Alcala gets SEARCA report on projects funded by DA (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
Alcala (left) talks with SEARCA director Dr. Gil C.Saguiguit Jr.
MANILA, Philippines - Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala recently expressed appreciation for the work of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in implementing 25 projects funded by government. SEARCA director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. briefed Alcala on the 25 development projects that SEARCA had implemented with funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Agricultural Credit and Policy Center (ACPC), National Agriculture and Fishery Council (NAFC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The briefing was conducted as Alcala and 33 other top officials and members of the Management Committee of the Department of Agriculture (DA) attended a one-day leadership workshop held at the SEARCA headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna last July 30. All in all, Saguiguit said, the attached DA agencies spent P176 million for the 25 projects. Among the services rendered by SEARCA were research and development (R&D) covering agricultural crops, livestock, fisheries, biotechnology, food security and climate change adaptation as well as graduate scholarship management. SEARCA also helped the DA in its knowledge management capacity building through incountry and overseas training programs. The research institution also worked on project development and management including policy studies and strategic planning, institutional strengthening, market studies and impact evaluation. Among the completed projects was “The Nature, Sources and Causes of Productivity Growth in Philippine Agriculture (PGPA).” The project, implemented with BAR and PhilRice, examined the different scenarios for productivity growth which was deemed essential to formulate an outlook on the overall state of Philippine agriculture. Saguiguit told Alcala that the results of the projects would soon be released through monographs covering the following topics: scenarios and options, total factor productivity, grains, R&D and extension, traditional export crops, infrastructure, high-value export crops, natural capital, livestock and poultry, human capital, aquaculture, and social capital. SEARCA also completed the assessment of the Gulayan ng Masa Program of the DA. The project aimed to quantify the impact of the Gulayan ng Masa Program in terms of alleviating hunger and malnutrition in the country, as well as draw lessons that could serve as guides for policymakers and decision-makers in formulating and implementing similar targeted programs. Another project was strengthening the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) under BAR, which is intended to accelerate the commercialization of technologies for increased productivity and profitability of stakeholders and key players. NTCP aims to transform the agriculture and fisheries sectors from being resource-based to being technology-based. Saguiguit also told Alcala about the success of the “Capacity Development Program on Knowledge Management,” which was targeted mainly to strengthen national capacities of agricultural and fisheries information stakeholders on knowledge management with emphasis on knowledge products development and knowledge sharing technologies.
Ongoing DA-funded projects being implemented by SEARCA include a capacity development program for DA executives and professional staff; strengthening of project development and management for Agri-Pinoy; assessment of smuggling of selected agricultural commodities; improving agricultural insurance to enhance resilience against climate change; and responding to climate change through R&D in agriculture. All of these are within the purview of SEARCAâ€™s mandate which is to build capacities of institutions working in agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2013/08/11/1075431/alcala-gets-searca-report-projectsfunded-da
Solons na nakinabang sa pork barrel scam, ibubunyag ng DA Ni Angie dela Cruz (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Ibubunyag na ng Department of Agriculture (DA) ang pangalan ng mga mambabatas na nakinabang sa umano’y bahagi ng P80 milyon pork barrel scam na pinadaan sa naturang ahensiya. Ito ang sinabi ni DA Secretary Proceso Alcala sa isang press conference sa Quezon City at nagsabing anim na kongresista ang nasa kanilang listahan kabilang umano si Davao City 3rd District Congressman Isidro Ungab. Ayon kay Alcala, bagamat na relieved niya sa puwesto si Agriculture Assistant Secretary Ofelia Agawin bilang chairman ng accreditation committee na nag-aapruba sa mga Non–Governmental Organizations (NGOs) na nakakatanggap ng pondo mula pork barrel ng mga mambabatas ay tuloy pa rin naman anya ang pag- apruba nila sa mga rekomendadong NGOs kung saan ang may 26 dito ay mga lihitimo at isa lang ang sangkot sa anomalya ng negosyanteng si Janet Lim Napoles. “Inipon na ng DA ang mga kaukulang papeles bilang ebedensiya na si Ungab ay isa sa nasabing mga politiko na nakibang sa milyun-milyong pork barrel,” pahayag ni Alcala. http://www.philstar.com/bansa/2013/08/11/1076361/solons-na-nakinabang-sa-pork-barrel-scamibubunyag-ng-da
‘Clean up your mess,’ Petron, owners of MV ‘Makisig’ told Category: Nation Published on Saturday, 10 August 2013 18:22 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga
THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday urged Petron Corp. to fast-track the cleanup of the oil spill along the coasts of Cavite to prevent further environmental damage and impact to the livelihood of small fishermen in the province. In a news statement, Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said Petron Corp. should shoulder the costs of the cleanup operation. The group said the oil spill should prompt Malacañang through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to shut down the oil depot in Poblacion, Rosario, Cavite, file charges against the oil company and the owners of MV Makisig and compel those responsible for the oil spill to compensate the affected fishermen and their families. “The Cavite oil spill is a ticking time bomb. If not contained in the next two to three days, it will create more damage,” France said. He said the quick, effective and decisive cleanup of oil sludge is the prime responsibility of Petron and the Aquino administration. Pamalakaya estimated that, so far, the oil spill has affected 10,000 fishing families in Rosario. The oil spill, if not contained immediately, can also affect coastal barangays in Naic, Noveleta, Cavite City and even Bacoor City. A fisherman in Cavite earns an average of P250 a day. Since Monday, the fishermen were not able to fish and this denied the fishermen, numbering around 10,000, their daily income. France also said taxpayers’ money should not be spent for the cleanup. “Petron and its accomplice in the crime, the owners and operators of MV Makisig, should pay the cost of cleanup and get ready for compensation claims to be asked by affected fishermen and residents,” he said.
France said the 500,000 liters of oil that has been spilled could cause enormous damage to people and the environment. On Friday Director Asis Perez of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources advised fishermen not to go fishing in areas affected by the oil spill, saying the fish caught in the area is “unsafe” to eat. Perez inspected the areas affected by the oil spill. Some of the fishermen have complained of having no fish to catch the entire day. France said a class suit against Petron and the owners of MV Makisig will be filed by affected fishermen and residents with the help of local government officials. Party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, chairman of Pamalakaya and a resident of Rosario, Cavite, also vowed to initiate a congressional inquiry “in aid of legislation” into the oil spill. Hicap led Pamalakaya members who conducted an environmental mission in several barangays affected by the oil spill on Saturday morning. The mission targeted fishing villages affected by oil spill where consultations with the people in the communities were also held. “This is not the first time an oil spill took place owing to broken and [deteriorated] pipes of Petron and the careless operations of commissioned ships of the oil company in carrying and transporting petroleum products to Petron’s oil depot in Rosario,” Pamalakaya said in a statement, citing that in July 2010, the same tragedy happened involving the same company. “If the situation requires the closure of Petron’s oil depot, so be it,” said Pamalakaya. Initial reports identified the barangays affected by the oil spill as Wawa I, II and III, Sapa II and III, Muzon I and II, Kaunlaran and Silanganan I in Rosario. A report said that the spill also affected the waters off some barangays in Tanza. Some local officials suspect that the slick may have been caused by a leak from the so-called Petron submarine pipeline or the tanker MV Makisig, a ship owned by a contractor that had just discharged diesel at the Rosario terminal when the oil spill happened.
In Photo: Fishermen in Rosario, Cavite, sun-dry their fish catch on Saturday despite an oil spill blamed on giant oil firm Petron Philippines and owners of MV Makisig, a fuel tanker. The spill is threatening to wreak more havoc in the livelihood of several Cavite fishing towns if measures to contain the spill is not undertaken with dispatch. PNA http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/nation/17731-clean-up-your-mess-petronowners-of-mv-makisig-told
Icrisat’s Dar receives MS Swaminathan Leadership in Agriculture award Category: Science Published on Saturday, 10 August 2013 17:42
HYDERABAD, India—Dr. William D. Dar, the director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat), recently received the MS Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture for 2013. Dr. K. Kasturirangan, member of the Planning Commission (Science) of the government of India, conferred the award on Dar in New Delhi. “Today Dr. William D. Dar joins a select group of extraordinary minds who have influenced, in a major way, the developments in agricultural science and through the same, the global food security. Named after one of the legendary figures of Indian agriculture, Dr. MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s ‘Green Revolution,’ this award is India’s version of the World Food Prize,” Kasturirangan said before a packed audience of senior scientists, students of agriculture and representatives of CGIAR Institutes in the BP Pal auditorium of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. An excerpt from the award citation states: “His work has created great impact on the lives of resource-poor farmers. Dr. Dar has also actively promoted public-private-farmer partnership, linking strongly the end-users with the National Agricultural Research System, as well as International Agricultural Research Centers. “Under his leadership, effective research collaboration has been established in areas like germplasm exchange, biotechnology, crop improvement, water conservation, capacity building and policy.... His passion is to help alleviate the socioeconomic conditions of the poor living in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.” Commending Dar’s contributions in the field of agricultural research, Kasturirangan further said: “Needless to emphasize, the earlier awardees of this recognition are a list of who’s who among the top researchers, who, besides making seminal contributions to this subject, have also helped
