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Agri sector posts 3.3% growth By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

MANILA, Philippines - The agriculture sector grew 3.3 percent in the first three months of 2013, grossing P352 billion at current prices as the crops, fishery, poultry and livestock sectors posted increases. Farm output growth in the first quarter of 2012 was placed at 1.31 percent. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) showed that the crops subsector, which accounted for 54.1 percent of the total agricultural production rose 3.6 percent, boosted by palay and corn which grew 4.5 percent and 11.43 percent respectively. For the first quarter of the year, harvest of unmilled rice was placed at 4.17 million metric tons (MT) valued at valued at P66 billion. Corn harvest was placed at 2.25 million MT of corn valued at PP27.8 billion. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the higher palay and corn harvest during the quarter were due to early planting, adequate supply of irrigation, higher average yields as a result of increased use of hybrid and certified rice seeds, hybrid and open pollinated varieties of corn seeds, and increase in cultivation areas. “Our efforts are paying off, and we hope to attain our sufficiency targets by year-end,” said Secretary Alcala. “For these achievements, we thank our country’s farmers and fishers for their continuous hard work and perseverance, and strong cooperation of local government units and the private sector. The DA targets to produce more than 20 million MT of palay and 8.4 million MT of corn this year against last year’s output of 18 million MT of palay and 7.4 MMT of corn. Several major crops also posted positive gains during the first three months of 2013, including pineapple (5.8 percent), mango (4.5 percent), tobacco (four percent), sugarcane (2.5 percent), and onions (8.5 percent). The fisheries subsector, which shared 16.3 percent to total agricultural production for the quarter, registered a 5.6-percent growth, grossing P59.9 billion. This was due to higher production of cultured fish species such as tilapia, milkfish, and roundscad following the imposition of the fishing ban in the Zamboanga and Visayas Seas. Increase in tuna catch was also seen because of the lifting of the fishing ban in the Pacific Ocean. The poultry subsector, accounting for 14.4 percent of total agricultural production for the first three months of the year, posted a 2.8-percent growth, grossing at P45.8 billion.

Production growth in the subsector was led by chicken production which grew by 3.3 percent, grossing P34.6 billion The livestock subsector, which contributed 15.3 percent to the total agricultural output for the quarter, recorded a modest growth of 0.3 percent grossing at P54.34 billion. The hog industry grew by 0.36 percent, valued at P44.87 billion at current prices while carabao production fell. Farmgate prices rose 0.03 percent in the first quarter this year. Farmgate prices of crops rose 9.73 percent, while those of the poultry subsector rose by 7.12 percent. Prices in the fisheries subsector rose by 4.04 percent.‐sector‐posts‐3.3‐growth    

NFA asked to explain rice delivery to Quezon By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on May. 11, 2013 at 12:00am | 794 views 

Malacañang on Friday directed the National Food Authority to explain reports that it has been delivering sacks of rice in Quezon province to support the gubernatorial bid of Rep. Irvin Alcala, son of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. “We will ask the NFA to explain,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. Valte made the statement upon receiving reports that residents in Quezon felt that the elder Alcala was using his position as Agriculture chief to give his son undue advantage for the May 13 polls. “We will not tolerate such irregularities if they are proven to be true,” Valte said. The residents said several vessels of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were seen delivering NFA rice in the province even if they have enough supply of the grain. The younger Alcala, a neophyte congressman, is up against incumbent Governor David Suarez. Alcala’s brother, incumbent Vice-Governor Vicente Alcala, is running for the second district post to be vacated by his nephew Irvin.

Taiwan demands PH probe killing, apology By Tina G. Santos  Philippine Daily Inquirer   2:41 am | Saturday, May 11th, 2013  

