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Economy Posted on May 14, 2013 09:39:55 PM 

Gov’t to boost corn silage exports to S. Korea THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) is set to increase its monthly exports of corn silage to  South Korea, a government official said on a radio station over the weekend.   

DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said on Saturday that South Korea has requested for an increase in corn silage imports from the Philippines, from the initial 1,000 metric tons (MT) per month to 3,000 MT per month.

   

The corn silage from the Philippines will be shipped to Incheon and Busan, Mr. Alcala said. The Agriculture Secretary further explained in a telephone yesterday that the department expects to start shipment of the 3,000 MT corn silage in June until December. He added that the department has increased its export target for corn silage this year to 45,000 MT from 15,000 MT. South Korea agreed to increase imports of corn silage from the Philippines after its local market responded favorably, Mr. Alcala said over the radio. Last week, the department was able to get a reply from South Korean authorities that the market is satisfied, Mr. Alcala said. He said the department has already allotted an additional 6,000 hectares of corn plantations to keep up with the increased demand from South Korea. Mr. Alcala said the Philippines is getting more demand from South Korea because Manila can ship corn silage within four days, compared to Vietnam, which ships imports within six days. Vietnam controls 80% of the imported corn silage market in South Korea. The department, along with corn industry groups, had sent an initial 24 metric tons of corn silage bovine feed for cattle and dairy cows to Busan, South Korea last April 30. Mr. Alcala said exporting corn silage would increase farmers’ incomes by an average of 20%. The Philippines intends to produce 8.4 million MT of corn this year to attain a sufficiency level of 101% with a surplus of 140,000 MT. -- Ysabel Y. Pascual http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Gov%E2%80%99t‐to‐boost‐corn‐ silage‐exports‐to‐S.‐Korea&id=70220#sthash.nJeSjP1i.dpuf


CNO exports fall in April By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The volume of coconut oil (CNO) exports in April fell 14.2 percent year-on-year after a sustained uptrend in shipment in the first quarter of the year as demand slows down. Data from the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) showed that CNO shipments in April 2013 fell to 55,800 metric tons (MT) from 65,051 MT in April 2012. UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said the April shipment volume may have been a cyclical low for the year succeeding higher year-on-year shipments in the first quarter of the year. Because of this, customers in key markets may already have satisfied their stock requirements for the period. “This may be one of the lows for this year, but this doesn’t mean that there will be no recovery. There have been large shipments from January to March, so they (customers) may have already satisfied their stock requirements,” she said. The volume of coconut oil shipments have steadily been rising in the first three months of the year because of replenished demand from traditional markets. The volume of CNO shipments in March more than doubled year-on-year because of carry over shipments from February and slight uptick in demand from key markets. March 2013 shipments rose 125 percent to 144,000 metric tons (MT) from 63, 649 MT in the same period last year. Shipments in February 2013 rose 44 percent year-on-year to 61,800 metric tons from 42, 854 metric tons in the same period last year because of replenished demand from traditional markets. Shipments in January rose year-on-year still because of increased demand from traditional overseas markets. January shipments rose 81.35 percent to 115,186 metric tons (MT) in January from 63,517 MT in January 2012.Eighty percent of the country’s coconut oil shipments go to Unites States and Europe.The average world market price for coconut oil is still on the down trend, currently placed at around $814 per metric tons (MT) against more than $1,000 per MT in 2012. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/15/942123/cno‐exports‐fall‐april    


Economy Posted on May 14, 2013 09:20:32 PM 

German agency to help improve land use guides TACLOBAN CITY ‐‐ The German federal government agency Deutsche Gesellschaft fur  Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has committed to help improve land use governance in  the country, a government official said.  Under a memorandum of agreement signed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB),  GIZ will help integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction planning instruments into  Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) of local government units (LGUs).    "A series of consultations have been made to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk  reduction planning instruments into CLUPs in the form of climate proofing and disaster risk mapping,"  said Nora L. Diaz, HLURB director for Policy Development Group (PDG), during the Fifth Land Use and  Development Forum held at the Leyte Normal University (LNU) recently.    HLURB currently has three guidebooks namely: A Guide to Land Use Preparation; A Guide to Sectoral  Studies in the CLUP Preparation; and A Guide to Comprehensive Land Use Data Management.    "We hope to finish the enhanced CLUP guidebooks by June this year," she added.    HLURB, for its part, committed to provide technical assistance to local governments in ensuring that the  CLUP is in line with other prescribed local plans such as Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), Forest  Land Use Plan (FLUP), Coastal Fisheries Resources Management Plan (CFRMP) and Local Climate Change  Action Plan.    The HLURB, together with local governments, are also urging local leaders to address environmental  problems as a concern interlinked with land use planning.    The agency has been requiring all LGUs since 2011 to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster  risk mitigation in their CLUPs before seeking HLURB approval. ‐‐ Reyan L. Arinto  http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=German‐agency‐to‐help‐improve‐ land‐use‐guides&id=70216#sthash.hwfmJR6b.dpuf     


It’s fun to have ‘Inquirer Libre’ Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:27 am | Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 True to its word (“Inquirer Libre for bus riders, too” (Inquirer, 4/29/13), Inquirer distributed Libre to the public for free in six JAM Liner terminals. On April 30, as the spanking Jam (Jam, not Bam the candidate, the favorite whipping boy of noted Inquirer columnist Neal Cruz) approached Lipa from Lemery, all riders merrily received a copy of the day’s eight-page Libre edition. It was fun to read not because it was free! Why? A comparison of headlines gave the answer. “Team PNoy questions Albay gov’s UNA links” vs “Team PNoy: Ano ba Salceda?” (Libre); “Source code has been reviewed but we won’t show it—Brillantes” vs “Brillantes: Nasa amin ang source code”; “Coughing worries audience” vs “Tumigil na kasi sa yosi, pinayo ulit kay P-Noy”; “Rating fall puzzles Binay” vs “Palaisipan kay Binay, VP bumaba rating sa serbey”; “After 40 years, PH now a rice exporter” vs “Exporter na tayo ng bigas.” Let’s focus on rice. Cruz in his May 3 column (“A dirty trick by Malacañang on voters”), referring to the business report “NFA to import 187,000 tons of rice” (Business, Inquirer, 5/2/13), asked: “Now, which is which? Are we going to export or import rice? If we are already more than self-sufficient in rice, as the DA claims, why do we have to import 187,000 tons of rice as buffer stock?” Our response: The kind of rice the National Food Authority (NFA) procured from abroad (2.4 million tons in 2008; 1.8 million tons in 2009; 2.4 million tons in 2010; 860,000 tons and 500,000 tons in 2011 and 2012 respectively, including the 187,000 tons for 2013) was the relatively low-grade, low-priced “25-percent brokens” of which Vietnam, India and Pakistan all have excess production by design and strategy. Thailand’s output of the variety is limited; it cannot compete, that is why Vietnam bagged the supply deal at $459/ton against Thailand’s $568/ton. Libre reported 15 metric tons of black rice (Don Bosco Foundation), 20 MT of japonica (SL Agritech) and 30 MT of long grain aromatic white rice (Cotabato cooperative). One cannot compare apples (187,000 tons) and oranges (65 tons); the latter command in high-end, niche markets a premium price nearly double that of the “apples.” We will run into a stone wall if we compete with Vietnam in the “apples” market. Someone called the “tiny” export of “boutique” rice “pure propaganda.” Aromatic/organic rice is sold in 1-2 kilo bags as well. Let’s encourage the cooperatives.


Another soberly noted half the world could go hungry at the slow pace organic palay grows. Should all farmers switch to organic rice and provoke riots? Why the buffer stock? The 1995 rice crisis led to the crafting, during President Fidel Ramos’ term, of an administrative order mandating a “90-day food security buffer stock.” The $459.75 pricing (FOB $365) is a smart move in that 187 million kilos will be delivered “door-to-door” to NFA warehouses this time. In one year alone, the Commission on Audit reports, NFA spent P226 million in “shortlandings” and “unnecessary P150 million in demurrage penalties,” etc. Smuggling? Much has been written already! It’s fun to have Libre! —MANUEL Q. BONDAD, manuelbondad@yahoo.com

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/52605/its-fun-to-have-inquirer-libre#ixzz2TJzUfxvH                        


A tragedy in Philippine Agriculture By Senator Manny B. Villar Published: May 15, 2013 Last week I discussed the rebirth of the Filipino cuisine and noted its implication on the agriculture sector, specifically the growing demand for reliable supplies of high-quality fruits and vegetables. The Philippines, as I pointed out, is an agricultural country. We have large tracts of fertile lands and a large population of hardworking farmers. So there’s no reason why we cannot produce fruits and vegetables that are at par with other agricultural countries. And this is why I was disappointed when I read a news report about the initial response to a proposal from HHICMindanao, a subsidiary of Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industry and Construction Co. (HHIC) Ltd., to go into rice and corn production in Misamis Oriental. HHIC-Mindanao, according to the report that came out in local media last April, has asked the National Food Authority (NFA) for permission to plant rice and corn on 3,000 hectares of land in Claveria town in Misamis Oriental, both for the domestic and export markets. The project is estimated to require an investment of about P10.9 billion for 30 years, with an initial input of R55 million in the first year. What’s more interesting, in my view, is that the project will involve the transfer of technology. HHIC-Mindanao has forged a technology transfer arrangement with the Korean National Institute of Crop Science. The company also plans to establish relationships with research centers in the Philippines (perhaps like the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna) and in Korea for the introduction of modern planting practices, including environmental protection. I was really intrigued with the NFA’s response to the HHIC-Mindanao project. The agency wanted to find out first the possible effects of the proposal on the local grains industry. This is tragic! We have always been an agricultural country, and yet we still cannot go beyond dreaming to become a major agricultural producer. When it comes to the state of our agriculture, I am always reminded of Thailand, which used to be our student, but now it’s our major supplier of rice. I believe the Hanjin story underscores one reason why investors are not interested in agriculture. We still don’t really know what’s legal or illegal when it comes to investments. It’s ironic because we lack resources and we need foreign investments to spark an agricultural renaissance. I call it renaissance because our agriculture sector has been left behind not only by Thailand but by Vietnam (at least when it comes to rice production) as well. In fairness, we are a major exporter of pineapples and bananas, but this is mainly because of investments from multinationals. Foreign investors like Hanjin should be encouraged to explore investment opportunities in the agriculture sector. With the improving business climate as a


result of the two investment grades we received from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, as well as the resilience of our growing economy, Hanjin may help us attract other investors in agricultural projects. I want to believe that Hanjin made its proposal because it sees our country’s potential in agriculture. I am confident other investors will have the same view once they see the Philippines to be a good place to farm. As a first step, our policymakers must clarify possible legal issues and define the parameters to encourage more foreign direct investments in agriculture instead of hot money in the stock market and in government and corporate debt papers. (For comments/feedback email to: mbv_secretariat@yahoo.com. Readers may view previous columns at www.senatorvillar.com)

Of Trees And Forest Senator Manny B. Villar He is a Filipino businessman and politician. He was ranked as the fifth richest Filipino by Forbes Asia in their October 2007 issue. He is the President of Nacionalista Party and member of the Senate of the Philippines. He assumed the senate presidency at the start of the Third Regular Session of the 13th Congress along with Senator Franklin Drilon but was forced to resign from the post on 17 November 2008. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=11960&sid=1&subid=4#.UZL3bUprqrE                   


Fresh mushrooms Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by DAHLI ASPILLERA      

‘DA puts up P8 million Mushroom Technology Center in Tarlac to boost production of reasonably priced local mushrooms.’ THERE is no other food that I miss most than fresh mushrooms which one can buy cheaply in all western supermarkets. Here, it is gourmet food and pricey, since fresh mushroom is imported. A puzzlement why fresh mushrooms that grow best in the tropical humid atmosphere such as the Philippines continue to be imported from temperate China. Alien-owned supermarkets would rather import from countries of their choice than encourage Philippine production. But good news! Some nationalistic agronomists are working so that Filipinos can eat Filipino rather than Chinese mushrooms. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is putting up an P8 million Mushroom Technology Center (MTC) in Tarlac to boost mushroom production and substitute imports from Taiwan. But we must pray that when Filipino mushrooms are propagated, alien-owned supermarkets will be willing to sell Filipino mushrooms--150 metric tons of mushrooms (90% of local needs) are imported yearly mostly from Taiwan and China. In addition to the joy of being able to buy fresh white mushrooms for salads, omelets, etc., the mushroom center will enable manufacturing of value-added processed foods including mushroom tocino and longganiza and mushroom meals like siomai, burger, bola bola and sisig. Bidding process for the project is on-going. DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala is allotting P3 million for the MTC, while Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) is funding the bulk of the project at P5 million. There are other highly prospective processed goods for mushrooms, according to DA-Regional Field Unit 3 Project Leader Emily A. Soriano: pickled mushroom, jam, candies, crackers, cookies, polvoron, wine, pandesal with malunggay, barquillos, muffins, and powder. Through processing, shelf life of mushroom fruits lasts up to 14 months, depending on packaging and storage. Profitability also increases by 30 to 70 percent when fresh mushrooms are turned into value added products. Without processing, farmers suffer from spoilage since fresh mushrooms can last only three days as its substantial water content hastens staleness.


