Economy Posted on May 19, 2013 09:24:27 PM
Rice stock inventory drops as of April THE COUNTRY’S rice stock inventory as of the start of April dropped compared to last year, as no imports were received by the country during the period. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) showed that total rice stock inventory as of April 1, 2013 was 11.8% lower at 2.33 million metric tons (MT) compared to the 2.64 million MT posted in the same period last year. Compared to the previous month, however, the country’s rice stock was higher in April by 20.1% from the 1.94 million MT in March. Rice stocks in March were also lower by 3.5% from the 2.01 million MT recorded during the same period last year. NO IMPORTS University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Food and Agribusiness Executive Director Rolando T. Dy, said in a text message that the decrease in April was recorded as there were no official imports to the country in the first quarter. Mr. Dy further explained that the recorded decrease has thus far shown no effect on prices as "there appears no upward rise in retail prices." Data from BAS showed that the adjusted retail price of rice in the first quarter of this year was down by 0.23% to P35.32 per kilo from the P35.40 in the last quarter of 2012. The bureau reported that stock levels as of April 1 in households and commercial warehouses increased by 1.3% to 1.07 million MT and 26.9% to 0.67 million MT, respectively. Rice stocks held by the National Food Authority (NFA), however, dropped by 44.4% to 0.58 million MT from last year’s 1.05 million MT. NFA recently announced that the country had chosen Vietnam to supply 187, 000 MT of rice to the Philippines. This supply from Vietnam will be added to the country’s current buffer stock, the NFA earlier explained.
NFA Administrator Orlan A. Calayag told reporters last April 30 that the shipment from Vietnam should begin this month until mid‐June. Compared to March 1, BAS reported that rice stock inventory in April was the higher in all sectors. Household stocks rose by 26.3% in April, while stocks on commercial warehouses increased by 31.6%. Stocks in NFA depositories increased by 0.9%. The country’s total rice inventory will be enough for 68 days, where household stocks will last for 31 days, commercial warehouse stocks for 20 days, and NFA depositories good for 17 days, the agency said. Of the total inventory level, household stocks account for 46%, commercial warehouse stocks with 29%, and NFA depositories (where 23% is imported rice) account for 25%. CORN SUPPLY Corn stock inventory, on the other hand, increased by 39.6% to 299,100 MT as of April 1 from last year’s 214,200 MT. Compared to March, corn stock inventory in April was up by 58.9% from 188,200 MT. Household stocks rose by 5% to 119,900 MT, while stocks in commercial warehouses increased by 78.8% to 178,800 MT. Corn stocks in NFA depositories rose to 40,000 MT from 1,000 MT. Commercial warehouse stocks account for the majority of total inventory with 59.8%, followed by household stocks with 40.1%, with the remaining 0.1% from NFA depositories. ‐‐ Ysabel Y. Pascual http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Rice‐stock‐inventory‐drops‐as‐of‐ April&id=70449#sthash.IVOIK3SR.dpuf
DA commends farmers for recent rice, corn, onion exports Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 19:41 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) begins its celebration of Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month at the agency’s main office in Quezon City on Monday by lauding the farm sector for making modest inroads into the global food market. “Today, we give thanks and recognition to the contribution of the men and women who paid heed to the government’s call for food sufficiency and sustainability,’’ Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said. He commended farmers who have consistently contributed to economic growth, stressing that they were able to ship rice and other crops to other countries in the last three months. On March 16, 20 metric tons (MT) of yellow granex onions from Nueva Ecija province were shipped to Osaka, Japan, as part of the DA’s partnership with the National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association. Forty days later, 166 MT of small red onions or lasona from Regions 1 (Ilocos) and 2 (Cagayan Valley) were sent to Indonesia, courtesy of the Vegetables Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association (Vieva). On April 29, 24 MT of mixed corn silage from Pangasinan province were shipped to Busan, South Korea, through the initiative of Ploughshares Inc. and with the support of the DA. On May 6, the DA, in collaboration with Vieva, the Don Bosco Multipurpose Cooperative (DBMPC) and SL Agritech, sent 20 MT of Jasponica-variety rice and 15 MT of organic black rice to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
And on May 15, 15 MT of black, brown and red organic rice, courtesy of the DBMPC, were delivered to Hong Kong. “These are testaments to the Filipinos’ competitiveness, [as well as] showing to the world that we can make it,’’ Alcala said. Stronger partnership FARMERS and Fisherfolks’ Month, which has “Magsasaka’t Mangingisdang Pilipino: Kaya nang Makipagsabayan sa Buong Mundo [Filipino Farmers and Fishermen: Able to Keep Pace with the World]” as its theme this year, will highlight the stronger partnership of the DA with the private sector and non-governmental organizations in penetrating international markets for locally grown produce. The event will also serve as a venue for weeklong cooking demonstrations and other preparations of various agri-fishery products, including brown rice, corn, cassava, tanglad, stevia and asitava. A tiangge (flea market) will be held inside the DA compound, where produce from local farms are for sale. Created under Presidential Proclamation 33, Farmers and Fisherfolk’s Month is celebrated every May to give “due recognition to farmers and fishers’ invaluable contribution to nation-building.” Marvyn N. Benaning
In Photo: A farmerworks separately from others at a rice field in Bayombong town, Nueva Vizcaya province. (Nonoy Lacza)
Rice export thrust hailed Published : Monday, May 20, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 69 Written by : Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
A LAWMAKER yesterday hailed the announcement of a high official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that rice producers and traders will export rice in May, the first time the commodity will be exported in large volumes in 40 years. Marikina City Rep. Marcelino Teodoro said the country’s capacity to export rice after 40 years is a brilliant breakthrough and a promising economic boost for the country. “We have been producing quality grains of rice for the past decades and it is but suitable that we expand our market abroad,” Teodoro said. Teodoro said the country can only speculate on the ability of the local rice producers to supply the requirements of other countries, but if the government will fully support the farmers, there is no doubt the country can meet the target rice exports. “Besides, it will be the Philippines’ pride to be branded as the premium rice producer and exporter in Asia,” Teodoro stressed. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/50680‐rice‐export‐thrust‐hailed
Search on for top PH farmers By Tina Arceo‐Dumlao Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:09 am | Monday, May 20th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—Milagros Ong How, executive vice president of top fertilizer manufacturer and distributor Universal Harvester Inc., says she did not learn about the complex field of agriculture from books or in classrooms. Rather, she says, she developed her knowledge with the help of the best teachers, the farmers who tirelessly work the land, and fishermen who go out to sea so that Filipinos will have food on their table. Their knowledge and skills are invaluable, says How. Unfortunately, they do not get enough credit for the vital role that they play in Philippine society. She says this desire to elevate the status of Filipino farmers made it easy for her to support the program of the Philippine Jaycees (JCI Philippines) to search for outstanding Filipino farmers. The recognition program is entering its second year, and How says she and JCI Philippines want to identify more of the unsung heroes and, hopefully, encourage more Filipinos, especially the youth, to venture into agriculture. The search for The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM) was revived last year to acknowledge the important contribution of the massive agriculture sector to the economy. The awards also seek to recognize the best among fisherfolk, animal raisers, cooperatives, farm communities, organizations, agriculture scientists, academe, local government units and public employees, as well as private firms in rural and urban areas that contribute to the agriculture sector. This year, TOFARM Project chairman Rommel Cunanan says an award will go to the country’s best woman farmer to recognize the growing number of women who are making a difference in agriculture. This is part of an effort to improve the awards program and encourage more people to go into farming. “This is a really rewarding and lucrative field, and if our young are really the hope of the fatherland, as Dr. Jose Rizal said, they should go into farming to ensure the steady flow of generations who will ensure us adequate and sustainable food supply,” Cunanan says.
The nomination period for Outstanding Farmer candidates began in March and will end in September. Awarding will take place in December. Nominations may be submitted as hard copy or sent online to www.tofarm.org. How is confident that this year’s awards will generate even more interest than last year’s event. “TOFARM 2012 only scratched the surface in identifying farmers with best practices and extraordinary achievements. In TOFARM 2013, we want to explore new territories and discover other achievers who have not yet been recognized for their contributions to our country,” says How. http://business.inquirer.net/122745/search‐on‐for‐top‐ph‐farmers
Farmers insist on quick cash distribution of coco-levy fund Category: Nation Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 17:52 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter THE Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the claimants movement Coconut Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) reiterated on Sunday the call for the immediate cash distribution of the coconut levy fund to the legitimate owners. Wilfredo Marbella, deputy secretary general of KMP and spokesman of CLAIM said cash distribution of the coco-levy funds “in the form of social benefits, including medical and hospitalization benefits, maternity benefits and educational assistance including scholarships, among others, are more important to small coconut farmers than dole-outs or even road projects,” which he said are highly vulnerable to corruption. Marbella said their group supports the enactment of House Bill 3443 or the proposed Coconut Levy Funds Administration and Management Act filed by Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, which seeks to establish a council composed of coconut farmers themselves to manage the funds. KMP and CLAIM object to the Aquino administration’s plan to include P120 billion of the coconut-levy funds in the 2014 budget. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, in a memorandum to agency heads, indicated that the use of the coco-levy funds starting in 2014 is to promote “inclusive growth” and to make people feel the benefits of the country’s economic growth. The proposed “integrated coconut industry and poverty reduction road map” is now with President Aquino. “Abad’s plan to use the coconut-levy funds will surely face small coconut farmers’ resistance nationwide. This so-called road map is the very same anti-coconut farmer program prepared by Joel Rocamora and the National Anti-Poverty Commission,” Marbella said. Marbella said the Aquino administration’s plan to use the coconut-levy fund for programs like the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer Program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms is unacceptable. “Aquino, Abad and Rocamora did not contribute even a single centavo to the coco-levy funds. They do not have the right to use our money,” Marbella said.
The DBM memo also states that, “Dire poverty occurs among coconut farmers even while there is a huge growth potential from the coconut industry, with around $935 million in annual export receipts and 5.2-percent value added contribution in agriculture.” Abad noted that based on official data, around 28 percent of coconut farmers have no access to a national highway, 21 percent are 5 kilometers or more away from a national highway, and 13 percent are more than 2 km but less than 5 km from a national highway. “This indicates that the Aquino administration will again use our money for ‘farm-to-pocket’ roads despite the Supreme Court’s crystal clear ruling that the coco-levy funds must be used only for the benefit of small coconut farmers,” Marbella said. “The multibillion coconut-levy funds will be Abad and Aquino’s offering to incoming members of the 16th Congress,” he added. Marbella said poverty persists in coconut-producing regions mainly because of high land rent, the imposition of resicada, low prices of copra, and other semi-feudal forms of exploitation, and not due to the lack of access roads. “Farm-to-pocket roads will not solve the lingering poverty and hunger suffered by small coconut farmers. We don’t want so-called road projects that only benefit corrupt local officials. We want our money back,” Marbella added. Part of the coconut-levy fund has been recovered by the government. The P56.5 billion from the 27 percent from San Miguel Corp. is deposited in escrow by the PCGG at the Bureau of Treasury. The P13.5- billion dividend earning is with the United Coconut Planters Bank deposited as a special drawing account and earning 3.5 percent to 3.6- percent interest. P1.33-B Luisita earnings’ distribution snagged A STANDOFF between parties in the selection of a firm that will do the audit of Hacienda Luisita’s books threatens to delay payment to qualified farmer-beneficiaries their share from the P1.33 billion proceeds as a result of two land deals made by Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI). As ordered by the Supreme Court (SC), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is facilitating the auditing process but is having a hard time convincing concerned parties to agree to even the process of selecting the auditing firm that will do the audit. Aside from approximately 6,600 square meters of land, each of the 6,212 farmer-beneficiaries will get a share from the proceeds of the two land deals, less the legitimate corporate expenses incurred by HLI, thus the need to conduct the audit. The United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), however, are insisting that HLI should be excluded in the selection process and wants the DAR to award the contract for the audit to its recommended auditing firm.
