Rice stocks good for 15 days By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The country’s rice stock inventory is sufficient for 65 days as of July, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). Stocks in depositories of the National Food Authority (NFA) could last for 21 days while stocks in commercial warehouses could last for 20 days. Household stocks could last for 24 days. In its July rice and corn stocks inventory issued late Thursday, BAS said the country’s rice stock inventory as of July 1 was placed at 2.19 million metric tons (MT), higher by 14.6 percent from the stockpile of 1.92 million MT in the same period last year. The July inventory, however, is 5.2 percent lower than the previous month’s record of 2.31 million MT. Month-on-month, rice stocks in households decreased 15.3 percent and those in commercial warehouses by 4.4 percent. Stocks in NFA depositories, of which 34 percent were imported rice, grew 9.2 percent.
Compared with last year’s inventory, stock levels in all sectors were higher. Household stocks grew 6.4 percent, those in commercial warehouses rose 21.87 percent and in NFA stocks rose 18.1 percent. Of the total rice stocks in July, households accounted for 37 percent, NFA depositories shared 32 percent, while 31 percent are held in commercial warehouses. The country is still in the middle of the lean season for palay cropping. Corn stock inventory in July, on the other hand, was placed at 123, 200 MT, down 11.7 percent than last month’s record of 139,500 MT and 11.6 percent below last year’s level of 13, 400 MT. Compared with last month’s levels, stocks in the households and in NFA depositories grew 4.7 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. On the other hand, stocks in commercial warehouses dropped 19.2 percent. Year-on-year, stock inventory in July decreased 22 percent in the households and 8.5 percent in commercial warehouses. Stocks in NFA depositories, however, grew from 160 MT to 3,200 MT. Of the current stock level, about 34.5 percent were held in households and 62.9 percent were in commercial warehouses. NFA depositories held about 2.6 percent. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/10/1071561/rice-stocks-good-15-days
Rice stock enough to last for 2 months August 9, 2013 10:09 pm
by JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ The country has enough rice before the next harvest season, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported on Friday. In its latest inventory, BAS said that as of July 2013, the country’s rice stock is sufficient for the next 65 days—with stocks in depositories of the National Food Authority (NFA) would last for 21 days, while stocks in commercial warehouses would last for 20 days and household stocks would last for 24 days. It also said that the July 2013 inventory was placed at 2.19 million metric tons (MT), higher by 14.6 percent from the stockpile of 1.92 million MT in the same period last year. However, it is 5.2 percent lower than the previous month’s record of 2.31 million MT. Month-on-month, rice stocks in households decreased by 15.3 percent and those in commercial warehouses by 4.4 percent. Stocks in NFA depositories, of which 34 percent were imported rice, grew by 9.2 percent. Compared with last year’s inventory, stock levels in all sectors were higher. Household stocks grew by 6.4 percent, those in commercial warehouses rose by 21.87 percent and in NFA stocks rose by 18.1 percent. Of the total rice stocks in July, households accounted for 37 percent NFA depositories shared 32 percent while 31 percent are held in commercial warehouses. The country is still in the middle of the lean season for palay cropping. Corn stock inventory in July, on the other hand, was placed at 123,200MT, down by 11.7 percent than last month’s record of 139,500MT and 11.6 percent below last year’s level of 13,400MT. Compared with last month’s levels, stocks in the households and in NFA depositories grew by 4.7 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. On the other hand, stocks in commercial warehouses dropped by 19.2 percent. http://www.manilatimes.net/rice‐stock‐enough‐to‐last‐for‐2‐months/27790/
Smuggled P6-M aggie goods seized in Davao By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (BOC-CIIS) recently seized five shipping containers filled with smuggled agricultural goods, with an estimated value of P6 million, at the Port of Davao. BOC-CIIS director Fernandino Tuason yesterday said the seized goods came from China and were misdeclared as cake ingredients. The shipment arrived in Davao last July 28. Tuason said the seizure was in response to the clamor of agricultural growers for a tighter watch on the entry of smuggled agricultural goods that have flooded local markets and resulted in unfair competition. CIIS assistant officer-in-charge Alvin Enciso said the seizure is proof that the bureau is doing its job. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/08/10/1071401/smuggled-p6-m-aggie-goods-seized-davao
DA goes on roadshow in US By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:04 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013 The Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) is kicking off this weekend a nine-day, three-city roadshow in California to promote consumer food and items beverage in the US market. The DA said 19 companies, mostly members of the Philippine Food Processor and Exporters Organization, are taking part to push their products. These include calamansi juice, chocolates, champorado, noodles, pastries, snack food, frozen native delicacies, biscuits, cookies, polvoron, pastillas, coffee, herbal food supplements, dried or processed fish, and coconut products. According to the DA, the companies will participate in the “3rd Outbound Business Mission,” also called ‘Barkadahan 2013,’ which is aimed primarily at Filipinos and Asian-Americans. According to Leandro Gazin, director of the DA-AMAS, the roadshow consists of an agriculture festival, business matching and food fair. The tour will cover San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, from Aug. 10-11. The first two days will be spent at the 20th Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival in San Francisco where the products will be exhibited. A business matching forum is slated on Aug. 14 in Los Angeles, where “dozens of US food importers and distributors are expected to attend.” Finally, the Philippine exporters will be at the Barkadahan Food Fair in San Diego on Aug. 1718 where there will be promotion, sales and sampling of various products. According to the National Statistics Office, the US market accounted for 14 percent of total Philippine exports in the January-May period. Shipments to the US were valued at a total of $2.96 billion during those five months, which was a decline of 13.3 percent year-on-year. http://business.inquirer.net/137567/da-goes-on-roadshow-in-us
The right to anger By Elizabeth Angsioco | Posted on Aug. 10, 2013 at 12:01am | 902 views
This pork scam infuriates me. Who wouldn’t be in the face of billions of pesos of people’s hard-earned money squandered in government corruption? These monies were allocated for people’s welfare. Instead, they were used to line the pockets and bank accounts of the already rich and powerful few. There is overwhelming online and news information pointing to Janet Napoles’ role in stealing the people’s billions using the very government system aimed at implementing projects for our poor citizens. Public officials rationalize pork barrel as a way for our lawmakers to directly help their constituents. Or, is this really the case? Obviously, the system sucks. I am incensed at Napoles but she would not have been able to do as she has allegedly done without the connivance of people in government, particularly, of our honorable legislators. After all, legislators pinpoint not only the projects they want done but even the implementors of such. It is not as if Napoles and her family have not been implicated in earlier scandals involving hundreds of millions of pesos. This should have raised a red flag if legislators wanted to ensure that real projects are implemented with real results. A suspected crook must not be entrusted with money. Especially people’s money. But perhaps some legislators were not as concerned with the projects as they were with their share of pork? I am furious that despite claims by Budget Secretary Butch Abad that the system has been significantly improved and that they follow much stricter processes, the Filipino people are still cheated by the billions! What kind of strict processes are these that one person could have possibly gotten away with swindling the entire nation? I am angry that this scam is tainting the image of decent legislators. I have always said that not everyone in politics is a scum. I know many who have sacrificed what otherwise would have been profitable private sector careers or businesses because of the sincere desire to help the country. It riles me that Napoles, et. al. are giving legitimate non-government and people’s organizations a bad name. Thousands of us work quietly with marginalized populations without receiving any help from government. We try hard to work ethically and always stand by the principles we espouse. We have built our credibility and track record for many years, even decades. And then this!
