Philippines to export 300,000 MT of rice by 2016 Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Monday, 25 February 2013 19:57 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Contributor
THE Philippines must export 300,000 metric tons (MT) of rice by 2016 to compensate for mandatory rice imports under an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday its hands are tied in dealing with WTO, which imposes sanctions on countries that do not abide by trade agreements. While WTO has been a boon to traditional rice-exporting countries, it is a bane to countries seeking to feed its own people using its own resources since the organization, the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), only seeks to stimulate trade and never encourages countries to be sufficient in food. Dante Delima, agriculture assistant secretary and National Rice Program (NRP) coordinator, practically admitted that the influx of cheap rice would ruin the domestic palay (unhusked rice) structure. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala is insistent about rice and food-staples sufficiency, but the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the think tank of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the World Bank (WB) and others do not see any sense in producing rice locally, arguing that it would be much cheaper to import rice. According to Pary-list Rep. Teodoro CasiĂąo of Bayan Muna, the trouble with the groupsâ€™ position is that they assume climatic aberrations would not affect the Mekong countries that sell the Philippines the rice that they feed to their livestock. He said rice imports only favor countries that subsidize their farmers like Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.
Casiño told the BusinessMirror that the Philippines had long been the butt of jokes in Southeast Asia since the government believes in globalization and free trade, and abides by tariff reduction while other countries in the region do not follow the impositions of the WTO. Minimum access volume DELIMA said under the WTO deal, the Philippines has committed to a minimum access volume (MAV) of about 350,000 MT for rice, with tariff of 50 percent. MAV refers to the minimum volume of farm produce allowed to enter into the Philippines at reduced tariffs, while shipments beyond MAV pay higher rates. “We want to at least match the volume entering the country so that prices will not be affected,” Delima told reporters during the launch of the National Year of Rice in Quezon City. He said the DA expects a surge in the number of takers for the MAV, as the government officially stops importing rice this year. The country imported only 500,000 MT of rice last year, with 120,000 MT taken in by the National Food Authority (NFA) to serve as buffer stock. In 2011 the Philippines imported 860,000 MT, with the private sector securing 600,000 MT and farmers’ groups taking 60,000 MT. The NFA imported only 200,000 MT that year. The DA admitted it is considering importing between 150,000 MT and 200,000 MT this year to serve as buffer stock during the lean season. “By the end of 2013, after the government stops importing rice, traders can still bring in grains since we have a commitment to the WTO. This may result in an influx of rice in the market, which may pull down prices,” Delima said. “We want to narrow down our rice-trade deficit. That is why we are preparing our farmers for the export of locally produced varieties,” he added. Delima also said only special rice varieties such as colored rice (black, red, pink, brown and purple), aromatic white rice and long grain white rice will be exported since they fetch higher prices. According to him, the Philippines cannot compete in the exportation of ordinary rice so it will focus on premium rice, which can be competitive since these varieties cannot be found in other countries. “In fact, we will start this quarter the initial shipment of at least 100 MT of rice,” Delima said, with Macau and Hong Kong as buyers.
The agriculture official said the US may also be a viable market, along with other countries, for exotic, organically grown rice. The Middle East and India can be a market for long grain and aromatic rice varieties, while Japan and Singapore may opt for colored and heirloom rice varieties, along with European countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Netherlands and Belgium are particularly interested in alternative rice varieties, he added.
In Photo: Farmers tend to a rice field in Bulacan province. (Nonie Reyes) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9774‐philippines‐to‐export‐ 300‐000‐mt‐of‐rice‐by‐2016
LandBank released loans worth P39.9 billion to agriculture workers in 2012 Category: Banking & Finance Published on Monday, 25 February 2013 20:01 Written by Max V. de Leon / Reporter STATE-OWNED Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) reported that it released some P39.9 billion in 2012 for loans benefiting 772,892 small-scale farmers and fishermen. In a statement, LandBank said these loan releases were channeled through 888 farmers’ and fishermen’s cooperatives, 313 countryside financial institutions and 160 irrigators’ associations. “LandBank remains aggressive in channeling assistance to the farming and fisheries sector as we aim to further strengthen and sustain their viability to accelerate the development of rural economies,” LandBank President and Chief Executive Officer Gilda E. Pico said. Small-scale farmers got P39.6 billion, while fishermen received P323 million. By agricultural activity, loans for crop production reached P18.4 billion in 2012 while loans for livestock projects reached P3.8 billion. Other economic activities financed by LandBank last year included wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, agri-processing and fisheries. Region 3 (Central Luzon) accounted for P9.9 billion of the released loans, followed by Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) with P5.1 billion and Region 7 (Central Visayas) with P4.9 billion. As of December, LandBank’s loans to its priority sectors reached P205.3 billion, a 19-percent hike from P172.1 billion in December 2011. The P205.3 billion makes up 75 percent of the bank’s gross loan portfolio of P273.8 billion in 2012. The priority sectors of LandBank include small-scale farmers (including agrarian-reform beneficiaries and their associations) small-scale fishermen and their associations; agribusinesses, aqua-businesses and agri-aqua-related projects of local government units and government-owned and -controlled corporations; micro, small and medium enterprises; and communications, transportation, housing, education, health care, environment-related projects and tourism. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/banking‐finance/9777‐landbank‐released‐ loans‐worth‐p39‐9‐billion‐to‐agriculture‐workers‐in‐2012
Level Playing Field Sought In Local Feeds, Poultry/Hogs Industry By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat February 25, 2013, 8:36pm The local poultry, feeds and hogs industry has called on government to ensure a level playing field for this economic activity that is facing an overcapacity situation and one that is largely made up of backyard operators. Alfonso Uy, chairman of La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp., told reporters in an interview that the industry has an excess capacity of as much as 40 percent. His company, which operates two hog farms and a feedmill plant in Bulacan, has plant capacity utilization of only 65 percent. “For feeds, hogs and poultry supply, the entire domestic industry has the capacity and the capability to produce all the quantity and volume needed in this country,” said Uy. Because of the stiff competition, the backyard operators are the first to suffer as they cannot compete with the big operators, especially so if the big ones are granted income tax holidays. Uy explained that this industry is very different because it is largely composed of backyard operators. He said that 95 percent of the industry players do not enjoy income tax holidays because these are backyard operators and do not register with the Board of Investments. “These backyard operators are paying taxes so how can they compete with the big ones that are given tax exemptions,” said Uy. Even if this economic activity is listed in the Investment Priorities Plan, the government should weigh the consequences to local players. “Do we really need this kind of investments. We are encouraging foreign investors and we should give them incentives only if they enter into a new economic area and they are going to exports their products to benefit the country,” he said. He stressed that government agencies should always consider the employment opportunities created by the small and even backyard operators. It could be recalled that domestic aqua feeds producers led by the National Federation of Hog Farmers and Bounty Fresh raised arms against the Board of Investments (BOI) decision to grant four to six years of income tax incentives to the domestic-oriented project of Thai-owned Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corporation (CPFPC). The project was granted ITH because of the sheer magnitude of its investments of over $200 million, which was also provided for under the Investment Priorities Plan.
But Uy reiterated that even if there is a legal basis to that move, the BOI should have considered the impact of the huge CPFPC project to local backyard operators who do not enjoy of tax exemptions. The BOI, however, seemed to bow to industry pressure as it has moved to downgrade the incentives granted to the Thai-owned project. The BOI defended its decision saying it is consistent with national policy and rules under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act and the Investment Priorities Plan. The approved P2.326 billion broiler project includes parent stock farms in Tarlac and Bulacan as well as a hatchery in Nueva Ecija, and broiler farms in Bulacan. The farms are expected to produce up to 21,847 metric tons annually and will begin operations in February 2013. CPFPC is a unit of Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. Ltd. Both the swine and aqua feeds project of CPFPC were governed by the BOI’s 2011 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), and granted pioneer status but with non-pioneer incentives. On the other hand, the broiler project is governed by the 2012 IPP and granted pioneer status and pioneer incentives. The BOI continues to approve, register and grant incentives to qualified Agri-projects. These projects include among others, feed, hog and poultry projects, which range from micro to largesized projects. From 2004 to September 2012, BOI has registered forty five feed, hog and poultry projects. Of these, three are owned by CPFPC while the rest are Filipino-own, the statement said. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395560/level‐playing‐field‐sought‐in‐local‐feeds‐poultryhogs‐ industry#.USweT_JFyjs
Phl to increase exports of premium rice By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines intends to gradually raise the volume of rice exports to 300,000 metric tons (MT) by 2016 from the initial volume that will be shipped out this year to match the quantity of imported rice and narrow down the rice trade deficit. In a phone interview yesterday, Agriculture assistant secretary and National Rice program coordinator Dante Delima said some 50 to 100 metric tons (MT) of premium rice varieties would be shipped to Hong Kong, Macau, and Europe within the year. To be shipped are heirloom rice varieties from Benguet as well as colored rice varieties from Quezon province and Mindanao region. By 2014, the volume of premium rice exports would be increased to 100,000 MT and then up to 300,000 metric tons by 2016. “This can narrow the deficit because we will be importing cheap rice and exporting premium rice,” said Delima. The Philippines committed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a minimum access volume (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons of rice imports subject to 40 percent duty. Imports outside of MAV are slapped a 50 percent tariff. Delima said increasing rice exports vis-a-vis the imports would prevent a possible drop in prices due to the influx of cheap rice from neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Delima said that as the government lowers rice imports this year, there would be a clamor for exportation under the MAV. The Philippine has been steadily decreasing its rice imports. In 2012, the Philippines allowed the importation of some 500,000 MT of rice for 2012, around 120,000 MT of which was imported by the National Food Authority (NFA) to serve as buffer stock. In 2011, the Philippines imported 860,000 MT of rice – 600,000 MT of which was imported by the private sector while farmers groups imported 60,000 MT. The NFA imported the balance.In 2010, the Philippines imported a record 2.45 million MT. This year, the government aims to import between 150,000 to 200,000 MT to be used as buffer stock. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/02/26/913089/phl‐increase‐exports‐premium‐rice
Jack says no Filipino should go hungry FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
Despite the recent stinging barbs hurled at his father, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and himself, Jack Enrile is undaunted, and sure about his winning a seat in the Senate in the coming national elections. His supporters are convinced he’s got it made, his slogan being, “Gusto ko may pagkain kayo” (I want food for the table for everyone). That seems asking for the moon, but it can be made to happen, says Jack. Since 2010, Jack has gone to more than 72 provinces consulting with various sectoral groups for his advocacy on food sovereignty, telling his audiences: “No Filipino should go hungry in his own country. Food prices should be within reach of everyone.” Representative of the province of Cagayan for three terms, Jack Enrile defines food sovereignty as “the right of peoples, communities and countries to define their own agricultural, fishing, food, labor and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances.” Jack is the author of House Bill 4626, which seeks to accelerate agricultural development and secure food for all based on a national food requirement plan anchored on a food requirement assessment in all the regions. Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in collaboration with the National Food Requirement Plan (NFRP), are tasked to identify the food requirements of Filipinos and pinpoint the regions that should produce specific types of food. The bill also wants to draw up an agricultural infrastructure support map to determine the various programs that every province can undertake in pursuit of agricultural development goals. Jack laments that the government does not prioritize agriculture. “I want to remove politics from agricultural development in every province. We should give every province, regardless of the votes they can deliver to national leaders, the opportunity to attain genuine agricultural development.” Jack is a co-author of House Bill No. 6144 which seeks to promote the welfare of household helpers and their families. Also known as the Magna Carta of Household Helpers or Batas Kasambahay, it was recently signed into law by President Aquino.