Both demands were denied by the DAR. In a statement, the groups accused the DAR of sabotaging the auditing process. Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao, the official who is facilitating the selection process, earlier told the BUSINESSMIRROR that HLI is a party in the land distribution process, as well as the audit of the books that will determine the legitimate corporate expenses deductible against the P1.33-billion earnings of HLI as a result of the sale of 500 hectares of land to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and another 80 hectares to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) for the right-of-way of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project. The SC order on April 24, 2012, directs HLI to shoulder the cost of the audit, he added. To be audited are the book of accounts of HLI and its holding company, Centennary Holdings. Lito Bais, Ulwu and Amabala spokesman, said HLI should be excluded in the selection process because its financial statements will be the one to be audited. He also insisted that its recommended audit firm is supported by majority of the parties, except HLI. But the DAR is holding on to an earlier agreement by all the concerned parties requiring interested auditing firms to submit documents that will determine the firms’ qualifications to do the audit. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes 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 auditing firm. As the facilitator of the process with the concurrence of the parties and in accordance with the directive of the SC in its final and executory decision on April 24, 2012, the DAR chief expressed hope that the agreement will continue to hold, as this will expedite the selection of the firm by early next month at the latest. The official noted that the SC had ordered that the selection of the firm should be approved by all the parties. 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. With Marvyn Benaning http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/nation/13669‐farmers‐insist‐on‐quick‐cash‐ distribution‐of‐coco‐levy‐fund
Military helps transport giant clams By Elena L. Aben Published: May 20, 2013 Manila, Philippines -- As part of the “Bayanihan” thrust on environmental protection, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday transported 100 giant clam breeders, locally known as “taklobo,” to Bohol. The “taklobos” were fetched by military trucks from the Ocean Nursery in Bolinao, Pangasinan and brought to the airport in La Union, to be loaded on a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 cargo plane that transported the giant clams to Tagbilaran, Bohol. It was the second time that the AFP provided support and assistance in transporting giant clams to Bohol. The first was made in February when the military also airlifted a first batch of 100 giant clam breeders from Pangasinan to Bohol. The giant clams are expected to attract other marine species by providing nutrition and shelter to small sea animals. This venture is seen by the government of Bohol as a way to address poverty incidence which they emphasize is one of the root causes of insurgency. This is also aimed at ensuring food security for the people of Bohol without sacrificing vital marine resources in protected areas. Giant clams measure between 18-35 inches and are known to produce micro organisms that serve as food to small fish. They also provide sanctuary to other marine life. Maj. Ramon Zagala, chief, AFP public affairs office (PAO), said it was critical for the operation to the fast and safe, since any delay in the schedule will threaten the 11 hour-transport survival of the giant clams. “By providing the C130 plane and M35 trucks, the AFP will shorten the time needed for the swift transportation and seeding of the giant clams,” said Zagala. According to the AFP PAO chief, the partnership between the provincial government of Bohol and the AFP highlight the importance of civil-military collaboration to address the incidence of poverty, which is considered one of the causes of insurgency. “The AFP and the province of Bohol already has many years of partnership, particularly during the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan, that was earmarked as the Bohol experience,” said Zagala. “Through the partnership of the local government, private organizations and individuals, and other stakeholders, the anti-insurgency efforts of the AFP in Bohol was successful and accounted for the further improvement of tourism and economy of the province,” he said. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12762&sid=1&subid=3#.UZmjyUprqrE
DA cites farmers, fishers Published : Monday, May 20, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 32 Written by : Cory Martinez
The country pays tribute to the outstanding labor force of Philippine agriculture as the Department of Agriculture celebrates Farmers' and Fisherfolks’ Month (FFM), with the theme “Magsasaka't mangingisdang Pilipino, kaya nang makipagsabayan sa buong mundo.” ''Today, we give thanks and recognition to the contribution of the men and women who paid heed to the government's call for food sufficiency and sustainability,'' Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said. Alcala also expressed gratitude to farm workers who have consistently contributed to the national economic growth and have been a part of a milestone in Philippine agriculture as batches of various produce were exported to other countries from March to May, this year. Last March 16, 20 metric tons of yellow granex onions from Nueva Ecija was shipped to Osaka, Japan as part of the partnership of DA and the National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association (NOGROCOMA). Forty days later, 166 MT of small red onions or lasona from Ilocos and Cagayan Valley Regions were delivered to Indonesia courtesy of the Vegetables Importer, Exporters and Vendors Association (VIEVA). On April 29, a total of 24 MT mixed corn silage feed for cattle was shipped to Busan, South Korea through the initiative of Ploughshares, Inc., with the support of DA. The feed was sourced from corn plants in Pangasinan. On May 6, through the collaborative efforts of VIEVA, the Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DBMPC) and SL Agritech, DA embarked on yet another milestone in Philippine agriculture as a total of 35 MT rice (15MT organic black and 20MT Jasponica variety) was shipped to Dubai. Last May 15, another batch of 15MT black, brown and red organic rice courtesy of the DBMPC was delivered to HK. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/50689‐da‐cites‐farmers‐fishers
Int'l Agriculture Fair kicks off in Serbia (philstar.com) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 10:00am
NOVI SAD, Serbia (Xinhua) - The 80th International Agriculture Fair (IAF) kicked off Saturday in Novi Sad, Serbia, with over 1,500 exhibitors from more than 60 countries. Named as one of the top five agricultural fairs in Europe by Eichberg Ag Trade Show Report, IAF in Novi Sad covers the whole food production chain, from crop seeds to food packaging. "Agriculture coupled with food processing industry is now contributing more than 20 percent of Serbia's GDP (gross domestic product), but it is still underdeveloped as it still faces difficulties, depend on climate circumstances," said Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic while opening the expo. "Serbia is the garden of Europe but it is still far from being a giant in agriculture industry as we import much more food than we have to. We have to turn this trend around," he added. Drawing from eight decades of tradition, the International Agricultural Fair, also known as May Fair, has established itself as most prestigious expo in southeast Europe, and became a prominent international platform for cooperation in agribusiness and food processing industry. Companies from Hungary, Latvia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Romania, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia, China, Poland, India, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, France and Norway are present at the fair in Novi Sad. The fair will last till May 24.
NFA namahagi ng bigas sa BASULTA Ni Angie dela Cruz (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Namahagi ang National Food Authority (NFA) ng may 162,037 sako ng bigas sa mga residente ng Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) bilang suporta sa mga nagsibalikang mga Pilipino mula sa Sabah Malaysia. Ang naturang mga benepisyaryo ng bigas ay galing sa Sabah na umalis doon dahil sa nagdaang Sabah standoff. Noong April 30, nagpadala ang ahensiya ng 2,200 sako ng bigas sa pamamagitan ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) para sa mga taga Tawi-Tawi at Sulu. Ayon sa NFA, normal na ang sitwasyon sa BASULTA laluna sa halaga ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin pero kailangan pa nilang tulungan ang mga residente upang unti-unting umangat ang kabuhayan. http://www.philstar.com/bansa/2013/05/19/943777/nfa‐namahagi‐ng‐bigas‐sa‐basulta
Phl ranks 23rd in quality management of resources By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The government was urged to make sure that it is getting a fair share in the extraction of mineral resources. In its 2013 Resource Governance Index, New York-based Revenue Watch Institute gave the Philippines a composite score of 54 out of 100, ranking it 23rd among 58 resource-rich countries surveyed for quality of management of oil, gas, and mining sectors. The composite score was described as “partial,” next to “satisfactory” and above “weak” and “falling.” Released last week, the index assesses the quality of four key governance components in natural resource management: Institutional and legal setting, reporting practices, safeguards and quality control, and enabling environment. “The index finds that only 11 of the countries surveyed – less than 20 percent - have satisfactory standards of transparency and accountability,” the report said.
Revenue Watch said the Philippines ranked in the top half of countries surveyed on all four components, suggesting that the government has made meaningful progress toward improved resource governance. Ranking on top of the index were Norway, the US and United Kingdom with composite scores of 98, 92 and 88. At the bottom of the list were Equatorial Guinea, Turkmenistan and Myanmar with composite scores of 13, five and four. As a way forward, Revenue Watch calls on governments of resource-rich nations to disclose contracts signed with extractive companies; ensure that regulatory agencies publish timely, comprehensive reports on their operations, including detailed revenue and project information; extend transparency and accountability standards to state-owned companies and natural resource funds; curb corruption and respect civil, political and freedom of the press; and adopt international reporting standards for governments and companies. In its country-specific report, Revenue Watch said the Philippines’ natural mining resources include major copper deposits, chromium, gold, and silver. “However, with low royalty rates and an ineffective fiscal system, the government receives only a small share of this resource wealth,” the report said. Revenue Watch said the Philippines produced 11 percent of the world’s nickel supply in 2010. Minerals made up eight percent of its merchandise exports in 2011, it added. The government is preparing to legislate a new revenue sharing scheme to give the state a larger share of revenue from the extractive industry. Revenue Watch recognized the good institutional and legal setting governing the extractive industry in the Philippines but noted the “notorious” delay in remittance of the revenue share of local government units hosting mining companies. Revenue Watch also noted the “uneven disclosure of mining data” in the Philippines. “The current administration provides more information than its predecessors,” the report said. “Maps of licensing areas are posted online and copies of contracts can be requested from the director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. However, joint operating agreements between the state-owned Philippine Mining Development Corporation and private firms are not made public, and access to environmental impact assessments is still restricted. “The central bank is the main source of data on production, foreign direct investment, and mining exports. Local governments are less transparent, and their failure to accurately report on artisanal mining skews national statistics.” http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/20/944122/phl‐ranks‐23rd‐quality‐management‐resources
Sino si Alyas Boyet Evangelista? •
Monday, May 20, 2013, 0:03
ISANG IMPORMANTE ang tumawag sa inyong lingkod upang ilahad ang impluwensya ng isang mahiwagang tao na gumagamit ng alyas Boyet Evangelista. Si Evangelista raw ay bagyo sa Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) at sa Philippine Road Board (PRB). Ang taong ito raw ay nakalalabas-masok sa opisina ng mga matataas na opisyal ng nasabing mga tanggapan. Siya raw ang nilalapitan ng mga contractor na nais makakuha ng juicy contract sa mga tanggapang ito. Hindi raw pumapalya ang mga ipinapangakong kontrata ng taong ito sa mga contractor para sa mga nasabing tanggapan kahit gaano pa kalaki ang pinag-uusapang halaga ng kontrata. Maging ang mga kontrata raw na nangangailangan ng bidding ay kaya niyang maipanalo. Ang catch nga lang raw ay humihingi siya ng 10% commission sa halaga ng bawat kontrata. Ang pag-require niya ng advance na 5% sa mga contractor ang una niyang agad na inilalatag sa mga lumalapit sa kanya. Ang natitirang 5% ay saka na raw niya sinisingil kapag lu-mabas na ang Sub-Allotment Release Order para sa ipinangako niyang kontrata mula sa Department of Budget and Management. Ang pangalan ng taong ito ay putok na putok daw sa construction community at labis siyang pinagkakatiwalaan ng mga contractor dahil wala pa siyang tinatakbuhan at palaging nakadedeliver ng pangako. Dahil dito, nako-corner niya ang maraming kontrata sa DA, NIA, DPWH at PRB. Ang tanong ngayon, sino kaya ang mga koneksyon ng taong ito sa nasabing mga tanggapan? Nakasisiguro tayong mga decision-maker at hindi pangkaraniwang mga opisyal ang kanyang mga kakilala rito. At sino naman ang mga decision-maker sa DA, NIA, DPWH at PRB? Daang matuwid pa rin? Ang mga maniniwala ay hindi na matuwid ang pag-iisip!