MANILA, Philippines—A Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) fired at a Taiwanese fishing boat that the PCG said had tried to ram its vessel near Batanes province on Thursday. The PCG explained that its people had acted in self-defense and were only performing their duty of stopping illegal fishing and poaching inside Philippine territory. PCG Commandant Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena has nonetheless ordered a thorough investigation, and the 11 PCG personnel on board the MCS 3001, the vessel involved, have been relieved. The 30-meter-long MCS 3001 belongs to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and was jointly manned by personnel from the PCG and the BFAR. The two BFAR employees on board the vessel have also been relieved pending the results of the investigation, said BFAR Director Asis Perez, and the MCS 3001’s commanding officer has already been directed to come to Manila to explain the incident. “This is to ensure that there will be a transparent and impartial investigation,” Perez said. According to the China Post report, the name of the Taiwanese fishing vessel was Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28. It quoted a sailor from the vessel as saying that they were fishing 315 kilometers (170 nautical miles) off the southern tip of Taiwan “when they came under attack.” The sailor said “Philippine naval forces” opened fire with machine guns without any warning, killing Hung Shih-chen, 65, the father of the boat’s skipper. Another witness said the fishing boat was attacked by Philippine naval cannon.

Taiwan’s coast guard dispatched a vessel to rescue the fishing boat which suffered engine failure after the alleged attack, the China Post report said. Two Taiwanese fishing vesels helped to tow the Kuan Ta Hsing No. 28 back to Taiwan under escort of the CGA, the paper reported. The incident occurred in waters off northern Philippines— 80 km (43 nautical miles) off the Philippines’ Balintang Channel and 315 km (170 nautical miles) southeast of Taiwan—where the economic zones of the Philippines and Taiwan, extending 370 km (200 nautical miles) from shore, overlap. Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as China, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, are embroiled in diplomatic rows over territory in the South China Sea—which the Philippines refers to as the West Philippine Sea—potentially rich in oil and gas and crisscrossed by crucial shipping lanes. The disputes have sometimes escalated to a confrontation between vessels. Assumed to be poaching Isorena told a press briefing yesterday that the MCS 3001 fired at the Taiwanese fishing vessel some 80 km off the Balintang Channel at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. He said two foreign fishing vessels—one big and one small—had been spotted inside Philippine territory. “The assumption is that they were poaching in our area,” Isorena said. “The incident happened within Philippine archipelagic waters,” Perez added. According to Perez, MCS 3001 personnel tried to board the small fishing boat but the latter began evasive maneuvers and even attempted to ram into the Philippine vessel, prompting the PCG personnel on board to fire warning shots. “It’s normal procedure for the PCG to fire warning shots if they’re running after ships. You fire warning shots for them to stop,” Perez said. “Eventually, PCG personnel fired on the machinery portion of the fishing boat to disable it,” he said. The smaller of the two Taiwanese vessels tried to ram into the MCS 3001 but it apparently missed hitting by only 1 meter. Asked how many shots were fired by the PCG, Isorena said that had yet to be determined. “Part of the investigation is to determine how many rounds of ammunition they consumed during the shooting,” he said, adding that the MCS 3001 carries a 30-cal. machine gun, an M14 and an M16.

“We still don’t know if they fired all the firearms they had on board,” he said. While the evasive maneuvers were occurring, the MCS 3001 detected the presence of some unidentified gray and white ships which forced the BFAR vessel to withdraw and return to port. “They were outnumbered so they decided to withdraw,” Isorena said. “The MCS 3001 was not able to verify what happened to the [Taiwanese] fishing vessel but we now have information that one of the fishermen died,” he said. The ship personnel actually were not aware that somebody had been hit, Isorena said. It was only after the PCG received a text message concerning the incident from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Taiwan’s de facto embassy here, that they found out, he said. He explained that the PCG has a cooperative relationship with Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and is in touch with them. The Philippines has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but maintains economic and cultural links. In Taipei, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou expressed great concern over the shooting incident and instructed the foreign ministry to demand an investigation from the Philippine government and punish those responsible, the China Post reported yesterday. Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin condemned the fatal shooting of the Taiwanese fisherman, demanded a full investigation and an apology from the Philippine government. Even before Lin spoke, China—already involved in a simmering territorial dispute with the Philippines—had already deplored the incident in a clear attempt to make common cause with Taiwan on a matter of nationalistic pride involving disputed maritime territory. A spokesperson from the Chinese foreign ministry called the fatal shooting a “brutal incident” and echoed Taipei’s demand for an investigation. China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the end of the 1949 civil war, although Beijing claims the island. No apology The BFAR and PCG did not apologize for the incident but they expressed sympathy for the family of the Taiwanese fisherman. “We sympathize with the family of the fisherman who died, and we assure them of a transparent and impartial investigation,” Isorena and Perez said in a joint statement.