India in meeting the challenges of realizing food self-sufficiency and giving it a unique global leadership in the agriculture and associated endeavors. It is, thus, natural that Dr. Dar has been selected by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences, as the awardee for this year, recognizing his multidimensional and distinguished contributions as an eminent educationist, agriculturist, scientist, administrator and, above all, a fine humanitarian. “Dr. Dar’s leadership of Icrisat has been transformational, and today this institution enjoys a reputation that places it among the top few centers of excellence recognized globally. I join everyone in this country, the scientific community and the agricultural scientists, in particular, in extending my heartiest congratulations to Dr. William D. Dar for this well-deserved recognition.” Responding to the award, Dar, a Filipino and a former secretary of the Department of Agriculture, said, “I am deeply honored to receive this award. I consider this to be a major milestone in my professional life. I am humbled to be asked to join the list of outstanding awardees that have contributed so much to improving the human condition. “This award is about leadership. I believe that the most important task of a successful leader is to rally his team around a compelling vision of the future, and to have an effective strategy to bring that vision into reality.” Highlighting Icrisat’s vision, Dar elaborated on the institute’s strategic approach called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (Imod). “Imod has changed the static thinking. Imod is a process of movement along a development pathway from impoverished subsistence farming, to prosperous market-oriented farming. This movement is ‘dynamic’ and compelled us to put priority on innovations that would move farmers from poverty to prosperity, instead of innovations that would leave them only a little less poor,” he said. In his message, Swaminathan said, “I am happy that the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences has recognized the work of outstanding scientists as one of the methods of advancing the cause of scientific excellence and social relevance in agricultural research. “ Dr. Dar is a pioneer in imparting a human face to scientific research and economic development. What we need is the kind of leadership that Dr. Dar is providing to ensure that science serves the cause of sustainable food security, as well as human well-being and happiness.” Dar is also a recipient of several awards and degrees. He joined Icrisat as director general in 2000. Under his leadership it has seen a major transformation in terms of agricultural research and scientific breakthroughs, together with strategic partners.
In Photo: Dr. William Dar (center), director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, receives the MS Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture for 2013 from Dr. K. Kasturirangan (right). With them is Dr. RS Paroda. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/features/science/17694-icrisat-s-dar-receives-msswaminathan-leadership-in-agriculture-award
Government urged to protect local onion supply vs imports (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The country’s supply of locally grown onions is still available and could meet the demands of consumers for the rest of the year, according to KASAMNE, a farmers cooperative based in Nueva Ecija. KASAMNE expressed its appreciation to the Department of Agriculture for its assistance to the local onion industry which proved critical to the success of the 2013 onion cropping season. This was stressed by Gaudioso Bartolome, president of the KASAMNE. According to Bartolome, the volume of this year’s onion production may be double the output of 2012. The market situation for onions, he said, is favorable not only to the country’s local farmers but also to Filipino consumers. The retail price of red onions is reportedly at P40 to P50 per kilo in Metro Manila’s retail outlets. This is an affordable level for Filipino consumers, and a far cry from the P120 per kilo retail price prevailing in 2010. Onions growers however bewail the openly rampant and widespread smuggling of onions, garlic and other agricultural products. In the second week of March, the Bureau of Customs, acting on the complaint of KASAMNE, raided the T.P. Marcelo & Company Inc. – a cold storage facility in North Bay Boulevard, Navotas, Metro Manila where a voluminous cargo containing no less than 4,500 bags of smuggled onions were discovered. The facility was padlocked and the cargo was seized. Bartolome lamented, however, that despite the raid conducted at the Marcelo Cold Storage, the incidence of smuggling of agricultural products and in particular fresh onions is not only rising, but has become “openly, rampant, and widespread.” The illegal trade, Bartolome warned, is expected to become more extensive and vulgar during the rainy season. Such a situation, the KASAMNE official said, poses a grave threat not only to the recently resuscitated eight billion onion industry but also to the livelihood and welfare of thousands of local onion farmers, growers, and producers. Based on the reports of onion industry stakeholders, the certainty of rampant smuggling is supported by the fact that onions packed in PP open meshed bags bearing foreign brands and labels are openly being displayed and sold in the domestic market.