NOONG MAY 2, 2013, may ipinalabas na press release si Leah Cruz, ang presidente ng Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association (VIEVA). Sa nasabing press release, inihayag ni Cruz ang planong pag-export umano ng ating bansa ng mga shallot – isang uri ng sibuyas natin – sa mga bansa tulad ng Malaysia, Singapore at Indonesia. Pinuri ni Cruz ang Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) dahil ito raw ang nagbigay-gabay at nagturo sa atin ng magagandang agricultural practices. Noong May 7, 2013, sa isa pang press release ni Cruz, sinabi niyang ang Pilipinas raw ay magsisimulang mag-export ng bigas sa Dubai sa mga darating na panahon. Bakit hindi rin magpalabas ng press release si Cruz para ibigay ang kanyang pahayag ukol sa mga pumuputok na alegasyon hinggil sa kanyang pagkakaroon umano ng monopoly sa import permits na iniisyu ng BPI para sa pag-angkat ng mga bawang? Bakit hindi rin magbigay ng pahayag si Cruz tungkol sa usapin ng mga kuwestiyonableng “extended” import permit na binubusisi ngayon ng Bureau of Customs ngunit patuloy pa ring nakalulusot hangga’t hindi nagbibigay ng official statement ang BPI ukol dito? Ayon sa isang mapagkakatiwalaang source sa loob ng BoC at BPI, ang gumagamit ng mga “extended” import permit na ito ay mga kumpanya na pagmamay-ari umano ni Cruz. Makai-lang beses naming tinawagan si Cruz sa kanyang tanggapan sa VIEVA upang kunin ang kanyang official statement hinggil sa isyung ito, ngunit palagi kaming bigo. Ang inyong lingkod ay mapakikinggan sa programang Wanted Sa Radyo sa 92.3FM, Radyo5, Lunes hanggang Biyernes, 2:00 – 4:00pm. Ito ay kasabay na mapanonood sa Aksyon TV Channel 41. Para sa inyong mga sumbong, mag-text sa 0908-87TULFO at 0917-7WANTED. http://www.pinoyparazzi.com/sino‐si‐alyas‐boyet‐evangelista/
Central Mindanao is PHL's top coffee producer May 20, 2013 12:18 am COTABATO CITY, May 19 — Coffee continues to dominate other crops in Central Mindanao making it the leading producer in the country. According to AgriPinoy High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Regional Coordinator Danilo Centillas, Region-XII – which is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Saranggani and the cities of Koronadal, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong and Gen. Santos – had produced 27,869 metric tons of coffee last year. He said coffee farmers in the region, especially in Sultan Kudarat, had brisk harvest making it the number one agriculture commodity in the region. It also made Region 12, also known as Soccksargen, as the leading coffee producer in the country. Centillas attributed the high coffee production in the region to the assistance extended by the Department of Agriculture (DA) like the dispersal of high variety planting materials and seedlings. With its current state, Centillas urged coffee farmers to double their efforts to be more productive and earn more profits. ”This is like hitting two birds with one stone since having plenty of coffee trees in the forests help cushion the impact of climate change,” Centillas said. Aside from coffee, the region also made waves in other production of agricultural crops. In fact, Region 12 was second nationwide in the production of pineapple with 800,055 metric tons produced last year and rubber production of 169,745 metric tons. Coming in third at the national level production was high variety and banana for export with 1,155,348 metric tons produced last 2012. Centillas said the region has fertile soil and typhoon-free thus making it ideal for agriculture. (PNA) PDS/NYP/EOF http://balita.ph/2013/05/20/central‐mindanao‐is‐phls‐top‐coffee‐producer/
UPLB study cites herbicide (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The use of the herbicide Gramoxone significantly increases the revenues of Filipinos farmers while helping protect and preserve farm soil. This was revealed in an extensive study done by several professors of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB). The study documented the effects of the use of Gramoxone on the lives of farmers tending farms planted with leading Filipino staple crops, including sugar cane, corn, and vegetables. The study was done by the team led by Prof. Cesar Quicoy, chairman of the UPLB College of Economics and Management, and which included UPLB assistant professors Julieta delos Reyes and Roselle Collado. According to the UPLB team, previous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Gramoxone in controlling weeds. “However, there is a need to know the existing conditions of Philippine farmers who use this herbicide in order to validate and propose more appropriate solutions to the weeds and erosion problems confronting the agriculture sector,” the UPLB team said. The UPLB team said the study revealed that the increase in profitability is the result “of the savings in the cost of labor for land preparation and weeding during crop maintenance.” “The use of Gramoxone reduced tillage (soil preparation through plowing or mechanized methods),” the team said. “This, in turn, resulted to reduction in labor cost,” they added. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/20/943998/uplb‐study‐cites‐herbicide
Nation Posted on May 19, 2013 10:17:34 PM
BFAR‐Region 10 beefs up force to guard marine resources CAGAYAN DE ORO ‐‐ The regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR‐10) has beefed up the number of wardens to cover coastal areas in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental. In a statement issued Friday, BFAR‐10 said the new fish wardens have completed a one month on‐the‐ job training in enforcing the law on fisheries. "The fish wardens [have the] authority to implement fishery laws together with members of the Philippine National Police, as well as those from other authorized agencies," read the statement. During the completion of the training, BFAR‐10 turned‐over a unit 16‐horsepower marine engine to the local government of Alubijid through Mayor Armando M. Elarmo. As counterpart, the municipal government will fabricate a boat to mount the engine. David F. Ernacio, officer‐in‐charge of BFAR‐10, said the municipal government has the jurisdiction over the management, protection and conservation of its waters. Mr. Ernacio noted his town is endowed with marine and fishpond areas and salt farms essential for fish production. "If the marine area is not protected from illegal fishing, no bangus fry can be gathered for culture in the municipality’s fishponds," he added. BFAR‐10 has also responded to a request from two disabled fisherfolk from the town for fishing materials such as nets, floats and lead sinkers. ‐‐ CHC http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=BFAR‐Region‐10‐beefs‐up‐force‐to‐ guard‐marine‐resources&id=70467
Nation Posted on May 19, 2013 10:26:43 PM
More areas to benefit from social welfare program MORE COMMUNITIES in Mindanao are set to receive social welfare packages after the rollout of the expanded Sajahatra Bangsamoro caravan next month, a Cabinet official said yesterday. Sajahatra which means peace, blessing and prosperity, includes scholarship programs, cash‐for‐work project and upgrading of health facilities in the community. It was launched in January in Sultan Kudarat, near the main camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in partial fulfillment of the peace plan inked between the government and Moro rebels in Malacañang last October. Identified communities in Tawi‐Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, and Maguindanao will be provided with health benefits, scholarship grants and livelihood support, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene D. Almendras said in a statement. The caravan is expected to run until November of this year. "It’s a real program," Mr. Almendras said, who is also chairman of the government Task Force for Bangsamoro Development. "It touches the lives of real people," he added. Under Administrative Order (AO) 37 signed on Feb. 13, the Task Force Bangsamoro Development is responsible for continuing the Sajahatra Bangsamoro. The launch in January was attended by President Benigno S.C. Aquino III himself to show the government’s seriousness to end the decades‐long conflict in Mindanao. The GPH (government of the Philippines) Task Force on Bangsamoro Development is led by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary in collaboration with the Department of Health, Department of Education,
Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Commission on Higher Education, Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), among others. "What we’re doing here is breaking barriers. The GPH cannot do this without the MILF. We are only as strong as our partnership," OPAPP Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo said in the same statement. "In doing the Sajahatra, the GPH and the MILF are focusing on our shared aspirations for the Bangsamoro so that the Moro youth will have brighter prospects for their future," he added. ‐‐ N. M. Gonzales http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=More‐areas‐to‐benefit‐from‐social‐ welfare‐program&id=70472
China halts imports of New Zealand meat By Nick Perry Associated Press 10:49 am | Monday, May 20th, 2013
FILE PHOTO WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Hundreds of tons of frozen mutton, lamb and beef from New Zealand have been stranded on Chinese docks after China halted imports from the country due to a certification dispute. China is New Zealand’s largest export market and its largest consumer of sheep meat. China has blocked all New Zealand beef and sheep meat that has arrived there in the past two or three weeks, said Dan Coup, trade and economic manager for the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand. The meat sitting in freezers at the docks is worth tens of millions of dollars. Because it is frozen, it will last months, Coup said. Exporters changed the branding on their certificates in March after New Zealand government departments merged. Because the meat is transported in ships, he said, it would have taken several weeks before products with the new branding arrived. There is no health or safety issue and officials are working to resolve the issue, Coup said.
But if the dispute drags on, he said, there’s a risk that Chinese buyers will look elsewhere for meat and that exporters will get hit with big storage fees. New Zealand government figures show meat exports to China increased significantly in the months before the dispute began. In the first quarter of 2013, New Zealand exported sheep meat worth 204 million New Zealand dollars ($165 million), beef worth NZ$73 million, and edible offal worth NZ$5 million to China. Over the past year, China consumed NZ$600 million of meat. If the pace of the latest quarter continued, the market this year would almost double to NZ$1.1 billion. “We value our close working relationship with China and remain confident that this issue can be resolved,” said Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries, in a release Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/412325/china‐halts‐imports‐of‐new‐zealand‐ meat#ixzz2TnoiFceh
Local bets’ proclamation is complete – Comelec By Leslie Ann G. Aquino Published: May 20, 2013 Manila, Philippines --- The proclamation of winning local candidates is almost 100 percent complete, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said yesterday. ‘Wala naman kami sinuspend na local proclamation e…kaya tuloy-tuloy lang yun,” he said in an interview. “Wala din naman kami natatanggap na information or questions on local proclamations,” he added. To recall, the Comelec had earlier authorized their field officials to proclaim the winning candidates in their localities despite not being able to complete the canvassing of all the votes. Comelec Resolution 9700 gave permission to Municipal, City, and Provincial Boards of Canvassers to proclaim winning candidates as soon as they are able to determine that the remaining votes will not affect the results any longer. The Comelec said they decided to come up with the resolution in accordance with the request of several Provincial Boards of Canvassers (PBoCs), Municipal Boards of Canvassers (MBoCs), and City Board of Canvassers (CBoCs). The commission en banc said several requests have been made from lower level boards of canvassers for them to be allowed to proclaim winning candidates despite not being able to complete transmission of all results “for varied reasons.” Some of those already proclaimed in the local race are: In Cebu, former Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, won as 3rd district representative; Hilario “Junjun” Davide III won as governor; Michael Rama won as Mayor and Edgardo Labella as Vice-Mayor. In Cavite, the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed outgoing Tagaytay Mayor Abraham Tolentino as the new representative of the province’s seventh district while his wife Agnes won as Tagaytay City Mayor. Actor Jolo Revilla also won as Cavite Vice-Governor. In Metro Manila, among those proclaimed were Joseph Estrada as Manila Mayor, Laarni Cayetano as Taguig Mayor, Herbert Bautista as Quezon City Mayor, and Junjun Binay as Makati Mayor among others.
Today, the Comelec NBOC is also set to resume the canvassing of votes for party-list at their main office in Intramuros, Manila. The Comelec hopes to finish the canvassing of votes for the 2013 party-list race in 10 days. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, in an interview, said they are looking to finish the canvassing of party-lists in 10 days and proclaim the 58 duly-elected party-list representatives. This early, Brillantes said they are already anticipating to encounter more problems in the partylist. “We are already anticipating that there will be more problems in the party-list,” he said. First on the commission en banc’s agenda, Brillantes said, is to settle what to do with the votes received by the 12 party-lists that they have disqualified out of the 123 groups listed in the ballots. “We are going to meet early to discuss certain amendatory rules to speed up the process. At the same time, we are also waiting for the data on the 12 disqualified groups so we can officially settle their issues,” he said. The poll body, meantime, removed any window of opportunities for former Senator Richard Gordon to be able to sneak inside the Magic 12. Brillantes said their proclamation of the 12 winning senators is already deemed final. “There is no more issue here. It is finished. We computed all the figures and there is no way that the 13th placer will be able to go into the Magic 12,” he said. On Saturday night, the NBoC completed the lineup of the 12 new senators after it proclaimed the final three winning senatorial candidates in the person of Team PNoy’s Cynthia Villar and United Nationalist Alliance’s (UNA) JV Ejercito Estrada and Gregorio Honasan. Based on the 129 out of 304 Certificates of Canvass (COCs) representing 39.9 million votes, Villar placed 10th with 13,696,120 votes with Estrada (13,552,991) and Honasan (13,070,031) placing 11th and 12th, respectively. Gordon is at 13th place with 12,364,091 votes amassed, which is 705,940 votes lower than Honasan’s. Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim backed Brillantes saying it is already statistically impossible for Gordon to be able to edge out Honasan. This, he explained, is because the remaining uncanvassed votes are only at around 355,000, mostly from the overseas absentee voting (OAV).
“Even if in the remaining COCs Sen. Honasan will have zero votes and all votes are given to Gordon, he (Gordon) still can’t be higher (than Honasan),” said Lim. Brillantes, though, assured everyone that the remaining uncanvassed COCs will still be accounted and canvassed despite the proclamation. Last Thursday, the NBoC had already proclaimed Grace Poe-Llamanzares (20,147,423); Loren Legarda (18,482,961); Allan Peter Cayetano (17,408,543); Francis Escudero (17,332,952); Nancy Binay (16,645,515); and Juan Edgardo Angara (15,858,995). On Friday, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV (15,388,992), Aquilino Pimentel III (14,584,612) and Antonio Trillanes IV (13,995,603) were also proclaimed at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum in Pasay City. All the 12 new senators will begin their six-year terms on June 30 and will end in 2019. Meanwhile, Brillantes said he is preparing his “expose” on who’s behind his constant critic – the Automated Elections System (AES) Watch. “We have long been on a lookout on who are these people behind AES Watch. These people behind are good but those noisy ones, I don’t know what their roles are,” he said. “AES is a group of… It’s not even an organization. It is also not registered anywhere … Just wait and I will just expose who these people are,” added Brillantes. The poll chief, however, is no longer interested in filing a case against the AES Watch just as he threatened last week. “I will not file cases anymore. I will just expose them after the proclamation of the party-lists. They made our life difficult. Now, they should watch out how I get a payback,” said Brillantes On Saturday, the AES Watch said the 2013 election is even worse than the first nationwide automated election in the country in 2010. In its statement, the group said the Comelec has turned the second automated elections “from bad to worse.” “Just like in 2010, the implementation of the second automated election cannot pass the standards of the IT industry. How can the elections be credible when it is conducted by a most un-transparent Comelec, led by an incredibly insensitive chairman, who is prone to arbitrary decisions and abuse of authority?” said the AES Watch.Asked for his reaction on the latest statement of the group, Brillantes said, he does not even want to respond to the latest criticisms of AES Watch, saying they have long been out to discredit the whole electoral system. “It comes out and has been talking for the last four years about so many things. I think, all this time, they have been planning to undermine the elections,” he said.
