Issuu on Google+

Phl’s leading food trade event sizzles on opening day (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines 2013, Asia’s Ethnic Food and Ingredients Show sizzled on opening day with thousands of buyers and visitors trooping to the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Philippines last May 16. The show was formally opened by top officials of the Philippine government led by Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr., Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) executive director Rosvi C. Gaetos, and Department of AgricultureAgribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS) director Leandro H. Gazmin through a luncheon with the top grocers and buyers of IFEX Philippines. They welcomed international participation from Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Marshall Island, Myanmar, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Samoa, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), and Vietnam and buyer delegations from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia/New Zealand, Cambodia-LaosMyanmar-Vietnam (CLMV), China, East Asia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Middle East-Africa-South Asia (MENASA), Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and USA. “IFEX this year is more international,” Domingo said, adding “you’ll see a lot of international exhibitors as well as international buyers, but the buyers will see for themselves the best of the Philippine products. I have already spoken to several of the big [buyers] and they said they will definitely buy products here.” “In less than a decade, IFEX has become the most comprehensive and most distinguished food show in the Philippines,” Alcala said. The show is vital, according to him, in promoting the fisheries and agriculture sector of the country through DA’s Agri-Aqua Show. Another highlight of the opening day was the innovative show feature, Grocer’s Exchange, which gathered 30 of the Philippines’ elite food exporters along with Asia-Pacific’s top retail chain operators to explore possible partnerships and business ventures. “So far (IFEX Philippines is) interesting, I had a very quick look but it seems to be bigger than two years ago,” David Smith, Norway’s SmithMed says, “I like the trade fair here because it’s intimate and friendly, if you’ve never been to these trade fairs in Europe that are very big and impersonal. But I think IFEX is friendly and colorful.”

Local food exporters that included Franklin Baker, Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc., and Magic Melt Foods Inc., were given the opportunity to do business such as private labeling agreements and export order taking from international food industry players like Australia’s Metcash/Metfood Australia, China’s B&S Company, Beijing Hualien, Olive Tree, and Shanghai Dong Feng; Korea’s Cheil Jedang, E-Mart, and Pulmuone. IFEX Philippines’ rich offering this year is also presented through the show’s three major halls – the Best of FoodPhilippines, International Hall and Retail Hall. The International Hall highlights the flavors of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-The Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), with the special participation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a pavilion of 20 companies offering agricultural products and services, and seeking partnerships with Asian suppliers and buyers. In recognizing the importance and potential of the country’s small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), IFEX Philippines also instituted the Partner Province and City Program. This developmental initiative specifically for SMEs of Negros Occidental and Pasig City provide opportunities SME businesses to grow and be able to export their product lines. Other notable features of IFEX Philippines 2013 included: Chefs-at-Work, Culinary Craft Spots, Food Industry Seminars, City Tour/ Food Artisan Tour, and After Hours. Chefs-at-Work is a special corner in the exhibit for cooking demonstrations, a culinary competition, and the IFEX Barista Showdown. The Culinary Craft Spots is a collaboration with the National Council for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which consist of live demonstrations by food artisans making traditional delicacies like Ilocos empanada (stuffed bread) and suman (rice cake), pili nut cracking, coffee art demonstration, and creating colorful pastillas (carabao milk candies) wrappers. Food Industry Seminars are offered free of charge. On-site seminars are open for industry players to keep abreast of the latest market developments and innovations in the food industry. City Tour/Food Artisan Tour offer IFEX buyers and guests options to explore Manila’s scenic sites and interesting food spots while the After Hours provide buyers and exhibitors with perks and privileges that they can avail from partner establishments outside of the show venue. Since 2004, IFEX Philippines has been the country’s premier international sourcing hub and gateway to the finest Asian food and ingredients. IFEX Philippines is organized by CITEM, the export marketing arm of DTI in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS). The show will run until May 19, 2013. For more information on the event, visit‐leading‐food‐trade‐event‐sizzles‐opening‐ day 

NZ’s Fonterra to help train Phl dairy farmers By Marianne V. Go (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - New Zealand’s premier dairy cooperative firm, Fonterra, which distributes the well-known Anchor, Anlene and Anmum dairy products, has expressed willingness to help train Philippine dairy farmers under a $5.3-billion NZ government funded program. This was revealed to The STAR by Fonterra chief executive officer Theo Spierings who was in the country for the relaunch of the Anchor milk brand to reconnect and emphasize the “pureness and quality” of the New Zealand dairy product. Spierings said he met with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to express Fonterra’s support for a New Zealand government-funded dairy cooperation program. According to Spierings, “we expressed our support to help the Philippine dairy industry by offering to train select Filipino dairy farmers in New Zealand.” Spierings noted that Philippine dairy production is a mere 20 million liters per year as compared to New Zealand’s 22 billion liters per year. The Philippines imports most of its dairy requirements from New Zealand and is Fonterra’s third largest market in Asia next to China and Indonesia. Fonterra’s sales to the Philippines, Spierings said, is around $35 million. He said the company, sees flat growth this year but expects an increase in volume and value next year. Spierings was impressed by the growth of the economy since his last visit to the Philippines in 2007. “The Philippines is a lot better compared to a few years back. It has picked up tremendously and we want to be a part of the future,” he said. Fonterra, through its Anchor brand wants to emphasize the pureness and quality of New Zealand’s dairy sector in light of growing global concern over tainted milk products, Spierings said. Fonterra’s global sales, Spierings said is valued at NZ$20 billion with top global markets led by China and the United States.

Fonterra is basically the marketing and distribution arm of some 10, 500 dairy farmers operating and producing as a cooperative. Fonterra, Spierings said, has a lot to offer the Philippines in terms of training Filipino dairy farmers improve local milk production and increase consumption. Spierings noted that Filipino milk consumption is a mere 12 kilograms per person per year as compared to New Zealand’s milk consumption of 250 kilograms per person per year. He also noted the need to improve Philippine milk production with Filipino dairy cows producing a low seven liters. The training to be provided by Fonterra, Spierings said, would introduce Filipino dairy farmers to best practices on farm management, breeding, feeding, general sanitation and food safety. Completion of the necessary documentation, Spierings said, would hopefully be completed in the next couple of months. The Philippines and New Zealand had signed a dairy cooperation agreement in October 2012 with a funding of $5.3 billion over a five-year period.‐fonterra‐help‐train‐phl‐dairy‐farmers                           

Nation  Posted on May 17, 2013 08:20:03 PM 

Del Rosario richest, Luistro poorest in Cabinet FOREIGN AFFAIRS Secretary Albert F. del Rosario is still the administration’s richest Cabinet  official, while Education Secretary Armin F. Luistro is the poorest.  Based on the Cabinet members’ statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2012, which  were released by the Palace Friday, Mr. del Rosario retained his top rank with a net worth of P705.481  million.    Mr. Luistro is the only non‐millionaire in the Cabinet with a net worth of P550,651.  The second richest Cabinet official is Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima with P270.712 million,  followed by Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. P249.986 million, and Interior Secretary Manuel  “Mar” A. Roxas II P203.357 million.    Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo was fifth with P150.771 million, while chief presidential legal  counsel Benjamin Caguioa was sixth with P120.275 million.    Rounding up the top 10 are Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya, P124.457 million; Cabinet  Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, P115.400 million; Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, P111.295  million, and Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, P88. 426 million.    The rest of the Cabinet members were ranked as follows:    • Public Works Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, P83,850,725;    • Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona at P80,231,607;    • Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo, P63,854,242;    • Commission on Higher Education Chairman Patricia B. Licuanan, P49,264,173;    • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis N. Tolentino, P43,773,691;    • Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, P38,329.15;    • Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje, P30,880,000 

• Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, P25,769,600;    • National Anti‐Poverty Commission Secretary Joel Rocamora, P22,379,295;    • Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, P23,870, 657;    • Technical Skills and Development Authority Director‐General Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva,  P22,472,955;    • Presidential Management Staff head Julia Andrea R. Abad, P20,370,000    • Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., P17,561,088.62;    • National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia , P16,100,000;    • Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio T. Coloma, P15,840,000;    • Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio R. delos Reyes, P14,060,967    • Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Luwalhati R. Antonino, P14,595,000    • Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda at P13,768,024.62    • Presidential legislative liaison office head Manuel M. Mamba, P10,869,500;    • National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Mehol Sadain, P11,524,840;    • Communications Development Secretary Ramon A. Carandang, P7,551,000;    • Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos‐Deles, P7,092,974;    • Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas, P5,467,800;    • Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima; P4,239,050; and    • Social Welfare Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, P3,240,000.  The net worth of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III released to media earlier is P65,128,604, while that  of Vice‐President Jejomar C, Binay P59.804 million ‐‐ NMG‐Rosario‐richest,‐Luistro‐poorest‐ in‐Cabinet&id=70419 

Banana exports to US get approval Published on 17 May 2013   Hits: 90   Written by James Konstantin Galvez Reporter      After several months of delay, Manila can now commence the export of Cavendish bananas to United  States military bases in the Pacific following the approval by both governments, the Department of  Agriculture (DA) said on Friday.    In an interview, Clarito Barron, DA‐Bureau of Plant Industry director, said that he has approved the work  plan signed by the US government that would allow the export of some 3,000 metric tons of bananas to  its military bases, as well as troops stationed in the Middle East.    “The initial export will be 3,000 metric tons, which will be shipped by June,” he added.    Fruit and vegetable exporter Dole Philippines will have the first access to the US market with a   maiden shipment. Barron noted that the agency is still discussing with the US government for a possible  follow‐up shipment, adding that it would depend on authorized importers whether they would provide  additional orders of Philippine Cavendish bananas.    Manila has set its sights at the US market, particularly at defense commissaries, after China imposed  stricter sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions on Philippine banana exports.    The agriculture department had said that the US market would be bigger than the Chinese market.     Besides the US, the government is also engaging Japan, Korea and Middle East countries to absorb  banana exports. Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala urged local banana grower and exporters,  who wish tap the United States market, to invest in ripening warehouses in the mainland.    “Banana exportation does not end with shipment. After shipment, it has to be placed in a ripening room  in a controlled temperature. If you do not have a ripening room, it would be useless to export [to the  US],” he said.    Alcala added that the DA may require exporters to put infrastructure first before they will be allowed to  enter the US market.‐business‐news/47706‐banana‐exports‐to‐us‐get‐ approval       

Western Visayas takes steps to bolster rice production Published on 17 May 2013   Hits: 73   Written by Lydia C. Pendon     

ILOILO CITY: With the advent of the rainy season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas has adopted several intervention schemes aimed to increase rice production and establish anew the region’s supremacy as a top rice producing area in the country. Agriculture Regional Director Larry Nacionales said the scheme involves the cooperation of other government agencies and institutions to increase production as the country is celebrating the Year of the Rice. In 2013, the region set a target of 2.6 million metric tons to contribute to the total 200 million metric ton expected production in the Philippines. The region is also increasing its target from 3.5 metric tons per hectare of yield to four metric tons with this year’s production of 95 to 100 cavans per hectare. Nacionales said a recent memorandum of agreement forged between the DA, Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration will focus on the convergence program to provide livelihood opportunities and rural enterprises for overseas Filipino workers. The overseas Filipino workers will be engaged in agro-machineries and organic agriculture with a P1 billion seed capital from the Land Bank of the Philippines. Another scheme focuses on the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) with partnership between the DA, Department of Agrarian Reform and Land Bank of the Philippines in three provinces of the region namely Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Capiz. The program has a P200 million funding for ARBs to use and increase their production. Another partnership is between the DA, National Irrigation Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines for farmers to avail of soft loan under the Sikat Saka program covering 20 provinces including Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz and Negros Occidental.‐western‐visayas‐takes‐steps‐to‐bolster‐ rice‐production     

Editorial: The Philippine Ocean Month 2013 Published: May 18, 2013 To create awareness of the water and the marine resources that are a source of food and livelihood of the nation’s fishermen, the Philippine National Month of the Ocean is celebrated annually in May. The theme for this year is “Ang Bahura Ay Kagubatan Sa Karagatan, Ating Pangalagaan.” The observance is held in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, local governments, all government agencies, state colleges and universities, and government-controlled corporations whose operations are relevant to the development and management of our ocean resources. In a study conducted some years ago, a group of scientists declared the Philippines as the “epicenter of marine biodiversity with the richest concentration of marine life on the entire planet.” For thousands of years, the ocean has been traditionally viewed as inexhaustible, indestructible, and limitless. That view is changing as recent reports indicate that both the global and local fishing industry has warned that the demand for fish is outstripping the natural replenishment of fish resources. The Bureau of Fisheries and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau and Coastal Zone Management Services is generating broader support for efforts to sustainably manage the oceans, the greatest common heritage we share. Our outlook on oceans is changing and Philippine Ocean Month gives us an opportunity to build upon that change in perception and do our part in responsibly using and managing all its resources. We congratulate the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources headed by Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Bureau Head Dr. Theresa M. Lim, and DENR Undersecretaries Atty. Annaliza R. Teh, Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. and Demetrio L. Ignacio Jr. for their efforts in underlining the importance of the country’s marine resources in sustaining human life and raising the public’s awareness level in support of initiatives pertaining to the oceans in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!         

Cabinet SALN: Del Rosario richest; Luistro poorest By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am

Luistro and Del Rosario MANILA, Philippines - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario remains the richest Cabinet member of the Aquino administration, while Education Secretary Armin Luistro is still the poorest. Del Rosario reported a net worth of P705.48 million in 2012, up from P657.83 million in 2011. Luistro, for his part, reported a net worth of P550,651 in 2012, from P739,000 in 2011. The biggest gainer, however, is Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, whose net worth jumped from P22.54 million in 2011 to P43.77 million in 2012. On the other hand, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles reported a significant loss with a net worth of P7.092 million from P21.83 million last year. Del Rosario’s net worth increased to P705.48 million based on his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth for 2012, compared to P657.83 million in 2011.

He is a successful businessman before entering public service as Philippine ambassador to the United States and foreign secretary. His businesses include insurance, banking, real estate, shipping, telecommunications, consumer products, retail, pharmaceutical, and food industries, among others. He also served as head of various private companies such as the Gotuaco, Del Rosario Insurance Brokers Inc., Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corp., and Philippine Stratbase Consultancy Inc. At the same time, Del Rosario became a director of several other businesses engaged in infrastructure, property development, mass media, communications, and mining. The second wealthiest Cabinet member is Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima with a net worth of P270.71 million in 2012 from P261.58 million in 2011, followed by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez with P249.98 million from P238.23 million. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II’s net worth was pegged at P203.35 million from P183.10 million. Other Cabinet secretaries and their net worth are: Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo – P150.77 million from P153.10 million; Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya – P104.45 million; Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa – P120.27 million; Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras – P115.40 million from P117.21 million; Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla – P111.29 million; Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala – P93.97 million from P87 million; Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson – P83.85 million from P84.15 million; Health Secretary Enrique Ona – P80.23 million from P80.78 million; Science Secretary Mario Montejo – P63. 85 million from P55.58 million; Commission on Higher Education head Patricia Licuanan – P49.26 million from P48.90 million; Budget Secretary Florencio Abad – P38.32 million from P29.65 million; Environment Secretary Ramon Paje – P30.88 million from P29.3 million; National Economic and Development Authority director general and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan – P25.76 million; Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin – P23.87 million from P23.5 million; National Anti-Poverty Commission head Joel Rocamora – P22.37 million from P25.37 million; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva – P22.47 million; Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad – P20.37 million from P16.8 million; Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. – P17.56 million from P17.07 million; National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia – P16.1 million from P15.6 million; Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. – P15.84 million from P14.74

million; Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes – P14.06 million from P14.25 million; Mindanao Development Authority head Luwalhati Antonino – P14.59 million from P14.09 million; presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda – P13.76 million from P13.76 million; Presidential Legislative Liaison Office head Manuel Mamba – P10.86 million from P13.15 million; National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Mehol Sadain – P11.52 million; Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Ramon Carandang – P7.55 million from P7.54 million; presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas – P5.46 million from P5.01 million; Justice Secretary Leila de Lima – P4.23 million from P3.61 million; Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman – P3.24 million from P3 million; and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz – P2.98 million from P924,206.47.

Real lending rates decline further By Lee C. Chipongian Published: May 17, 2013 The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said banks real lending rates continue to decline to 2.8 percent at the end of the first quarter this year from 3.5 percent in December 2012. Local banks’ real lending rate is the sixth highest among 10 countries being monitored in the region. BSP officials said earlier that they consider 2.8 percent as a stable real lending rate. The real lending rate was calculated as the average actual lending rate less the inflation rate. The central bank explained in its first quarter inflation report that the decline in lending rate during the period resulted from a 40 basis points drop in the average bank lending rate and the 30 basis points increase in the corresponding inflation rate. The average lending rate declined to six percent in March compared to 6.4 percent in December as inflation increased from 2.9 percent to 3.2 percent during the period. In January, banks’ average real lending rate was 6.21 percent while in February, banks’ real lending rate further dropped to 5.49 percent as inflation continued its downward path while prime rates steadied. The BSP earlier noted that the real lending rate was declining because inflation rate continue to be in a low range although rising, and banks’ average lending rate were also dropping. The latest report showed that country’s current real lending rate was the sixth highest in 10 Asian countries. India has the highest rate with 7.7 percent while Singapore has the lowest band at 0.5 percent. Lending rate refers to the range of lending rates reported by all commercial banks on a daily basis. The bank average lending rate was the weighted average interest rate charged by commercial banks on loans granted during a given period of time. In the meantime the monthly data is derived as the ratio of actual interest income of all commercial banks on their pesodenominated loans to the total outstanding level of these loans.       

‘Campaign posters contain carcinogenic substance’ By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has warned that the plastic tarpaulins widely used by political candidates in the recently-concluded elections may contain cadmium, a carcinogenic substance. This developed after the group subjected 200 pieces of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tarpaulins collected from different polling and posting areas to chemical analysis using an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) device. Results indicate total cadmium content up to 1,279 parts per million (ppm) in all the samples, while lead up to 1,704 ppm was detected in 51 samples. “The results of our chemical analysis provide a valid basis for strong regulatory measures to curb the use of cadmium and lead in vinyl plastic materials such as tarpaulins, which can cause adverse effects to human health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect. “The unregulated use of toxic additives in PVC tarpaulins creates a host of health and environmental concerns not only during their production and use, but also during their disposal; hence the need for strong regulations,” he added. The group said these regulatory measures could include: the issuance by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of chemical control orders that will ban the use of cadmium and lead as PVC stabilizers or pigments, require the use of safe alternatives, and ensure the environmentally sound disposal of waste PVC; the amendment of the Commission of Elections Resolution No. 9615 dated Jan. 15, 2013 that will make it mandatory on the part of political parties, candidates and other election stakeholders to use recyclable and environmentfriendly campaign materials containing no hazardous chemicals; and the enactment of the Recyclable and Non-Toxic Campaign Materials Act by the 16th Congress that will make future elections safe from harmful campaign paraphernalia. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Cadmium is classified as “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer with inhalation as the main route exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition said. Scientific studies have linked long-term exposure to cadmium to high blood pressure, age-related macular degeneration, and cancer of the breast, lung and kidney, which is considered the critical target organ for toxicity of cadmium in humans.

Cadmium is likewise known as an endocrine disrupting chemical contributing to reproductive disorders in men, causing genital deformities and affecting male virility. According to experts, children’s developing bodies are especially vulnerable to damage from both lead and cadmium, but long term exposure even at relatively low levels can be hazardous to anyone.‐posters‐contain‐carcinogenic‐ substance                                         

Plant trees with superior fruits By Zac B. Sarian Published: May 18, 2013

Now that the rains are just around the corner, prepare your fruit tree planting materials. In doing so, don’t just get any available seedling. Fruit trees take several years before they bear fruit so it is important that what you plant are the varieties with superior fruits. Here are a few pointers you might consider. Of course, you should plant grafted planting materials to make sure your trees bear fruit early and that you know before hand the kind of fruit you will expect. Here are a few varieties you might consider planting these coming weeks. Say you want to plant avocado. If so, select a variety that produces fruits with excellent eating quality. One such variety is the so-called Super Avocado which produces fruits that weigh as much as one kilo and the flesh is fine-textured, yellowish and sweetish, and without fibers. If you are going to plant rambutan, you might as well plant the varieties with proven productivity and with excellent eating quality. There are three that we particularly like. One of them is the R5 which produces big red fruits with very smooth white flesh that separates readily from the seed. Another is the Super Red which is also very attractive, high-yielding and with good eating quality. Another variety that is highly adaptable to local conditions is the Rongrein which originally came from Thailand. What is good about rambutan is that the trees always bear fruit every year as long as they are taken care of. And one can stagger the fruiting, just as we have done with our own trees. Right now, we are harvesting from three trees. Several other trees will be harvestable in a month’s time. And there are some that are just flowering.

Chicos are also a favorite of many Filipinos. If you want something that is decorative and is very prolific, plant the variegated chico. The fruits are small but they are very sweet. Then there is the Mapino variety, a selection by the Institute of Plant Breeding. This produces fruits that weigh 120 grams each or more and the flesh is so smooth and fine-textured. Another good variety is the Yusepeng chico which was named after the late Carlos Yusepeng, a rare fruit collector from Gen. Santos City. In any case, being a superior variety is just one consideration. What is equally important is to take good care of whatever fruit tree you plant. Fertilize them adequately. Don’t allow them to be overtaken by weeds, especially when they are still small.

Agri Plain Talk Zac B. Sarian A veteran agriculture journalist who also runs a one-hectare nursery of exotic fruit trees. I am currently the Agriculture Editor of Manila Bulletin, a 113-year-old daily newspaper. My agriculture page appears every Thursday and Saturday where I write my Agri Plain Talk column. This twice weekly column has been running for more than 21 years now.                   

US organic industry clout grows with consumer demand (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am WASHINGTON (AP) — The organic food industry is gaining clout on Capitol Hill, prompted by rising consumer demand and its entry into traditional farm states. But that isn’t going over well with everyone in Congress. Tensions between conventional and organic agriculture boiled over this week during a late-night House Agriculture Committee debate on a sweeping farm bill that has for decades propped up traditional crops and largely ignored organics. When Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., a former organic farmer, offered an amendment to make it easier for organic companies to organize industrywide promotional campaigns, there was swift backlash from some farm-state Republicans, with one member saying he didn’t want to see the industry get a free ride and another complaining about organics’ “continued assault on agriculture.” “That’s one of the things that has caught me and raises my concerns, is that industry’s lack of respect for traditional agriculture,” said Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., referring to some organic companies’ efforts to reduce the number of genetically modified crops in the marketplace. At the same time, Scott acknowledged that he and his wife buy organic foods. Growing consumer interest in organics has proved tough for some Republicans on the committee to ignore. Eight Republicans, most of them newer members of the committee, joined with all of the panel’s Democrats in supporting the amendment, which was adopted 29-17. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican who owns a farm equipment business and a corn and soybean farm, said she supported the amendment not only because helping organics is good for agriculture but because many of her constituents eat organic foods. “Organics are a niche market in agriculture with a growing market share, so it makes sense for me to allow farmers to invest some of their own funds to promote their products,” she said. The amendment would allow the organic industry to organize and pay for a unified industry promotional campaign called a “checkoff” that is facilitated by the Agriculture Department but is no cost to the government. These promotional programs have traditionally been limited to individual commodities or crops, producing familiar campaigns like “Got Milk?” and “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner.” The organic industry has exploded in the last decade, with $35 billion in sales and 10 percent growth just last year. There are more than 17,000 certified organic businesses in the country.

Gov’t works on branding for Phl food products By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The government plans to launch this year a branding for Philippine food products for export, as it seeks to actively promote local goods overseas, a trade official said. “We want to create a Philippine brand (to be used) for packaging (of products) this year,” Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) executive director Rosario Virginia Gaetos told reporters at the sidelines of the 9th International Food Exhibition Philippines. She said the brand to be conceptualized would not only be placed on the packaging of food products for exports, but would also be used in the marketing of the goods. She said that among the challenges faced by Philippine food manufacturers and exporters is that the Philippine brand is not well-known overseas. She said that the government wants to have packaging of exported locally produced goods bear the Philippine brand to make it easier to promote the goods and identify it with the Philippines. She said the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Science and Technology (DOST) are currently working creating a branding for Philippine exports. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The government, she added, is also working with the private sector on the plan. “We have to convince them,” she said. The plan to create a Philippine branding for locally produced food products is in line with the aim of diversifying the country’s exports. DTI undersecretary Ponciano Manalo said earlier the governments wants to diversify its exports to push for higher growth of the sector. At present, electronic products account for the bulk of the country’s outbound shipments. As of the first quarter, the country’s merchandise exports were down 6.2 percent to $12.080 billion from the same period last year.This, as outbound shipments of electronic products remain weak due to slower demand from overseas.

And now, green tobacco sickness! Published: May 18, 2013 There IS an occupational health risk that can be acquired from the green tobacco plant which even tobacco farmers themselves are not fully aware of. This is the green tobacco sickness (GTS), a form of nicotine poisoning that may be contracted by handling while moist, fresh, green tobacco leaves. The nicotine from the plant, which is soluble in water, can be drawn out into the surface of the leaves by rain or dew. When the nicotine is absorbed by the skin through contact, it will pass directly into the bloodstream and can cause acute nicotine poisoning. Among the symptoms associated with GTS are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stomach cramps, excessive sweating, headache, paleness, breathing difficulties, and fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate. According to Wikipedia, between 8 and 9 percent of tobacco GTS based on a recent international report may affect harvesters. GTS is often disregarded by tobacco farmers because many of those who were affected with this condition have commonly mistaken the symptoms as sign of fatigue or heat stress, according to Domingo Agne, field operations officer of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) Inc. during a recent tobacco exposure trip in Ilocos Region. Once affected, one can feel the symptoms in as little as one hour after he started working, and can last for 12 to 48 hours. Agne said that those who are working as harvesters are at a greater risk of contracting GTS. This is because harvesting the leaves is done manually, during which harvesters hold cut leaves close to their body. Although GTS is not life-threatening, PMFTC deemed it important to bring it to tobacco farmers’ attention as it may result in discomfort and loss of productivity during working hours at the farm. For tobacco farm workers to avoid developing GTS, PMFTC is taking a number of steps as part of its Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program. In this regard, the company is raising awareness among tobacco growers through education and prevention. One of these is the development of GTS safety awareness materials – containing information about GTS symptoms, risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment – which is distributed to its contract growers. On-farm, PMFTC agronomists advise tobacco farmers to wear appropriate clothes while harvesting tobacco leaves. Agne said they must wear long sleeve shirts and gloves to minimize skin exposure to the tobacco plant. Changing clothes when it got wet or soaked with moisture from tobacco leaves can help a lot in preventing GTS. It is also important to take periodical breaks during work as incidence of GTS increases with the exertion of physical force. If possible, harvesting must be done for less than seven hours a day in a cooler and drier conditions. Finally, wash hands and body thoroughly with soap and water after working in the tobacco farm.--Melpha M. Abello

DAR aims to complete land distribution this year By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) yesterday bared its target to complete the process of distributing land to the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita by the middle of the year, after the subdivision scheme for the vast landholding was recently completed. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes made the announcement after he signed early this week the subdivision scheme endorsed by the DAR Provincial Office of Tarlac. This entailed a process that required exhaustive preparation and careful review as more than 6,000 lots of more or less equal size had to be carved out of the net distributable area of the landholding. In addition, the scheme was finalized in such a way that all the farm lots have access to either roads and/or fire breaks. “With the finalization of the subdivision scheme, three of the most difficult and time-consuming steps in the acquisition process have been completed, including the posting of the master list of farm worker-beneficiaries and the conduct of the segregation survey done previously,” De los Reyes said. He also pointed out that the preparation and submission of the required survey returns are now ongoing, and are expected to be completed by the next week or so, after which the various technical descriptions for the 6,212 farm lots will be immediately generated by the survey firm once the Land Registration Authority (LRA) approves them. This process will hopefully be completed on or before the end of the month. Earlier, the LRA had approved the segregation plan for the landholding. The issuance of Republic of the Philippines titles and Certificates of Land Ownership Award will follow in due course. The DAR chief likewise said that the agricultural support services program for beneficiaries (diversified sugar block farming, among others) has also been firmed up, and a public information campaign for this purpose will be undertaken next week. “The social preparation activities for the provision of such support services continue to date, including the collection of prescribed forms for the beneficiaries who prefer to have their respective lots located adjacent to others. This also includes organizing work for the possible formation of appropriate farmers’ organizations that may serve as conduits for said support services.”