According to Perez, while this was the first such incident to happen this year, “we have historical data indicating that this (intrusion) is like an annual thing”. “But intrusions occur not only during calmer waters but also during rough seas since their boats are designed for rough seas. It’s just that we were unable to detect them because our vessels are not intended for those kinds of weather,” he said. “This incident is very unfortunate and efforts will be instituted to prevent similar occurrences,” Isorena said, adding that the government will increase visibility in the area to prevent future incursions on Philippine waters. Malacañang said the Taiwanese fishermen were at fault in the shooting incident. “It was an aggressive act. The ramming of the [Taiwanese] boat into our vessel was certainly an aggressive act, so the PCG responded accordingly. The [PCG] fired a warning shot, but they (fishermen) did not [heed it],” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. When the smaller of the two vessels tried to ram into the Filipino boat, “they (PCG personnel) took the other necessary action and, I understand, eventually disengaged after that,” said Valte. Asked if an apology from the Philippine government was forthcoming, she said this would depend on the results of the investigation. The Armed Forces yesterday denied that the Philippine Navy was involved in the death of the Taiwanese fisherman, saying none of its ships were in the area at the time of the incident. “There were reports this morning that an alleged military ship of the AFP was involved in an incident in the waters of Batanes. I would like to clarify, that is not a Philippine Navy vessel. This was part of the efforts undertaken by the Bureau of Fisheries and the Philippine Coast Guard,” said military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan. Tutaan said they wanted to make that clarification as they did not want any “international repercussions.” In a separate statement, Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea issue, said Navy vessels under the Naval Forces Northern Luzon, which has operational responsibility for the site of the incident, were in the port of Subic or Sual, Pangasinan, when the shooting happened. With reports from Michael Lim Ubac, Nikko Dizon, AFP, AP and the China Post/ANN Read more:‐demands‐ph‐probe‐killing‐ apology#ixzz2TFapmri9    

FIDA intensifies Abaca fiber production By Edu Lopez Published: May 11, 2013 The government is intensifying its campaign for mechanized extraction of abaca fibers in a bid to increase supply and quality of fibers in the abaca-producing areas. The Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) is closely coordinating with local government units (LGUs) and private manufacturers on the continuous production of fiber extraction machines, tools, and devices. FDA Administrator Cecilia Soriano said the developed technologies on fiber extraction processes using machines and devices were transferred to private machine fabricators through accreditation. “The accreditation of machine fabricators aims to produce standard and uniform designs of fiber extraction machines in terms of proper specifications, materials used and FIDA markings on the fabricated machines indicating the patent numbers issued by the Intellectual Property Office, Bureau of Patent and the date of its publication,� Soriano said. FIDA is also strictly monitoring the output of abaca farmers associations as beneficiaries of production and post-harvest facilities.

Agriculture production grows by 3.3% Published: May 11, 2013 The country’s farm output in the first quarter expanded at 3.3% from a year earlier, with a rebound in fish production and the strong performance of the crop sector offsetting sluggish growth in livestock and poultry output, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesteday. Agriculture output in the January-March quarter of 2012 grow by 1.31%. A strong performance of the farm sector provides a boost to the broader economy since it employs nearly four in every 10 Filipinos and accounts for one-fifth of gross domestic product. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement that farm output was led by an 11.43% increase in corn production to 2.25 million metric tons and a 4.45% growth in paddy output to 4.17 million tons. He said the higher rice and corn output was due to early plantings, adequate irrigation, use of better seeds and an expansion of areas planted to the crops. Crops account for 54% of farm output. The goal is to produce 20 million tons of paddy and 8.4 million tons of corn this year, up from 18 million tons of paddy and 7.4 million tons of corn. “Our efforts are paying off, and we hope to attain our sufficiency targets by the year-end,” said Mr. Alcala. Livestock production rose a slower 0.32% after last year’s 3.13% while poultry output rose 2.84% this year compared with a growth of 7.10% in the first quarter of 2012. The fisheries sector increased production by 5.6% after a contraction of 3.55% in the same quarter of 2012. (Dow Jones)                