I am irate that President Noynoy Aquino seemingly does not comprehend how enraged the people are becoming. It angers me more that he does not seem much troubled by the problem and has not spoken strongly about this kind of corruption. This President ran and won on the anti-corruption tag line “walang mahirap kung walang corrupt,” and promises that endemic corruption will be a thing of the past with this administration’s adherence to “tuwid na daan”. Up until this time, President Aquino has enjoyed very high satisfaction ratings because people perceive him as an upright, no-nonsense leader who minces no words where corruption is concerned. Never mind if the rosy economic picture painted for us does not, as of yet, translate to real improvement in the lives of the tens of millions of Filipinos wallowing in hunger and poverty. People cheer the President on because for three years, he has successfully given ordinary people hope. Most Filipinos trust the President in the hope for better governance translated into their having better lives. The President should not wait for the people’s hope to be extinguished. And if he does not see it yet, this has started to happen because of this pork scandal. For a month now, people have been waiting for decisive presidential action to get to the bottom of this problem and initiate actions so the guilty are punished. We want to see the same passion he has shown in putting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo behind bars for alleged corruption and plunder of the people’s coffers. People have been waiting for THE leader to again prove his mettle in going after corrupt officials and their cohorts. We want very much for him to say, “Saan po kayo kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha?” to those who siphon people’s money to finance their avarice, and then throw them in jail. Instead, for weeks there was a deafening near-silence. There were no strong presidential words. True, Palace spokespersons have been saying that things are being done to address this issue, but people want more and want the President to visibly lead this fight. And then we hear the President say that this pork barrel scandal is minor compared with the fertilizer scam involving people of then President Macapagal-Arroyo! Such a major let-down from PNoy. Even Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala admitted that more than P83 million were earmarked by his department for projects of an NGO of the infamous Janet Napoles. According to Alcala, of this amount, P38.25 million have already been released. The Executive can do much about this pork scam. I do not expect Congress to budge an inch. In fact, I don’t want them to investigate themselves. It will be an exercise in futility and an obvious conflict of interest. I would rather that the President
form an independent body composed of people with unquestioned integrity to impartially investigate and ensure that justice to the Filipino people is served. Beyond the investigation, Palace can just scrap pork. Congress’ job is about laws, not project implementation which is a function of the Executive. The budget emanates from the Executive. They give pork to legislators on a silver platter. At whose expense? This scandal has shown us. This needs to stop. While millions of people’s stomachs grumble because they don’t have food to eat, while people in remote provinces die without even seeing a doctor, while young people are deprived of good education because of scarce resources, while ordinary workers pay their taxes despite hardships, while at least ten million of our people toil in other countries to provide for their families and keep our economy afloat, pork scum taken from people’s money continues to enrich those in power. This is most immoral. Obscene. People’s anger is not only justified, it is warranted. This is the time to raise our voices. Collectively, let us not stop until government acts and shows results. Again, the Filipino people should show where real power lies. Demand accountability. Let the axe fall where it may. firstname.lastname@example.org and @bethangsioco on Twitter http://mst.ph/2013/08/10/the-right-to-anger/
The Turkish flour saga continues BUSINESS LEISURE By Ray Butch Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 12:00am The anti-dumping issue raised by the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL) against Turkish flour may still be unresolved by now, but an important development has come up that directly impacts the row between PAFMIL on one hand, and the Chinese-Filipino Bakers Association on the other. In a position paper submitted to the Department of Agriculture, PAFMIL has reportedly asked DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to recommend that Turkish flour be levied with a higher tariff (it now stands at seven percent). To level the playing field, PAFMIL said, tariff should be fixed at 20 percent, if indeed there is dumping. When B&L talked with the Secretary just recently for our One-on-One segment in the show, Sec. Alcala said that while he endorsed the recommendation of the flour millers, the Tariff Commission has denied the petition of PAFMIL for higher tariff for Turkish flour. Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture is studying the issue to determine if Turkish flour is indeed being dumped in the country. I wrote about the local bakers’ position in this anti-dumping issue a couple of issues back. Benito Lim, the bakers’ association president, in his lengthy discourse, had this preamble: the three elements of the law include 1. protection against the industry; 2. welfare of the consumers; 3. welfare of related industries. The bakery sector, which is covered by element no. 3, is getting bigger in the country, and while not too many are big enough, the small ones are considered home cottage industries which should be protected as well, said Mr. Lim. The difference between Turkish flour and local flour is between P170-P180 per sack, so we can imagine where the bakers are coming from. To the local millers’ accusation of unfair trade practice involving dumped Turkish flour, the bakers howl unfair competition, because when the Turkish flour is slapped with a 20-percent tariff rate, their production costs will naturally rise, by at least 13 percent since the rate is now at seven percent. PAFMIL president Mr. Ric Pinca, who has been a resource person for the show on many issues involving the flour milling industry in the country, readily obliged with an interview in response to our invitation to air their side in this controversy. He said that at the core of this issue, as far as they are concerned is the crime of dumping; their petition for increased tariff rates is to level the playing field, as confirmed by Sec. Alcala. For those not too familiar with the anti-dumping law which is a World Trade Organization global law meant to regulate the manner of trading among countries, dumping occurs when, in this instance, flour is sold in Turkey for a specified amount, but the same flour is sold to other countries at a much lesser price. WTO, says Mr. Pinca, recognizes that this is unfair to the related industry of the country where the commodity is exported, wreaking havoc on their
pricing. Our local government, of course, has likewise maintained the same position, thus our own version of the anti-dumping. PAFMIL maintains that instead of patronizing imported flour which is illegally dumped into the country, we should endeavor to protect instead the local industry which employs thousands of workers. Some quarters label this stance as protectionist, which should not happen in this day and age. I must also add that the same quarters also maintain that this big flour milling industry is actually composed of a very few, about five to eight big boys who control the industry, led by San Miguel Corp. and Republic Flour Mills. RFM, says Mr. Pinca, used to be the biggest flour milling company, but they are now only no. 6 because Turkish flour has eaten well into their market. The PAFMIL official also said that other countries like Indonesia have lodged complaints of dumping particularly for Turkish flour, and they have successfully proven their claim. PAFMIL, on the other hand, has taken years to painstakingly gather all the documents to support their dumping claim, even hiring a Turkish lawyer to represent them, and has asked help and support from the Philippine Embassy in Turkey. They have finished the long drawn-out task of gathering receipts and other documents which they have presented to the authorities to validate their claim. They claim that it is not the competition that they are up against. Flour coming from India, Indonesia and Vietnam come into the Philippines at zero duty, Mr. Pinca says, and they have no issue with that. But they will not tolerate