House Bill No. 4835, on the other hand, seeks to prohibit monopolies, while House Bill No. 0551 seeks to reduce the income tax rates of individual taxpayers. Jack first ran for a congressional seat in 1998 at the age of 40, under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He was reelected twice — in 2007 and 2010. He has an AB English degree from Christian Heritage College in California and a master of administration degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Prior to acquiring his MBA, he was employed as a purchasing manager in the JAKA Group of Companies. At 36, he became president and chief executive officer of the family-owned corporation which serves as the holding company for 22 subsidiary companies. These companies employ about 3,000 persons. *
The La Consolacion College Manila Family Council presents for its Compostela typhoon victims fund-raising event the famous 1950s rock ‘n roll musicale, “Grease” tomorrow, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. (gala performance) at the Mother Consuelo Barcelo Theatre, La Consolacion College, Mendiola, Manila. This high school musicale, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, was also adapted for film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. It comes to life on the LCCM stage and features some of LCCM’s brightest homegrown talents as well as imports from Brent International, UST College of Music, the legitimate stage, TV and film. “Grease” is all about Rydell High’s spirited class of ’59-gum-chewing, hub-cap-stealing, hotrodloving boys with D.A.s and leatherjackets and their wise-cracking girls in teased curls, bobby sox, and pedal pushers. The gang sings and dances its way through such nostalgic scenes as the pajama party, the prom, the burger palace, and the drive-in movie. Directed by Palanca Awardee Lito Casaje, LCCM’s chair of the department of communication and director for digital cinema and the performing arts, the musical stars Allessa Faustino, Pio Bagnol, Joel Caballero, Andy Fojas, Raymond de Leon, Jonathan Montes, Christian Moreno, Hyacinth Moreno, Jonathan Cristobal, Bea Robles, Necole Almerekhi, Alyssa Virgo, Roxanne Lucero, Benielyn Topinio, Mikaela Ruiz, Chelsea Habal, Eugene Zipagon, Aika Malabanan, Charlene Chuaquico, Jeremy Malcampo, Khaycee Abalos, Angel Salditos, Samuel Cometa, Francline Pascua, Atif Hassan, Christian Baloso, with stage management by Mondrian Sampang, Lourdes Isip, Charlotte Barcelona, choreography by Arvey Lopena, light design by Christian Bautista, and musical direction by Dino Alvarez and Raymond Muyot. “Grease” is LCCM’s Sister president Ma. Luz Mijares’ call to empower the youth through cultural and artistic engagements, a kind of out-of-classroom learning experience where students mingle with practicing theatre, TV and film artists,” director Casaje says.
Proceeds of the musicale will go to LCC’s outreach advocacy, such as helping Compostela typhoon victims and the illegal mining and logging practices in Mindanao. LCCM Family Council president and Usec Atty. Lynn Danao-Moreno says, “Even we, from the Office of the President in Malacanang are still inundated by please and requests to continue extending our help to our marginalized brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro and Davao. Sponsored by LCCM’s Barcelo Café, Lito Perez’ Camp Suki, and the LCCM School of Culinary Arts, Grease is open for school and university tours and fund-raising projects by socio-civic, government and non-government organizations. For discounted group sales and ticket reservations, call the LCCM Admissions Office at 3130522 or http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/02/26/913187/jack‐says‐no‐filipino‐should‐go‐hungry
BoC all-out war sa rice smuggling Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 41
PUNUIN ang isang tason ng organic rice—tinawon, kintoman o alinmang katutubong bigas na hindi pinalaki ng fossil fuel-based fertilizer—sa labas ng bahay… itapon ang laman ng tason makalipas ang sambuwan, muling lagyan ng mga ganoong organikong butyl… Ubrang simulan sa araw na ‘to, ‘kakalipas lang ng winter full moon at pampalayas sa mga malas sa pamumuhay at pamamahay ang ganitong ritwal sa bigas. Aah, bigas. Magandang hakbang ang ipinatupad ni Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon… binawian ng rehistro at akreditasyon ang 14 rice importers bilang bahagi ng kanyang kampanya na sugpuin ang kontrabandong bigas sa bansa. Sa gitna ng mga paratang sa talamak na rice smuggling, natuklasan ng Interim Customs Accreditation and Registration o ICARE ng BoC na ang 14 rice importers ay pawang nakakapagduda. Ilan sa mga ito, nagpapanggap pang kooperatiba ng magsasaka. Ang masaklap, ang importation quota na ibinigay ng National Food Authority sa naturang 14 rice importers ang ginagamit sa kalokohan ng mga ito gayong sila ay wala namang kakayahan magsipag-angkat ng malaking bulto ng bigas mula ibang bansa. Sinimulan ng BoC ang paglilinis sa listahan ng mga accredited importers noong kaagahan ng 2012. Layon kasi ni Biazon na matumbok kung alin sa mga ito ang hao-shiao o huwad at ginagamit na kompanya. Ang mga sinibak sa listahan na mga kompanya at kooperatiba ay kinabibilangan ng Conquistar Marketing, Dream the Dream Marketing, Happy Morning Enterprises, Kakampi Multi-Purpose Cooperative, KapatiranTakusa Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Malipampang Concerned Citizens Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Pinambaran Farmers Producers Cooperative, Samahang Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalugan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Thunder Glutch Marketing, Ugnayang Magbubukid ng San Isidro, Inc., Vita Rose Marketing, Dragon Clash Enterprises, Masagana Import Export, at King Casey Trading.
Sabi ni Biazon, may mga parating pang angkat na bigas ang ilan sa mga ito dahil may importation allocation quota nga sila mula sa NFA. Pero siniguro ng komisyoner na haharangin ng BoC ang rice shipments sakaling dumating sa bansa ‘pagkat tinanggalan na ng accreditation ang mga naturang importers. Ibig sabihin, talagang seryoso itong si Biazon sa ibinaba niyang all-out war laban sa smuggling, partikular na sa smuggling ng agricultural products na labis na nakaaapekto sa kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka. Kung gayon, dapat palang lubos na magpasalamat ang farmers kay Biazon dahil hindi tumitigil ang komisyoner na mabantayan ang kanilang kabuhayan laban sa mga pesteng smugglers. Ayon kay ICARE chief lawyer Rhea Gregorio, dumating sa puntong kailangan nang tanggalan ng akreditasyon at rehistro ang 14 rice importers sa kadahilanang kahina-hinala ang financial status ng kompanya ng mga ito at batay sa ginawang physical inspection, natuklasan na ang business address, warehouses at operations nila ay pawang hao-shiao. “Some of these companies, based on their submitted records, do not have sufficient capitalization and facilities to import large volumes of rice, while some cooperatives were not actually functional,” ang sabi ni Gregorio. Ang ICARE accreditation ay hiwalay sa accreditation na ibinibigay naman ng NFA. Dahil walang data-sharing arrangement sa pagitan ng NFA at BoC, dito nagkakaroon ng malaking problema dahil ang karamihan ng importers, matapos makapagrehistro bilang general importer sa ICARE na may minimum lang na requirements, ay tumatakbo naman sa NFA para humingi ng allocation quota bilang rice importer. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/opinion/45601‐boc‐all‐out‐war‐sa‐rice‐smuggling
Farmers’ Plight February 25, 2013, 3:43pm The government should nurture agriculture and pay more attention to the plight of farmers. This was aired by inventor and entomologist Gonzalo Catan, Jr., Executive Vice President of Mapecon Green Charcoal Philippines (MGCP), noting that published World Bank report showed that in the next 10 years food security will be the world’s biggest problem, that “the world is nearing a dangerous point where soaring prices will create economic Instability.” MGCP is the principal exponent of the production of cheap, safe to use vermicast organic fertilizer now widely used by farmers. Catan said agriculture can play an important role in staving off that crisis. But for it to play that role, he added, the government must remove its bias against the industry. Agriculture is a vital coy in the economy. It compromises one-fifty of the country’s domestic products and provides livelihood to more that 40 percent of the population. The government, Catan added, must provide agri-infrastracture such as farm to market roads for speedy access to markets, warehouse facilities for products, and a reliable irrigation system. More importantly, farmers must be assured of fruitful return for their back-breaking work. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395476/farmers‐plight#.USwih_JFyjs
Tourism, Agri, Mining Boost Dev’t February 25, 2013, 3:29pm SURIGAO CITY – The recognition of the Caraga Region as one of the fast-rising regions in the country today is based on the growing investments from the mining, tourism, and agriculture sectors. Local officials said that this growth also pushes the government’s revenue and employment generation in the 18-year-old Caraga Region. It was gathered that one of the biggest contributors of Caraga’s economic growth is mining. Because of its growth, the Caraga Region is being noted as the mining capital of the Philippines due to the presence of several mining companies conducting explorations in the region. Mining investments had been steadily increasing due to the world demand for nickel, chromite, and gold, which are abundant in the Caraga Region. These minerals are shipped to China, Japan, Australia, Greece, and other European and Asian countries. Since 2010, numerous shipments were made for nickel and chromite ores coming from largescale mining companies in Surigao del Norte, and one in Surigao del Sur. According to the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, some small-scale mining operators in Dinagat Islands, and other areas in the region also contributed to the total chromite and other ore productions. On the other hand, the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Region-13 office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-13) said the tourism and agri-fishery sectors are likewise vital drivers in the economic growth of the Caraga Region. RDC and DTI-13 officials said that for instance, tourism industry in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and other tourism areas in the Caraga Region are already gaining ground, especially Siargao Island that was recently recognized as one of the top ten tourism destinations in the world today. While food production and tree plantations, such as palm oil and rubber trees, are also contributing to the Caraga Region’s growth, which was cited by the Presidential Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in the recent Philippine Development Forum where the country’s 300 known business leaders attended in Davao City. (Mike U. Crismundo)
Rice tillers press for P10‐b aid By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 294 views
Protesting the unabated rice smuggling, farmers on Monday threatened to stop planting the next season in April, leaving some 4.6 million hectares of rice land uncultivated unless the government releases P10 billion to them as emergency aid to cope with plunging prices for the staple grain.