“And until now, they are still not running out of words so they are really up to no good,” added Brillantes. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12808&sid=1&subid=1#.UZmf4EprqrE
PNoy starts preparing for SONA By Genalyn D. Kabiling Published: May 20, 2013 Manila, Philippines --- The hard task of putting together President Aquino’s next State of the Nation Address (SONA) has commenced. The President has directed concerned Cabinet members to submit their accomplishment reports that will form part of his annual address to the nation this coming July, according to Palace officials. This will be Aquino’s fourth SONA before Congress since he assumed office in 2010. It is the annual speech in which the President has the opportunity to talk to the nation and tell everybody about his accomplishments for the past year, his plans for the year ahead, and his proposed legislations to Congress. “Yes we are working with PMS (Presidential Management Staff) and have begun to discuss with the President,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin when asked about preparations for the President’s upcoming SONA. Carandang, who supervises the Speech Writers Group of the President, added that his team started discussions on SONA last month. Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also confirmed that preparations for SONA started before the midterm elections. “Departments have been directed to prepare inputs for SONA,” he said in a separate text message. Coloma said the President will be “truthful” when he delivers his SONA on the fourth Monday of July. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12809&sid=1&subid=1#.UZmhJ0prqrE
Private sector holds ‘key’ to more jobs Category: Top News Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 21:16 Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter SOLVING the problem of unemployment in the country requires the help of the private sector as government alone cannot do it given its limited resources, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan pushed for “stronger coordination” among the government, the private sector and academe as one way of resolving the issue of joblessness in the Philippines. “The private sector holds the key to the generation of high-quality and sustainable jobs that our country needs. A stronger coordination [between] the government and academe will help us address the unemployment problem that the country is facing,” Balisacan said in a recent forum organized by the Ayala Foundation Inc. at the Ayala Museum in Makati City. He noted that the rate of unemployment in the country, even among college graduates, is “very high.” Citing a January 2013 report of the National Statistics Office (NSO), Balisacan, also director general of Neda, said about 2,000 people were added to the ranks of the unemployed. “The rate of unemployment is very high among college graduates, which partly reflects a mismatch between what is produced by schools and what is required by the market. This also shows that there is insufficient conversation between the schools and the firms,” he added. Because it has limited resources, the government is focused on providing a “catalytic mechanism” for the private sector to create these jobs. Balisacan said government resources also need to be allocated to various sectors including health, education, infrastructure and national security. “Government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector. We do not want to solve the unemployment problem with a Band-Aid solution to create jobs,” he added. The Neda has encouraged colleges and universities to tie up with businesses and industries to solve job mismatches and increase the number of available jobs.
This move, Balisacan said, is crucial to expanding employment opportunities in agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, business-process outsourcing, housing, infrastructure and logistics. “These opportunities can be enhanced through increasing the employability of new job entrants through proper and sufficient training. But higher education institutions must also be encouraged to foster tie-ups with businesses and industries, aside from the government,” he added. The Neda director general also cited current government programs that train new graduates, such as the Government Internship Program, Special Program for the Employment of Students and apprenticeship programs with the private sector. According to the NSO’s Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate in the Philippines reached 7.1 percent in January, higher than the 6.8 percent registered in October 2012. This meant that 2.89 million Filipinos were jobless according to the January survey, compared to the 2.76 million recorded in October. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐news/13709‐private‐sector‐holds‐key‐to‐more‐jobs
18 percent of unemployed Pinoys are college graduates – NSO By Ted Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - At least 18 percent of unemployed in the country today are college graduates, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO). The NSO has reported that in January 2013 alone, 608,000 people were added to the labor force. However, the number of employed increased only by 606,000, meaning another 2,000 were added to the ranks of the unemployed. Speaking at a recent forum organized by the Ayala Foundation Inc. at the Ayala Museum in Makati City, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the figures point to a disturbing high rate of unemployment among college graduates. “The rate of unemployment is very high among college graduates, which partly reflects a mismatch between what is produced by schools and what is required by the market. This also shows that there is insufficient conversation between the schools and the firms,” Balisacan, who is also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said. He said stronger support from the private sector is needed in the creation of sustainable jobs to improve the lives of Filipinos. The government admits that stronger coordination with academe and the private business community will help the country address the unemployment problem, he added. The NEDA director general said the government is focused on providing a catalytic mechanism for the private sector to create more jobs. This is because government resources are limited, with competing demands from various sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, and national security, among others.
Balisacan said government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector. The state should not attempt to solve the unemployment problem with a band-aid solution to create jobs, he said. He added the government is looking into expanding employment opportunities in several priority sectors, including agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO), housing, infrastructure, and logistics. “These opportunities can be enhanced by increasing the employability of new job entrants through proper and sufficient training. But higher education institutions must also be encouraged to foster tie-ups with businesses and industries, aside from the government,” Balisacan said. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/20/944121/18‐percent‐unemployed‐pinoys‐are‐ college‐graduates‐nso
GSIS members to have benefits, perks restored By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:01 am | Sunday, May 19th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—Members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) whose premium payments are not up to date would 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 will 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. Three options 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. Mainly DepEd employees 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. Further, 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 will 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: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/411833/gsis‐members‐to‐have‐benefits‐perks‐ restored#ixzz2TnsLZTOC
UN appointment: Commission on Audit chosen Food and Agriculture Organization’s External Auditor Published: May 20, 2013 The re-appointment of the Philippines’ Commission on Audit (COA) as External Auditor of the United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) is another recognition of COA’s expertise in the field of international audit. It was approved during the 146th Session of FAO’s Finance Committee in Rome, Italy, on April 22-26, 2013. The Philippine Audit body will serve for a period of six years, starting in 2014. It was selected over Germany and United Kingdom in the short list of candidates. COA was first elected on June 18-22, 2007, at the FAO Council’s 132nd session with a four-year term from 2008. Its term was extended for the period 2012-2013 during the 141st session of the FAO Council on April 11-15, 2011. COA had gained other international recognitions in the past: On May 16, 2011, it was elected as External Auditor of the World Health Organization at its 64th Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. On March 3, 2012, it was elected to a three-year term in the governing board of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) at its 12th Assembly in Jaipur, India. The COA is an independent commission created by the Philippine Constitution, to examine, audit, and settle all accounts and expenditures of the funds and properties of the Philippine Government. It has the exclusive authority to define the scope, techniques, and methods of its auditing and examination procedures. It may prevent and disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive, and extravagant expenditures or uses of government funds and properties. It hosted the 11th triennial convention of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions in Manila on April 19-27, 1983. Serving both developed and developing nations, the FAO, a UN specialized agency, leads international efforts to promote food security, ensuring that people have regular access to enough food and lead active, healthy lives, and to bring development to rural areas. We congratulate the Commission on Audit headed by Chairman Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan and Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Rowena V. Guanzon, and United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon and Food and Agriculture Representative in the Philippines Toshihiro Tanaka, for the selection of the Republic of the Philippines as FAO’s External Auditor. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY! http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12785&sid=1&subid=4#.UZmmC0prqrE
Gov’t websites secure, official says By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A government official has assured the public of the security of government websites recently affected by cyber attacks that allegedly originated from Taiwan. Roy Espiritu, communications head of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), told The STAR yesterday that most websites affected by the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks last week are now up and running. Espiritu said they are working hard to keep the sites operational, stressing that government portals – especially those that are maintained by ICTO – are secure from possible attacks in the future. He said they are looking into the possibility of incorporating security measures to beef up the defenses of government websites. He said they are waiting for funds that would enable them to install features, such as the one incorporated in the Official Gazette website, to mitigate the effects of a DDoS attack. DDoS attacks are mounted to shut down an Internet site by flooding it with access requests and overload its server handling capabilities. Websites affected by successful DDoS attacks are inaccessible. The Official Gazette website (gov.ph) is protected from DDoS attacks by CloudFare, which offers security by checking the integrity of browsers and looking for threat signatures from users who wish to access the site. DDoS attacks are dependent on the number of people trying to access the website at the same time. Espiritu noted that even the most secure websites could be affected by such attacks. In 2010, websites of both Visa and MasterCard were affected by a DDoS attack mounted by supporters of whistleblower organization WikiLeaks.
Last week, several Philippine government websites became inaccessible due to an alleged DDoS attack in retaliation over the death of a Taiwanese fisherman supposedly shot by members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on May 9. Among the sites affected by the attack include those of the Office of the President, Senate, House of Representatives, Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The websites of various departments and other national agencies were also affected and were inaccessible to the public. The incident happened days before the May 13 elections. Earlier reports added the website of the Department of Science and Technology, the department in which ICTO is an attached agency, was also defaced by alleged Taiwanese hackers. A random check of the affected sites yesterday showed the website of the Office of the President (op.gov.ph) and the Philippine Coast Guard (coastguard.gov.ph) remain inaccessible. The rest of the affected sites are now operational. Espiritu said they are now working to put the still inaccessible websites back online. He said they have not recorded any incidents of DDoS attacks against government websites this weekend. Reacting to the release of alleged log-in information of dozens of Philippine government websites, the ICTO official said the list appears to be “bogus” as they have not detected hacking incidents using the said log-in information. The said list was released via a link posted on the Twitter account of Hacktivist group Anonymous Taiwan. Earlier, reports from Taiwanese media said similar DDoS attacks, apparently emanating from the Philippines, rendered some of their government’s websites inaccessible. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/19/943724/govt‐websites‐secure‐official‐says
Employees of delinquent GSIS borrower to get back benefits Category: Economy Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 19:49 Written by Paul Anthony A. Isla / Reporter DELINQUENT debtors in government’s pension fund can heave a brief sigh of relief: accounts won’t get suspended anymore. The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said on Friday that beginning July, government employees working in agencies who are delayed or deficient in their premium payments will not have their loan privileges suspended. In a statement, the GSIS said the new policy also provides remedial guidelines for agencies already suspended so that public employees’ GSIS privileges can be restored. On April 25 the GSIS Board approved a new policy that addressed agencies’ non-remittance of premium contributions, without resorting to the suspension of the loan privileges of its employees. “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,” Robert Vergaram, GSIS president and general manager, was quoted in the statement as saying. The GSIS said suspended agencies may choose any of three options to restore their regular status. Vergara explained delinquent agencies are defined as those who fail to remit at least 90 percent of the mandatory premium contributions for a due month (10th day of the following month) or comply with the terms of their agreement. These agencies will receive the appropriate demand letter and a subsequent notice of default from GSIS should the amounts remain unpaid. GSIS added that these notices will remind agencies that GSIS has not received the prescribed amount for the due month and continued non-payment will reduce their employees’ entitlements, adversely impacting their loanable amounts and retirement benefits. GSIS added that suspended agencies may pay their premium delinquencies in full, or restructure their arrearages and commit to settling these through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the state-run pension manager. Also, they can have restored status upon payment of at least 90 percent of any three consecutive months’ premium obligations beginning July 2013 and sign an undertaking to enter into a MOA with GSIS for the settlement of its premium deficiencies.