the blatant disregard for an international trade law— dumping is a crime and whatever gains may be had from it will not excuse the tolerance of the crime. He cautions our local bakers: if Turkish flour will eventually kill the local flour milling industry, do you think Turkey will keep the prices at the same low rate, knowing that there is no more competition? Of course not, Mr. Pinca says, they will raise the prices, and the local bakers will no longer have a choice, because the local industry is dead. In all these, I as a consumer, wonder: why can’t the local industry at least match the price of Turkish flour which, according to Mr. Pinca, is inferior to ours? PAFMIL claims that the Turkish government is extending subsidy to their flour industry, which is why they can sell them to other countries at a much lower rate. But how long can this government subsidy last? Can’t we somehow adjust our local prices, and with a dialogue with our bakers convince them that quality compensates for the price difference? It has to be a two-way street. The bottom line of the bakers’ issue is economics; our flour millers are protecting a well-entrenched industry and upholding an international trade law. PAFMIL says that with their better quality flour, the bakers can bake more bread and in fact earn more. If this were true, why aren’t our bakers biting the bait? Can we reduce this to pesos and centavos to prove the point and show the way? With the Tariff Commission’s denial of higher tariff, the ball is in the hands of the DA and the DTI. Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino. For comments (email) email@example.com http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/10/1071831/turkish‐flour‐saga‐continues
DA-DSWD program for the poor By Ernesto M. Ordoñez Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:12 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013
President Noynoy Aquino is pushing for inclusive growth. While the significant economic gains have benefited the entire nation, more of the benefits should be received by the less privileged in our society. Poverty and unemployment should be addressed more directly. This is where the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) come in. DSWD caters to the welfare needs of the poor sector, while DA should create more employment opportunities in the countryside, where most of the poor people are. We recommend here a national DA-DSWD joint program to address poverty and unemployment through soy. Profitability There is an on-going free exhibit and demonstration of soy’s benefits that started yesterday and ends tomorrow. Held at SM Megamall in Edsa, it will show how a P50 investment can give a return of P10,450 in three months. Here is the summary of how it happens, which was described in detail in last week’s commentary. The P50 is used to buy and plant a kilo of soy. In three months, this will yield 25 kilos of soy. Processing this will result in 200 liters of soy milk and 12.5 kilos of sapal (soy meal) which can provide protein and be made into delicious soy bola-bola. At P46 per liter of milk and P140 per kilo of bola-bola, this results in P9,200 and P1,750 respectively. Thus, a P50 investment will have a gross return of P10,950. Let us now look at how this works for a poor family. A poor family of five ideally needs 10 glasses of milk a day and added food protein of half a kilo. After processing the soy, the family will enjoy nutritious food at a value of P146 a day (P76 for milk, and P70 for bola-bola). Roles of DSWD and DA The DSWD can identify the priority families to be taught the soy technology. The DA can then assist the LGU agriculture extension in providing this technology. At the start, this initiative will benefit individual families who will produce their own milk and soy bola-bolas. But since the first investment in soy planting will yield more soybeans, this can
expand to the production of milk and food beyond the families’ needs. This is the opportunity to start a small business. Thus, the challenges of poverty and employment can be addressed through soy. An added innovation is for the soy program to be made a part of the DSWD Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) in selected areas. Right now, a poor family gets a monthly cash maximum of P1,400. This is on condition that the children have health checkups and go to school while the mothers go to pre- and post natal care and attend parental sessions. In a sense, this is giving the poor families “fish.” But teaching them “how to fish” is still lacking. An added condition that can be made in the selected DA-DSWD CCT areas is for these families to learn how to grow and process soy into milk and food. Successful Model The DA-DSWD partnership is already succeeding in some areas. An example is the DA-DSWD project catalyzed by the Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF). The KDF, with Manuel Pangilinan as Chair and Benigno Ricafort as President, suggested that poor families had to be trained in income generation on the assumption that the CCT program will expire. Thus, KDF now sponsors training programs on a regular basis, given by DA and LGU extension workers for CCT beneficiaries. There is a free KDF-DA-DSWD jointly sponsored soy seminar on Friday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University, Bacolor, Pampanga (0917-8403711). We recommend that this be done in a systematic way by DA and DSWD, perhaps with NGO support, on a national level, and that soy be a priority unifying point for this undertaking. Soybean Program National Technical Working Group (TWG) Chair Rose Marie Aquino (09154622438) says: “Soy is the best beneficial crop that can help poor farmers”. She is probably right. Soy promotes health through organic nutrition, unifies the family with each member helping in the growth and processing of soy for milk and food, and has good business potential with such a small investment. I ask: “What P50 investment can yield a value of more than P10,000 in three months? (The author is chair of Agriwatch, former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Projects, and former Undersecretary for Agriculture, Trade and Industry. For inquiries and suggestions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telefax 8522112). http://business.inquirer.net/137513/da‐dswd‐program‐for‐the‐poor
Villar pushes for creation of Halal regulatory body By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Cynthia Villar is calling for the creation of a Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board (PHARB) which would ensure that food items served to Muslims in the country are prepared strictly according to what their faith requires. Villar filed Senate Bill 312, calling for the creation of the PHARB which would be responsible for the formulation, drafting, management and implementation of programs relevant to manufacturing, production, distribution, preparation, handling, storage and verification of halal approved-food, non-food merchandise and services. She noted that the government has the responsibility to protect the interest of the people for clean, pure and healthy food, and this includes Filipinos of all faiths such as Muslims. Villar said the government must ensure compliance with international standards of good manufacturing and hygienic practices by institutionalizing a halal system for food, non-food products and services due to its growing demand both in the local and international market. The bill intends to inform the people of the Muslim society’s basic culture which provides that their food or products or their ingredients must not contain any component of animals and carrion prohibited under Sharia’h Law, and the slaughter of animals should not counter the same law. Ingredients in food prepared for Muslims must not be haram (unlawful) or najis, which the Sharia’h law defines as things that are themselves filthy and cannot be cleaned like pork, blood and carrion, as well as lawful food that has been contaminated or has come in contact with filth. “Also, halal products should not be prepared, processed or manufactured using equipment that has been contaminated with haram or najis. During its preparation, processing, storage or transportation, the food or products is fully separated from, and does not come in contact with any other food or product that has been decreed haram or najis by Sharia’h Law,” Villar said in her bill. “Service establishments such as, but not limited to, hotels, restaurants, resorts and similar service facilities purposely established for and catering to the public, particularly Muslim patrons, and abattoirs, factories and similar establishments purposely producing halal goods shall conform to the Philippine National Standards for Halal,” she added. The measure also seeks to institutionalize a national standard at par with the world accepted halal standards ordained in advanced Muslim societies and the same to be observed in all abattoirs, outlets, hotels, restaurants and other service establishments. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/10/1071611/villar‐pushes‐creation‐halal‐regulatory‐body
