our young couples can be pro-active and visit our family health clinics.” For Hontiveros, a date on Valentine’s Day would lead to sex. “When you go out on a Valentine date, it is natural to be motivated by love. But please, think about protection as well. The recipe for a perfect Valentine date is not just love — you have to have the right information on family planning and safer sex,” she said. “Hindi lang kung sino at saan ang date mo, pero dapat pati yung kaalaman tungkol sa safer sex at sa family planning meron ka. If there’s a commitment to abstain from sex, then be sure that you have the resolve to hold on to that commitment. Otherwise, having condoms is not bad either,” she said. Hontiveros, who admitted that she and her late husband practiced natural family planning method, said it is important for young Filipinos to realize that they have a choice. “Like in love, you always have a choice. Don’t force yourselves into situations that you will regret later. So in our public family health clinics, you get information on both natural and artificial family planning methods, including abstinence,” she said. She pointed out that according to the National Statistics Office, 12 percent of births in the Philippines are attributed to teenage pregnancies. She also highlighted the increasing incidence of HIV in the Philippines, especially among men who have sex with men and transgenders and among young Filipinos.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro‐section/item/10462‐solon‐gives‐advices‐to‐couples‐dating‐this‐ valentine.html 


Another term for Noy good for business, says BAT exec • •

Written by Ed Velasco

Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second biggest tobacco firm in sales, has an unsolicited advice to the government to fast track its growth as well as attract more foreign investors — let the President serve for more than one term. James Lafferty, BAT-Philippines general manager, said it is proven in many aspects that a continued, uninterrupted and most of all consistent policies is an effective key to reach one’s goal. The official, however, emphasized that he doesn’t intend to give direct suggestions that is political in nature. He limited his comment to just the term of the president and not all elective officials. “We’re here to do business, not for politics and we feel that having a leader who will serve long is effective in doing reforms, changes,” Lafferty told The Daily Tribune before he left Pan Pacific Hotel recently. Lafferty said since he joined the corporate world more than two decades ago, he saw so many transformations under one executive who served for eight, 10 and 15 years. “In BAT alone, I saw how our regional directors transform a place where our sales are low. They didn’t do it in fast period but in long, continuous process. Don’t you think if it’s a leader, the effect would be the same? Six years are short for a good one and too long for a naughty one,” he said. He said the while their sales in some countries increased rapidly, there are countries where they sell cigarettes on sticks. However, he said he doesn’t think that BAT will launch similar strategy here in the Philippines because BAT is the strongest advocate for responsible smoking. “Avoiding people to buy in sticks will prevent youth from smoking, instead they will just buy bubblegum for their penny,” he said. Meanwhile, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (Amcham) said the biggest reason why Philippine foreign direct investments (FDIs) plummeted to record low is because of so many sectors that are limited to Filipino businessmen. FDIs crashed to just $102 million in November 2012, which is 72.1 percent lower from year ago level of $360 million. “Check your mining, quarrying and retail sectors and you will see your constitution bans foreigners from participating,” Amcham director of external affairs Robert Sears told the Tribune via text. Sears is inviting everyone to the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) second anniversary


forum of “Arangkada Philippines” with the theme “Realize the Potential! on Feb. 26, 2013 at the Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Amcham is a participant in the event. Sears said the JFC has chosen such theme in reference to President Aquino’s comment on the country’s untapped potential, which is steadily becoming realized as the Philippines exceeds economic expectations of both local and foreign observers.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/business/item/10450‐another‐term‐for‐noy‐good‐for‐business‐says‐bat‐ exec.html                                     


Php.5-M imported beef itinakas Published : Thursday, February 14, 2013 00:00  Article Views : 24  Written by : Arlene Rivera 

LIMANG opisyal at isang driver ng kumpanyang Aboitiz Inc. ang pinaghahanap ngayon ng pulisya matapos na umano’y itakas ang 21 kahon ng imported beef na nagkakahalaga ng Php.5 milyon kahapon ng umaga sa Antipolo City. Sa ulat kay S/Supt. Rolando Anduyan, Rizal PNP director, hindi muna ipinabanggit ang mga pangalan ng mga suspek na pawang may matataas na posisyon at isang driver sa Aboitiz Inc. na matatagpuan sa Domestic Road, Pasay City. Ang mga suspek ay inireklamo ng kumpanyang Frus Corporation na matatagpuan sa SC Kymow Bldg., Access Road, Multinational Village, Parañaque City, na pag-aari ng isang Manuel Sta. Cruz. Naganap ang insidente dakong alas-7 ng umaga sa V and F Ice Plant and Cold Incorporated na matatagpuan sa Sumulong Highway, Bgy. Mambugan, Antipolo City. Nabatid na ang mga suspek ay nagsabwatan umano para itakas ang nasabing mga imported na karne sakay ng isang Mitsubishi L-300 van na walang plaka at tanging conduction sticker pa lamang ang nakakabit. Ang insidente ay nasaksihan nina Dante Torres, 38, checker; Byron Magnaye, 28, driver; Edwin Magalang, 45, security guard; Ronald Echohermoso, stay-in guard ng nasabing ice cold and storage plant; Dyreen Bartolome, account executive; at Nieva Ynes Lamoste, accounting staff. Nagsasagawa na ng follow-up operation ang Antipolo PNP para matukoy ang kinaroroonan ng mga suspek. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/metro/44796‐php5‐m‐imported‐beef‐itinakas       


2013 02 14 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor