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Cotabato organic rice exporter pushes farm, market expansion By Melody M. Aguiba Published: May 19, 2013 A 500-hectare organic rice farm in Cotabato looks forward to an expanded farm area and market as it has obtained organic certification from the Certification of Environmental Standards Gmbh (Ceres) of Germany. Supported by the Department of Agriculture, organic agriculture entity Bios Dynamis MultiPurpose Cooperative (MPC) is eyeing a farm expansion to 2,000 to 6,000 hectares in light of growing organic rice market. The plan follows its acquisition of the Ceres quality seal. “It’s a first of this Ceres organic certification in the country,” said Romano S. Laurilla, Bios Dynamis MPC general manager, in an interview. Its 500-hectare farm is the source of the fancy rice exported to Dubai early this week. The export volume totalled to 15 metric tons (MT) of fancy organic black rice. At the 2,000 to 6,000-hectare potential expansion, Bios Dynamis’s area will occupy just a minimal one percent of North Cotabato’s total rice area. Re Development in fancy organic rice export is very promising. “We already exported to Germany, 3.6 tons. We also sent 500 kilos to Hong Kong. We will send two tons more of additional volume to Hong Kong and 800 kilos for Netherlands. We have a sample to shipment to Canada. It involves 250 kilos being tested by restaurants in Canada,” said Laurilla. The certification that Bios Dynamis got aids small farmers to acquire certification when they are clustered into a group. “Training of farmers, installation of IQCS following international standards of organic and biodynamic production and processing, audit trail, and data base ensure integrity and traceability of products. The IQCS is so rigid and compliance strict so mindful markets can trust the integrity of products,” said the cooperative. IQCS stands for internal quality control system. The group certification enables farmers to share costs, risks and benefits, and governance and accountability.

The organic rice export comes from Samlang, Tulunan, and Midsayap in North Cotabato and Surallah in South Cotabato. “All the rice that we produce are unpolished which has so much health benefits. These have anticancer properties. The red rice is good for losing weight. Brown has so much fiber, so it’s good for you if you have problem on diabetes and high blood,” Laurilla. Bios Dynamis stands for a Greek word on the technology in planting organic rice. “It is a holistic approach to farming that takes into consideration everything including movement of the moon, sun, constellation, and stars. Palay (unmilled rice) growing is a day-to-day activity in the farm, and we have an astronomer working with us on this,” he said. It eyes bigger export in Europe. “There’s a high consumer consciousness in Europe when it comes to healthy food. Since we’re producing it organically and it’s certified, I think they’re open to our products,” said Laurilla. The cooperative has been fortunate to have entered into collaborations with many funding agencies including DKA (Dreikönigsaktion Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar) of Austria, a Catholic organization. It also gets support now from DA-Region 12. The cooperative did not find it hard to obtain the certification since it already had the organic tools and standards. Its farmers are under IQCS in ensuring only acceptable level of organic fertilizer is used in the farm. The MPC is promoting organic colored rice like black, brown, and red which are rich in fiber, proteins, iron thiamine, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Fiber-richness enhances healthy weight and slow release of sugar into the blood. Colored rice kinds are high in selenium, an important trace mineral recognized to reduce development of cancer cells, heart disease, arthritis, and inflammatory illnesses. A cup of brown rice, according to Global Healing Center author Dr. Edward F. Group III, provides 80 percent of a person’s daily need for manganese, a mineral that aids in fatty acid formation and beneficial in nervous and reproductive system. Other brown rice benefits, Group said, are it holds heart-healthy oils, enhances bowel function, prevents arterial plaque build-up, is antioxidant-rich, and lowers colon cancer level. “Fiber actually attaches to cancer-causing substances and toxins, helping to eliminate them from the body, and keeping them from attaching to the cells in our colon. Brown rice also contains the necessary components to stabilize digestion,” said Group.

Tolentino: SALN form was different By Jaymee T. Gamil, Michael Lim Ubac  Philippine Daily Inquirer   1:52 am | Sunday, May 19th, 2013  

An agitated Francis Tolentino, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair, cried foul over insinuations his wealth had almost doubled in the past two years, saying the media had misinterpreted two different forms of the required statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) which were recently made public. “My SALN for 2011 and 2012 were the same; there was no increase. There were no new assets or properties acquired, no new improvements, just a new SALN form, [which] adds [to the assets] my existing declared [property] improvements,” said Tolentino, by way of explaining how his net worth shot up from P22.5 million in 2011 to P43.7 million in 2012. On Saturday, Malacañang said the burden of explaining the P21-million jump in the net worth of the MMDA chief lay with him. In a statement, Tolentino explained that in the old SALN form, before the Civil Service Commission released a revised SALN form effective 2012, property improvements were not added to the assets or to the total net worth, and were only listed in another page as an attachment. Tolentino said that his 2011 and 2012 SALNs listed the same assets and improvements, but the assets and their improvements were calculated and listed together in one column in the 2012 SALN. “Naturally, the [figures appear to have] increased,” he said. In an attempt to preempt misinterpretations, he said he had added a footnote to his 2012 SALN, marked by an asterisk, explaining the change in his declaration. “I was honest, I declared everything. I stated that the reason for the discrepancy (in the new form) was because the new form necessitated the addition of improvements in one column [along with the assets],” he said. “Even before being asked, my explanation was already there on my SALN form. You can’t be more honest and transparent than that,” he added. Not 3 SALNs He also denied media reports that he had submitted three SALNs, with different net worths as of Dec. 31, 2012. “It is not true I submitted three SALNs for one year, unless somebody can show that to me. That’s not allowed,” he said. “Maybe they’re looking at my 2010, 2011, 2012 SALNs.”