Anti-dumping petition vs Turkish flour fair, say local flour millers (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc. (PAFMIL) said the anti-dumping duty petition that it filed against Turkish flour imports is a just and fair effort to level the playing field in view of what the group described as Turkeyâ€™s dumping of its cheap flour in the Philippines. According to PAFMIL, Turkey dumps its flour too in many member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It noted that Indonesia has imposed a 20-percent safeguard duty on Turkish flour on top of a previously existing five percent duty. Dumping occurs when a country exports a commodity at prices lower than its domestic pricing. PAFMIL pointed out that in 2010, while the cost of flour in Turkey was $600 per metric ton (MT), its export prices to ASEAN countries were: $284 to Indonesia, $276 to the Philippines, $317 to Thailand, $250 to Malaysia and $277 to Singapore. In 2011, the domestic price in Turkey was $600/MT but its export prices were much lower: $388 to Indonesia, $388 to Philippines, $455 to Thailand, $385 to Malaysia and $424 to Singapore, PAMIL continued. The group pointed out that while Turkey raises a ruckus against PAFMILâ€™s dumping duty petition, Turkey imposes a whopping102.6 percent import duty on flour, effectively cutting off any foreign sourced flour in its country. Yet, Turkey wants to dominate the flour industries of other countries by presenting itself as a cheap alternative source to local produce, it added. According to PAFMIL, Turkey espouses foreign competition in other countries where it sells it cheap flour while preventing foreign competitors in Turkish soil. Due to subsidies provided by the government, Turkish millers are able to export flour, a finished product, at prices even lower than the raw material costs in other countries, the group continued. While it may be true that Turkish flour at present represents only 10 percent of flour usage in the Philippines, Turkish flour exports to the Philippines have been increasing through the years so much so that, coupled with its dumping scheme, there is real danger of Turkish flour eventually killing the local flour milling industry, PAFMIL said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/10/1071781/anti-dumping-petition-vs-turkish-flourfair-say-local-flour-millers
Turkish trade group chastises Alcala over flour tariff issue August 9, 2013 8:13 pm
by James Konstantin Galvez Turkish flour exporters backed a bakers’ motion to inhibit Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on an antidumping case filed by local flour millers. In a statement, the Turkish Flour Yeast and Ingredients (TFYI) Promotion Group, an organization of Turkey-based exporters with the primary goal to promote internationally the “Turkish” brand, expressed full support to the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc. (FCBAI) on its motion to inhibit Alcala in the ongoing investigation involving the antidumping case on Turkish flour. TFYI Chairman Turgay Unlu said that Alcala’s pronouncement of an administrative order that recommends the imposition of a 20-percent tariff on Turkish flour is highly preemptive, given that all parties concerned still have until August 16 to respond to the petition. He noted that their group and trade partners like FCBAI have yet to receive a copy of the said directive. “Since the onset of the dumping issue on Turkish flour in the Philippines, the TFYI Promotion Group has relied on the merits of our defense to dispel unfounded accusations against Turkey’s wheat flour exports,” Unlu added. However, Unlu said that with a favorable recommendation to the petitioner even before the evaluation period has expired, “Alcala explicitly influenced the course of the investigation.” In line with this, he called on the Philippine government to approve FCBAI’s motion to inhibit Alcala, and allow the Tariff Commission to preside on the antidumping petition. “We believe that at this point, having the Tariff Commission take charge of the investigation will lead to a fair and unbiased determination on the antidumping case,” he added. For his part, TFYI board member Hakan Esen pointed out that imposing additional duty on the affordable yet high-quality Turkish flour will have drastic implications particularly to small and medium enterprises (SME) that produce flour-based commodities. “While these SMEs can still continue to use Turkish flour, albeit at a higher cost, they can always find a way to pass on these added business costs to the customers.
Therefore, it will be the Filipino consumers of flour-based products like bread and noodles who will be most affected,” said Esen. Unfair trade practice Earlier, the Philippine Association of Flour Millers Inc. (Pafmil) stressed that the antidumping duty being sought against cheap Turkish flour is “just and fair” effort by the local flour industry to level the playing field, in view of dumping allegations against Turkey. Pafmil Executive Director Ricardo Pinca said that Turkey dumps its flour also in many membercountries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), noting that Indonesia has imposed a 20-percent safeguard duty on Turkish flour on top of a previously existing 5-percent duty. Dumping occurs when a country like Turkey exports a commodity at prices lower than its domestic pricing. In 2010, while flour costs $600 a metric tons in Turkey, its export prices to Asean countries were only $284 to Indonesia, $276 to the Philippines, $317 to Thailand, $250 to Malaysia and $277 to Singapore. In 2011, domestic price in Turkey was also $600 a MT but its export prices were much lower. It was $388 to Indonesia, $388 to Philippines, $455 to Thailand, $385 to Malaysia and $424 to Singapore. While Turkey raises a ruckus against Pafmil’s dumping duty petition, Pinca said that Turkey imposes a whopping 102.6-percent import duty on flour, effectively cutting off any foreign sourced flour in its country. “Yet, Turkey wants to dominate the flour industries of other countries by presenting itself as a cheap alternative source to local produce,” he added. http://www.manilatimes.net/turkish-trade-group-chastises-alcala-over-flour-tariff-issue/27639/
Napoles still has P44 million in Agriculture department August 9, 2013 10:12 pm
AGRICULTURE Secretary Proceso Alcala on Friday bared that businesswoman Janet LimNapoles, the principal figure in the alleged Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, still has an uncollected amount of P44 million with the Department of Agriculture (DA), representing half of the more than P80-million worth of projects she cornered. Alcala, who was guest at the weekly Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt, said Napoles got P83.2-worth of agricultural projects through her nongovernment organization (NGO), the Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KMFI). To date, the department has yet to release the remaining P44 million to the said NGO, Alcala added. KMFI is only one of the 20 NGOs allegedly formed by Napoles. The DA chief further revealed that the funds which were coursed through the Department of Agriculture by six congressmen whose names will be disclosed in two weeks time. If the manner by which the funds were released will be found questionable, Alcala said they will no longer release the remaining funds to KMFI. At the same time, Alcala announced that they had already created a fact-finding team to validate the 26 NGOs already listed in their department. “‘Di kami nagpapabaya [We are not remiss],” he stressed, adding that identifying the NGOs that should qualify for PDAF release is not their job. He said lawmakers should be the one to investigate the background of each NGO that approaches them. Alcala said that one of the six congressmen that coursed their PDAF to Napoles’ KMFI is Davao City’s 3rd District congressman Isidro Ungab. He, however, clarified that since July 1, 2010 up to August 11 of 2012, the department has avoided processing PDAF since the “fertilizer scam” broke out. “Iniiwas ko na ang department kumbaga ‘linis bahay’. We check the previous ones if there are indeed projects or program over the release PDAF through the DA. And we came out with safety nets to avoid similar scam,” Alacala explained. Alcala further said that after pre-qualifying NGOs or People’s Organizations (POs), validations are done if projects or programs are really down to the ground level and funds are not releases in lump sum but by tranches.
