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Phl, PNG eye deals for rice, fishery dev’t By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is preparing the groundwork for a technical cooperation agreement on rice production and fisheries with Papua New Guinea (PNG) that could provide investment opportunities for Filipino firms engaged in the two sectors. PNG is seeking the Philippines’ assistance on rice production technology. In return, it may give the Philippines access to its fishing grounds for a fee. Agriculture assistant secretary and National Rice Program coordinator Dante Delima is set to visit PNG from April 22 to 25 to finalize the terms of the agreement for the technical cooperation which is expected to take place within the year. “Papua New Guinea is interested in developing their agriculture. In rice, for instance, they are dependent on Australia. They want to reach self-sufficiency through the use of good cultivation sites available in the country,” Delima said in an interview. Delima noted that PNG lacks skilled manpower in its agriculture sector, therefore opening employment opportunities for farmers. Delima will take with him experts from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and businessmen from the private sector. President Aquino, Delima said, is also scheduled to visit PNG. Delima said the technical cooperation opens up opportunities for Filipino rice millers, farm machinery makers, hybrid rice seed breeders and manufacturers of other agriculture technology. “If the rice production area is wide and there is room for surplus, excess production may be shipped to the Philippines,” he said. Delima said this would be counted in this year’s domestic rice production. He said the total land area for the technical cooperation agreement is still being determined. In exchange for technical assistance on rice production, PNG may give the Philippines access to its fishing grounds. “We will have exclusive access to their fishing grounds,” he said. This also opens up opportunities for Filipino canneries who want to ship their products to the Philippines or for consumption in PNG.

Roadmap readied for silk production     Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 23:00   Written by MADELAINE CABRERA     0 Comments  

With its silk industry in rapid decline, the Philippines is pinning its hopes on weaving a long-term strategy for expanding silk production that would provide local producers better access to niche markets, including the European fashion industry. Cecilia Gloria Soriano, Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) administrator, said they expect to complete this year the silk roadmap to help the industry propagate silk production to other areas in the country, as well as cap the gap in the worldwide supply of silk. “This month, we hope to meet with representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Board of Investments and the private sector to discuss possible incentives to those who want to invest in the silk-weaving industry and put up their own textile mills,” Soriano told reporters. She said the final proposal for the roadmap will be submitted to the Department of Agriculture for approval. She said the short-term approach (from 2014 to 2017) would focus on the development of more silkworm nursery and expansion of areas planted to mulberry, the only food source for the silkworms. During the first phase of the roadmap’s implementation, FIDA wants to revise the interest and capacity of the farmers through better funding, infrastructure development and provision of farm equipment essential to rearing silkworms. For the long term (2018 to 2027), FIDA hopes to establish silk-weaving facilities that would be linked to funding and marketing from the private sector. “We want to encourage entrepreneurs to put up a textile mill, with an assurance that there is a ready market both here and abroad,” Soriano said. “But we also have to assure them that we can sustain the production side by putting up more sericulture sites across the country before we invest in to the actual silk-weaving production,” she added. Placed over several sheets of newspapers, the silkworm moths are each inspected by technicians who then couple them so that they can reproduce.

After four to six days, the female moths will be placed on a chemically treated sheet and isolated to lay their eggs, which are later sterilized and incubated. “We do not need much on research and development facilities, we are looking for the support from farmers and a little of infra, we’re looking small farm equipments, weaving houses, basic subsidy in form of fertilizer for the mulberry farms, simple weaving tools for farmers to use for the silk worms,” explained Soriano. Data showed that the amount of Philippine land set aside for mulberry cultivation has plummeted from 245 hectares in 2003 to just 157 today. At present, China controls majority of global silk yarn and textile supply. But Soriano said there is a big gap in the supply of silk, particularly in Europe, which they hope to capture. “Right now, there’s a big demand for silk, which China failed to fill up. We are now talking to international clients, so there’s an assured market for our silk-weavers,” she said. Manila is also eyeing the United States and Japan for possible shipment of silk textile, Soriano said.

Economy Posted on April 07, 2013 10:49:48 PM 

Rice, corn imports to fall PHILIPPINE corn and rice imports are expected to decline in market year 2013 to 2014 due to  high local production of the two staples, the US Department of Agriculture said.    The Philippines is increasing local production of rice and corn, thus requiring less imports of the two  staples.    Rice imports are projected to decline by 20% to 1.2 million tons in the January 2013‐December 2014  Marketing Year (MY13/14), according to the GAIN (Global Agriculture Information Network) Report  published by the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.    GAIN seeks to provide information on agricultural issues in foreign countries that will have an impact on  US agricultural production. The GAIN Report, dated March 15, was uploaded on the GAIN Web site on  April 1.    “MY12/13 rice imports are expected to remain at 1.5 million tons, inclusive of unregistered imports, and  are forecast to decline to 1.2 million tons in MY13/14 due to improved production and the GPH’s  (Philippine government) cap on official rice imports,” the report noted.    Last month, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the Philippines will import only 187,000 metric  tons (MT) of rice this year, around 63% lower than the 500,000 MT imported last year, with the  Philippines expected to achieve self‐sufficiency in the staple.    Last year, the country produced 18.03 million MT of rice, 8% higher than the year before. This year, the  country aims to produce 20.04 million MT, 11.15% higher than actual production last year.    Corn imports, meanwhile, are expected to decline by 25% to 75,000 tons in the October 2013‐ September 2014 Marketing Year (MY13/14) from 100,000 tons in MY12/13.    The report said that “local [corn] production is expected to continue improving.”    The MY12/13 level of corn imports is projected to be around 51% lower than the 202,000 tons recorded  in MY11/12.    The report attributed the expected decline to “higher corn production due mainly to expanded planting  of biotech seed varieties and the Philippine government’s investment in infrastructure improvements.” 

BAS data showed that corn production grew by around 7% last year to 7.41 million MT from 6.97 million  MT in 2011. The government has set this year’s target at 8.4 million MT, 13.4% higher than actual  production last year.    Meanwhile, wheat imports are expected to recover and increase by 6.25% to 3.4 million tons in July  2013‐June 2014 Marketing Year (MY13/14) from 3.2 million tons in MY12/13.    The report cited “increased milling” and “higher per capita consumption on the back of a growing  population” as reasons behind the higher wheat imports.    Wheat imports are used for flour milling and livestock feed.    However, wheat imports for MY12/13 are expected to drop by 20% from 4 million tons in MY11/12. The  report attributed the decline to “ample stocks” for flour milling in the Philippines and “reduced feed  use.” ‐‐ Raymond Jun R. Portillo  ‐ See more at:,‐corn‐imports‐ to‐fall&id=68310#sthash.BoRWeteD.dpuf   

Economy Posted on April 07, 2013 10:50:58 PM    By Raymond Jun R. Portillo   

Coconut oil exports up 88% COCONUT oil exports nearly doubled in the first quarter of the year on the back of increasing  demand from the country’s major markets.    Demand from the US and Europe has boosted the country’s coconut oil exports.    Citing preliminary data, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (UCAP) Executive Director  Yvonne V. Agustin said in a phone interview last Friday that the volume of coconut oil exports grew by  88% to 320,000 metric tons (MT) in the first quarter of 2013 from 170,000 MT in the same period last  year.    “Our coconut oil exports increased because demand from our major markets picked up,” Ms. Agustin  said. “The United States and Europe, our major markets, buy 80% of the country’s total coconut oil  exports.”    In March alone, coconut oil exports more than doubled to 143,000 MT from 64,000 MT in the same  period last year.    “Delayed deliveries in February were finally shipped last month and the average price of coconut oil in  the world market was lower than that of palm kernel oil,” Ms. Agustin said.    Palm kernel oil is a substitute for coconut oil. UCAP data showed that coconut oil cost $813 per MT on  the average last month, 2.5% lower than that of palm kernel oil which was priced at $833 per MT.    This year, the coconut oil export target is set at 900,000 MT, 2.7% lower than the 925,000 MT target last  year. However the target is higher by 5.6% compared to the 852,000 MT of coconut oil exported last  year.    Ms. Agustin said last year’s coconut oil export performance provided “a low basis for comparison.” She  said the normal coconut oil export volume is 80,000 MT per month.    Asked about the industry’s chances of reaching this year’s target, Ms. Agustin said “based on our data  and if our performance this year is sustained, we will be able to achieve our target or even exceed it.”   

The Philippines exports three types of coconut oil: crude coconut oil, cochin oil and RBD (refined,  bleached and deodorized) oil, data from UCAP’s Web site showed.    Crude coconut oil is extracted from copra or dried coconut. Cochin oil is refined and bleached coconut  oil processed from copra. It is used for shampoos and soaps. RBD oil is processed crude oil and is used  for food products.    Ms. Agustin said crude coconut oil comprises 70% of total coconut oil exports while cochin and RBD oil  account for 25% and 5%, respectively.    “The market for RBD oil has been expanding,” Ms. Agustin noted.    She said that aside from the US, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, other countries are also  ordering RBD oil from the Philippines.    UCAP is a private organization engaged in gathering data pertinent to the coconut industry, according to  its Web Site. It also provides a venue for stakeholders to share information regarding the coconut  industry. Members of UCAP are private and government organizations involved in the production,  processing, trading and policy‐setting, such as the Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Oil Refiners  Association, Philippine Coconut Research & Development Foundation, Inc. and the United Coconut  Planters Bank among others.   ‐ See more at:‐oil‐ exports‐up‐88%&id=68311#sthash.rogHtBqq.dpuf                     

DAR to promote new rice technology to  boost production   Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:21   Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter   THE  Department  of  Agrarian  Reform  (DAR)  will  promote  the  adoption  of  a  new  rice  technology  to  agrarian‐reform beneficiaries to help boost the country’s rice production, it was learned recently.  The DAR, together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Rice  Research Institute  (PhilRice), launched on Thursday at the rice agency’s headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva  Ecija province, the new farming technology dubbed “reduced tillage farming,” which promises farmers  relief from intensive land preparation and the high production costs of traditional rice farming without  sacrificing  yield.  DAR  Undersecretary  Anthony  Parungao  said  the  technology  will  even  increase  rice  production and consequently farmers’ income. He added that the technology is also consistent with the  government’s policy to promote ecologically sound, environment‐friendly agricultural practices in light  of global warming.  Experimental planting in two areas in Muñoz and Talavera town, also in Nueva Ecija, resulted in a yield  increase  of  up  to  17.58  percent—equivalent  to  20  sacks  of  palay  (unhusked  rice)  per  hectare—and  a  reduced cost of at least P3,000 per hectare for land preparation, Parungao said. According to scientist  Isidro Villaflor, the proponent of the technology for PhilRice, soil releases a big amount of carbon dioxide  during plowing. He said that if the soil is left undisturbed, the carbon dioxide will stay there.  Villaflor also said the technology does not require burning rice stalks. Instead, these are flattened to the  ground  after  keeping  the  rice  field  saturated  with  water,  measuring  about  3  inches  high  from  the  ground, for a week; this will soften the soil for several weeks. This makes land preparation much easier  and less costly because plowing the field requires using a carabao and a plow, or farm tractors, before  transplanting  rice  from  seedbeds.  Burning  rice  stalks,  which  releases  greenhouse  gasses  into  the  atmosphere, is banned in some areas because of its adverse impact on the environment.  “Imagine  if  all  farmers  would  employ  this  technology,  there  will  be  no  burning  of  rice  stalks  that  [contributes]  to  global  warming,”  Parungao  said.  The  DA’s  Bureau  of  Agricultural  Research  gave  P5  million in funds to have the technology thoroughly validated through pilot‐testing in six villages before  PhilRice approved it for transfer.‐commodities/11673‐dar‐to‐promote‐new‐rice‐ technology‐to‐boost‐production   

Economy Posted on April 05, 2013 07:26:41 PM 

Philippines inks rice trade deal with Cambodia THE PHILIPPINES has inked a rice trade agreement with Cambodia which will allow Manila to  import the staple from its Southeast Asian neighbor.    The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed on April 4 by Philippine       Ambassador to Cambodia Noe A. Wong and Cambodian Senior Minister and  Minister of Commerce Cham Presidh, according to a statement from the    Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday.      “The MoA opens the way for the National Food Authority (NFA) to import  rice from Cambodia for the next two years through Green Trade [a Cambodian public enterprise],” the  statement said.    The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the NFA, imports rice to ensure sufficient supply of the  staple, especially for the lean months of July to September.    For this year, the country is importing a total of 187,000 metric tons (MT) of rice.    The Philippines has standing rice supply deals with Thailand and Vietnam which allows the country to  source specific volumes of the grain from its two other Association of Southeast Asian Nations  counterparts as deemed necessary.    Last year, the NFA imported 500,000 MT of rice whereby 380,000 MT were brought in by the private  sector and 120,000 MT by the government.     The Philippines is hoping to reduce rice imports as it aims to achieve self‐sufficiency in the grain by the  end of this year.    “In brief remarks during the signing ceremony, Ambassador Wong described the MOA as another step  forward in efforts to further increase economic activity between the Philippines and Cambodia,” the  DFA said. ‐‐ Noemi M. Gonzales   ‐ See more at:‐inks‐ rice‐trade‐deal‐with‐Cambodia&id=68245#sthash.t9CIiNsj.dpuf 

Economy Posted on April 07, 2013 10:46:15 PM 

E. Visayas NFA exceeds target TACLOBAN CITY ­­ The National Food Authority (NFA) in Eastern Visayas said it has surpassed  its palay procurement target for the first quarter of this year.      A total of 13,979 bags of palay were procured, more than double the target of 6,000 bags for the  period.    “We have already disbursed a total of P8.1 million from our Cereal Procurement Fund (CPF),” said NFA  Regional Manager Vilma H. Zarraga. The CPF funds NFA’s palay buying operations.    Under NFA’s palay procurement program, the agency buys palay at the current government support  price of P17 per kilogram for clean and dry palay, or those with 14% content and “Purity A” level.    Palay deliveries falling below this specification can also be accommodated subject to price adjustments  computed in accordance with the current NFA Equivalent Net Weight (ENW) table.    Farmers also get drying and delivery incentive as well as Cooperative Development Incentive Fee (CDIF).  The accumulated CDIF can be used by the concerned farmer cooperative to acquire post‐harvest  facilities. ‐‐ Reyan L. Arinto   ‐ See more at:‐Visayas‐NFA‐ exceeds‐target&id=68306#sthash.sOGayhUK.dpuf               

BSP earns P508M from sale of foreclosed assets By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 1 MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has exceeded last year’s income target from the sale of foreclosed assets it acquired from banks despite lower property prices. According to its annual financial report, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sold of a total of 2,498 foreclosed assets last year, 46 percent higher than the previous year’s level. These assets were value at P1 billion, higher than the P673 million target. Inclusive of interest and maintenance of assets, the BSP earned P508.27 million, marking a 28percent improvement from 2011. A total of 30,248 properties, valued at P12.1 billion, remained under the BSP’s balance sheets. The value of the real estate titles actually declined 3.5 percent from the previous year. “The BSP ensures that assets acquired through foreclosures and dacion en pago agreements and real properties not used in operations are administered, maintained and preserved to enhance their value prior to disposal,” the report said. Despite their generally healthy position, lenders still borrow money from the BSP through various facilities in order to augment funds used for lending to consumers. Banks that borrow money from the BSP—either through its repurchase, rediscounting or loan facilities— usually use their receivable real properties as collateral. Upon failure of these banks or their borrowers to pay the loan, these assets are foreclosed in favor of the BSP. In some cases though, banks enter into a dacion en pago agreement with the BSP, where banks use their real property assets, instead of cash, to pay for their loans. The central bank’s Committee on Disposal of Real Properties, according to the report, sold the assets through a public bidding, negotiated sale, housing program, redemption by original owner or through transfer to the Government as dividends.

GSIS eyes members’ bill of rights By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is seeking the establishment of a member’s bill of rights and the removal of stringent provisions that have prevented pensioners from enjoying the survivorship benefit. These are among the changes being pushed by the GSIS, the country’s largest pension fund, in its charter as part of efforts to develop a sound social security system responsive to the needs of its workers. GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara said the agency seeks to provide greater representation for members at the highest policy-making level and insulate the social insurance fund from dissipation due to the volatility of the global economy. Vergara said the GSIS also wants to ensure that its top-level officials are held accountable for mismanagement and inefficiencies in the delivery of services to members. Under the proposed bill of rights, members will be represented on the board of GSIS and allowed to participate in meaningful exchange of views, dialogues and fora conducted by the agency without fear of reprisal. Members shall likewise be consulted on the policies and programs to be implemented by the system. The agency is also seeking the removal of remarriage and cohabitation as basis for cancellation of survivorship benefits.Aside from this, the GSIS is proposing no prescription period for claims to protect the welfare of employees in the public sector. Other proposals include increasing the funeral benefit from P20,000 to P30,000 and allowing single members to designate a beneficiary before age 50. The designated beneficiary must be related to the single member within the third degree of consanguinity and the designation can only be made once. Beneficiaries are defined as the legitimate spouse, legitimate child who is over the age of majority but is considered a person with disability and incapable of self-support acquired prior to the age of majority. For unmarried, their beneficiary is the legitimate legally adopted child. However, the parents and the designated beneficiary will no longer be considered beneficiaries once the member marries and/or begets a child. To further address the needs of its members, the GSIS shall launch a call center in the second quarter this year as well as an online self-service facility.The agency intends to establish 20 service desks in provincial and municipal government offices to bring its services closer to stakeholders.

Bayer CropScience launches new rice variety By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Bayer CropScience Inc. (Philippines) has launched Arize Bigante Plus, its most disease tolerant hybrid rice variety to date. Launched during the 1st Hybrid Rice Congress in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, Arize Bigante is also the company’s most tolerant variety to bacterial leaf blight. Bacterial leaf blight is a disease that causes wilting of seedlings as well as yellowing and drying of leaves leading to yield reduction of 20 to 30 percent. “We are extremely excited to launch a new hybrid rice variety that is most tolerant hybrid variety to BLB (based on the field trial) and has a potential of 32 percent higher yield than inbred,” said Analen Dela Rosa, Bayer CropScience Heads of Seeds in the Philippines. Arize Bigante Plus is Bayer’s fourth hybrid rice variety under the umbrella brand Arize, which include Arize Bigante, Arize TEJ and Arize H64. In anticipation of increased hybrid rice seed demand in the country, Bayer CropScience is expanding the production capacity of its seeds station in Calauan, Laguna. It is expected to invest some P40 million this year to expand the seed processing facility. Dela Rosa, said the expanded facility would back up production to 50 metric tons (MT) per day from the current capacity of 10 MT. A seed processing facility consists of lines for sorting, conditioning, treatment and packaging. The company will also establish a new breeding station in the same site which will be used for testing new hybrid rice varieties for the Southeast Asian market, including the Philippines. The packaged seeds would be distributed both locally and overseas, although the company prioritizes domestic distribution.The company aims to become the market leader in hybrid rice seeds production in the Philippines by next year. Bayer’s strongest competitor in the local market is Filipino company SL Agritech Corp. In lieu of providing subsidies to hybrid rice farmers, the government is pushing for the development of more varieties by public research institutions and private companies to drive down the cost of seeds and give farmers a wider choice of planting materials.

CNO exports up 125% By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The volume of coconut oil (CNO) exports rose in March because of carry over shipments from February and slight uptick in demand from key markets. The United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) said that CNO shipments in March rose 125 percent to 142,991 metric tons (MT) from 63, 649 MT in the same period last year. “There were shipments due for February that only made it in March. There was also a slight increase in demand from key markets,� said UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin. Agustin said the average world market price for coconut oil is still on the down trend at $814 per metric tons (MT). Coconut oil, which traditionally accounts for the majority of coconut product exports, rose 3.7 percent to 851, 913.18 MT in 2012 from 821.445.37 MT in 2011.

Agriculture official bats for rice nutrition  farming     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:20   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Correspondent   AN agriculture official is backing expanded tests on what is dubbed “rice nutrition farming,” which uses  organic  inputs,  chemical  elements  and  minerals  to  support  the  soil  and  improve  photosynthesis  to  deliver nutrients to crops and improve farmers’ incomes.  A  report  by  then‐National  Agricultural  and  Fishery  Council  (NFAC)  Deputy  Executive  Director  Noel  Juliano  on  tests  conducted  in  Region  3  (Central  Luzon)  in  2011  showed  that  farmers  can  reduce  production costs by 30 percent by using organic inputs developed by 12 local companies. It also showed  that they also raised their incomes by 60 percent.  To bring the results of the tests closer to home, Juliano said rice stalks were planted on the left side of  the lawn of the compound of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and tended by trained farmers who  used organic fertilizers.  According to the former NAFC official, the palay (unhusked rice) are ready to be harvested, nurtured as  they were without irrigation to prove that they  can  be cultivated without treating them as  an aquatic  plant.  In  a  paper,  Juliano  said  crucial  questions  are  confronting  the  country  under  the  Asean  Free  Trade  Agreement (Afta) that will be implemented in 2015 and the dismantling of tariff walls under other deals  cut by the government with the encouragement of the World Trade Organization.  Asean  stands  for  the  Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations,  which  groups  Brunei  Darussalam,  Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  “Under  these  conditions,  the  questions  that  should  be  asked  are:  Will  our  farms  and  fisheries  areas  expand?  Will  the  number  of  our  fishermen  and  farmers  increase?  Will  the  incomes  of  our  food  producers rise? On our part as employees of the NAFC and the DA, can we contribute something to the  Food Staples Self‐sufficiency Program?” Juliano said.  He  stressed  that  after  an  exhaustive  study  of  six  agricultural  subsystems  (inputs  procurement,  production, harvesting, processing, marketing and credit), he came up with the Rice Nutrition Farming  Program. 

During a meeting with private‐sector representatives, Juliano said the NAFC listened to Jess Simon, head  of the Regional Agricultural and Fisheries Council in Region 3, and an agreement was reached to test the  program.  “Through Special Order 399, Series of 2011, issued on May 25, 2011, the project secured P500,000 from  the  Agricultural  Training  Institute  [ATI]  [and]  another  P1  million  from  the  biotechnology  office.  The  techno‐demo  farms  were  established  to  test  the  viability  of  the  products  from  12  organic  inputs  producers. The ATI became the lead agency for the project,” the ex‐NAFC deputy executive director said.  “The test [concluded] that nutrition farming had a good impact on inputs procurement and production.  Finally,  the  principles  of  nutrition  farming  in  America,  promoted  by  Dr.  William  Albrecht  in  1948  and  pushed anew by Dr. Tuckey in 1952, found good application in the Philippines,” he added.  The program also led to the registration of the Organic Fertilizer Providers Association of the Philippines  Inc. (Ofpap) before the Securities and Exchange Commission, uniting fertilizer‐makers under Tony Luna,  the Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Council chairman in Batangas province.  The  Ofpap  was  organized  to  become  the  fertilizer  manufacturers’  voice  in  the  national  sectoral  committees of the NAFC.  According to Juliano, nutrition farming is about feeding plants the right nutrients in the right way.  Among  the  basic  points  that  differentiate  nutrition  farming  from  other  production  systems  is  that  it  promotes crop feeding through the use of foliar spray on leaves.  The organic elements used are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, all of which come from air and  water. Nitrogen derived from the soil is technically no longer organic, Juliano said.  Crops  use  plenty  of  carbon  dioxide  and  water  to  create  95  percent  of  their  own  food  through  photosynthesis.  “Since  oxygen  has  a  negative  charge,  it  can  carry  both  carbon  and  hydrogen  even  as  it  acts  as  the  exhaust gas of the plant,” Juliano said.  The  other  elements  that  plants  need  come  from  the  soil,  most  of  them  from  rocks  that  had  eroded  through the centuries. They are all inorganic and are considered minerals by geologists and chemists.  Juliano said there are 14 essential elements from the soil that are needed to fertilize the humus: boron,  nitrogen,  magnesium,  phosphorous,  sulfur,  chlorine,  potassium,  calcium,  manganese,  iron,  nickel,  copper, zinc and molybdenum.  On the other hand, the four beneficial minerals are sodium, silicon, cobalt and selenium. 

Juliano said plants in general are 95 percent carbohydrates, fats and proteins brought through carbon  dioxide and water.  “The remaining 5 percent essential elements would be most beneficial if they are mixed with the soil at  the following ratios: calcium, 65 percent; magnesium, 15 percent; potassium, 5 percent; and sodium, 1  percent,” he said.  Based on the Albrecht ratio, 14 percent of trace elements should be equally distributed among boron,  nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, manganese, iron, nickel, copper, zinc and molybdenum.  “The beneficial elements actually speed up photosynthesis. There has to be soil or other organic matter  to hold all these elements. They may also be applied on the plants in the form of foliar spray,” Juliano  said.  Most  of  these  elements,  when  taken  together,  become  compounds,  which  are  then  broken  down  through chemical reactions brought about by microorganisms, he added.

Re­greening of Corregidor Island pushed     Published on 07 April 2013   Hits: 119   Written by JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ  

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is currently pushing for a massive re-greening program in Corregidor Island as part of the effort to establish the historic island as an eco-tourism destination for bird watching.

Reynulfo Juan, DENR-Region 4A regional executive director, said that they expect to seal an agreement with the Corregidor Foundation, Inc., Department of Agriculture (DA) and the City of Cavite for the rehabilitation of the island under the government’s National Greening Program (NGP). “Not just to be remembered as ‘battlefield’ and national shrine noted for the galantry of the Filipino soldier, Corregidor will be an eco-tourism destination for birdwatching. We want to establish the island will become a bird sanctuary,” Juan said in a statement. Juan pursued the idea after a visit to Corregidor last year with forestry experts to assess the forest situation and plan out forest rehabilitation efforts on the island, which is part of the jurisdiction of Cavite City. During the ocular inspection of the island, Forester Manuel Escasura, then chief of the Forest Resources Development Division and concurrent Regional Coordinator of the NGP, said some 200 hectares of originally forested area would be replanted with forest and fruit bearing trees which are endemic to the island with a mix of other forest tree species. “We will plant fruit bearing trees which will serve as food for the birds. The regional executive director during his previous visit to the island last year, saw the need of introducing fruit and forest tree species that are more attractive to birds,” Escasura said. “This is in consonance with the NGP objective of promoting biological diversity,” he added. Escasura has been designated early this year, 2013, as OIC Regional Technical Director for Ecosystems Research and Development Service. Juan said that the team of forestry experts from DENR-Region 4A would be conducting a more comprehensive surveying, mapping and planning for the forest rehabilitation and tree growing activity in the island. He said initial discussions with concerned agencies, including the tourism business establishments in the area, have been done.

To formalize the joint-efforts, Juan said they have signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Sunday, in line with the celebration of the Day of Valor or “Araw ng Kagitingan.” Among those who signed the agreement were Lt. Col. Artemio Matibag, executive director of Corregidor Foundation, Inc. (CFI), DA-Region 4A director Vilma Dimaculangan, and Mayor Romeo Ramos of Cavite City. CFI is a non-stock, non-profit private corporation organized by the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority. It is charged with managing tourism activities in the island. Some 50 forest and fruit tree seedlings such as bignay (Antidesma bunius), lipote (Syzigium curanii), kalumpit (Terminalia edulis), aratiles (Muntingia calabura) and duhat (Syzigium cumini) will be planted by the signatories, their staff, and descendants of World War II veterans and war heroes in a pre-selected area within the island as part of the ceremonial activity. Initially, Juan said that only 50 trees would be planted in the selected area. The plantation area was selected because it is near tourism establishments which will be tasked to take care of and nurture the planted trees. “The 50 newly planted seedlings will need extra care,” he said. “It is not yet the time to plant, not within the searing hot summer time. We are still in the stage of ‘production and hardening’ of seedlings and ‘plantation site preparation.’ Actual planting will commence at the onset of rain in June and July,” he added.

Reject harmful agri inputs and their  promoters, says farmer­leader     Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:19   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning   THE Philippines should reject “quacks”  who only think of bombarding  the soil with additives to regain  soil fertility and boost food output, a farmer‐leader said recently.  According to Dr. Lino Cortes, a doctorate degree‐holder who holds demonstrations of his soil‐nutrition  system in Rizal province’s Teresa town, the earlier people do away with agricultural inputs that actually  degrade the soil, the better the country’s chances in achieving food sufficiency.  Cortes’s system calls for using natural elements to maintain the soil’s fertility, encouraging the activity of  microorganisms  in  the  topsoil  and  coaxing  the  plants  to  maximize  the  benefits  of  photosynthesis.  His  demonstrations involve:  •  Soil  rejuvenation  and  remineralization,  or  the  use  of  colloidal  rock  phosphate,  microbiological  inoculums and trace element designed for efficient photosynthesis;  •  Restoring  soil  conductance  by  using  recalcitrant  humus  to  restore  the  negative  charges  or  repulsive  forces utilized in the movement of negative anions for plant use;  •  Refurbishing  soil  biology,  especially  phototrophic  bacteria  to  revitalize  the  enzymes,  hormones  and  bioactive substances in soils that cannot be produced by plants that cannot utilize light ranging from 900  nanometer to 1,200 nanometer and are regularly decimated by insecticides, fungicides and herbicides;  and  • Complete soil remineralization, ignoring soil testing in favor of cation‐based satration, which was first  proposed by Dr. William A. Albrecht so that soil chemistry for optimum photosynthesis and Krebs cycle  is achieved, enabling the plant to fully synthesize all the molecules for self‐defense and genetic potential  yield (non‐violation of the Von Liebig and F.F.Blackman laws).  Cortes said the country could have taken the right path in agriculture if it zeroed in on soil nutrition and  refused the “impositions” of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which suppressed the use  of trophobiosis for soil nutrition while promoting what he termed as “self‐serving agripoison purveyors  among transnational corporations. 