The Malacañang list showed Tolentino had a net worth of P22,540,381.52 in 2011 and P43,773,691.02 in 2012, or a P21,233,309.5 change in net worth in one year. The MMDA chief asked for an apology from whoever made it appear he had almost doubled his wealth in a span of a year. “If they don’t apologize, there is an insinuation there,” he said. Members of the Malacañang Press Corps—who on Friday had first crack at the SALN of members of President Aquino’s Cabinet—were confused when they saw three SALNs under Tolentino’s name. All three SALNs reflected different net worths (total assets less liabilities): P43 million, P9 million and P25.6 million. They were all dated Dec. 31, 2012. The first SALN, which bears the date stamp of “4.26.13,” listed under “assets” two commercial lots in Tagaytay City and one residential property in Muntinlupa City, for a combined (acquisition) total of P23.4 million. The other SALN listed additional three real properties in Tagaytay worth P11.9 million; and the third, P11.5 million, representing the (acquisition) value of three other lots and the Windy Ridge Hotel, which are all located in Tagaytay. He also declared law books and vehicles (worth a total of P5 million), and personal properties (dollar mutual funds, computers, receivables/bank deposits) worth P17.1 million. He has total assets of P83.3 million and total liabilities of P39.5 million, and thus a net worth of P43.7 million. Just like what other Cabinet members did, Tolentino did not use the “assessed value” or “current fair market value”—which are higher than the acquisition cost—in computing his total assets. Malacañang could not confirm whether the two other SALNs—which had different entries— were mere amendments. Lower property values On the other hand, Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Peace Process Adviser Teresita Deles showed declining wealth from 2011 to 2012. Luistro’s net worth decreased by P188,355—from P739,006 to P550,651. Deles’ declaration reduced her net worth by P14.74 million—from P21.83 million in 2011 to P7.09 million in 2012. Sought for comment, Deles explained the reason behind her apparently diminishing wealth was merely reduced values attached to the same property.

“The big change in my net worth in my 2012 SALN from the one in 2011 is due to the much lower values reflected on the same real properties declared in my SALNs since 2010,” said Deles in a text message. “The values for up to 2011 were only based on my personal estimations of comparative worth with similar properties in the market in the same community,” she said. For 2012, however, in accordance with the new Civil Service Commission guidelines on the filing of SALNs, “and as per legal advice, what we declared for the same real properties were based on assessed and market values on tax declaration certificates issued by the assessors’ offices’ in the cities and municipalities where these are located,” said Deles. Luistro, being a La Salle brother, is bound by a vow of poverty.   Read more:‐saln‐form‐was‐different#ixzz2TobNpAc9    

ECOP urges more investments in agri, mfg sectors By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 


MANILA, Philippines - The government needs to focus on attracting investments in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors if it wants to create more jobs in the country, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said. “The biggest and more permanent job generators are the agricultural and manufacturing sectors,” ECOP president Edgardo Lacson said in a text message. To attract investments in these two sectors, he said the government needs to “review economic provisions of the Constitution and allow foreign capital in restricted economic sectors.” The 1987 Constitution sets a 40 percent limit on foreign ownership in certain industries, a concern for foreign firms planning to invest in the country. The Constitution likewise prohibits foreign nationals from owning lands here.

Apart from reviewing the economic provisions, Lacson said the government needs to ensure a stable policy environment, upgrade and develop infrastructure, continue its good and transparent governance, as well as reduce, if not totally abolish red tape. The government, he said, has to work to make power cost competitive and ensure stable supply. To encourage investors in the country’s agricultural sector, he said the government should improve post harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads. Credit facilities also need to be extended to agricultural enterprises. As for manufacturing, Lacson said re-engineering education to match skills and industry demand would help entice investments in the sector. He added the government may have to revisit the wage fixing income mechanism to make it market-driven and productivity based. The ECOP takes the lead in consolidating and articulating the employers’ interest in matters concerning labor-management relations and socio-economic development. The latest Labor Force Survey from the National Statistics Office showed that the number of unemployed Filipinos went up slightly to 2.894 million in January from 2.892 million in the same month a year ago. The same survey showed 37.940 million individuals were employed in January, up from the 37.334 million in the previous year.‐urges‐more‐investments‐agri‐mfg‐sectors   

