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BFAR putting up 50 municipal ports By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:27 pm | Monday, July 1st, 2013 The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has set a target of putting up over the next three years at least 50 municipal port projects all over the country. BFAR Director Asis G. Perez said in an interview that the projects were meant to address the imbalance in government support, which had been going mostly to production. “These ports will represent support in post-production, which is also very important,” Perez said. He explained that the greater government outlay in post-production should be seen in infrastructure such as ports, cold storage and ice plants. “We want a minimum of 50 ports and we hope to have them started by 2015,” Perez said. “ The BFAR chief said that a municipal port was estimated to cost an average of P30 million while an integrated port—one with a cold storage component—could cost hundreds of millions of pesos. One such integrated port is the planned facility for Real, Quezon, for which BFAR has secured an initial funding of P50 million from the Department of Budget and Management. The total cost of the project was placed at between P300 million and P400 million. Further, Perez said BFAR had earmarked P15 million for the formulation of a feasibility study for a comprehensive fish port development program. “It’s best to have a comprehensive program than to think up projects on a yearly basis,” he said. According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, total fisheries production in the first quarter grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year. By sector, commercial fisheries showed the biggest output growth at 18.67 percent, attributed to gains in yellowfin tuna and skipjack following the lifting of the ban on tuna harvesting in the Philippines. Municipal fisheries posted a 0.2-percent growth, helped by the double-digit increases in the harvests of roundscad, blue crab and bali sardines.

Government urged to address farmers’ woes Published: July 2, 2013  

The government should nurture agriculture and pay more attention to the plight of farmers, the sector that helps provide food for the people. This was stressed by inventor and entomologist Gonzalo Catan, Jr. executive vice president of Mapecon Green Charcoal Philippines (MGCP), citing the published World Bank report that in the next 10 years food security will be the world’s biggest problem, and that “the world is nearing a dangerous point where soaring food prices will create economic instability.” MGCP is the principal exponent of the production of cheap, safe to use vermicast organic fertilizer widely used by farmers. Agriculture, Catan said, can play an important role in staving off that crisis. But for it to play that role, the government must give its attention to the industry. Agriculture is a vital clog in the economy. It comprises one-fifth of the country’s domestic products and provides livelihood to more than 40 percent of the population. Despite this, farmers are among the lowest paid in the country, making poverty widespread in the industry as it employs one-third of the labor force. The government, Catan emphasized, must make farmers proud that “it is they who feed the people.” The government, he added, must provide agri-infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads for speedy access to markets, warehouse facilities for their products, and a reliable irrigation system. More importantly, farmers must be assured of fruitful returns for their back-breaking work. 99_woes#.UdJRsqyveKE

Reversal of CA decision stopping Bt ‘talong’ field trials sought Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:58   Written by Cai U. Ordinario   Government  agencies  and  private  organizations  asked  the  Court  of  Appeals  (CA)  to  reconsider  its  decision  to  stop  the  field  trials  of  Bacillus  thuringiensis  (Bt)  talong  (eggplant)  in  various  areas  of  the  country.  In a briefing at the United States Embassy in Manila on Monday, University of the Philippines Los Baños  (UPLB) National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Biotech) director Reynaldo Ebora said  a motion for reconsideration have already been filed by respondents at the appellate court.  Government  entities  that  appealed  the  CA  decision  are  the  Department  of  Environment  and  Natural  Resources  (DENR)  and  the  Fertilizer  and  Pesticide  Authority  (FPA),  an  agency  attached  to  the  Department of Agriculture (DA).  Ebora  said  UPLB,  UPLB  Foundation  Inc.,  the  International  Service  for  the  Acquisition  of  Agri‐Biotech  Applications (ISAA) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) filed separate motions for reconsideration.  “We  are  hoping,  when  I  say  ‘we’,  we  from  the  University  of  the  Philippines  Los  Baños  and  UPLB  Foundation that the ruling will be reversed and we’ll be allowed to do the field trial. We are convinced  that  we  have  not  violated  anything  so  we  should  be  able  to  pursue  our  experiment  as  long  as  its  compliant with the regulations of BPI,” he said.  Local  and  international  experts  debunked  anti‐genetically  modified  (GM)  product  sentiments  by  stressing  that  GM  products  are  the  most  tested  in  the  world  and  as  such,  are  considered  safe  to  consume.  Ebora said in a presentation that GMO crops like Bt eggplant have already been declared as safe by no  less than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on the terms set by the United Nations Food  and  Agriculture  Organization  (FAO)  and  World  Health  Organization  (WHO)  Codex  Alimentarius  Risk  Analysis of Food Derived from Modern Biotechnology.  The  codex  was  established  by  the  FAO  and  WHO  in  1963.  It  is  a  set  of  harmonized  international  food  standards,  guidelines  and  codes  of  practice  that  protect  the  health  of  consumers  and  ensure  fair  practices in food trade. 

Ebora said  it  takes  10  to  14  years  to  develop,  approve  and  market  GM  products.  In  the  Philippines  it  takes more time because of the various testing requirements required for these products.  “For the average citizen, if you go on the web, you can find hundreds of sites that would tell you that  GMO crops are dangerous and they will ascribe all sorts of diseases in humans and in animals to GMO  crops.  I’m  gonna  state,  quite  forcefully,  that  these  claims  are  not  correct,  they’re  anecdotal,”  Cornell  University Professor of Plant Biology Peter Davies said via Skype on Monday.  On May 17 the Special 13th Division of the CA issued a ruling to permanently stop confined field trials of  Bt talong because these allegedly pose risks to human health and the environment.  However,  the  appellate  court’s  ruling  did  not  contradict  that  the  field  trials  have  been  conducted  in  compliance with all applicable biosafety laws regulating field trials in the Philippines.  In the 25‐page decision penned by CA Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican, the appellate court’s Special 13th  Division issued a writ of kalikasan that ordered the DENR and other concerned government agencies to  stop the trials.

Manila Bay fishkill caused by Laguna de Bay overflow – BFAR By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The thousands of dead fish found floating in the Manila Bay over the weekend likely came from fish cages in Laguna de Bay, which overflowed because of heavy rains brought by tropical storm Gorio, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said yesterday. On Sunday, thousands of tilapia (St. Peter’ fish), milkfish and kanduli (catfish) were seen floating in the Manila Bay. These were immediately snapped up by residents. BFAR director Asis Perez said the freshwater fish died because they were not meant to survive in saltwater. “The fish cages in the Laguna Lake overflowed and fish were swept away to the Manila Bay. These are fresh water fish so naturally, these will die because they are not acclimatized to such conditions. So this is not fish kill,” he said yesterday. Perez said this phenomenon is a natural occurrence and does not need intervention. He said the bodies of dead fish in the bay are not likely to pollute its waters. “The dead fish will swept away by the waves and eventually will become food for larger fish,” he said, but advised residents to refrain from eating the fish.

Government hopes 2nd‐quarter fish output will top 10 percent Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:57   Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Correspondent   The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) said it is “praying hard” for fish production to grow  by 10 percent in the second quarter of the year.  Bfar  director  Asis  Perez  said  in  a  press  briefing  on  Monday  morning  that  his  optimism  has  been  bolstered by the fact that sardines production for the second quarter has not been recorded yet.  The ban on sardines catch in the Zamboanga peninsula and other fishing grounds was lifted on February  28 and that the catch from March to June has yet to be tallied.  He  said  the  ban  on  sardines  catch  had  boosted  the  population  of  the  fish  in  its  traditional  breeding  grounds  and  that  this  would  boost  the  catch  of  local  fishermen  and  commercial  fleets  that  supply  canneries and producers of Spanish sardines.  This  development  has  encouraged  Bfar  to  target  the  construction  of  at  least  50  fish  ports  nationwide  over the next three years, noting that having cold storage and processing facilities in many parts of the  country would support the sustainable development of the fisheries sector.  Perez said the Bfar has organized a team of evaluators to conduct studies and create a comprehensive  fish port development program that would be implemented by 2014.  “Our initial target is to construct 50 fish ports before the end of this administration. Hopefully, our team  of evaluators will come up with the comprehensive fish port development plan for implementation next  year,” he said.  Perez,  however,  said  the  investment  required  for  the  program’s  implementation  has  yet  to  be  determined.  The amount of capital needed by each port would depend on the feasibility study that would look into  the viability of fish resources in specific areas.  “We  may  even  include  postharvest  and  cold  storage  facilities  if  these  areas  are  deemed  viable,”  said  Perez. 

“Over the last two years, we have been focusing on increasing our production, through implementation  of  fishing  bans  in  various  area  of  the  country.  But  we  still  lack  the  post‐harvest  facilities  needed  to  maximize income generation,” he added.  The  Philippine  Fishport  Development  Authority  (PFDA)  has  been  working  with  local  government  units  (LGUs)  in  constructing  fish  ports  in  some  areas  apart  from  managing  the  Navotas  fish  port  and  other  facilities in traditional fishing areas nationwide.  Perez said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has already allotted P50 million for the construction of a  fish port in Real, Quezon, to encourage fishermen to venture into the Pacific Ocean.  The BFAR chief earlier said the total cost of the fish port complex will be anywhere from P300 million to  P400 million and will include cold storage and processing centers.  “We hope to start construction within the year,” he revealed.  Based on the initial study, Perez said Real, Quezon, would be an ideal location for the fish port complex,  adding that the area has a natural cove that can protect docking ships from strong waves.  The location  is also ideal because of its proximity to Metro Manila through  the  Marikina‐Infanta Road  and Calabarzon, saying that the National Capital Region is only two‐and‐a‐half hours away.