â€œBy tranches, say P300,000 for the first tranche. But it has to be liquidated first before we release the next tranche. It is validated sa baba [ground level] kung talagang may project, and the last ten percent of the amount will only be released if the project is already completed and liquidated,â€? Alcala said referring to safety nets they have placed to guard the PDAF releases. As to the latest PDAF scandal, Alcala said he had already relieved controversial assistant secretary, Ophelia Agawin, of her duties accrediting NGOs. Jing Villamente http://www.manilatimes.net/napoles-still-has-p44-million-in-agriculture-department/27797/
Rice supply sufficient – NFA (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - There is an ample supply of rice in the country and reports of price increases and supply shortage are unfounded and merely intended to create fear among consumers, the National Food Authority (NFA) said. In a recent media forum, NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag said there is no reason for the public to be alarmed as the country “is already past the middle of the lean months and there remains sufficient rice stocks in (NFA) warehouses all over the country.” The months of June, July and August are the so-called lean months because of lean harvest during this time, and traditionally rice traders take advantage of the situation to rake in more profit. Calayag, who formally took his oath of office before President Aquino at Malacañang last Monday, said local rice traders, after suffering from the influx of illegally imported rice, are now taking profit from the stocks which they were not able to release before. Soon after assuming office, Calayag said he and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala met with the rice traders and other stakeholders who were complaining about the proliferation of smuggled rice. “We immediately instituted reforms in the NFA and as a result, we were able to minimize the incidence of smuggling,” he said. “Now, the affected traders are recovering from their losses but they should not do so at the expense of our consumers,” he added. According to Calayag, traders have removed middle-priced rice from the market and are selling well-milled commercial rice at the higher end of the price band. To remedy the situation, the NFA has saturated the market with well-milled commercial rice priced at only P32 per kilo. The move has arrested the spiraling of the price of rice which has gone down by at least P1. ‘No rice shortage in Mindanao’ In the same forum, James Magbanua, president of the Confederation of Grains Retailers Associations of the Philippines, also denied a report that there is an impending rice shortage in Mindanao and that the prices of rice are rising by as much as P10 per day.
Meanwhile, Danilo Garcia, president of the South Manila Grains Association, has apologized to Magbanua for a press statement quoting the latter on a supposedly looming Mindanao rice shortage. “I would like to apologize to the incumbent president for the mix-up which led to confusion and his denial of the said statement,” Garcia said in a letter to The STAR. Garcia said he was taking full responsibility for the statement. “ I own up to every word and phrase in the press statement, believing fully well that it was my firm stand and that the statement was inadvertently released by my office,” he said. – With Perseus Echeminada http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/08/10/1071391/rice-supply-sufficient-nfa
Anti-dumping petition vs Turkish flour fair, say local flour millers (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc. (PAFMIL) said the anti-dumping duty petition that it filed against Turkish flour imports is a just and fair effort to level the playing field in view of what the group described as Turkeyâ€™s dumping of its cheap flour in the Philippines. According to PAFMIL, Turkey dumps its flour too in many member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It noted that Indonesia has imposed a 20-percent safeguard duty on Turkish flour on top of a previously existing five percent duty. Dumping occurs when a country exports a commodity at prices lower than its domestic pricing. PAFMIL pointed out that in 2010, while the cost of flour in Turkey was $600 per metric ton (MT), its export prices to ASEAN countries were: $284 to Indonesia, $276 to the Philippines, $317 to Thailand, $250 to Malaysia and $277 to Singapore. In 2011, the domestic price in Turkey was $600/MT but its export prices were much lower: $388 to Indonesia, $388 to Philippines, $455 to Thailand, $385 to Malaysia and $424 to Singapore, PAMIL continued. The group pointed out that while Turkey raises a ruckus against PAFMILâ€™s dumping duty petition, Turkey imposes a whopping102.6 percent import duty on flour, effectively cutting off any foreign sourced flour in its country. Yet, Turkey wants to dominate the flour industries of other countries by presenting itself as a cheap alternative source to local produce, it added. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 According to PAFMIL, Turkey espouses foreign competition in other countries where it sells it cheap flour while preventing foreign competitors in Turkish soil. Due to subsidies provided by the government, Turkish millers are able to export flour, a finished product, at prices even lower than the raw material costs in other countries, the group continued. While it may be true that Turkish flour at present represents only 10 percent of flour usage in the Philippines, Turkish flour exports to the Philippines have been increasing through the years so much so that, coupled with its dumping scheme, there is real danger of Turkish flour eventually killing the local flour milling industry, PAFMIL said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/10/1071781/anti-dumping-petition-vs-turkish-flourfair-say-local-flour-millers
300 militants destroy GMO rice samples in DA office By Shiena M. Barrameda Inquirer Southern Luzon 9:39 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013 NAGA CITY, Philippines – At least 300 militants forced their way into the Department of Agriculture (DA) provincial office compound in Pili, Camarines Sur, and destroyed specimens of “golden rice,” a genetically modified organism (GMO). Emily Bordado, public information officer of the DA in CamSur, said they were caught by surprise when the protesters, who were holding a rally on the Pili national highway, forced their way into the DA compound. Bordado said the incident happened at past 8 a.m. when they were getting ready to hold a dialogue with the leaders of protesters belonging to the militant peasant group Masipag. Dr. Evangeline dela Trinidad, chair of the DA CamSur’s institutional biosafety committee, said the protesters used a bolt cutter to destroy a metal fence around the DA compound and a barrier surrounding the GMO rice planted on one of the sections of the field. “After getting through our security personnel and police, they danced around in the field like madmen and trampled on the rice plants,” she said. Mary Espina, PhilRice field supervisor for the golden rice project, said the protesters were probably motivated by their “fear of the unknown,” being unknowledgeable of the objective of the government on GMOs.
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Rice shortage statement clarified Published: August 10, 2013
Manila, Philippines --- A former president of the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association of the Philippines (Grecon) yesterday owned up to issuing a statement on a possible rice shortage in Mindanao that was inadvertently attributed to the group’s president James Magbanua last weekend. The story, which came out in various news organizations, including the Manila Bulletin, created confusion especially after Magbanua denied issuing the statement. In a letter sent to the Manila Bulletin, former Grecon President (2000 - 2004) and South Metro Manila Association of Rice Retailer President Danilo H. Garcia admitted to releasing the group’s collective call for government to act on a looming rice shortage in Mindanao. Garcia said he failed to consult the Grecon president. But Garcia said he was standing by the statement on a looming rice shortage in Mindanao. “I take full responsibility for the release of the said statement to the media stating, among others, the status of rice supply in the country today. I would like to apologize to the incumbent Grecon president for the mix up, which led to the confusion and his denial of the said statement,” Garcia said. (Leonard Postrado) http://mb.com.ph/News/Metro_News/26398/Rice_shortage_statement_clarified#.Ugh2fqyveKE
Agri chief scores rice smuggling By Chito A. Chavez Published: August 10, 2013
Manila, Philippines --- Smuggling is worse than any typhoon that could hit the rice fields of local farmers. Speaking in a weekly hotel forum, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that smuggled rice continue to find its way into the country. Alcala said that the Philippines was branded as top importer of rice, but he noted that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is on track in gaining farmers’ trust and achieving a promise he made three years ago that the country will be rice sufficient in due time. He expressed hope that rice and agricultural smuggling will be a thing of the past with the impending revamp at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). In the past three years, Alcala said the DA in coordination with other agencies, was able to stop the importation of rice but smuggled rice continues to find its way to the local market. “We have to win back the farmers’ trust. We have started to export rice (black and red) in Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The BOC has been vigilantly guarding the ports on imported rice,” Alcala said. Establishing what he termed as “trading centers” mistaken by others as “bagsakan” is also giving the farmers to earn more without using “middle men” for their agri-products to be sold, he said. “Mayroon na po tayong walo at may anim pang iniestablish na trading centers where farmers group bring their agricultural products and sell directly to buyers (We have eight and there are six more trading centers which we will establish where the farmer groups may sell their products directly to the consumers),” Alcala said. http://mb.com.ph/News/Metro_News/26424/Agri_chief_scores_rice_smuggling#.Ugh3L6yveKE