The DAR noted that all the parties had finally agreed last month to a process, including the selection criteria, involving the eligibility of the interested firms and the evaluation of their respective proposals, that will result in the selection of the accounting firm that will conduct the special audit of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. The DAR expressed hope that this agreement will continue to hold, as this will expedite the selection of the firm by early next month at the latest. “The Supreme Court had ordered that the selection of the firm should be approved by all the parties. Otherwise, in the event any and all issues are unresolved, or disagreements crop up among the parties regarding the process or any other related matter, there will be no choice for the DAR but to elevate this back to the Supreme Court for clarification and guidance,” De los Reyes said.‐aims‐complete‐land‐distribution‐year                                 

CSC reiterates liquor ban on gov't offices By Jovan Cerda ( | Updated May 17, 2013 - 3:00pm MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Service Commission reiterated on Friday the ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages in government offices following the lifting of the election liquor ban last May 14. The state agency said drinking alcohol in the workplace among government officials and employees during office hours is banned, pursuant to CSC Resolution 1100039. CSC Chairman Francisco Duque said the mere consumption of alcohol in the workplace during office hours, as well as reporting for work under the influence of alcohol are considered administrative offenses separate from the offense of habitual drunkenness. The consumption of alcoholic beverages, however, is allowed during programs and special events and in the observance of local customs and traditions. In such instances, the alcoholic beverage must be limited to malt and wine, and the consumption shall not result to intoxication which is defined as, “the impairment of a person’s mental faculties ensuing to the loss of control over his/her behavior and/or actions,” CSC noted. The head of office and the employees concerned will be held liable, it added. Meanwhile, officials and employees caught drinking alcohol during office hours, together with those who report to work under the influence of alcohol will be held liable for misconduct punishable by suspension for one to six months for the first offense and dismissal from service on the subsequent offense.‐reiterates‐liquor‐ban‐govt‐offices             

DAR to finish distribution of Luisita lots by mid-year By Dennis Carcamo ( | Updated May 17, 2013 - 1:12pm MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agrarian Reform on Friday reiterated its promise to finish the distribution of land to the Hacienda Luisita farmers in Tarlac by the middle of the year. This after the subdivision scheme for the vast property owned by the family of President Aquino was recently completed. DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes made the commitment after he signed early this week the subdivision scheme endorsed by the DAR provincial office of Tarlac. He said the scheme requires exhaustive preparation, careful review, several meetings, and attention to detail, as more than 6,000 lots of more or less equal size had to be carved out of the net distributable area of the landholding. In addition, the scheme was finalized in such a way that all the farm lots have access to either roads and/or fire breaks, Delos Reyes added. He said that with the subdivision scheme already finalized, three of the most difficult and timeconsuming steps in the acquisition process has been completed, including the posting of the master list of farmworker-beneficiaries and the conduct of the segregation survey done previously. Delos Reyes said the preparation and submission of the required survey returns is now ongoing, and is expected to be finished by next week, after which the various technical descriptions for the 6,212 farm lots will be immediately generated by the survey firm once the Land Registration Authority approves them. This process will hopefully be completed on or before the end of the month, the DAR chief said. Earlier, the LRA had approved the segregation plan for the property. The issuance of Republic of the Philippines titles and Certificates of Land Ownership Award will follow, Delos Reyes said. Delos Reyes said various activities are currently being undertaken all at the same time for DAR to meet its self-imposed deadline, in close coordination with the Land Bank of the Philippines, LRA, other government agencies such as the Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Dairy Authority, and the Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Training Institute, among others, as well as local government officials in Tarlac. - Dennis Carcamo‐finish‐distribution‐luisita‐lots‐mid‐year 

DAR says Luisita land distributed in June By Rio N. Araja | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 743 views AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said on Friday that he expects land distribution of Hacienda Luisita to be completed “by middle of the year.” De Los Reyes recently approved and signed the subdivision scheme indorsed by the Department of Agrarian Reform provincial office in Tarlac province. With the finalization of the subdivision scheme, three of the most difficult, tedious and timeconsuming steps in the acquisition process have already been completed, including the posting of the master list of farmer-beneficiaries and the conduct of segregation survey, Delos Reyes said. The DAR chief said that his staff went through exhaustive preparation, careful review, several meetings and attention to details as more than 6,000 lots of more or less equal size had to be carved out of the net distributable area of the landholding before the subdivision scheme was finalized. He said the scheme had ensured that all farm lots have access to either roads and/or fire breaks. The submission of the required survey returns by the surveying firm F.F. Cruz and Co. is expected to be completed by next week to enable the Land Registration Authority generate various technical descriptions for the 6,212 beneficiaries, Delos Reyes said. The process will hopefully be completed on or before end of May, De los Reyes said. “We are targeting to distribute the parcels of land to the beneficiaries by June, or may be two weeks later than June,” he said.

Ban on tobacco ads pushed By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 687 views The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance or SEATCA on Friday called on the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to strictly ban all advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products, as it claimed that there are loopholes in measures to stop tobacco promotions across the region. SETCA director Bungon Ritthiphakdee added that only a comprehensive efforts by national governments can prevent the gaps from being exploited by the tobacco industry. While the region’s governments have laws to limit access to tobacco products, Ritthipakdee explained that most were not comprehensive enough, and have yet to completely fulfill the requirements under the provisions in Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). “While we have made progress in the region, there is still room for the tobacco industry to communicate directly with young people. She said the loopholes must be plugged as she noted that the tobacco industry is “resorting to tactics to circumvent laws and policies, to promote their toxic products, particularly to our women and children.” She said Southeast Asia is the tobacco industry cash cow, and companies such as Philip Morris International (PMI) salivate when expanding its market in our region. “Most unfortunately for our people, especially the young, they have tagged Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand as growth opportunities in the ASEAN. PMI’s gain is our loss – more disease and death for us.” The FCTC is a global treaty to which all ASEAN countries, except for Indonesia, are parties. The treaty outlines goals and objectives to which parties are committed, all with the view of curbing tobacco use. Article 13 of the FCTC recognizes that only “comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) would reduce the consumption of tobacco products”, and should therefore be pursued by all parties.

DBM approves 60,000 new teaching positions By Gigi Munoz-David | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:00am | 94 views

The Department of Budget and Management on Friday approved over 60,000 new teaching positions even as it gave the green light to provide funding for teachers being redeployed from schools with excess teacher items to areas with shortages. DBM has made available 61, 510 new teacher items for fiscal year 2013 as the Department of Education keeps pace with demand for teachers on account of increasing enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide. “We welcome the opening of new teacher items and the provision of teacher redeployment allowance as part of the government’s continuing effort to rationalize teacher placement in all public schools across the country,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said Based on DepEd Order 23, series of 2013, teachers to be redeployed would receive a one-time redeployment allowance of P18,000. Only teachers who are coming from schools with excess teacher item and are being redeployed to schools with teacher shortage would receive the redeployment allowance.

Eco group alarmed over toxic plastic tarps By Ferdinand Fabella | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 343 views

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition expressed alarm over the possible effect of the chemical content of plastic tarpaulins and other campaign materials which were removed and disposed of after the May 13 elections. The environmental group said the plastic tarpaulins for instance, have been proven to contain cadmium, a cancer-causing substance. Thony Dizon, coordinator of the group’s Project Protect, said they have subjected 200 pieces of polyvinyl chloride campaign tarpaulins to chemical analysis and found out that all contained cadmium of up to 1,279 parts per million (ppm). Aside from cadmium, 51 of the tarpaulin samples also have lead content of 1,704 ppm, he added. “The results of our chemical analysis provide a valid basis for strong regulatory measures to curb the use of cadmium and lead in vinyl plastic materials such as tarpaulins, which can cause adverse effects to human health and the environment, not only during their production and use, but also during their disposal,” Dizon explained. The EcoWaste Coalition said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should issue Chemical Control Orders or CCOs that would ban the use of cadmium and lead as PVIC stabilizers, require the use of safe alternatives, and ensure the environmentally-sound disposal of waste PVC.