Firm supports Cordillera tree nurseries Published: May 11, 2013

SURINAM CHERRY — One small tree that you might want to add to your collection is the Surinam Cherry that bears fruits even when grown in a container. The fruit is very attractive red when ripe. It is sour but it is said to be rich in vitamins. To make eating the sour fruit more tolerable, one can eat miracle fruit first before eating the Surinam Cherry fruit. Or the fruit could be dipped in a plum powder. Globe Telecom has turned over P1 million in check donation to the Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT) even as P300,000 more in pledges are set to follow soon. The amount will be used to put up 30 seedling nurseries to ensure the supply of planting materials for the reforestation efforts in the Cordilleras. With over 500 registered bikers, the company was able to raise P450,000 in registration fees. In addition, Globe employees and the Globe Balik Baterya project donated P200,000 and P400,000 respectively to the cause. Sponsors such as Choose Philippines and Huawei also gave P150,000 each. “We are overwhelmed with the number of bikers who joined this year’s Globe Cordillera Challenge as it was more than double the number of participants we had last year. On top of that, there was also an outpouring of support from our own employees and other concerned individuals and corporations. This shows that our efforts in the Cordilleras have finally gained momentum. Globe Cordillera Challenge is not just a biking activity but an advocacy to save the environment and help communities in the Cordilleras,” said Rob I. Nazal, head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility. J.P. Alipio, executive director of CCT said: “We are thankful to Globe, to the bikers and sponsors as well as the non-bikers who donated to our cause and made this event a success. When we started our work with the forests in 2008, we wanted the idea to be simple – just to plant a tree, to build forests. Over a year ago, we decided to go back to the basics starting with

the seed, and grow the forests from there. And so with the help of Globe, we are again creating nurseries this year so we can have seedling production centers for the community’s forest building needs situated right where they are needed most.� The seedling nurseries will be established through the CCT Roots and Shoots Nursery Seedling Program to support the enhancement of community watershed and prevent landslides in critical areas in the Cordillera mountain range. The seedling nurseries will likewise provide a possible livelihood source for the public elementary schools and the communities where they will be housed. The Cordillera mountain range is currently in a critical state as rampant deforestation massively reduced the forest cover to about 42 percent. This increased the local communities’ vulnerability to disasters and also reduced their capacity to sustain livelihood. The situation prompted Globe to come up with the Globe Cordillera Challenge four years ago to raise the much-needed funds for reforestation activities.

Taiwan has sweet bamboo shoots Published: May 11, 2013

SWEET BAMBOO SHOOT — Jaden Tan is all smiles after removing the sheath of the Chau Kao bamboo shoot that he harvested from his Long Yun Leisure Farm high up in the mountain of Alishan in Tainan, Taiwan. The Chau Kao bamboo produces sweet bamboo shoots that is commercially grown the local market. This bamboo variety produces long shoots that are not only sweet but are also very tender. The good thing about this variety is that it is thornless so that it is very easy to harvest the shoots. Jaden Tan’s farm was visited recently by a delegation of Philippine journalists, including the editor of this page. Among the dishes we enjoyed during our recent visit to leisure farms in Taiwan are the bamboo shoots either cooked together with other vegetables or solo without other veggies. We were with other media people sponsored by the Taiwan Leisure Farm Developers Association. What we remember most was the simple dish prepared by Jaden Tan of Long Yun Leisure Farm up in the mountain, more than a thousand meters above sea level, in the Alishan area in Tainan, southern Taiwan. Mia Borromeo, a member of the Philippine media delegation, remarked she simply loved the yummy taste of Jaden’s freshly gathered Chau Kao bamboo shoot that he sautéed. The Chau Kao bamboo shoot is markedly different from our own Kawayan Tinik bamboo shoot. The Taiwan counterpart is more slender but the tender portion is much longer. And the taste is much sweeter. Jaden has 11 hectares planted to Chau Kao bamboo which provides him a lot of shoots to serve his tourist visitors as well as for sale in the local market. What is good about the Chao Kao bamboo is that it is spineless so that it is very easy to harvest the bamboo shoots.