At the prevailing retail price of P300 per kilo, farmers can earn some P45 million yearly just by substituting imports. Just organized last February, the Coop now has 23 members. From their mushroom production, each member is now receiving P700 to P3,500 per month. Even before the technology center’s completion, DA has already been receiving inquiries from interested entrepreneurs on the mushroom products. Mushroom goods are ideal food supplement products since mushrooms can retain their vitamins and minerals even after various processing methods. Known mostly for its rich protein, mushrooms also have Vitamin D, B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Pantothenic Acid), B9 (Folate), and H (Biotin). Minerals contained are sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and ergothioneine. Mushroom grows on waste material--rice straw, sugarcane bagasse, tobacco midribs, water lilies, sawdust, corn cobs, corn leaves, grass, banana bark. Food safety: CLIARC is likewise promoting sanitation and safety processes under its own study “Sanitation and Hygiene in the Production of Mushroom Food Products.” The technology center will have a laboratory for mushroom tissue culture, a gene bank that will keep mushroom species for research on their traits and study of commercial potential; and a product display area. For questions, Dr. Emily Soriano, 0916-279-1956, Ms. Analiza C. Mendoza, 0923-436-3177. *** Dahli_a@yahoo.com http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/opinion/31013‐fresh‐mushrooms                


Record palay purchase By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on May. 15, 2013 at 12:00am | 78 views The National Food Authority said Tuesday local palay procurement in April increased to a 41year high of 114,331 metric tons against the month’s target of just 53,925 MT. “This is the highest procurement record in NFA’s 41 years of existence,” NFA administrator Orlan Calayag said in a statement. The agency bought a total of 231,538 metric tons of palay in the first four months of 2013, up 131 percent from a procurement target of 182,985 MT for the period. NFA’s palay procurement in the first quarter, meanwhile, reached 117,207 MT to surpass the target of 84,795 MT for the period. NFA said the top rice producers were Region 4, Region 3, Region 2, Region 11 and Region 12. Calayag said the higher procurement was a good indication that the country was on its way to rice self-sufficiency. The government has reduced rice imports in the past three years. The NFA plans to import 187,000 metric tons this year as buffer stock for the lean months of July to September. “With the continuing good harvest, and barring any unforeseen calamities that might impact on the projected harvest for the year, we may already achieve a zero importation in 2014,” Calayag said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/15/record‐palay‐purchase/                  


Economy Posted on May 14, 2013 09:19:08 PM 

Davao City aims to double rice plantations this year DAVAO CITY ‐‐ The city government is eyeing to double its rice area to 4,000 hectares after  achieving its target of 2,000 hectares area this year. Valente D. Turtur, acting chief of the City  Agriculturist Office, said.  Mr. Turtur earlier told the local media that the city government is looking at "expanding in Paquibato  and Marilog" as these areas have still vast areas for farming.    Other areas where rice farms could be expanded include Marilog and Tugbok, all in the city’s third  district, which the agency has identified.     Davao City’s agricultural areas are traditionally planted with non‐grain crops, specifically fruits and  vegetables. Its grain supply generally comes from neighboring provinces from Central Mindanao. Mr.  Turtur said the rice hectare expansion project is part of the program of the National Irrigation  Administration (NIA), which has agreed to set up irrigation systems in new rice areas.     The irrigation agency recently set aside P1.5 billion for the Davao Region.    Mr. Turtur said rice production in the city was still low at four metric tons a hectare ‐‐ way below the  seven metric tons a hectare posted in many areas within the region.     He added the rice produced in the city "cannot still meet its needs" of about 500,000 metric tons  annually.    He said the city government must focus on the expansion program so that it can be self‐sufficient in the  coming years.    Two years ago, Mr. Turtur’s predecessor, Leonardo R. Avila III, said the government is also focusing at  setting up farms for indigenous varieties of rice particularly in the hinterlands populated by the  indigenous communities.    Based on the assessment of the government agency, there were about 90 indigenous varieties of rice in  the city. "We would be looking at the qualities and characteristics of each variety," said Mr. Avila as the  city government would choose from among these varieties it would propagate.   


Mr. Turtur said the plan has already taken off as some of the varieties have already been selected and  will be grown in nurseries intended for the expansion.     Davao City is the largest city in the Philippines in land area. As of 2011, it had an estimated population of  1,530,365, making it the fourth‐most‐populous city in the Philippines.     Davao is a leading producer of mangoes, pomelos, bananas, coconut products, papayas and  mangosteen. Durians are also one of the most notable export products of the city and has since become  an informal icon for Davao.    The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier said that the Philippines will export 300,000 metric tons of  rice by 2016 amid of expectations of a glut because of the country’s import commitment under the  World Trade Organization (WTO).    Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, who is also National Rice Program coordinator, said the government  will match, or at least narrow down, the country’s rice trade deficit for the next three years to prevent a  possible drop in prices due to the influx of cheaper rice. ‐‐ Carmelito Q. Francisco   http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Davao‐City‐aims‐to‐double‐rice‐ plantations‐this‐year&id=70215#sthash.80KD3Imd.dpuf                           


10 out of 13 fishing grounds overfished Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by MADELAINE CABRERA   

Ten out of the country’s 13 major fishing grounds are overfished, resulting in big declines in fishing production, officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) disclosed yesterday. BFAR Director Asis Perez said most of the overfishing happens in the Visayas. Other heavily exploited grounds are Lingayen Gulf, northern Zambales, Camotes Sea, Honda Bay, Babuyan Channel, Lagonoy Gulf, Sorsogon Bay, Hinatuan and Dinagay Bay and Davao Gulf. Perez said fishing production has dramatically declined for the past years and the only way to solve shortages is to allow importation. “The drop in fish production resulted from the country’s destructive fishing methods and overfishing,” Perez said. BFAR reported that the population and size of small pelagic fish species such as sardines, galunggong (scad) and matambaka (ox-eye scad) “are dwindling due to overfishing.” BFAR Assistant Director Benjamin Tabios said that “imported” tuna used by local canneries come from companies set up in Papua New Guinea, but are owned by Filipinos and manned by Filipinos. “As these are considered PNG fishing vessels, these catches are considered imports even though the beneficial owners are Filipinos and the crew of these fishing vessels are Filipinos,” said Tabios. The latest available data from BFAR indicate that the Philippines imported 860,000 metric tons of fish and fish products in 2011. Perez also said there are instances of fish smuggling, where galunggong and sardines are illegally brought in from China and Taiwan. To sustain fish output, the government has declared such measures as proclaiming “closed seasons and doing away with destructive fishing methods,” said Perez. He said that decline in fish production was monitored in the 1990’s. “In fact if you look at government projects, there were efforts to wean away fisherfolk from fishing, preparing them for other jobs, alternative livelihood, to reduce overfishing,” he said. “What we are doing now is managing our resources and one of them is observing open and close seasons,” he said.


In the last three years, the fisheries subsector has been recording declining catches. The fishery sector posted a decline of 0.04 percent in 2012 with 4.85 million metric tons produced compared to the previous year. In 2011, the sector also experienced a drop of 3.8 percent with 4.98 million metric tons while it also fell by 1.7 percent in 2010. In 2010, production from brackish water fishponds accounted for a total at 302,000 metric tons. This was followed by fresh water fishpond with 142,000 metric tons and fresh water fish cage with 102,000 metric tons. Fish accounts for 80 percent of the animal protein intake of Filipinos, with per capita consumption of 28 kilos. http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/business/business‐news/30996‐10‐out‐of‐13‐fishing‐grounds‐ overfished                              


SAYS CHINA’S ‘NATIONAL TREASURE’: Hybrid rice will ensure food security worldwide Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by PAUL M. ICAMINA          

“Wasting rice is a crime. Farmers work very hard to produce rice,” Professor Yuan Longping, the keynote speaker at the 1st National Hybrid Rice Congress at Institute (PhilRice) in Munoz,

the Philippine Rice Research Nueva Ecija, said.

Considered as China’s National Treasure for bringing so much rice to the world, Longping said hybrid rice is the only way to feed the world. “Hybrid rice will play a key role in ensuring food security worldwide in the 21st century,” he said, pointing out that if half of rice paddy worldwide is covered by hybrids, rice production could be increased by another 150 million tons to feed half a billion more people. “Rice is a major food crop that feeds more than half of the world,” Yuan said. He pointed out that 60 percent more rice (compared to harvests in 1995) should be produced to feed the world in 2030. “Currently one hectare of rice production provides food for 27 people,” he said. “By 2050, one hectare will have to support 43 people.” One way to bridge the hunger gap is by planting hybrid rice which already feeds 70 million more people in China each year. The average yield in 29.5 million hectares planted to inbred rice is 6.4 tons per hectare (t/ha).


The average in 17 million hectares planted to hybrid (58 percent of the rice area) is 7.5t/ha, a yield advantage of over 20 percent. An inbred rice variety is a cross between two or more different varieties and reproduces itself through self-pollination or inbreeding. Because seeds can be used for the succeeding planting seasons, most of the rice plants in farmers’ field today are inbred rice. A hybrid is the product of a cross between two genetically distinct rice parents and has both greater vigor and yield than either of the parents. While the seeds cannot be replanted with the same results, hybrids yield much more and are more resistant to weeds, diseases and insects. In order to feed China in the 21st century, Yuan said the world’s largest and most populous country is developing a Super Hybrid Rice aimed to yield 13.5 tons per hectare by 2015. That’s a 60 percent increase over harvests in 1990, a target that has been achieved in 2011, four years ahead of schedule, he said. In recent years, the average yield was around 8.3 t/ha in 2 million hectares of large scale commercial production. The area under super hybrids was near 1 million hectares in 2011 and the average yield was above 9 t/ha. “My wish is for our friendship to make the Philippine self-sufficient in rice,” he said. “In order to extend hybrid rice technology in the Philippines, the government should pay great attention to developing hybrid rice and make good policies that encourage farmers to plant hybrid rice.” The government should encourage the private sector to develop good hybrid seeds, said the Father of Hybrid Rice.In the 1970s, Yuan discovered the genetic basis of heterosis in rice. Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is unique to hybrid rice and enables the plant to produce higher yields due to more spikelets per panicle. The first hybrid rice varieties he developed, released in China in 1974, increased that country’s rice production which currently feeds 22 percent of the world’s peoples using only 7 percent of the world’s arable land. In 1979, hybrid rice technology was introduced in the United States, increasing rice harvest in 400,000 hectares by 20 percent. It was the first case of intellectual property rights transfer in the new China. In India, some 1800,000 hectares of hybrids have a yield advantage of up to 20 percent. About 700,000 hectares in Vietnam are planted to hybrids, yielding 6.3 t/ha against 4.5 t/ha for inbred varieties. In the Philippines, hybrids in 191,000 hectares average about 6.5 t/ha against 4.5 t/ha for inbreds. Over 20 countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Madagascar, Liberia and Papua New Guinea, now plant hyrbid rice. http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/special‐features/agriculture/30951‐says‐chinas‐national‐ treasure‐hybrid‐rice‐will‐ensure‐food‐security‐worldwide


Sugar from nipa sap ideal for diabetics Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by VIOLY BALAOING CONOZ   

Nipa sap can now be used to make sugar. The product is classified as an alternative sugar that is ideal for diabetics, the overweight and the health-conscious. Nipa sap sugar has a low glycemic index and does not cause sudden sugar spikes in the blood stream when consumed, making it ideal for diabetics. It is also low in calories so that weightwatchers stand to benefit. Nipa sap sugar can be used as sweetener and ingredient in several foods and confectionery products like pastries and native delicacies. In 2010, food researchers at the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) started developing the technology for the production of sugar from nipa sap. Researchers led by engineer. Norberto Ambagan and Elsa Falco of ITDI’s Food Processing Division made a survey of local processors and saw the need to improve the processing of nipa sap for sugar. “We introduced some innovations to standardize the process and produce sugar of better quality at a competitive cost,” said Falco, the product development lead. Two major technology improvements were adopted. One was the appropriate collection system using flexible pouches or sterile plastics to collect the sap. “This is a simple collection system that can be easily adopted by the mangangarit or mananguete” says Melchor Valdecañas who heads food processing research at ITDI. “This method minimizes the exposure of the sap to air and contaminants, and allows the hygienic collection of sap, eliminating the tedious washing of collection vessels after every use to minimize inversion and fermentation of sap.” The second innovation involved the processing equipment used in cooking the nipa sap to produce the sugar. The collected nipa sap was boiled or cooked using the modified fire-tube-steam-jacketed kettle, replacing the direct heating of open pans traditionally used by processors. With this innovation, scorching during cooking is avoided. Several field trials were conducted in nipa-growing communities in Morong, Bataan; Infanta, Quezon; Bulacan, Bulacan; and Pagsanghan, Western Samar.


Preliminary results showed a 15 percent average yield – that is about 1.5 kilograms of nipa sap sugar from 10 liters of nipa sap. When analyzed in the laboratory, nipa sap sugar was shown to have the same mineral profile or electrolytes content as that of coconut sugar. The basic process for producing nipa sap sugar involves simple steps: freshly-gathered sap is weighed, strained and boiled, forming into granules or crystals that are cooled to room temperature. The finished product is golden brown to yellowish brown in color and has a shelf life of more than 2 years at room temperature. The sugar is packed using appropriate materials, sealed properly, put in carton boxes, sealed, labelled and stored in a cool, dry storage room. The technology process is available from ITDI, care of Dr. Nuna E. Almanzor, Director, DOST Compound., Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel. 837-2071 to 82 local 2215; Telefax 837-3167; email- nealmanzor@dost.gov.ph. ScienceNewsPhilippines http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/special-features/agriculture/30948-sugar-from-nipa-sapideal-for-diabetics


The carabao’s future for the Filipino – dairy & meat CROSSROADS (Toward Philippine Economic and Social Progress) By Gerardo P. Sicat (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2013 - 12:00am The short-curly-horned hybrid that produces more milk. I returned recently from a summer’s road journey of more than 2,400 kilometers all over Northern Luzon – on the country’s main highways and inns, and through the mountains where I could pass. I have done this over the years with my driver, to observe firsthand how the country goes. My mind is filled with many useful impressions and findings. One of these is about the carabao – the quintessential Filipino beast of burden. Our rural picture of traditional agriculture is the carabao pulling the plow to break the hard soil, skillfully tethered by a farmhand, or of one hauling a cart burdened with harvest. As I headed northward by the ‘Science City’ of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, the modern offices of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) attracted my attention just beyond the Central Luzon University campus on the road. I dropped by to venture a talk with a responsible officer. Luckily,the director, Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, was in the premises. I was glad that he received me. Dr. Cruz (a Ph.D. who specialized in reproductive biotechnology from the University of Illinois) was an engaging conversationalist. He answered my innocent questions with informative answers. He was comprehensive, technical sometimes, but full of anecdotal turns that kept me asking for more. My one hour drop-by became one night and a morning more. The director gave me a number of interesting booklets, published materials, and annual reports on the carabao. I was hooked. Some of what I learned I share today. “The Philippine Carabao Center mission.” The carabao center was the result of an almost quixotic mission of Joseph Estrada (Erap). As senator, he was consumed with a single idea, to transform the Philippine carabao from beast of burden to productive partner of the rural household. It helped that Dr. Raul de Guzman, his brother in law, was then the chancellor of the UP Los Banos, the country’s premier agricultural university. He fed him ideas on how the poor farmer (and the nation) could benefit from the carabao. Essentially because Erap did not have any major legislative projects, his sponsorship of the carabao center enabled him to get his favorite bill to pass the Senate and then, Congress, during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos which also appropriated substantial financing for it. When Erap was elected president, the PCC was assured of budgetary releases to prove its worth.


Livestock scientists in the country thought that the carabao had promise beyond its role as draft animal. It could produce more milk. Also, it was a source of meat for Filipinos. It was all genetic science. The carabao was butchered to great scarcity during the time of President Magsaysay that he banned the slaughter of the carabao to conserve its use as draft animal when agriculture was simpler. “Modernizing agriculture means less use of carabao power.” As mechanization in agriculture spreads, the carabao loses its preeminent presence, except for the poor farmer. The rural farm household could make the carabao yield milk for family nutrition and also for supplemental cash income. One problem, however, is that the carabao was not a prolific milk provider. Could we develop a super-carabao that was more productive, both in terms of milk and meat? “The scientific problem.” As Dr. Cruz explained to me, the Philippine carabao, which is also commonly found in Southeast Asia, is a swamp buffalo. The buffalo that is endemic to the Indian subcontinent is riverine. It has an advantage over the native buffalo in that it can produce more milk. Could the swamp carabao be successfully cross-bred with the riverine type? It turned out that this was not an easy problem. The native carabao had 48 pairs of chromosomes. The riverine type had 50 pairs of chromosomes. Finding the right cross-breed and propagating them could be a mission for improving the stock of the native carabao. If successful, a kind of super-carabao would be a healthy meztizo of the native and the Indian buffalo. In early experiments of cross-breeding the native carabao with imported semen from the riverine carabao, the outcomes produced possibilities. The cross-bred offsprings showed the following outcomes: One chance in four (25 percent) produced a carabao with 48 pairs of chromosomes, no different from the native. Two chances in four (or 50 percent) led to a carabao with 49 pairs of chromosomes, an improved native. And there was one chance in four that the new carabao would have 50 pairs of chromosomes. The females with 50 pairs of chromosomes produced the best dairy output. The problem for propagation of the cross-bred carabao is to tap these offsprings and further propagate them for dairy production. The males with the 50 pairs of chromosomes would be selected to produce semen for cross-breeding purposes as well as for loan as bulls for direct propagation in carabao ranches and stock farms. “Enlarging the new super-carabao population.” The PCC thus has a well defined mission. It has been well-funded by government, one center that does not seem to be in want of good support from the government. Breeding livestock is a long term proposition. A generational change for carabaos requires five years. In 15 years, it is possible to get a “pure-bred” developed. What is important is that the productivity of milk produced rises over time as the breed is improved. The PCC undertakes applied research to produce the superior carabao through cross-breeding. The work happens in conjunction with the country’s agricultural universities: UP in Los Banos,


Mariano Marcos State University, Cagayan State University, Central Luzon State University, Visayan State University, West Visayan State University, Central Mindanao University, Mindanao State University, and University of Southern Mindanao. In addition, the work is also undertaken in three major stock farms. The PCC’s annual reports and several publications are well written reports on progress of the center’s work on the carabao. The PCC has sponsored also publications written on the center’s various activities. One of these, written by Sosimo Ma. Pablico entitled Changing Lives… Beyond the draft carabao (2006), reports on the lives of ordinary and extraordinary farmers who have engaged in carabao farming. I was guided to the stock farm laboratory within the PCC compound. There, the dairy carabaos are milked and selected. A cross-bred carabao proudly displayed her profile as I clicked my camera (enclosed). The milk output is sold through a cooperative. One interesting place that is worth a visit by motorists between Manila and the northern provinces toward the Cagayan Valley is “Milka Krem,” a store outlet of the cooperative. It is a snack bar and store retailing a variety of products made from carabao milk – fresh milk, yogurts of different flavors, ice cream, and candied products derived from carabao milk. It is an experience! My email is: gpsicat@gmail.com. Visit this site for more information, feedback and commentary: http://econ.upd.edu.ph/gpsicat/ http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/15/942158/carabaos-future-filipino-dairy-meat


Ferns as food Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by ANGEL ALCALA    

Pako has high ascorbic acid content and apat-apat has high antioxidant activity. In an earlier column in April, I described the research work of Dr. Victor Amoroso, a professor and fern expert at the Central Mindanao University (CMU). This time I am pleased to write about his recent article with his colleagues at the CMU that reports their research findings on 10 species of edible ferns grown in a fern garden on the campus. The ferns were assayed in his laboratory using certain standard methods for proteins, antioxidants and phytochemicals such as alkaloids, phenolic compounds and saponins. In addition, he organized a fern gourmet contest that was evaluated by a panel of sensory experts to determine the winning entries and held trainings and seminars attended by farmers and local government units to educate the public on the health benefits from edible ferns. The results of the bioassay revealed that Diplazium esculentum (locally called pako) had the highest activity of 83 percent relative to ascorbic acid and Marsilea crenata (apat-apat) had the highest antioxidant activity. In terms of total protein, both species had the highest content relative to sample weight. It should be noted that pako is a widely used vegetable in the country. The paper gives us a good reason for popularizing ferns as food. Of course, there are probably some poisonous species of ferns that people should avoid. Let’s wait for experts like Dr. Amoroso to inform us about such species, if indeed there are. The conclusion of Amoroso et al. in their paper, which has been favorably endorsed to the Commission on Higher Education for financial support for presentation in the international conference sponsored by the Botanical Society of America this year, is that the 10 species of edible ferns are good sources of nutrients for human health and well being and following the example of a fern garden at CMU, people may now develop and maintain fern gardens primarily for food. The paper also notes by way of explanation why ferns produce these useful chemicals. The factor mainly responsible for this phenomenon is the long period of evolutionary history of ferns compared to the higher plants. During this period of time ferns were able to colonize a variety of environments to which they were reacting or adapting to produce various chemical substances. CMU should be congratulated for building a chemistry laboratory capable of conducting research in an area outside of Manila. We know, of course, that this development is due to the efforts of the faculty committed not only to teaching but especially to research on Philippine biodiversity. http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/special-features/environment/170-environment/30943ferns-as-food


A tale of two contrasting agriculture policies Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by Caroline Stauffer and Silvio Cascione  

SALTO, Brazil. - Brazil, an up-and-coming agricultural superpower with abundant fertile land, is struggling to provide consistently affordable food for its population. To understand how, consider the tomato. Prices of the red fruit shot up 122 percent in March from a year earlier, putting it on the cover of two national magazines, spurring reports of tomato trafficking from Argentina and igniting national outrage over how any produce could possibly cost more in the tropics than in, say, frigid Alaska. Brazil’s output of export commodity crops like soybeans, corn, sugar and coffee is growing faster than anywhere in the world, and no one is warning of an imminent food shortage in a country so rich in natural resources. But Latin America’s largest economy is increasingly becoming a tale of two contrasting agriculture policies. Export crops are a model of technological prowess and high yields while the farms responsible for feeding a growing consumer class have remained much the same for decades: mostly small and family-run. Weighed down by debt, vulnerable to weather damage and squeezed out of their lands by the commodity crops, these farms are the first link in a long chain of inefficiencies that made food prices soar in a country still scarred by its long history of runaway inflation - complicating President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to rekindle economic growth. “Brazil is only concerned about the agriculture that affects our trade balance,” said Cyro Cury, who grows 10 kinds of tomatoes on a farm an hour outside Sao Paulo, South America’s biggest city. “There is no strategy, no regional statistics. We don’t deserve to be called the world’s bread basket, we don’t have the right policies for that,” he said while examining freshly harvested tomatoes from the dozen greenhouses he manages. Some of the problems facing the small farms clustered around Brazil’s largest cities, such as scarc labor and poor transport lines, are also felt by manufacturers and entrepreneurs. They make up part of the so-called Brazil cost that has choked economic growth and made doing business here so expensive. Brazil’s government largely blames the recent rise in tomato, onion and carrot prices - which helped drive inflation above the upper end of the central bank’s target range in March for the first time in a year and a half - on seasonal factors it can’t control.


“There were climate problems in some regions,” secretary of agriculture policy Neri Geller said, suggesting prices would soon fall. “We have well-defined policies for these products through credit lines and intervention through minimum prices.” There is a growing consensus among farmers and economists, however, that deeper structural issues, not just irregular rains, leave Brazil vulnerable to oscillating food prices at a time when few comparable countries are worried about inflation. As in many developing countries, food still accounts for a large chunk of Brazil’s consumer price index - 22 percent - and fresh fruits and vegetables are widely consumed by all classes. Chief among the factors spurring high food prices is a lack of farm workers in a country now enjoying almost full employment. After years of strong growth, services companies have lured unskilled workers away from farms by offering them better perks and a lighter workload, often inside air-conditioned shops rather than under the blazing sun. “Today the scarcest type of workers in Brazil are the unskilled workers. Farm workers live just outside the big cities and have other opportunities,” said Mauro Lopes, an agronomist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation think tank in Rio de Janeiro. Unlike the large soy and sugar plantations that are largely mechanized, well-capitalized and often run by foreign firms, some 60 percent of Brazil’s vegetable farms are still family run and rely on manual labor. Cury, the tomato farmer, said the scarcity of tomatoes and record prices this season are mainly due to an outbreak of a deadly fungus, fewer seeds planted as farmers emerge from debt, and the increasing difficulty finding workers. He says he would have liked to plant tomatoes in eight more greenhouses this season to help meet surging demand in Sao Paulo. But he couldn’t find the additional workers for a salary of about 1,000 reais ($500) a month. Brazil is now the world’s top producer of sugar, citrus and coffee, the leading exporter of poultry and beef and on the verge of becoming the top soybean grower. But land for non-export crops is increasingly scarce. Data from statistics agency IBGE shows that the area planted with rice and beans, staples of the national diet, has fallen about 30 percent since 1990, when the population was 25 percent smaller. In Sao Paulo state, an economic powerhouse that is home to 40 million people, cane fields and orange groves dominate the landscape. “There is a clear divide in Brazilian agriculture,” said João Pedro Stedile, leader of Brazil’s landless peasants’ movement, known as MST. “There are 16 million workers in family farms; they have only 15 percent of the land, but grow 80 percent of what’s consumed domestically.”


Cury and other farmers can’t move too far from the cities in search of cheaper land and labor in the interior like their soy and corn farming counterparts because vegetables would spoil long before they arrived. “Transport restrictions are a chronic problem in Brazil,” said Geraldo Barros, a professor at University of Sao Paulo in Piracicaba. “They hurt producers directly. A large part of the burden falls upon them, through lower prices (at the farm).” Though tomato prices in Brazilian grocery stores have fallen slightly since March, when they cost more than in supermarkets in northern Alaska at $8 per kilo, onion prices remain around $3 per kilo, double their price in Mexico City and three times what they cost in Lima, Peru. In addition to labor, land and transportation, there is another part to Brazil’s food inflation story: a large gap between wholesale and consumer prices. As Brazilians celebrate newfound job security, it sometimes feels like there is always someone willing to pay sky-high prices for goods or services. “Stronger purchasing power made companies pass through all the increasing costs to consumers, and also inhibited them from lowering prices when costs started to drop at the farm’s gate,” said Mauricio Nakahodo, an economist with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in Sao Paulo. Though tomato producers welcomed this year’s boon of higher prices, Cury said it is not making them rich. A box of his standard tomatoes costs 3.5 reais, but was selling for four times that amount at a local supermarket, he said. He said the small share of profits limits farmers’ ability to increase food output for Brazilians, ensuring a cycle of high prices for years to come if nothing changes. “If we don’t adopt policies for small-scale crops and guarantee nourishment, we are going to have big problems in 10 years.” — Reuters http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/special-features/agriculture/30949-a-tale-of-twocontrasting-agriculture-policies


‘It is more important to increase yields’ Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00   Written by PAUL M. ICAMINA      Professor Yuan Longping, , China’s  “National Treasure”, is an agriculturist, scientst, educator and multi‐ millionaire.  

Four planets and a college in China had been named after him, the first time that the name of a Chinese scientist has become an intellectual asset. The man who has brought so much rice to the world was born into a poor farmer’s family in 1931, graduating from the Southwestern Agriculture Institute in 1953 then teaching agriculture in Anjiang, Hunan Province. He started studying a natural hybrid rice plant in 1964. By 1973, he and his colleagues cultivated a type of hybrid rice species which yielded 20 percent more per unit area than inbred rice. The next year, they developed a set of technologies for producing indica rice, which is longgrained and non-glutinous, putting China in the lead in world rice production. Today, over half of China’s rice fields are planted to hybrid rice. Total rice production increased from 5.69 billion tons in 1950 to 19.47 billion tons in 2012. About 300 billion kilograms more were produced over the last 20 years. To put that in context, the annual yield is enough to feed 60 million people. Yuan believes that in developing countries, it is more important to increase yields than improve the taste of rice, and more yields doesn’t mean poor quality. “First we must have enough food, then comes eating well,” he said. Yuan is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Vice-Chairman of the Provincial Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. A good swimmer, he loves reading (30 minutes in bed before sleeping) and music. He abandoned the violin, his favorite instrument, when the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s deemed classical music as decadent. He has resumed playing. A mahjong player, Yuan, now 83, was an avid rider of motorcycles, his favorite mode of transportation when he was younger. Yuan currently heads the China National Hybrid Rice R & D Center which has trained more than 3,000 researchers, technicians and agriculturists from over 60 countries. He has a 5 percent stake in Longping High-tech, a seed company using his name, which opened in 2012 in Shenzhen. His wealth is estimated at more than 100 million yuan ($ 12 million), a


modest figure among tech developers and entrepreneurs, but it is enough to make him one of the richest men in China. “Those figures mean nothing,” he says. “I’m satisfied with my life. Too much money means a burden. My mind is on my research only.” He has established Yuna Longping Foundation which awards agricultural research. “I’m afraid of fame, too big a fame, too little freedom,” he adds as an aferthought. http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/special-features/agriculture/30950-it-is-more-importantto-increase-yields

                 


Integrity of Customs auction of smuggled rice questioned Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 19:51   Written by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro / Correspondent   CITY OF MALOLOS—The Federation of Central Luzon Farmers Cooperative on Tuesday expressed doubts  about the integrity of the Bureau of Customs’s (BOC) scheduled auction of the illegally imported 94,000  50‐kilogram bags of Vietnamese rice it had seized at the Port of Legazpi in Albay province.  Simeon  Sioson,  the  federation’s  chief,  told  the  BusinessMirror  that  the  auction,  to  be  held  on  Wednesday,  could  be  considered  anomalous  “under  the  touted  daang  matuwid  [straight  path]  of  the  [Aquino] administration.”  His statement came after the BOC said in a recent tabloid news report that “the National Food Authority  [NFA]  quoted  the  amount  of  P88  million  as  reference  or  base  price  for”  the  smuggled  rice  and  that  “prescribed  procedures  have  been  drawn  up  to  ensure  the  integrity  of  the  auction,  including  inviting  observers from the media and the Commission on Audit.”  It also came after the bureau said in its thrice‐published notice of public auction that “the public viewing  of rice stocks, the pre‐bid conference, the submission of bidders’ pre‐qualification documents and the  evaluation by the BOC of the bidders’ pre‐qualification documents will all be done” on Tuesday.  “In the case of prospective bidders who read only the last advertisement, which came out on May 11— [and with] May 12 and 13 [Sunday and Election Day] being non‐office days—they do not have even one  single  office/business/working  day  to  secure  and  prepare  the  pre‐qualification  documents  [that]  they  have to submit on May 14,” Sioson complained.  “Based on the advertised basic guidelines, bidders who do not have advance notice of this auction still  have  to  secure  Bureau  of  Internal  Revenue  [BIR]  tax  clearances  for  2010  to  2012,  clearance  from  the  Legal Service of the BOC in the Port of Manila [and] NFA certification for some documents, which they  [don’t have time to] do if they have to inspect the rice stocks, attend the pre‐bid conference and submit  the pre‐qualification documents immediately on” Tuesday, he said.  “Prospective bidders have to determine how they will dispose of the rice stocks with the floor price of  P88.3  million,  study  how  much  they  have  to  bid,  secure  a  manager’s  check  for  the  bid  bond  [and]  prepare the 50‐percent spot payment in case they win in the auction. They have only up to 10:15 a.m. of  [May 15] to do these because” that is the auction deadline, the farmer‐leader added. 


Noting that a second auction would be held on Thursday if there is a failed bidding, Sioson said “some  prospective bidders cannot participate [in that] because it takes time to secure some pre‐qualification  documents like BIR tax clearances, while studies in coming up with the bids may  not yet be complete at  this point.”  He stressed that “it is the responsibility of the Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance and Anti‐Corruption  to  properly  manage,  coordinate  and  synchronize  the  activities  of  various  government  agencies/offices  toward the applicable national‐government objective.”  “In this case, the objective consists of wide dispersal of rice stocks to avoid cartelized pricing, increased  participation  by  farmers’  cooperatives  in  the  government’s  rice  disposition  as  a  poverty‐alleviation  measure  and  in  compliance  with  the  Agriculture  and  Fisheries  Modernization  Act,  reduction  of  scheduled  NFA  rice  importations  to  the  extent  of  the  quantities  of  smuggled  rice  apprehended  from  time to time, and so on,” the federation chief said.  Sioson also said within existing laws and regulations, the Cabinet cluster—or the Office of the President  itself—“has to instruct agriculture/NFA  and Customs officials to come up with [a rice] auction scheme  [involving] the participation of farmers’ cooperatives.”  He stressed that “there should be enough lead time to bidders in scheduling the auction steps, as well as  review documentary requirements.”  http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri‐commodities/13460‐integrity‐of‐customs‐ auction‐of‐smuggled‐rice‐questioned                     


Casiguran better as agro‐aqua, ecotourism zone • •

Written by  Tribune   Tuesday, 14 May 2013 00:00  

The establishment of an agro-aqua and ecotourism zone in Casiguran, Aurora can promote growth and development in the area and its adjoining municipalities, according to the government. Referring to the development of Casiguran under the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco), a report by National Economic Development Authority (Neda) said the area “has intrinsic economic potential as an agro-aqua and ecotourism zone” given that the activities proposed are going to be well supported by the resources of the area. Apparently, Apeco, the manager and operator of the zone, has veered away from the original plan of establishing a freeport zone, based on the findings of the study conducted by Neda to assess the economic potential of the controversial project. The study team assessed the project as a potential agro-aqua and ecotourism zone, and not as a freeport zone as originally conceived by its developers, after observing developments at the site. The report noted that developing the area for agribusiness and ecotourism was appropriate given the existing resource base. “A well-defined market for outputs within and outside of the ecozone as well as the abundant agri-aqua raw materials and human resources in the area serve as a strong draw for locators,” according to the Neda assessment. “This new plan would generate employment and spur development not just in the catchment area of Dilasag-Casiguran-Dinalungan in Aurora, but also in the nearby provinces,” it said. Local stakeholders note that “for so long government had neglected the municipality (i.e Casiguran).” They believe that the employment generation effect of the ecozone will also serve to preserve the forests which are now being exploited because of lack of livelihood opportunities in the lowland. Apeco’s plan is to promote forest preservation in San Ildefonso, except for a 200 ha. area for bamboo culture and production. Access by land to the zone is via the almost completed Baler-Casiguran national road, which is part of the government’s national road network development initiative. LGU officers in the Casiguran and nearby municipalities of Dilasag and Dinalungan noted that before APEFZ came along, they never thought that national government would pay attention to the area, which only merited national attention when calamities struck.