AUB up 9.5% on market debut By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 280 views 2

Share price of Asia United Bank Corp., the banking arm of Rebisco Group, jumped 9.5 percent on its maiden offering Friday, despite the decline of the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index. AUB opened at P102.5 per share Friday and reached a high of P105.1 from its initial public offering price of P95 apiece. It closed at P104. AUB first vice president Andrew Yap said in a news briefing investors’ appetite for the stock was strong, as the international offering was five times oversubscribed and domestic offering also received strong demand from local investors. He said to satisfy the strong domestic demand, the bank increased its domestic offering by another 10 percent to 40 percent of the 88 million offers shares while offering to international investors was reduced to 60 percent of the total offer shares from original target of 70 percent. AUB raised P8.36 billion from the sale of 88 million common shares, including 8 million overallotment shares. AUB president Abraham Co said the bank planned to make another acquisition this year to further boost branch network. Co did not say which bank it planned to acquire but hinted the target bank was operating in Luzon area. “The acquisition will also boost the bank’s customer base and branch network,” Co said. The company also plans to expand its network by putting up 250 branches over the next five years. The bank said it would use the proceeds from the IPO to finance network branch expansion. AUB’s branch network consisted of 117 branches strategically located in Metro Manila and key cities throughout the Philippines, including 28 acquired from Asiatrust Bank as of end-2012. The bank plans to open 45 new branches in 2013 and another 43 in 2014. AUB said it also planned to grow loan portfolio by 30 percent this year from last year’s level. The bank said it booked a net income of P523 million in the first quarter, up 62 percent from P323 million in the same period last year.

Banana shipments to US start in June By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 559 views 3

Banana exports to US military bases in the Pacific will begin in June this year, the Bureau of Plant and Industry said Friday. BPI director Clarito Barron told reporters he signed the work plan for the exports of highland Cavendish bananas to US bases in the Pacific two weeks ago. “I already signed the work plan and the United States already have it. After this, they will give the go signal and we can start to export initial 3,000 metric tons of highland Cavendish bananas hopefully this June,” he said. Barron said the next shipment would depend on the demand. “The US government is still discussing whether or not there will be succeeding volumes but definitely the importers there will determine the demand,” he added. Banana exports almost doubled in 2012, despite the restrictions in China. Shipments reached 3.875 million metric tons last year, or more than double the 1.8 million metric tons in 2011. “There was an increase in volume because major importing countries like Japan and Korea increased the volume of their import. Other countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Jordan and some Middle East countries also opened their market,” Barron said. Barron said of the total banana exports, China bought 400,000 metric tons, making it the thirdbiggest importing country of the fruit, next to Korea, which purchased 500,000 metric tons and Japan with over 1 million metric tons. The Philippines was scheduled to ship 3,000 metric tons of highland Cavendish bananas to US in December 2012, but typhoon Pablo caused massive destruction to banana crops in Davao and Compostela Valley. The shipment was postponed to fulfill export obligations to the Philippines’ existing markets such as Korea and Japan.

Sugar company suspended By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:00am | 256 views

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended the registration and permit of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Inc. to sell securities due to deficiencies in the company’s 2011 annual report. The SEC said the suspension would be effective for 60 days, or until the company corrected the deficiencies in the annual report. “If the company fails to fully address such deficiencies, the commission shall immediately initiate proceedings for the revocation of its order of registration and permit to sell securities to the public,� the SEC said.

A bad attitude By Dean Tony La Viña | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 1,620 views 13

We certainly take pride in our democracy, our People Power in action, but we do have a tragic habit of belittling its results. Elections bring out the worst, as much as the best, from within our political selves. Here, I speak not of the electoral violence and undermining, the guns-goons-gold trinity, our seeming inability to bring issue-based politics to the forefront, or the other such scourges, the legitimate criticisms that can be made of our electoral processes and institutions. They are indeed problems to immediately tackle, but my eye today is elsewhere, on a problem perhaps just as critical. In fact, I can say it’s the problem that enables many—if not all—other problems besetting the Philippine electoral institution. It’s our attitude, our bad attitude. I recently read on the Facebook of Ateneo University student party Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (Partido CRUSADA) a very eye-opening post-elections essay, “The Myth of the ‘Bobo’ Voter”. CRUSADA (disclosure: one of its leaders is a close relative) decried an attitude among voters from upper social strata which labeled votes from the masses not merely uninformed, but “bobo”, or stupid. Such an attitude must have come about considering the results of the senatorial mid-term race. Many candidates highly favored by these voters because of their reform platforms, such as Teddy Casiño, Risa Hontiveros, or Ed Hagedorn, failed to make it to the Magic Twelve, which must have disappointed them so. Perhaps, too, we may also consider the high placing of neophyte candidate Nancy Binay as a trigger: she had been criticized, to the point of maligning, for her relative lack of professional political or administrative experience, for her family name-recall, and her refusal to engage in issue-debate with fellow candidates. It is natural to favor or disfavor certain persons for our elective leadership posts. We do contend, though, with a democracy that must aggregate often conflicting interests and desires of its individuals. Equally naturally, some desires are not reflected in the results; e.g., minorities find themselves lost in the clamor; the weak find themselves facing long odds against powerful competing interests;

and, yes, we find that people we do not want sit in positions of power, because of other peoples’ votes. This is all part of our naturally messy democracy. What is not natural to messy democracy is that dysfunctional attitude marred by elitism and even hatred. And it is an attitude not unique to this year’s elections, or to this country. Similar attitudes attended the election of Joseph Estrada to the presidency more than a decade ago. CRUSADA also saw it in the Platonic “philosopher-king” ideal, to the “vanguard party” of revolutionary Leninism. We can also see it in ideas such as literacy or educational requirements for voting rights, or poll taxes, both attempting to restrict suffrage to propertied, educated whites in post-Civil War America. It’s the idea that the “enlightened” has all society’s answers—and, implicitly, that their voice ought to be heeded, often at the expense of competing voices. And it is an attitude I’ve seen not just in elections. The reproductive health debate had seen its fair share of it, from both sides. So had the Renato Corona impeachment. Even local issues can become so divisive, that engendered hatred drives away all hope for compromise, conciliation, and cooperation in shared interests. Certainly, educating all voters in issue-based politics is a valid solution to the challenges facing reform leadership in the Philippines. If we disagree with the premises of the “masa” vote, then we may engage them, show why we believe their premises are wrong, and outline the potential consequences of such decisions. It’s the attitude in the engagement, however, that lies at the heart of CRUSADA’s argument. Perhaps we ought not to approach them with the notion that they are uninformed or irrational (even if we mean no malice in thinking so). I would say the Philippine poor, the marginalized, have the right to be different in themselves. Their social circumstances certainly differ from ours, leading to different paradigms of day-to-day living and survival—different rationalities. Moreover, I can also add that some may be wary of the outsider “enlightened”, fearing the loss of what’s familiar to them, suspicious of ulterior motives, and burned by bad experiences with the upper social and educational strata. From a philosophical standpoint, the individuality of our existences births the differences that drive our political dynamics: socio-economic disparities, religious

conflicts, regional dialects and histories, and so on. The point of pluralistic democracy is to leverage these differences for the common good. Further, the point of leadership and community is to manage these differences, that they do not drive us apart, but lead us to deeper appreciations of each other. There is a beautiful verse in the Quran that reflects this: “O mankind, indeed We‌ made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.â€? It is tragic that leadership is still lacking, in many respects and in many arenas, for it is critical to the vibrancy of politics, and any hope for the Filipino future. If we take pride in our democracy, then we need to take pride in the differences it endures, the different pathways that, though we may not know it, may lead to a common direction. In my next column, we may hopefully explore those pathways out of this quagmire.