Banana exports to US seen by June By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines may finally push through with the exportation of Cavendish bananas to the United States by June after several months of delay, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). BPI director Clarito Barron said a work plan for the exportation of bananas to the US has already been approved by both parties. “They (US government) will now give the go signal for the commencement of shipments of highland cavendish bananas,” he said. Eyed for shipment to US defense commissaries are 3,000 metric tons of Cavendish bananas produced by DOLE Philippines. Barron said the Philippines and the US are still discussing possible follow-up shipments. “The demand will still be determined,” he said. Manila tapped the US market after China imposed stricter sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions on Philippine banana exports. Aside from the US, the Philippine government is also talking to Japan, Korea and other Middle East countries for banana exports. Local banana growers and exporters who wish to tap the United States market, must invest in ripening rooms in the mainland. Philippine banana exports rose 111 percent in 2012 despite export restrictions set by China because of increased demand from the country’s premium markets. The local banana industry managed to increase shipments of Cavendish bananas to 3.8 million metric tons in 2012 from 1.8 million MT recorded in 2011 because of increased demand from traditional markets like Japan and Korea, and the opening of new export markets such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Jordan, and other Middle East countries.

Training course for thermal processes for canned foods  (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

MANILA, Philippines - The Food Development Center (FDC) of the National Food Authority (NFA) will conduct a training course on the “Establishment of Thermal Processes for Canned Foods” on June 18-21, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Food Development Center (FDC) Compound, FTI Complex, Taguig City. FDC developed this training course to upgrade the technical capability of retort operators in the operation of thermal processing system specifically to provide basic information on the essential parts and operation of retort equipment and to emphasize the importance of retorting process where safety and stability of canned foods are concerned. The course will last four days with three hours lecture-discussions, 19 hours of hands-on exercises and demonstrations, and two hours examination. The examination on thermal process calculations will be given to participants to monitor the learning process. The course fee is P7,500.00 per participants inclusive of a training manual, lunches and snacks. We encourage interested participants to make their reservations early through payment of the required fee. Please make checks payable to the National Food Authority-Food Development Center. Participants may opt to stay at the FDC dormitory with air-conditioned rooms that can accommodate two persons per room. Adjoining rooms share a toilet and bath with hot shower. Room charge is P790.00 per room per day for double occupancy and P600.00 per room per day for single occupancy. For further inquiries, please contact Sonia B. Tala, National Food Authority, Food Development Center, FTI Complex, Taguig City at Telephone Nos. 838-4014; 838-4561; 838-4478; 838-4601; Fax No. 838-4016 and 838-4692 and at E-mailaddress:

Summer heat likely to affect rice, corn harvest in Q2–DA Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 20:42 THE summer heat is likely to take its toll on the country’s crop harvest in the second quarter, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. In a report, the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) forecast the country’s palay harvest to reach 7.879 million metric tons (MMT) in the first six months, or 0.2 percent lower than last year’s 7.892 MMT. The BAS said the El Niño phenomenon forced farmers to advance cropping in the first quarter, thus bringing down the expected harvest for the succeeding three months. In the first quarter, palay harvest reached 4.17 MMT, or 4.5 percent higher than the 3.99 MMT in the same period last year. Citing the country’s standing crop, the BAS said the second-quarter production, however, would likely ease 4.9 percent to 3.709 MMT this year from 3.900 MMT last year. The area under harvest is expected to have contracted by 2.3 percent to 934,000 hectares this year from 956,000 last year. Likewise, yield per hectare would fall 2.7 percent to 3.97 metric tons (MT) from last year’s 4.08 MT. Despite the lower forecast for the second quarter, the BAS expects palay harvest to be 0.11 percent higher than a year ago, as farmers’ planting intentions indicate that the area under harvest increased by 1.34 percent. Yield per hectare, however, likely fell 1.2 percent to 3.75 MT from a year ago’s 3.80 MT given the high temperatures. “Except in Cagayan Valley, Bicol region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Visayas, Davao region and Soccsksargen [South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos], farmers in the rest of the regions intend to increase their plantings for the thirdquarter harvests,” the BAS said. As for corn, the BAS forecast first-half production to decline by 4 percent to 3.329 MMT this year from 3.469 million last year. This as the area under harvest likely dropped 2.9 percent from 1.112 million hectares last year to 1.079 million this year. As well, the yield per hectare may have fallen 1.1 percent to 3.09 MT from 3.12 over the same period. In the first quarter, corn harvest increased by 11.4 percent to 2.248 MMT from 2.018 MMT last year.For the third quarter, farmers’ planting intentions indicate that production would increase from 2.431 MMT last year to 2.436 MMT this year.