In another leisure farm up in the mountain of Taichung in Central Taiwan, the Chau Kao bamboo is not only for eating. It is a come-on for kids looking for fun and adventure. During the peak bamboo shoot season which may be in August or thereabouts, the Roll In Leisure Farm managed by Denver Wu, stages the Bamboo Kicking event. In this activity the boys compete in kicking and knocking down the harvestable bamboo shoots. Another sweet bamboo that we also liked very much is a slender variety that may not be even one inch in diameter. The tender shoots are boiled to a soft consistency and is simply arranged in a plate and the diner picks one, dips it in a dressing of mayonnaise. It is simply sweet and tasty. Both the Chau Kao and the slender bamboo are grown best in high altitudes. The leisure farm of Jaden and Denver Wu have about the same temperature obtaining in La Trinidad, Benguet. A third variety of bamboo for shoot production is grown in the lowlands. The bamboo shoots are buried in a thick mulch of rice hull or some other materials such as rice straw to keep the emerging shoots underground. This way, the shoots will remain tender and light colored.

SC stops money ban Comelec Given 10 Days To Comment On Bankers’ Petition By Rey G. Panaligan Published: May 11, 2013 Manila, Philippines --- The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from enforcing its order that prohibits the withdrawal of more than P100,000 from banks and other financial institutions, and the possession or transporting of more than P500,000 in cash until the election day on Monday. In a resolution that contained a status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, the Comelec was ordered to comment within 10 days on the petition filed by the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) against the poll body’s money ban. Status quo ante is the situation before a controversy. In this case, the situation before the controversial Comelec order is that there is no limit on the withdrawal of money from banks nor is there a cap on the amount of cash an individual may transport or possess. The SC is on a month-long recess until June 2. During the period, it will devote its time to decision-writing and may act on petitions filed depending on the urgency of the issues presented. Stopped by the SC were Comelec Resolution No. 9688 and its amendatory Resolution No. 9688A that were issued to curb alleged rampant vote-buying in many areas. The amendatory resolution gives banks the discretion to allow withdrawals of more than P100,000 for depositors who regularly withdraw more than this limit. The original resolution was to take effect last Wednesday but could not be implemented because of the hesitation on the part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which was tasked by the Comelec to enforce the order. President Benigno S. Aquino III had also thumbed down the Comelec’s order calling it a “shotgun approach” that kills good business. The SC’s SQAO on the Comelec’s order was announced in a briefing by lawyer Theodore Te, spokesman of the High Court and head of its public information office (PIO). The SQAO on Comelec Resolution Nos. 9688 and 9688-A will be subject to confirmation in the next full court session of the SC. In the past, all SQAOs and temporary restraining orders (TROs) issued by the Chief Justice while the court was in recess had been confirmed by the justices in their subsequent full court sessions. In its petition, the BAP said that the Comelec committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it issued the money ban order.

It pointed out that the ban violates the Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. At the same time, the BAP told the SC that the Comelec “invalidly encroached upon the jurisdiction of the BSP to supervise and regulate the operation of banks.” “Respondent Comelec likewise acted without jurisdiction when it attempted to deputize the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council through the money ban resolution which is clearly beyond the scope of its powers and mandate under the law,” it said. “Even from a plain reading of the powers conferred to respondent Comelec under the Constitution, these do not include the power to impose limitations on the withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks, conversion of monetary instruments into cash, and the possession or transport of case. These acts do not reasonably fall under ‘laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall,” it added. At least three more resolutions of the Comelec involving the May 13 elections had either been reversed or stayed by the SC. On April 5, the resolutions of the Comelec on the disqualification of several party-list group were remanded to the poll body for review and expeditious adjudication based on the guidelines the SC issued. In a decision written by Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio, the SC ruled that three groups -national parties or organizations, regional parties or organizations, and sectoral parties or organizations – can be registered under the Party-List System. The decision explained that national parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations need not represent any marginalized or underrepresented sector, while sectoral parties or organizations may either be ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ or lacking in ‘well-defined political constituencies.’ The SC also said that political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and do not field candidate in legislative district elections. On April 18, the SC declared that candidates for national elective positions in the May 13 elections are entitled to 120 minutes of advertisements per television station and 180 minutes per radio station. Those vying for local elective positions can have 60 minutes of advertisements per television station and 90 minutes per radio station, it said. In its resolution adopted in Baguio City, the SC reverted to the rule adopted during the 2010 elections that stipulated the limit on political advertisements per television station and per radio station.