DOST eyes Palo, Leyte as coco wine capital Category: Agri‐Commodities   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:56   Written by PNA   TACLOBAN CITY—The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the municipal government of  Palo, Leyte, are gearing up to make the town as the bahalina or coco wine capital of the country.  Palo is one of the top tuba and bahalina producing town in Leyte province.  Bahalina is the aged tuba, a local wine from the sap of coconut and popular in the Visayas islands.  DOST  Regional  Director  Edgardo  Esperancilla  said  that  they  are  now  gathering  all  tuba  and  bahalina  producers in Palo to locate them in one place just like in Napa Valley in the state of California.  “We  know  that  Palo  has  plenty  of  bahalina  producers,  they  produce  the  best  tasting  bahalina  in  this  province and we want to organize them to sell their product in one place and at the same time make  that place a tourist site,” said Esperancilla.  Tuba wine tasting and the display of different tuba concoction will be set in the site, he said, and visitors  will have the chance to see how tuba are processed to become bahalina.  The DOST and the municipal government are still looking for a site where the project can be put up, said  Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla.  PNA

BOC on ‘hot’ rice: No sale sans auction Category: Top News   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 21:50   Written by Joel R. San Juan   THE  Bureau  of  Customs  on  Monday  said  it  is  mandated  under  the  Tariff  and  Customs  Code  of  the  Philippines to sell all confiscated smuggled rice through a public auction.  Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon made the statement in response to a proposal of the Department  of Agriculture and the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy the contraband rice seized in April without  going through the bidding process.  The  Department  of  Justice  (DOJ),  in  an  opinion  attributed  to  Justice  Secretary  Leila  de  Lima,  said  the  proposal was legal. De Lima said proposal does not contravene the provisions of the Republic Act (RA)  9184, or the Government Procurement Service Act, which allows alternative methods of procurement,  subject to compliance with several conditions.  “We are open to their proposal but at the same time we are mandated by law to conduct open auction  of seized smuggled rice,” Biazon said.  “We have to deal first with what the law says.”   Biazon noted that the while RA 9184 allows agency‐to‐agency negotiations, the sale of seized items like  the rice shipments was governed by the provisions of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippine.  Thus, Biazon said such provisions must be reconciled first before the proposal could be implemented.  “We have to study first the mechanics or the manner of disposal,” Biazon added.  The Customs chief acknowledged that representatives of the Agriculture department and the NFA met  with him and Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima two weeks ago to discuss the proposal.  The  subject  of  the  proposal,  according  to  Biazon,  was  the  seized  rice  shipment  from  the  Vietnamese  cargo vessel MV Minh Tuan 68, which was carrying 94,000 bags of rice worth P200 million.  Biazon said the proposal might eventually cover other illegal rice shipments that were previously seized  by the Customs bureau.  In April the bureau foiled an attempt to smuggle in 1,200 container vans of Vietnamese rice worth P1.2  billion, which arrived at the Port of Cebu from March 18 to April 2.  The contraband could reach 500,000 sacks, higher than the 420,000 sacks it seized in the Port of Subic. 

Aside from  the  legal  impediments,  Biazon  also  indicated  that  opting  for  a  negotiated  purchase  of  the  smuggled rice might be disadvantageous for bureau, which is targeting much higher revenue collections.  Biazon said the agriculture department and  the NFA were offering a much lower price for the rice, as  compared to the auction price.  “We  want  to  sell  it  at  a  high  price  but  their  target  is  a  lesser  amount.  If  I  remember  correctly,  their  proposal was about P350 per bag as compared to the auction price of about P800 per bag,” Biazon said.  Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, in her letter to de Lima, said the purchase of the seized rice was  necessary to augment the government’s buffer stocks, to protect rice farmers and stabilize the market  price of rice.   De Lima noted that agency‐to‐agency agreements could only be resorted to upon compliance with the  conditions set by the Government Procurement Policy Board.  Among  these  conditions  are  that  the  agreement  should be  more  efficient  and  economical  for  the  government and that the total amount of all goods, consulting, infrastructure projects to be undertaken  should not exceed 25 percent of the agency’s procurement budget.

Food security By Mike U. Crismundo  Published: July 2, 2013  

Patin-Ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – To sustain food security, the newly elected officials of Agusan del Sur vowed to implement more infrastructure projects that are expected to boost the economic activities in the province. The provincial officials led by Governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza also pledged to focus on social and economic developments in the more than 50 far-flung villages in an effort to attain economic development in the province. The provincial government is currently strengthening its Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP), Provincial Development and Investment Plan (PDIP), Provincial Road Network and Development Plan (PRNDP), and Executive and Legislative Agenda as basis for the development interventions of the province, said Plaza. “Let us therefore continue to work together, united, and strong, towards a progressive Agusan del Sur, and contribute to build that straight path to progress for our country as envisioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III,” he said.

Government bans Dutch, Danish live poultry Category: Top News   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 21:27   Written by Jennifer A. Ng   The government has imposed a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds, including  day‐old  chicks,  eggs  and  semen  from  the  Netherlands  and  Denmark  due  to  confirmed  cases  of  avian  influenza in these countries.  In two notices sent to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it  slapped  a  temporary  ban  on  live  poultry  from  Leusden  in  Utrecht,  the  Netherlands  and  Viborg  in  Denmark.  Manila,  however,  said  it  would  allow  the  importation  of  poultry  meat  from  the  two  areas  subject  to  conditions enumerated in the Animal Health Code of the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE).  Agriculture  Secretary  Proceso  J.  Alcala  issued  Memorandum  Order  19  and    20,  which  authorized  the  implementation  of  the  temporary  ban  on  live  poultry,  day‐old  chicks  and  eggs  from  Utrecht,  the  Netherlands and Viborg, Denmark.  Manila said it imposed the ban on live poultry from Leusden, Utrecht after the Netherlands’s Ministry of  Agriculture and Food Quality confirmed to the OIE the outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)  in the area.  The  DA  said  LPAI  serotype  H7N1  was  detected  in  domestic  birds  which  was  confirmed  by  the  Netherlands Central Veterinary Institute on June 1.  The  ban  on  domestic  and  wild  birds  and  day‐old  chicks  from  Viborg,  Denmark,  was  imposed  by  the  Philippine  government  after  its  Ministry  of  Food,  Agriculture  and  Fisheries  confirmed  to  the  OIE  the  outbreak  of  LPAI  in  the  area.The  DA  noted  that  LPAI  serotype  H7  was  detected  in  a  holding  farm  of  hatchery for farmed game farms and game birds of mallards and pheasants.  With the ban in place, Manila has suspended the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance  of  import  permits  for  domestic  and  wild  birds  and  other  poultry  products  from  Viborg,  Denmark,  and  Utrecht,  the  Netherlands.The  government  said  it  would  confiscate  all  shipments  of  domestic  and  wild  birds and day‐old chicks coming from the two areas at all major ports while the ban is in place.‐news/15824‐government‐bans‐dutch‐danish‐ live‐poultry 

MGB: Coastal erosion caused Zambales beach collapse By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) yesterday said that the collapse of the coastline of a beach resort in Candelaria, Zambales does not constitute a “sinkhole” phenomenon but was a result of coastal erosion. MGB Director Leo Jasareno said they are recommending that the area be declared permanently as a “no swimming” and “danger” zone as well. Jasareno said with the use of “ground penetrating radar” (GPR) equipment, a team of geologists who conducted an investigation found no voids or cavities, or even a sinkhole in the affected area. “What was identified were alternating layers of loose and fine to coarse sand 18.5 meters below the surface,” he said. The equipment functions like an X-ray that can check land sinking up to 100 meters or 300 feet below. “The beach slump is not due to sinkhole but is a result of coastal erosion caused by wave and tidal currents. Waves undercut the base of the shoreface, which happened during the interface of low tide and high tide, with the prevailing southwest monsoon,” the MGB report said. Jasareno noted that the area is underlain by unconsolidated beach sand that is unstable and easily reworked by waves. “The coastal sedimentation dynamics is indicated by the advance and retreat of the shoreline, and that the area is also prone to storm surge hazard,” he said. He said coastal erosion is a natural phenomenon leading to the formation of a cliff 100 meters from the shoreline. The depth of the cliff or the steep slope from the shoreline is about 25 to 30 meters. The MGB recommended continuous monitoring of the area for large-scale erosion and storm surge, particularly when there is an incoming weather disturbance. “A danger zone should be declared as the area is highly prone to coastal erosion,” he added. The MGB estimated the danger zone to be 100 kilometers long and the width to be 20 to 30 meters.

The rise of farm fishing Category: Opinion   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:09   Written by Sen. Edgardo Angara  

IN 2012  farmed  fish  production  overtook  that  of  beef,  according  to  data  from  the  United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the US Department of Agriculture.  This is a veritable first in human history. Where 63 million tons of beef were produced last year, some 66  million tons of fish were harvested from fish farms, mostly to meet the world population’s growing need  for animal protein.  Recent  research  from  the  Earth  Policy  Institute  projects  that  this  year  could  mark  the  first  instance  people  will  consume  more  fish  grown  in  tanks,  closed‐system  ponds  and  open‐sea  pens  than  those  caught in the wild.  Experts see this as part of an emerging trend in human consumption. A booming global population and  decades of poor stewardship over natural resources have made it difficult for natural systems to keep  up with world’s continuously growing demand for food.  More and more, catching fish in the open seas is becoming untenable, since widespread overfishing has  brought  to  the  brink  of  extinction  entire  species,  including  northern  cod  from  the  Georges  Bank  near  Canada, salmon from Maine and the prized blue fin tuna from the Pacific.  Ten out of the 13 major fishing grounds in the Philippines are heavily exploited, according to the Bureau  of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Some estimates see that our present stock is a mere 10 percent of  what was available 50 years ago on account of unregulated fishing and habitat degradation.  Hence, the country started to import much of the fish and fish products it consumes, taking in last year  about 700,000 metric tons worth of galunggong, sardines, mackerel, salmon, dory and fish feed, despite  high prices.    Many governments, including our own, have tried to implement regulations to stave off the complete  obliteration of precious marine resources. The FAO noted that some of these measures have begun to  bear fruit, contributing to the slowing growth of capture fishery levels in recent decades. 