SC won't yet stop raffle system in Luisita distribution (philstar.com) | Updated August 9, 2013 - 3:53pm MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court did not stop the "tambiolo" system used in distributing the farmlands of Hacienda Luisita but asked the government to comment on a petition filed by the farmers. Acting on the urgent motion filed by Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita, the high court asked the government to comment on the petition of the farmers asking to stop the land distribution by raffle system and to allow collective ownership of the land. The SC has given the government 10 days from notice to comment on the motion. In their petition, the farmers urged the SC, among other demands, to order the Department of Agrarian Reform to clarify the basis of the survey of the land and to explain the discrepancy in the number of hectares for distribution to the farm worker-beneficiaries. The petitioners argued that the allocation of the lands by raffle has denied them the opportunity for collective ownership of the land which, according to them, is allowed under Section 4, Article 13 of the Constitution and Section 25 of Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. The motion said: "Section 22 of RA 6657 clearly mandates that lands placed under the coverage of the agrarian reform program should be distributed to the beneficiary of the same barangay where the land is located. It said that In the raffle system system, it may happen that one farm worker-beneficiary will be awarded a parcel of land located far away from his place of residence. The DAR has started the raffle of farm lots, which was made open to the public last month and the allocation is expected to be completed by August 21. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/09/1070961/sc-wont-yet-stop-raffle-system-luisitadistribution
Dead fish after huge oil spill in Manila Bay Agence France-Presse 7:35 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013
This handout photo taken on August 9, 2013 and released by the Philippine Coast Guard shows the oil tanker M/T MAKISIG off the shore of Cavite an oil spill in Manila Bay. AFP MANILA, Philippines—A huge oil spill shut down parts of the Philippine capital’s vital fishing industry Friday, jeopardizing the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people living along Manila Bay’s diesel-coated coast. Dead fish floated on the water and some residents fell ill from the fumes, as authorities said an estimated 500,000 liters of oil cast a slick across 20-kilometers of the coastline. “Many of our young and elderly residents are getting sick,” Marcos Solis, the captain of a fishing village near the worst of the oil spill, told Agence France-Presse. “The price of fish and shellfish has also collapsed. Even those who fish far out to sea are affected because the fish smell the oil and swim away.” Authorities said the slick was caused by either a leak at an oil terminal on the bay or a ship that had unloaded diesel there. Coastguard marine environmental protection chief Commodore Joel Garcia told reporters the slick stretched seaward about 15 kilometers from the shore, covering an area of 300 square kilometres (120 square miles). “I cannot say that we have contained it because it has affected so wide an area,” Garcia told reporters.
The area described by the coastguard covers about 15 percent of the bay, the country’s busiest body of water in a region where about 30 million people live, according to government data. Locals said they feared for the immediate future of the bay’s vibrant fish and shellfish industry, which feeds millions of people in the capital and surrounding areas. “Fish and shellfish are floating up dead. It could be months before the shellfish industry is revived unless the water is cleaned up soon,” Jose Ricafrente, mayor of Rosario fishing town, told AFP. He said 40,000 people dependent on the fishing and shellfish industry in the bay were temporarily without jobs. Asis Perez, head of the government’s fisheries and aquatic resources bureau, also said the oil spill was impacting a vital section of the region’s fishing industry. “Each boat here would typically haul in 30-40 kilograms of fish a day, so definitely the impact is huge,” Perez told AFP by telephone as he toured the affected areas by boat. Ricafrente said he had implemented an emergency “food-for-work” program, in which fishermen and their families would help in the clean-up in exchange for rice and canned goods with the local government. The residents were collecting diesel from the water using bottles and other improvised scooping implements. “Even the children are helping out. We have asked them to wear face masks,” he said. Ricafrente said at least two Rosario residents were taken to hospital and were put on oxygen tubes on Thursday, but both had recovered. Garcia, the coastguard official, said authorities initially suspected the leak had come from the tanker that had unloaded fuel at the depot. The 34,000-barrel-capacity M/T Makisig and its crew have been detained, he added. However, Garcia said coastguard divers later found a leaking underwater fuel pipe that leads to the jetty of the Rosario oil terminal, owned by Philippine refiner Petron Corp. In a statement issued on its account on the social networking site Facebook, Petron insisted its pipeline was intact. “According to initial information, the leak may have come from the vessel but this will have to be investigated further,” it said.
Garcia said the oil slick would likely remain for the next few days, or up to a week, depending on sea currents and the weather. He said the oil was expected to evaporate as it was exposed to sunlight.
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Green sea turtles eat more plastic than ever—study Agence France-Presse 1:32 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013 15 305 248
Graffiti activist A.G. Saño (left), underwater filmmaker Carina Escudero (center), and INQUIRER.net managing editor Dennis Atienza Maliwanag film a female green turtle that just laid eggs on the shore of Baguan Island, in Tawi-Tawi’s Turtle Islands municipality. Photo courtesy of Rina Bernabe De Alban SYDNEY—Endangered green turtles are ingesting more man-made debris, including potentially lethal plastic products, than ever before, a new Australian study has shown. The majestic turtles are significantly more likely to swallow plastic than they were in the 1980s, the study, published in the journal Conservation Biology, showed. The research reviewed scientific literature on the ingestion of man-made rubbish in the ocean by sea turtles published since 1985. It showed that six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles have been found to ingest debris, and all six are listed as globally vulnerable or endangered. “We found that for green sea turtles, the likelihood that a sea turtle has ingested debris has nearly doubled in the last 25 years,” Qamar Schuyler from the University of Queensland, who led the study, told AFP on Friday.
“Specifically for green turtles, it does appear that they are eating a lot more debris than they used to.” The study found that the likelihood of a green turtle, which can grow to 1.5 metres (five feet) and live for 80 years, ingesting debris jumped from about 30 percent in 1985 to nearly 50 percent in 2012. The research said it was clear that since the first data was recorded more than 100 years ago, the amount of refuse leatherback turtles had ingested had also increased. However, between 1985 and 2012 their intake had been stable. Plastic products eaten by turtles and other marine life can be lethal, killing the animals by either blocking their stomachs and starving them or through puncturing their intestinal system. Schuyler said ingested plastics could also be releasing toxins into the animals, either via chemicals in the plastics themselves or which the products have absorbed as they have floated around the ocean. “The animal may not die of that right away but it may impact things like their reproductive cycle and that has longer-term consequences,” she said. Schuyler, a doctoral candidate, said the data showed that turtles washing up with lots of plastic in them were not necessarily found in the most polluted or populated places. “So it means that they are ingesting that debris usually somewhere farther away from where they end up,” she said, adding that this suggested that a global response was needed to counter the problem. “What we really need to look at is a large scale movement to stop debris entering the oceans.” The research, analysing 37 studies published from 1985 to 2012 which reported on data collected from before 1900 through to 2011, found that turtles in nearly all regions ingested debris, most commonly plastic. “Our results show clearly that debris ingestion by sea turtles is a global phenomenon of increasing magnitude,” the study said.