What was stopped by the SC was the implementation of the 2013 Comelec order that fixed an “aggregate time” for political advertisements in all radio and all television stations contained in Comelec Resolution No. 9615 which was the subject of protests in several petitions filed with the High Court. Banned by the SC was the implementation of the Comelec Resolution No. 9615 that limits the advertisements of national candidates to 120 minutes and 180 minutes in all television networks and radio stations, respectively, and 60 minutes for television and 90 minutes for radio for local candidates. On May 8, the SC issued a TRO that stopped the Comelec from implementing its five-day liquor ban that is set to start today. With the TRO, the liquor ban is back to its original period of one day before and during the day of the elections                                

Agri, mineral products lift export earnings By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

MANILA, Philippines - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the robust performance of agro-based and forest products, minerals and petroleum provided the lift in an otherwise lackluster performance of merchandise exports in the first three months of 2013. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Arsenio M. Balisacan said the upsurge in export earnings from agro-based and forest products, minerals and petroleum offset the decline in receipts from manufactured exports. Merchandise exports hardly moved last March to $4.33 billion, a mere 0.1 percent improvement from $4.32 billion a year ago. But for the first three months of 2013, merchandise exports went down 6.2 percent to $12.1 billion from $12.9 billion in the same period in 2012. Receipts from agro-based products, which comprised almost a tenth of total exports, went up 39.3 percent to $410.8 million in March 2013. “The opening up of new markets combined with uptick in demand from our key markets resulted in robust performance of our agro-based products, particularly for coconut oil, bananas, copra meal/cake fish products, centrifugal and refined sugar, among others,” Balisacan noted. Exports of mineral products also increased 71.3 percent to $228 million in March on account of higher revenues from copper metal, chromium ore, iron ore agglomerates and nickel. Similarly, overseas sales of petroleum and forest products were up 16.4 percent and 80.6 percent, respectively, in March. On the other hand, exports of manufactured goods dropped for the third consecutive month in March, contracting five percent to $3.5 billion.

Awareness: Microfinance services in rural communities Published: May 11, 2013 Microfinance provides financial services to small businesses lacking access to conventional banking. In the Philippines, microfinancing is an activity dominated by rural banks, nongovernment and people organizations, supported by international donors. Rural and cooperative banks provide finances to over 85% of cities and towns, under the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) program of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines. In 2012, 210 banks granted over R6 billion in loans to 900,000 microentrepreneurs who, in turn, created jobs in local communities. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported on April 1, 2013, that some 200 banks and 2,000 microfinance institutions service some seven million microfinance clients nationwide. The ADB said that commercial banks cater indirectly to the sector, by funding private institutions engaged in retail microfinance services. Some banks set up rural or thrift banks such as BPI Globe BanKO, a thrift bank of Bank of the Philippine Islands that uses mobile phone technology; Rizal Microbank of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.; and a Mindanao-based rural bank acquired by East West Banking Corp. The Philippines ranked 4th of 55 countries surveyed by global think-tank Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2012 as having the most favorable environment for micro-enterprises. The EIU report, “Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2012,� said that regulations imposed by government entities such as BSP help the Philippines stay as one of the top 10 countries with the most micro business-friendly environment. We congratulate the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, headed by Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., and the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, led by its President Atty. Edward Z. Garcia Jr., in their programs to extend financial services to Filipino entrepreneurs and to link microfinancing to pro-poor interventions in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