But world fish supply continues to expand, growing at an annual average of 3.2 percent between 1961  and 2009, with farmed fish quickly contributing a bigger portion of this continuous uptrend.  Leading  the  shift  is  Asia,  accounting  for  89  percent  of  world  aquaculture  production.  Here,  Chinese  aquaculture  dominates,  providing  more  than  two‐thirds  of  the  world’s  total  volume  and  boosting  China’s seafood exports to $13.2 billion in 2010.  Aquaculture  is  fast  becoming  the  alternative  means  for  both  developed  and  developing  countries  to  feed  their  populations.  Countries  like  India,  Vietnam,  Indonesia,  Brazil  and  Peru  have  turned  to  farm  fishing, becoming major producers in their regions.  However,  aquaculture  does  not  come  without  challenges.  Waste  and  excrement  from  open‐sea  pens  have been proven to pollute seabeds and cause significant damage to delicate ecosystems. Schools of  fish housed in close quarters are particularly susceptible to diseases and die‐offs.  Fortunately, solutions are available. Fish waste has been proven to be a very effective fertilizer, giving  birth to the new  field of aquaponics, where fish and crops are jointly cultivated in an environment that  mimics  Mother  Nature.  Multisector  research  on  better,  more  sustainable  aquaculture  practices  is  occurring all over the world.    The Philippines can succeed in this area, given that in 2010 close to half of fish production in the country  was sourced from fish ponds and pens.  Building up our capacity for aquaculture will definitely help feed the country’s hungry—some 3.9 million  Filipino families, as recently reported by the Social Weather Stations.  Coupled  with  aquaponics,  fish  farming  could  also  boost  the  incomes  of  Filipino  fishermen,  long  considered  the  poorest  of  the  country’s  agricultural  workers.With  Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations  economic  integration  set  for  2015,  the  country  should  soon  identify  industries  where  it  can  build  up  its  competitive  advantage  and  make  the  corresponding  investments.  I  believe  aquaculture  stands as an industry abundant with opportunity.  Web site: E‐mail:‐the‐rise‐of‐farm‐fishing         

Economy Posted on July 02, 2013 12:27:45 AM 

BFAR eyes P6.7-B budget THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has proposed a budget  of P6.7 billion to fund post‐harvest investments and fisherfolk settlements, a  top bureau official said at a press briefing yesterday.    The proposed budget is a 46% increase from this year’s budget of P4.6 billion, as BFAR has set its sights  on investments such as cold storage facilities, according to BFAR Director Asis G. Perez.    “We are planning to put up more storage facilities for sardines and mackerel, which both have a surplus  in supply, while galunggong is expected to increase as well,” Mr. Perez said in Tagalog.    “We will invest in cold storage, and then we will gradually release the stocks to the market later in the  year,” Mr. Perez added.    BFAR hopes to reach a benchmark budget of P8 billion by 2016.    “We are asking Congress and the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), if, hopefully, they will  grant our proposal,” Mr. Perez said.    Asked on estimated fisheries output for the second quarter, the BFAR official said, “Hopefully, it will be  higher than 5.6%,” driven by sardines output due to the end of the sardine closed season.    As the three‐month sardine closed season ended March 1, the BFAR estimates a 10% boost in sardine  output to 68,048 metric tons from 61,827 MT in the same period last year.    A possible galunggong (round scad) closed season is under consideration since the bureau plans to cut  the fish’s market price.    “We plan to implement it (the closed season), hopefully, next year,” Mr. Perez said. ‐‐ K.T. de Villa  ‐ See more at:‐eyes‐P6.7‐B‐ budget&id=72702#sthash.fQ7a8vUw.dpuf     

Economy Posted on July 02, 2013 12:36:41 AM 

Certification guides to cover all crops THE GUIDELINES on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification will now  extend to all crops for products to meet both local and foreign standards, the  Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.    Farmers carry sacks of rice harvested in Penarubia, Abra, in this Nov. 20, 2008 photo. Rice and all other  crops will soon be covered by Good Agricultural Practices standards. ‐‐ AFP  The initiative, led by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Production Standards (BAFPS), “is in  keeping with the growing demand for certification of various agricultural commodities in both domestic  and foreign markets,” the DA said in a statement.    The Philippine GAP certification for fresh fruits and vegetables was established in 2005 and covers fruits  such as mango and bananas and vegetables such as shallots. It is aligned with the Association of South  East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) GAP guidelines.    Karen A. Roscom, chief science research specialist of the BAFPS Standards Development Division, said in  a phone interview that the certification intends to meet international standards for exportation.    Ms. Roscom also said in the DA statement that the country is committed to the Strategic Plan of Action  on ASEAN Cooperation on Good Agricultural Practices, which compels all member‐states to align their  national standards with those of their regional trading partners.    “The ongoing expansion of the guidelines will still be guided by the four major components of the local  GAP (in farm assessment) which are food safety, product quality, environmental management and  worker health or safety,” Ms. Roscom explained.    A technical working group last week drafted the said components of the expanded certification  guidelines, which are still for approval by DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. It was also agreed that farms  seeking certification for the first time shall be free of charge.    After inspection and assessment, the farms shall be issued GAP certification based on their compliance  with minimum requirements. They will also be allowed to use an official “GAP Certified” mark on their  products, the DA said.   

In April, the DA had said that certification guidelines for rice will be drafted to help rice farmers become  globally competitive.    DA Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima previously said that P2.5 million has been alloted for the drafting  of guidelines for rice. ‐‐ K.T. de Villa   ‐ See more at:‐ guides‐to‐cover‐all‐crops&id=72704#sthash.PrZTT3AI.dpuf                                       

Customs mulls over sale of smuggled rice to NFA By Joel E. Zurbano | Posted on Jul. 02, 2013 at 12:01am | 220 views The Custom bureau is considering selling without public bidding to the Department of Agriculture and National Food Authority the P1.2 billion smuggled rice shipment it seized in Port of Cebu three months ago. The idea cropped up as the Department of Justice cleared the proposal of the DA and NFA to buy the smuggled rice shipments that came from Vietnam. Agriculture department officials said the purchase was necessary to augment the NFA’s buffer stock, protect the farmers and stabilize the price of rice in the market. “The option is to sell it, not an option actually because the process is really to sell it. If the NFA and the DA are really interested, we are open to their proposal,” said Customs commissioner Rufino Biazon. “Our number one concern is the revenue from the confiscated goods. If the NFA is interested, we are open and we have to work it out. Under the Tariff Code, we are mandated to auction the seized items,” he added. Biazon, however, said the bureau should first study the appropriate mechanism to be used in disposing of the smuggled rice via government to government agreement. “Unfortunately the law prescribed open auction. Only after two failed auctions can we go for an outright sale,” he said. While the government procurement act allows agency-to-agency negotiation, the BOC is governed by the Tariff and Customs Code which mandates it to sell the seized goods through public auction, he said. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala recently wrote to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and sought her opinion on the legality of the purchase of the seized rice shipments through an agency-to-agency agreement.‐mulls‐over‐sale‐of‐smuggled‐rice‐to‐nfa/      

Economy Posted on July 02, 2013 12:13:34 AM 

Demo organic farm set up BRAULIO E. DUJALI, DAVAO DEL NORTE ‐‐ The municipal government has put up  an organic demonstration farm as a strategy to improve the lifestyle of local  residents and to put premium on local produce.    The scheme aims to encourage farmers in the municipality to start shifting to organic farming,  particularly of rice, the town’s main crop, Municipal Agriculturist Nelson C. Baer said.    The municipal government secured P1.5‐million assistance from the Agriculture department to set up  the three‐hectare demo farm, which also has areas for livestock and poultry.    Mr. Baer said that since some local farmers had received Agri‐Pinoy Rice Achievers Awards for  productivity, it would be easier for them to embrace organic farming technology. He believes that more  farmers will shift to organic farming with the establishment of the demo farm and notes how buyers put  premium price on organic rice.    Because it has been able to produce organic rice, the municipal government has also started producing  rice tea flavored with lemon grass.    A part of the demo farm is devoted to vermiculture, as worms contribute to the production of organic  fertilizers from composting. The farm will also include pilot plots for organically grown vegetables.    To fully complete and ensure the success of the farm, the municipal government still needs about P5  million. The Agriculture department, said Mr. Baer, has also indicated that it will provide the technical  know‐how to farmers who are going to practice organic farming.    The demo farm will also encourage younger residents of the town to become farmers. “They must also  remember that farming is the backbone of our economy and that it is also profitable,” Mr. Baer added.    It might be a long way to success, but the demo farm is a step in the right direction, he said. ‐‐ Carmelito  Q. Francisco‐organic‐farm‐set‐ up&id=72696 

PH leads in use of biotechnology, say experts By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:20 pm | Monday, July 1st, 2013 International agricultural experts cited the Philippines for being a leader in the promotion of biotechnology in food production as well as for making the list of 18 so-called “mega-countries” that grow genetically modified (GM) or transgenic crops. These statements were raised Monday at a forum held at the US Embassy in Manila. According to not-for-profit organization International Service for the Acquisition of AgriBiotech Applications, the Philippines is 12th out of 28 countries in 2012 that grew GM crops. The top five GM crop growing countries are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. The Philippines also made it to the list of 18 mega countries or those with land area of at least 50,000 hectares of biotech crop cultivation. “GM is the most rapidly adopted technology in the world and the Philippines is at the forefront of (testing and promoting) this,” said Peter J. Davies, international professor of plant biology at Cornell University in New York, who joined the forum via videoconferencing. Davies also downplayed concerns that biotech crops are harmful and not fit for consumption. A fact sheet issued by the US Department of Agriculture said that “the benefits of biotech corn to Filipino farmer’s livelihood, income and health have been well documented.” According to the USDA, adoption of transgenic corn among Filipino growers has reached a record 375,000 farmers in 2012. “The Philippines is a leader in international biotech research,” the USDA said. “Its robust and thorough regulatory system has been praised as a model for other countries.” Reynaldo V. Ebora, director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, cited various studies that say the cultivation of biotech crops could mean an additional income of up to P10,132 per hectare or an improvement of up to 75 percent. Even then, the Court of Appeals has stopped field trials on GM corn—the so-called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) corn.‐leads‐in‐use‐of‐biotechnology‐say‐experts