The IRRI is immune from suits based on a decree issued by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. This  decree has not been scrapped, exempting it from cases filed by farmers who were reportedly harmed by  the technology the institution promotes.  Cortes  argued  the  rice  is  not  an  aquatic  plant,  saying  that  “it  likes  to  be  fed  [using]  hydroponic  techniques [and with] soil saturation between 60 percent and 80 percent.”  To  show  that  rice  is  not  a  water  guzzler,  he  said:  “We  had  already  demonstrated  high  yields  in  rocky,  gravelly sand earlier in Bongabon town, Nueva Ecija province. We have shown also the source of natural  fertility in tropical agriculture.”  In 2010 Cortes started holding seminars on zero‐pesticide farming every second Saturday of the month  at  the  National  Agricultural  and  Fishery  Council  (NAFC)  office  in  the  main  office  of  the  Department  of  Agriculture (DA), in collaboration with fertilizer company Sagrex and then‐NAFC Director Noel Juliano.  These seminars have been critical of the type of agriculture promoted by Fulbright scholars trained at  Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and funded largely by the Rockefeller Foundation.  After  Juliano  left  the  NAFC,  Cortes  continued  holding  the  seminars  at  his  own  facility,  the  C.S.T.A.R.  BIOS‐fortified WBO Octagon in Sitio May Ugat in Teresa’s Barangay Talaga.  Marvyn N. Benaning

Food exports rise 12% but lag behind  Asean     Published on Sunday, 07 April 2013 23:00  

Food exports from the Philippines registered double digit growth in 2012 and are forecast to continue to grow in the next two years. But the food industry says the country’s export figures pale in comparison with those of its neighbors in Southeast Asia. Exports of the semi-processed food and agriculture-based industries reached US$3.55 billion in 2012, an increase of 11.56 percent from 2011 figures. These sectors are expected to post continued volume growth, forecast at six percent in 2013 and 10 percent in 2014. But even with these gains, “much can still be done to enhance our export performance,” said Roberto C. Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization (PHILFOODEX), during a talk given for him in a recent exporters forum on the outlook for the semi-processed and agri-based export industries. “The Philippine food export turnover is still far behind our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors. For example, Thailand has an average of US$20-billion annual revenue from food exports,” he said in his paper. Amores represented more than 250 member-companies in the association that are engaged in selling fresh and processed foods for the export and domestic markets. The PHILFOODEX membership is comprised mostly of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). He noted that food exports represented 6.8 percent of total Philippine exports of nearly $52 billion last year. Overseas food shipments included processed foods accounting for 57 percent, fresh foods representing 28 percent, and marine products comprising 15 percent. To raise the industry’s export performance, Amores urged the government to help the organization improve its assessment of the global food market and gain increased access to technology. He also called for a reduction in the cost of production through removing import and export duties on production inputs and the processing of raw materials, and lowering the power rates for agro-processors and exporters. “Rates within the eco zones are 40 percent cheaper. The same price should be available to exporters outside the eco zones,” he added. The food sector will likewise benefit from increased access to investment funding. “The government should continue to address the problem of MSMEs’ lack of access to financing for

them to expand and modernize their facilities to meet international standards,” Amores pointed out. In addition, the complex regulations covering the export industry must undergo review. They should be streamlined to come up with common and standardized tariff schedule and classification as well as rules of origin, said Amores. “This could greatly contribute to the competitiveness of export food products,” Amores said. He also asked the government to accelerate the move toward an electronic-based system of Customs processing through the Single Window Project to reduce transaction costs among ASEAN countries. The strong peso is another worrying industry concern, noted Amores, adding that “government must have some control in the appreciation of the peso” so that Philippine food products will not lose their edge on the global marketplace.

Agri groups say P32B yearly being lost  from smuggling of farm goods  • •

Written by  Tribune   Monday, 08 April 2013 00:00 

On top of the P30 billion foregone revenues yearly from the smuggling of oil products, another P32 billion annually is being lost from the illegal entry of agricultural products into the country, a head of an agriculture-based party-list group said. Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So said stakeholders are sounding the alarm and are calling for the resignation of Customs Chief Ruffino Biazon for earning for the Philippines the title of “smuggling capital of Asia.” “In 2012 alone, the total volume of smuggled agricultural products amounted to P32 billion. You also have oil players complaining of smuggled petroleum products amounting to foregone revenues of up to P30 billion a year,” So, who is also a director of the Swine Development Council, said. Malacañang has said while the government hasn’t changed its resolve in going after smugglers, tax evaders and other criminals by building strong cases to make sure wrongdoers go to jail, President Aquino does not plan to initiate a revamp at the Bureau of Customs. Responding to the call of a lawmaker to intensify the fight against smuggling, Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the government has never wavered in putting an end to smuggling and prosecuting those who are behind it. But So said Biazon is single-handedly making the country the smuggling capital of Asia. “Biazon should resign if he has any shame left,” he added Comparing the volume of trade export of other countries with the Philippines to the import volume based on Customs records, So said as much as P10 billion or 600,000 metric tons of rice was smuggled into the country last year. So said groups in the agricultural sector were made more disappointed in light of President Aquino’s inaction on their manifesto asking for immediate and concrete steps to curb rice smuggling. The manifesto was submitted to Aquino and Biazon more than a month ago but the illegal entry of grain shipments continue, So lamented. On the other hand, smuggled chicken and pork products reached P8 billion, fish and aquatic products at P3.8 billion, sugar at P4.8 billion, and onion and other vegetables at P3.5 billion. “We should not let Biazon spend another minute in Customs. He should pack his things and leave immediately,” So stressed. Biazon earlier drew much flak after big oil players complained of rampant smuggling of petroleum products in various ports across the country. Malacañang has already distanced itself from calls for Biazon’s resignation. “That (quit calls) should be answered by Commissioner Biazon himself,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. Earlier, farmers and agriculture stakeholders have warned of a “looming rice crisis” as they called for a “shake-up” in the leadership of the Bureau of Customs for failing to curb the entry of smuggled grains into the country. “Heads should roll for the failure of Customs to address the problem of rampant smuggling in the

Visayas and Mindanao. Smuggled rice have flooded the market, reaching Nueva Ecija, Baguio, Pangasinan, La Union and even Isabela, the rice granary of the Philippines,” So said. So appealed to Aquino to step in immediately and crack the whip on Customs officials, especially those manning the ports in Visayas and Mindanao where grains from China and Vietnam are illegally entering the country. “With smuggled rice flooding the market, it is only incumbent upon the government to act immediately. If the prices of rice continue to plunge, local rice production will certainly collapse,” he added. The Abono chairman noted that the flow of distribution of rice before usually started from Northern Luzon provinces – from Ilocos, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Isabela, Bulacan and down to Manila, and then from Manila, the local rice are being shipped to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao. “Now, with the smuggled rice, the contraband is being shipped from Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro to Manila, and from Manila, it is brought to Bulacan and, subsequently, transported to other provinces in Northern Luzon,” he lamented. So said the smuggled grains are usually misdeclared as slag, wood wall, tiles and ukay-ukay. Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier called on the government to double its efforts in going after smugglers, especially those in government who connive with criminals. Sen. Francis Escudero also said blame for widespread oil smuggling in the country that costs the government P30 billion in lost revenues every year should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Bureau of Customs and cited the need to overhaul the agency. “The Lateral Attrition Law mandates penalties on government personnel who fail to perform their duties. The unabated smuggling of oil products and other commodities indicates a massive failure of the BoC requiring top to bottom changes to be effected within the agency,” Escudero said. Petron Corp. chairman Ramon Ang has alleged that one in every three liters of oil products that is shipped into the country is smuggled, and puts government revenue losses at about P30 billion a year. Last year, the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) and its member-industry associations said the industry was “now starting to lose hope of getting a level playing field as local manufacturers are still not seeing any change in the unhampered smuggling of steel products.” PISI also said the Philippine Galvanized Iron Wire Manufacturers Association Inc. (PGIWMAI) had sent “voluminous letters” to Biazon asking the bureau to put a stop to steel smuggling in the country. Escudero said the only possible answer to the questions on the resilience of smuggling syndicates is that smuggling is mostly done in collusion with some Customs insiders. For its part, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., the country’s second biggest oil company, confirmed oil smuggling in the country. Its country manager, Edgard Chua, said oil smuggling should be considered plunder because of the damage it causes to the economy. “Identifying smuggled products does not require sophistication since products being sold far below the average price in the market are probably smuggled. My question to the Customs bureau is, why can’t it use this simple rule in investigating reports of smuggling?,” Escudero said. He said the government should immediately file charges against errant Customs officials and personnel, as well as against members of smuggling syndicates amid Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s claim that the government already knows the identity of big-time smugglers in

the country. He also urged the government to coordinate with private sector groups and individuals who had undertaken studies on the extent of smuggling activities in the country. “Smuggling not only deprives the government of revenues but also annihilates local industries that in turn forces local manufacturers to close shop and lay off workers, adding to the unemployment burden,� Escudero said. Factories that generate the most number of jobs for poor Filipinos are the main victims of widespread smuggling, according to Escudero.

Rice processing complex to rise in Bohol By Juju Manubag-Empuerto Published: April 8, 2013 CEBU CITY (PIA) – Around 26,000 farmers await the benefits that the new Rice Processing Complex in Pilar, Bohol can offer them. The new facility which will service Bohol’s 18 municipalities coveraging an area of 30,000 hectares was recently inaugurated by Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto with Korean Ambassador Lee Hyuk, Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat, and other government officials. The Department of Agriculture-7 said the municipalities of Alicia, Batuan, Bilar, Candijay, Carmen, Catigbian, Dagohoy, Duero, Guindulman, Jagna, Pilar, Sagbayan, San Miguel, Sierra Bullones, Trinidad, Tubigon, Ubay and Valencia, will use the processing facility. The rice processing complex also targets a reduction of postharvest losses from 15 percent to 8 percent, or about .74 million metric tons of rice a year. “The P150M Korean-grant project is capable of drying 40 tons and milling three tons per hour with a net recovery of 60-65 percent," said USec Puyat.

Gov’t seen losing P30B annually to smuggling By Liezle Basa Iñigo Published: April 8, 2013 MANILA, Philippines --- More than P30 billion in revenue is lost annually due to the smuggling of oil and farm products, virtually making the Philippines the “smuggling capital of Asia,” agricultural stakeholders disclosed yesterday. The agricultural stakeholders are blaming the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the revenue loss, said Rosendo So, chairman of the Abono Party-list and director of the Swine Development Council (SDC). “In 2012 alone, the total volume of smuggled agricultural products amounted to P32 billion. You also have oil players complaining of smuggled petroleum products amounting to foregone revenues of up to P30 billion a year,” So said in an statement. So said agriculture stakeholders are calling for the resignation of Customs chief Rufino Biazon. “If Biazon has an iota of delicadeza, he should not wait for President Benigno Aquino III to ask him to step down,” the Abono official said. “Biazon is single-handedly making the country the smuggling capital of Asia. He should resign if he has any shame left,” added So, who has been in the forefront of the campaign against smuggling of meat and other agricultural products in the country. Based on Customs records, So said as much as P10 billion or 600,000 metric tons of rice was smuggled into the country last year. Stakeholders expressed disappointment with the government’s inaction on their manifesto asking for immediate and concrete steps to curb rice smuggling. The manifesto was submitted to the President and to Biazon more than a month ago yet the illegal entries of grain shipments continue, So said. On the other hand, smuggled chicken and pork products reached P8 billion, fish and aquatic products at P3.8 billion, sugar at P4.8 billion, and onion and other vegetables at P3.5 billion. “We should not let Biazon spend another minute in Customs. He should pack his things and leave immediately,” So said. Biazon earlier drew flak after big oil players complained of rampant smuggling of petroleum products in various ports across the country.

Malacañang has already distanced itself from calls for Biazon’s resignation. “That (quit calls) should be answered by Commissioner Biazon himself,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. Earlier, farmers and agriculture stakeholders have warned of a “looming rice crisis” as they called for a “shake-up” in the leadership of the BOC for failing to curb the entry of smuggled grains into the country. “Heads should roll for the failure of Customs to address the problem of rampant smuggling in the Visayas and Mindanao. Smuggled rice have flooded the market, reaching Nueva Ecija, Baguio, Pangasinan, La Union and even Isabela, the rice granary of the Philippines,” said the Abono Party-list chairman. So appealed to President Aquino to step in immediately and crack the whip on Customs officials, especially those manning the ports in Visayas and Mindanao where grains from China and Vietnam are illegally entering the country. “With smuggled rice flooding the market, it is only incumbent upon the government to act immediately. If the prices of rice continue to plunge, local rice production will certainly collapse,” he added. The Abono chairman noted that the flow of distribution of rice before usually started from Northern Luzon provinces – from Ilocos, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Isabela, Bulacan and down to Manila, and then from Manila, the local rice are being shipped to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao. “Now, with the smuggled rice, the contraband is being shipped from Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro to Manila, and from Manila, it is brought to Bulacan and, subsequently, transported to other provinces in Northern Luzon,” he said. So said the smuggled grains are usually misdeclared as slag, wood wall, tiles and ukay-ukay.              

Only Congress can amend, repeal cedula law, says lawmaker By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am 3 1 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - A leader of the House of Representatives warned yesterday the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against abolishing the cedula, saying only Congress can scrap, amend or repeal the community tax certificate (CTC) law. House Deputy Majority Leader and Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo said the CTC or residence certificate is mandated by the Local Government Code or Republic Act 7160. “Only Congress can abolish, amend or repeal it,” Gunigundo said. Since the CTC is a local tax, he said the collections are divided equally by the city and the barangay that issued the certificate. The lawmaker said the BIR should not make “reckless remarks” on unilaterally abolishing the CTC as it is not within its authority to do so.

The CTC levying, exemptions, place and time for payment, and printing and distribution of CTC copies are provided in Book II of RA 7160 pertaining to Local Taxation and Fiscal Matters, under Article 6, Sections 156 to 164 of Chapter 2 (Specific Provisions on the Taxing and Other Revenue-Raising Powers of LGUs). The law provides that the proceeds of the community tax actually and directly collected by the city or municipal treasurer shall accrue entirely to the general fund of the city or municipality concerned. However, proceeds of the community tax collected through the barangay treasurers shall be apportioned as follows: Fifty percent shall accrue to the general fund of the city or municipality concerned; and 50 percent shall accrue to the barangay where the tax is collected. Last week, BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said if it were up to her, she would “rather do away with the CTC,” since government transactions that used to require it no longer do so. She also said that in many places, the cedula has become like a “joke,” with people buying it “from just any place,” which means it does not go to government coffers, not even to the LGUs. She said the national government pays for the printing of the certificates but the collections go directly to LGUs. Section 164 of Article 6 of Book 2, Chapter 2 of RA 7160 provides “the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall cause the printing of community tax certificates and distribute the same to the cities and municipalities through the city and municipal treasurers in accordance with prescribed regulations.‐congress‐can‐amend‐repeal‐cedula‐law‐ says‐lawmaker          

‘Cedula’ requirement ‘useless, irrelevant’ – BIR By Jun Ramirez Published: April 8, 2013

MANILA, Philippines --- Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) insisted yesterday that the residence certificate, or “cedula,” requirement should be scrapped because it has become “irrelevant” and “useless.” Henares noted that the “cedula,” a Spanish-era imposition, is no longer recognized as attachment or supporting document in almost all transactions. She said passport, tax identification number, and driver’s license are the important documents required in these transactions. “Residence certificate no longer serves its purpose, and cities and towns should come out with new meaningful measures to collect extra taxes from their constituents,” she said. She said residence certificate has become meaningless as fake copies can easily be obtained from dubious sources. She said the BIR is spending substantial amount in the printing of the certificate but don’t get a single centavo in return as the collection goes directly to the coffers of the cities and towns issuing them. Henares downplayed the criticism hurled at the BIR by some officials of local government units for having proposed the abolition of the “cedula” requirement. Many mayors and barangay officials said Henares’ proposal is approved by Congress it would result in reduction of their revenues needed to fund their projects.      

Villanueva seeks review of lawmakers’ pay, benefits, funds for offices By Jerry E. Esplanada Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:42 pm | Sunday, April 7th, 2013 0 8 6

Bro. Eddie Villanueva. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Bangon Pilipinas party’s lone senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva asserted on Sunday that lawmakers’ salary computations should not be different from those covering ordinary government personnel, calling a congressional post as “just another job, not a position of entitlement.” The evangelist said “senators and congressmen should be mindful that they are working for the people and the people are the ones paying for their salaries.” “Public service should be their most important consideration. That is why, they do not deserve special treatment, salary-wise. Legislators should bear in mind that a congressional position is just another job,” he also said. In a statement, the Jesus is Lord church leader emphasized “lawmakers should receive the same treatment in compensation and benefits as other state employees.” “Tighter rules should also be adopted for the allocation and disbursement of their office budgets,” he also stressed. He said that “aside from instituting a no-work, no-pay policy and the adoption of a bundy clock or biometricts system to improve attendance in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, both houses of Congress should likewise revert to the old appropriation policy which reduces opportunities for corruption.”