Farmers, rice advocates and employees of the Department of Agriculture sign up for the advocacy campaign to produce more rice during the 2013 National Year of Rice celebration held at the Department of Agriculture compound in Quezon City on Monday. (Story on A1) MANNY PALMERO Leaving the rice lands idle would be a devastating setback to the Aquino administration’s rice self-sufficiency program, said Abono party-list Chairman Rosendo So. The farmers complained that they are about to start the harvest in the next three weeks, but millers have already told them they will not be buying because their warehouses are still filled with unsold grain, now that smuggled rice has flooded the markets. So said the economic plight of the farmers was worse this year compared to 2012, when they sold their palay or unhusked rice at P17.20 a kilo for a net income of P4,000 a month. That has dropped to P14 a kilo for a net income of only P1,800 a month or a meager P60 a day because of competition from rice smuggled from Vietnam and China, So said. So said the farmers, along with party-list groups Abono and Butil and former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco will meet with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman on Wednesday their proposal that P10 billion be taken from the government’s dole program to help poor farmers. So said Alcala had agreed to discuss the problem with Soliman and also committed to submit the group’s manifesto to President Benigno Aquino III by Friday.
“Secretary Alcala was receptive and open to study the proposal,” So said. “For one harvest season, farmers usually have a gross return of P60,000 for five months with the price of palay at P17.20 per kilo. Minus cropping expenses of about P40,000, that leaves farmers at least P4,000 a month (in income),” So said. “But nobody is buying because warehouses are still filled to the rafters. Retailers cannot compete with smuggled rice flooding the country. If our proposal is adopted, the farm gate price of rice will hit the P23 per kilo mark, defeating the efforts of rice smugglers to undercut the market and ensuring a stable and affordable price of rice for all,” he added. Based on the computation, So said allocating P10 billion of the P44.5 billion conditional cash transfer budget to farmers would allow them to sell palay at a discounted price of P14 per kilo from P17.20, with the Social Welfare Department financing the P3.20 a kilo. “The rice subsidy would result in killing the smuggling operations as a discounted cavan price of P1,150 will be able to compete with smuggled rice that is being sold at P1,200 per cavan,” So said. Without government help through the CCT expansion, farmers will have to sell their palay at a loss and earn only P9,000 per cropping season or P1,800 per month. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/rice‐tillers‐press‐for‐p10‐b‐aid/
DA to expand vegetable-farming project in Bilibid Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Monday, 25 February 2013 19:55 Written by Max V. de Leon / Reporter THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is expanding its vegetable-farming project inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. The project was launched on January 27, 2012, through the DA’s High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). According to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, the next phase of the project includes expanding 4 hectares for the commercial production of vegetables; providing seeds, cultivators, farm tools and plastic water drums; establishing a wood vinegar chamber and vermicomposting facility; and continued monitoring and technical assistance. The next phase comes after the project completed its first and second phases. The first started in February 2012 when 3,900 square meters were planted with hot pepper with a harvested volume of 1,200 kilograms. The second began in November when vegetables like upo (white squash), ampalaya (bitter gourd), stringbeans, okra, cucumber, eggplant, squash, tomato, kangkong (water spinach) and saluyot (jute) were planted in 3,000 square meters. Alcala’s disclosure of the project expansion came after the DA-HVCDP finished a season-long training for inmates in the prison’s minimum-security camp and Bureau of Corrections employees. The training started in October. He encouraged the participating prisoners to continue vegetable farming once they are released from prison. “The DA will continue to assist you in farming even after your prison terms,” Alcala told the prisoners as he expressed hope that the training they received would equip them with the means to sustain a livelihood.To ensure that the prisoners would continue to receive support, Alcala asked for a list of freed convicts for follow-up extensions. He said the Vegetable Importers, Exporters & Vendors Association will provide marketing support for the participating prisoners. (With PNA) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/9773‐da‐to‐expand‐ vegetable‐farming‐project‐in‐bilibid
PhilRice Recipient AGFUND Holds Award Ceremonies Here February 25, 2013, 8:28pm The Arab Gulf Programme For Development (AGFUND), a non-profit Arab region development organization based in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is holding a three-day event in Manila, Philippines that will include the awarding of its AGFUND International Prize. The event, which started on February 25, 2013, is being held at the new Fairmont Hotel in Makati City. It would recognize poverty alleviation development projects from 2010 to 2012. Among the recipients include a Filipino institution, The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for its Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OPAPA) project. This would be the first time that the Philippines will host the AGFUND. It will also be the first time that the winners of the annual prize from 2010 to 2011 would come together due in part to the event being postponed in its official host Egypt. Other countries that have hosted the AGFUND International Prize are Geneva, Paris, New Delhi, Tunis, Cape Town, Warsaw, Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur. Manila will be the 10th “Prize Station” within 12 years ever since the Prize has been launched on 1999. The “Prize Station” is selected as per specific criteria approved by the Prize Committee. The Filipino recipient of the 2010 Prize in the Government Category is the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), which won US$100,000 (approximately P4 million). Its project is the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OPAPA), an online learning portal that provides continuing education to farmers and agriculture professionals. The project, which offers information in several Filipino languages, also provides lessons and professional assistance through mobile text messaging, allowing them to reach more farmers in the countryside. AGFUND focuses on programs that support poverty alleviation and sustainability of development projects. Each year the award has specific themes that project proponents from participating countries must adhere to. In the case of the OPAPA, the theme was information and communications technology (ICT) and youth empowerment. Since its inception in 1999 there have been 1,602 nominations from 130 countries for the Prize. There have been 42 pioneering and innovative projects winning the Prize. The Prize covers 25 developmental subjects in the fields of poverty fighting, health, education, training, development of early childhood, water, combating negative phenomena and agriculture. Attending the Award Ceremony tomorrow (February 27) are: Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines Jejomar Binay and Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Arab Gulf Programme for Development. Apart from the award, AGFUND officials will also announce its plans to open up their first ‘bank for the poor’ in the Philippines, with the goal of supporting the poorest segment of Philippine society by establishing a national microfinance institution. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395555/philrice‐recipient‐agfund‐holds‐award‐ceremonies‐here#.USwb7PJFyjs
& Â ÂÁ È! Posted on February 25, 2013 09:40:33 PM
Small farmers, fisher folk get P39.9‐billion loans from Landbank SMALL FARMERS and fisher folk received P39.9 billion in loans last year, the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) said in a statement yesterday. Landbank said that it "further strengthened its support to small farmers and fisher folk with loan releases that benefited some 773,000 individuals. "Landbank remains aggressive in channelling assistance to the farming and fisheries sector as we aim to further strengthen and sustain their viability to accelerate the development of rural economies," the statement, quoting Landbank President and Chief Executive Gilda E. Pico, said. Out of the P39.9 billion, P39.6 billion was released to small farmers and P323 million to fishermen. The loans were given through around 900 farmers and fishermen cooperatives, 300 countryside financial institutions and 200 irrigators’s associations. In terms of agricultural activity, P18.4 billion went to crop production while P3.8 billion were for livestock production. According to the statement, the remaining P17.7 billion were loans for wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, agri‐processing and fishery among others. Small farmers and fishermen in Central Luzon received bulk of the loan releases with P9.9 billion, followed by Cagayan Valley with P5.1 billion and Central Visayas with P4.9 billion. Meanwhile, Landbank grew its loan portfolio for its priority sectors by 19.21% to P205.3 billion last year from P172.1 billion in 2011. "The P205.3 billion makes up 75% of the bank’s gross loan portfolio of P273.8 billion in 2012," a statement from the bank read.According to the statement, Landbank’s priority sectors are: small farmers (including agrarian reform beneficiaries and their associations); small fishermen and their associations; and micro, small and medium enterprises, among others. ‐‐ RJRP http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Small‐farmers,‐fisher‐folk‐get‐ P39.9‐billion‐loans‐from‐Landbank&id=66378
P30M agri products destroyed in Maguindanao, NCotabato floods (philstar.com) | Updated February 25, 2013 ‐ 11:44am
Dozens of farming enclaves at the border of North Cotabato and Maguindanao are now underwater following heavy rains last week that caused big rivers straddling through the border of the two towns to swell and inundate vast tracts of riverside farmlands. A member of a 50‐man relief team dispatched to the area by the ARMM's regional government (inset) inspects the food provisions they are to distribute to evacuees displaced by the floods. ‐ John Unson
COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Authorities said at least P30-million worth of rice and corn crops have been destroyed by floods that inundated low-lying areas in the adjoining Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces following last week’s torrential rains in surrounding hinterlands. Pombaen Karon Kader, assistant secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said in Maguindanao’s Montawal town alone, 6, 423 families have relocated to the higher areas of the Cotabato-Davao Highway.Kaders said some 90 percent of the evacuees are dependents of farmers. “Their farms have become seas of vast floodwaters,” Kader said. Kader led a relief mission on Sunday in Montawal and Pagalungan town, also in Maguindanao. The relief mission was organized by the office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hatamam, who also serves as the chairman of the ARMM's regional disaster risk reduction and management council. The provincial government of Maguindanao earlier dispatched a relief team to attend to the needs of the evacuees and the Kader said the relief suppliess consisted of rice, canned sardines, instant noodles, milk and coffee. More than 40 villages in North Cotabato’s Kabacan, Pikit, Midsayap and Pigcawayan towns have also been inundated when the Rio Grande De Mindanao and its tributaries overflowed because of the heavy rains last week. - John Unson http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/02/25/913007/p30m‐agri‐products‐destroyed‐maguindanao‐ ncotabato‐floods
Rice Farmers Mull Boycott Over Rampant Smuggling By Ben R. Rosario February 25, 2013, 6:45pm MANILA, Philippines --- Protesting government’s alleged inability to stop rampant rice smuggling, farmers with small landholdings yesterday vowed to stop planting rice next cropping season unless state agencies are able to address the problem. Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So said farmers agreed to reconsider their decision to boycott their rice fields if government agrees to include them as recipients of the conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. So warned that a massive farmers’ boycott would result in the non-cultivation of some 4,689,980 hectares of rice lands, at least 3,163,182 hectares of which are irrigated. So urged Malacañang to act on the problem to avert a “devastating setback” to the government’s much-vaunted rice sufficiency program. The agriculture sector, particularly rice and corn farmers and millers, have assailed the seeming inability of the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Agriculture to put an end to unabated smuggling of rice. Farmers and millers said the entry of huge shipments of smuggled rice has drastically reduced the cost of palay, thus, resulting in ridiculously low prices of their harvest. So said farmers’ economic plight for this year is worse than last year when they sold their palay at P17.2 per kilo or a net income of P4,000 a month, unlike this year when rice farmers are expected to sell their palay to as low as P14 per kilo, which means they will be selling their palay at a loss of P3.2 per kilo. The agriculture leader made observation as he disclosed that a copy of the manifesto signed by farmers, millers, retailers, and other allied agricultural groups calling for an expansion of the CCT program as a counterbalance to the unabated grains smuggling has been transmitted to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. Secretary Alcala, for his part, agreed to talk with Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and has committed to give the manifesto to President Benigno Aquino III. “He was receptive and open to study the proposal. We will meet with DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman on Wednesday to discuss this proposal further,” So disclosed.