Masamang sensyales na K KA LANG? Ni Korina Sanchez (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 HINDI na nakapagtataka kung libong isda ang naglutangan sa Manila Bay. Ang Manila Bay ay tapunan ng tone-toneladang basura galing sa Metro Manila. Matindi ang polusyon kaya hirap na ang isdang makahinga, ika nga. Pero ang paglutang ng libong isda ay masamang senyales na sa kalusugan ng Manila Bay. Sinisisi ng iba ang naganap na “fishkill” sa malakas na ulan na dulot ng bagyong “Gorio”. Tumabang daw ang tubig, kaya hindi nakahinga ang mga isdang sanay sa tubig-alat. Pero kung tatanggapin ang ganyang paliwanag, madalas tayong dinadalaw ng bagyo, bakit hindi lahat ng pagkakataon ay may “fishkill” sa Manila Bay? Nagmistulang tag-init sa seawall ng Roxas Blvd., hindi dahil maraming naliligo kundi marami ang pumupulot ng mga patay na isda. Naglabas ng babala ang Buerau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources na huwag kainin ang mga patay na isda, pero sino naman ang makikinig sa kanila, kung ang tingin sa nangyari ay biyaya at hindi dapat tanggihan. Ewan ko na lang kung may mababalitaan tayong mga nagkasakit o namatay matapos kainin ang mga nasabing isda. Inaalam pa ng mga eksperto ang sanhi ng pagkamatay ng libong isda. Baka nagbabago na ang karagatan ng Manila Bay. Baka may nagtapon na naman ng basurang kemikal o lason sa dagat, at kumalat na lang nang lumakas ang ulan. O baka dahil lang sa dumi ng karagatan, kung saan ipinagbawal na nga ang paliligo roon. Talagang pasama nang pasama ang ating mga karagatan, ilog, lawa, dahil sa polusyon. Wala rin talagang magawa ang gobyerno sa mga taong walang pakialam sa kalinisan at laging nagtatapon ng kung anu-ano sa dagat. Tayo rin ang magbabayad ng lahat niyan pagdating ng panahon. Katulad niyan, libong isda ang patay. Noong araw, masamang pamahiin na iyan para sa katapusan ng mundo! Kung hindi babaguhin ang ugali at patuloy na sasalaulain ang mga dagat, ilog at lawa, darating ang araw na wala ngang maglulutangang patay na isda, kasi wala nang isda. Basura at lason ang lulutang!‐opinyon/2013/07/02/960524/masamang‐sensyales‐na    

Veteran senators have 1st crack at filing bills Published : Tuesday, July 02, 2013 00:00   Article Views : 64   Written by : Marlon Purificacion  

VETERAN senators have the first crack at filing bills on the first day of filing for the 16th Congress. Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Acting Senate President Jinggoy Estrada were the early birds to file their pet bills in the Senate. Done via lottery, the order of filing was raffled off by Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes who was assisted by Edwin Bellen, deputy secretary for Legislation and Renato Bantug, director for Legislation, with Sotto getting the first slot. Binay (28th to file) and Poe (19th) personally filed their bills and were received by Director Antoniette Aristorza of the Legislative Bills and Index (LBIS). Among the bills filed by Sotto included a bill creating a special court to be known as the Dangerous Drugs Court; an Act Amending Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; a bill providing for affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) beneficiaries; a bill prohibiting any person from allowing children 12 years old and below to ride at the back of a motorcycle when traveling along public and private roads; and a bill amending Section 150 of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991. Legarda filed the Pantawid Tuition Program, the Pag-Asa Modernization bill, the Magna Carta for School Teachers; the National Land Use bill, and the creation of the Philippine River Basin System Administration. Marcos filed a bill amending Section 6 of Republic Act 10175, a proposed Act defining cybercrime and providing for the prevention, investigation and imposition of penalties therefor; a bill imposing a three-year moratorium on the creation or conversion of state universities and colleges; a bill providing barangay officials, including barangay tanods, members of the lupon ng tagamayapa, barangay health workers and barangay day care workers a retirement benefit; a bill mandating the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to accelerate national irrigation development program; and a bill increasing pensions under the Social Security System.‐veteran‐senators‐have‐1st‐crack‐at‐filing‐ bills

Mandatory labeling to make food products more expensive–scientists Category: Economy   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 20:41   Written by Cai U. Ordinario   The mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) products will force Filipinos particularly the poor to  pay more for food and worsen the hunger situation in the country.  In a briefing at the US Embassy on Monday, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and  former University of the Philippines President Emil Javier said mandatory food labeling cause the price  of food items to go up by 10 percent to 12 percent.  Javier  said  insofar  as  GM  foods  are  concerned,  the  government  should  allow  sellers  the  freedom  to  choose whether they will label their products or not. He said mandatory labeling for GM products will  create a notion that these are expensive and make businessmen less competitive.  “If you require the labeling of GM products, there’s a cost involved. If Filipinos really have problems with  access to food, because they don’t have enough money, all the more we're going to make Filipinos food  insecure because we will certain food items more expensive,” Javier explained.  Food  and  Drug  Administration  (FDA)  Policy  and  Planning  Office  Officer  in  Charge  Oscar  Gutierrez  said  labeling could also create a notion that GM foods are unsafe. He said GM foods are as safe as the food  items currently found in the market.  Gutierrez also said labeling should only be used when regulating a product, not the technology used to  produce a particular food item. He stressed there is no need to label GM products.    “Each  product  should  be  carefully  evaluated  separately  on  a  case  by  case  basis  applying  the  international standards which is the codex. So all products that are in the market have already passed  evaluation. Meaning it has met international standards and can move freely in the international market  and  food  processors  can  actually  use  them  without  the  FDA  making  distinctions  between  the  raw  materials,” he said.  US Embassy in Manila Counselor for Agriculture Philip Shull added that under international law, labeling  is  only  required  when  there  has  been  a  change  in  the  nutritional  value  of  a  product.  For  example,  if  vitamin D was added to milk, the manufacturer should label it and indicate that there is vitamin D in that  particular product. 

Shull also said if the Golden Rice being developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in  Los  Baños,  Laguna,  will  finally  be  sold  in  the  market,  it  should  be  labeled  as  containing  vitamin  A.  He  stressed that it is not required to label a process such as genetic modification.  Data  provided  by  University  of  the  Philippines  Los  Baños  National  Institute  of  Molecular  Biology  and  Biotechnology (Biotech) Director Reynaldo Ebora showed that since its introduction in the Philippines in  2003, the consumption of Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn as been on the rise.  Ebora said in 2012, some 719,446 hectares of land have been devoted to farming Bt corn in the country.  Also, the number of farmers planting the genetically modified corn has steadily grown to over 300,000 in  2011 from 100,000 in 2006.‐mandatory‐labeling‐to‐make‐food‐ products‐more‐expensive‐scientists                             

Gov’t to build 50 fish ports Published on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 00:00  

The Philippines plans to build 50 fish ports over the next three years, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. BFAR Director Asis Perez said the agency wants to attain sustainable development of the fisheries sector by focusing more on building and maintaining post production facilities. “We want to invest on post production this time, because majority of the budget is usually focused on increasing the production and we have implemented fishing bans in various fishing areas in the country, but we have seen that part of the process doesn’t generate the money. What generates income is the post-harvest facilities such as infrastructures, ports, cold storage facilities, ice plants,” he said. Perez said the comprehensive fish port development program would complement the sustainable fishery projects of the government under the fisheries modernization plan. He said the budget for the ports will come from next year’s budget of P6.7 billion, 45 percent higher than this year’s P4.6 billion.

Davao del Norte offers tour packages to island beaches, banana plantations Category: Regions   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 20:03   Written by Manuel T. Cayon   DAVAO  CITY—The  banana  capital  of  the  Philippines  has  switched  to  tourism  to  attract  higher  tourism  receipts,  offering  bundled  tour  packages  to  its  plantations,  caves  and  island  beaches,  as  well  as  to  its  seasonal charter day and fruit‐harvest festivities.  In  opening  the  weeklong  commemoration  of  its  July  1  founding  day,  Gov.  Rodolfo  del  Rosario  also  launched  the  pet  project  of  the  province’s  tourism  sector  with  “budget‐friendly tour  packages  that  showcase  the  best  resorts  and  attractions  in  the  ‘Banana  Capital’  of  the  country,”  a  provincial  information office statement said.   Dubbed “Let’s tour DavNor,” the tourism blitz for the province promised foreign and local visitors that  they  “can  choose  to  bask  in  the  allure  of  pristine  white  sand  beaches  or  enjoy  the  equally  satisfying  agriculture, culture and ecology destinations in the province.”  “Aside from the world‐class beaches in the Island Garden City of Samal, the vast banana plantations in  the mainland and the highland journey in nature and culture to include waterfalls, springs, and lakes, as  well as the Ata‐Manobo Cultural Village complete Davao del Norte’s tourism brand offering from Island  to Highland,” it said.  Del  Rosario  also  graced  recently  the  national  caving  congress  that  gave  special  protection  and  conservation actions to the hundreds of caves of Davao del Norte, as he said that spelunking “may help  spur attraction to this province.”  Davao  del  Norte  was  the  site  of  the  first  banana  plantations  in  the  country  in  the  1960s  and  1970s.  Expansion areas spread to the rest of Mindanao in first decade of the current millennium to meet the  increasing demand for the fruit.  Araceli  Ayuste,  president  of  the  Provincial  Tourism  Council,  said  “affordable  day‐tour  packages  range  from P800 to P1,500 per individual.”  The  province  would  commemorate  its  46th  Araw  ng  Davao  del  Norte  on  July  1  with  the  weeklong  Kadagayaan Festival 2013.‐davao‐del‐norte‐offers‐tour‐ packages‐to‐island‐beaches‐banana‐plantations 