According to Villanueva, legislators should “adhere to common workplace rules on attendance and punctuality.” “It’s common knowledge that senators and congressmen work only a fraction of a regular government’s employee’s work days a year.” “By my count, there are only about 50 session days in a congressional session versus the more than 300 working days for state employees,” he pointed out. Villanueva recalled “in earlier Congresses, no lump sum appropriations were given to congressional offices, and everything was liquidated to account for how the people’s money was spent.” He called for “upping the ante on suggestions to improve Congress’ accountability and probity.” “All senators and congressmen should reject any offers of gifts, both in cash and in kind, if elected to office,” he said as he also challenged fellow senatorial bets to “publicly declare the same commitment.” He added, “rewards, financial or otherwise, should not be the main driver behind candidates’ decision to run for public office. Senators and congressmen should always be reminded of their role as servants of the people who are expected to perform their duties well.”

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China reports 2 more cases of new bird flu virus Associated Press 9:02 pm | Sunday, April 7th, 2013 BEIJING — Shanghai has reported two more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the number of cases in eastern China to 20. The death toll among those who contracted the virus remains at six.

Visitors watch as a worker, unseen, uses a cage to catch pigeons as a precautionary measure against bird flu at People’s Square in Shanghai, China, on Saturday April 6, 2013. AP Health officials believe people are contracting the H7N9 virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there’s no evidence the virus is spreading easily between people. China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported the two new Shanghai cases Sunday, citing local authorities. Shanghai has been ordered by the agriculture ministry to halt its live poultry trade and slaughter all fowl in markets where the virus has been found. The capital cities of the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu also have suspended sales of live poultry. Both provinces have reported H7N9 cases.

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PAGASA records cooler temperatures By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am 4 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Slightly cooler temperatures were recorded in some parts of the country yesterday due to the northeasterly winds and the tail-end of a cold front. In Metro Manila the maximum or warmest temperature reached 35.2 degrees Celsius at 4 p.m., a bit cooler than Friday’s 35.4 degrees. Manny Mendoza, of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the country would continue to experience good but warm weather in the next three days. “The temperature slightly went down because of the shifting of winds from easterlies to northeasterly wind flow,” Mendoza said in a phone interview. In Tuguegarao City, the warmest temperature was recorded at 29 degrees Celsius at 2 p.m. yesterday. Mendoza said the recorded maximum temperatures in other areas were not yet available as of press time. Today and tomorrow, easterlies will prevail over the eastern sections of Northern and Central Luzon, and eastern Mindanao. On Wednesday, the northeasterly wind will return and affect the western section of Luzon and Northern Mindanao, Mendoza said.‐records‐cooler‐temperatures            

China steps up efforts to contain deadly bird flu Agence France-Presse 3:28 pm | Sunday, April 7th, 2013 0 10 3

A policeman stands guard as Chinese health workers collect the bags of dead chickens at Huhuai wholesale agricultural market in Shanghai on April 5, 2013. Authorities in Shanghai began the mass slaughter of poultry at a market after the H7N9 bird flu virus, which has killed five people in China, was detected there, state media said. AFP FILE PHOTO SHANGHAI – China stepped up efforts to curb a deadly bird flu outbreak centered on Shanghai Sunday, disinfecting schools and shutting down trade in birds as state media criticized “intense” farming for helping spread disease. China has confirmed 18 cases of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, so far confined to its developed east coast, since announcing a week ago that the virus had been found in humans for the first time. There have been six deaths. Authorities in Shanghai called for “protecting the health and safety of students” and local television showed workers disinfecting classrooms in preparation for the return of pupils on Sunday after a holiday. Shanghai — which reported two new cases on Saturday to bring the city’s total to eight, with four deaths — has banned live poultry trading and shut markets in an effort to halt the spread of the disease. The Shanghai government said in a statement on its website Sunday that it had grounded nearly two million carrier pigeons and banned all races. Raising pigeons and songbirds is a popular hobby in China. The city has also banned the sale of wild birds as pets, blocked public access to bird exhibitions at the city zoo and captured pigeons at city parks, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported Sunday.

The nearby city of Nanjing has closed markets selling live poultry to its more than eight million residents, while Hangzhou culled poultry after discovering infected quail. In a strongly worded editorial on Sunday, the state-backed Global Times newspaper, known for its pro-China stance, said the country’s “intense” farming methods heightened the risk of deadly diseases crossing from animals to humans. “In China’s southern and eastern coastal areas, agriculture, especially animal husbandry, has become more intense and populations more dense,” said the English-language edition of the paper. “There is greater chance of contact between humans and animals and subsequent diseases. Local authorities have to develop disease prevention and control methods to match this situation, but this is a weak spot in the country’s overall development.” It called for higher standards in the agricultural industry and more balanced development, instead of a narrow focus on rapid economic growth. Last month, more than 16,000 dead pigs were found floating in a Shanghai river, discarded by farmers upstream, casting a spotlight on China’s poorly regulated agricultural industry. Chinese authorities, who have confirmed H7N9 in poultry, repeated Saturday there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, a conclusion previously echoed by the World Health Organization. Experts have expressed concern about the wide geographical spread of human cases. Sunday is officially a work day in China after the three-day Qingming Festival, when ancestors are mourned.

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Philippines is most disaster-affected country in 2012 Published: April 8, 2013 The Philippines topped the list of countries with the highest mortality rate due to natural disasters in 2012. The Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), a non-government organization based in the Philippines, cited the records of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), which showed that 2,360 people were killed due to natural disasters in 2012. Coming in second was China with 771 deaths. CDRC is a partner of CRED, a World Health Organization collaborating center based in Brussels, Belgium, which maintains the international Emergency Events Database. CRED also reported that in terms of the number of people affected by natural disasters, the Philippines came in second to China. There were 43 million people affected in China; and 12 million in the Philippines. CDRC’s Deputy Executive Director, Carlos Padolina, said the Philippines’ ranking was due to Typhoon Pablo (Bopha), the largest disaster that occurred in 2012. Pablo killed over 1,000 people in Southern Philippines. Meanwhile, citing its own data, Padolina revealed that a total of 471 natural and human-induced disasters occurred in the Philippines in 2012. Compared to the 2011 data, 2012 posed a 9 percent increase in the number of disaster events recorded by CDRC. CDRC monitors both natural and human-induced disasters that occur in the Philippines. “Majority of these disasters were caused by flood with 143 incidents and 7.8 million people affected. The high number of flooding incidents can be attributed to the Southwest Monsoon which inundated much of Luzon in August of 2012,” Padolina said. “However, the major cause of mortality rate last year was Tropical Cyclone,” he added. Padolina also pointed out the increasing trend in the number of affected people in the last five years. He said the strong typhoons that the Philippines experienced in recent years have contributed a lot to this trend.      

Thrift banks — for broader horizons (Concluded from last week) By Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye Published: April 8, 2013 During the recent Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) annual convention, BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. and former CTB President Gigi Montinola, had these words of advice for the CTB. Specifically, the chamber could broaden its horizons by elevating its vantage point. In other words, thrift banks should see the big picture. Let me paraphrase Governor Tetangco. As market opportunities expand, we need to also work together so we can maintain strong credit discipline and avoid imprudent lending and investments. In a low-interest-rate situation, according to Tetangco, banks may be tempted to c ase after higher yields. This should not distract banks from maintaining, even tightening, their credit underwriting standards not just for real estate activities (as the BSP recently mandated) but also for auto loans, credit card receivables and other consumer loans. “This is to ensure that we don’t end up financing lemons.” Tetangco also urged the chamber to also “actively participate in the culture and practice of financial education and consumer protection.” “These are not just fancy buzz words. In fact, in the BSP, we take these twin advocacies seriously. We undertake outreaches to raise the awareness of the financial consumer so that each of them can make informed saving and investment choices. “Thrift banks need to consider lending more to the MSME economic segment. A healthier MSME sector will help ensure our economic growth is broad-based and inclusive. “Thrift banks, however, must not just lend more in terms of nominal amounts. The challenge to the industry really is to ensure that such lending continuously creates further opportunities.” For his part, Montinola said that if he were still a president of a thrift bank, he would always keep the following in mind: “Product performance is now as important as personal relationship, and multi bank banking is becoming the norm, and not the exception.

“Therefore, thrift banks must invest in analyzing customer needs, developing products to suit their needs, and training their staff to appropriately sell their products. “Second, bank owners in the Philippines must commit to professionalize their banks or fall by the wayside. Bank owners should stick to their other businesses and let the professionals run their banks. “Third, unless banking is your main business, I think that there are merits in either partnering with a number of other banks or even going in the merger and consolidation route. The alternative will be to keep the bank small and well managed, focusing on a particular niche area.” Points very well taken, indeed. Note: My book Central Banking for Every Juan and Maria is now available at the following outlets: Fully Booked – Bonifacio Global City, Powerplant Mall Rockwell, Katipunan. Power Books – Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 4, Serendra. National Book Store – Greenbelt 1, Powerplant Mall Rockwell, Cash and Carry, Market Market, SM Mega Mall. And UP University Press.

Speaking Out Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye He is a Filipino politician who is currently serving as the Monetary Board Member of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas since July 3, 2008. Prior to his appointment as monetary board member, he previously served as the Press Secretary, acting Executive Secretary under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Congressman, and Mayor of Muntinlupa City. Bunye writes weekly columns for the Manila Bulletin, Tempo, People’s Tonight, Sun Star and Filipino Reporter.             

Number coding lifted April 9 – MMDA By Jamie Elona 9:41 am | Monday, April 8th, 2013 0 New 0

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority reminded motorists on Monday that the number coding scheme will be lifted Tuesday, a regular holiday. In a Twitter post, MMDA said the number ruling will be lifted Tuesday as the country observes the “Araw ng Kagitingan.” Under the coding scheme, vehicles with license plates ending and 3 and 4 would have been barred from major roads in Metro Manila from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. “Araw ng Kagitingan,” also known as Bataan Day, commemorates the fall of Bataan during the World War II.

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P110-M Siargao airport modernization okayed By Mike U. Crismundo Published: April 8, 2013 DAPA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte – Due to the worldwide recognition that the “Paradise Island” of Siargao is proud to have, President Aquino approved the additional budget amounting to P110 million for the modernization of the Siargao (Sayak) Airport. The additional budget for the project prompted the local officials to be joyous and jubilant as the island will be hosting a global event this week. Scheduled from April 11 to 18, the weeklong 6th World Siargao Game Fishing Tournament that will be held in Pilar town is expected to draw anglers from at least 17 countries, including from the Philippines. It was gathered that the additional grant for the improvement of Siargao Airport will be coming from Malacañang’s social fund. The announcement was made during the official visit of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to Siargao Island, where they conducted an ocular inspection of the island’s airport, and the proposed runway extension development. The two Cabinet officials also inspected the new state-of-the-art Tourist Police Stations here and in General Luna town, and the newly-converted Land Transportation Office (LTO) District Office for Siargao that is located here. The two officials also committed to lobby for the speedy release of additional presidential funds to fast-track improvements on Siargao Island. They said that the commitment of Malacañang is aimed at boosting the tourism industry in the area. They envisioned that the island will be one of the major tourism destinations in the Asia-Pacific region in the next five to ten years, citing the increasing arrival of foreign and domestic tourists, and the rising data on foreign and domestic investments in the area. They also promised to continue to promote Siargao as a “Paradise Island,” and to invite the ambassadors of various countries to visit the island.

BSP outstanding loans Hit P106B Published: April 8, 2013

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) total outstanding loans granted to banks and the government amounted to P106.1 billion in 2012, up 3.1 percent year-on-year. The BSP’s loan portfolio includes rediscounting loans, emergency loans, overnight clearing line, and loans to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) and the National Government. Based on a report released last Friday, a total of P53.8 billion in loans were granted mostly under BSP rediscounting facility. About 80 percent of new loans were taken out by commercial banks. A rediscounting loan which, the BSP offers in peso, US dollar and Japanese yen, is a standing credit facility to help banks meet temporary liquidity needs by refinancing the loans they extend to their clients. It is one of the popular monetary tools to regulate liquidity. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said they are maintaining the rediscounting budget of P20 billion for this year and the additional $500 million for its Exporters’ Dollar and Yen Rediscount Facility. In the meantime, BSP’s outstanding special liquidity facility or emergency loans portfolio amounted to P2.5 billion as of end-2012. The BSP emergency loan releases are limited to 50 percent of a bank’s outstanding deposits and must be collateralized. The overnight clearing lines which are overdrafts totaled P1 billion. PDIC remains BSP’s single biggest borrower. These are original loans granted to the PDIC since 1993 and include interests and other balances such as the P4.59 billion loan granted to Allied Banking Corp. as the beneficiary bank for the assisted bank, Orient Bank in 1999; the P10 billion loans to BDO Unibank for First e-Bank in 2002; the P7.2 billion BDO loan to assist United Overseas Bank of the Philippines in 1999; the P1.778 billion loan to Bank of Commerce for Traders Royal Bank in 2002; and the P10.1 billion loan to Export & Industry Export Bank granted in 2006. The BSP reported that in 2012, its past due ratio dropped to 9.2 percent from 9.5 percent in 2011 even with an uncollected PDIC loan from an unnamed universal bank which defaulted in 2011. PDIC loans’ past due loans brought the central bank’s current loan ratio to 91 percent last year against the target of 93 percent.

“The BSP continues to pursue all possible remedies to improve the collection of loans in arrears, including restructuring of loan accounts and the foreclosure of mortgages on the collaterals,” said the report. Over the past 12 months, the central bank has been refining and expanding its lending operations. One of the issued guidelines last year was on the eligibility of certain types of real estate collateral to “mitigate the risk of losses arising from bad rediscounting loans.” Other issuances ensuring the “maximum compliance by banks” when it comes to BSP regulations on loans includes the revised guidelines on the custodianship of credit instruments and the underlying collaterals of banks authorized to hold-in-trust in favor of the BSP and the handling of rediscounted credit and collateral documents by banks under depository/custodianship arrangement.                              

Gov’t set to raise FDI inflow projection for ’13 Rating upgrade seen to boost prospects for PH’s imports  By Michelle V. Remo  Philippine Daily Inquirer   4:57 am | Monday, April 8th, 2013    0  4  0  

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.: Expect more portfolio and FDI inflows. FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—The government is set to raise its 2013 projections for foreign direct investments (FDIs), portfolio inflows, and the country’s merchandise imports due to the recent upgrade of the country’s credit rating. “We expect more … portfolio and FDI flows to … the country,” Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas told the Inquirer. Last month, the Philippines received its first investment grade from a major international credit rating agency. Fitch Ratings raised the country’s rating by a notch, from BB+ to BBB-, which is the minimum investment score. The Philippines already enjoyed a favorable sentiment even before it received an investment grade, Tetangco said. The upgrade will only serve to further stoke business activities in the country. In its original forecast for this year, the BSP said net inflow of FDIs to the Philippines could reach $2.2 billion, up from last year’s $2.03 billion.