Planting the seeds of change By Nestor Cuartero Published: May 19, 2013

Farmers in Ilocos Norte welcome cacao tree planting project by Seed Core. In this coffee-crazy society, people have seemingly forgotten the beauty and charm of drinking cocoa. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that cacao beans, the raw material for chocolate, remains an untapped commodity in the local market. Reason enough for Seed Core Enterprises, a group that promotes Planting for Social Environmental and Economic Development and Sustainability, to embark on a massive cacao tree-planting project in different parts of the country. In partnership with the local government of Ilocos Norte and LBC Foundation, the project kicked off in 2012 and hopes to plant at least 20,000 cacao trees following a tree-to-market program. Seed Core founder Roberto Crisostomo says the project hopes to provide livelihood to farmers while addressing the worsening deforestation situation in the country. The Philippines is among the top 10 countries that are fast losing their forest covers at a rate of 157,400 hectares per year. On the other hand, over 13,000 cacao seedlings have been farmed out thus far, according to Crisostomo. One must note that the beauty of planting fruit-bearing trees such as cacao is the economic upswing they can bring. Not only do they help reforest and green the environment, they also offer increased livelihood to farmers.

The thinking is that since these trees fetch income for families, farmers will take care of and maintain them till they reach maturity. Many reforestation programs falter due to lack of maintainance. The Philippines is one of only a few countries that can grow cacao, which thrives best in the equatorial belt. The country produces an average of 6,000 metric tons of cacao, compared to Indonesia’s 600,000 MT. In September 2010, the Times of London named a local product, the Davao White Chocolate Nibble Bar, as one of the 10 best chocolate bars in the world. In 2009, Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines president Edward David noted a resurgence in the Philippines’ cocoa industry following a funded agreement with the US Department of Agriculture to strengthen the industry. It was suggested that the country’s more than 2 million hectares of coconut plantations be utilized for inter-cropping cacao. Seed Core is a social enterprise that works with rural farming communities nationwide by providing quality seedling materials and linking farming communities to their markets. It also offers training programs to farmers so that the trees can have a good survival rate. In 2011, Seed Core was awarded by the British Council the top social enterprise award during the ‘I Am A Changemaker’ competition. Starbucks’ Shared Planet Award also honored its sound business plan. (

Philippines eyes more agriculture exports to Singapore By: Orti Despuez,  May 18, 2013 3:21 PM means BUSINESS MANILA - The Philippines is poised to ship more farm produce to Singapore, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA). On the sidelines of the International Food Exhibition 2013, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Lam-Chan Lee Tiang, senior specialist of Singapore's Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), has expressed interest in importing more agriculture products from the Philippines. “We have the manpower and land area to produce quality food products. In fact, we have recorded surplus on certain items,” Alcala said. Alcala said he already ordered the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, the Bureau of Plant Industry and the High Value Crops Development Program to undertake an inventory of products that can be shipped to Singapore. "We are just checking supply to ensure that it can be sustained. Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables they also want processed food. We also have to get the packaging right,” Alcala said. He said Singaporeans are keen on importing fresh fruits such as yellow dragon fruit and durian.

Lim Xiu Qing Joyce, executive manager of overseas food supply at AVA, said vegetable imports from the Philippines account for seven percent of Singapore's total purchases of the products abroad. Philippine fruits comprise only one percent of Singapore's total imports. Philippine Embassy commercial counselor Glenn Pe単aranda said Singapore imports $100 million worth of products from the Philippines.

Searca to assess protected areas in Philippines Category: Biodiversity Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 17:28 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Correspondent THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) will assess the country’s existing protected areas (PAs) as part of a project that it will implement in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH. The project, called the Protected Area Management Enhancement in the Philippines (PAMEPH), aims to enhance the management of 60 existing PAs and establish at least 100 new terrestrial or marine PAs. A key objective of the project is to strengthen at least 60 existing PAs in key biodiversity areas (KBAs). PAME-PH has selected 61 PAs, which are grouped into seven regional clusters. According to Searca Director Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr., the partnership between the research center and GIZ will be a boon to the country, since there is an urgent need for the environment sector to link with the agriculture sector, as the sustainable and sound condition of the former will most certainly have an impact on food and livelihood security, both of which are dependent on biological resources. He explained that Searca is mandated to build the capacities of institutions working in agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia through its core programs in graduate scholarship, research and development, and knowledge management. The Searca chief said the research center will focus on 12 PAs in Region 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces, or Calabarzon) and five in Region 5 (Bicol). The PAs in Calabarzon are the island of Alibijaban, the Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape, the Mts. Palay-Palay Mataas na Gulod Protected Landscape, the Quezon Protected Landscape and the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape. The areas in Bicol are the Abasig-Matogdon-Mananap Natural Biotic Area, the Bicol Natural Park, the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, the Caramoan Natural Park, the Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve, the Lagonoy Natural Biotic Area and the Mt. Isarog Natural Park. These PAs will be assessed and analyzed in terms of their legal, institutional and financial aspects, among others.