To date, GSIS said more than 200 agencies have concluded similar agreements with the pension fund—restoring the full benefits of over 800,000 employees, including the Department of Education. Vergara said unless the suspended agency pays its arrears in full or honors its obligation to pay under the terms of the agreement, retirement benefits of employees will be based on periods with paid premiums. “However, GSIS will still consider the total length of service in determining the eligibility of members to retirement, or a minimum of 15 years,” he added. GSIS will also coordinate with agency authorized officers and heads of employees’ union and personnel office to inform them on the failure of their agencies to remit the required payments. The board’s decision was welcomed by several government employees’ groups. “We are so glad that the new GSIS board is implementing reforms in their policies to help small earners among government employees make both ends meet,” said Benjie Valbuena, chairman of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Manila Public School Teachers’ Association. “Thanks for the dramatic improvement in treating members. GSIS officials now listen to members and consider our opinion. We hope this will be maintained,” said Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) Chairman Benjo Basas. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/economy/13697-employees-of-delinquentgsis-borrower-to-get-back-benefits
Customs warehouse swoop nets P25-M smuggled goods Category: Economy Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 19:49 Written by Paul Anthony A. Isla CIGARETTES and seasonings were among consumer goods believed to be smuggled from China were confiscated by Customs operatives during a raid Friday. The Bureau of Customs said the raid by its Intelligence Group (BOC-IG) operatives, under Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim, of two warehouses in Tondo, Manila, yielded P25-million worth of goods and merchandise believed to be illegally imported from China. Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon said in a statement that the raid was undertaken by virtue of a letter of authority issued pursuant to Section 2536 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines. Biazon said the owners of the storage areas failed to present proof of payments for the duties and taxes of their importations. He added that the owners failed to present documents for the following items: boxes containing nearly 30,000 reams of cigarettes bearing the Marlboro, Winston and Fortune brands; 432 boxes of Knorr Sinigang Mix; and, 23 boxes of Maggi Magic Sarap containing 150 boxes of the condiment per box. The BOC official said a delivery van parked outside the storage area also yielded the illegally imported commodities â€œAllowing these illegally imported commodities to reach the local market [sans government certification] could pose health risks to the Filipinos,â€? Biazon said. For his part, Lim stressed that their probe on the people behind this smuggling attempt shall be comprehensive and in-depth, if only to stop and discourage future attempts to smuggle, especially of basic kitchen commodities such as these condiments. The kitchen condiments were placed in boxes labeled as vermicelli to conceal their brands. Paul Anthony Isla http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/economy/13696-customs-warehouse-swoopnets-p25-m-smuggled-goods
GSIS not suspending members’ privileges By Chino S. Leyco Published: May 20, 2013 State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will not suspend its members’ loan privileges even as they are working with government agencies that are delayed or deficient in remitting premium payments. Robert Vergara, GSIS president and general manager said that the pension fund for government workers will also provide remedial guidelines for agencies already suspended so that their employees’ privileges would be restored. In April, the GSIS approved a new policy to address the non-remittance of premium contributions, without resorting to the suspension of the loan privileges of its employees. “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 in a statement. Under the new GSIS policy, suspended agencies may choose any of three options to restore their regular status. First, the agency may pay its premium delinquencies in full. Second, restructure their arrearages and commit to settling these through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with GSIS. And the last option is to pay at least 90 percent of any three consecutive months’ premium obligations beginning July 2013, as well as sign an undertaking to enter into a MOA with GSIS for the settlement of its premium deficiencies. To date, more than 200 agencies have concluded similar agreements with the pension fund -restoring the full benefits of over 800,000 employees, including the Department of Education. Vergara explained that unless the suspended agency pays its arrears in full or honors its obligation to pay under the terms of the agreement, retirement benefits of employees will be based on periods with paid premiums. However, GSIS will still consider the total length of service in determining the eligibility of members to retirement, or a minimum of 15 years. This latest policy forms part of the continuing efforts of the Board and Management to provide a more member-focused and responsive service to its more than 1.4 million active members. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12735&sid=2&subid=80#.UZmooUprqrE
Fitch affirms ratings of four PHL banks Category: Banking & Finance Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013 20:21 Written by Paul Anthony A. Isla CREDIT-RATING agency Fitch Ratings recently affirmed the ratings of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO), the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank). In a statement late last week, Fitch said the banks’ ratings outlooks are stable, and that their longterm issuer default ratings and national long-term ratings were driven by their viability ratings. According to the credit-rating agency, the credit strengths of the four banks are their stable deposit bases, satisfactory liquidity, high core capitalization and rising loan loss reserves. It said these are counterbalanced by varying degrees of structural issues faced by the banks, including their concentrated loan books, foreclosed properties with modest reserves and developing corporate-governance standards, alongside the presence of conglomerates as controlling shareholders. BPI’s ratings are supported by its established domestic franchise, sound and steady financial metrics and prudent management record through economic cycles. Those of the DBP and LandBank, meanwhile, reflect their satisfactory financial profiles, albeit with asset-related and state-influence risks, including policy-led loans and government-directed exposures. And BDO’s ratings reflect its growing domestic presence and funding strength, high capitalization and reserves, improving but still-modest profitability, and reasonable asset quality. The banks’ stable outlooks reflect Fitch’s expectation that they will largely maintain steady risk profiles over the near- to medium-term, underpinned by a benign domestic economy, manageable corporate leverage and low interest rates. Lending activities and fee-based income growth are backed by domestic demand, with rising overseas remittances and business-process outsourcing countering the fragile global economy. Fitch said this backdrop, alongside strong foreign inflows, is likely to increase brisk expansion of credit activities (especially in property lending) and asset prices in the Philippines. It added, however, that based on its own stress testing the large banks are in a strong position to weather reasonable deterioration in the operating environment, due to their funding and lossabsorption capacity. The credit-rating agency said it expects the domestic regulator to act promptly to prevent excessive risks building up within the system. It added that the rating upside for large Philippine banks may stem from sustainable improvements in the broader operating and regulatory environment.
Fitch also said upgrade prospects are low in the near term for BPI, whose ratings are currently the highest among the Philippine banks it rated. It added that the same can be said for DBP and LBP, whose ratings are already high among major domestic banks and for quasi-policy banks. The rating agency also noted that for BDO, an upward rating action may arise from a steadier credit profile, with its profitability and loan growth moving closer to the levels of higher-rated Philippine banks while maintaining its capital and funding strengths, reasonable asset quality record and reserve levels. Further build-up of risks (such as from that of strong property-sector growth) may also limit the prospect of upside rating potential, all else being equal. Paul Anthony A. Isla http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/banking-finance/13700-fitch-affirmsratings-of-four-phl-banks
Gov’t debt reaches P5.28 trillion By Chino S. Leyco Published: May 20, 2013 The national government outstanding debt increased by 3.8 percent year-on-year at end-March 2013 to P5.281 trillion due to higher borrowings from the domestic market. Data from the Bureau of Treasury released over the weekend showed that the increase from P5.09 trillion at end-March last year was realized after a 13 percent growth in domestic debts. Of the total debts, 64 percent is owed to local creditors, while the remaining 36 percent is to domestic lenders. “From 59 percent a year ago, the increased share of domestic debt results from the government’s expansion of domestic borrowing to reduce foreign exchange risk and harness ample market liquidity,” the treasury bureau said in a statement. As of the first quarter of the year, local obligations of the national government stood at P3.406 trillion from P3.01 trillion in the same period last year. While the local debt rose, the government’s foreign debt dropped by 9.6 percent as of March to P1.875 trillion from P2.074 trillion a year ago. The decline in government’s foreign debt was due to strong peso against the US dollar. However, the government’s debt dropped by 0.8 percent month-on-moth at end-March from P5.325 trillion. On the other hand, total guaranteed debt of the national government went down to P480 billion from P549 billion a year ago. Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima earlier said that the national government is planning to preterminate some of its expensive development loans. Purisima said that the government was already reviewing its “relatively higher cost” Official Development Assistance (ODA) that can be pre-terminated. National Treasurer Rosalia B. De Leon said that the government plans to pre-terminate some of its loans with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). De Leon said that the government has the fund to finance the ODA prepayment. “We’re awash with cash and we intend to buy dollars from the [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] to settle these ODAs,” De Leon said in phone interview.
But she also said that the government may also sell local dollar bonds within the year after the Aquino administration has decided to scrap its entire foreign commercial borrowing program. De Leon said that the government will shift its programmed $2-billion offshore commercial borrowing into the domestic market, raising the domestic component in this year’s financing plan to between 85 percent and 90 percent. Purisima earlier said that the government sees much favorable opportunity in the domestic market when it comes to borrowings. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=12724&sid=2&subid=9#.UZmttUprqrE
Mining firm, local groups join hands for nature By Daxim L. Lucas Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:07 am | Monday, May 20th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—Getting one’s voice heard in this day and age can be a challenge, especially when there is a multitude of voices in society speaking loudly and frequently. For individuals, especially from the marginalized sectors of society, getting policymakers to hear one’s concerns—when there are a multitude of concerns to be addressed simultaneously—is especially difficult. But some people in Mindoro, who want to help preserve the island’s diverse ecosystem, have apparently found their voice through an unlikely partner, none other than a large mining firm. Indeed, residents of the island’s two provinces comprising 30 people’s organizations with a combined membership of over 5,000 formed Alyansa Laan sa Kaunlaran at Kalikasan, Laban sa Kahirapan (Alas-Ka) four years ago to address issues related to poverty, development and environmental protection. Alas-Ka members recently celebrated their group’s founding anniversary in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro through a clean-up drive. At the same time, they renewed their call for the lifting of the moratorium on mining in both Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro, which halted the activities of Norway-based Intex Resources Philippines Inc. as it approached the final stages of its mining feasibility study for the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP). Straddling both provinces, the MNP area has the potential to become the largest nickel producer in the country with the only refined nickel-metal plant. Alas-Ka members—many of whom live in communities that will directly benefit from the nickel mine—look forward to the realization of Intex’s development plans for the two provinces. The nickel mine is expected to be a boon for both Mindoro provinces as the mining-based industrial development will add to the island’s traditional trades. “We continue to grow in number and strength compared to our previous years as an organization),” Alas-Ka chairman Danny Martinez told members during the cleanup drive organized by the group. Growing from 24 founding members, Alas-Ka has grown into a 5,000-strong organization, which now undertakes livelihood and environment projects, and enjoys the benefits of a seed fund.
For its part, Alas-Ka’s partner, Intex, will adopt “an innovative mining approach that promises to leave minimal environmental footprints and a prosperous Mindoro island,” said community relations and development manager Andy Pestaño. “The approach entails the full utilization of all the mining process components—from raw materials to end products, including consumables, energy, by product, and waste materials,” he added in a statement. “The ore will be mined, processed, and refined in Mindoro and shipped from Mindoro by people mostly from Mindoro and with payment to banks in Mindoro.” Meanwhile, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) official Daniel Estareja called for the continued collaboration among people’s organizations, government, and the private sector for the management of mineral resources and protection of the environment. He also stressed that Alas-Ka members should remain unified in their stance to promote the industrialization of Mindoro by looking for alternative ways to counter poverty. One of these alternatives, he said, is minerals development, which he believes can be done responsibly. Alas-Ka is actively participating in the implementation of Intex’s Livelihood Enhancement through Agro-Forestry (LEAF) project, a tree planting and plant propagation program designed to encourage local farmers to better utilize their land and establish sustainable income, growing over time as more crops reach harvesting age. Members of Alas-Ka have planted rubber trees on a 15-hectare plantation and will expand to 150 hectares as soon as the rubber seedlings are ready. Apart from livelihood development, Intex is also implementing projects in the areas of education as well as health and sanitation for residents of Mindoro Nickel Project’s host communities. http://business.inquirer.net/122739/mining‐firm‐local‐groups‐join‐hands‐for‐nature
Gov’t keeps export target By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The government remains optimistic it can meet the 15-percent growth target this year even as merchandise exports declined year-on-year in the first quarter, an official said. “We are always on the optimistic side...This year, we are hoping for the much awaited snapback,” Export Development Council (EDC) executive director Senen Perlada told reporters in a chance interview. He said the EDC is sticking to its 15-percent growth goal for total exports this year even as merchandise exports for the first quarter decreased year-on-year. To achieve the 15- percent growth and reach $81.53 billion this year, merchandise exports will have to increase by 15 percent to $61.10 billion, while service exports will have to rise by five percent to $20.43 billion. Latest data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) however, showed that merchandise exports dropped by 6.2 percent to $12.080 billion in the first quarter from the $12.876 billion in the same period last year.