Given the amount of public funds already spent, Neda is of the view that giving up on developing the area will be more wasteful. The area has to have the minimum facilities to attract locators and undertake operation. The critical facilities required are a stable source of power supply, access to safe and clean water supply, and facilities for proper solid waste management. However, Neda is not recommending immediate implementation. “Further investment support for the installation of all these additional facilities will be contingent on Apeco’s completion of its master plan, and other essential corporate business plans and policies in place, including its land use plan,” according to Neda. “Partnership with local government units and other national agencies through dialogues and consultations would truly make the effort supportive of inclusive growth. In December, President Aquino instructed Neda to undertake an assessment of the economic potentials of the Apeco project, which had become controversial. The evaluation of the legal issues surrounding the project was not part of the terms of reference, however. Neda’s task was to determine if it made economic sense for the government to continue to invest in the project, and how much additional investment is needed to make the project operational. The economic evaluation followed established principles of benefit-cost analysis. “But future investments will have to be conditional on transformational interventions that have to be done to ensure the successful achievement of a sustainable development of the area,” according to the Neda assessment. The study was conducted drawing from documents available from various sources and interviews with stakeholders. These were validated by several field visits to the area by the Neda. http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/14092‐casiguran‐better‐as‐agro‐aqua‐ecotourism‐ zone        


Grameen system good only for starting businesses • •

Written by  Ed Velasco   Tuesday, 14 May 2013 00:00  

An authority in collateral-free loan or the so-called Grameen system said it is only good for start up business but not ideal in the long term because members of the group that availed themselves of the loan tend to default in payments. Lourdes Jocelyn-Pineda, president of Rizal Microbank, one of the leading members of the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB), said the biggest reason why group loans sometimes falter is that not all members are good businessmen which in turn pull other groupmates down. “Most group loans are for start-ups and it cannot be avoided that not all group members will be successful as entrepreneurs. Part of the repayment success of group lending has been the built-in collateral of the group guarantee,” Pineda told the Daily Tribune in a text message from the bank’s headquarters in Davao City. During the start of the repayment default, the banker said some group members can afford to chip in so that penalty for late payment with the bank will be avoided. The period of how long other members can chip in is a big question for most group loans, especially those that borrowed at least P50,000, according to the banker. “Once loan sizes get bigger, its hard for members to chip in for the unpaid portion of the loan of the member who does not pay her installment,” Pineda explained. Rizal Microbank, the thrift bank of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), has 14 branches, mostly in the provinces. It was created when RCBC bought JP Laurel Rural Bank and Merchants Savings Bank in 2009 after RCBC used the license of the latter to operate a thrift bank. As of Dec. 31, 2012, it has very low non-performing loan of two percent, assets of P896 million and an average loan size of P81,000, which is relatively higher for most thrift banks.Earlier, RCBC and Bankers’ Association of the Philippines president Lorenzo Tan said RCBC was the first universal bank to venure into thrift banking because it believes that like any businesses, any business can grow eventually into a small and medium enterprise or even bigger. http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/14096‐grameen‐system‐good‐only‐for‐starting‐ businesses


Economy Posted on May 14, 2013 09:15:58 PM 

Northern Mindanao Customs Bureau boosts collections by 10% in 2012 CAGAYAN DE ORO ‐‐ The Bureau of Customs (BoC) office in Northern Mindanao has reported  a collection of P5.7 billion in 2012, 10% higher compared with the previous year’s take of  roughly P5.2 billion.  In an official statement, the BoC office noted that while there was a slowdown in collection in the last  quarter of 2012, the annual figure still exceeded the agency’s annual target by P181 million.    It said that the revenues were mainly driven by the strong performance of the Mindanao Container  Terminal (MCT) located in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.     The agency’s statement said collections from the Cagayan de Oro port and from the sub‐port of Iligan  City went down by 19% and 23%, respectively.     Collection from Iligan City decreased, the agency explained, due to the implementation of an executive  order exempting wheat importations of Pilimico Foods Corp. from payment of customs duties until  2015.     In the Cagayan de Oro port, meanwhile, lower palm oil importation in mid‐2012 was also cited as  another reason for reduced collection. There was also a slowdown of activities in the Cagayan‐Iligan  industrial corridor in the first few months of 2012 after tropical storm Sendong adversely affected  several manufacturing plants that source their raw materials from abroad.    However, an increase in the collection at the MCT more than offset the declines posted in the region’s  two ports.     The 300‐hectare container terminal, which posted collection of P4.6 billion in 2012, accounted for 81%  of the region’s total customs collections last year.    State‐owned Phividec Industrial Authority and publicly listed International Container Terminal Services,  Inc. (ICTSI) earlier announced that they have agreed to expand the MCT after its volume hit close to its  full capacity last year.    Phividec is the regulator of the MCT, which is part of the 3,000‐hectare economic zone that the agency  also oversees.  


ICTSI is the sole operator of the port after it won the 25‐year concession in 2008.    The MCT has an annual capacity of 270,000 twenty‐foot equivalent units (TEUs).     Data from Phividec showed that last year, the port handled 215,274 TEUs, composed mostly of  agricultural goods, lumber and minerals for export. This figure is 2% higher from the 210,508 TEUs  recorded in 2011. Foreign goods account for 52% of the total or the same ratio in 2011, data from  Phividec showed.    Joma Fernandez, terminal manager of MCT said that as a rule, a container port should not be operating  at close to full capacity to prevent cargo congestion.    But Mr. Fernandez said container yard utilization at the MCT last year was only at 48%, which gives  cargoes and trucks enough space to move around port. He said the immediate need of MCT, which was  created as an alternative to the nearby domestic and international port, was the expansion of the 300‐ meter berth of the port that can only fit only one vessel at a time.    At the moment, only three major international shipping lines call at the port regularly. ‐‐ Christine H.  Cabiasa  ‐ See more at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Northern‐ Mindanao‐Customs‐Bureau‐boosts‐collections‐by‐10%‐in‐2012&id=70214#sthash.mNkehy1P.dpuf                       


Consumers see prices shooting up Category: Top News   Published on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 21:54   Written by Dennis D. Estopace / Reporter   CONSUMERS polled by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expect higher food and fuel prices this year  that monetary officials say constitute upward risks to inflation.  “Consumers  project  inflation  to  accelerate  over  the  next  12  months.  In  particular,  respondents  anticipate inflation to inch up to 7.9 percent from 7 percent in the previous survey round,” the BSP first‐ quarter 2013 inflation report said.  The  report  released  last  Friday,  however,  noted  that  the  consumers  polled  expect  higher  inflation  for  light (from 9.7 percent to 11.5 percent); house rent (from 4.4 percent to 6.2 percent); and water (from  6.5 percent to 8 percent).  It said there was a slight uptick in inflation rates during the first three months of the year.  The  report  noted  that  year‐on‐year  headline  inflation  increased  to  3.2  percent  in  the  first  quarter  of  2013 from the quarter‐ago rate of 2.9 percent and year‐ago rate of 3.1 percent.  It said the rise in headline inflation was due mainly to higher prices of rice, meat, vegetables, alcoholic  beverages and tobacco products.  The  prices  of  alcoholic  beverages  and  tobacco  products  went  up,  according  to  the  report,  due  to  the  implementation of Republic Act 10351, which raised the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products in  January 2013.  Those of rice, meat and vegetables increased because of “tight domestic supply conditions,” it said.  Core  inflation  also  rose  to  3.8  percent  in  the  first  quarter  of  2013  from  3.4  percent  in  the  previous  quarter and 3.5 percent a year ago.  Aside from consumers, the report noted that respondents from businesses see inflation going up in the  first quarter but the BSP said they compose “a smaller majority of firm respondents.”  This “small majority” expects inflation to go up during the current quarter and the next by 9 percent in  the first quarter of 2013 from 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.  Another group polled by the BSP—economists—expects inflation to be lower for 2013, 2014 and 2015. 


The report said these economists’ mean inflation forecasts for 2013 went down to 3.5 percent (from 3.6  percent), 3.8 percent (from 3.9 percent) for 2014 and 3.7 percent (from 3.8 percent) for 2015.  The BSP estimates inflation for the second quarter of 2013 at 3.3 percent and 3.4 percent for the third  quarter of the year.  Analysts  noted  three  upside  risk  factors:  election  spending,  expected  roll  out  of  government  infrastructure  spending  with  the  implementation  of  various  projects  under  the  Public‐Private  Partnership Program and increase in utility rates. The continued appreciation of the peso, however, was  seen to temper effects of imported inflation.  Based  on  a  probability  distribution  on  the  forecasts  provided  by  21  out  of  26  respondents,  there  is  a  69.6‐percent chance that average inflation for 2013 could settle within 3.1 percent to 4.0 percent, which  is within the 3‐percent to 5‐percent target range for the year.  The BSP, however, said “emerging baseline forecasts indicate that inflation could settle within the lower  end of the 3‐percent to 5‐percent target range for both 2013 and 2014.”  Its  report  also  noted  that  while  there  are  upside  risks,  these  remain  “evenly  balanced”  relative  to  the  inflation outlook.  “Downside risks to inflation outlook continue to stem mainly from uncertainty over the strength of the  global economy, which, in turn, can moderate international commodity prices, particularly oil,” it said.  The report added that upside pressures on prices “could emanate from possible power‐rate adjustments  and the likelihood of a strong surge in capital flows that could fuel liquidity growth.”  http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐news/13490‐consumers‐see‐prices‐shooting‐up                 


K + 12 bill signed today By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is expected to sign the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 or the K to 12 Basic Education Program today. “This breakthrough in basic education will bring the Department of Education (DepEd) to the President’s 10-point education agenda, the centerpiece of which is to enhance the curriculum and add two years to our public education system,” DepEd said in a statement. “This is a much anticipated milestone for the youth and for the entire Filipino nation,” it said. K to 12 adds two years to basic education so students may be ready to join the workforce after finishing high school. The DepEd started implementing the K to 12 program last school year. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/15/942242/k‐12‐bill‐signed‐today                          


Gov’t mulls revisiting fiscal program By Chino S. Leyco Published: May 15, 2013 The government’s economic managers may revisit their present fiscal program on the back of below programmed spending in the first quarter of the year, documents from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) revealed yesterday. According to DBM’s Assessment of National Government Disbursements Performance as of March 2013, all government agencies’ spending performance against their monthly cash programs (MCPs) are now being monitored even they have showed some “encouraging signs” of improvements. “They are being monitored, especially for the account management team (AMT) — guided departments, so that necessary revisions/updates may be considered in the operating fiscal program,” the DBM said. But while the DBM is pondering on any spending revision, the department is still hopeful that the strong disbursement performance in January to March will be sustained in the coming months given the one-year validity of 2013 appropriations. “The DBM has made certain that allotments for regular program and implementation-ready projects under department-specific budgets have all been released, and thus been made available to agencies for obligation early on in the year,” the department said. In the next three-quarters, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad earlier said that the government will continue to support programs and services that are crucial to the Aquino administration’s development agenda. At end-March, the government posted a 19 percent year-on-year growth in fund releases to P960.8 billion from P809.3 billion in the same period last year. Abad said that the government has already released P960.8 billion at end-March, representing about 76.8 percent of the government’s P2.006 trillion approved national budget for this year. “We expect our fund releases to sustain this pace. Ultimately, we want the implementation of the National Budget to fulfill its primary objective: to institute rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth in the country, where the dividends of good governance go directly to the people,” Abad added. Meanwhile, releases from the P2.006-trillion 2013 budget — including those drawn from Special Purpose Funds and Automatic Appropriations — amounted to P1.4 trillion or 69.8 percent of the total program.


“The improved pace of our releases in the first quarter affirms the Aquino administration’s commitment to enhance our expenditure strategy, as well as facilitate the quick delivery of public services to the Filipino people,” Abad said. “As we continue to advance fund releases to support President Aquino’s priority programs and projects, we urge our national agencies to optimize their allocations and utilize these in a timely and efficient way,” he added. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=11988&sid=2&subid=9#.UZL6rkprqrE                                        


FDI seen rising in H2 By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The upswing in foreign direct investments (FDI) last February could be an indication of more to come in the second half of the year, following the country’s promotion to investment-grade status, an investment bank said. “FDIs have been viewed as the missing link amid the strong macro improvements in the past couple of years. Even the pick-up so far this year still looks muted,” Nomura said in a research note yesterday. “However, we think it is just a matter of time before we see sharper increases,” it added. Net FDIs more than doubled in February, hitting $436 million from $192 million a year ago, the central bank reported last week. A net inflow indicates more investments entered the country than left. For the first two months, however, FDI is still down 18.7 percent to just $1.012 billion. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has forecast FDI to reach $2.2 billion by year-end although that outlook is being reviewed.