Data from the assessment will serve as baseline information for measuring project impacts, as well as the basis for determining the support to be provided to enhance effectiveness in the management of the PAs. Saguiguit said the project hews closely to Searca’s priority thrust on natural-resource management, with special focus on biodiversity conservation.

DAR targets CLOA distribution to Luisita beneficiaries next month Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 18:33 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is confident in completing the land distribution of the 4,335-hectare portion of the Hacienda Luisita of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac by June this year. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the subdivision scheme for the vast tract of landholding was recently completed. With the finalization of the subdivision scheme, three of the most difficult and time-consuming steps in the acquisition process has been completed, including the posting of the master list of farmworkerbeneficiaries and the conduct of the segregation survey done previously. The net distributable portion of the hacienda—4,335 hectares covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program less the unproductive portions, including residential areas, roads, rivers, cemetery and fish ponds—is estimated to be a little over 4,100 hectares, which entitles the 6,212 qualified farmer-beneficiaries, a little over 6,000 square meters each. De los Reyes signed last week the subdivision scheme endorsed by the DAR Provincial Office of Tarlac. The preparation and submission of the required survey returns is now ongoing, after which the various technical descriptions for the 6,212 farm lots will be immediately generated by the survey firm upon the approval of the Land Registration Authority (LRA). The LRA had earlier approved the segregation plan for the landholding. The issuance of Republic of the Philippines titles and Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) will follow in due course, the DAR chief said. As part of the land distribution process, various activities are still being undertaken simultaneously in order for the DAR to meet its self-imposed deadline, in close coordination with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank), LRA, other government agencies such as the Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Dairy Authority, and the Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Training Institute, as well as local government officials in Tarlac. The agricultural support services program for beneficiaries, including the diversified sugar block farming at the Hacienda Luisita, is being firmed up, and a public information campaign for this purpose will be undertaken next week, the DAR chief said.

The social preparation activities for the provision of such support services, including the collection of prescribed forms for the beneficiaries who prefer to have their respective lots located adjacent to others, is also being undertaken. This also includes organizing work for the possible formation of appropriate farmers’ organizations that may serve as conduits for various support services. The DAR chief also reported that the preliminary valuation work of the LandBank is ongoing, with an initial memorandum of valuation having been issued by the LandBank recently. The mechanics of the lot allocation system, he said, has essentially been finalized, and preparations for its implementation have already started. According to the DAR chief, work flows with the Registry of Deeds are now in place to handle the generation of thousands of CLOAs. Jonathan L.Mayuga

Gold production dropped 44% last year; smuggling continues to hound mining sector Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 20:43 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter GOLD production in terms of value substantially dropped in 2012, pulling down the country’s gross output for precious and base metals for the year by 18 percent, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reported. MGB data revealed that metal production value in 2012 reached P100.798 billion against P122.984 billion in 2011. Gold production in terms of value dropped by 44 percent—from P63.14 billion in 2011 to P35.13 billion in 2012. In terms of quantity, gold production dropped by 49 percent, or from 31,120 kg in 2011 to 15,762 kg in 2012. Gold production of small-scale miners, as revealed by gold purchases made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), dropped by 93 percent to P2.3 billion in 2012 from P34.6 billion during the previous year, pulling down the country’s gross output for the precious metal, leading to the conclusion that the small-scale miners continue to sell their gold to buyers other than the BSP. The suspension of the operation of Padcal Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corp. in Benguet in August also contributed to the huge drop in gold production last year. Aside from the Padcal Copper-Gold Project, the Paracale Gold Project of Johnson Gold Mining Corp. in Camarines Norte contributed to the drop in gold production value. Also suspended last year were the operations of the Nonoc Nickel Project of Shuley Mines Inc. and Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc. in Surigao del Norte; and Leyte Magnetite Project of Nicua Corp., also in Leyte. Nevertheless, the year saw several mines going on stream. These included the Siana Gold Project of Greenstone Resources Corp. in Surigao del Norte; the Sta. Cruz Nickel Project of Eramen Minerals Inc. in Zambales; the H.Y. Nickel-Chromite project of Sinosteel Phils. H.Y. Mining Corp. on Dinagat Island; and the Camachin iron-ore mining project of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp. in Bulacan. Silver production, meanwhile, grew by 20 percent in terms of value—from P2 billion (45,530 kg) in 2011 to P2.47 billion (67,477 kg) in 2012.