The lower merchandise exports resulted from the still weak performance of shipments of electronic products. Outbound shipments of electronic products which accounted for the bulk of total exports, fell 30.29 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to $4.706 billion. “What we supply mostly are (electronic) products for PC (personal computer) and tablets but smartphones is the name of the game,” Perlada said. To hit the exports growth goal this year and make up for the weak performance of electronic products, he said the government wants to promote other products. “We are always trying to find other products for exports,” he said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/20/943981/govt‐keeps‐export‐target
Seminar on meat, fish processing set (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Golden Treasure Skills and Development Program will conduct a one-day seminar on meat and fish processing at the SMX Convention Center, Mezzanine Flr., Rm. 14 and 15, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on May 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants will get to experience how to make Chinese peking duck, tocino, longganisa, traditional ham, bacon, burger patties, tapa, embotido, kikiam, Chinese sausage, nuggets, chicken ham, fish ball, daing, tuyo, (dried fish) tinapa (smoked fish) fish burger, spanish style sardines, bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) and bangus deboning. There will also be a bonus course on how to make ice cream and sorbet. Each participant will receive a certificate of training right after the seminar. There will be food tasting experience to get to taste the finished products. Lunch and snack will be served, handouts, and all the raw materials for hands-on will be provided. For questions, call 913-65-51; 421-15-77; 436-78-26; cel. no. 0905- 205-0110 and 0949-9308487 or log on to www.GoldenTreasureSkills.com or like us on facebook. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/20/943999/seminar‐meat‐fish‐processing‐set
GSIS cancels policy on delayed payments (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) announced that beginning July 2013, government employees working in agencies who are delayed or deficient in their premium payments will not have their loan privileges suspended anymore. The new policy also provides remedial guidelines for agencies already suspended so that their employees’ GSIS privileges can be restored. On April 25, the GSIS board approved a new policy which addressed agencies’ non-remittance of premium contributions, without resorting to the suspension of the loan privileges of its employees. “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,” said GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara. “This is a welcome development because public school teachers heavily depend on GSIS loans to pay for the schooling of their children. We are so glad that the new GSIS board is implementing reforms in their policies to help small earners among government employees make both ends meet,” Benjie Valbuena, president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and Manila Public School Teachers’ Association (MPSTA) said upon hearing the news. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/05/20/943994/gsis‐cancels‐policy‐delayed‐payments
Focus on lead content Toxic supplies advisory By Ferdinand Fabella | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:02am | 159 views A public health advocate is warning parents against buying cheap school supplies in Divisoria, Manila, and Cubao, Quezon City found to contain lead, a chemical that impairs brain functions. The EcoWaste Coalition said it bought samples of various items from retailers in Divisoria, Araneta Center and Mega Q-Mart in Cubao and found out that all had lead of up to 50,000 parts per million (ppm). “Parents should be extra careful when buying products that are designed to aid a child’s development, but could ironically contribute to reduce intelligence and school performance due to their secret lead content,” Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said. Tested samples were Yong Xin two hole puncher, 50,900 ppm; water color set, 45,200 ppm; colored thumb tacks, 38,500 ppm; colored butterfly clips, 26,600 ppm; play magnet set, 19,500 ppm; colored paper clips, 15,300 ppm; play black board, 2,372 ppm; PVC metal ruler, 1,722 ppm; PVC plastic envelope, 551 ppm; and pencil, 266 ppm. Dizon said the findings were beyond the United States limit of 90 ppm for lead in paint and surface coatings.Bessie Antonio, a pediatric toxicologist at East Avenue Medical Center, said lead interfered with the crucial development of a child’s brain and the damage caused by chronic, low-level exposure to lead was irreversible and untreatable with life-long impact. “Studies indicate that damage to a child’s developing brain happens even if there are no obvious signs of lead poisoning. There is no such thing as safe level of lead exposure for vulnerable kids whose brains and other vital organs are still immature,” Antonio added. The EcoWaste Coalition also monitored lead up to 5,752 ppm in kiddie backpacks, 3,347 ppm in lunch bags and exceeding 100,000 ppm in reusable water containers. “We have removed leaded gasoline through the Clean Air Act. It’s high time that we act on other sources of lead pollution,” Dizon said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/20/focus‐on‐lead‐content‐toxic‐supplies‐advisory/
Immigration bureau reforms set By Vito Barcelo | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 332 views Processing of visa applications and payment of fees at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have been automated as part of reforms to cut red tape and improve services to the public, BI Commissioner Ricardo David said on Sunday. He said receipts for payments were computer-generated and BI office have access to information in the same data base, which resulted in faster processing of applications and other transactions. “This ensured us that all fees due to the government are accurately assessed and fully collected,” David said. The BI has been struggling for years behind an image of corrupt officials and poor services in its offices. BI has 45 offices in various parts of the country. It caters mainly to foreigners applying for various forms of visas and permits to stay in the country. But in the past several years, Filpinos here and from abroad have been lining up to apply for dual citizenship. David said procedures were being simplified to speed up processing of visa applications and under the new system “we expect to eliminate fixers, who have victimized so many people in the past.” At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said the 70-year-old Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 needed to be amended to promote national security and economic development. “The 70-year-old statute has gone through several piecemeal amendments and revisions but it is still inadequate at meeting the pressing demands of the changing times,” Belmonte said. “We have to create a more effective immigration enforcement agency and, in the process, strike a balance between protecting the people from undesirable aliens while providing channels to benefit the country in terms of tourism and investment opportunities,” he said. Belmonte said the amendments was designed to strengthen the function of BI as the gatekeeper and primary economic agent, taking into account the duty to safeguard our national borders while fostering investments. “This is geared towards making the country more attractive to foreign tourists and investors, which will, in turn, help stimulate economic development and job generation,” Belmonte said.With Maricel Cruz
Palace inserts P120-b coco levy in ‘14 budget By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 330 views
Funds meant for 2016 pork barrel, angry farmers say FARMERS on Sunday protested the inclusion of the P120-billion coconut levy fund in the national budget for 2014, and accused the Palace of planning to use the money as pork barrel for the 2016 presidential elections. The farmers belonging to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Coco Levy Fund Ibalik sa Amin said the Palace will dangle the funds before the newly elected lawmakers. “The multibillion coco levy funds will be [Budget Secretary Florencio] Abad’s and [President Benigno] Aquino’s welcome offering to the incoming members of Congress in the form of pork barrel for hard projects,” KMP deputy secretary general Wilfredo Marbella told the Manila Standard. In a 13-page memorandum to government heads of agencies dated April 25, 2013, a copy of which was furnished the Manila Standard, Abad said the coco levy funds would be used to build farm-to-market roads in coconut-producing provinces to “maximize the impact of the SC ruling.” But the farmers called those projects “farm-to-pocket roads.” Abad said while there was a huge growth potential from the coconut industry with $935 million in annual export receipts, some 28 percent of coconut farmers still have no access to a national highway, 21 percent are five kilometers or more away from a national highway, and 13 percent are more than two kilometers from a national highway. But the farmers said roads were not the answer to dire hunger and poverty. “The dire poverty exists mainly due to high land rent, the imposition of resicada, low prices of copra and other semi-feudal forms of exploitation and not due to lack of access roads,” said Marbella.
The coconut farmers rejected the roads and demanded their money back in cash, so they could use them for social benefits such as medical and hospitalization benefits, maternity benefits and scholarships for their children. The peasant groups also issued a statement after they said Abad indicated that the use of the coco levy funds starting in 2014 was one of the administration’s approaches to promote “inclusive growth.” Abad’s memorandum said the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) approved an “obligation budget ceiling” of P2.268 billion for 2014 on Feb. 15, 2013. The budget ceiling is up by P262.1 billion or 13.1 percent compared to the 2013 budget level of P2.006 trillion, Abad said. Abad also said the proposed Integrated Coconut Industry and Poverty Reduction Roadmap is now with President Aquino for approval. “This priority program (coconut roadmap) will also maximize the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on the public nature of the coconut levy funds in October 2012,” Abad said. “Abad’s plan to use the coconut levy funds will surely face small coconut farmers’ resistance nationwide. This so-called roadmap is the very same anti-coconut farmer program prepared by Joel Rocamora and the National Anti-Poverty Commission,” Marbella said. “This clearly demonstrates that the Aquino administration and his coco levy fund mafia are itching to use our money for graft-ridden programs like the controversial conditional cash transfer program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms,” Marbella said. He said Aquino, Abad and Rocamora did not contribute even a single centavo to the coco levy funds. “They do not have the right to use our money,” Marbella said.
“This indicates that the Aquino regime will again use our money for ‘farm-topocket’ roads despite the Supreme Court’s crystal clear ruling that the coco levy funds must be used only for the benefit of small coconut farmers,” Marbella said. He said only corrupt local government officials would greatly benefit from the coco levy funds as they would be awarded with massive road infrastructure projects. “We don’t want so-called road projects that only benefit corrupt local officials. We want our money back!” Marbella said. The farmers groups have been pushing for the immediate cash distribution of the coco levy funds “in the form of social benefits including but not limited to pension benefits, medical and hospitalization benefits, maternity benefits, and educational assistance.” “Cash distribution will be in the form of social benefits. This is not a dole and a far cry from the graft-ridden CCT program included in the NAPC roadmap,” Marbella said. Both groups were also supporting the enactment of a bill that seeks to establish a council composed of coconut farmers. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/20/palace‐inserts‐p120‐b‐coco‐levy‐in‐14‐budget/
Neda: Private sector key to generating more jobs By Julito G. Rada | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 107 views
The National Economic and Development Authority asked the private sector over the weekend to create high-quality and sustainable jobs to improve the lives of Filipinos. “The private sector holds the key to the generation of high-quality and sustainable jobs that our country needs,” Neda director-general and Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a forum organized by the Ayala Foundation in Makati City. “Government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector. We do not want to solve the unemployment problem with a band-aid solution to create jobs,” he said. Balisacan said a stronger coordination of the government and the academe was needed to address the unemployment problem that the country was facing. He said unemployment rate remained very high, even among college graduates. The National Statistics Office reported that while 608,000 more people joined the labor force in January, the number of jobs increased only by 606,000, which meant that about 2,000 people were added to the ranks of the unemployed. “The rate of unemployment is very high among college graduates, which partly reflects a mismatch between what is produced by schools and what is required by the market. This also shows that there is insufficient conversation between the schools and the firms,” Balisacan said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/20/neda‐private‐sector‐key‐to‐generating‐more‐jobs/
Energy declares 2 wind farms viable By Alena Mae S. Flores | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 393 views
The Energy Department declared two major wind energy projects in Luzon commercially viable, allowing their proponents to proceed with commercial development. The agency issued certificate of confirmation of commerciality to the 87megawatt Burgos wind project in Ilocos Norte and the 67.5-MW wind power project in Pililla, Rizal. The confirmation of commerciality, a requirement under the Renewable Energy Act, means the agency found the project viable for commercial development and serves as the basis for the project to enter the development and commercial stage of the contract. Energy Development Corp., a unit of First Gen Corp., received the certificate of confirmation of commerciality, for its $300-million Burgos wind project. The certificate was the first to be issued for a wind project. It confirmed the declaration of commerciality for EDC Burgos Wind Power Corp. to develop, construct, operate and maintain the wind power project. It also converted Burgos Wind’s wind energy service contract No. 2009-09-004 from exploration/pre-development stage to the development/commercial stage. “This milestone affirms our efforts to pursue and fast-track the project in order to be the first to achieve commercial operations by 2014. Our recently closed $80million club loan plus P7 billion we raised brings our total cash to P19 billion. We have, without a doubt, a fully funded business plan,” EDC president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco said. Alternergy Wind One Corp. also received the confirmation of commerciality for the 67.5-MW wind power project in Pililla, Rizal. “We are ready to commence construction of the Pililla wind farm. Our technical team has thoroughly laid down
the site planning, logistics and engineering to deliver the wind farm in the mosttimely manner,” Alternergy Wind One president Vincent Perez said. EDC broke ground for the Burgos project on April 19 after signing an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Vestas, the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer, on March 1. The project will utilize the proven Vestas 90-3.0-MW wind turbines. “We have the distinction of having over seven years of accurate wind data so we are absolutely certain of our site and the wind resource. Because of this, we are rapidly taking all necessary steps to increase the capacity of the Burgos wind project from 87MW to 150MW,” Tantoco added. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/05/20/energy‐declares‐2‐wind‐farms‐viable/
BSP asks govt to help finance annual losses By Julito G. Rada | Posted on May. 20, 2013 at 12:01am | 176 views The Bangko Sentral asked the government to share the burden of carrying huge losses from efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange rate. The bank regulator made the statement, after incurring a record net loss of P95 billion in 2012, including P50.4 billion from foreign exchange fluctuations. It said the “burden-sharing arrangement” with the government would address its losses mainly due to monetary stabilization efforts that reduced its capital. The proposal would be included in the proposed amendment to the BSP Charter, it said. “The BSP’s charter provides for mandatory remittance of 75 percent of its net income to the Bureau of the Treasury. However, there is no burden sharing arrangement with respect to losses incurred. Thus, when the BSP makes a profit, the BSP by law has to share its gains with the national government by remitting 75 percent of its net income to the Bureau of the Treasury as dividends,” the central bank said. “However, when the BSP incurs a loss that reduces its capital, there is no arrangement between the BSP and the NG on the replenishment of its eroded capital,” it said. It said the government had remitted P40 billion in paid-up capital to BSP out of its authorized capital stock of P50 billion, leaving a balance of P10 billion, which is expected to be given before the end of the year. “In turn, the BSP has paid P154 billion in dividends and taxes to the national government since its creation in 1993, and nurtured the BSP into a P4-trillion institution in terms of assets,” the Bangko Sentral said. The bank said it incurred a net loss of P95.4 billion in 2012, a 183-percent increase from P33.7 billion in 2011, as it tried to manage the foreign exchange rate. The 2012 figure was the highest since the Bangko Sentral was established under Republic Act 7653 and became an independent entity 20 years ago.