“For one harvest season, farmers usually have a gross return of P60,000 for five months with the price of palay at P17.20 per kilo. Minus cropping expenses of about P40,000, that leaves farmers at least P4,000 a month,” So said. “But nobody is buying because warehouses are still filled to the rafters. Retailers cannot compete with smuggled rice flooding the country. If our proposal is adopted by the government and the DSWD, the price of rice will hit the P23 per kilo mark, defeating the efforts of rice smugglers to undercut the market and ensuring a stable and affordable price of rice for all,” he added. Based on the computation, allocating a fourth of the CCT budget or about P10 billion to farmers would allow them to sell palay at a discounted price of P14 per kilo from P17.20, the expected price dip of the grain due to the flooding of the market of smuggled rice. Doing so will ensure that market competition would kill smuggling operations as a discounted cavan price of P1,150 will be able to compete with smuggled rice being sold at P1,200 per cavan. But without government help through the CCT expansion, farmers will have to sell their palay at a loss and earn only P9,000 per cropping season or P1,800 per month. “At less than P2,000 a month, there is no incentive for farmers to plant palay. We will face a rice crisis and our food security will be undermined by rice smugglers,” So said. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395526/rice‐farmers‐mull‐boycott‐over‐rampant‐ smuggling#.USwbMfJFyjs
Gov’t Raising 2014 Foreign Borrowings By Chino S. Leyco February 25, 2013, 8:30pm The Aquino administration is looking at raising the government’s foreign borrowing next year, data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed yesterday. Under the government’s macroeconomic assumptions for 2014, President Aquino may likely source 19 percent of his administration’s financing requirement from the offshore markets, higher compared with 14 percent ceiling this year. With the increase in foreign borrowings, the government’s domestic borrowings would drop to 81 percent from 86 percent in 2013. Data from the DBM showed that the government’s gross borrowings next year may reach P738.4 billion. Of the amount, P598.1 billion will be sourced from the domestic market, while the remaining P140.3 billion is from offshore markets. The borrowing program for next year is higher by 38 percent compared with P535 billion target for 2013. However, the component of foreign borrowings in the government’s financing program for 2014 remains in line with the Department of Finance’s (DOF) target of borrowing more from local sources, or up to 80 percent. Meanwhile, National Treasurer Rosalia B. de Leon said in a text message that the government’s borrowing mix may still change. “The mix was decided last January, and it may change the same way as last year when we originally planned a 75:25 borrowing mix, but we ended 84:16. It will all depend on market conditions,” De Leon said.Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima earlier said that the government was leaning towards borrowing more within the country because the domestic market is awash with cash. Meanwhile, the government’s budget deficit next year is seen to reach P266.2 billion, slightly wider than this year’s P238-billion ceiling, but remained at 2.0 percent of the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP). The GDP pegged at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent next year, while inflation is expected to range between 3.0 percent and 5.0 percent.The Aquino administration’s national budget for next year has been capped at P2.268 trillion, higher by 13 percent compared with P2.006 trillion for this year. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/395556/gov‐t‐raising‐2014‐foreign‐borrowings#.USwc5_JFyjs
Economy Posted on February 25, 2013 09:48:22 PM By Bettina Faye V. Roc, Reporter
BIR releases rules on cash advances DEPOSITS or cash advances received by general professional partnerships (GPPs), such as accounting or law firms, from their clients or customers may be claimed by the latter as deductions to their gross income if they are covered by official receipts, the tax bureau has said.
Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 16‐2013 dated Feb. 15 supplements RMC 89‐2012 dated Dec. 27, 2012 to provide the policies and guidelines on the deductibility of such deposits or advances for the purpose of income tax payments. RMC 89‐2012 had clarified that payments made to GPPs by their customers or clients can only be claimed as deductions to their taxable gross income once by any one of the contracting parties. "It is common business practice for General professional partnerships such as accounting firms or law firms: (1) to require their clients to deposit a sum of money to them to be used to cover necessary expenses; and/or (2) to pay in advance the necessary expenses on behalf of their client," the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said in the issuance. "However, since the official receipts or invoices covering these expenses incurred on behalf of the client are issued by the third party establishments in the name of the firm (GPP), instances occur when these expenses are claimed as deductions to gross income by both the firm and the client. As a result, the same expense is twice claimed as deductions contrary to the provisions of the Tax Code," it said. The December memorandum from the BIR stressed that such deposits or advances may only be claimed as deductible expenses by the party named in the receipt or invoice.RMC 16‐2013, meanwhile, states that for every cash deposit or advances received by a GPP from clients or customers, the GPP must issue an official receipt or invoice covering the entire amount paid. This, it said, shall be booked as outright income of the GPP and shall be subject to value‐added tax or percentage tax, if applicable. For the client’s part, the deposit or cash advance made to the GPP shall be recorded as its own expenses for income tax purposes and may be claimed as deductions from gross income, provided that they are duly substantiated by official receipts invoices, the February issuance said. Upon payment of such deposits or advances, clients or customers of GPPs must also withhold, if applicable, the relevant withholding taxes on the payment and remit this to the BIR. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=BIR‐releases‐rules‐on‐cash‐ advances&id=66382
& Â ÂÁ È! Posted on February 25, 2013 09:42:41 PM By Emilia Narni J. David, Senior Reporter
GFIs lend P30 billion to SMEs GOVERNMENT financial institutions lent a total of P30.4 billion to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the Access of Small Enterprises to Sound Lending Opportunities (ASENSO) program last year, the Trade department said in a statement yesterday. "These loans made available under the ASENSO Program empower SMEs that make significant contributions to the Philippine economy," said Benel P. Lagua, president of Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) and ASENSO finance committee chairman. "The journey was not smooth and the challenges were many but at the end of the day, and when the numbers add up, the success made through the years is still modest," Mr. Lagua added. The ASENSO program is a government‐led financing program for SMEs. It is the initiative of nine government finance institutions and three other agencies aiming to "create an SME‐friendly lending environment." Under the program, the government has released a total of P272.6 billion since 2004. This was released to 325,132 SMEs and helped to employ 3.9 million Filipinos. Members of the initiative are Trade and Social Welfare departments, the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), SB Corp., People’s Credit and Finance Corp., National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC)., Philippine Export‐Import Credit Agency (PhilEXIM), Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System (SSS), Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (Quedancor), and the National Anti‐Poverty Commission. "In 2012, retail and wholesale lending to SMEs was led by the Landbank with a total of P23.3 billion loan releases. The Landbank was followed by DBP with total loan releases of P3.3 billion. The others are SB Corp. with P2 billion loan releases, NLDC with P736 million, Quedancor with P385 million, PhilEXIM with P346 million, and SSS with P354 million," the Trade department said. SB Corp. is an attached agency of the Trade department. SB Corp. earlier said that it has recorded increases in its loans to SMEs last year.