Retail prices in NCR up 3.2 percent in May Category: Economy   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 20:40   Written by Ricardo D. Cruz   The retail prices of various consumer goods sold in the National Capital Region (NCR) increased by 3.2  percent in May, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said in a report released on Monday.  The NSO’s monthly report on the General Retail Price Index (GRPI) showed that the index was higher in  May compared to the 3.1 percent registered in April.  Among the commodities monitored, the NSO said beverages and tobacco sold in NCR posted the highest  annual increase at 20 percent.  The  crude  materials,  inedible  except  fuels  index  posted  the  second  highest  annual  increase  at  11.5  percent.  Machinery  and  transport  equipment  sold  in  NCR  went  up  by  an  average  of  3.7  percent  while  miscellaneous manufactured articles went up by 4.2 percent.  The NSO said the annual gain in the food index eased to 1.9 percent in May from 2.1 percent registered  in April.  The index for mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials continued to register negative annual rate  of 4.2 percent from—6.5 percent.  On  a  monthly  basis,  the  NSO  said  price  increases  in  gravel  and  sand  pushed  up  the  crude  materials,  inedible except fuels index by 1.3 percent from 0.2 percent.  The manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials index grew by 0.5 percent from 0.1 percent due  to price add‐ons in nails, steel bars, nail clipper, drinking glass, table knife, table spoon and fork.  The  NSO  also  said  price  increases  in  chicken,  beef,  pork,  evaporated  milk,  condensed  milk,  butter,  selected  fish  species,  fruits  and  vegetables  caused  the  0.1‐percent  hike  in  the  heavily  weighted  food  index. This was however, slower than the 0.4 percent gain last month.  GRPI  is  a  statistical  measure  of  the  changes  in  the  prices  at  which  retailers  dispose  of  their  goods  to  consumers or end‐users relative to a base year according to NSO.‐retail‐prices‐in‐ncr‐up‐3‐2‐percent‐ in‐may 

All senators complied with rule–Comelec By Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:12 am | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. talks to five winners of the senatorial race during their proclamation on May 16, 2013 (from left), Juan Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe and Francis Escudero. The Commission on Elections on Monday, July 1, 2013, announced that the 12 newly elected senators had addressed the deficiencies in their statements of contributions and expenses, removing the stumbling block that would have delayed their assumption of office. JOAN BONDOC MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday announced that the 12 newly elected senators had addressed the deficiencies in their statements of contributions and expenses (SOCE), removing the stumbling block that would have delayed their assumption of office. In an interview with reporters, Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said all the winning senators were able to comply with the rules of the commission last Friday, as far as their election expenses were concerned. Lim, head of the Comelec’s campaign finance unit, added that the senators immediately addressed the deficiencies in their respective SOCEs after he released an urgent memo on the matter a few weeks ago. Based on his memo, nine of the 12 senators did not submit the necessary copies of receipts they had issued to their contributors. They were Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Gringo Honasan, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Antonio Trillanes IV. Nancy Binay, Poe, Legarda and Honasan were also initially found to have submitted incomplete copies of receipts of expenditures, while Bam Aquino, Pimentel and Villar did not personally sign their sworn SOCEs.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s SOCE had no deficiency but his political party, the Nacionalista Party, did not submit certain documents. “[But] as early as Friday [last week], all the winning senators were able to comply,” said Lim, adding that the senators also paid the fines they had incurred for the deficiencies in their SOCEs. “They were able to address the concerns we raised when they submitted their amended SOCEs,” he said. Promptly heeding the Comelec’s memo paved the way for the issuance of their Certificates of Compliance in time for their first day at work on Monday, Lim said. Under Republic Act No. 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections, anyone elected to any public office shall not enter upon the duties of his or her office until he or she has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures required. As for the 38 winning party-list groups, Lim said the commission was still evaluating whether or not the documents they submitted were in full compliance with the SOCE requirements.

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Aetas benefit from ‘Gas Up for Tree’ plan By Mar T. Supnad  Published: July 2, 2013  

MORONG, Bataan — To support the National Greening Program of the government and to promote its corporate social responsibility through environmental advocacies, PTT Philippines Corporation and PTT Philippines Foundation recently launched the “Gas Up for a Tree Project.” The reforestation site of the Gas Up for a Tree Project is a 50-hectare denuded land near the reservation area of the Aetas.Fred B. Sadueste, newly designated head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), and Ed Cabigting, are reviewing the area, a part of which is under the Bataan Protected Area, to ensure the success of the PTT project. Some of the dignitaries present during the launch were Secretary Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection; Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio Jr., National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Executive Director Basilio A. Wandag, Magbukun Tribe led by Chieftain Rodelio Tamondog as well as Thailand Ambassador to the Philippines, Prasas Prasasvinitchaiand, PTT Philippines President and Chief Executive officer Wisarn Chawalitanon.PTT said that for every P1,000 one time or cumulative gas up or purchase of PTT products at any PTT retail station nationwide, the motorist is entitled to one tree that will be planted under his name at Sitio Kanawan, Barangay Binaritan, Morong, Bataan which is inside Bataan Natural Park, a protected area.The motorist-beneficiary can view and monitor his tree through the PTT website and its facebook account. The project not only aims to plant 10,000 trees to rehabilitate and protect the environment but more important is that more than 100 Aeta families of the Magbukun Tribe will be the direct beneficiary of the project.Under the program, the Aeta will be the one to take care, maintain and protect the reforestation site. The project will not only provide them employment and business opportunities will enable them to uplift their social status, said PTT.The PTT reforestation is trend-setting considering that it combines man, environment and technology. Its information technology-focused approach through the use of a mobile application raises the bar of environmental protection to a new level.Its system of documentation and monitoring could be an example to other reforestation projects in other parts of the country. PTT Philippines, the leading oil company in Thailand and a new oil player in the Philippines, has partnered with government agencies, government corporations and non-governmental organizations, the DENR, NCIP, Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Tiu Gan Foundation, Wide Out Technology Services Inc., Bataan Peninsula State University, Bataan Technology Park, Inc. and Mga Bayaning Kalikasan. an#.UdJR5KyveKE

In the Know: 7% increase in SSS benefits, 0.6% increase in contribution Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:14 am | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 MANILA, Philippines—On the eve of this year’s Labor Day, President Aquino unveiled a 7percent increase in benefits for Social Security System (SSS) members, based on a 0.6-percent increase in contributions. The 0.6-percent increase in contribution—about P60 for an employee earning P10,000 a month and to be shared equally by the employee and the employer—seeks to cut the SSS unfunded liability of P1.1 trillion by P141 billion, Aquino said. In 2012, the SSS reported that it collected P94.2 billion in contributions, a 9.7-percent increase from P85.9 billion in 2011 as the agency introduced measures to ease members’ transactions with the pension fund and to broaden its membership base. The disbursement of benefits went up by 2 percent to P84.4 billion in 2012, resulting in a surplus (contributions less benefits) amounting to P9.8 billion. Members of the SSS in 2012 included 602,139 employers, 21,945,734 employees, 3,803,327 self-employed and 3,708,306 voluntary. There were 1,595,741 pensioners as of last December, data from the SSS website showed. These pensioners received social security benefits (retirement, death, disability) and employee’s compensation benefits (death, disability). The average monthly pension paid to a member in 2012 was P2,978. The minimum monthly pension was P1,000 and the highest monthly pension, P16,563. For retirees, their monthly pension depends on their paid contributions, including the credited years of service and the number of dependent minor children (not more than five). A retiree can choose to receive the first 18 monthly pension in lump sum discounted at a preferential rate of interest to be determined by the SSS. This preference should be indicated upon the filing of the first retirement claim. The member will then receive the monthly pension on the 19th month and every month thereafter.—Inquirer Research Sources: Inquirer Archives,

Bongbong files bill amending cybercrime law By Louis Bacani ( | Updated July 1, 2013 - 4:30pm

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Bongbong Marcos on Monday filed a bill amending the most contentious provision of the controversial cybercrime law. Marcos filed Senate Bill No. 11 seeking to delete the sentence in Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which imposes a penalty for cyber libel higher than the penalty imposed under the Revised Penal Code for libel committed through the traditional media like print and broadcast. Section 6 states that "All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be." Marcos said imposing a higher penalty on crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code and special laws committed through the Internet is "not in accordance with the principle of justice and equality, and sound public policy." "If a crime is committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies, then the penalties provided under the present laws should be imposed accordingly and should not be increased solely on the ground that the crime was perpetrated through the use of cyberspace," Marcos said.The controversial cybercrime law signed on September 2012, aimed at boosting the government's power to combat cyber terrorism and online crimes. In October 2012, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of the law for 120-days.The halt order was extended indefinitely last February.

415 new HIV cases recorded in May – DOH By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - At least 415 new human immunodeficiency virus cases were recorded in May, the highest since the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry was set up in 1984, an official said yesterday. “This is the highest monthly number of new HIV cases ever,” DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag posted on his Twitter account @erictayagsays. The number brings to 1,892 the total number of HIV/AIDS cases this year and to 13,954 since 1984. The figure is 52 percent higher than the 273 cases, 19 of which were full-blown AIDS, recorded in May 2012. Sexual contact was the mode of transmission for 409 cases, while six cases were through needle sharing among drug users. Eighty-six percent of the cases involved men who had sex with males. The National Capital Region accounted for 53 percent of the cases, followed by Region 4-A, 13 percent; Region 11, 10 percent; Region 3, 8 percent; Region 7, 4 percent, and Region 6, three percent. The registry showed that of the 1,892 cases this year, 1,844 were infected through sexual contact – 311 heterosexual, 945 homosexual and 588 bisexual. Forty-eight got the disease by sharing contaminated needles. Of the 13,594 HIV cases recorded since 1984, 12,322 have progressed into AIDS. Their ages ranged from one to 81 years, with age group 25 to 29 accounting for 30 percent of the cases. The registry also showed that 12,649 were infected through sexual contact; 488 through needle sharing among drug users; 59, mother-to-child transmission; 20, blood transfusion, and three through needle prick injury. No data is available for 375 of the cases. New WHO guidelines As this developed, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new HIV treatment guidelines recommending early antiretroviral therapy (ART). In a statement, WHO said studies show that early ART will help people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives and substantially reduces the risk that they could infect other people.