Stock investors remain optimistic Published on 19 May 2013 Hits: 48 Written by MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
Despite two consecutive corrections, the stock market can still hold the optimism it generated from the earlier sessions of the previous week when the market broke through the 7,400-point mark. Freya Natividad, analyst at online brokerage 2TradeAsia.com, indicated in her weekly market outlook that the market may prolong the optimism it accumulated from the “could-have-been” record week for the local stock market. Last week alone, the Philippine Stock Exchange index traded within record levels, tapping its 30th all-time high on Monday and 31st record close on Tuesday. She further said that market participants may accumulate stocks or reposition in the next few days. “The local mart’s correction the prior week might be seized by bargain hunters, ahead of 7,400 to 7,500 next resistance target. Anticipate technical breathers, especially once positive news is digested in the price,” Natividad specified. “Strong support is seen at 7,200, and incentives to accumulate will be predominantly liquiditydriven,” she added. Investors might also take cue on further developments from overseas this week. “Investors might take time to digest developments overseas, particularly on the likelihood of scaling global central banks’ monetary stimulus plan. Thus far, officials from the Fed [US Federal Reserve] are looking at relaxing their $85-billion monthly bond purchases, while some suggest the possible cancellation of $40-billion-per-month acquisition of mortgage securities,” Natividad explained. She advised that pending clear indications, expect volatility to prevail in equities, as some might be prompted to switch to other financial instruments to optimize on yields. Chartwise, Jonathan Ravelas, BDO Unibank Inc. chief market strategist, said that participants may continue to see the market to trade between 7,100 and 7,500 levels in the week ahead. He added, however, that profit-taking activities near the recent tops could occur. In the previous week, share prices zoomed 0.24 percent week-on-week to 7279.87 points amid bullish investor sentiment, driven by the better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, positive
effects of the recent investment upgrade and the generally peaceful election. “The recently concluded elections continue to provide the present administration a new mandate to continue its economic and fiscal reforms. This gave comfort to investors that the rally will still continue,” Ravelas said. Average participation during the four-day trading week also improved 37 percent at P10.304 billion, with gainers-loser at, 66-102. Net foreign buying jumped to P1.78 billion from P458 million. For this week, immediate support is 7,250, and resistance 7,350 to 7,400. http://manilatimes.net/index/index.php/business/top‐business‐news/47847‐stock‐investors‐remain‐ optimistic
Support in solving unemployment sought Published on 19 May 2013 Hits: 35 Written by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER
The government is encouraging the private sector to participate in solving the country’s problem in unemployment, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said over the weekend. NEDA added that the government needed stronger support from the private sector in the creation of high-quality and sustainable jobs to improve the lives of Filipinos. “The private sector holds the key to the generation of high-quality and sustainable jobs that our country needs,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. He added that a stronger coordination of the government and the academe with them will help the government address the unemployment problem that the Philippines is facing. The Cabinet official also said that the rate of unemployment is very high, even among college graduates. He cited that in January 2013, the National Statistics Office reported that 608,000 people were added to the labor force from the same month last year. However, the number of the employed increased only by 606,000, which means that about 2,000 people were added to the ranks of the unemployed. “The rate of unemployment is very high among college graduates, which partly reflects a mismatch between what is produced by schools and what is required by the market,” he stated. Balisacan explained that the unemployment rate also shows that there is insufficient conversation between the schools and the firms. Moreover, he noted that the government is focusing on providing a catalytic mechanism for the private sector to create these jobs. This is because government
resources are limited, with competing demands from various sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and national security, among others. “Government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector. We do not want to solve the unemployment problem with a band-aid solution to create jobs,” said Balisacan. Furthermore, he said that the government is looking into expanding employment opportunities in several priority sectors such as agri-business, manufacturing, tourism, information technology-business process outsourcing, housing, infrastructure and logistics. “These opportunities can be enhanced through increasing the employability of new job entrants through proper and sufficient training,” said Balisacan. However, he noted that higher education institutions must also be encouraged to foster tie-ups with businesses and industries, besides the government. He cited current government programs that train new graduates such as the Government Internship Program, Special Program for the Employment of Students and apprenticeship programs with the private sector, among others. http://manilatimes.net/index/index.php/business/top‐business‐news/47845‐support‐in‐solving‐ unemployment‐sought
Posted on May 19, 2013 10:03:28 PM By Bettina Faye V. Roc, Reporter
Budget deadline this week GOVERNMENT AGENCIES have been given until Wednesday, May 22, to complete their 2014 budget proposal submissions. The Budget department, an advisory posted on its Web site, set the deadline for the encoding of plans into its Online Submission of Budget Proposal System (OSBPS). "The advisory was meant to encourage agencies to speed up the process of encoding," Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said in a text message. "After May 22, we may take over and complete the process but we take note of agencies which did not submit through the OSBPS for pertinent actions," she added. Agencies have been mandated to both submit hard copies of their proposals and encode these into the OSBPS, which is being piloted this year. The submission deadline was April 15 but agencies were allowed to complete the online encoding beyond this. As of Saturday, 201 out of 305 state entities had completed the entire process. Eighty-two agencies, meanwhile, had begun the online process. The remaining 22 firms had not started with the online component. The Budget department last month said it would not schedule technical hearings for agencies that had not complied with online submission. According to the budget preparation calendar, these hearings should have ended last May 7. "We are now still undertaking the technical budget hearings ... where groups of agencies working on [joint] programs can meet and do consistency checks," Ms. Pascua said. "We are discussing that at our executive committee meeting [today] to see how much time we have." National Budget Memorandum 118, dated April 25, outlines the government’s priorities for 2014 to 2016. Key focus areas in line with the goal of ensuring long-term and far-reaching economic development were identified. Agencies implementing priority programs were given until May 13 to refocus their respective
budget proposals to reflect the priorities. The late July target submission target for the 2014 budget remains the same, Ms. Pascua said. "We will still submit a day after the SONA (State of the Nation Address)." The DBM hopes to be able to have the 2014 national budget signed into law and enacted before the end of the year, as it has been able to do for the last three years. Next yearâ€™s budget has been tentatively capped at P2.268 trillion, 13.1% higher than this yearâ€™s P2.006 trillion. The budget for government agencies has been set at P1.049 trillion, with the Education department again top billing with P255.15 billion, albeit slightly lower than its approved 2013 allocation of P293.32 billion. The proposed 2014 budget will be presented to President Benigno S. C. Aquino III on June 21, according to the budget preparation calendar. It is expected to be submitted to Congress by July 23.
Posted on May 19, 2013 10:04:47 PM By Diane Claire J. Jiao, Senior Reporter
BSP charter change to address losses THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has reiterated a plea for government help to stem losses that hit a record high -- a "price" it claimed had to be paid for stability -- last year.
Measures that would help strengthen both the central bank’s financial position and ability to maintain economic stability were detailed, to be included in proposed amendments to Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act that will be filed once the 16th Congress opens in July. "To address these constraints, the BSP is proposing amendments to its charter... The BSP looks forward therefore to engaging our lawmakers in addressing these concerns," it said in a statement issued during the weekend. The foremost change involves a capitalization increase to a "higher level commensurate with the expansion in the size of the economy and the financial system." The BSP’s authorized capital is P50 billion based on the New Central Bank Act of 1993. The government has to date infused P40 billion and has promised to deliver the remaining P10 billion by the end of this year. The central bank feels, though, that P50 billion is no longer enough. The BSP also wants a formal arrangement where it and the government can both share gains and losses. The law currently requires the central bank to remit 75% of its net income as dividends. There is no burden-sharing when net losses are made. "[W]hen the BSP makes a profit, the BSP by law has to share its gains with the government...," it noted. "However, when the BSP incurs a loss that reduces its capital, there is no arrangement between the BSP and the government on the replenishment of its eroded capital." The central bank pointed out that it had paid a total of P154 billion in dividends since 1993. The BSP moved deeper into the red last year as it sought to temper the peso’s appreciation, posting a net loss of P95.38 billion -- nearly triple the P33.69 billion recorded in 2011 and well past the previous peak of P86.94 billion recorded in 1997. "[S]tability comes at a price. The BSP has been incurring heavy financial losses in its efforts
to temper currency fluctuations which could be destabilizing," it said. With the peso strengthening, the BSP had to make large dollar purchases to mop up demand for the local currency. This meant, though, absorbing losses by effectively "stocking up on goods that are declining in value while paying for it with a currency that is gaining in value." Foreign exchange rate fluctuations accounted for P50.38 billion in losses last year. Using pesos to buy dollars, moreover, increases money circulating in the economy. To mop up excess liquidity, the central bank maintains several facilities and pays interest. Funds placed with the reverse repurchase window are paid 3.5%, while those in special deposit accounts (SDA) earn 2%. Interest expenses contributed P90.76 billion to expenses last year. "Could these losses be avoided? The mandate of the BSP is to provide price and financial stability using various measures available to it; sometimes, losses are incurred in the process," it noted. As such, the BSP also asked the government to empower it to issue its own debt securities that will help manage liquidity, set up reserves to absorb losses from foreign exchange fluctuations and exempt it from taxes. In a related development, Citi on Friday said that macroprudential measures rolled out by the BSP should arrest its losses. The reduction of SDA rates to 2% will bring down interest payments, it noted. The peso should also stabilize since further liberalization of foreign exchange rules would encourage the outflow of dollars, while a cap on non-deliverable forwards will discourage currency speculation.
Posted on May 19, 2013 10:01:51 PM
Trade dep’t nixes call to limit incentives THE TRADE department is leaning towards retaining most incentives in the 2013 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), with its chief rejecting the Finance department’s call for the removal of perks for large industries. "For the 2013 IPP, we may carry over most of the incentives but will include the removal of perks for some areas which we have already released resolutions on. Any big changes will have to be in the 2014 IPP," Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo told reporters last week. The Finance department in March sought the removal of income tax holidays for mass housing, shipbuilding, iron and steel and automotive manufacturing, claiming the government is "severely constrained from supporting proposed priority areas..." It also said that infrastructure and energy projects could "recover [the] cost of investments through pricing mechanisms without tax incentives." "[W]e are aware of their position," Mr. Domingo said. "We ... know where they are coming from but for us we would want to keep as much of the incentives as possible." The IPP details what sectors will be given incentives such as income tax holidays. The 2013 list, initially set to be released this month, will now be sent to President Benigno S. C. Aquino III for approval by June, the Board of Investments (BoI) said. It largely carries over the 2012 IPP, which focused on the following areas: • agriculture/agribusiness and fishery; • creative/knowledge-based industries; • shipbuilding; • mass housing;; • iron and steel; • energy; • infrastructure;
• research and development; • "green" projects; • motor vehicles; • strategic projects; • hospital/medical services; and • disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery projects. In the draft, projects will only be granted pioneer status if completely new to the Philippines. Currently, such projects have to hit a certain investment level. Another proposed change is the requirement of a "comment or opinion" from the Agriculture department before any farm project is given incentives. The draft removes toll ways and railways from the IPP, instead consolidating these under the public-private partnership project heading. Power projects in missionary or off-grid areas are no longer included. Income tax holidays for tourist accommodations in Cebu City, Mactan City, Metro Manila and Boracay have also been removed, based on a BoI resolution that was promulgated in March. -- E. N. J. David http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Tradedep%E2%80%99t-nixes-call-to-limit-incentives&id=70459#sthash.AvJD50xm.dpuf
Posted on May 19, 2013 10:00:11 PM
Central banks saved world economy but beware the fallout Â WASHINGTON -- Central banks got it right when they saved the world economy, but their unprecedented actions risk disruptive cross-border spillovers and potentially heavy losses when the time comes to reverse course, the IMF said last Thursday. Â In its most detailed survey so far of the dramatic measures taken to counter the damage from the 2007-2009 financial crisis, International Monetary Fund staff repeated earlier assessments that the steps had worked but face diminishing returns. However, in new research, they also said central banks could face severe losses when they begin to withdraw the extraordinary sums of money they have pumped into financial systems around the world. Massive market bets are riding on whether the US Federal Reserve and its peers can execute a graceful withdrawal from more than four years of ultra-easy monetary policy, which helped restore confidence in global growth. Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars, euro and yen into the global economy through bond-buying campaigns after interest rates were slashed close to zero. The ultra easy monetary policies have promoted critics to warn of the risk of inflation and asset price bubbles, while some developing nations have argued their richer counterparts were seeking to gain an export edge. Jaime Caruana, head of the Bank for International Settlements, warned that big central banks should not delay in winding in their economic support programs. But the IMF found the benefits of unconventional measures still outweighed the potential costs in the United States and Japan, and it reserved its toughest language for politicians who fail to undertake long-overdue economic reforms. "A key concern is that monetary policy is called on to do too much, and that the breathing space it offers is not used to engage in needed fiscal, structural, and financial sector reforms," the IMF said in the report. "These reforms are essential to ensuring macroeconomic stability and entrenching the
recovery, eventually allowing for the unwinding of unconventional monetary policies," it said. The IMF did, however, find evidence to support the claims of central bank critics that keeping interest rates ultra-low for so long risks future inflation and asset bubbles, with the bond-buying exposing the institutions to potentially steep losses. It looked at the Fed, Bank of Japan and Bank of England and found all three would face balance sheet losses if they had to sell bonds to quickly shrink their balance sheets. Losses can also stack up if central banks have to pay interest on excess reserves if those payments exceed earnings from assets held by the central banks. They might want to pay interest to soak up the excess funds so they do not flood into credit markets and cause inflationary stress. The Fed has tripled its balance sheet to more than $3 trillion through three waves of bond buying and the Bank of Japan surprised markets last month declaring it would drive inflation up to 2.0% through asset purchases. The Bank of England has bought bonds worth 375 billion pounds ($575 billion) so far but opted to not increase that amount when it reviewed policy on May 9. Under a worst-case scenario, the IMF said losses could top 7.0% of GDP for the BOJ, nearly 6.0% of GDP for the BOE, and more than 4.0% at the Fed. But it stressed that any losses would be mainly a political problem and would not hurt the real economy or prevent the central bank from doing its job. "Absent actual or feared political interference, however, central bank losses and the size of balance sheets should not constrain the implementation of monetary policy," it said. Another source of danger lies in the cross-border spillovers of ultra-easy monetary policies that encourage investors to pour capital into higher-yielding emerging markets. IMF staff acknowledged the risk, but said that so far there was no clear evidence that the costs from spillovers outweighed the benefits of stronger global growth resulting from actions by central banks in advanced economies. "Thus far, capital flows to emerging markets have been ample, but not alarming," the report noted. "While a number of factors such as high commodity prices and growth imply that these flows could be structural, legitimate concerns about a sudden change in global market sentiment remain." That said, emerging market authorities can help offset the potential impact of fickle capital inflows, including by introducing caps on capital. International policy coordination could also help. -- Reuters http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Central-banks-savedworld-economy-but-beware-the-fallout&id=70458#sthash.LTsMLHML.dpuf
Posted on May 19, 2013 09:43:37 PM
Rate dip seen for T-bonds FIVE-YEAR Treasury bonds (T-bonds) up for sale tomorrow are expected to fetch a lower price amid high market liquidity and after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) slashed interest rates of its special deposit accounts (SDA) in its last policy review on April 25.