Among base metals, nickel and chromite posted impressive records, with their hefty value gains of 36 percent and 52 percent, respectively. In terms of percentage contribution to the total production value, nickel sulphides and directshipping ore continued to rule the production scene with a lion’s share of 46 percent, or P46.03 billion. Gold followed with a 35-percent share, or P35.13 billion. Trailing behind is copper, accounting for a 15-percent contribution, or P15.55 billion. Silver, zinc, chromite and iron altogether shared a modest 4 percent, or P4.09 billion. MGB Director Leo Jasareno remains optimistic, however, that the country’s minerals development sector will make a big rebound this year, with President Aquino’s mining policy in Executive Order (EO) 79 and a special task force against illegal mining having been put in place to, among other purposes, counter the rampant gold smuggling in small-scale mining areas. The MGB chief also said the government is fast-tracking the establishment of Minahang Bayan in various parts of the country, which hopes to boost gold production and increase gold purchases by the BSP within the next six months. “The metal production in 2012 is just a jumping board. Remember that EO 79 was signed only in July 2012. We expect to feel the positive impact this year. We are also eyeing to declare at least 15 Minahang Bayan within the year,” he said. He said several Minahang Bayan are being eyed in existing small-scale mining areas such as Compostela Valley, Paracale, Cordillera, Zamboanga and Surigao. The MGB has also allowed Philex to resume the operation of the Padcal mine early this year. This is expected to boost the country’s gold-production output within the next six months. In the next three months, the MGB will start the periodic review of mining operations in the country, pursuant to EO 79, to determine the level of compliance of mining companies, according to contracts awarded by the government, as well as all laws relevant to mining operations in the country. “This year we expect to address the problem on gold smuggling,” he said. Rampant gold smuggling was first reported by the MGB as early as the third quarter of 2011. The lower BSP gold purchase in the third quarter of 2011 was attributed to the imposition by the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the 2-percent excise tax and 5-percent creditable withholding tax pursuant to Revenue Regulation 6-2012 dated April 2, 2012. Jasareno suspected that small-scale miners started to sell gold to other buyers, apparently to elude tax. To prevent gold smuggling, the government created last year the Anti-Illegal Mining Task Force, pursuant to EO 79.‐news/13654‐gold‐production‐dropped‐44‐last‐year‐ smuggling‐continues‐to‐hound‐mining‐sector 

Batanes officials seeking gov’t help vs poaching By Charlie Lagasca (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – The Batanes provincial government is seeking the help of the national government against poaching by foreigners, including Taiwanese fishermen, in its waters. Batanes Gov. Vicente Gato said foreign vessels continue to intrude into the country’s northern waters amid lack of funding support to safeguard its maritime boundary. Batanes is nearer to Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City than mainland Luzon. Apart from Taiwanese, Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese have been arrested for illegal fishing off the island province. Gato said some Vietnamese fishermen are still languishing in Batanes jail. “This rampant poaching is the main problem of our administration as well as other coastal towns in Cagayan Valley, and something must be done to remedy this situation,” he said. Resolve conflict peacefully Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1  

As this developed, a Taiwanese plant manager of a garment factory at the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in Mariveles town appealed to the Philippine and Taiwanese governments to resolve the shooting of his compatriot by exhausting all diplomatic processes. Samson Su, 58, plant manager of Fashion Textile 21, told The STAR that the unfortunate incident should be settled peacefully. Su said he shares the confidence of his compatriots doing business at FAB that both governments would conduct an open probe of the case and that it would not happen again. Su said his government has not issued any notice to pull out from FAB. He said the garment plant, which has 213 workers, mostly women, is exporting its products to the United States, South American countries and Taiwan. Fashion Textile 21 is one of seven Taiwanese factories operating in the FAB. Luis Gonzales, municipal administrator of Mariveles, told The STAR that Taiwanese at FAB are enjoying their stay in the freeport. – With Raffy Viray

GSIS members won’t be penalized for employers’ failure to remit contributions, says general manager By Ronnel W. Domingo  Philippine Daily Inquirer   7:55 pm | Saturday, May 18th, 2013  

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Government Service Insurance System whose premium payments are not up to date will no longer have their access to benefits and privileges suspended, especially since the fault was not theirs but the agencies they work for. Robert G. Vergara, GSIS president and general manager, said in a statement the new policy would take effect beginning July. “It’s wrong that these employees lose their access to GSIS loan windows and dividends when their social insurance contributions are mandatorily deducted from their salaries,” Vergara said. The GSIS considers as delinquent those government agencies that fail to remit at least 90 percent of the mandatory premium contributions for each month or, for those working under an agreement with the pension fund to settle their arrears, fail to comply with the terms of the deal. Vergara said the GSIS board in April approved new measures that address the government agencies’ failure to remit their employees’ contributions in other ways. Also, the new policy provides remedial guidelines for agencies that have been suspended to enable their employees to regain GSIS privileges. The GSIS chief said that suspended agencies may choose any of three options to restore their regular status, the quickest being the full payment of their premium delinquencies. Another option is to restructure their arrears and commit to settling these by entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the GSIS. Finally, under the new policy, the suspension may be lifted if an agency pays at least 90 percent of any three consecutive months’ premium obligations and commits to enter into a MOA with GSIS. GSIS data showed that as of February, there were 252 government agencies that were about to be suspended because of unremitted contributions, about half of which were entities linked to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, while many were local government units.