Foreign portfolio investments were also expected to post a net inflow of $3 billion this year, lower than last year’s $3.88 billion. BSP Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd Tuaño-Amador said the government’s projection on imports is also up for review because of the impact of the investment grade. Originally, the government expected imports for the year to grow by 10 percent from last year’s $61.66 billion. “We are also reviewing the imports figure because [an increase in FDIs will] lead to expanded business activities and greater demand for imports,” Amador told the Inquirer in a separate interview. A change in the projections for FDIs, portfolio investments, and imports would thus affect the overall government forecasts on the country’s balance of payments (BOP) and gross international reserves (GIR). The new projections on the BOP and GIR will be announced later this month, the central bank said. BOP, which is a record of the country’s commercial transactions with the rest of the world, shows the inflow and outflow of dollars and other foreign currencies. The original forecast was that the BOP would post a surplus of $3 billion this year. GIR is the country’s total reserve of foreign currencies, resulting from a buildup in the BOP surplus. In its original forecast, the BSP said the GIR would hit a new record high of $86 billion this year. In adjusting the BOP and the GIR numbers, the central bank will take into account the potentially higher inflows of FDIs and portfolio investments, the higher outflows of foreign currencies due to higher imports, and the impact of the government’s recent decision to abandon its plans to borrow $1 billion from foreign commercial creditors this year. The government decided to source its commercial financing requirements for 2013 entirely from the domestic market given the enormous dollar liquidity kept in the country’s banking sector.‐set‐to‐raise‐fdi‐inflow‐projection‐for‐13        

PH tagged Asia’s smuggling capital By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:02am | 927 views 18

Heat is on Biazon for P62-b loss The Philippines has become known as “the smuggling capital of Asia” after some P32 billion worth of rice, onions, meat and poultry products and P30 billion worth of petroleum products were smuggled into the country last year alone, agriculture leaders said Sunday. The representatives of agricultural groups demanded that Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon resign and blamed President Benigno Aquino III for not curbing rampant smuggling despite repeated warnings even from big businesses. “In 2012 alone, the total volume of smuggled agricultural products amounted to P32 billion. As much as 600,000 metric tons of rice worth P10 billion was smuggled into the country, smuggled chicken and pork products reached P8 billion, fish and aquatic products at P3.8 billion, sugar at P4.8 billion, and onion and other vegetables at P3.5 billion,” said Abono chairman and Swine Development Council Rosendo So, citing Bureau of Customs records. So twitted President Aquino for announcing that the country will be self-sufficient in rice this year and in fact, was on its way to exporting black organic rice. “Yes, the President is correct in saying that the country will be sufficient in rice because the smuggled imported rice is flooding the local markets and selling at a cheap cost, thereby killing our local farmers,” So told the Manila Standard. “Single-handedly, Biazon is making the country the smuggling capital of Asia. He should resign if he has any shame left,” So said. “We should not let Biazon spend another minute in Customs. He should pack his things and leave immediately.” So said Biazon should relinquish his post and not wait for the President to ask him to resign.

“You also have oil players complaining of smuggled petroleum products amounting to foregone revenues of up to P30 billion a year,” So said. Comparing the volume of exports reported by other countries to the Philippines and the import volume recorded in Customs, So said the smuggled grains were erroneously declared and recorded as “slag, wood wall, tiles and ukay-ukay.” So said the smuggled agricultural products were flooding markets nationwide, even in areas that are considered the country’s rice granary. “Heads must roll for the failure of Customs to address the problem of rampant smuggling in the Visayas and Mindanao. Smuggled rice has flooded the markets, reaching Nueva Ecija, Baguio, Pangasinan, La Union and even Isabela, the rice granary of the Philippines,” So said. So appealed to President Aquino to intervene and crack the whip on Customs officials, especially those manning the ports in Visayas and Mindanao, where grains from China and Vietnam were illegally entering the country. “With smuggled rice flooding the market, it is only incumbent upon the government to act immediately. If the prices of rice continue to plunge, local rice production will certainly collapse,” he added. So said farmers in Luzon have lost the market in Visayas in Mindanao. Before the smuggling became rampant, rice was transported from the provinces of Northern Luzon to Manila, and from there was shipped to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao. “Now, with the unabated entry of smuggled rice, the contraband is being shipped from Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro to Manila, and from Manila, it is brought to Bulacan and, subsequently transported to other provinces in Northern Luzon,” So said. So said the local farmers were disappointed in President Aquino’s inaction on their manifesto asking for immediate and concrete steps to curb rice smuggling. The manifesto was submitted to the President and to Biazon more than a month ago, he said. “Since then, the illegal entry of grain shipments continues,” So said.

Biazon earlier drew flak after big oil players complained of rampant smuggling of petroleum products in various ports across the country. Malacañang recently distanced itself from the Customs chief, with presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda saying the calls for him to resign “should be answered by Commissioner Biazon himself.” Biazon was reported to be in Panama City where he was attending a meeting of the World Customs Organization. In his April 4 blog on the Internet, Biazon stressed that an overhaul of the agency is needed, but mere replacement of people involved, while necessary and significant, will not be the ultimate solution.” He said “the problem of smuggling is not one that just cropped up during his tenure as BOC commissioner in the past 18 months, or the Aquino administration from mid-2010 to the present.”‐tagged‐asias‐smuggling‐capital/                         

‘Cedula can’t be undone’ By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:02am | 655 views 6

Saying only Congress can scrap, amend or repeal the community tax certificate law, Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo on Sunday chided Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares for saying last week that if it were up to her, she would scrap the tax altogether. Gunigundo also took exception to Henares’ statement that the cedula had become a “joke” because “it can be bought from just any place.” Henares also complained that while the national government pays for the printing of the community tax certificates popularly known as “cedula,” it gets nothing to cover the cost because the collections go directly to local government units But Gunigundo, who is House deputy majority leader, said Henares should stop making “reckless remarks” because the cedula was not under her jurisdiction. Since the CTC was a local tax, he said, the collections were divided equally by the city and the barangay that issued the cedula. Gunigundo said the CTC or residence certificate is mandated by the Local Government Code. “Only Congress can abolish, amend or repeal it,” said Gunigundo. “The Bureau of Internal Revenue should not make reckless remarks because it is not within its jurisdiction.” The law, he said, has specific provisions on the tax and other revenue-raising powers of local government units. Among these, it stipulates that the proceeds of the community tax directly collected by the city or municipal treasurer will accrue entirely to the general fund of the city or municipality concerned. On the other hand, proceeds of the community tax collected through barangay treasurers should be shared equally by the city or municipality and the barangay where the tax was collected.

Last week, Henares said if it were up to her, she would rather “do away with the CTC.” She said government transactions that used to require it no longer do so. She also said in many instances, collections did not even go to the local governments and said she supported abolishing the cedula. But Gunigundo said Congress has no intention to scrap the cedula, which indicates the residence of the citizens.‐cant‐be‐undone/                               

DOH launches drive against mosquitoes By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:01am | 264 views

The Department of Health (DOH) has asked residents in Batangas City to stop all their activities every day at 4 p.m. and to search and destroy mosquito breeding places inside and outside the house as part of a renewed campaign against dengue, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said on Sunday. He said the DOH re-launched the 4-O clock habit in Batangas City and later to other places in the country “because we can never be complacent towards dengue even with the decrease in cases and deaths.” “Community mobilization led by the barangay officials is an effective means to encourage the people to act against dengue through the strengthened strategy of 4-O clock habit,” Ona said. The Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue (ABKD) has been effective in bringing down the number of deaths caused by dengue. This year’s theme is “Stop, Look and Listen. ABKD, Pagtibayin.” In the first three months this year, DOH records showed 23,615 dengue cases with 104 deaths. For the same period last year, dengue cases stood at 23,672 with 144 deaths, majority of them male and affecting mostly those with ages from 1 to 20 years old. Ona said the only way to stop dengue was through active participation of the community to conduct regular searches and to destroy mosquito breeding places such as discarded tires, flower pots and uncovered buckets. He said in the National Capital Region dengue cases has gone down from January to March from 5,700 to 2,009 cases for the same period last year with the number of deaths down for the same period from 35 to 5.‐launches‐drive‐against‐mosquitoes/    

EcoWaste urges ban on rugby sale By PNA | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:01am | 265 views

Amid reports of rampant out-of-school youth addiction to rugby, an environmental group on Sunday urged government officials to push for the ban on the over-thecounter sale of rugby and other aromatic solvents. In a vigorous campaign against inhalant abuse, the EcoWaste Coalition said that aromatic solvents like rugby contain health-damaging volatile organic compounds that are emitted as gases or vapors, which are not intended to be inhaled. According to Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, Thony Dizon, what was needed was collaboration of both the national and local government, civic, faith and business groups to eliminate chemical addiction. ”It’s time to put the nail in the coffin on inhalant abuse that can lead to serious health consequences,” Dizon said, especially because children and adults alike have been a number of cases of them roaming the streets of Manila.‐urges‐ban‐on‐rugby‐sale/                 

Govt eyes LNG from Canadian suppliers By Alena Mae S. Flores | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:01am | 299 views 1

The Energy Department plans to secure liquefied natural gas supply from Canada and Brunei as the country braces for higher power demand in the future. Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said talks were ongoing with Canada and Brunei for a possible LNG supply agreement. LNG is natural gas converted into a liquid state for easier storage and transportation. Upon reaching its destination, LNG is regassified and can be distributed through pipelines as natural gas to target facilities. Petilla, however, said the department needed to study the LNG pricing to get the best price that would translate into lower rates to end-users. “I want to get involved in the pricing scheme for LNG. We have no facility now so I want to find out where we are in terms of pricing,” Petilla said, who recently visited Canada for an LNG forum. Petilla said while Canada was a possible supplier of LNG, there were concerns the north American nation would likely use its LNG for its own demand. Former Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras earlier pushed for a supply agreement with Brunei by 2015. Petilla said Brunei Petroleum, the state-owned oil and gas company of Brunei, had expressed interest to put up an LNG facility in Mindanao. Petilla said shale gas in the US traded at around $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) while LNG delivered to Japan was around $17 per mcf. Malampaya gas is priced at around $11 per mcf.‐eyes‐lng‐from‐canadian‐suppliers/ 

Entrepreneurial success: Becoming a virtuous entrepreneur By Christine Atienza | Posted on Apr. 08, 2013 at 12:01am | 808 views

ho is the successful entrepreneur? To achieve authentic entrepreneurial success the entrepreneur needs to have a clear distinction between the means and ends of entrepreneurship. Since the success of every enterprise is mainly a function of the hard work of its people, it is crucial to sustain their commitment and motivation. This is best achieved when people embrace the purposefulness of their work. Hence, defining a purpose greater than profit is key to enforcing long-lasting strategies and encouraging actions based on trust and conviction, not on rules and structures. Distinction between means and ends Entrepreneurs can gain inspiration from Aristotle’s Politics, which is centered on the pursuit of the most authoritative good—the virtue and happiness of its citizens. They can also aim to put the enterprise at the service of its people, not vice-versa. This view is an inversion of the shareholder value maximization principle, which treats the actors of the organization as means for the end of wealth accumulation. While this kind of utilitarianism is what dominates among largescale organizations, it seems more plausible for budding entrepreneurial undertakings to battle against it. The entrepreneur’s character transformation On the person of the entrepreneur, the most important reward ought to be ‘what he becomes by it’—his own character transformation. Entrepreneurs need to be “incarnations” of noble mission statements. His ability therefore to embed

personal values into his enterprise provides a critical and lasting contribution to its success. In the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur, several questions require reflection by the entrepreneur. Questions like “Who should I be?” and “What kind of person should I become?” are indispensable guide for the entrepreneur to direct himself towards his authentic character growth. Through deep self-reflection, the entrepreneur is able to look for purpose within the process of entrepreneurship, thus finding a bigger meaning to making an enterprise grow and survive. Virtues-based entrepreneurship The biggest challenge for the entrepreneur is to share and transmit values and virtues within and outside the enterprise. Unless these are shared and expanded to others, via a virtues-based entrepreneurship, it would be hard to sustain authentic entrepreneurial success. One possible track is via humanistic business models, which focuses on societyoriented strategies and is directed at improving the standard of living in communities where an enterprise operates. As society and enterprise have a mutual need for each other, as claimed by the famous business theorist Michael Porter, this mutual dependence could lead to the creation of shared value for both business and society. In this track, the goal is not only for the entrepreneur to look at creating social programs but to design competitive business models that meet societal needs through a new set of best strategies anchored on shared value. By successfully putting into action a society-oriented business model, the entrepreneur can gain better access to the trust of its people, who will then serve as partners in community building, more than employees with daily performance targets to meet. A community of virtuous people Ultimately, the purpose of every enterprise is to bring into being some human good. It, therefore, reaches its maximum potential when it is transformed into a real human community and contributes to the authentic development of persons who take part in and benefit from its activities.

A more comprehensive definition of entrepreneurial success—one that makes a virtuous entrepreneur and builds a community of virtuous people—therefore has to be grasped by the entrepreneur to be able to actualize it. Only by truly internalizing and incarnating this principled end will the entrepreneur be able to attain and sustain authentic success. The author is currently the president of the Institute for Integrality Inc., a multidisciplinary training institution that promotes integral human development. Her fields of expertise include leadership and people development, strategic planning, corporate culture and team management. She is currently doing her DBA at DLSU and finished BS/MA Economics from UP Diliman. She was the founding research director of the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis Inc. She can be reached at The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.‐success‐becoming‐a‐virtuous‐ entrepreneur/                       

Oban linked to oil smuggling Published on 07 April 2013  Hits: 585  Written by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL REPORTER  TRANSPORTATION and Communications Undersecretary for Operations Eduardo Oban Jr. is reportedly being investigated for his alleged links to oil smugglers, an alliance that dates back to the time when he was chairman of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC). Oban, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has filed for an unusual sixmonth leave of absence beginning April 1 for still unknown reasons. Fe Mercado, his personal secretary, confirmed this to The Manila Times. “He is on a six-month leave of absence. He is now in the United States,” Mercado said. Pressed for details on Oban’s sudden leave, Mercado said that she did not know her boss’ travel itinerary or the purpose of his trip and why he filed for a half-year leave. Insiders at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that Oban is not seeing eye-to-eye with Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya over differences on the latter’s style of management. Probe But more intriguing was the issue raised by another insider that Oban’s sudden leave of absence has something to do with the issue of oil smuggling in the country, which Malacanang has ordered investigated. Talks were rife that Malacañang has placed Oban under investigation for the same reason. As DOTC undersecretary for operations, Oban oversees the day-to-day functions of all government-run transportation services - air, sea and land. Oban has direct supervisory powers over DOTC-attached agencies like the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Civil Aeronotics Board, Clark International Airport Corp., Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, Manila International Airport Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Toll Regulatory Board, Philippine National Railways, Light Rail Transit Authority, North Luzon Railways Corp, and Metro Rail Transit, among others. Prior to his appointment to the DOTC, Oban was chairman of the CDC, which manages the Clark Special Economic Zone based in Pampanga province. Highly-placed sources at CDC said that during Oban’s term, they came across a questionable unloading of an oil shipment. The discovery was immediately relayed to the CDC higher-ups who “ignored” the report. Oban, according to the source, even instructed his men to “leave it alone.”