The Philippines has been a laggard in terms of FDI versus neighboring countries based on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). From 2000 to 2011, the country attracted $25.59 billion, well below Malaysia’s $114.56 billion, Thailand’s $146.12 billion, Indonesia’s $185.80 billion and Singapore’s $617.92 billion With the investment grade status granted by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Nomura said investor sentiment could improve in the country, especially once bigticket projects are bid out. Both Fitch and S&P hiked the country’s credit rating by one notch to BBB-, with a stable outlook, in separate instances, noting solid growth prospects, large external reserves and fiscal discipline. As a result, foreign investors, Nomura said, may be seen participating on infrastructure projects under the Aquino administration’s flagship program, the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. So far, the three projects bid out have been awarded to local firms. “Broader economic reforms, including a relaxation of foreign investment limits, are other key factors (that will help attract FDI),” the investment bank said. Nomura also took note of the high FDI approvals recorded in the last quarter of 2012, saying that the “lag” on actual investments may end by the latter part of this year. Based on its data, FDI approvals reached $5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. “FDI could surge later this year,” it said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/15/942107/fdi‐seen‐rising‐h2                    


2013 polls not referendum for 2016 By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on May. 15, 2013 at 12:02am | 606 views Former Commission on Elections Chairman Christian Monsod said on Tuesday the 2013 midterm elections was not a referendum for a candidate for president in 2016 for President Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) or the opposition’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). “The 2016 (presidential election) is not contingent on the result of the 2013 elections. It is not a referendum for President Aquino. Neither is it a referendum for Vice President Jejomar Binay (of UNA),” Monsod told the Manila Standard Today. “The administration candidate in 2016 cannot gauge its victory now as a reflection of what to expect as a similar win by 2016. I don’t believe the 2013 result had anything to do with what’s going to happen in 2016,” he said. Many people speculate that the 2013 mid-term elections will have a mjor impact in the presidential elections three years from now. Binay, whose daughter Nancy made a surprise showing by landing in the top five of the senatorial polls, was expected to run for president against Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas of the LP. Team PNoy claimed a major victory with nine of its candidates making it to the top 12 as against three candiates from UNA. Three candidates — Grace Poe, Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero — ran as independents and were adopted as common candidates. Monsod said the voters had limited choice among the candidates for senator and the massive vote-buying, old politics, and influence of political dynasties dictated the results. He said he was not surprised that Grace Poe, daughter of the late movie actor Fernando Poe, topped the senatorial polls because the people wanted new faces in the Senate. “Voting for Poe was perceived by the electorate as a decent choice and a decent thing to do,” Monsod said. He said Poe was a big winner even though it was her first time to run for public office, but one of the big losers was Juan Ponce Enrile Jr because of the demolition job against him, which demeaned his chances. “Jack Enrile’s huge drop from his taking off to an impressive start was apparently due to the black propaganda against him that stuck to the minds of the electorate,” Monsod said.


He said two other “leftist” senatorial candidates, Risa Hontiveros and Teddy Casino, lost because they were victims of “money politics.” Monsod said “old politics” dictated the choice of candidates that were presented to the people and people were asking: Bakit si Grace Poe, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay? Wala nang ibang pagpipilian.” “The electorate was not given much choice. They wanted new faces, not necessarily new programs. While the electorate were tired of old politics, they were not also ready for leftist people in the Senate like Risa and Teddy,” he said. Poe expressed surprise at the result of the polls and said “even if it is free to dream, I never thought of this.” “I only prayed that I would not put my father to shame, that I would not land in the 11th or 12th spot. I am very grateful,” she said. She said during the campaign she was the most respectful candidate and it worked to her advantage because she exemplified the Filipino culture of respect and care for parents. “In may campaign, I also highlighted the importance of helping and defending the poor because this was how the people remember my father,” she said. “We will not dishonor our name, especially since the people view us as trustworthy and not corrupt.” Nancy Binay, also a newcomer in the Senate, said she compared her victory to a first-time mother having labor pains in the delivery room but said she was thankful that she was in the Magic 12. She brushed aside criticisms that she was inexperienced and said she worked for 20 years under her father when he was mayor of Makati City and then Vice President of the Philippines. Binay waged a low-key campaign, staying away from political debates, and was attacked in social media for being ambitious despite her lack of training, but the criticisms did not make a dent on her candidacy. “The people must have seen satisfaction in the service that we are giving them. Sila lang naman kasi talaga ang makapagpasya kung sino ang gusto nilang maglingkod sa kanila,” she said. With Maricel Cruz http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/15/2013‐polls‐not‐referendum‐for‐2016‐2/


Pump prices up 60c/liter By Alena Mae S. Flores | Posted on May. 15, 2013 at 12:01am | 296 views

Four of the country’s oil firms raised pump prices by as much as P0.60 per liter effective 6 am Tuesday to reflect the movement in world oil prices. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp., Total Philippines and Seaoil Philippines issued separate advisories reflecting the oil price hike. “Petron will implement the following oil price increases (VAT inclusive) effective 6am May 14: P0.45 per liter for gasoline, P0.50 per liter for kerosene and P0.60 per liter for diesel. This reflects the movements in the international oil market,” Petron, the country’s biggest oil firm, said. The oil firms said the pump prices would be adopted at the same time and by the same level on Tuesday. The oil firms raised prices last April 30 by P0.50 per liter for gasoline , P0.40 per liter for diesel and P0.25 per liter for kerosene. Diesel now sells at P37.15 to P40.65 per liter, gasoline at P45.45 to P52.70 per liter and kerosene at P46.84 to P53.20 per liter. Prices vary depending on the location of the station, market forces and brand. The Energy Department’s latest report stated that world oil prices have been going up on expectations of a stronger global economic activity, following positive news from Europe and US. It was also driven by weaker US dollar and overall stronger commodities prices. Platts, the pricing benchmark for oil products noted that Asian sentiment on gasoline and diesel remained bearish due to surplus barrels from China, South Korea and Taiwan amid lack of demand in the region. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/15/pump‐prices‐up‐60cliter/      


Celebrity winners, losers By Isah V. Red | Posted on May. 15, 2013 at 12:02am | 1,530 views

Some guys have all the luck and are winning in the recent elections for a variety of positions in the government. Leading the pack is Grace Poe-Llamanzares who is topping the senatorial race, surprising even teammates Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero and Allan Peter Cayetano who topped the pre-elections surveys and are all trailing now behind her in the senatorial tally. Yet, the most amazing comeback in local politics is that of disgraced President Joseph Estrada who was convicted of plunder but eventually granted presidential pardon by his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who is now in detention for charges of electoral fraud. The former actor apparently won the mayoralty contest in Manila against the incumbent Alfredo Lim. Estrada ran with Isko Moreno Domagoso, another movie/TV actor who also won the vice mayoralty race against comedian and city councilor Lou Veloso, running mate of Lim. In nearby Quezon City, actor Herbert Bautista has been reelected along with running mate Joy Belmonte. The city also has a new congressman in the fifth district. Actor Alfred Vargas trounced opponent and veteran of local politics Mary Ann Susano who herself was surprised by the actor’s performance at the polling places. Also winning is comedian Roderick Paulate, who ran for reelection as councilor in the city’s second district. In Cavite, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla. Jr.”s wife Lani Mercado has been proclaimed as the winner in the lone congressional district of Bacoor. So was his son Jolo Revilla who won the vice gubernatorial race against Ronaldo Jay Lacson, Senator Ping Lacson’s son. Jolo ran with incumbent Jonvic Revilla, brother of former ABS-CBN news reporter and later congressman Gilbert Remulla who is not as lucky in his second attempt for a seat in the lower house.


In Laguna, incumbent governor Jeorge Estregan “ER” Ejercito has a wide lead over his opponent Edgar San Luis. In Batangas, Vilma Santos-Recto is the clear winner in the gubernatorial contest with a wide margin against Marcos Mandanas and Praxedes Bustamante. Actor Christopher de Leon who ran for Congress isn’t so lucky, after all. In the fourth distrct of Camarines Sur, the road to Caramoan is clearing the way for a new congressional representative, actor-turned-politician Aga Muhlach who is leading the election count versus Wimpy Fuentebella, member of a family that has held the reins of the district for decades. Meanwhile, Lucy Torres, whose election to congress was recently declared invalid, is back with a venngeance winning against Eric Codilla. In March, the Supreme Court ruled to oust Torres as Leyte’s fourth district representative after substituting for her husband, actor Richard Gomez, who failed to sufficiently establish residency in Ormoc City. In the lone district of Saranggani, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao ran unopposed and wife Jinkee is lucky enough to be the winner in the vice-gubernatorial race in the province as her opponent conceded right after the start of the canvassing of votes. Not so lucky lot While wife Lucy Torres is expected to march to Congress in July, Richard Gomez, who is running under the Liberal Party, is trailing his rival in the Ormoc City mayoral race. Independent candidate Edward Codilla is slightly ahead in the race. Actor Joey Marquez is also trailing in the congressional race in Parañaque’s second district. Marquez ran as an independent candidate. Leading the race is United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bet Gus Tambunting. Marquez was vice-mayor of Parañaque from 1992 to 1995. He then served as mayor until 2004. Christopher de Leon is behind the congressional race in Batangas City’s second district. The actor’s opponent, Raneo Abu of the Nacionalista Party, is ahead with 80,224 votes.


From Camarines Sur, Jukebox Queen Imelda Papin ran for congress in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, but her jukebox charm failed to work among the electorate in the city. Liberal Party’s Arthur Robes is leading the race. The Gutierrez matriarch Annabelle Rama seems to be facing in Cebu City’s first district where she rand for congress under the United Nationalist Alliance. Raul del Mar of the Liberal Party is winning the race. People say, candidates from show business have a built-in advantage. They have a popular surname and the media mileage that most candidates want to have as well. But those are not guarantee for a anyone of them to be elected. In the end, it is the electorate who will evaluate the celebrity if they are fit to be where they want in government. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/15/celebrity‐winners‐losers/                            


Incumbents rule mayoralty race By Ferdinand Fabella | Posted on May. 15, 2013 at 12:02am | 780 views

Incumbent mayors from all but four of Metro Manila’s 17 local governments were able to keep or hand over their positions to their preferred successors with only one mayoral contest still uncertain, according to data from the Commission on Elections and its watchdogs. The biggest winner was former President Joseph Estrada who was proclaimed dulyelected mayor of the City of Manila with his running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, defeating incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim. Estrada garnered 301,616 votes over Lim’s 274,412 votes and election officials determined that the remaining four percent of the cast ballots would no longer make a difference in the contest. Lim under the banner of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance while Lim ran under the Liberal Party. Incumbent Caloocan Rep. Oscar Malapitan, also of UNA, also managed to wrest the mayorship from the LP which fielded RJ Echiverri, son of incumbent Mayro Recom Echiverri, who ran and won as congressman of the city’s first district. But in Parañaque City, LP candidate and incumbent Rep. Edwin Olivarez, son of former Mayor Pablo Olivarez, defeated UNA bet and incumbent councilor Benjo Bernabe, son of outgoing Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. In neighboring Muntinlupa City, the LP’s candidate, former Mayor Jaime Fresnedi also unseated outgoing Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, who was seeking a third and last term in office. Fresnedi, who was Muntinlupa mayor for three terms, got 88,071 votes, beating San Pedro’s 83,337. The only undecided mayoral still uncertain was that of Taguig City, where incumbent Mayor Lani Cayetano, the wife of re-elected Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, scored ahead of Rica Tinga, a sister of former Mayor Freddie Tinga and daughter of former Supreme Court Justice Dante Tinga. Tinga announced she will ask the Comelec to declare a failure of elections in Taguig due to alleged massive cheating. She claimed the camp of Cayetano used pre-shaded ballots to win more votes.