On the other hand, at least 200 agencies have concluded agreements with the pension fund. This has resulted in the restoration of loan privileges and other benefits to some 800,000 state workers, mostly those with the Department of Education. Vergara said that until the suspended agencies meet their obligations, either in full or as described in the MOA with the GSIS, the retirement benefits of employees will be based on periods with paid premiums. “However, the GSIS will still consider the total length of service in determining the eligibility of members to retirement, or a minimum of 15 years,” he said. Vergara said the GSIS would coordinate with heads of employee unions and personnel offices to inform them of the failure of their agencies to remit the required payments. “We enlist our members’ cooperation to ensure that the mandatory premium obligations and other amounts due the pension fund are remitted to the [GSIS] to guarantee that they receive the correct level of benefits,” he said.   Read more:‐members‐wont‐be‐penalized‐for‐employers‐ failure‐to‐remit‐contributions‐says‐general‐manager#ixzz2ToXGCNeG                            

TVIRD secures ‘social license’ to operate Zambo del Sur mine Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013 18:58 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter THE provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur and the municipal government of Bayog town, through their respective boards, have formally approved the operation of Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. The 26 barangays of the municipality of Bayog, likewise, granted TVIRD their approval for the operation of the mine in Sitio Balabag, which is under the jurisdiction of Bayog. TVIRD holds the mineral production-sharing agreement covering the 4,779-hectare Balabag property and is authorized by the government to operate its gold-silver project in the area. The province’s social license or acceptance of TVIRD operations was documented in a resolution unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). The resolution, 2K13-1151, authored by SP member Edward B. Pintac, said it supports the company’s plans to mine in Balabag. The resolution also cited TVIRD’s mining operations in Sitio Cana-tuan, town of Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte. SP members, led by re-elected Vice Gov. John Regala, inspected the company’s Canatuan mine site prior to the issuance of the resolution that supports TVIRD’s plan to mine in Balabag. The resolution also benchmarked TVIRD’s development of Canatuan and the programs it implemented to rehabilitate the “disturbed areas” in the course of mining operations. TVIRD also vowed to conduct “environmental cleanup” to rid the area of the toxic waste caused by illegal small-scale miners. With the operation of the Balabag mines, the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur, and the municipal government of Bayog expect substantial increase in revenue. Since TVIRD’s Canatuan ope-rations came onstream in 2004, the town of Siocon has since been elevated to first-class municipality, from its status as a fourth-class municipality prior to the entry of the Canadian mining firm. Prior to the approval of the SP, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bayog passed a resolution interposing “no objection” to the forthcoming mining operation of the company. The town’s legislative body passed the resolution, saying that the town is fortunate to have valuable deposits within its territorial jurisdiction and that TVIRD’s mining in Sitio Balabag will

eventually stimulate economic development in the town considering the sizable income that it will earn from mining taxes and fees, as well as infrastructure projects that the company will implement in the area. This was also echoed by the leaders of the 26 barangays of Bayog’s town through separate resolutions. The Sangguniang Pambarangay of Depore, mother unit of Sitio Balabag, urgently asked the national government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to fast-track the issuance of the company’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC), believing that “social problems” in the community will be addressed by TVIRD when it commences its operations. The Depore resolution, which sought the urgent issuance of the ECC, was explicit in saying that its constituents will reap the economic benefits and social-development pro-jects once TVIRD will operate in the area, since it is prompt in paying its taxes and other obligations required by the government. Aside from Depore, the other 25 barangays that passed similar resolutions include Dipili, Pulangbato, Dimalinao, Matin-ao, Supon, San Isidro, Bantal, Balunbunan, Depase, Sigacad, Balukbahan, Deporehan, Datagan, Conacon, Camp Blessing, Damit, Salawagan, Baking, Bobuan, Canoayan, Matun-og, Kanipaan, Dagum, Kahayagan and Poblacion. TVIRD is the Philippine affiliate of Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc. It currently mines copper and zinc in Canatuan, the homeland of the Subanen tribe—the biggest indigenous cultural community in the Zamboanga Peninsula. The company is set to implement the development of its Balabag gold-silver project in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, pending the DENR’s issuance of its ECC and on which it projects some 50,000 gold ounces per year beginning in 2014.‐news/13639‐tvird‐secures‐social‐license‐to‐operate‐ zambo‐del‐sur‐mine             

Sorsogon students win national eco challenge By MST Business | Posted on May. 19, 2013 at 12:01am | 209 views

Team Ecotastic4 of the Gubat National High School in Gubat, Sorsogon became the first ever winners of the RedBullution, a contest open to group of high school and intercollegiate students in the Philippines which aims to find alternative, innovative, student-designed conservation solutions to address the problem of solid waste management.