The strategy is expected to avert more than three million deaths and prevent 3.5 million new HIV infections until 2025. WHO said that some 9.7 million people took ART by the end of 2012. WHO director general Margaret Chan said the guidelines “represent another leap ahead in a trend of ever-higher goals and ever-greater achievements.” “With nearly 10 million people now on antiretroviral therapy, we see that such prospects – unthinkable just a few years ago – can now fuel the momentum needed to push the HIV epidemic into irreversible decline,” she said.‐new‐hiv‐cases‐recorded‐may‐doh                                

Leni Robredo's first bill: Full disclosure in gov't transactions By Camille Diola ( | Updated July 1, 2013 - 3:45pm

New Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo poses with her husband, late Interior and Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, in a trip to Paris. On Monday, Robredo filed her first bill in the House of Representatives seeking to have full disclosure of financial transactions and budget from all elected officials and government agencies. MANILA, Philippines - Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo filed her first bill in the House of Representatives, which seeks the full disclosure of transactions of all elected officials. "Funds are the hard-earned money of the people that should be spent judiciously and only for the common good," said Robredo, widower of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, in the proposed measure's explanatory note. Robredo, a lawyer by profession, said that the bill follows her husband's dream of making information on how and where taxes are spent readily available to the public. The Full Disclosure Bill or HB 19 proposes to mandate all government agencies and their subunits and projects to disclose in a conspicuous manner their budget and financial transactions "without any requests from the public." "This will allow people to access the data at any time without any burden of technicalities and bureaucracy," the neophyte lawmaker said. The bill also seeks to make available information on "how government funds are managed, disbursed and used," according to the pending law's note.‐robredos‐first‐bill‐full‐disclosure‐govt‐ transaction

On 1st working day, Nancy Binay lines up 15 Senate bills By Louis Bacani ( | Updated July 1, 2013 - 2:25pm

File photo of Sen. Nancy Binay MANILA, Philippines -Senator Nancy Binay has lined up 15 priority bills on her first day in office, as she tries to prove her critics wrong that she is ill-suited for a legislator's job.In a statement on Monday, Binay said the early filing of bills is "critical to advancing" the priorities of the Senate and she hopes that most of the measures that she filed would be passed. "This is the time I start working on the promises I made during the campaign. This is part of my advocacy and UNA's legislative agenda that I promised to pursue," the neophyte senator said. Among her bills are The Employers Child Care Centers Act of 2013; Parents in Jail Act of 2013; Special Education Act of 2013, Women's and Children's Resource Development and Crisis Assistance Act of 2013; The Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act; Firecracker Safety Law; Women and Gender Education Act.The others are The Anti-Corporate Punishment Act of 2013; The E-Vaw Law of 2013, Rest Period for Women Employees; Sex Offenders School Access Prohibition Act; Philippine Arbitration Commission Act of 2013; Petroleum Exploration and Development Act; Sugar Cane Industry Development Act of 2013 and the Food Fortification Act.Binay said she would also review laws on adoption of orphans.She said she wants to make sure that the measures will be "realistic, doable, and would benefit every Filipino family especially women and children." "I am aware that it would take a lot of skill to manage and defend to get the bills passed, but I'm ready to discuss and negotiate with my colleagues in the Senate in order to reach the needed consensus on pressing issues," said Binay.In preparation for her Senate duties, the first-time lawmaker took a crash course on legislative work at the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance.During the campaign period for the 2013 elections, Binay had been criticized for her lack of experience in government work as she had worked only as personal assistant to her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.Despite the criticisms, Binay ranked fifth among the winners of the Senate elections after garnering 16,812,148 votes in the final, official tally.‐working‐day‐nancy‐binay‐lines‐15‐senate‐ bills

Court convicts 2 BOC employees over nondeclaration of assets in SALN By Tetch Torres-Tupas 7:51 pm | Monday, July 1st, 2013 2 120 111 MANILA, Philippines–The Manila Metropolitan Trial Court convicted two Bureau of Customs employees for non-declaration of assets in their statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN). In a 16-page Decision, Judge Glenda R. Mendoza-Ramos of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 30, Manila imposed on spouses Teotimo and Vivian Sacluti the penalty of fine of P5,000 for each of six counts of violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. The court found the two guilty for failure to declare their business interest and financial connection with Bodgie Motor and Iron Works in their joint Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for six years from 2000 to 2005. “It is not uncommon that mistakes or omissions may be committed as most in the public service are not properly adept in accomplishing it (SALN). Be that as it may, a public official or employee must comply with what the SALN requires to be disclosed and absent any clear showing of mere oversight, inadvertence or the like will not exempt anyone from liability under the law,” the lower court said. She added that “a public official or employee being a public servant has the duty and obligation to disclose all his wealth as well as liabilities whenever called to public service. Such requirement is a compliment to the constitutional mandate that public service is a public trust and public officials must live a simple life.” Both accused were acquitted, however, from the separate charges of perjury. The case stemmed from a complaint received by the Department of Finance through their hotline accusing spouses Sacluti of engaging in corrupt practices.

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Halving world hunger by 2015 ‘within reach’—UN Agence France-Presse 4:00 pm | Monday, July 1st, 2013 1 31 6

UN chief Ban Ki-moon. AFP FILE PHOTO GENEVA – Despite economic crises and dwindling aid, the UN said Monday huge progress had been made towards meeting the so-called Millennium Development Goals, including its bid to slash world hunger in half between 1990 and 2015. “Given reinvigorated efforts, the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 appears within reach,” said a UN progress report on its eight Millennium goals. Thirteen years ago, world leaders drew up the MDG’s, with specific targets to reduce poverty, stop the spread of AIDS and improve education, gender equality, child and maternal health and environmental stability. UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the progress made, insisting in Monday’s report that the goals “have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.” The MDG target of cutting in two the number of people living in extreme poverty, defined as subsisting on less than $1.25 a day, was reached already in 2010 — five years ahead of schedule. The report also stressed major advances in health, pointing to strides to rein in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as drops in the death rates from malaria and tuberculosis, saving more than 20 million lives. Less than 1,000 days from the cut-off date, all was not rosy, however.

Ban pointed out that “too many women die in childbirth when we have the means to save them (and) more than 2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation facilities.” “Our resource base is in serious decline, with continuing losses of forests, species and fish stocks, in a world already experiencing the impacts of climate change,” he added. One in eight people around the world are still chronically undernourished, and more than 100 million, or 16 percent of kids under the age of five are underweight. But Monday’s report also pointed out that the proportion of undernourished people in the world fell from 23.2 percent in 1990-92 to 14.9 percent in 2010-12, and that there were today 59 million fewer children under five who were underweight than in 1990. Despite the significant drop, the UN report stressed that “the rate of progress is insufficient” to reach the target of halving the number of hungry people by 2015. But progress had been “more pronounced than previously believed,” it said, insisting that if the world hit the accelerator in its bid to root out the scourge of hunger, the 2015 target could be reached. Noting that progress towards the Millennium goals had been uneven, the UN report urged the international community to smooth out the disparities between regions and countries, as well as between population groups within countries. The report also warned that the world’s ability to reach its goals had been impacted by dwindling aid money, with global aid funds falling two percent from 2010 to 2011 and another four percent in 2012, to $126 billion. But this too was unevenly distributed, with aid to the least developed countries shrinking a full 13 percent last year alone, to about $26 billion. The report called on the world to look beyond 2015 and begin crafting “an ambitious, yet realistic, agenda for the period after the MDG target date.”

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Piston to storm Petron today By Dennis Carcamo ( | Updated July 2, 2013 - 9:30am MANILA, Philippines - Members of the militant transport group Piston will march to the head office of one of the big oil firms, Petron, in Mandaluyong City to protest its price rollback. Piston members will troop to the Petron main office on San Miguel St., St.Francis Street gate, Ortigas Center around 10:30 a.m. "Pag magtataas ang laki pero barat mag-rolbak," Piston national president George San Mateo said. San Mateo noted that the oil company has recently cut the price of its diesel product by P.45 per liter and its gasoline product by P.55 per liter. He said the rollback is just for show in time for the upcoming 3rd year anniversary of President Benigno Aquino III in office and his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22. He added that after the President's SONA, the public can expect Petron and the other two large oil firms--Chevron, Shell-- to jack up prices of petroleum products. "Pero pag natapos yan (SONA) doble bawi uli ang Big 3 ng sunud-sunod na malaking pagtaas," San Mateo said.‐storm‐petron‐today                     

SSS revives proposal to hike contributions to ensure benefits in perpetuity By Michelle V. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:31 pm | Monday, July 1st, 2013 5 101 17

SSS president and CEO Emilio de Quiros Jr.: Oppressive and unfair? PHOTO FROM ARCHIVES.PIA.GOV.PH MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) is reviving its proposal for an increase in contributions from members and their employers, saying it needs to shore up revenue collection so it can sustain the benefits extended to pensioners. An official of the pension fund for workers in the private sector is hoping legislators will prioritize in the 16th Congress a bill seeking to amend the fund’s charter so that an increase in contributions can be imposed. An SSS commissioner, Diana Pardo-Aguilar, said the proposal had the backing of President Aquino. Aguilar said the SSS needed to implement an increase in contributions soon to help it achieve the goal of making the fund perpetual. Achieving perpetuity is an international standard for any pension fund. The current “actuarial life” of the SSS fund is only up to 2039, according to the commissioner. This means that should the existing rates of contributions remain unchanged, the SSS will be able to service pension claims only until 2039.