In the 12 other governments of Metro Manila, incumbent candidates kept their seats or handed them over to preferred candidates. In Makati City, incumbent Mayor Junjun Binay got 184,614 votes against the 22,837 of independent candidate Rene Bondal. His sister, reelectionist Rep. Abegail Binay of the second district also won with 93,621 votes over the 6,327 votes of independent candidate Joel Sarza. In Pateros, last-termer Medina of the Nacionalista Party won by a slim margin against his opponent, Miguel Ponce III of Liberal. Medina has 12,886 votes compared to Ponce’s 12,284. Incumbent Las Pinas Mayor Vergel Aguilar was virtually unopposed, garnering 138,121 votes. His closest opponent, independent candidate Conrado Miranda, got 3,782. Three other independent candidates ran against Aguilar. In Pasay City, incumbent mayor Tony Calixto of Liberal was a runaway winner with 100,717 votes, followed by Jorge Del Rosario of Nacionalist People’s Coalition, 24,380. Former mayor Peewee Trinidad was third at 18,797. In Quezon City, incumbent Mayor Herbert Bautista also won a second term by a landslide with 558,276 votes over Henry Samonte with 23,251 votes and Johnny Chang with 51,082. Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte was also re-elected with 562,582 votes. With Rio Araja http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/15/incumbents‐rule‐mayoralty‐race/                


‘Tao Po!’ Grace stuns rivals, vaults to the top Published on 14 May 2013  Hits: 402  Written by Llanesca T. Panti Reporter   

In this file photo, Grace Poe Llamanzares, along with her mother, actress Susan Roces, receives the National Artist award conferred on her father, Fernando Poe Jr. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

IF there was one big surprise from Monday’s elections, it was the way Team PNoy Senate bet Grace Poe-Llamanzares leaped to the top of the Senate race. Even Llamanzares did not see it coming, since Sen. Loren Legarda had consistently topped pre-election surveys. The former chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board believes that her ‘Tao Po!’ campaign ad helped her gain votes. In her campaign advertisements, Poe is seen knocking on the door of a house, saying “Tao Po! Si Grace po!” before citing her platform of providing the basic needs of the poor. The ad ends with her saying “Sige po, aalis na po ako.” The ad not only hammers her surname in the voter’s mind, but shows that the daughter of Action King Fernando Poe Jr. is respectful. In the last three weeks of the campaign, Llamanzares appeared in a campaign ad with her mother, Susan Roces, asking her about her platform and how she intends to implement it. Llamanzares still used the words po and opo. “The po and opo political advertisement drove the message home because its shows deep respect for parents and elders, the traits Filipinos are known for,” Llamanzares said over a radio interview in dzRH.


As of press time, Llamanzares had garnered 14.5 million votes, more than a million votes ahead of perennial survey leader and veteran lawmaker Legarda, who had 13.3 million votes. But while Llamanzares is a political neophyte, her campaign was run by grizzled veterans: Sen. Francis Escudero and Sen. Serge Osmena 3rd. “I never even dreamed of this. What I wanted was to enter the Top 12 in memory of my father. That’s what I prayed for,” Llamanzares added. Llamanzares’ late father lost to President Gloria Arroyo in 2004, but Mrs. Arroyo admitted in 2005 that she had a phone conversation with election official Virgilio Garcillano during the canvassing of the 2004 polls. Mrs. Arroyo denied she rigged the results. Poe died in December 2004 due to aneurysm. “This is FPJ’s victory for all those who doubted his victory back then. FPJ’s win is also the fulfillment of his dream to be able to help the poorest of our countrymen,” Poe said. Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government said that while Llamanzares’ domination of the Senate race looked improbable, Llamanzares clearly has what it takes to be a topnotcher: A good name, responsibility and honesty. In fact, Llamanzares eclipsed the votes that her father got in the 2004 polls (11 million). “Grace carried herself very responsibly, respectfully, very wisely. She participated in debates, she made her stand on issues known. She did not mince her words. When she didn’t know answers, she admitted it. But when she knows it, she speaks about it,” Roxas, the president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party, pointed out in a separate interview at the Team PNoy headquarters in Makati. “In 2004, FPJ got roughly around 11 million votes. So that’s her first capital. If you voted for FPJ, there’s no reason for you not to vote for Grace. She built on this 11 million votes on her own,” Roxas added. “My advice to her is to stay humble. Just do your work. Don’t demand for any committee. At the end of the day, it is the quality of your work that will have weight,” Roxas said. http://manilatimes.net/index/index.php/news/headlines‐mt/47568‐tao‐po‐grace‐stuns‐rivals‐vaults‐to‐ the‐top    


Senate race winners proclaimed tonight Published on 14 May 2013  Hits: 273  Written by Johanna Sampan Reporter   

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. confers with his commissioners during the resumption of the canvassing of the national votes yesterday at the PICC. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

THE 12 winners in the senatorial race will be known today and proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tonight, according to the poll body. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said in a press briefing that they would be able to pronounce all the winning senators by 7 p.m. today. “All the 12 senators, that is what we expect. We want to proclaim 12 senators by 7 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) night,” he told reporters. Brillantes had earlier said the commission can proclaim eight winning senators 48 hours after the voting period. He added that all of the winning senators can be proclaimed as soon as the votes are counted, but this would depend on the margin of votes between the 12th and 13th candidates. In 2010, the Comelec proclaimed the first nine senators five days after election day. Official, partial results On Tuesday, the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), which consists of the commission en banc, resumed its session to begin canvassing a total of 304 Certificates of Canvass (CoCs) including 198 from the overseas absentee voting (OAV) and 106 local COCs. As of 3:35 p.m., the first six areas that transmitted their results electronically were Guimaras province, Parañaque City, Mandaluyong City, Romblon province, Iligan City in Lanao del Norte


and Dinagat Island, with a combined total of 719, 914 voters. The official and partial results of the canvass showed Grace Poe Llamanzares leading the senatorial race with 391,906 votes. She was followed by Senators Francis Escudero with 356,704; Loren Legarda, 349,357; Alan Peter Cayetano, 342,290; and Liberal Party’s Rep. Sonny Angara, 322,236. The daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Nancy, became the first member of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to make it to the top 12, clinching the sixth place with 305,019. She was followed by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino’s Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd who garnered 304,352 votes; LP’s Bam Aquino, 296, 256; and Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, 281, 637. UNA’s Rep. JV Ejercito came in at 10th place with 277,899, followed by Cynthia Villar, 263,408. Former senator and Tourism secretary Richard “Dick” Gordon was at 12th place with 263, 009 votes. Completing the top 20 are UNA’s Gringo Honasan with 242,973; Ramon Magsaysay Jr. 235, 104; Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros, 233,295; Juan Miguel Zubiri, 229,517; and independentrunning Edward Hagedorn with 215, 121. Delayed canvass Meanwhile, the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) suspended the canvassing of the party-list ballots on Tuesday afternoon because of the numerous questions raised on the handling of votes for the disqualified organizations. The legal counsels and representatives of the party-list organizations swamped the board with queries, prompting the commission en banc to postpone the canvassing. Brillantes said the poll body will discuss if votes will be counted separately, conditionally, or not at all. “Since there are varying positions and rulings of all the parties, including the commission, we decided to go out first and deliberate . . . the better way is to suspend the party-list (canvass) and proceed first with the senatorial [canvassing] so that we can finish the senatorial (votes) immediately, since apparently there are no issues regarding the senatorial canvass,” he added. The Comelec disqualified 12 party-list groups but these were still included in the official ballots. These groups are Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance,Inc. (A-IPRA); Abang Lingkod Party-List (ABANG LINGKOD); Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD); Ang Galing Pinoy (AG); Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum); Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP); Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS); Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency (SMART); 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS); The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country


and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BANTAY); Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED); and Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga Magsasaka (BINHI). Brillantes said the Comelec will resume canvassing votes for party-list groups tonight after the proclamation of the winning senators. Meanwhile, security forces secured the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), where the Comelec is canvassing national votes. About 228 personnel from various units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and 51 personnel of the Armed Forces (AFP) were deployed to secure the grounds of the PICC complex in Pasay City. The National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) will continue to provide security to canvassing areas in Metro Manila and serve as escorts of Comelec officials and in the transport of PCOS machines and election materials to the canvassing site. PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the police will continue its election security duties until all the winners in the recently held polls have been proclaimed. As of Tuesday, the PNP had recorded 81 election-related incidents. With A Report From Anthony Vargas http://manilatimes.net/index/index.php/news/top‐stories/47564‐senate‐race‐winners‐proclaimed‐ tonight      


Angry Taiwan fishers burn RP flag over shooting spat • •

Written by Paul Atienza Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

In a sign that the relationship between Taiwan and the Philippines is bound to get worse in the aftermath of the death of a Taiwanese fisherman shot by members of the Philippine coastguard, angry Taiwanese fishermen burned Filipino flags in protest while the Taiwanese government said it would conduct a naval drill in waters near the Philippines if it fails to issue an official apology. President Aquino called for calm as tensions escalated between the two countries over last week’s incident in which the 65-year-old fisherman was shot dead. Hundreds of fishermen wearing yellow headbands and chanting “Justice must be done!” and “Killer must be punished!” hurled eggs at the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (Meco) the country’s de facto embassy in Taipei, which was guarded by dozens of police. Aquino said the embassy in Taiwan was in talks with Taiwanese foreign ministry officials and had assured them an investigation was being carried out. “I think it is in the interest of both parties to proceed in a calm basis,” Aquino told reporters. “We are proceeding in that manner.” Taiwanese authorities said more than 50 bullets hit the 15-ton vessel, and fisherman Hung Shih-cheng was killed. The victim’s son, who was with his father and two other sailors on the boat at the time, had insisted they did not cross into Philippine waters. Prosecutor Liu Chia-kai described the incident as “nothing but a slaughter”, after examining the boat after it was towed back from sea. Taiwan’s government has come under pressure from the opposition and the media to take action. US State Department spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters Washington was urging all sides to “to refrain from provocative actions”. “The United States has been in touch with both the Philippine government and the Taiwan authorities regarding this incident. And we welcome the Philippine government’s pledge to conduct a full and transparent investigation,” she said. Aquino declined to comment on demands by Taiwan at the weekend for his government to apologize for the shooting and pay compensation to the victim’s family, or face a potential freeze in sending Filipino workers to the island. There are about 87,000 Philippine domestic helpers and other workers in Taiwan, who send home hundreds of millions of dollars a year.


The government said that Antonio Basilio, head of Meco, had visited the family of the fisherman and “extended condolences and apologies”. Aquino said he did not want to comment further, preferring to let diplomats handle the dispute. The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions around the region over rival claims to the nearby South China Sea. Taiwan’s defense ministry said the military was prepared to conduct an exercise in the waters where Hung was shot Thursday. “We’ve prepared ourselves and staging an exercise in the Bashi Channel is one of the military’s options,” he said. “Whether or not to conduct the drill would be up to the reaction of the Philippine government,” he added. Taiwan has also asked the Philippines to bring to justice the coastguards responsible and start negotiating a fisheries agreement. Lo declined to provide details but the state Central News Agency said the exercise would be held Thursday and involved a Kidd-class destroyer, a Perry-class frigate and three coastguard frigates. A number of fighter jets would also be involved in the drill which would for the first time target the Philippines as the enemy, it said. The Philippine Navy, in an apparent response to the Taiwanese threat, vowed continuous monitoring of the country’s territorial waters in Batanes. Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Gerald Fabic, spokesman of the Navy, said the Navy has assets to conduct monitoring patrols in the northern part of Luzon. “We have a naval station there in Batanes. They will be monitoring the naval exercises they (Taiwan) will be conducting,” said Fabic. Fabic, however, maintained there is nothing unusual with the Navy monitoring the area. Last May 9, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Maritime Surveillance Ship-3001 (MCS3001) fired at a Taiwanese fishing vessel after the foreign vessel reportedly tried to ram it off the waters of Balintang Channel. The shooting, aimed at disabling the foreign vessel, resulted in the killing of one Taiwanese fisherman and drew so much criticism from Taiwan government which demanded an apology. Local authorities, however, only issued sympathy and condolences but not apology, stressing that the Taiwanese fishing boat intruded into Philippine territorial waters, approximately 43 nautical miles off Batanes which is well-within the country’s 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone. Philippine Coast Guard commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena immediately ordered an investigation of the incident and relieved all PCG personnel aboard MCS-3001 pending the results of the probe. There were 11 PCG and two BFAR personnel aboard MCS-3001 when the shooting incident happened. The shooting incident has sparked public outrage in Taiwan. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has urged all sides “to refrain from provocative actions.” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda opted not to comment further on the issue and instead denied


allegations against Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte of belittling the incident. Lacierda said the government considers the Taiwanese incident a serious matter and denied that Valte had taken it lightly when she answered media inquries in Malacanang last Friday like she was in a jest mood. Lacierda said that while the loss of life of a Taiwanese fisherman was important, but the national election in the country was certainly important too that needed to be given much attention by the administration. “We are not neglecting our duties. The national election is very, very important for us. It will determine our governance for the next three years and, certainly, this is very important for us. “This is not, however, to deny the fact that there is an incident that happened last May 8 and that we recognize that particular incident and we are handling that,” Lacierda said. Lacierda said any response from the Aquino administration affecting the Taiwanese incident would be coming in a proper government office and not in any media outlet. “The investigation will be announced at a proper time. The President has already instructed the investigation to take place.m: he said. The incident had caused for Taiwan government to impose strict policy to Filipinos intended to work in the provinces of Taiwan, threatening to adversely affect trade relations. “The United States has been in touch with both the Philippine government and the Taiwan authorities regarding this incident. And we welcome the Philippine government’s pledge to conduct a full and transparent investigation,” Psaki said. Pressed by reporters to take a stronger stand, Psaki said merely that Washington continued to urge all sides “to refrain from provocative actions.” “There will be an investigation into this case, and we’ll follow that closely,” she added. Mario J. Mallari, AFP