Four students from a coastal town in Sorsogon who designed a solution to address sewage waste from their public market to the shore were declared the winners of the recently-concluded RedBullution 2012, a national environmental competition sponsored by Red Bull Supreme Energy Drink and World Wildlife Fund. Shown are students Hernalyn Camania, Joanne Stephanie Joven, Kristine Mae Esparas and Kimberly Hermo along with Red Bull Supreme Energy Drink Business Unit head Adolf Alvarez (leftmost) and brand manager Vanessa Villariza. The two-part competition was held from November 2012 to April 5, 2013. The last round saw finalists present their project proposals to a panel composed of Gaby dela Merced, RedBullution Ambassador and youth advocate; Romi Garduce, RedBullution ambassador and mountain climber; Joel Palma, WWF vice president for programs; and Paolo Pagaduan, WWF project manager for sustainable development. Before this, RedBullution held roadshows in several universities and colleges with Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Dela Merced and Garduce as speakers for the solid waste management advocacy.

The winning entry by Ecotastic4 proposed a sewage waste system to manage the waste coming from the public market and local eateries that drain straight to the shore. The students said their coastal town depends largely on fishing, and sewage waste can be a future source of serious concern for it can contribute to the spread of red tide or pose a problem for marine animals, which may result in the loss of livelihood.‐stude hallenge/        

Posted on May 19, 2013 09:58:24 PM

April rebound seen for remittances THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expects remittance growth to have accelerated last month after a slowdown in March.   Central bank Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said Holy Week, among others, had affected the March result of $1.749 billion -- up by only 3% from a year earlier and the weakest growth since August 2009. He said the BSP was also looking into declines in some markets, which he added were "not expected to persist." A long holiday caused by the observance of the Lenten season, meanwhile, led to "delays in fund transfers during Holy Week...". March’s inflows pushed remittances for the year so far to $5.112 billion, a 5.58% jump from the $4.842 billion notched in the same 2012 period and beating the BSP’s 5% growth forecast.


Posted on May 19, 2013 09:29:29 PM

Developments abroad, firms cited as factors   CORPORATE DEMAND and news abroad are expected to continue to influence the peso’s movement against the dollar this week, traders said over the weekend.   The peso shed seven-and-a-half centavos to P41.195 to the dollar last Friday against its P41.12-perdollar finish the week before. “The peso’s performance against the dollar will depend on corporate demand within the week,” a trader said in a phone interview on Friday last week. “We saw the peso appreciate against the dollar last Friday as equity-related inflows came in due to ICTSI’s (International Container Terminal Services, Inc.) recent equity offering. These inflows might continue to come in within the first few days of the week and it will support the peso against the dollar,” he added. On Friday last week, the local currency gained three-and-a-half centavos as proceeds from global port operator ICTSI’s overnight equity offering entered the market and spurred demand for the peso. ICTSI raised P8 billion or roughly $200 million from the sale of some 36.89 million treasury shares and 53.11 million common shares to offshore investors to help fund its $550-million budget this year. In a separate telephone interview, also on Friday, another trader said: “The peso is expected to be range-bound -- its movement will depend on developments in external markets.” “This week there are no scheduled data releases that could heavily impact on the daily peso-dollar trading,” he noted. The peso is expected to trade within the P41.05- to P41.35-per-dollar range this week. -- A. R. R. Gregorio -abroad,-firms-cited-as-factors&id=70451#sthash.egGGAQt4.dpuf

Price monitoring boards set up at QC markets • •

Written by Tribune Sunday, 19 May 2013 08:00

Quezon City’s market development and administration department (MDAD) has joined the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in installing price monitoring boards in different public and private markets in the city in an effort to protect consumers against unscrupulous traders and manufacturers. QC markets where the price monitoring boards were installed include Cloverleaf Market and MC markets in Balintawak, Muñoz market, Mega Q-mart, Tandang Sora (Bayan) market, Litex wet and dry market, New Arayat market and the Villa Sabina market in Barangay Talipapa, Novaliches. Assistant city market administrator Noel Soliven told The Tribune the city government is determined to protect the residents against deceptive sales acts and practices. “Consumer protection will continue to remain a priority program of MDAD,” Soliven said. The first round of installing price monitoring boards in QC markets was conducted in December 2012 covering 11 markets. Price monitoring boards are set up to guide consumers on the prevailing price ranges in the market, he said. These also help vendors on how to entice consumers through competitive pricing by creating more value for money not only for the consumers but also for the local traders. As school opening draws near, the city government, on orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, mobilized members of the city’s local price coordinating council to ensure that prices of school supplies sold to consumers are within the price ceiling set by the DTI. Part of the mobilization includes monitoring of the quality of school supplies sold in the city, the officials said. Arlie O. Calalo  

2013 05 19 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor - gcm  
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