Taiwan vessel rams BFAR boat; Taiwanese fisher dies By Madel Sabater Namit and Roy C. Mabasa Published: May 11, 2013 Malacañang branded yesterday the ramming of a Philippine government vessel by a Taiwanese boat in Philippine territorial waters as “an aggressive act.” The Taiwanese boat rammed the 35-meter Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel, MCS-3001, at about 10:30 a.m. last Thursday off Balintang Channel between the provinces of Cagayan and Batanes. “The ramming of the boat into our vessel was certainly an aggressive act so the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) responded accordingly,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. According to PCG commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, the Taiwanese fishing boat, Guang Ta Hsin-28, together with another Taiwanese vessel were 43-nautical miles east off Balintang Island when the boats were halted by the crew of MCS-3001, a vessel jointly manned by the PCG and BFAR personnel, for an on-board inspection. However, the smaller Taiwanese fishing boat did not respond to the warning and even tried to ram the Philippine maritime agency vessel. As a result, the commanding officer of the MCS-3001 ordered to open fire at Guang Ta Hsin-28 to disable its engine. However, Taiwanese fisherman named Hung Shih-cheng was accidentally killed. Two unidentified vessels, one white and one gray, arrived in the area apparently to rescue the disabled Taiwanese vessel, prompting the MCS-3001 to disengage and leave as they were already outnumbered. Both the PCG and BFAR crew onboard MCS-3001 were relieved as part of the standard operations procedure while the investigations are ongoing. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has demanded that the Philippine government apologize and has also instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask authorities in Manila to immediately conduct an investigation to the death of the Taiwanese fisherman. According to a report by Taiwan’s national news agency, the Central News Agency (CNA), President Ma also asked all relevant government agencies to remain on top of the development of the case. But Valte was mum on the demand of the Taiwanese government for an apology, saying that they would rather wait for the result of the investigation. The PCG said it is now conducting a thorough probe of the incident. It further assured the government will hold a transparent and impartial investigation.

In Taipei, Ma insisted the Philippine side was at fault. “We demand the Philippines investigate and clarify the truth, to apologise, apprehend the killer and compensate,” he told reporters. Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin also said he was “very angry.” The incident dominated Taiwanese media, which strongly condemned the Filipinos and carried reports from the boat’s captain insisting he did not cross over into Philippine waters. “Barbaric Philippine vessel fired at our fishing boat, seasoned fisherman shot dead,” read the headline of a front-page story in the Taipei-based China Times newspaper. Hung Yu-chih, the captain of the boat who is also the dead man’s son, told the China Times that Philippine gunmen fired several shots at them. He said one of the shots hit the fuel tank of the vessel, which had only four people on board. Two Taiwanese fishing boats came to Hung’s rescue after he called for help, and towed the boat back to a port in southern Taiwan. In 2006, a Taiwanese fishing boat skipper was shot dead off the northern Philippines. Taipei protested then to the Philippines over what it said was the improper use of weapons. The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions around the region over rival claims to the nearby South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims to parts of the sea. China’s increasingly aggressive tactics to assert its authority over the waters in recent years have raised alarm among the rival claimants. China said on Tuesday it had sent one of its largest fishing fleets into the sea. (With a report from AFP)            

Editorial: The Philippine rural development program Published: May 11, 2013 The National Economic and Development Authority and the Cabinet of the Aquino Administration have approved the allocation of P27.54 billion for the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), a special program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for inclusive growth and for creating a weather-resilient agri-fishery sector. The approved funding includes P 20.55 billion in loans from the World Bank, P 3.58 billion as national government counterpart, P 3.12 billion in equity from local government units (LGUs), and P287-million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The PRDP, to be implemented in the second half of 2013, includes the construction of farm-tomarket roads, ports, irrigation facilities, potable water systems, postharvest and marketing facilities, and farming-related structures. It would be implemented over six years, covering 80 provinces in 16 regions. It will initially cover the regions of Calabarzon (Region IV-A), Mimaropa (IV-B), Bicol Region (V), Western Visayas (VI), Central Visayas (VII), and Eastern Visayas (VIII), as well as Mindanao, specifically South Cotabato, now covered by the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), another DA project that assists farmers in 225 Mindanao towns. The PRDP is composed of four components: Investments in agri/fishery modernization planning at local regional/national levels (I-PLAN), intensified infrastructure and logistics development (I-BUILD), investments in rural enterprises and agri/fishery productivity (I-REAP), and implementation support services (I-SUPPORT). It is expected to contribute to the attainment of the Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) through the construction and rehabilitation of communal irrigation systems covering 30,206 hectares, or 6.91 percent of total FSSP irrigation target of 437,077 hectares by 2016. We congratulate the National Economic and Development Authority, headed by Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, and the Cabinet of the Philippines, led by Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, other Officers and Personnel, in their coordinated undertakings to create opportunities and generate employments in the rural areas in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!      