Bond traders interviewed last Friday said the five-year government securities are expected to settle 2- 2.5%, 40 basis points (bps) less or 10 bps more than their 2.4% interest rate at the secondary market last Friday. The Bureau of the Treasury last issued five-year debt papers at the Nov. 6 auction. The papers fetched a 4.125% coupon rate then. “The rate of the five-year papers is expected to be at par with the secondary market rate,” a trader said by phone. In a separate phone interview, another trader said “bonds will likely fetch a lower rate as investors continue to search for high-yielding assets… after the central bank cut SDA rates to 2%.” The central bank has slashed SDA rates by 50 basis points three consecutive times this year to push out money from the facility and into the economy by encouraging consumption and investments. “Another factor that would push down the rate of the five-year bonds is high liquidity in the market, as shown by recent BSP data on hot money inflows and SDA funds,” the second trader said. Net inflow of foreign portfolio investments -- also called “hot money” -- more than doubled annually to $1.087 billion in the first quarter, while funds placed in SDAs rose to P1.9 trillion as of late April from P1.7 trillion at the start of the year. -- A. R. R. Gregorio
Posted on May 19, 2013 10:11:58 PM
AgriNurture net income falls as costs rise faster LISTED FOOD PRODUCER AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) saw profit drop by nearly half in the first quarter as cost of sales rose faster than revenues, according to a report attached to the company’s disclosure on Friday last week. AgriNurture earned a P20.15-million net income in the first quarter, 46% less than the P37.62 million recorded in the same three months last year, according to unaudited consolidated statements of comprehensive income contained in the report. The company said net sales increased by 37% to P754 million from P549 million, “reflecting an increase in sales as a result of global expansion, increase in domestic retail channels and selling prices, and sales contribution by newly acquired business units.” At the same time, cost of sales increased by 58% to P644.92 million from P408.15 million. “Demand for ANI’s products may be affected by fluctuations in prices, as determined by seasonality, weather, product quality and farm productivity. While the company deals with widely consumed agricultural products, especially fruits and vegetables, it may be argued that a large portion of these products represent discretionary purchases,” the company said in its report, adding particularly that the increase in cost “was primarily the result of the increase in volume of production in consonance with the increase in sales.” The company disclosed in October last year that its board of directors had given it authority to form new business arms through any of its subsidiaries, with expansion particularly targeting the markets of Australia, China, Europe, Indonesia, Myanmar, Taiwan and the United States. Operating expenses, on the other hand, narrowed 12.34% to P97.734 million from P111.493 million. Operations of AgriNurture are divided into its Farming Management Group, its Manufacturing and Processing Group, Distribution or Trading Group, and its Retail Group.
AgriNurture, incorporated in February 1997 as Mabuhay 2000 Enterprises, Inc., engages in diversified agro-commercial businesses that includes exports to China, Japan, South Korea, as well as the Middle East, Europe and North America. Its shares ended trading on Friday last week at P6.55 apiece, unchanged from their finish the previous day. -- YYP http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=AgriNurture-netincome-falls-as-costs-rise-faster&id=70463#sthash.R37F99oZ.dpuf
BTr: Poll money will not affect gov’t bonds yield • •
Written by Ed Velasco Monday, 20 May 2013 08:00
The Bureau of Treasury (BTr) said the recently-concluded elections will not affect the hefty yields of government securities (GS) because there is awash of money in the system held by intermediaries. National Treasurer Lea de Leon said the weekly Treasury bills and Treasury bonds offering of the BTr will continue to end in full awards because the luck GS are getting continues to be felt regardless of tenors. “No impact,” was the national treasurer’s reply to the Daily Tribune when asked if the so much money that went out of the system last May 13, election day, will backlash on GS offering every Monday and Tuesday. She said the biggest reason why any debt instrument issued by the government will be accepted by the intermediaries is the “liquid market” that the Philippines has at present. In economics, market liquidity means every asset, including debt instruments and GS, can be sold without causing a significant movement in the price and with minimum loss of value. She declined to comment until when a liquid market will be experienced but hinted that full awards tend to continue given the market trends. She said the credit rating upgrade the Philippines got is very helpful for a more solid market condition. In March, the country won its first ever investment grade credit rating from Fitch. Several weeks later, another investment house, Standard and Poor’s, also raised the credit rating for the Philippines. The credit rating upgrade, likewise, widened the country’s base of potential investors as some funds have restrictions on holding sub-investment grade debt.
May matatanggap bang separation pay ang nagâ€?resign na kawani? Published : Monday, May 20, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 59
Kgg. na Atty. Acosta, Hindi na po ako masaya sa kasalukuyan kong trabaho. Sa katunayan ay nag-apply na po ako sa ibang kumpanya at naabisuhan ako ng human resource manager na siguradong tanggap na ako. Maaari po bang umalis na lamang ako sa aking trabaho nang walang dahilan? Magkano po ang aking matatanggap bilang separation pay? Halos anim na taon din po kasi akong nagtrabaho sa kanila. Lubos na gumagalang, Mark Dear Mark, Ang batas na may kinalaman sa inyong suliranin ay ang Artikulo 185 ng Labor Code of the Philippines. Ayon sa nasabing batas, hindi ninyo kaila- ngang magbigay ng kadahilanan sa inyong pag-alis sa inyong trabaho, subalit kinakailangan ninyong magbigay resignation letter o maghain ng voluntary resignation, isang buwan o 30 araw bago ang takda ng araw ng inyong pag-alis. Nakasaad sa nasabing artikulo na: â€œArticle 285. Termination by employee. (a) An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the
employee liable for damages.” Samakatuwid, hindi kailangang may dahilan kayo sa pag-alis sa inyong kasalukuyang trabaho, ang tanging ipinag-uutos lamang ng batas ay ang pagbibigay ninyo ng 30 araw na written notice sa inyong employer. Ukol naman sa separation pay, para sa inyong kaalaman, ang empleyado na nagbigay ng resignation letter o naghain ng voluntary resignation ay makatatanggap lamang ng separation pay kung sakaling nakasaad ito sa isang Collective Bargaining Agreement, o kung ito ay nakasaad sa kanyang employment contract, o kung may isang established company policy ang kanyang kumpanya na magbigay ng separation pay sa mga empleyadong umalis nang kusang-loob. Malinaw ito sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa "J" Marketing Corporation Represented by its Branch Manager Elmundo Dador V. Cesar L. Taran (G.R. No. 163924, June 18, 2009) kung saan nakasaad na: “It is well to note that there is no provision in the Labor Code that grants separation pay to voluntarily resigning employees. Separation pay may be awarded only in cases when the termination of employment is due to (a) installation of labor-saving devices, (b) redundancy, (c) retrenchment, (d) closing or cessation of business operations, (e) disease of an employee and his continued employment is prejudicial to himself or his coemployees, or (f) when an employee is illegally dismissed but reinstatement is no longer feasible. In fact, the rule is that an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement (CBA), or it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy.” (emphasis supplied) Ibig sabihin, hindi kayo makatatanggap ng separation pay kung sakaling magbigay kayo ng resignation letter, o maghain ng voluntary resignation, maliban na lamang kung nakasaad ito sa isang Collective Bargaining Agreement, o kung ito ay nakasaad sa inyong employment contract, o kung may isang established company policy ang inyong kumpanya na magbigay ng separation pay sa mga empleyadong kusang- loob na nag-resign. Nawa ay nasagot namin ang inyong mga katanungan. Gayunpaman, binibigyang linaw po namin na ang mga payong nakasaad dito ay base lamang sa mga impormasyong nilalaman ng inyong liham at aming interpretasyon dito. Maaaring may ibang legal na opinyon na mas angkop dito kung may mga importanteng detalye na hindi ninyo nabanggit sa inyong liham. Mas makabubuting kayo ay personal na sumangguni sa isang abogado o sa aming tanggapan upang mas malinaw ninyong mailahad ang inyong sitwasyon at kayo ay mapayuhan ng mga hakbang na nararapat ninyong gawin. Maraming salamat po sa inyong patuloy na pagtitiwala. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/opinion/50658‐may‐matatanggap‐bang‐separation‐pay‐ang‐ nag‐resign‐na‐kawani
Ibigay ang totoong serbisyo publiko Published : Monday, May 20, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 58
KAGAYA ng sinasabi ng marami, hindi dapat magkawatakwatak ang sambayanang Pilipino dahil lang sa pulitika. Kapag tapos na ang eleksiyon, kalimutan na natin ang pulitika at atupagin naman natin ang paglilingkod sa taumbayan. Huwag nating kalimutan na may kanya-kanya tayong talento na magagamit sa kapakanan ng masang Pilipino. At ngayon, pagtuunan naman natin ng pansin ang mga problemang lalong nagpapahirap sa mga mahihirap. Nandiyan ang walang katapusang pagtataas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, pagbabaha, kawalan ng trabaho at kurapsyon. Dahil parating na ang tag-ulan, kailangang linisin rin ng gobyerno ang mga daluyan ng tubig para maiwasan ang pagbaha sa mga mabababang lugar. Sa mga taga-DepEd, siguraduhing matatanggap lahat ang mga batang gustong mag-aral sa mga pampublikong paaralan. Maglunsad na rin ng cleanliness campaign, lalo na sa loob at labas ng mga paaralan. Sana mabigyang solusyon na ang kakulangan ng silid-aralan, libro, guro at palikuran sa public schools. Sabagay, kung tutuparin ng mga kumandidatong nanalo ang kanilang mga pangako noong kasagsagan ng kampanya ay marami sa kinakaharap na problema ng ating bansa ang mabibigyang solusyon.
Kaya paalaala lang sa mga nanalo, tuparin niyo ang mga pangako niyo dahil mulat na ang taumbayan. Maliban sa diyaryo, radyo, telebisyon at celfon, nandiyan na ang social media na pwedeng gamitin para hiyain kayo kapag niloko niyo ang taumbayan. Tama na ang pambo- bola, manhid na ang mga tao, lalo na ang mahihirap, sa mga pangakong napapako. Panahon na para ibigay niyo naman ang totoong serbisyo publiko. Sa hirap ngayon ng buhay ay natuto na ang taumbayan na ipaglaban ang kanilang mga karapatan bilang isang mamamayan. Sa iba naman nating kababayan, huwag naman tayong pulos batikos. Kailangang tulungan natin ang gobyerno. Ang kailangan natin ay constructive at hindi destructive criticism. *** Hindi na dapat lumalala ang hidwaan ng Pilipinas at Taiwan. Ang hidwaan ay nag-ugat sa pagkamatay ng isang Taiwanese fisherman sa Balintang Channel sa hilagang Luzon. Kagaya ng sinasabi ng marami, ang isang pagkakamali marapat na iwasto sa pamamagitan ng mapayapa at diplomatikong pamamaraan. Kung lalala pa ang sitwasyon, pareho lang masasaktan ang dalawang bansa. Kung marami tayong kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa Taiwan ay â€™di hamak na mas marami namang Taiwanese na nakatira at nagnenegosyo sa Pilipinas. Imbestigahang mabuti ang insidente para malaman kung sino ang may kasalanan dito. Humingi na ng apology ang ating gobyerno. Ang ibig sabihin nito ay aminado tayo na walang natutuwa sa pagkamatay ng Taiwanese fisherman. Hinahon ang dapat isagot natin sa mga bali-balitang nakakaranas ng harassment ang ating mga kababayan sa Taiwan.
Inuulit natin, parehong masasaktan ang Pilipinas at Taiwan kung lalala pa ang away ng dalawang bansa. MGA REKLAMO AT REAKSIYON Kawawa naman ang mga kandidato ni P-Noy sa local level, karamihan natalo dahil nakatuon lang ang pansin niya sa mga dalang senador ng Liberal -SOL MANZANO ng Nueva Ecija. Ano ba ang nagawa ni Erap para iendorso ng INC? -- RAMON MARTIN ng Rizal. Ngayong tapos na ang eleksyon, tigilan na naman sana ni Sen. Koko Pimentel ang paninira kay Migs Zubiri. Ginawa lang niyang punching bag si Zubiri noong panahon ng kampanya -- FERDIE PEREZ ng Makati. Sigurado nang president si Erap sa 2016. Kawawa naman si VP Binay -ARLENE SEVILLA ng San Juan. Congratulations kay re-elected Mayor Benhur Abalos -- CYNTHIA LOPEZ ng Mandaluyong. Salamat sa text nina NICK MANAYON ng Sta. Mesa, Manila; ROMY DELEZ ng Tondo, RYAN AUSTRIA ng Manila, RAMON MARTIN ng Rizal, LIZA ONG ng Manila, DOROTHY SANCHEZ ng Batangas, EMIL PERLADO ng QC, ED MARTINEZ ng Cebua, CECILLE MA-TIAS ng Pampanga; TITA MORALDE ng Makati, LORELIE SAN PEDRO ng San Juan, NITZ DE CASTRO ng Las Piñas at ROBERT GO ng Manila. (Para sa inyong komento at suhestiyon, tumawag o mag-text sa no. 09159462777 or email:email@example.com. Ilagay lang ang buong pangalan at tirahan.) http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/opinion/50657‐ibigay‐ang‐totoong‐serbisyo‐publiko