Growth in SSS expenses has been outpacing the increase in revenue collection, Aguilar said. But she said than an actuarial life of until 2039 was not bad and was far from being worrisome. Nonetheless, Aguilar said the pension fund would have to increase its collection to achieve perpetuity and to enable it to continually and efficiently service its members. Currently, the SSS has around 29 million members. Aguilar said the SSS could not yet disclose an official rate of increase in contributions that it would like to impose. But should SSS officials and stakeholders decide that the increase was too big, then the SSS could push for several but smaller amounts of increases to be implemented over several years. “We can make the increase gradual if that would be more feasible. We will consult with stakeholders, including employers,” Aguilar said at a press briefing. Under the current contributions schedule, the minimum monthly contribution is set at around 10.4 percent of an SSS member’s compensation. The member shoulders around 30 percent of the contribution, while his or her employer shoulders 70 percent. As the SSS underscored the need to increase contributions, it reported a surge in net revenue. SSS president Emilio de Quiros Jr. said the pension fund registered net revenue of P36.2 billion in 2012, up by 42 percent from P25.55 billion in 2011. The increase in net revenue was attributed to efforts to streamline operations aimed at improving collection from members. De Quiros also reported that the SSS collected P16.44 billion in net revenue in the first four months of 2013, on track of meeting the goal of collecting P30 billion for the full year. About 70 percent of the revenue came from contributions, and the balance from investment income. De Quiros said that with growing net revenues, the SSS financial standing should not be viewed as something that was in trouble. “The SSS is not losing funds; we are actually registering very strong net revenues,” he said. Nonetheless, he stressed the need for an increase in the rate of contributions so that the acceleration of growth in expenditures expected in the years to come would be sufficiently met by rising revenue.‐revives‐proposal‐to‐hike‐contributions‐to‐ensure‐benefits‐in‐ perpetuity

Special deposit accounts fall to 5-mo low By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Deposits parked on special deposit accounts (SDA) are on a sustained downtrend, hitting a five-month low as of the first half of June as investors shied away from lower returns offered by the facility. SDA placements – banks’ and trust departments’ funds with the central bank – fell to P1.799 trillion as of June 14, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday. The latest tally marked a steady drop from P1.852 trillion two weeks before, which was a fourmonth low. It dipped further to P1.817 trillion as of June 7 before penetrating the P1.7-trillion level in the current record week. Total SDA deposits are now at their lowest level since January. They have already decreased by 9.28 percent from their peak of P1.983 trillion last April 15, and are also just around seven percent above the P1.674 trillion posted as of end last year. “It is clear from the main numbers that funds used to be parked on the SDA are now migrating to bank deposits and some other short-term conservative instruments,” said Emilio Neri Jr., lead economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, in a phone interview. The BSP has slashed the interest it offers on SDA placements – with tenors of one week, two weeks and one month – by a total of 150 basis points this year, bringing them down to two percent from the original 3.5 percent. The move, it has said, was meant to push out funds into the financial system in a bid to deepen the capital markets and provide adequate money for projects that will boost economic activity and growth.

“In the first place, this is what the BSP has in mind: to free up liquidity, which a growing economy like ours really need since there is more demand for funds,” Neri explained. Money supply expanded by 16.3 percent as of May, the biggest jump in nearly six years, the BSP reported last week. The central bank said last Friday the economy remains safe from overheating. Neri agreed. “That is something very manageable given the situation,” he said, pointing to the 7.8-percent growth recorded by the local economy in the first quarter. “There is clearly more room for liquidity to be absorbed by the economy,” he added. For his part, Raul Victor Tan, senior vice president for Treasury at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said SDA deposits could further decline in the coming months, especially as banks unwind some prohibited accounts beginning this July. According to Memorandum 2013-021, trust departments will have to remove 30 percent of singular investment management accounts (IMA) parked on the SDA by July 31. A complete phase-out will have to be done by November. Earlier estimates provided by banks put the amount of IMAs in the facility at around a trillion pesos. BSP has refused to provide its own estimate. “Some (IMAs) may go into UITFs (unit investment trust funds) but not substantial because the characteristics are different,” Tan said in a text message.

Asian corporates face higher financing costs By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 2, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Asian corporates face higher financing costs for expansion plans as the recent financial market turmoil underscored the fast-growing region’s vulnerability to sell-offs, an investment bank said yesterday. “In the context of weak global growth and stalling demand from China, falling asset values and rising funding costs are likely to hit capex plans, particularly in Southeast Asia,” Barclays said in a report. Capital expenditures or capex pertain to firms’ spending to boost production and expand businesses. The British lender said at this early, capital goods imports have already turned “negative” for Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. “These economies showed double-digit growth in capital goods imports in 2012,” it explained. The three nations were among the worst hit by a slump in the financial markets for the past two weeks after investors became worried of pronouncements the US will withdraw its stimulus measures this year.

As a result, capital flight was observed in regional financial markets after investors became optimistic US interest rates will rise soon. By Barclays estimates for instance, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 16.5 percent of its value so far this year. The PSEi, one of the world’s best performers, has since recovered some lost ground, rising 1.31 percent to 6,549.88 at the end of morning trade yesterday. In the local bond market, meanwhile, 10-year bond yields have risen by 128 basis points, “underlining the change in market sentiment.” Large sell-offs were likewise true for the rest of Southeast Asia, where “growth has been strong in the past two years,” Barclays said. “The prospect of capital outflows seems to have triggered some sense of panic among domestic and foreign investors, leading to weaker (foreign exchange) and higher funding costs,” it pointed out. With higher borrowing costs, Barclays warned the region’s stellar economic performance may no longer be repeated this year as a capex slowdown could lead to sluggish investment. Investment spending, it said, may also “fall further given bleak global growth” that could affect importation of capital equipment. Official data showed merchandise imports rose 7.4 percent in April, the first expansion in four months. The local economy grew 7.8 percent in the first quarter, the fastest in the region, as capital formation - led by public and private investments - surged while consumption remained firm. Government figures showed capital formation jumped 47.7 percent in the first three months of the year versus last year. Public construction went up 45.6 percent, while its private counterpart rose 30.7 percent. On Friday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo reiterated the Philippines remains well-equipped against capital outflows with huge buffers in place and ready to be deployed if needed.‐corporates‐face‐higher‐financing‐costs            

It’s make‐or‐break in climate change – Obama Published: July 2, 2013  

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is trying to frame climate change as a makeor-break political issue, urging Americans to vote only for those who will protect the country from environmental harm. He says people in the United States already are paying a price for climate change, including in lost lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. “If you agree with me, I’ll need you to act,’’ Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Remind everyone who represents you, at every level of government, that there is no contradiction between a sound environment and a strong economy – and that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.’’ In his remarks released Saturday but recorded at the White House before his trip to Africa, Obama is trying to persuade the public to help sell his climate change plan for him.That plan, released last week, is bypassing Congress after years of efforts to get lawmakers to pass legislation to deal with the issue. At the core of Obama’s plan are new controls on new and existing power plants that emit carbon dioxide, heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. The program is intended to boost renewable energy production on federal lands, increase efficiency standards and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.None of the measures in Obama’s plan requires congressional action.Republicans and some Democrats have denounced the plan as a job-killing “war on coal,’’ and opponents could try to undercut Obama’s plan or hinder it through legal action if Americans don’t seem to be on board. “The question is not whether we need to act. The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late,’’ Obama said.Obama has also pledged that the US will lead other nations in a “coordinated assault’’ to reduce pollution. But he acknowledged Saturday in a town hall meeting with young people in Johannesburg that the US and other wealthy countries must shoulder a disproportionate part of the burden.His proposal to cut off U.S. subsidies for coalfired power plants overseas, for example, includes exemptions for the poorest countries where no better technology is available. “The United States cannot do it by itself,’’ Obama said in South Africa. “I expect it’s going to be your generation that helps lead this, because if we don’t, it’s going to be your generation that suffers the most.’’‐or‐ break_in_climate_change_%E2%80%93_Obama#.UdJSD6yveKE

Gov't to investigate professional squatting syndicate at Agham Road By Ron Lopez (MB Online)  Published: July 1, 2013  

Protesters clashed with police near the Office of the Ombudsman along Agham Road in Quezon City on  Monday as officials tried to break through the informal settlers' barricade set up to prevent the  demolition of their houses. (KJ ROSALES)  

The government will investigate reports that leaders of a professional squatting syndicate are allegedly “agitating and funding resistance efforts of informal settler-families” (ISFs) against the planned demolition at Agham Road in Quezon City, an official said. Local Government Undersecretary Francisco Fernandez made the statement today following the disclosure of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista that the remaining ISFs who barricaded the corner of Quezon Avenue and Agham road are being supported by a professional squatting syndicate. Violence erupted on Monday morning along Agham Road in Quezon City after the authorities responded to barricades informal settlers along the road. The homes of the informal settlers are to be demolished to give way to a road widening project. Based on Bautista's information, the squatting syndicate allegedly asked P1,000 from each family in return for helping them to resist demolition.

“May mga leader ng squatting syndicate diyan na ayaw umalis at hinihimok pa yung iba na magstay kasi mawawala yung raket nila dyan. Bukod sa pautang sa construction materials tulad ng hollow blocks, may naglalakad din dyan upang mabigyan sila ng kuryente at tubig na pinababayaran ng mga ISF buwan-buwan [There are leaders of the squatting syndicate there that do not want to leave and are enticing others to stay because they will lose their racket once they do. Aside from lending others money for construction materials like hollow blocks, there are also people who work to give them water and electricity that they charge monthly],” Bautista said. On the government side, Fernandez affirmed that the Department of Local Government will investigate in the purported syndicates. “We will have to look into this and file charges if necessary,” he said. Around 6,000 of the 10,000 ISFs in the vicinity of Agham Road have already been relocated in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, lower than the 8, 000 individuals reported by Bautista in a television interview according to the DILG. Of the 10,000 ISFs beneficiaries of the relocation program, 4,000 have opted to stay at Agham Road, the DILG said on its website. The relocation effort was through joint efforts of the DILG, National Housing Authority, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Quezon City government, DILG said. “Those who have transferred to San Jose del Monte are now enjoying decent housing provided by the government which is payable at P200 a month for 25 years,” it added.                  