All in the family By Manila Standard Today | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 999 views 3

New faces with familiar names will answer the roll call in the first session of the Senate after the May 13 mid-term elections. They are young and eager to serve. They bring a sense of change in an assembly of elder statesmen. We don’t expect them to introduce radical changes in the processing of bills in the legislative mill. But we expect them to get involved in debates on crucial bills that affect the welfare of our people and the future of our country. It will be an exciting clash of opinions, which will be as contentious as the long-running television series “Family Feud,” a game show that pitted one family against another. The composition of the new Senate will place the discussions on state issues in the hands of family members. The new Senate will have two sets of siblings, a father-and-son tandem, and a husband-and-wife pair. The others are members of political families. The debates will be a battle among families. The senators are yet to elect the presiding officer, who will direct the proceedings similar to the way the “Family Feud” emcee sets up the competition between families. He would be somebody knowledgeable in the rules of debates and familiar with the manner political dynasties influence Philippine politics.

In “Family Feud,” which started in the United States but aired in numerous local formats worldwide, contestants are asked to name the most popular answer to survey questions posed to 100 people. It sounds exciting because senators usually ask probing questions. They also tell it as it is, such as: “You lie” and “We will cite you for contempt.” Family members in the senate include siblings Alan and Pia Cayetano, siblings Jinggoy and JV Estrada, father and son team Edgardo Angara and Juan Edgardo Angara, and Cynthia Villar, wife of outgoing Sen. Manny Villar. Among the newcomers are Grace Poe, daughter of the late movie actor Fernando Poe; Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay; and Bam Aquino, cousin of President Aquino. Poe, a neophyte politician who scored an upset by coming out number one in the Senate derby, attributed her victory to the name she inherited from her father. “People saw me as an image of my father,” she said. The new Senate is a patchwork of political linkages although the candidates ran under two major parties: Liberal Party (LP) and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). In reality, the Senate is an alphabet soup of parties that include NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition), NP (Nacionalista Party), UNA, LP, LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), and PDP (Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino). It’s going to be an interesting three years, just watching them on the floor.

We haven’t learned our lesson By Rod Kapunan | Posted on May. 18, 2013 at 12:01am | 6,091 views 34

Before the election, I made a fearless prediction that the senatorial candidates of the administration would win eight out of the 12 seats. I was wrong because the swamping was consummate in favor of 9-3. For the local positions, it is predicted that more than 70 percent of their candidates are expected to win. All in all, the “overwhelming victory” of the administration’s bets was seen as a “vote of confidence” for PNoy. Even the vigorous campaign made by the Catholic Church to junk the so-called “Team Patay” candidates failed to make a dent. Many nonetheless obtained respectable rankings. To begin with, President Aquino is the only President ever elected to issue policy statements almost equivocally affirming his allegiance to Uncle Sam. Like the Arroyo government, the PNoy administration has acceded to the demand of the US and its Western allies to enact laws that would suit more of their interest than of this country, like those pertaining the further liberalization of foreign investments, strict observance of the patents and copyright laws, in upgrading the anti-money laundering law, accelerating the privatization of the strategic industries, and many more. If there remains an issue that needs to be resolved, it is on how they could proceed to amend the Constitution to remove the remaining obstacles of foreign control. It is for this why elections in this country have drastically changed. Before, candidates sought to show us that they were educationally and mentally fit as well as patriotic. They talk more on how to protect the interest of this country having in mind extricating our people from poverty. Now, an election is a rat race of who from among our local candidates is the most trusted lackey. It is for this reason why many consider election in this country a farce, and a big joke for those still daydreaming that change could happen. Election is being blatantly manipulated by the elite using their various machineries to condition and control the minds of our people often conniving with their foreign brokers to ensure that only trusted lackeys are elected.

To be sure, if candidates cheat against their rival, such is a likely possibility, although not legal. After all, there is no substitute for victory, and that was purely internal to us. But when they use their various machineries and connive with a foreign power to ensure the election certain candidates, then it is wholly a different story. Worse, the race to control the government is no longer confined to controlling the occupant in Malaca単ang, but also in having the required number votes in Congress to ensure the passage of laws handed to these elected minions for legislation. There now exists a tightly-knit conspiracy between our local officials and their foreign brokers to subvert the mandate of our people. We cannot complain because they have succeeded in conditioning the minds of our people that their candidates are likely to win. Anybody who dares to participate, but is not certified as a lackey, is looked upon like as modern-day Don Quixote and even treated as some kind of a nut. This kind of Pavlovian mental conditioning is not difficult to discern. The net result is that once this conditioning seeps into their mind, they could only resign and accept their fate because they have no way of verifying how they were manipulated to vote for certain candidates. It must be recalled that when Noynoy Aquino ran for Congress in Tarlac, he almost lost in that race. When he ran for the Senate, despite the fact that he has not accomplished anything as the lawmaker for his province, he landed number five. Surprisingly, when he was groomed the standard bearer of the Liberal Party for the post he now occupies, the two leading poll surveys, the Social Weather Stations and the Pulse Asia, gave him an unbelievable popularity rating of 64 percent, a rating no candidate for president has ever obtained, and for a man who never even thought he would become president. That rating conveyed an ominous sign he was programmed to become president of this wayward republic. The mainstream media, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star, did their share to paint a glossy picture of him as the most promising candidate. The mainstream radio and television network led by ABS-CBA, GMA-7 and ABC 5 took turns in trumpeting him as the man to beat despite the leak about his mental unfitness and slothful performance as congressman. Again, just before the election, SWS and Pulse Asia reiterated

their survey about his enormous popularity rating, short of saying people were raving mad to vote for him. So, on election day, the Commission on Elections finalized what has long been anticipated. There was no way an ordinary voter could contest the result. The same strategy was repeated in the just concluded election with added features of presenting his administration as one that has “accomplished” much for this country. The foreign controlled Standard & Poor’s increased the country’s credit rating from BB+ to BBB-, with many of us not knowing how it directly affects our lives. They also gave his administration what it dubbed as a stellar GDP growth rate of 6.6 percent for 2012. Notably, when our lawmakers acceded to the demand that we computerize our election system, we practically gave the Comelec a free hand and a license to cheat us before our very own eyes because the computerization of the election and counting removed from us whatever evidence we have as basis for our complaint to prove we were cheated. The precinct count optical scan machines, other than having been questioned for being defective and tampered, remain in the hands and of the Comelec and of its foreign agent, Smartmatic. Our people are practically holding on to nothing. All these brings forth the sordid truth that henceforth all elections in the country will be predetermined to candidates who have manifested their subservience to foreign interest.

Stock market falls on extended profit-taking Published on 17 May 2013  Hits: 74  Written by Madelaine B. Miraflor    The local stock market ended the week by falling back to the 7,200‐point territory amid continued profit‐taking  among investors.  The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) declined further on Friday, falling 31.07 points, or 0.43 percent to 7,279.87, while the broader all-shares index slipped 0.36 percent, or 16.26 points to 4,496.21. “The market was down because of the profit-taking from investors after a strong rally. Strong support at 7,100-mark. If this gives way, we could see further weakness toward 6,850 to 7,000 levels,” said Jonathan Ravelas, BDO Unibank Inc. chief market strategist, in a text message. Freya Natividad, analyst at online brokerage, also said that the market went down because some investors cashed in on gains anew. “Others are slightly or gradually accumulating portfolio for long term. The correction is still healthy in order for the index to gather enough strength to push the local market to a higher range,” she said. “It’s more of a profit-taking. Some also took note of the overseas trends,” Natividad added. Overnight, the Dow Jones also went down as well as Nasdaq. Among all the sectors, the financials counter was the only one that managed to end in the green, inching up slightly by 0.52 points, or 0.03 percent to 1,893.94. The rest of the sectors were down. Natividad said that even though financials went up, there were still more supply pressures to test 7,300-point zone. Property registered the largest loss, falling 1.46 percent, or 44.18 points to end at 2,980.81, while mining and oil was down 1.91 percent, or 344.69 points to 17,688.26. Services went down anew, losing 13.05 points, or 0.61 percent to 2,123, while holding firms decreased 0.29 percent, or 18.80 points to 6,554.28. Industrial also erased 17.61 points, or 0.16 percent to 10,991.44. Decliners dominated advancers, 101 to 65, while 44 shares were unchanged. On Thursday, Philippine stocks retreated after breaking through records during five consecutive days of upbeat trading. The PSEi snapped by 81.26 points to 7,310.94, or 1.10 percent, while the broader all-shares index went down 1.20 percent, or 54.61 points to 4,512.42.