Cavite town in state of calamity as oil spill damages corals, threatens more towns By Maricar Cinco Inquirer Southern Luzon 1:07 pm | Friday, August 9th, 2013 0 293 77 SAN PEDRO, Laguna, Philippines—An oil spill, whose origin was still being determined by the Philippine Coast Guard, has affected at least four coastal towns in Cavite and it continues to spread and threatens the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen, according to the disaster authorities in the Calabarzon region composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. The municipal council of Rosario, where the oil spill was first spotted Thursday afternoon, declared a state of calamity Friday after officials found oil sludge clinging to damaged coral reefs in municipal waters. Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council director Vicente Tomazar said they have been monitoring the spread of the spill, which has reached the coastal villages in the municipalities of Ternate and Tanza. He said about 300 fishermen complained of oil sludge among their catch. “It is now threatening the next town of Naic,” Tomazar said in telephone interview Friday. The Coast Guard was still investigating if the oil leaked from an underwater pipeline of Petron Corp., which owns a depot in Rosario, or from a motor tanker that was also carrying fuel. The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in a statement Friday, revived its call to shut down the Petron depot in Rosario. In 2010, an oil spill affected the waters of Rosario after a submarine pipeline of Petron was damaged when hit by the anchor of a barge swept by wind and waves at the height of Typhoon Basyang. Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said by phone that a team dispatched to collect water samples was already in the vicinity.
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‘Chiz’ to Gov’t: Stop renting office spaces By Hannah L. Torregoza Published: August 10, 2013
Manila, Philippines --- A lawmaker yesterday expressed his belief that the national government may be able to save millions of funds if it stops renting office spaces and buildings and just acquires real properties for the use of various government agencies. “By way of policy, the government should make a shift in three years and should not be renting office spaces anymore” said Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, chairman of the finance committee. This, he said, is due to the fact that the government spends billions annually just to maintain existing government offices for lease and rental expenses. Under the 2014 budget proposal, the government will allocate P5 billion for rental and lease expenses of various government agencies. Escudero said the proposed amount earmarked for rent of office spaces and other equipment for different departments is at P4.745 billion. The senator said he sees this as a waste of much-needed resources vis-a-vis long-term investments and other needed capitalization. “Renting spaces at a cost is like throwing money down the drain,” he said. “Yes, we need spaces and buildings to operate and function properly. Machines that are essential to an agency operation are a must. But renting is a short-term solution with no long-term gains in terms of helping us to efficiently allocate scarce resources,” he explained. With that amount of money, a number of basic services can be addressed like classroom shortages and medical funding for indigents in government hospitals in the country. “We are looking at mechanisms so that in three years’ time government agencies can do away with renting office buildings and other equipment,” he said. “The government should endeavor to own infrastructures and equipment that are central to their respective operations. It’s absurd that the government owns lands and we have the resources, why not build our own buildings on our own properties? Or acquire staple equipment?,” he asked. In next year’s budget proposal, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Office of the Secretary has the biggest rental allocation at P742.9 million, followed by Bureau of Internal Revenue at P531.5 million, Department of Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police at
P279.4 million, and Department of Trade and Industry-Office of the Secretary, Supreme Court of the Philippines and lower courts at P270.4 million and P212.8 million, respectively. Even the Senate is renting at the Government Security Insurance System (GSIS) office building in Pasay City. An allocation of P171-million for rental pay is indicated in the budget. “We ourselves are also renting. The Senate does not have its own property. We are procuring office spaces here at the GSIS building unlike the House of Representatives whicho has its own building,” he lamented. Escudero said the government should encourage a lease-to-own scheme which provides fund programming that does not require a lump sum expense but will allow to eventually own the facility. http://mb.com.ph/News/Metro_News/26429/%E2%80%98Chiz%E2%80%99_to_Gov%E2%80%99t:_Sto p_renting_office_spaces_#.Ugh3uqyveKE
FDA’s Gluten‐Free labeling regulation By Nelly Favis‐Villafuerte Published: August 10, 2013
Nowadays, consumers are getting more concerned and more vigilant about healthy foods to improve their quality of life. No wonder consumers now really take time and effort to understand labels appearing in containers of foods especially on manufacturers’ claims on the nutrient contents and other supplement facts about the food products. The gluten-free labelling regulation recently promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was warmly welcomed by the US consumers especially those who are benefitted by the regulation, namely people who are afflicted with celiac disease. It is estimated that celiac disease affects up to 3 million Americans. One may ask: What is gluten? What is celiac disease? Gluten is the protein found in many grains such as wheat (including durum, semolina, kamut, spelt), rye, barley, and oats. ‘Gluten’ comes from the Greek word for glue and its adhesive properties hold bread and cake together. Although gluten is the main ingredient of bread that makes it light and fluffy, some people are allergic to it and their digestive system seem unable to tolerate it. A disease called celiac sprue, celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy is now affecting 1 out of every 133 people in the United States. Celiac disease is a condition whereby the lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten. The damage to the small intestine causes malabsorption of many important nutrients, resulting in weight loss and vitamin and mineral deficiencies – which can lead to a variety of health problems in the gut, the bloodstream, the brain, the joints, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Not many know that gluten-sensitivity is a permanent condition. A complete lifelong abstinence from gluten is the only known effective treatment. And now… here is the FDA recent rule on gluten-free labeling of food products. The rule simply defines the term “gluten-free” for the voluntary use by food manufacturers of food products in the labeling of foods, as follows: “Gluten-free” means that the food either is inherently gluten free; or does not contain an ingredient that is: 1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat); 2) derived from a glutencontaining grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or 3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food. Also, any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm. FDA further cautioned that “a food that bears the claim “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “without gluten” in its labeling and fails to meet the requirements for a “gluten-free” claim will be deemed to be misbranded. In addition, a food whose labeling includes the term “wheat” in the ingredient list or in a separate “Contains wheat” statement as required by a section of the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) and also bears the claim “gluten-free” will be deemed to be misbranded unless its labeling also bears additional language clarifying that the wheat has been processed to allow the food to meet FDA requirements for a “gluten-free” claim. Establishing a definition of the term “gluten-free” and uniform conditions for its use in food labeling will help ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and are provided with truthful and accurate information with respect to foods so labeled. We are issuing the final rule under the Food Allergen labeling Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA).” While the gluten-free labeling regulation came out on August 5, 2013, FDA says that “The final rule becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Manufacturers will have a year after the date of publication of the rule to bring package labels into compliance. After this date, any food product labeled “gluten-free” that does not meet the criteria established in the final rule, including a food that contains 20 ppm or more gluten, would be deemed misbranded and would be subject to regulatory enforcement action.” The FDA rule on gluten-free labelling applies to all FDA-regulated foods (both foods domestically produced and food imported) including dietary supplements. But the rule excludes foods whose labelling is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) – like the labeling of meats, poultry, and certain egg products and labeling most of most alcoholic beverages, including all distilled spirits, wines that contain 7 percent or more alcohol by volume and malted beverages that are made with both malted barley and hops. The passage of the FDA gluten-free labeling regulation is big news to us here in the Philippines – to educate consumers on gluten-free food products. Rare it may be, there are already Filipinos afflicted with celiac disease. I know somebody who died of celiac disease. A close family friend. For all we know, there may already be many Filipinos who are suffering from celiac disease who got the disease from eating gluten-rich foods. It’s now time to circulate more information on gluten and celiac disease in our country – as part of our public awareness program on healthy foods. Have a joyful day!