The firm was able to bring up its credit guarantee facility by 119% to P87.9 million in 2012 from P40.2 million in the year previous. SMEs that were guaranteed by the firm also went up 96% to 49 from 25. "Last year, the corporation’s wholesale micro‐finance lending reached P1.77 billion. Out of this amount, P366.2 million was released to 12 out of 19 poorest provinces in the country" Mr. Lagua said. SB Corp.’s retail lending to SMEs also went up 7.9% to P580.45 million from P537.84 million in 2011. SB Corp. provides financing aid to SMEs through loans and other financing programs. On Jan. 29, SB Corp. said the number of banks that availed of its SME notes went up and increased the value of acquired notes to P1.18 billion. ‐ See more at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=GFIs‐lend‐P30‐ billion‐to‐SMEs&id=66379#sthash.9cwx6SV9.dpuf http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=GFIs‐lend‐P30‐billion‐to‐ SMEs&id=66379
FDA pushes for calorie labels on food products By Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:33 pm | Monday, February 25th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines–Worried over the growing number of Filipinos with bigger waists, health officials are introducing a new tack that would help consumers count calories and make healthier food choices. For starters, the Food and Drug Administration has already issued a circular for food manufacturers–including fast food chains—encouraging them to place proper labeling of energy or calorie content on their products. According to the circular, the label must be at the lower right hand portion of the food product, stating how many calories are in a serving and its percentage based on the recommended energy and nutrient intakes (RENI) or internationally approved minimum daily requirements. Dr. Anthony Leachon, the Department of Health consultant on non-communicable diseases, noted that the recommended calorie intake for women is 1,500 and 2,000 for men daily. It is advisable that Filipinos should aim for 500 calories a meal only, he said. To achieve this, one must divide his or her plate into four and each portion must consist of the following: a serving of fruit equal to 50 calories; vegetables (50 calories); one cup of rice (200 calories) and protein (200 calories). For proteins, fish or chicken (100 calories each) are recommended. “If eating pork or beef, take only small portions,” said Leachon. In the circular, FDA director Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go stated that the FDA shall allow the use of “fact-based” labeling to provide a simple and immediate way for Filipino consumers to make healthier food choices. “Front-of-pack labeling aims to improve renewed interest and heighten awareness of consumers on energy content of the products,” stated Go. The circular also urged food industries to carry out campaigns through posters and other advertising materials to boost consumer awareness on the “front-of-pack” food labeling. “All interested food manufacturers/distributors are required to submit the revised labels of their processed food products reflecting the front-of-pack labeling for nutrient-energy with the corresponding % RENI to FDA for approval,” it noted.
While the FDA circular was not mandatory, Leachon said the DOH will pursue legislation in the next Congress. He stressed that food labeling in products sold in the market and even in fast food restaurants must be made mandatory due to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among Filipinos brought about by unhealthy diet, among other factors. He cited 2011 records from the National Statistics Coordination Board and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showing that 27 percent of Filipino adults are overweight in 2008, a marked increase from the 17 percent in 1993. At least seven percent of Filipino children aged 5 to 10 years old were also found to be overweight in the same year compared to the 5.8 percent culled in 2003. Filipinos afflicted with diabetes have reached 10 million now while those with hypertension due to high salt obesity have been pegged at 25 million. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/364805/fda‐pushes‐for‐calorie‐labels‐on‐food‐products
Sky turns yellow for 27th Edsa anniversary By Jamie Elona INQUIRER.net 9:18 am | Monday, February 25th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – The sky turned yellow Monday when confetti rained down from the sky as the country celebrates the 27th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. A helicopter showered the participants of the yearly “Salubungan” with confetti when they reached the People Power Monument in Quezon City around 8:30 a.m. The participants, which included military, police officials, members of the church, nongovernment units and other sectors, shook hands as yellow confetti fell from the sky. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/364653/sky‐turns‐yellow‐for‐27th‐edsa‐anniversary
Ban on compulsory, distant field trips sought (philstar.com) | Updated February 25, 2013 ‐ 11:40am
MANILA, Philippines In the aftermath of recent tragic field trip incidents, a lawmaker has called on school authorities to ban compulsory and distant field trips for the safety of students and to spare parents from paying costly excursion expenses. Rep. Pedro Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin) urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) after seven people, including two students and two teachers of the Marinduque State College, who just finished a field trip in Baguio City died when their bus collided with a 14-wheeler truck along Marcos Highway in Benguet last Thursday. Earlier on February 8, a bus ran over two high school students of Holy Spirit Academy during a field trip at Camp Mateo Capinpin, killing one of them. “I don’t see the wisdom of requiring field trips. During our time, we did not have field trips, but we managed to learn a lot in school,” said Romualdo, a Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Justice. He said requiring students to travel far exposes them to accidents and also imposes additional financial burden on parents who have to shoulder their children’s numerous travel expenses like fare, board and lodging, and allowances. Romualdo further said it was questionable why school authorities have to choose distant destinations when field trips can be done in nearer areas that offer the same learning experience to students. “For example in our province, why should our students need to travel to as far as Cebu when they can just go to Misamis Oriental or Cagayan de Oro? Choosing faraway destinations only turns students into tourists. What’s the purpose of these field trips?" he said. Even while he was a governor, Romualdo said he was against field trips because of the financial burden they entail on parents. A lot of parents were forced to solicit from his office because they could not afford the costly field trips of their children, according to him. "I don’t want parents to solicit money to pay for their children’s field trips. Who is earning from these field trips at the expense of students and parents? On the part of students, they are forced to join the field trips otherwise they will flunk in their subject or course,” said Romualdo. Romualdo said back then, he wrote to the DepEd and CHED officials to ban field trips for the welfare of students and parents. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/02/25/913000/ban‐compulsory‐distant‐field‐trips‐sought
Gov't confident of sustaining high economic growth (philstar.com) | Updated February 25, 2013 ‐ 11:00pm
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippine government said it is confident of achieving high economic growth in 2013 and 2014 despite external risks such as the uncertainty in Europe and the fiscal problem in the United States. Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the manufacturing and construction sectors will help boost gross domestic product (GDP) which is projected to grow by 6 percent to 7 percent this year and 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2014. Balisacan said government spending for public infrastructure projects will increase construction activities. "Also, manufacturing is expected to be more vibrant, particularly semiconductor and electronics, food manufacturing, and light manufacturing industries," he said in a presentation. Balisacan said the services sector including business process outsourcing will continue to significantly contribute to the country's GDP. While the farm sector remains vulnerable to typhoons, Balisacan said the government's "conscious effort" in pursuing programs and projects will ensure that local food production will be robust. Aside from the uncertainty in the euro zone and the fiscal problem in the United States, he said Philippine economic performance could also be threatened by oil price increases due to higher global demand for petroleum products. Last year, Philippine economy grew by 6.6 percent on the back of the strong performance of the services and industry sectors. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/02/25/913313/govt‐confident‐sustaining‐high‐economic‐ growth
President Aquino signs a law By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 76 views
President Aquino signs a law providing reparations to victims of human rights violations during the Marcos martial law regime as part of the 27th Edsa commemoration rites. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other Lawmakers witness the signing. Manny Palmero
Palace welcomes orphans By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 100 views
Malacañang welcomes orphansMalacañang opens its gates to welcome children from various orphanages. President Benigno S. Aquino III shares the stage with the children from various orphanages for a group photo souvenir during the Tatak EDSA: Salo-Salubungang Pambata for the commemorative activities of the 27th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution at the Kalayaan Grounds, Malacañan Palace on Monday (February 25, 2013). The program includes storytelling imparting Filipino values, musical performances and listening to young leaders who will take the lead in inspiring them to make their own pledges of what they can contribute for the country. The 1986 peaceful and bloodless uprising ousted the dictatorship and catapulted the late Corazon C. Aquino to the Presidency. (Photo by: Ryan Lim / Malacañang Photo Bureau) http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/palace‐welcomes‐orphans/
Point system rules pay for HR victims By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 327 views
The human rights victims during nearly 20 years of martial law under former strongman Ferdinand Marcos would be graded under a point system that would determine the amount of compensation for their suffering or loss, Malacanang said on Monday. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said a Human Rights Claim Board will assess claims of victims as provided by the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 that President Aquino signed into law during 27th anniversary celebration of the People Power Revolution. “This is an opportunity for people to prove, subject to presentation of evidence, that they were indeed victims of human rights abuses under the Marcos regime,” Lacierda said. The new law allocates P10 billion for compensation of victims who died or disappeared and believed killed, tortured, raped, detained, or forced into exile. Marcos declared martial law in 1972, but a “people power” revolt ended his strongman rule in 1986. The revolution was triggered by the assassination of former senator Benigno Aquino, the father of incumbent president Benigno Aquino III. The murder catapulted his widow, Corazon, to the presidency in 1986. Lacierda said 80 percent of the P10 billion will be set aside as compensation for human rights victims that filed a class suit against the Marcos regime and those recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, and the 20 percent will be for victims, who were not part of the class suit.
He said the those who died or disappeared and considered dead will be given 10 points; those who were tortured or raped, from four to nine points; those who were detained, from two to four points; and those forced into exile, kidnapped, sexually offended but not raped, one to four points. Deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Aquino family will not seek compensation from the P10 billion reparation fund. “Former president Corazon Aquino has stated in the past that the family is not after compensation but official recognition of the tragedy that was Martial Law,” Valte said. During the signing ceremony, President Aquino said: “While we can no longer bring back the time robbed from the victims of Martial Law, we can nonetheless ensure that the state recognizes the atrocities committed, and hopefully this will bring them closer toward healing the wounds of the past.” Sen. Francis Escudero, who sponsored the reparation and recognition bill in the Senate, said the new law was unique because it was the first time that a state recognizes a previous administration’s abuses on its citizens through reparation and recognition. “While it took all of 27 years for the state to finally recognize the atrocities it inflicted on Filipinos whose democractic rights were suppressed under Marcos, the compensation law seeks to give justice to victims of the dark days of oppression and hopefully give an assurance that it will not happen again,” Escudero said. “The expanded coverage of the law includes not only monetary compensation but also non-monetary benefits such as social and psychological assistance on victims of atrocities through different concerned government agencies. Instead of
merely calling it compensation bill, we now call it the reparation bill,” Escudero said. Senator Teofisto Guingona, co-author of the bill, said our statute books will now recognize and extend reparation to the victims of Martial Law — those who, in the quest for freedom, were killed, tortured, abducted, and unjustly harmed. “It is only when we remember the atrocities, the injustice, and the abuses that went on in our past that we, as a nation, can continue to fight against attempts to resurrect these evils. Our memory of Martial Law, kept alive and strong, will ensure that we will never have to suffer the same fate again,” Guingona said. Senator Francis Pangilinan said Filipinos should never take for granted the freedom we now enjoy because it was “paid in blood and tears of thousands of our countrymen, and it took one miraculous revolution, one where no blood was shed, to oust a dictator.” The armed forces and the military, which Marcos used to prop up his regime and suspected of killing and detaining the strongman’s political enemies, welcomed the signing of the bill into law and the compensation to human rights victims. “Our country has a very rich history and we should learn from the mistakes of the past in order to prevent the negative part of our history from repeating itself,” armed forces spokesman Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said. With Macon Ramos Araneta, Florante Solmerin and Rio N. Araja http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/point‐system‐rules‐pay‐for‐hr‐victims/
P27.5-M lost to NPA-Bukidnon raid of Del Monte, Dole firms By Florante S. Solmerin | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 811 views
An estimated P27.5 million of properties were destroyed when the New People’s Army attacked Del Monte and Dole-Stanfilco Philippines last Tuesday, February 19, in Bukidnon, Maj. Gen. Nestor Anonuevo of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said on Monday. Anonuevo figures provided by the two firms said the damage to property reached P27.5 million – P25 million in Del Monte, and P2.5 in Dole. He said the assault was a form of “economic sabotage” that is being perpetuated by the NPA against the livelihood of the people in the area. Earlier, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista condemned the NPA for attacking not only “soft targets” but also innocent civilians. “They [NPA rebels] should stop attacking…killing civilians. These are noncombatants and Del Monte Philippines is not even a soft target, it’s a civilian company, an investor in the country,” Bautista said. Bautista cited a similar incident in October 2011 in Claver, Surigao del Norte where more than 200 rebels raided the compounds of three foreign mining giants. According to estimates provided by the military, the three mining companies had lost worth P3 billion in destroyed properties. The rebels also looted the security armories of the mining firms.