The fishing wars Published on 18 May 2013  Hits: 90  Written by Fr. Shay Cullen   

Last week, a Taiwanese fisherman died when a Philippine Coast Guard patrol boat open-fired after one of the four Taiwanese fishing vessels reportedly tried to ram the coast guard vessel. The incident occurred 43 nautical miles east of Balintang Island, in the West Philippine Sea well inside the Philippine 200 mile limit. It has turned into a diplomatic row and sanctions against the Philippines have been invoked. Recently, the Chinese government sent a fleet of 30 fish boats to the hotly disputed area around the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea which it claims as its territory. Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines reject these claims. The area is rich in marine life and possibly, oil and natural gas. The Philippines has made a formal complaint under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and a UN tribunal will examine and rule on the complaint. China is very annoyed about that. The Fishing Wars are beginning to heat up. The battle is for resources. It is not only oil and gas that is in contest but fish is needed to feed the growing world population, now at seven billion and there will be another nine billion humans by 2050. How to feed them all is the big question. The imbalance of resource allocation leaves one billion people, mostly children, hungry every day and several more billions struggling to survive on two dollars a day, some on every less. It’s not a fair just world. The planet’s resource of fish is among the most prized, many think it is free and there for the catching, but how wrong they are. The fish stocks are being decimated by destructive wasteful over-fishing and ocean pollution and will not be there much longer. As I write this, I am looking online at a digital population clock that is running like a slot machine spinning its numbers non-stop ( As I watch, the numbers of new births is rapidly increasing dozens by the seconds. The death rate is not keeping pace. Modern medicine keeps the old alive longer. The biggest population growth is in Asia and

the Southern hemisphere, China is the most populous (1.3 nillion) and is aggressively expanding its power and sending fishing fleets into the seas and disputed waters to supply fish to feed all these people. China and Peru are the biggest fishing nations followed by the US and Japan. China eats most of what their ships catch. Peru is the next biggest fisher nation but eats hardly any and exports most to Japan. Russia sends factory ships to the Pacific to harvest millions of tons of fish. The Philippines is number ten on the list of fishing nations and eats most of its catch. In Europe, Scotland and Spain have perhaps the biggest fleets of the North Atlantic where fish stocks are collapsing. But bans on catching certain fish species are helping the fish to recover. The planet as it is now is being misused, exploited, and over-heated and may not be able to sustain such a huge population. This week, the planet has reached the highest level of Co2 gas in the atmosphere for more than three million years and the planet was hot. A report published last week says huge declines in the plants and animals will be devastating as world temperatures continue to rise. The poorer developing countries will be the hardest hit. As of now, world food supplies are at their lowest level in 40 years. Several nations are leasing land in developing countries by millions of hectares to grow food, not for the hungry local population but to feed their own populations. Some scientists and biologists predict that the oceans could be without fish in 25 years. The over-fishing is killing the oceans as a source of healthy protein. The United Nations report (SOFIA) on the state of the world’s fisheries and aqua-culture has established that as much as 80 percent of the oceans’ fishing grounds are fully or over-exploited and on the edge of being depleted. That means they are in a state of collapse and will reach a tipping point when there is not enough fish left to breed and replenish themselves. Some species are already extinct or nearly so. North Atlantic herring is on the edge of extinction from non-stop fishing. Cod is endangered because cod feeds on herring and it too is over-fished. A Fishing War erupted and almost turned violent when Iceland banned cod fishing in 100 kilometers radius of its coast. The cod are slowly recovering. Strict enforced controls on the amount that can be landed must be enforced. We humans have to act now to save the oceans and their fish before full collapse of most species occur. Soon it will be all over and unhealthy chemical based fish farming is all that will be left.

Posted on May 17, 2013 07:11:52 PM

Peso recovers on corporate demand  

CORPORATE DEMAND buoyed the peso against the dollar on Friday.   After a two-day slump against the dollar, the local unit gained three centavos to close at P41.195 per dollar against its P41.225-per-dollar finish the day before. “The peso recovered against the dollar on Friday due to corporate demand,” a trader said in a phone interview on Friday. “These are equity-related inflows. The proceeds from the recent overnight equity offering of ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services, Inc.) are starting to come in and that is supporting demand for the peso,” he said. Port operator ICTSI raised P8 billion or about $200 million from the sale of 36.89 million treasury shares and 53.11 million common shares from an overnight equity offering to offshore investors. In a separate phone interview, another trader said: “The peso bucked the performance of Asian currencies, which closed weaker on risk aversion on weak data from the US.” The US Labor department on Thursday night reported that jobless claims rose by 32,000 to 360,000 in the week ending May 11 from a seasonally revised figure of 328,000 the week before. Dollars traded on Friday totaled $774.80 million, lower than the $895.60 million traded the day before. -ARRG

Posted on May 17, 2013 07:08:09 PM

Philippine salaries to increase this year -- Towers Watson Salaries in the Philippines are expected to increase by 7% this year, a think tank said in a new report.  Despite a slowdown in the economy, Towers Watson’s projection for the year is similar to the 7% salary increase expected from last year, when the gross domestic product grew by a stunning 6.6%. Salary increases in the report covered all employee groups from executive directors to middle management, down to production and operations. It also involved merit and statutory increases, promotions and cost of living adjustments. Vangie Daquilanea, data services manager for Towers Watson Philippines, said the 7% increase for the Philippines would be driven by the cost of business performance, inflation and employee performance. The think tank projects that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will slow down to 5.9% in 2013 from 6.6% last year. Inflation is expected at 3.9% -- within the government’s full-year target of 3-5%, while unemployment is expected to decrease slightly to 6.9% from 7% last year. Salaries in other countries in the Asia Pacific region are also expected to improve this year, with the highest increases projected in Bangladesh at 12%, followed by Vietnam (12%) and India (11.2%). The lowest increases are expected in Brunei (1%), Japan (2%) and New Zealand (3.1%). The New York-based think tank asked around 75 companies in the Asia Pacific region on their plans for compensation this year, considering their host country’s inflation and economic growth, as well as the company’s projected performance. Sought for comment, Alan Tanjusay, advocacy officer of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said the 7% increase is too low considering positive prospects of economic growth this year.

“The 7% projection in view of a 6.4% GDP is way too small for workers who toiled and sweat to bring about this prosperity. We are pushing for P85 in Metro Manila, P80 to P90 across the country,” he said in a text message. “Employers can afford a 7% increase but I doubt if they will relent to our figures. But neither do we,” he added. The most recent wage increase in Metro Manila was P30 and took effect on June 3 last year. The Labor Code will only allow the Labor department to entertain new petitions for wage increases during the anniversary date of the last wage order. -Noemi M. Gonzales ppine-salaries-to-increase-this-year----TowersWatson&id=70396#sthash.0DjVRXDp.dpuf


2013 05 18 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor - gcm