Anti-virus firm warns: Don't click links in emails By Tam Noda ( | Updated May 10, 2013 ‐ 5:53pm 

MANILA, Philippines -- Computer anti-virus vendor Kaspersky Lab said spammers are trying to draw online users’ attention to their messages and has sent out a warning not to click links in emails. Tatyana Shcherbakova, Senior Spam Analyst of Kaspersky Lab, said spammers have started using famous names, world events or fake notifications from popular online resources to catch the attention of users. "Many emails contain links to malicious programs, including exploits. We would like once again to remind users not to click the links in emails, even if the sender appears to be someone you know. It is much safer to enter the address in the browser manually," Shcherbakova said. Kaspersksy reported in the first quarter of 2013 that spammers have switched to creating background noise known as "white text", a technique that was once well known but had fallen into disuse. The "white text" method involves adding random pieces of text (eg. sections of news reports) to the email. These insertions are in light gray font against a gray background and are separated from the main text of the ad with a lot of line breaks. The scammers expect content-based spam filters to regard these emails as newsletters. The use of random news fragments make each email unique and thus difficult to detect. Kaspersky added that spammers have been exploring the possibilities of legal services and are now using them to bypass spam filtering. The actual address to which the malicious link leads is masked by two legal methods at once. First, the spammers used the Yahoo URL shortening service and then processed the subsequent link through Google Translate. This service can translate web pages in the user-specified link and generate its own link to that translation. The combination of these techniques makes each link in the mass mailing unique while the use of the two well-known domains add "credibility" to the links in the eyes of the recipient. In the first quarter of 2013, several high-profile events occurred such as the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, and the subsequent inauguration of the new Pope Francis. Such events did not go unnoticed by spammers. There were many mass mailings which imitated BBC and CNN news reports and the users’ curiosity was aroused by the promise of sensational photos and video footage.

In terms of the most active spam distributors, China (24.3 percent) and the US (17.7 percent) remained the most active while South Korea came third with 9.6 percent. Interestingly, the spam originating from these countries target different regions: most Chinese spam is sent to Asia while junk mail from the US is mainly distributed in North America, meaning majority of the part can be considered internal spam. Unsolicited messages from South Korea, meanwhile, go chiefly to Europe. "In Q1 2013, the percentage of unsolicited correspondence in mail traffic fluctuated from month to month, although the average figure remained practically unchanged from the previous quarter," Shcherbakova said. "We expect the share of spam to remain at its present level in the future or grow slightly due to the recent increase in the number of multimillion mass mailings."‐virus‐firm‐warns‐dont‐click‐links‐emails                                

Phl eyes prepaying development loans By Zinnia dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

MANILA, Philippines - The government is considering issuing onshore dollar bonds to prepay some of its expensive debt, mostly in the form of official development assistance, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said. Purisima said the issuance of onshore dollar bonds is one of the options being looked at as part of the government’s plan to tap the local market for all its borrowing requirements and prop up local demand for dollars. Purisima said issuing dollar denominated bonds should help ease pressure on the peso. “It will not add new dollars into the system, it will actually siphon, and it can be used to repay or prepay some of our debts. in fact we’re actively looking at opportunities to prepay existing obligations. “We’re looking at some ODAs that we can pre-terminate, that have relatively higher cost than typical ODAs,” Purisima said. ODAs are official financing from multilateral or bilateral lenders, like World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund, and aid agencies. When asked how much debt would be pre-terminated, Purisima said: “It depends on how much we can find, where there’s a willing seller, or where there’s a willing partner that will want to pre-terminate our debt.” As to the timing of the execution, Purisima said its up to the national treasury to decide on that. “Basically the guidelines I gave the national treasury is to borrow enough to cover amortization requirements and pre-termination of certain expensive debt,” Purisima said. National Treasurer Rosalia B. De Leon, earlier, said the government was planning to preterminate some loans with the Asian Development Bank.‐eyes‐prepaying‐development‐loans          

2013 05 11 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor - gcm  
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