In Bukidnon, around 50 rebels raided the compound of Del Monte in Manolo Fortich town, where they killed a security guard. Two other security guards were injured, while a civilian was also hit by stray bullet during the raid.\ The rebels burned offices, heavy equipment, ransacked the company’s security armory, and looted office computers and personal valuables of the employees. Simultaneously, around 30 rebels attacked the compound of Dole-Stanfilco in Impasugong town. They burned heavy equipment and company vehicles. Meanwhile, two separate groups of more than 30 rebels served as blocking force in Manolo Fortich and Sumilao towns. In Sumilao, rebels in camouflage uniforms conducted a checkpoint where they held at gunpoint a group of policemen and confiscated their high-powered firearms and service pistols. Army headquarters fired Col. James Jacob, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maharlika” Class 1984, as commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade for command responsibility. Col. Francisco Pabayo (PMA “Sandiwa” Class 1985), head of the Army’s CivilMilitary Operations (G7), replaced Jacob. Anonuevo said a Board of Inquiry is already investigating possible security lapses on the incident. Alan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command (Jiito Tito Command), said the operation against Del Monte and Dole could not have been successful without the “masses and friends who lent all-out support” to the NPA units who covered over a 50-kilometer span” of attack area. “On the other hand, we extend our sincerest apologies to the following:
First, to the motorists and passengers who were inconvenienced and to the owners of the spiked vehicles. The brief traffic obstructions in particular sections of the Cagayan De Oro—Malaybalay route was set up purposely by the operating NPA units to delay the reinforcements of AFP troops and the police and in order to avoid civilian getting caught in the crossfire should a firefight break out. We beg your consideration for the trouble,” Juanito said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/p27‐5‐m‐lost‐to‐npa‐bukidnon‐raid‐of‐del‐monte‐dole‐ firms/
Burning of trash harmful By Ferdinand Fabella | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:00am | 20 views
ENVIRONMENTALIST group Ecowaste Coalition urged the public on Monday to stop the practice of open burning of garbage, which it said releases harmful chemicals that cause serious illnesses such as cancer. The group said two major environmental laws, the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, explicitly prohibit the open burning of municipal, medical, and hazardous waste and fines violators up to P1,000. EcoWaste Vice President Ochie Tolentino said that open burning of discards has remained unrestricted in many homes, construction sites, farmlands, dumps, informal recycling sites, and even in streets and parks which he said made “a brazen mockery of our environmental laws.” Open burning of trash, Tolentino explained, emits miniscule contaminants that can irritate the eyes, throat and skin, cause headaches, weaken respiratory functions and even bring about cancers. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/burning‐of‐trash‐harmful/
Govt halts OceanaGold’s shipments By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 220 views
OceanaGold Corp. said Monday transportation of copper-gold concentrates from the Didipio mine in Nueva Vizcaya province was temporarily suspended, pending discussions with the government on tax issues. The Australian miner said “it is currently in discussions with various government departments over interpretations of tax exemptions pertaining to OceanaGold’s financial and technical assistance agreement or FTAA.” Didipio mine is the first project to commence operations under the FTAA structure. “Due to these clarifications on tax exemptions being sought, some of the trucks used for transporting concentrate are being held by local government agencies and, thus, transportation of copper-gold concentrate has been temporarily suspended,” OceanaGold said. It clarified that “while these discussions take place, mining and processing operations continue.” OceanaGold said while the discussions on tax exemptions were taking place, “ramp up of the process plant continues to track well.” The miner said some 2,500 tons of copper-gold concentrates were delivered to port while additional 2,500 tons were produced and awaiting transport from the mine site. OceanaGold is a significant Asia-Pacific gold producer with projects located on the South Island of New Zealand and in the Philippines.
The company’s assets encompass New Zealand’s largest gold mining operation at the Macraes goldfield in Otago, which is made up of the Macraes Open Pit and the Frasers underground mines. It also operates the Reefton open pit mine. Its Didipio mine in northern Luzon is expected to produce 100,000 ounces of gold and 14,000 tons of copper a year over a 16-year mine life. OceanaGold expects to produce 285,000 to 325,000 ounces of gold in fiscal year 2013 from the New Zealand and Philippine operations combined. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/govt‐halts‐oceanagolds‐shipments/
Modern coastal road airport pushed By MST Business | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 339 views
Two aviation industry advocates have strongly urged the Aquino administration to seriously look into the possibility of reclaiming new areas along the length of Coastal Road in Parañaque City and Las Piñas City and constructing a bigger and modern international airport there. In a media briefing at the Wine Museum Hotel and Resto in Pasay City, Robert Lim Joseph, founder of several organizations, including the Tourism Educators and Movers Philippines, and retired commercial pilot Amado Soliman, president of the Air Safety Foundation, said the plan was doable and more practical than constructing a new airport outside of Metro Manila. “Reclaiming land from the sea and building a modern airport there has been done in the past with success in Europe and Asia,” Joseph said. Joseph cited the Hong Kong International Airport, which covers 12.48 kilometers of reclaimed land between the islands of Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau; the Kansai International Airport in the middle of Osaka Bay off the Honshu shore which now serves as an international hub for four Japanese carriers, and Macau International Airport which was built on a patch of land reclaimed from the sea. Joseph and Soliman said they were willing to submit a plan to the Aquino government and the Transportation Department containing the details of the new airport development. Soliman said if the new airport was realized along the reclaimed Coastal Road, “this would be a legacy for President Aquino.”
He said the proposed airport would be the most viable, cost-efficient solution to the worsening air traffic and passenger congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Naia Terminals 1, 2 and 3 share a runway, resulting in air traffic congestion and forcing airport authorities to schedule international airlines to use and land in the airport late in the evening to the wee hours of the morning. This has caused inconvenience to both airlines and passengers. Soliman said double or triple parallel runways could be constructed to accommodate the increasing number of air traffic from local and international airlines and the wide bodied Boeing 777 and Airbus 380 jumbo planes and large commercial and military haulers like the Russian Antonov. He added the design of the new airport could accommodate a bigger number of international and domestic passengers than the combined Naia Terminals 1, 2 and 3. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/modern-coastal-road-airportpushed/
Fancy rice exports By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:00am | 265 views
The Philippines will export 300,000 metric tons of fancy rice by 2016 to prevent a possible glut in the local market as a result of import liberalization, an official of the Agriculture Department said Monday. Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dante Delima said the Philippines aimed to prevent a possible drop in local prices due to the projected influx of cheaper imported rice. The Philippines under its commitment to the World Trade Organization will allow 350,000 metric tons of rice under minimum access volume with a 50-percent tariff rate. â€œIf you recall, we have MAV of 350,000 metric tons this year. If we have a rice surplus, this will probably cause a glut in the market resulting to lower prices of rice,â€? Delima said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/fancy-rice-exports/
Uy Gongco bucks CP Foods By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:01am | 138 views
La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp., one of the country’s biggest hog producers and meat processors, has asked the Trade Department to level the playing field between foreign and local investors in the face of the fiscal incentives granted to Charoen Pokphand Food Philippines Corp. of Thailand. “Our suggestion is to level the playing field. There should be no prohibition on foreign investments but the government should only give incentives to companies that will introduce new ideas,” said La Filipina president Alfonso Uy. La Filipina referred a study it did on the proposed P2.3-billion investment of the controversial Thai company to the government. Uy said since the country already had a thriving livestock industry, “there is no need for new investments in that area.” Local production actually is in surplus, with many local hog raisers not getting their fair share of return due to a high production cost compared with the farmgate price of pork. “I think what is important here is that we encourage everybody to pay tax, so that the government should not be giving tax incentives to areas where it not needed,” he said. The Trade Department may reduce the level of fiscal incentives granted to Charoen to let it stay and continue operating in the Philippines. Trade officials said Malacañang declined to delist livestock project in the proposed Investment Priority Plan for 2013 on the presumption that the Thai company would effectively bring down the cost of pork and chicken meat to levels affordable to many Filipinos.