The Times tried to reach Oban for his side on the matter but he refused to take or return calls or even respond to text messages. Losses Two giant oil firms, Pilipinas Shell and Petron Corp.—earlier said the government is losing P30 billion to P40 billion in revenues a year due to oil smuggling. Petron claimed that smuggled oil products account for at least a third of the total volume sold in the market. Customs sources confirmed as well claims by Shell and other players in the oil industry that petroleum products are smuggled into the country. They explained that under the law, oil products that enter through free ports are exempted from paying the value-added tax and excise tax provided that they are consumed within the economic zone. Smugglers who are in cahoots with corrupt ecozone officials are able to withdraw millions of liters of oil products by passing fake documents as authentic for them to sell the products in the local market. “The customs bureau has no authority over the economic free zones. But we have so-called visitation power over establishments outside of the zone to check if taxes and duties have been paid,” the source said. The other method of smuggling oil, the source further explained, is through the so-called “paihi” system wherein the contents of a ship carrying hundreds of thousands liters of petroleum products are siphoned off by smaller vessels in open sea. “These barges and smaller vessels then bring it to small private ports where there are no customs authorities for disposal to the local market without paying anything to the government,” he added. The source explained that they are unable to run after smugglers in the middle of the sea since the bureau’s Maritime Patrol Unit was dissolved many years ago. He said they just rely on the Philippine Coast Guard in checking reports of such pilferage. AFP grease Oban retired from the military in December 2011. He succeeded Ricardo David, who is now Immigration Commissioner. Prior to David’s retirement, he was linked to the questionable distribution and consumption of some P400 million worth of petroleum, oil, and lubricants for various military units over a three-month period from January to March 2011.The amount spent was way above the AFP allocation of only P150 million for the three-month period, raising suspicions then that the surplus was either “converted” or it went into the pockets of some top military officials.Oban ordered the matter investigated and exonerated David and a classmate at the Philippine Military Academy, Commodore Teddy Pan, and several other officers.Pan was then AFP deputy chief of staff for logistics.‐stories/44987‐oban‐linked‐to‐oil‐smuggling 


EVEN judges whose appointment by President Benigno Aquino 3rd is the subject of a growing controversy, believe they can be considered “midnight appointees.” Two of these judges who refused to be identified said many of them took their oath of office later than March 29 or the start of the mandatory appointment ban under the 1987 Constitution. Aquino is barred by the Constitution from making appointments two months before election day, which is May 13. The judges fear that some litigants may question their appointment in the future. “May mga natatakot nga sa mga na-appoint na judges kasi ang sabi makukumpleto lamang ang appointment kapag nakapag-oath na. Ang problem late kasi ang transmittal ng Malacanang sa mga appointments namin sa Supreme Court,” a judge said. Also, the judges are nervous because of the ruling issued by the High Court in the case of Arturo de Castro vs. the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which said that only the High Court is exempted from the appointment ban during the election period. The first transmittal letter of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was dated March 27, Holy Wednesday, or two days from the appointments ban which happened to be

March 29, which fell on Good Friday. The appointees involve 61 judges of the lower courts, officials of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). The documents of the second batch of appointees were stamped March 27, but the transmittal of the appointment papers to Sereno was on April 3, 2013, which is already covered by the appointments ban. Among those appointed were Judge Edith Cynthia Angara Wee of the 3rd Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Baler-San Luis, Aurora; Judge Queenie Abel Mallilin of the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Claveria-Sta. Praxedes-Calayan, Cagayan; Judge Josefino Subia of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 138, Makati City; and Judge Maximo De Leon of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 143, Makati City. Wee and Mallillin’s appointments were signed by Aquino on January 14 while the appointments of Subia and De Leon were signed by the President on February 8. The dates bearing in the appointments contradict a statement of Aquino that he made a thorough review of the appointments up to the last minute, critics noted. Some claim that these appointment papers were antedated by Malacanang to hide possible violations of the law because it was transmitted only on April 3 or the period of the appointments ban. Aquino has claimed that appointments in the judiciary are not covered by the ban, but he was silent on those he named to the Executive department such as in the LRA and DBP where the appointment of some of their officials were dated March 27. Aquino’s Executive Order No. 2, issued against the “midnight appointees” of then president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,

clarified that “an appointment shall only be complete upon acceptance of the appointee.” An appointment is considered accepted only once the appointee has taken his oath. The violation committed by Aquino following his EO2 against midnight appointments particularly hits Section 1A provision: “Those made on or after March 11, 2010, including all appointments bearing dates prior to March 11, 2010 where the appointee has accepted, or taken his oath, or assumed public office on or after March 11, 2010, except temporary appointments in the executive positions when continued vacancies will prejudice public service or endanger public safety as may be determined by the appointing authority.” In Arroyo’s time, the start of the appointments ban was on March 11 while in Aquino’s time, it is March 29.‐stories/44985‐judges‐among‐aquino‐s‐midnight‐ appointees                       

WHO lauds Aquino’s health program Published on 07 April 2013  Hits: 199  Written by CATHERINE S. VALENTE REPORTER  0 0 2 2 

The World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific Region will honor President Benigno Aquino 3rd during its commemoration of World Health Day 2013 today. In a statement, WHO regional director for Western Pacific Dr Shin Youngsoo said that Aquino’s achievements in attaining and improving the health of all Filipinos will take center stage during the event at the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila. Shin noted that it is fitting to celebrate World Health Day “by recognizing President Aquino’s exemplary leadership in public health.” “Among his most significant accomplishments have been raising taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and giving vulnerable Filipinos access to health insurance and reproductive health care,” he said “He truly embodies the principle from which WHO derives so much of its direction and inspiration: that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right,” he added. The theme of World Health Day 2013 is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension which has been the leading source of many heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. High blood pressure is among the leading causes of preventable death. The WHO reported high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of preventable death, accounting for 80 percent of the deaths in the Western Pacific Alone.

“High blood pressure is a major risk factor for the cardiovascular diseases that account for about half of non-communicable disease deaths. So, the connection between controlling high blood pressure and achieving our ambitious targets for the control of the non-communicable diseases is plain,” Shin said. “Public health policy needs to address high blood pressure. If it doesn’t then we won’t be able to adequately address the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases,” he added. The ultimate goal of World Health Day 2013 is to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Specific objectives of the campaign are to: raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure; encourage adults to check their blood pressure and to follow the advice of health-care professionals; encourage self-care to prevent high blood pressure; make blood pressure measurement affordable to all; and encourage national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviors. World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 (April 8 in Manila) to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Aside from Dr Shin, joining the President for the occasion will be Health Secretary Enrique Ona.‐stories/44984‐who‐lauds‐aquino‐s‐health‐program           

Productivity of farm sector still a challenge Published on 07 April 2013  Hits: 243  Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER   

Productivity and competitiveness in the agriculture sector remain a major challenge in developing countries like the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. In a speech at the recently concluded 2013 Asia Pacific Agriculture Policy (APAP) Roundtable in Japan, Balisacan said that the most binding constraint to productivity growth of agriculture in the developing world is the inadequacy of an efficient infrastructure system. Particularly, he cited the absence of transport, power supply, and communication infrastructure in the said countries. “The immediate consequence is the high transaction costs of doing business in rural areas, effectively inhibiting farmers from taking advantage of opportunities in rapidly growing areas and urbanizing centers, including foreign markets for exports,” he said. The Cabinet secretary added that given the sector’s vulnerability to climate-related risks, a need for infrastructure that would help farmers cope with the effects of climate change is becoming more urgent. Moreover, Balisacan also identified regulatory and policy regime as another set of binding constraints for agriculture. “High tariffs and quantitative restrictions set up to achieve, say, food selfsufficiency goals induced inefficiency in production and consumption choices, dampen competitiveness and productivity, encourage rent-seeking behavior, and ultimately hurt the poor who are usually net buyers of food,” he stated. Balisacan also mentioned that access to finance is far more limited for small and medium farmers, especially in developing countries, noting that inadequate working capital holds back the adoption of modern technologies embodied in new plant varieties, farm equipment, and post-harvest facilities, among others.

“Considering the numerous development priorities and programs that governments of developing countries attend to in order to address the binding constraints to economic growth and poverty reduction, including those for agriculture, investment partnership with stakeholders, particularly the private sector, is deemed crucial,” he said. Balisacan continued that it is in this context that public-private partnership (PPP) schemes are increasingly being utilized to implement certain public sector programs and projects. However, he admitted that in the agriculture sector, programs and projects have a risk profile that is dominated by seasonality issues in the form of natural disasters and climate change-related effects, among others, adding that poor connectivity often aggravates the situation. The secretary also noted that government may have to provide subsidies, incentives, or availability payments to attract private sector participation. Given the nature of agriculture projects and the inherent risks in the sector, the government needs to find ways to make agriculture projects commercially viable, he stated. “This is either through an optimal sharing of risks or through a transaction structure that would strike a balance between safeguarding public interest by ensuring that a project has a net economic benefit and making the project attractive to the private sector,” he said. In addition, Balisacan said that the government and the private partner could also explore other factors that would achieve such balance through new technologies and innovations that would drive down whole-of-life costs, thus making a program or project economically and financial viable.‐business‐news/44941‐productivity‐of‐farm‐ sector‐still‐a‐challenge       

A reason to brand • Published on 07 April 2013 Hits: 205

We all have reasons to brand. But other than reaching the status of integrity and the comfort of sales goals for a sustaining model, in this ever changing world with the innovations we experience today, to brand is to set the stage to expand our product and address change. Products, services and even image branding can be lost overnight, even if we are careful. The only constant in this world is change and we need always to be alert and ready when it comes our way. Strategic management keeps us on our toes, leaving nothing unattended. It means we are ready for changes that may increase our vulnerability. Innovations and progress will always bring new products, services and even new ideals. Without a brand, you may need to start all over again. A brand identifies integrity, a trait that allows you to leap frog change, new products, improved services, or even renewed changes. Overconfidence and slacking off puts your brand at peril. Only fools believe they are forever great and that they know it all. There are many in our communities and business circles: to have a know-it-all manager, supervisor or general manager spells disaster. Acknowledge change and continually persist to improve—that is virtue, not complacency. Branding is all about change and the only advantage branding provides is perceived integrity. Imagine the need to generate awareness, to undergo trials and track reception to your product or services every time a bit of tweaking seems right. It may seem a waste of time, but the time used can spell the difference between success and failure. To brand is to inspire confidence of your consumers, your market, and your constituents; it’s all about the integrity you already possess.

Superbranding is the ability to maintain and sustain your already successful branding efforts. We must all understand assumed infallibility, which is the death knell to your brand. Public Relations (PR) strategies are needed to maintain the brand. Sustained perception is key to sustained success. Announcing that you are the best, the all powerful, the know-it-all makes you vulnerable. Superbranding helps you generate the strategic endorsement you need and will lower your exposure to vulnerable issues you may not be aware of. Be wary of know-it-alls. When you recognize one, run the other way.‐business‐news/44940‐a‐reason‐to‐brand                                 

Market vulnerable to corrections, profittaking Published on 07 April 2013 Hits: 264 Written by MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR REPORTER

After trading sideways in the previous week, the market is seen to be more vulnerable to corrections and profit-taking in the next trading days. Jovis Vistan, AB Capital Securities Inc. head of research, said that the local stock market may trade sideways in the next few days. “It looks like the market is pretty much overbought, there’s still room for profit-taking and technical correction,” he said. Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Finance, explained, however, that corrections within the benchmark index actually present great opportunity for more investors that intend to enter the market. The benchmark index ended the previous week with a 0.83-percent decline, or 56.58 points to 6,727.14, while the broader all-shares index fell further by 0.50 percent, or 21.01 points to end at 4,195.96. According to a weekly advisory of AB Capital’s Abbygayle Estrella, the local market ran out of fuel to surge past the 7,000-point level last week, as external headwinds from the Cyprus bailout crisis to the North Korea nuke threats shadowed the euphoria on the country’s first investment grade status. “After hitting a new intra-day high of 6,956.92 in Monday, the Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 120.33 points [-1.76 percent] to settle at 6,727.14 while the broader all-share index shed 38.35 points [-0.91

percent] to finish at 4,195.96, week-on-week,” Estrella said. She also cited that value turnover was lower as investors stayed on the sidelines amid the escalating geo-political tensions that threatened the global markets.‐business‐news/44939‐market‐vulnerable‐to‐ corrections‐profit‐taking                                       

A nation of 100 million Published on 07 April 2013  Hits: 208    According to the National Statistics Office, by the end of this year the population of the Philippines should reach 100 million. That’s a lot of people in any language. The government, specifically its economic planners, can look at that number in either of two ways. One, the sheer number will be a huge problem. With so many mouths to feed, the country’s fisheries and agriculture sectors may not be able to produce enough to take care of the Philippines’ essential food needs. One hundred million Filipinos also means that the housing backlog will worsen, and the employment picture will be as grim as ever. The rise from Third World to developed nation status will be made even more difficult, as the population explosion will overtake the current economic growth. As a result, there will be no improvement in the percentage of our countrymen who remain poor. Under a worst-case scenario, poverty will worsen and the country will continue to be mired in slow growth. That’s the negative way of looking at the numbers. On the plus side, however, having so many Filipinos can translate to a large market for goods and services. Development can move at a faster pace. This is not as unlikely as it seems. There have been other countries that have met the challenge of having very large populations and used it to their advantage. The best example is China, which only a few decades ago was a poor country with a population of more than one billion. China’s economic planners took advantage of their abandoning the failed policies of communism and embrace of capitalism. In a short span, China became one of the world’s fastest growing economies. While politically, the country remains communist in name, economically it is competing with the rest of the world with its version of a free market economy, complete with a healthy stock market. Today, there are supposedly one million Chinese millionaires where a few decades ago there were none. Those new rich Chinese created their wealth the old fashioned way. Most of them put up businesses and competed in the global market. Manufacturing was their key, and today China is the world’s biggest manufacturer of all kinds of consumer goods. This is not to say that the Philippines should suddenly shift from an agri-based economy to a manufacturing based one. It is still infinitely better to become self sufficient in food than to be able to create products for export but with no guarantee that there will be enough food to feed 100 million people.

There is no need for a drastic overhaul of the country’s economic system. While this was the key that transformed China from a poor nation to one where wealth continues to be made, it should be noted that the Philippines has always had the free market-based economic system that theoretically leads to the creation of vast wealth. Perhaps one change that the government can consider is to tweak the country’s education system so that a nation of entrepreneurs can be created very quickly. For now, the vast majority of high school and college students are trained to become employees. In the language of business, the 100 million Filipinos can be considered as either assets or liabilities. Look at them as liabilities that need to be clothed, fed and housed and they will become nothing more than that. But treat them as assets who can deliver the goods and the adult population of that 100 million can be true partners in progress. The saying about a glass being half empty or half full is apt. Filipino businessmen, executives and workers have proven themselves to be world class whenever they are based abroad. They can excel because they are not afraid of any competition. It is only in their native soil where they tend to hesitate consistently to rise above their stations because the playing field is not always level. A great American president once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” How true. Having a population of 100 million should not be anything to be afraid of. In fact, having that many Filipinos should be considered a great opportunity to push the Philippines to developed nation status within a short period of time.‐a‐nation‐of‐100‐million                    

Posted on April 07, 2013 10:59:08 PM By Bettina Faye V. Roc, Reporter

BIR sets tax forum for basketball pros PROFESSIONAL basketball players have been invited to a forum today by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which over the weekend said it wanted to assist them in complying with their tax obligations. The bureau, in a statement, said it would be holding a tax forum for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) this morning at its main office in Quezon City. “The forum seeks not only to improve the BIR and PBA working relationship but also to increase the players’ tax awareness that will ensure proper compliance and avoid any consequential non-compliance troubles like a tax case,” said Nelson M. Aspe, BIR deputy commissioner for operations. The basketball pros will be informed of their duties and obligations as taxpayers from the time of their registration with the agency up to the filing of their returns and payment of their tax dues, the BIR said. “Tax compliance issues and concerns will also be addressed by the BIR,” it added. “They will also be assisted in filling up their Income Tax Returns (ITRs), especially through the BIR Interactive Forms, and in computing their tax dues.” The agency last month filed tax evasion cases at the Justice department against two PBA players for liabilities amounting to over P30 million. Jared R. Dillinger of Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters was said to have failed to file his ITRs from 2008 to 2011, percentage tax return (PTR) for 2008, and value-added tax (VAT) returns from 2009 to 2012. Mr. Dillinger, who was said to have earned P22.19 million from 2008 to 2012, was assessed P13.37 million. Teammate Jimmy O. Alapag, meanwhile, who earned a total of P32.28 million from 2007 to 2012, allegedly failed to file his ITRs from 2007 to 2010 and VAT returns from 2007 to 2012. Mr. Alapag’s total liability was set by the BIR at P17.86 million. Mr. Aspe said he hoped the forum would reduce these kinds of cases. “Just like what PBA Commissioner Chito Salud had said, the pro ball players are image-models of all their fans and supporters and as such, they should be paying their taxes correctly and contribute to nationbuilding,” he said. Mr. Salud, for his part, yesterday said the PBA is “grateful” to the BIR for hosting the seminar and urged PBA players to attend the forum. “PBA players are high-profile athletes and celebrities in their own right. Our mandate is to be able to groom them to be role models, to be conscious of their responsibilities as law-abiding citizens,” he said in a text message.