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/14155‐angry‐taiwan‐fishers‐burn‐rp‐flag‐over‐ shooting‐spat                


Marcos clan wins big in RP polls •

Written by Tribune

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

The family of dead dictator Ferdinand Marcos enjoyed easy wins in the just held elections, official data showed Tuesday, with his 83-year-old wife leading the clan’s political charge. Imelda Marcos captured more than 88 percent of the votes cast last Monday to win a second consecutive term in the nation’s lower house representing the family's northern provincial stronghold, according to the official tally. Aides told Agence France Presse they expected Imelda Marcos to be proclaimed the winner on Tuesday. Her daughter, Imee, was elected unopposed in the mid-term elections for a second term as governor of the province, Ilocos Norte. Imelda Marcos's main rival, local lawyer Ferdinand Ignacio, conceded the race after capturing about 10 percent of the vote. "I will congratulate her. There's no point in sour-graping at this point. This is the essence of democracy," Ignacio told AFP. Imee Marcos's cousin, Angelo Barba, completed a family sweep as the uncontested candidate for provincial vice governor, according to the Commission on Elections' website. Meanwhile, the late dictator's son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, is half way through a six-year term in the Senate and is widely expected to run for president in 2016. The family fled to US exile when a military-backed but peaceful uprising ended Ferdinand Marcos's 20year rule in 1986. The dictator, his wife and their cronies were accused of stealing billions of dollars, murdering or jailing thousands of critics, and living in extravagance while the majority of Filipinos endured crushing poverty. Imelda Marcos's vast shoe collection, jet-setting lifestyle and other extravagances came to symbolize the excesses of her husband's rule.The government has recovered about $4 billion from ill-gotten Marcos assets, but Imelda has always maintained the family did nothing wrong and she has beaten all corruption charges against her. After the patriarch died in Hawaii in 1989, his wife and children returned to the Philippines to begin rebuilding the family brand from Ilocos Norte. Ferdinand Marcos Jnr won support from one in three voters during the 2010 elections, giving hope to his mother's publicly stated ambitions of returning to the presidential palace as "first mother". AFP

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/14154‐marcos‐clan‐wins‐big‐in‐rp‐polls


S&P forecasts higher GDP growth for RP • •

Written by Tribune Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

A new report released yesterday claimed Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services has made an upward revision on its forecast on the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of three countries in Asia Pacific including the Philippines even if the recent rebound of economic activity in the region was reportedly losing traction. Although Asia Pacific continues to record strong real GDP growth relative to other regions, activity indicators in early 2013 suggest that the rebound that began in the second half of 2012 has lost some traction, the report said. As a result of the softer than anticipated traction, S&P’s has lowered slightly its base case forecasts of 2013 real GDP growth for some countries. This sees China revised to 7.9 percent, Hong Kong to three percent, India to six percent, Japan to 0.6 percent, South Korea to 2.8 percent, Singapore to 1.9 percent, Thailand to 4.2 percent and Vietnam to 5.3 percent. But an upward revision has been made to Malaysia, which is now 5.5 percent; Philippines, 5.9 percent; and Taiwan, 3.8 percent — reflecting the ongoing strength of those economies. The revised base case outlook for Asia Pacific is that growth in most of the region will hold steady or pick up slightly into 2014. The rating agency said it expects that notwithstanding Asia Pacific’s economic performance relative to other regions, the fortunes of the region’s economies (developed and emerging) are still vulnerable to: any deepening of the economic (or political) crisis in the eurozone; a slowdown in US growth and ongoing fiscal management, and any slowdown in China’s economy. The report also overlays S&P’s current sector outlooks covering: Corporate and Infrastructure, Sovereign’s, Banks, Insurance, Structured Finance and Public Finance. The report, titled “Softer Traction In Some Asia Pacific Economies But Growth Expected To Hold Steady,” details S&P’s economic forecasts and scenarios for Asia Pacific’s various sovereigns and markets.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/14132‐sp‐forecasts‐higher‐gdp‐growth‐for‐rp


Value chain beneficial for developing nations • •

Written by Ed Velasco Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

The development of value chain offers an opportunity for developing countries and their small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to a confidential report obtained from the World Trade Organization (WTO). “While many of them (SMEs) may not have the scale or productive capacity to export directly a wide variety of finished products, they can certainly feed into the supply chains of larger companies domestically,” said WTO director general Pascal Lamy in the report. This, as companies are concurrently building up their competence and know-how by improving production techniques, incorporating new technologies, increasing value in their products and improving the ability to address regulatory barriers, Lamy said. He said this must continue to be the centerpiece of the ITC’s work along with helping SMEs in developing countries to seize benefits of the so-called South-South trade. South-South trade refers to trade between developing countries. “Just 20 years ago, South-South represented barely 10 percent of world trade. By 2020, a third of global trade is likely to be South-South,” he predicted. Lamy said the ITC can assist these SMEs diversify their exports towards emerging markets. These include identifying and breaking down barriers that may still restrict trade among and between these countries. With this, a specific focus on regional integration and overcoming barriers to intra-regional trade must also form part of a forward-looking strategy, he added. The WTO official also underscored the increasing prevalence and impact of non-tariff measures on trade. He said there is a need to build the capacity of the private sector in developing countries to address and meet these standards -the large majority of which are private standards.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/14131‐value‐chain‐beneficial‐for‐developing‐ nations  


URC sales grow 14.8% in first half of ’13 • •

Written by Tribune Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

Universal Robina Corp. (URC) reported a 14.8 percent sales growth for the first half of fiscal year 2013 (fiscal year beginning October 2012 and ending September 2013) with net sales amounting to P40.317 billion versus P35.134 billion in the prior year. URC’s Philippine branded consumer foods (BCF) business was the main driver for total company growth as it increased sales by 21.9 percent for the first half of fiscal year 2013 while BCF International increased its sales momentum in the recent fiscal second quarter. Significant sales coming from the firm’s sugar and farms businesses, which registered growth of 87.2 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively, for the same period, also contributed to the strong top-line growth. URC’s operating income was at P4.901 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2013. The amount is 34.4 percent higher than the P3.647 billion reported in the prior year. Lower prices of soft commodity inputs and buoyant volumes resulted in margin expansion in branded foods while the sugar business benefited from the early start of the milling season and farms from better selling prices of hogs. URC’s net income for the first half of fiscal year 2013 reached P5.441 billion, a 21.3 percent increase from the P4.485 billion posted in the prior year. Aside from higher operating income, the increase was due to higher other revenues as URC realized the gains from sale of its bond and equity holdings last January 2013 and lower finance cost as it prepaid off its P3- billion long term debt as well as retired some short term debt and trust receipts. The company’s balance sheet remained healthy with strong cash levels. As of the first half, URC continues to remain in a net cash position of P7.918 billion with a financial gearing ratio of 0.05 (vs 0.29 in Q1) as the company paid a significant portion of its debt obligations. Sales performances by business are as follows: URC’s branded consumer foods (BCF) group, including the packaging division, increased sales of goods and services by P3.591 billion, or 13 percent, to P31.267 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2013, versus the P27.676 billion posted in the prior year. BCF Philippines accelerated sales and posted growth of 21.9 percent to register first half sales of P20.226 billion versus P16.595 billion in the prior year. Beverage remained the key driver as the coffee business sustained its strong performance while readyto-drink beverage also posted healthy growth. The company remained the dominant market leader in salty snacks, candies, chocolates and RTD tea in


the Philippines. Net sales of URC’s international BCF business increased by 8.6 percent (in dollar terms) to end at $256 million or P10.470 billion for the first half of the fiscal year 2013. Vietnam sales remained buoyant on the back of its ready-to-drink beverages and contributions coming from the build-up of the snackfoods business. Indonesia sales increased significantly driven by salty snacks and complemented by RTD beverage and chocolates. Thailand is on its way to recovery albeit at a slower pace and the company continues to be the market leader in biscuits and wafers. URC’s commodity foods group revenues amounted to P5.032 billion for the first half of fiscal 2013, up by 31.7 percent from P3.821 billion in the prior year. This was mainly due to the 87.2 percent increase in revenues of the sugar business due to the early start of the milling season and volume contribution coming from the company’s new mill, Tolong, while the flour business declined by nine percent as the increased level of low cost imported flour affected the business. Net sales of URC’s agro-industrial group amounted to P4.018 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2013, a 10.5 percent increase from the prior year. The farms business grew significantly by 39.1 percent due to better selling prices. The feeds business, on the other hand, posted a decline of 16.8 percent due to lower volumes brought about by the relatively lower population of backyard hog raisers as some of them exited during the time of low pork prices last year.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/14128‐urc‐sales‐grow‐148‐in‐first‐half‐of‐ %E2%80%9913                  


Poe picture of grace Published : Wednesday, May 15, 2013 00:00  Article Views : 179 

TEAM PNoy senatorial candidate Grace Poe yesterday said her strong showing as topnotcher in the senatorial race is a big surprise to herself, but stressed she worked very hard during the 90day grueling campaign period so as not to embarrass the name of her father, the late action king Fernando Poe Jr. In an interview, Poe, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson, said she did not expect her very impressive strong showing in the partial and unofficial counting results and even worried that she would face an uphill battle just to get between 10th and 12th spot. “I have a little confidence that I would win a Senate seat, but to be a potential number one candidate in the race is really a big surprise. I am not expecting this strong showing. Right now, I am still not in a celebratory mood because this remains unofficial,” said Poe, who was sharing the fourth and fifth spots in the latest Pulse Asia surveys. “But I worked very hard because my victory is for the memory of my father, I don’t want to embarrass his name. Hindi ko po maipaliwanag kung bakit nangunguna ako, ang masasabi ko lamang, nagpapasalamat ako sa mga Pilipinong sumuporta at nagtiwala sa akin,” Poe said, adding that the 2016 presidential race is not on her mind now following her remarkable showing. Poe dislodged consistent survey leaders Team PNoy re-electionist Sens. Loren Legarda, Alan Cayetano and Chiz Escudero. “Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Sen. Chiz na talagang umalalay sa akin sa pag-ikot sa kampanya at kay Pangulong Noynoy (Benigno Aquino III) sa tiwala nang isama ako sa Team PNoy,” Poe said. Escudero stood as his father’s spokesman when FPJ ran and lost in the 2004 presidential polls to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now on the verge of claiming her second term as congresswoman of Pampanga. In a separate interview, Team PNoy senatorial candidate Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said to be in the top six during the partial and unofficial counting, also was thankful for his strong support from the voters. “I am in ten and eleven spots and the result of the unofficial counting is a best reward for my hard work during the campaign period. I am thankful for the support extended to me by Filipinos during Monday’s elections,” Angara explained.


Since the partial and unofficial counting using the Commission on Elections transparency server began Monday night, Poe leads the senatorial race followed by Legarda, Cayetano, Escudero, Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Angara, presidential cousin Bam Aquino (Team PNoy), re-electionist Sen. Koko Pimentel (Team PNoy), re-electionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (Team PNoy), former Las Piñas City Rep. Cynthia Villar (Team PNoy), San Juan City Rep. JV Estrada (UNA) and re-electionist Sen. Gregorio Honasan (UNA). RPP http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐stories/50397‐poe‐picture‐of‐grace        

2013 05 15 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2013 05 15

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