The Trade Department is conducting public hearings to incorporate the perspective of the local industry on the issue following the protest raised by hog raisers and poultry growers when Charoen received the tax incentives. Charoen Philippines, a unit of Thailandâ€™s Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. Ltd., is an export-oriented company that plans to ship out as much as 60 percent of its output to the rest of Asia. The company suffered severe criticisms from the local livestock sector and supporting industries after the Trade Department granted the Thai company a pioneer status for a multi-billion peso livestock project. Charoen will establish parent stock farms in Tarlac and Pangasinan as well as six broiler farms in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. The farms are expected to produce up to 21,847 metric tons annually. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/26/uy-gongco-bucks-cp-foods/
LandBank lends P39.9b By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:00am | 70 views State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines said Monday it extended P39.9 billion in loans to small farmers and fisherfolk in 2012, benefiting 772,892 small farmers and fisherfolk. LandBank released P39.6 billion to small farmers and P323 million to fishermen. The bank channeled the loan releases through 888 farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives, 313 countryside financial institutions and 160 irrigatorsâ€™ associations. LandBank said loans to crop production stood at P18.4 billion while credits to livestock projects reached P3.8 billion. â€œLandBank remains aggressive in channeling assistance to the farming and fisheries sector as we aim to further strengthen and sustain their viability to accelerate the development of rural economies,â€? said LandBank president and chief executive Gilda Pico.
101-YEAR-OLD MARATHON RUNNER SHINES AT LAST RACE Published on 25 February 2013 Hits: 298 Written by AFP
Fauja ‘Turbaned Tornado’ Singh AFP PHOTO
HONG KONG: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world’s oldest distance runner retired Sunday after ending his last race in Hong Kong on a high, describing it as one of the “happiest days” of his long life. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the “Turbaned Tornado,” finished the 10kilometer run at the Hong Kong Marathon in one hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds—half a minute faster than at the same event last year. “Today is one of my happiest days,” the Indian-born British, who only speaks Punjabi, said through his interpreter after he crossed the finishing line with a broad smile and waving the Hong Kong flag. “I felt so fresh and so good. I felt I’m full of power today. “I will remember this day and I will miss it, but I will not stop running for charity,” added Singh, who was mobbed by supporters when he completed his final competitive event, weeks before he turns 102 on April 1. The centenarian, a farmer in his home state of Punjab before settling in England, became an international sensation and made headlines worldwide
after he took up the sport at the ripe age of 89. He has since completed nine 42-kilometer marathons in London, Toronto and New York City. His best time was in Toronto, where he clocked five hours, 40 minutes and four seconds. The great-great-grandfather has said that while he is quitting competitive events, he will not stop running for personal fitness. In Hong Kong, on Sunday, he ran with 100 supporters from a community group “Sikhs in the City,” forming a group of 101 to mark his age. Group member Karamjit Singh said the runner was in top form throughout on a breezy and slightly overcast morning in the southern Chinese city. “Apart from a toilet break at about 6km into the run and at one point he nearly slipped due to wet ground, he did not stop, he just kept on going,” Karamjit, a nurse who lives in Hong Kong, told Agence France-Presse. “It’s amazing. We’re always proud of him.” The 101-year-old, who has attributed his longevity to a positive attitude and simple lifestyle, was in high spirits and cracked jokes with journalists several times after finishing the race. “Actually I was expecting a much faster [finishing time],” he laughed. “When I reached mid-point, people reminded me that it was halfway already, though I thought it was only one-third of it,” said Singh, whose name Fauja means “soldier”. He was one of the top fund raisers at the event, after raising HK$160,000 ($20,630) for a charity to help disabled athletes in Hong Kong. Singh was inspired to take up marathons after he saw television coverage of one 12 years ago. It was not long after the death of his wife and a son, at
a time when he said he needed a new focus in life. Although widely regarded as the worldâ€™s oldest marathon runner, Guinness World Records has not certified him since Singh cannot prove his birth date. He has said there were no birth certificates available when he was born under British colonial rule. But Singh has won widespread accolades. He was a torchbearer for the 2004 Athens games and last yearâ€™s London Olympics, and appeared in advertisement for a major sports brand several years ago alongside the likes of David Beckham and Muhammad Ali. His trainer has said Singh will continue his routine of running 16 kilometers a day even after retirement from competitive events. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines-mt/42265-101-year-oldmarathon-runner-shines-at-last-race
Simplify labor regulations for more jobs – NEDA Published on 25 February 2013 Hits: 199 Written by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter
To generate more and better quality employment, labor regulations must be simplified to enable industries to adapt to the country’s changing economic structure, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). In his presentation during the 2013 Managers Association of the Philippines First Economic Briefing and General Membership Meeting, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that despite some possible external risks, the Philippine economy is expected to remain strong this year until 2014. “The country is seen to maintain its sound macroeconomic fundamentals and continue improving its investment climate through policy and regulatory reforms and infrastructure development,” he stated. Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director general, noted that in order to sustain the expansion of the economy, the country must ensure that said growth benefits everyone, regardless of location or social status. “Although we do not yet have official data on poverty for 2012, it appears that self-rated poverty and severe hunger are on the decline, based on the most recent SWS [Social Weather Stations] Survey on Hunger and Poverty,” he said. The Cabinet official added that at the heart of the poverty problem is the inadequacy of jobs, especially decent, high-quality jobs. He further said that although job creation between 2010 and 2012 has been
quite significant, the level of unemployment has been quite high with 7.4 percent in 2010 and 7 percent in 2012. Balisacan mentioned that the government will also continue to address problems of skills mismatch, adding that it will also make the country’s industries and workforce competitive and productive by investing in research and development, technology and human resource development. “We will also push for efforts to provide a level playing field to encourage greater competition among industries to maximize the country’s economic potential and reduce wage cost,” he stated. Meanwhile, the Cabinet official reported that agriculture will remain a priority sector to meet the needs of the country’s growing population and to take advantage of market opportunities in fast growing countries in Asia, noting that increasing productivity in the sector is key to poverty reduction in the rural areas. “Keeping in mind that economic growth and development is directed towards improving the quality of life of all Filipinos, both the present and future generation, we are committed to set high priority to health and education of our people,” he said. Balisacan cited the government’s program on conditional cash transfer (CCT), which addresses not just current poverty, but also equips the children in CCT households to escape the binds of inter-generational poverty. He also mentioned that the K-to-12 program in education will improve the competitiveness of Filipino graduates against their counterparts from the rest of the world. http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/top-business-news/42220simplify-labor-regulations-for-more-jobs-neda
Posted on February 25, 2013 09:34:34 PM
Outsourcing cited as biggest labor threat TACLOBAN CITY -- Two labor union leaders here have expressed concern over the outsourcing and contractualization of jobs. Rene V. de los Reyes, president of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) Tongonan Worker’s Union, many private companies have decided to outsource business processes that were previously handled by regular employees, reducing membership in labor unions. "This is the biggest threat to a worker’s group. A company hires people from agencies that are not members of the union," Mr. de los Reyes said. Arthur W. Estrera, president of Concerned Organization of Progressive PASAR Employees (COPPER), said about 30% of the jobs at the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR) in Isabel, Leyte were outsourced last year. -- SQM
Posted on February 25, 2013 10:06:47 PM
Speed limit coverage extended THE METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will start implementing today the extended speed limit on Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City. The 60-kilometer-per-hour (kph) speed limit from Batasan/Sandiganbayan to Doña Carmen, Fairview will be implemented "tomorrow [today]… to reduce accidents," MMDA Chairman Francis N. Tolentino said in a text message. The MMDA is implementing the speed limit from the Philippine Coconut Authority to Batasan/Sandiganbayan along Commonwealth under MMDA Regulation No. 11-001 that took effect on Feb. 18, 2011. The regulation set the speed limit along Commonwealth "as a measure to prevent, if not eradicate, reckless driving in this so-called killer highway." According to the MMDA Web site, the number of "overspeeding contact apprehensions" on Commonwealth totaled 23,798 as of Feb. 21. -- K. M. P. Tubadeza
Posted on February 25, 2013 10:03:42 PM
Subsidy proposals sought CIVIL SOCIETY groups have been asked to submit proposals on monitoring the cash subsidy program of the government, the World Bank (WB) said yesterday. "Civil society groups with winning proposals will work with communities, local governments and service providers in checking whether Pantawid Pamilya [Pilipino Program] (4Ps) beneficiaries are receiving their cash transfers on time and the correct amount," the WB said in a statement. 4Ps gives a family living below the poverty line P1,400 per month or P500 per mother and P300 each for up to three children provided children aged 3-14 years old will attend at least 85% of classes, avail of regular visits to health centers while mothers undergo pre and postnatal care. Group with winning proposals will receive grant ranging from $500,000 to $1 million. -- KMPT
How about compensation for NPA victims? — Marcos • •
Written by Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 26 February 2013 00:00
While many senators applaud President Aquino for signing into law the Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 during the 27th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolt, the son and namesake of the supposed offender that was subject of the law, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., voiced out what he describes as discriminations and inequalities in the law in recognizing soldiers who also suffered from the hands of communist insurgents or the New People’s Army (NPA) during the period. Marcos also unleashed a mouthful against some “traditional politicians” who have rallied behind the bill and had coined themselves as “freedom fighters” but had not contributed to the upliftment of the country’s situation since the bloodless revolt nearly three decades ago. Marcos, through his Facebook account, expressed his views on the reparation law that will provide P10 billion financial compensation and recognition to Filipinos who suffered under the martial rule of his late father by pointing out the bill completely disregarded the soldiers who suffered or were killed by communist guerillas during the Martial Law period and other victims of human rights violations beyond the Marcos administration. The senator was quick to emphasize that he does not oppose compensation for the victims of supposed atrocities during the reign of his father and even admitted that some parts of the bill are by themselves “reasonable and more importantly, are fittingly imbued with compassion.” Having deliberately inhibited himself from the deliberations of the bill, “knowing very well the futility of my views being heard without people presuming me biased,” Senator Marcos rebuked the exclusion of other
“legitimate” victims such as the soldiers who were captured, tortured, and pitilessly killed by insurgents during the same period that the bill covers, from 1972 to 1986. “I, personally, have no problem with that. As a legislator, I did not participate in the discussions and deliberations on the bill,” he said. “However, it begs some questions to be asked: what about the other human rights victims of the last 27 years? Why did the legislators have a mind to address the human rights issue selectively? Why differentiate between a person tortured in the 70’s and one tortured in the 90’s? By default, the victims of human rights violations from 1987 onward get nothing in compensation for the atrocities they suffered solely because they happened under another administration,” he pointed out. “To treat their situations with less concern and sympathy is blatantly and cruelly discriminatory and unjust. “Wives of brave soldiers were widowed at very young ages and their children, made fatherless,” Marcos added. “The legitimate human rights victims during Martial Law deserve the compensation they will get but why should the other likewise legitimate human rights victims not deserve it, too?” he added. The senator further underscored the fact that the situation was far worse than the period covered by the said law, noting the report that tagged the Philippines as the most dangerous country to live in for a journalist. “This was never the case at anytime up to 1986; so, though we may have a free press today, the extraordinarily high number of murdered journalists that gave us the notorious label of ‘most dangerous’, occurred many years after 1986 and the killings have continued unabated to this day. Again, these victims, from the ranks of media no less, have not been given the attention they deserve. “Conclusively, the obvious and glaring question is: what about the tens of thousands of human rights victims of the post Marcos era — the last 27 years? “That question is like an ‘elephant in the room’ that some politicians, the typically glib, sanctimonious, and self righteous, pretend not to see,” he said. “In addressing only the human rights violations from 1972 to 1986, a total of 14 years, and ignoring the thousands of documented violations that were committed in the last 27 years (that’s double the number of years covered by the bill), what emerges from that is a writing on the wall that screams politics,” he added. Marcos also criticized those who, year after year, he accused of grandstanding and those who continue to engage in the blame game.