“We realize however that like most of our countrymen, they are not fully knowledgeable with the intricacies of filing correct income tax returns. This tax clinic will be helpful toward that end,” Mr. Salud added. The PBA commissioner also said the PBA was committed to support the bureau’s efforts in its drive to increase tax compliance and collection efficiency.

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Posted on April 07, 2013 11:00:22 PM

PPP projects move forward TWO TRANSPORTATION projects under the Aquino administration’s flagship public-private partnership (PPP) program are moving forward, with bids for one to be submitted today and the other expected to be rolled out later this week. The auction for the P15.86-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIA) Phase 2 will push through today, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said during the weekend. The submission of bids was originally set for Feb. 26 but was moved as interested parties asked for more time. A contract will be awarded in May, Ms. Canilao said, adding that the project is “expected to be completed in 2015.” The NAIA Expressway project involves the construction of a 7.75-kilometer elevated road that will connect the airport in Pasay City to the state-run Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City in Parañaque City. Four groups prequalified to bid last October: the Ayala Corp.-led ACI consortium, IL & FS Transportation Networks Ltd., Manila North Tollways Corp. and Optimal Development Infrastructure, Inc. led by San Miguel Corp. Another road project, meanwhile, will be offered to investors this week, Ms. Canilao said. “The ITPB (Invitation to pre-qualify and bid) of CALA-Ex (Cavite-Laguna Expressway) will be published next week (this week),” the PPP Center chief said in a text message last Friday. Overall, the project involves the construction of a four-lane, 47-km road that will connect the Manila-Cavite and South Luzon expressways. The portion to be bid out is for the design and construction of a 36-km expressway from Kawit, Cavite to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, estimated to cost P35.5 billion. The remaining 11-km stretch from Sta. Rosa to the Mamplasan exit in Laguna, expected to cost P21.01 billion, will be financed via official development assistance. The operation and maintenance of the entire expressway will be bid out to the private sector.A successful auction of the NAIA Expressway project would make it the third PPP deal to be awarded by the Aquino administration, whose flagship infrastructure program has been hit by delays -- blamed on the need for extensive reviews -- since its launch in late 2010. So far, only the P1.96-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road Project -- bagged by Ayala Corp. in December 2011 -- and the P16.42-billion PPP School Infrastructure Project Phase One -- awarded to the Citicore Holdings Investment, Inc.-Megawide Construction Corp., Inc. and BF Corp.-Riverbanks Development Corp. consortiums last year -- have been contracted.

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Posted on April 07, 2013 11:01:25 PM

Ratings gain for Aquino SATISFACTION with President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s performance has picked up, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report, following a double-digit fall from a record high at the end of last year.   A four-point gain to a net +59 (74% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied) based on a March 19-22 survey extended the president’s run of “very good” ratings to a third quarter, although the result was still eight points below August 2012’s peak of +67% (77% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied). His score had dived to +55 (72% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied) last December, which an observer at that time said was due to Mr. Aquino’s push for the controversial reproductive health bill. An analyst said the March uptick could have been due to the president’s handling of the Sabah crisis, while a Palace official said Mr. Aquino was continuing to benefit from his reform efforts. Net satisfaction scores of +70 and above are classified by the SWS excellent; +50 to +69, very good; +30 to +49, good; +10 to +29, moderate, +9 to -9, neutral; -10 to -29, poor; -30 to -49, bad; -50 to -69, very bad; -70 and below, execrable. Mr. Aquino’s lowest rating to date is a “good” +42, recorded in May 2012. The March 2013 improvement, the SWS noted, was due to double-digit improvements in Balance Luzon and Mindanao, which offset declines in the Visayas and Metro Manila. Mr. Aquino’s political capital increased significantly in Balance Luzon, where his net rating rose by 13 points to an improved “very good” score of + 67 (79% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied). It was also at +67 in Mindanao, up 10 points from December’s +57 (74% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied). In the Visayas, however, Mr. Aquino saw an 18-point fall to a “good” +46 (67% satisfied, 20% dissatisfied) from December’s “very good” +64 (77% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied). A lesser three-point dip was also recorded in Metro Manila but his score remained in “good” territory at +40 (63% satisfied, 23% dissatisfied). Reckoned by rural and urban areas, meanwhile, Mr. Aquino improved to +67 (78% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) in the former from +60 (75% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) -- both “very good” scores -- while he rose to a “very good” +53 (71% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied) from a “good” +49 (69% satisfied, 20% dissatisfied) previously in the latter. By socioeconomic class and gender, the President notched improvements that allowed him to retain “very good” ratings. Among the class E, his net score rose to +65 (77% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) from +56 (74% satisfied,

18% dissatisfied) in December. It rose by three points in class D or the masa to +57 (73% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied), and by two points among the class ABC to +66 (78% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied). Among women, it was up by five points to +60 (75% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) and by two points to +58 (74% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied) among men. Commenting on the ratings, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail F. Valte said, “These numbers reflect the people’s abiding confidence in the President and their continued support for the reforms he continues to institute in the country, notably in social services, health and education.” Political analyst Ramon C. Casiple, meanwhile, claimed the Sabah crisis had boosted the people’s opinion of Mr. Aquino. “In the beginning, there was divided opinion on how the President handled the Sabah issue, with people feeling he was not doing enough to resolve it. But as the crisis progressed, the people rallied behind the President,” he said. Supporters of Jamalul Kiram III occupied the village of Lahad Datu in Sabah in February, seeking to assert a territorial claim by the Sultanate of Sulu. Clashes with Malaysian forces subsequently led to at least 60 deaths. Mr. Aquino criticized the incursion but also called on Kuala Lumpur to safeguard Filipinos living in Sabah. He warned Mr. Kiram of possible charges but also extended assistance to alleged militants captured by Malaysian forces. A review of the country’s dormant claim to Sabah -- acknowledged to some extent by Malaysia, which pays a token annual “rent” to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu -- has also been ordered. Mr. Casiple said the President’s ratings would stay within a “range of predictable fluctuation” unless “he makes a very big mistake.” The March 19-22 SWS survey involved face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adult Filipinos nationwide. The sampling error margins were ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages. -- N. M. Gonzales

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Posted on April 07, 2013 10:56:25 PM

Finance chiefs optimistic on ASEAN growth REGIONAL economic growth will remain strong this year despite a weak global environment, finance ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said. In a joint statement issued at the closing of last week’s 17th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, the officials noted that Southeast Asia would likely to sustain last year’s 5.6% growth. “This was underpinned by strong macroeconomic fundamentals, robust domestic demand, and sound balance sheets of banks and the corporate sector,” they said. “We are confident our economies will grow this year at between 5.3% and 6%. Nonetheless, we remain vigilant in monitoring the external risks, particularly the weak external demand and volatile capital flows that may undermine the economic recovery going forward.” To achieve this growth, the ministers said appropriate monetary, fiscal, and other macroprudential policies must be implemented. “Our main focus remains on price and financial sector stability which are imperative in supporting an ongoing yet sustainable economic expansion,” they said in the statement. The officials also committed to pursue further structural reforms, strengthen domestic demand, and encourage private sector investments. “We reaffirmed our commitment to promote a stable and integrated ASEAN, and our support for strong, sustainable, inclusive and balanced growth in the region.” Economic and financial integration are key components for the creation of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), with member states planning to achieve market integration by 2015. The ministers said member countries would continue to intensify efforts to build stronger integrated financial markets to achieve the goals of the AEC, particularly through cooperation on customs administration, taxation, and financial inclusion, among others. The development of capital markets, they added, will also remain a priority. The finance ministers also reaffirmed their support for the ASEAN infrastructure fund (AIF), which was formally rolled out at last year’s meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The fund, co-financed by ASEAN and the Asian Development Bank, aims to provide much-needed backing for infrastructure projects in the region ahead of 2015’s scheduled economic integration. -- Bettina Faye V. Roc

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Posted on April 07, 2013 09:44:35 PM

Peso likely to weaken THE PESO is expected to weaken against the dollar on risk aversion after the US reported a lower-than-expected non-farm payrolls data for March.   The local currency ended at P41.16 to a dollar -- its weakest finish so far for the year -- last Friday, depreciating by 36 centavos against its P40.80-to-a-dollar close on March 27, the last trading day before the Lenten break. “The peso could further weaken against the dollar [this] week after the US reported a lower non-farm payrolls data for March,” a trader said in a text message over the weekend. Last Friday, the US Labor department reported that the world’s largest economy added only 88,000 jobs -the lowest in nine months -- in March, and lower than the revised figure of 236,000 in the previous month. Unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell slightly to 7.6% last month from 7.7% in February. The trader noted that the March figure was also less than half of market’s expectation of 200,000 created for the month. “Investors could sell off their risky assets as a knee-jerk reaction to the data,” the trader added. In a phone interview last Friday, another trader said: “Investors will remain watchful of developments from (North) Korea.” Reuters reported yesterday that a US defense officer said that the US decided to put on hold its planned missile test of the Minuteman III intercontinental missile next week “to avoid any misperception or miscalculation” of North Korean officials. The day before, North Korea still did not allow the entry of South Koreans to Seoul-funded Kaesong industrial complex -- the joint industrial park and a “symbol” of inter-Korean cooperation. It has banned the entry of South Koreans since Wednesday. Last Friday, North Korea also told diplomats to evacuate Pyongyang by April 10. There were also reports that North Korea moved a medium-range missile to its east coast. It also threatened to attack Guam if the US strikes an attack to North Korea. The local currency is expected to trade within the P41- to P41.30-per-dollar band this week. -- Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio

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Posted on April 07, 2013 10:25:09 PM

Gov’t gets new SCTEx proposal MANILA NORTH Tollways Corp. (MNTC) has proposed to the government equal sharing of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway’s (SCTEx) net earnings in a bid to bag the concession for the country’s longest toll road, a top official of the company’s parent said late on Friday last week.   The proposal was submitted to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) last month, said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), MNTC’s parent. “We have submitted our proposal in writing to BCDA. We haven’t received any official confirmation letter as far as I know,” Mr. Pangilinan told reporters at the First Pacific Leadership Training Academy in Antipolo City. BCDA, builder of the 94-kilometer expressway, last month gave MNTC up to March 31 to submit its proposal. BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel P. Casanova confirmed over the weekend that his agency has received MNTC’s proposal. “That is being evaluated by BCDA and DoF (Department of Finance)” Mr. Casanova said in a text message. “Then, the results will be submitted to OP (Office of the President) for approval,” Mr. Casanova added, without saying when evaluation could be completed. Mr. Pangilinan said that, under the new proposal, the government will get half of the “net cash flow” from the operation of SCTEx. “It is 50-50 net. The net cash flow that is 50-50,” Mr. Pangilinan said when asked for details of the proposal. “So it is a real PPP (public-private partnership).” Asked to elaborate, MNTC President Rodrigo E. Franco said “net cash flow” would be “revenues minus the opex (operating expenses), capex (capital expenditures), and debt services.” “So we will share that all throughout the concession period up to 2043,” Mr. Franco said in a telephone interview yesterday. STICKING POINT This is the third SCTEx concession proposal of MNTC, concessionaire of North Luzon Expressway. Its first two proposals did not sit well with the government reportedly due to revenue-sharing issues. SCTEx, which opened in 2008, was built by BCDA at a cost of P34.907 billion, 78% of which was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), according to the state agency’s Web site. In 2010, MNTC was “awarded the right to enter into a 25-year concession agreement with BCDA” --

extendable for another eight years -- for the management and operation of SCTEx, as well as the right to collect toll fees, according to MPIC’s 2011 annual report. The contract, however, was put under review in 2011 upon the recommendation of the Finance department due to concerns over revenue-sharing, prompting MNTC to submit in November last year a second proposal that, among others, was to raise BCDA’s share in SCTEx concession fees to P90 billion from an original P64 billion up to 2043. The second proposal was to give government 30% of revenues, MPTC Chief Financial Officer Christopher C. Lizo had said last month. Currently, MPTC unit Tollways Management Corp. (TMC) has an operation and maintenance agreement with BCDA under which the government pays TMC for services like toll collection and traffic control. MPIC’s net income increased by 23.75% to P9.69 billion last year from P7.83 billion in 2011 on higher contributions from its subsidiaries, according to its audited statement of financial position. Shares of MPIC gained five centavos or 0.89% to close at P5.65 apiece on Friday last week from their P5.60 finish on Thursday. MPIC is the local unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., which in turn partly owns Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a minority stake in BusinessWorld. -- Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

Posted on April 07, 2013 08:18:24 PM

Pre-hispanic Bukidnon theogony Facebook Tweet LinkedIn Google + ShareThis

THE “BUKIDNONS” in Misamis were initially three groups: Vestiges those in the fertile mountains and valleys of the Cagayan, José S. Arcilla, Tagoloan, and Iponan Rivers; those near the “Bagobos” of S.J. Agusan between Gingoog and Nasipit; and those on the right bank of the Pulangi River and its tributaries. Tall, generally handsome, affable and open, alert and well-mannered, they could compare with the old Visayan Christians. In their trade, they were hardly distinguishable from their baptized customers or trade partners. Polytheists, they believed in four gods, dwelling in the four cardinal points: north, “Dumalonglong”; south, “Ongli”; east,”Tagolambong”; and west, “Magbabaya.” “Magbabaya” had two equal deities, “Imababasang,” invoked for safe delivery, and “Ipamahandi” in charge of livestock (carabao, horse, etc.). These gods dwelt inside tree trunks or in enormous cliffs. When people pass by a Balete tree, they bent down and lowered their voice to a whisper. For they believed that the Balete was the dwelling place of “Magtitima,” the invisible being in the forest. The most revered was “Tigbas,” who had descended from heaven. Only the principal datus kept his stone image guarded with extreme care and showed it only to their most trusted friends and allies. Another deity, the “Talian,” represented by a squatting monkey, was made of the root of the alder tree. They tied its small image around their neck, and they never went out on a journey without it. When fearing an ambush, they hung this image with a string in the air. The direction it faced once it stopped swinging was where their enemy would appear. To save themselves, they turned around and took a different route for their journey. To cure sickness, they kept the idol in a glass of water and dank it. The “Basco,” or evil spirit, they constantly feared and tried to appease with food and drink, singing and dancing, while reciting some prayers to free them from a calamity they feared would befall them. The elders were usually the ones who offered their sacrifices, generally of fruits, or pigs and chickens. One of their more common altars was a bare post on top of which they placed a plate containing some offerings. On two transversal pieces of wood midway in the post they placed idols. A deep fear among the Bukidnons was being victimized by deceit or poisoning. Before offering food to guests, they first tested it, to show they had nothing to fear if they accepted the food or drink... No Bukidnon would ever mention his own name, and when asked, someone else answered, “They call him ‘Gulas.’” Those who lived isolated in the forest or mountain clefts, built their house low, although raised above the ground, out of fear of the enemy’s spears.