Export Action‐Line Nelly Favis‐Villafuerte http://mb.com.ph/Business/Business_Main/26378/FDA%E2%80%99s_Gluten‐ Free_labeling_regulation#.UgiBxayveKE
No rice supply shortage, says NFA By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on Aug. 10, 2013 at 12:02am | 110 views The National Food Authority said Friday the country has enough rice supply and consumers should not resort to panic buying. NFA administrator Orlan Calayag said the agency’s market monitoring showed no problems in both supply and prices of rice in any part of the country. “We have well enough supply of rice, from regular, well-milled, premium to NFA rice in the markets although our monitoring teams have noted a P1 to P2 kilogram price increase, which traditionally occurs during the lean months of July to September,” he said. Calayag said the NFA was regularly infusing stocks into the market to stabilize supply and prices. He called on all rice traders nationwide to exercise their social responsibility and avoid unwarranted overpricing or hoarding of the staple. Calayag said the NFA would coordinate with the proper agencies to make hoarders or price manipulators accountable for their misdeeds. “Rice is life itself for every Filipino who consumes the staple three times a day. It would be very cruel and insensitive to toy with its supply and price just to earn more profits, especially during the lean months when natural calamities also hit many parts of the country,” Calayag said. Calayag denied reports of a rice shortage in Mindanao, where prices increased by as much as P10 a kilo, triggering “panic buying” among the people. “We have verified these reports and found out they were untrue. NFA Davao has been monitoring the local markets three times a week and has not observed any incident of queuing for rice from June until yesterday. NFA Cagayan de Oro also dispelled any case of overpricing by up to P10 per kg in any of the local markets monitored,” Calayag said. The NFA said rice prices in Mindanao were within the reasonable levels at P30 to P35 per kilo of ordinary rice, P36 to P40 a kilo of well-milled rice, and P41 and above per kilo of premium rice. http://mst.ph/2013/08/10/no‐rice‐supply‐shortage‐says‐nfa/
Purefoods’ profit rises 6% to P1.8b By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on Aug. 10, 2013 at 12:02am | 111 views
San Miguel Pure Foods Company Inc., the food unit of San Miguel Corp., said net income in the first half grew 6 percent to P1.8 billion from a year ago, on better selling prices and higher sales volume. Purefoods said in a statement consolidated revenues reached P47.1 billion in the six-month period, up 4 percent from the same period in 2012. Operating income climbed 31 percent to P2.4 billion during the period. Total revenues from the group’s feeds, poultry and meat and flour businesses increased 4 percent from a year ago. Purefoods said the poultry and meat business generated better margins, with combined revenues increasing 5 percent. Revenues for the flour business rose 1 percent. It said the branded value-added businesses registered a 9-percent improvement in combined revenues over the same period in 2012. All categories posted volume and revenue growth, driven by strong sales of core brands Purefoods, Tender Juicy, Star, Magnolia and San Mig Coffee. The company continued to improve its business structure to further accelerate growth in the branded value-added segment. “This integration is seen to harness synergies, provide strategic focus, improve operational efficiencies, and deliver better results,” the company said. The food manufacturing firm initiated measures to mitigate the impact of currency movements to its costs. The company said it remained confident that the measures it put in place in the first half would help sustain the gains for the rest of the year. http://mst.ph/2013/08/10/purefoods‐profit‐rises‐6‐to‐p1‐8b/
BIR targets govt suppliers By Jennifer Ambanta | Posted on Aug. 10, 2013 at 12:01am | 143 views
The Bureau of Internal Revenue will monitor the tax payments of government suppliers as a part of its efforts to collect more revenues. BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said the agency would soon run after government suppliers that did not pay their duties correctly. Henares said the monitoring on government suppliers would involve “verification, cross verification of data on value-added tax and withholding tax.” The BIR intensified its tax collection from 1.8 million self-employed individuals. The agency said professionals were paying an average of only P33,000 in taxes annually, lower than the industry salary grade they were receiving. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the average tax collection from professionals should be increased to P200,000. “This will increase our revenues significantly by P300 billion more,” he said. http://mst.ph/2013/08/10/bir‐targets‐govt‐suppliers/
Higher fuel charges By Lailany P. Gomez | Posted on Aug. 10, 2013 at 12:00am | 93 views
Budget carriers Cebu Pacific Air and Southeast Asian Airlines are seeking approval of the Civil Aeronautics Board to impose higher fuel surcharge on their respective international passenger tickets. Documents from the CAB show Cebu Pacific is seeking for a $10 adjustment of fuel surcharge on its Manila-Macau route and vice versa from $15 to $25. The CAB is set to hear the petition on Aug. 28. In a separate application, Seair is seeking for P2,500 per person fuel surcharge when it starts flying to Phuket, Thailand, from its hub in Manila. The CAB is also hearing the petition on Aug. 28. A fuel surcharge is added to each ticket to offset increases in jet fuel prices, an airline’s highest expense after labor. http://mst.ph/2013/08/10/higher‐fuel‐charges/
OIL SPILL Published : Saturday, August 10, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 207
A DIESEL oil spill spread a large reddish stain over Manila Bay in the Philippines’ capital on Friday, posing potential health and environmental hazards, authorities said. A fuel tanker is suspected of having dumped half a million litres of diesel into the country’s busiest waterway on Thursday, said coast guard environmental protection chief Commodore Joel Garcia. ”I cannot say that we have contained it because it has affected so wide an area,” he told reporters. ”There have been reports of cases of people going to hospital from difficulty of breathing due to the fumes coming from this oil. ”Oil containment booms were deployed while government experts are checking the impact on marine life, Garcia said.The 300-square-kilometre (120-square-mile) slick was drifting
toward the mouth of the bay Friday, Garcia said. About 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline near the capital Manila has been affected, he added. Asis Perez, head of the fisheries and aquatic resources bureau, said he has banned the harvesting and sale of shellfish from these areas until further notice. ”Fuel should not be ingested by people,” Perez said in an interview over radio station DZBB. Garcia said the coast guard decided not to use chemical dispersants as they would poison the water, opting to let the fuel evaporate. He could not say how long this would take. The 34,000-barrel-capacity M/T Makisig and its crew have been detained and its owners will be made to pay for the clean-up if it were proven that it indeed had caused the spill, he added. Additionally, the crew could face criminal charges unless there were “mitigating circumstances” that led to the release of the fuel into the water. ”Fuel samples taken from the shoreline and from the ship are quite identical,” he said. The tanker’s owners, Herma Shipping and Transport Corp, could not be reached for comment on Friday.The tanker had earlier unloaded fuel at a Petron terminal in the town of Rosario near Manila, the oil refiner said in a statement. ”According to initial information, the leak may have come from the vessel but this will have to be investigated further,” it said in a statement, adding its pipeline was intact. ”Diesel is not a persistent oil and will easily disperse, so there is no danger to the environment and the local community,” it added. AFP http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/headlines/55972‐oil‐spill