$12.92‐billion ‘hot’ money drawn as of mid‐June Category: Top News   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 21:48   Written by Jun Vallecera and VG Cabuag   Fund managers pulled out $12.923 billion worth of portfolio funds from the Philippines as of mid‐June  this year, almost double the year‐ago level due mainly to the jitters caused by the US Federal Reserve’s  plan to wind down its bond‐buying program, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.  But  the  local  stock  market  continued  to  show  its  resilience,  as  share  prices  increased  during  the  first  trading day of the second half of the year.  The  BSP  reported  that  the  gross  withdrawal  of  portfolio  funds,  more  known  as  “hot”  or  speculative  money, was notable in the weeks following an announcement by US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in May  that  the  US  would  begin  tapering  off  the  monthly  injection  of  liquidity  should  US  local  output,  as  measured by gross domestic product, prove robust in the coming months.  The  likelihood  that  the  US  Fed  would  soon  stop  its  bond‐buying  program  to  support  the  world’s   largest  economy  stirred  markets  around  the  world  and  created  apprehension  among  fund  managers  who invested in emerging markets like the Philippines. The apprehension was shown in the repatriation  of their foreign placements.  In  the  Philippines  the  gross  withdrawal  of  portfolio  funds  at  $12.923  billion  as  of  mid‐June  was,  however, compensated by the gross inflows totaling $14.565 billion.  As a result, the flow of foreign funds remained positive, with the net portfolio inflows totaling $1.642  billion during the period.  Net portfolio inflows only totaled $824.42 million in the same period last year as gross inflows reached  $7.574 billion while gross outflows $6.750 billion.   As  a  matter  of  policy,  the  government  does  not  encourage  the  entry  of  portfolio  funds  although  its  importance as indicator of the regard the Philippines gets from foreign‐fund managers is often reflected  in the numbers the BSP regularly reports on.  The  government  would  rather  that  foreign  direct  investments  (FDI)  or  foreign  funds  are  invested  in  manufacturing and other physical ventures.              FDI  generate  not  just  employment  for  Filipinos  but  contribute  to  the  national  coffers  in  the  form  of  income and other taxes attendant to conducting business. 

BSP Governor  Amando  M.  Tetangco  Jr.  said  the  lower‐than‐expected  growth  in  the  US  has  caused  markets around the world‐‐the Philippines included—to correct in recent days.  The  correction  have  allowed  the  Philippine  Stock  Exchange  to  recover  in  recent  days  following  indications the monetary stimulus program of the US Fed would persist for months to come rather than  taper off as originally expected, he said.  Tetangco  said  that  in  the  past  two  days,  for  instance,  Asian  markets  appear  to  have  distanced  or  de‐ linked themselves from events in the US and European Union countries where the outlook on economic  growth remains weak or tentative for now.  Less‐than‐robust  growth  prospects  in  the  developed  economies  also  allowed  currencies  in  Asia,  the  Philippines included, to stage recoveries, he added.  This was shown at the local currencies market where the peso closed 2.5 centavos higher on Monday to  P43.125 per dollar.  It averaged higher by 15.7 centavos to P43.100 per dollar on volume reaching $1.304 billion.  But traders doubt if the increase would be sustained throughout the week as investors are only waiting  for developments in the US and other markets overseas.  The benchmark PSE index gained 1 percent or 61.34 points to 6,526.62, while all other sub‐indices also  closed higher.  Traders said investors continue to grab cheap shares as a result of the recent fall in prices, but many are  still waiting for developments in the US, Europe and China.  “We  favor  a  policy  of  selective  and  programmed  accumulation  of  index‐  and  sub‐index  components  guided by fundamental factors,” Justino Calaycay Jr. of Accord Capital Equities Corp.  He added that resistance level for the next trading sessions is at 6,500 points and support level at 6,340  and 6,130.  “Both  business  and  consumer  confidence  are  up  and  there  is  little  threat  at  the  political  stage.  These  alone should be sufficient to spur investors to gobble up stocks that were battered in the recent round  of scare—as in fact, some did, albeit with just a hint of hesitation,” he added.  The broader All Shares index gained 48.46 to 3,980.50, the Financial index increased 24.28 to 1,648.12  and the Industrial index moved up 54.64 to 9,870.42.  Total  volume  of  shares  reached  1.07  billion  shares  worth  P6.6  billion.  Advancers  led  losers  112  to  53,  while 40 shares were unchanged. 

The performances of the most actively traded stocks were mixed, with some of the blue chip companies  posted decreases. SM Investments Corp. gained P30 to close at P1,100 per share, Ayala Corp. was up by  P32 to P612 and SM Prime Holdings Inc. increased by P0.34 to P16.64 apiece. Meanwhile, telecom giant  Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. lost P10 to P2,930. Metro Pacific Investments Corp. shed P0.11  to P5.17 and Universal Robina Corp. was down by P3 to P122.  Top gainers  were Federal Resources  Investments Group Inc.,  Melco Crown (Philippines)  Resorts Corp.,  Island Information and Technology Inc., Asia Amalgamated Holdings and Seafront Resources Corp., while  top losers were Benguet Corp. A, IP Converge Data Center Inc., Semirara Mining Corp., Touch Solutions  Inc. and Bankard Inc.‐news/15831‐12‐92‐billion‐hot‐money‐drawn‐as‐ of‐mid‐june                                   

China, Asean set talks set on sea rifts; Philippines cites threats to peace Category: Top News   Published on Monday, 01 July 2013 21:30   Written by Bloomberg News   China has agreed to talks with Southeast Asian nations on a set of rules to avoid conflict in the South  China  Sea,  winning  praise  from  diplomats  as  the  Philippines  issued  a  warning  against  increased  “militarization” of the waters.  Talks on a code of conduct between China and the 10‐member Association of Southeast Asian Nations  (Asean)  will  begin  in  September,  according  to  a  joint  statement  released  after  the  two  sides  met  in  Brunei Darussalam on Sunday.  The move represents a reversal from a year ago, when Asean failed to show a united front amid Chinese  pressure to avoid discussing the topic at regional meetings.  “China  and  Asean  countries  are  close  neighbors  and  we  are  like  members  of  one  big  family,”  China  Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters. “We believe that a united, prosperous and dynamic Asean that  seeks greater strength through unity is in China’s strategic interest.”  China  had  resisted  the  talks  as  competition  for  oil,  gas  and  fish  in  the  waters  increased  tensions  with  fellow  claimants  including  the  Philippines,  which  has  boosted  military  ties  with  the  US  and  Japan.  US  Secretary of State John Kerry is set to arrive in Brunei on Monday to attend the annual meetings after  holding talks with Palestinian and Israel leaders.  The Philippines has said, “the massive presence of Chinese military and paramilitary ships” around two  land features it claims in the South China Sea posed “threats to efforts to maintain maritime peace and  stability in the region.” At the same time, the country backs Asean’s bid for a binding code of conduct, it  said in a statement.  Situation ‘stable’  Wang,  in  his  first  Asean  meeting  as  foreign  minister  since  President  Xi  Jinping  took  office  in  March,  called the overall situation in the South China Sea “stable.” He pledged to upgrade an Asean‐China trade  agreement  and  “push  forward”  talks  on  the  Regional  Comprehensive  Economic  Partnership,  which  includes Asean, China and five other Asia‐Pacific countries.  Two years ago, Asean and China approved guidelines to implement the 2002 agreement that called on  countries to avoid occupying disputed islands, inform others of military exercises and resolve territorial 

disputes peacefully. Since then, China had rebuffed Asean’s efforts to start talks on a code of conduct,  saying it would only do so “when conditions are ripe.”  ‘Strategic misjudgment’  President  Aquino’s  administration  last  week  said  it’s  crafting  an  agreement  that  would  give  the  US  military access to Subic Bay. The Philippines needs allies to help with security or “bigger forces will bully  us,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on June 28.  Last week Wang said that moves by countries to rely on “external forces” to push territorial claims are  “futile and will eventually prove to be a strategic misjudgment where the loss will outweigh the gain.”  On  Sunday  he  took  a  softer  tone,  while  saying  that  China  has  abided  by  the  provisions  of  the  non‐ binding 2002 agreement to keep peace in the waters.  “China  will  continue  to  properly  handle  its  specific  differences  with  some  countries  through  friendly  consultations,” Wang said.  Speaking  alongside  him  as  Asean’s  representative,  Thai  Foreign  Minister  Surapong  Tovichakchaikul  hailed the bloc’s “strong” relationship with China. Talks on a code of conduct are “a process that needs  time, patience and prudence,” Surapong said. “I’m confident that with the strong determination of all  sides, the negotiation process would not be prolonged.”  Start date  Singapore  Foreign  Minister  K.  Shanmugam  said  nonclaimants  like  the  city‐state  can’t  get  involved  in  determining which countries own certain features. A rise in tensions wouldn’t benefit China or Asean, he  said, adding that the talks are a positive step forward.  “This has been something that many countries have been asking for,” Shanmugam told reporters. “Let’s  not get away with the impression that, therefore, we’re all going to have an agreement very soon. But  the important thing is we’ve agreed on a start date, and hopefully that sets the tone.”  The  US’s  declared  interest  in  maintaining  freedom  of  navigation  in  the  waters  has  irked  China,  which  prefers solving the disputes through direct dialogue with claimants. US officials have repeatedly called  for China and Asean to agree on a code of conduct, most recently Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a  visit to Singapore in early June.  China’s map  Vietnam and the Philippines reject China’s map of the waters as a basis for joint development, a solution  pushed by China. China National Offshore Oil Corp. estimates the South China Sea may hold about five  times  more  undiscovered  natural  gas  than  the  country’s  current  proved  reserves,  according  to  the  US  Energy Information Administration. 

An oil research vessel said to be owned by Shanghai Offshore Petroleum Co., a unit of Sinopec, entered  Japan’s exclusive economic zone near disputed islands in the East China Sea in June without giving prior  notice to the Japanese government, the Sankei newspaper reported on Monday, citing the Japan Coast  Guard. A call to Sinopec’s Beijing office by Bloomberg News was unanswered before business hours.  Since 2010, China has cut the cables of survey ships working for Vietnam, chased away an exploration  vessel  near  the  Philippines  and  sent  its  first  deep‐water  drilling  rig  to  the  region.  Last  year  China  National Offshore invited  bids for exploration blocks that Vietnam had already awarded to companies  including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and OAO Gazprom.  While  the  core  disputes  over  territory  remain,  Asean  ministers  are  unified  on  the  need  for  a  code  of  conduct, Indonesian Foreign Minister  Marty Natalegawa said. The Philippines has sought international  arbitration to settle disputes, saying that direct talks with China have failed to stem tensions.  “The  common  position  is  to  try  to  resolve  these  issues  through  dialogue,”  Natalegawa  told  reporters  after  the  meeting.  “The  code  of  conduct  will  keep  things  orderly  so  that  we  can  have  conditions  conducive for these negotiations to take place.”‐news/15825‐china‐asean‐set‐talks‐set‐on‐sea‐ rifts‐philippines‐cites‐threats‐to‐peace   

2013 07 02 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

Philippine Agriculture and Related News' Daily Monitor

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