They believed that the dead rose to heaven by jumping, more or less upwards, to remain there forever. Mourning they observed by letting their hair loose and did not tie it up until after a long period, depending on their love for the deceased. As one can see, the indigenous religion of the Bukidnons had clear affinities with Christian truth, and which needed only to be purified. In many ways, this was one reason why the missionaries generally succeeded in convincing them to accept Christian baptism.

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What Church, State separation? •

Written by Tribune Editorial

Monday, 08 April 2013 00:00

That thin veil of pretension in the Catholic Church of not getting involved in politics was altogether discarded in the forming of the so-called White Vote Movement which will openly endorse a group of candidates against another. The separation of Church and State is enshrined in the Constitution which says the dictum is inviolable and mandated the government not to enact any law that would restrict the exercise of religion. The Church, in return, is expected to observe its preaching of rendering unto “Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The separation of Church and State has always been a major issue during the elections in the country, primarily since the Church has been responsible in two extra-constitutional grab of power in the current generation through the two Edsa takeovers. The movement is apparently the climax of the campaign of the Church against supporters of the Reproductive Health (RH) law and the endorsement of those it perceives as to have worked against the passage of the law. It is also a show of force, since some of members of Congress expressed doubts on the potency of the so-called Catholic vote, or the ability of the guidelines set by Church leaders in the choice of candidates to actually influence voting. For a long period, the Church has been able to get the establishment go its way when rules involving the internal affairs of a family are involved such as the use of birth control methods. In recent memory, the RH law was the first time the Palace rebuked Catholic bishops on its position against a law. Noynoy had to choose between international institutions which are dangling huge rewards for the enactment of a birth control law and the Catholic Church with its antiquated concept of procreation. Apparently material considerations won out against the appeal to the spiritual of the Church, which is now the source of frustration and acrimony among Catholic bishops. Bishops vowed to fight back, particularly incensed over the allegations on the impotence of the Catholic vote. It seems that it has taken its gloves off now, the way it did during the Edsa takeovers, to assert its primacy with the Catholic faithful, which still make up 85 percent of the population. Evangelist Mike Velarde’s call to action sounds very similar to the appeal of the deceased Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin for Catholics to assemble for the removal of a sitting leader. But not quite, though as the call is in defense of the Catholic faith and over the RH law.

It will be known soon enough whether the negative Catholic vote campaign in defense of the faith will be successful enough to cut millions of votes from top ranking candidates who are known to be for the RH bill’s enactment into law. But the fact that Velarde is sounding the clarion call is a show of determination of Catholic Church leaders to make their voice heard through the electorate in the May polls. Velarde acts similarly in the political front of the Church having his own party-list and his endorsement is among the must-haves of political candidates during an election. Velarde’s campaigning for a certain group of candidates in behalf of the Catholic Church is clearly the Catholic bishops again wanting to exert political power, which is a throwback to the Spanish colonial period when friars decide both the spiritual and political preferences of the faithful. Come to think of it, after 500 years they never did change, them frailes.‐what‐church‐state‐ separation?                           

AlloyMTD to build another P1.3-B RGC in Butuan City • •

Written by Ed Velasco Monday, 08 April 2013 00:00

AlloyMTD, a multinational firm headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is set to build the second multibillion-peso regional government center (RGC) in the Caraga region after the Butuan City government accepted in principle its offer to build the project under build-lease-operate and transfer scheme. Isaac David, AlloyMTD-Philippines president, said his firm and Butuan City will just wait for the end of the election period in June 2013 before starting the project right at the center of the city. Butuan City is the capital of Agusan del Norte. Caraga covers the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. “We’re on target as promised by our Group president and CEO Dato Azmil Khalid. We are committed to build as many RGCs to the best of our ability. This is the second for this year and we hope to do more,” David told The Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview at the AlloyMTD-Philippines head office in the Fort, Taguig. The firm’s projects fall under public-private partnership at the local government level. The RGC in Region XIII, also called Caraga region, can accommodate at least 30 government offices and 2,300 personnel. The RGC there will serve as the head regional office of all government agencies, thus ending the long travel to either Cotabato City or Davao City of those who want to transact business with any government agency. The project will cost P1.3 billion and will be constructed in two years at no cost to the local government. The RGC in Butuan City will be located in a four-story building at a seven-hectare lot. The four-story building will have a total floor area of 27,800 square meters. Building many RGCs was a promise Khalid when he visited the Philippines in January. Khalid is also willing to infuse additional investments to the country to build RGCs in other regions of the Philippines. The firm invested P15 billion in the Philippines in 2010 for the South Luzon Expressway project. As of the latest development, Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante already accepted the letter of intent of the Malaysian firm. The letter of intent contained the specifications of the project, and the manner of implementation. After the acceptance in principle of the project offer, AlloyMTD submitted a conceptual design of the project and subsequently more detailed proposal, including the financial cost and terms of the joint

venture agreement. “The thing we’re just waiting for is the end of election ban so that we can start moving,” David added. Under the proposal submitted to Amante, Butuan City will provide the lot while AlloyMTD will build, maintain, operate, design and finance the project. After 25 to 30 years, the RGC will be turned over to the city without cost to the host city. It will be the second RGC to be built in just a matter of less than six months. On Jan. 23, AlloyMTD started the construction of RGC in Calamba City. The RGC in Calamba City will house at least 54 government agencies and 5,000 personnel. “Our intention is to build a Putrajaya-like environment where anyone need not travel very long just to transact business with any government agency. We intend to replicate this in all the 16 regions of the Philippines who are willing to joint venture with us,” David, a noted engineer, said. AlloyMTD executive chairman Dato’ Dr. Nik Hussain said during the signing of the first RGC in the Calabarzon Area that “we have strong confidence in doing business in the Philippines because of the transparency and strong economic fundamentals in the country.” AlloyMTD is an infrastructure developer operating in 15 countries, including the Philippines, India, China, Chile, Australia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.‐alloymtd‐to‐build‐another‐p13‐b‐rgc‐in‐ butuan‐city                   

Expert: RP still behind Asean neighbors in food exports • •

Written by Ed Velasco Monday, 08 April 2013 00:00

Food exports from the Philippines registered double digit growth in 2012 and are forecast to continue to grow in the next two years. However, export figures pale in comparison with those of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, a leading food business authority confirmed. Exports of the semi-processed food and agriculture-based industries reached $3.55 billion in 2012, an increase of 11.56 percent from 2011 figures. These sectors are expected to post continued volume growth, forecast at six percent in 2013 and 10 percent in 2014. But even with these gains, “much can still be done to enhance our export performance,” said Roberto Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization (Philfoodex), during a speech at a recent exporters forum on the outlook for the semi-processed and agri-based export industries. “The Philippine food export turnover is still far behind our Asean neighbors. For example, Thailand has an average of $20-billion annual revenue from food exports,” he said in his paper. Amores represented more than 250 member-companies in the association that are engaged in selling fresh and processed foods for the export and domestic markets. The Philfoodex membership is comprised mostly of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). He said food exports represented 6.8 percent of total Philippine exports of nearly $52 billion last year. Overseas food shipments included processed foods accounting for 57 percent, fresh foods representing 28 percent, and marine products comprising 15 percent.To raise the industry’s export performance, Amores urged the government to help the organization improve its assessment of the global food market and gain increased access to technology. He also called for a reduction in the cost of production through removing import and export duties on production inputs and the processing of raw materials, and lowering the power rates for agro-processors and exporters. “Rates within the eco zones are 40 percent cheaper. The same price should be available to exporters outside the eco zones,” he added.The food sector will likewise benefit from increased access to investment funding.‐expert‐rp‐still‐behind‐asean‐neighbors‐in‐ food‐exports

Carabao Island, magiging ala-Boracay Posted by Online Balita on Apr 8th, 2013 // No Comment


SAN JOSE, Romblon – Handa na ang bayan ng San Jose sa Romblon sa spill over ng turismo mula sa kilala sa buong mundo na Boracay Island sa Malay, Aklan. Kilala ang San Jose sa tawag na Carabao Island at Hambil, at gaya ng Boracay ay mayroon itong puting buhangin at mararating ng bangka sa loob ng 20 minuto mula sa Boracay.

Ayon kay Vice Mayor Ronnie Samson, marami nang dayuhan ang nagsipagtayo ng kani-kanilang resort sa Carabao Island at naghihintay ng mga turista mula sa Boracay. Kasalukuyang umaasa sa pangingisda at agrikultura, asam ng mga residente ng isla na mababago at giginhawa ang kanilang buhay sa inaasahang pagsigla ng turismo sa San Jose. Problema lang ng San Jose ngayon ang kakapusan sa supply ng kuryente at tubig, na dahilan kaya nag-aalinlangan ang malalaking investor na mamuhunan sa nasabing bayan. – Jun N. Aguirre‐content/uploads/2013/04/08_04_2013_005_019_003.jpg     

Husay ng guro, pag-iibayuhin Posted by Online Balita on Apr 7th, 2013 // No Comment

0 BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya – Magpapatupad ang pamahalaang bayan ng Bambang ng programa na mag-aangat sa antas ng mga guro at sa kalidad ng edukasyon ng mga mag-aaral sa nasabing bayan.

Ayon kay Mayor Flaviano Balgos, ang Teacher Upgrading Program (TUP) ang magsisilbing gabay ng mga guro sa pampublikong paaralan sa elementarya upang mahasa nang husto ang kakayahan at husay ng mga ito sa pagtuturo. – Wilfredo Berganio‐ng‐guro‐pag‐iibayuhin/#.UWIqFKJvAqM                                 

Paggamit ng e-cigarette, tinutulan Posted by Online Balita on Apr 8th, 2013 // No Comment

1 Ni Mary Ann Santiago Tutol ang isang opisyal ng Department of Health (DoH) sa paggamit ng mga Pinoy sa nauusong electronic cigarette o e-cigarette, na para sa mga nais nang tumigil sa paninigarilyo. Ang e-cigarette ay mechanical device na maaring gamitin tulad ng tunay na sigarilyo, ngunit walang tabako o tar at sa halip ay may e-juice na nagiging vapor mist na hinihithit.

Gayunman, ayon kay Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, director ng DoH-National Epidemiology Center (NEC), hindi niya inirerekomenda ang paggamit ng e-cigarette. Paliwanag ni Tayag, maaari kasing mapanganib din sa katawan ang mga kemikal na nasa e-cigarette. Giit niya, hindi sila nakasisiguro kung anong substance ang ginagamit sa ecigarette na posible aniyang mapanganib sa kalusugan ng tao, lalo at dumidiretso ito sa baga. “Electronic cigarettes are not advisable since you don’t kick the habit. Humihithit ka pa rin. Kung gusto mong tumigil sa paninigarilyo, take anti-nicotine drugs,” ani Tayag. Nag-aalala rin si Tayag sa pagkalat ng e-cigarette dahil maaari umanong makahikayat ito sa mga bata na magsimulang manigarilyo. Kaugnay nito, sinabi ni Tayag na plano ng DoH at Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) na i-regulate ang paggamit ng e-cigarette. Aniya, magpapalabas ng guidelines ang DoH at FDA hinggil sa pag-regulate sa paggamit ng ecigarette. Nabatid na ipinagbabawal na ang e-cigarette sa Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, at New Zealand matapos matukoy sa pag-aaral na maaari itong makapinsala sa baga.‐ng‐e‐cigarette‐tinutulan/#.UWIrA6JvAqM               

Number coding suspendido (Eralyn Corvera-Prado)

Suspendido ang number coding bukas, Abril 9


ƒ . Batay ito sa abiso ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) para sa paggunita sa Araw ng Kagitingan na idineklarang holiday.

Ang number coding ay awtomatikong sinususpinde sa mga araw na deklaradong holiday.

Dahil dito, ang mga sasakyang may plakang nagtatapos sa numerong 3 at 4 ay libreng makakalabas ng lansangan.                       

Resign na lang, kaysa sibak 3

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Nanawagan ang mga miyembro ng sektor ng agrikultura kay Bureau of Customs (BOC) Chief Ruffino Biazon na mag-resign na lang at huwag nang hintayin pang masibak ni Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.



Ito ay dahil na rin sa pagkabigo ng BOC na sawatain ang smuggling, ayon kay Abono Party-list Chairman Rosendo So.

“In 2012 alone, the total volume of smuggled agricultural products amounted to P32 billion. You also have oil players complaining of smuggled petroleum products amounting to foregone revenues of up to P30 billion a year,” ani So na nagsabing para sa delicadeza, dapat nang magbitiw sa pwesto si Biazon.

Ang mga manggagawa sa agrikultura ay nakapagsumite na ng manifesto kay Aquino at mismong kay Biazon, kung saan nakasaad ang malalang smuggling, gayundin ang paghimok sa BOC na wakasan na ang rice smuggling.

Gayunpaman, ikinalungkot umano ng sektor ang hindi pag-aksyon sa manifesto.               

CoA doubts Gringo-aided NGO Published : Monday, April 08, 2013 00:00  Article Views : 76  Written by : Marlon Purificacion 

RE-ELECTIONIST Senator Gringo Honasan contributed more than half of his 2010 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to a non-government organization, which the Commission on Audit (CoA) finds “highly doubtful.” Out of the P100,000,000 in PDAF allocated to Honasan in 2010, he gave away P55,000,000 to Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. (PFI). Philippine Forest Corporation (PFC), a government owned and controlled corporation, facilitated the fund release. CoA, in its audit findings, said PFC did not submit a complete financial statement for calendar year 2010. It added that the absence of complete and reliable accounting system; nonsubmission of required supporting schedules; incomplete general ledgers; and non-maintenance of subsidiary ledgers are noticeable. This, CoA noted, is in violation of Section 4 of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines as it emphasized that the “grant of financial assistance amounting to a total of P70 million to NGOs in 2010 and P10.5 million in 2009 from PDAF of various legislators was not in accordance with the requisites for entitlement to government funds.” In a telephone interview, Honasan said the NGO that was the recipient of his pork barrel is legitimate and all transactions are all above board. He stressed that recipients of these funds are the widows of

slain soldiers. He said the timing of the CoA report is highly questionable since this could be used by Team PNoy to ruin his candidacy. He believes that the issue is a demolition job. “Wala naman siraan. Kung talagang may problema, kailangang sabihan kami kung ano ang problema at hindi basta na lang inilalabas sa media. Kung saan napunta ang pera, responsibilidad na ito ng implementing agencies,” Honasan told the Journal Group. CoA recommended that the PFC management stop granting PDAF to NGOs that could not comply with the requisites required under CoA Circular No. 2007-001, specifying PFI and three other NGOs, namely, Kabuhayan and Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc., Philippine Environment and Ecological Development Association, Inc. and Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation Inc. Despite the lack of financial documents and project specifications of PFI from 2008-2010, Honasan released P55 million specifically allotted for PFI’s Upland Agro-Forestry development program in the municipalities of Reina Mercedes and Naguilian, Isabela/Pilar; Bagac and Mariveles in Bataan. The release was made on November 10, 2010 under SARO # G-10-07461. CoA said it was confused by PFI presenting two addresses. One in No. 1050, D & E Building, Mezzanine Floor, Quezon Avenue corner Roces Avenue and the other in No. 31 Ignacio Avenue North Susana, Executive Village, Balara, both in Quezon City. It did not notify Securities and Exchange Commission of these addresses as required of all NGOs.

It was verified that the PFI’s 15-square meter office space in D&E Building has been padlocked since January for nonpayment of the P9,000 monthly rental. Officials were nowhere to be found.‐stories/48049‐coa‐doubts‐gringo‐aided‐ngo                                           

2013 04 08 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2013 04 08

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