High CAR of banks good for local economy — BSP • •
Written by Ed Velasco
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 00:00
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday the very good capital adequacy ratios (CARs) of universal and commercial banks (UKBs) both in solo and consolidated basis is a very good indication that the banking industry is in rock-solid financial condition. Deputy governor for supervision and examination sector Nestor Espenilla said the biggest winner on the very good CAR of UKBs is the economy as it will serve as window for investors wanting to pour money in any sector of the economy. “Banks’ strong CAR position gives them the maneuvering room to lend. That’s very positive for the economy,” Espenilla told The Daily Tribune. UKBs’ CAR has improved to 16.87 percent and 17.96 percent on solo and consolidated basis, respectively, as of end-June 2012. Total tier 1 ratio of UKBs also remains high at 14.33 percent and 14.46 percent on solo and consolidated basis, respectively. Tier 1 capital is the core measure of a bank’s financial strength from a regulator’s point of view. However, risk weighted assets (RWAs) of UKBs rose to 2.15 percent and 2.08 percent on solo and consolidated basis, respectively. The rise was due to higher corporate and consumer loans and investments to debt securities issued by unrated counterparties. The deputy governor said earlier the Philippine banking industry is blessed as it is not severely hit by the crisis crippling northern Europe since 2011. One indication that the local banking system is more capable to shoulder higher risks is it’s ability to meet higher CAR at 10 percent. The global CAR rate is only eight percent. Espenilla said the banking system is not just in solid condition but also very liquid that’s why it can provide the local financing of the national government. He said a non-stressed banking industry is one of the real indicators if an economy is ailing. He said capital strengthening of UKBs scheduled next year as part of Basel 3 implementation is another proof the country has a very well banking sector.
“The sooner the capital strengthening reforms are started, the better for an economy so its banking system becomes more resilient and also lowers risk of asset bubbles forming by toning down leverage,” the official was quoted earlier. http://www.tribune.net.ph/business/item/10999‐high‐car‐of‐banks‐good‐for‐local‐economy‐ %E2%80%94‐bsp.html
SABAH CRISIS Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 60 Written by : Cristina Lee‐Pisco
THE Philippine government appealed anew toMalaysia to extend the deadline for the Filipinos involved in the standoff in Sabah to leave the Malaysian state. In a late development, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it was trying to confirm a report that a cousin of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III has been arrested by Malaysian authorities and is currently detained in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia. However, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said they have not yet received any information on the matter. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario met yesterday with the Malaysian Ambassador to Manila to follow up on their request for the extension of the deportation deadline.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said they have yet to receive any confirmation fromKuala Lumpur about the request for extension which the government made last Friday. The Filipinos were only given until Tuesday by Malaysian authorities to voluntarily leave Sabah. Hernandez said the Secretary had also requested the Malaysian government to allow the humanitarian ship to dock in Lahad Datu to bring food to the Filipinos and fetch those who wanted to go back to their families in the Philippines. “The humanitarian ship is now on stand by in Sibutu Island in Tawi-tawi (border betweenMalaysia and the Philippines) and awaiting the confirmation from Malaysian authorities,” Hernandez said. The DFA also reiterated its appeal to the members of the Sultanate of Sulu’s “royal army” to leave Sabah “for their own safety.” Earlier, Del Rosario called on the entire group to go back to their homes and families and vowed to address the core issues the “royal army” had raised. ”We sent the ship to Lahad Datu on a humanitarian mission. We are deeply concerned about the presence of five women and other civilians in the group, and we urge them to board the ship without delay and return home,” he said. The standoff began on February 9 when more than 100 Filipinos led by Muda Azzimudie Kiram,the brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, entered Lahad Datu in Sabah. The group said they have claims over Sabah, citing numerous historical accounts and rental receipts from the Malaysian government.
In another development, Vice President Jejomar Binay said he appealed to Sultan Kiram andMalaysia to resolve peacefully their claim on Sabah. Binay confirmed meeting with Kiram following a standoff in Sabah. â€œI confirm meeting Sultan Kiram. He explained to me their position and I listened to him. I then reiterated the position of the Philippine government and renewed my appeal for sobriety. I emphasized that the parties should exert all efforts to arrive at a peaceful resolution,â€? the Vice President said. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/headlines/45586-sabah-crisis
Refund sa 73K DepEd employees binigay ng GSIS Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 21 Written by : People's Tonight
NAGSIMULA nang magbigay ng refund ang Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) sa mahigit 73,000 empleyado ng Department of Education (DepEd) simula Pebrero 1, na binubuo ng hindi nabayarang premium o government share ng DepEd, na kinaltas noon sa life insurance claims ng mga empleyado. Ayon kay GSIS President and General Manager Robert Vergara, umabot sa Php363 milyon ang kabuuang halaga na naibalik sa mga empleyado ng DepEd matapos mabayaran ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) ang kalahati ng kabuuang halaga ng nasabing premium. Ang isinasauling halaga ay nakaltas sa cash surrender value at maturity benefit ng mga empleyado ng DepEd noong mga taong 1997 hanggang 2010, kung kailan hindi nakabayad o kulang sa government share ang DepEd. Ito ang unang bugso ng refund ng GSIS sa mga kawani ng DepEd, na nabawasan ng benepisyo dahil sa ’di nabayarang premium. Sa nilagdaang kasunduan o memorandum of agreement (MOA) ng GSIS, DepEd, at DBM, magtutulung-tulong ang tatlong ahensya upang masolusyunan ang paulitulit na problema ukol sa mga ’di nabayarang premium, na nagiging dahilan ng kulang na benepisyong natatanggap ng mga miyembro. Sinaksihan ng Pangulong Benigno Simeon Aquino III ang paglagda sa MOA sa Malacañang noong Setyembre 2012. Itinatakda sa MOA na babayaran ng DBM ang hindi nabayarang government share sa premium contributions ng 800,000 empleyado ng DepEd mula Hulyo 1997 hanggang Disyembre 2010. Umaabot sa Php6.9 bilyon ang halaga ng nasabing government share. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/45566-refund-sa-73k-deped-employees-binigay-nggsis
ACTO magsasagawa ng transport holiday Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 22 Written by : Jun Icban Legaspi
ISANG nationwide transport holiday ang ilulunsad ng mga transport leader bilang sagot sa kawalan ng malinaw na programa ng Aquino administration sa sector ng transportation. Sinabi ni Efren de Luna, presidente ng Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), na patapos na ang tatlong taon ng administration Aquino pero wala pa silang nakitang kongkretong plano at programa sa transport sector. â€œHere we are... election na naman puro pangako pa rin pero said na said sa implementation at sa totoo lang talagang wala kaming makitang malinaw na programa sa transport sector ang administration na ito,â€? saad ni De Luna. Sinabi ni De Luna na magpupulong ang lahat ng transport leader (jeep, taxi, bus, fx, truck at tricycle) upang pag-usapan ang ilulunsad nilang nationwide transport holiday dahil na rin sa puro mumung rollback sa presyo ng petrolyo ang ipinatutupad ng oil companies. Hinamon din ni De Luna ang lahat ng kumakandidatong mga senator, partylist at congressmen na magpakita ng kanilang malinaw na plataporma kaugnay sa kanilang plano sa transport industry. Sinabi ni De Luna na nalulungkot ang mga transport industry sa ubod-kupad na ipinangakong programa ng administrasyon matapos ang kanilang pulong kay President Benigno Aquino III may tatlong taon na ngayon ang nakakalipas. Ayon kay De Luna, hanggang ngayon ang problema sa colorum, illegal terminals, kotong at iba pang transport related problems ay nanatili at wala silang nakikitang solusyon. Sinabi ni De Luna na agad silang magpapatawag ng press conference upang
sabihin ang petsa ng kanilang transport strike matapos ang meeting ng lahat ng transport leader. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/45585-acto-magsasagawa-ng-transport-holiday
SSS releases Php189.05M to 9 firms Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 23
THE Social Security System (SSS) released a total of Php189.05 million in business loans last year for growth and expansion projects of nine private enterprises that include service providers, real estate and construction firms, and traders of various consumer goods. SSS Assistant Vice President for Lending and Asset Management Ma. Luz C. Generoso said the nine firms, which made up the first annual batch of borrowers under the SSS Business Development Loan Facility (BDLF) launched in 2012, benefited from SSS corporate loans of Php1 million up to Php43 million. “The BDLF is part of SSS’ commitment to support state efforts to spur national economic growth by providing private sector employers wider access to credit. This loan privilege is extended to SSS-registered employers that are seeking funds to expand or diversify their businesses,” she said. Registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises, as well as new and existing companies that are classified as single proprietorship, partnership, cooperative or non-government organization, and with at least 60 percent Filipino ownership are eligible to borrow under the BDLF. The loan must be used for working capital, site development, acquisition, enhancement or modernization of existing facilities, building construction and repair, or for the acquisition, repair or upgrading of machinery, equipment and furnishings. Jun Icban Legaspi