The smuggled onions are believed to be unloaded in the major ports of Mindanao particularly the Port of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos. The sale of foreign onion continues despite the fact that the Department of Agriculture (DA) had not issued this year any BPI Plant Quarantine Clearance (PQC) that could have allowed the entry of imported onions. During a recent dialogue with DA Sec. Proceso Alcala on smuggling concerns, it was reported that the current onion crop for the 2013 season was unprecedented in the history of the local onion production due to the favorable weather condition and absence of any pest infestation that prevailed during the first half of the year. This was complimented by the effective coordination during the pre-harvest and the post-harvest periods between the private sector and the DA. Based on the onion industry cold storage inventory report conducted by the National Onion Action Team at the end of May 2013, the country’s total red and white onion cold storage stock this year amounted to over six million bags (152,000 metric tons) vs the expected average monthly consumption of 14,000 metric tons or a total of 112,000 metric tons for the eight months lean period from June to January 2014 before the new harvest. However, the movement of local onions in the domestic market is very slow or, in fact stagnant and not moving at all, while the price is too low due to the presence of unfair competition from smuggled onions especially in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Local onions, mostly produced in Central Luzon and stored in major cold storages around Central Luzon and Metro Manila, are not being withdrawn and shipped to Visayas and Mindanao due to the smuggled onions originating from China and India. This can be easily observed in the non-movement of the regular weekly 100 to 120 x 20ft container van loaded with onions destined for the southern ports. As a result, adversely affected are the non-withdrawal of the local cold storage onion stocks inventory in Metro Manila and certain areas in Central Luzon – making onion farmers desperate and on the verge of bankruptcy – and who are now pinning their last hope on the Bureau of Customs to control the “openly, rampant, and widespread” entry of onions in the southern ports. The farmers requested Commissioner Rozzano “Ruffy: Biazon of the Bureau of Customs for a dialogue regarding the rampant smuggling. The requested dialogue was granted on 24 July 2013 with 27 farmers participating. Among the BOC officials who attended the gathering aside from Commissioner Biazon were Horacio Suansing – Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement; Director Fernandino Tuazon – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Director George Aliño – Enforcement Service and other top BOC officials. During the meeting, expressed his personal commitment to help the Filipino farmer who is most adversely affected by smuggling. He called on them to help BOC in its anti-smuggling drive and
suggested that regular dialogue be conducted to provide the agency with intelligence information. The Customs chief pledged that in their next dialogue he shall order BOC frontliners particularly the Customs Collectors of the different ports to attend and participate in the meeting because the latter are on top of the Customs cargo clearance processes and have a direct hand in the release of imports. Pursuant to the BOC-farmers agreement, the Director of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) issued a memorandum to all CIIS frontliners to closely monitor reefer containers and alert those suspected to contain smuggled agricultural products. As of today, it was reported that a number of shipments of garlic and onions have been seized by BOC authorities as a result of the strengthened surveillance and monitoring. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2013/08/11/1075441/government-urged-protect-local-onionsupply-vs-imports
Alcala gets SEARCA report on projects financed by DA Published: August 11, 2013 Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has expressed appreciation for the work of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in implementing 25 projects funded by government. SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. briefed Alcala on the 25 development projects that it had implemented with the funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Agricultural Credit and Policy Center (ACPC), National Agriculture and Fishery Council (NAFC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The briefing was conducted as Alcala and 33 other top officials and members of the Management Committee of the Department of Agriculture (DA) attended a one-day leadership workshop held at the SEARCA headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna last July 30. All in all, Saguiguit said, the attached DA agencies spent R176 million for these projects. Among the services rendered by SEARCA were research and development (R&D) covering agricultural crops, livestock, fisheries, biotechnology, food security and climate change adaptation as well as graduate scholarship management. SEARCA also helped the DA in its knowledge management capacity building though in-country and overseas training programs. The research institution also worked on project development and management including policy studies and strategic planning, institutional strengthening, market studies and impact evaluation. Among the completed projects was “The Nature, Sources and Causes of Productivity Growth in Philippine Agriculture (PGPA).” The project, implemented with BAR and PhilRice, examined the different scenarios for productivity growth which was deemed essential to formulate an outlook on overall state of Philippine agriculture. Saguiguit also told Alcala that the results of the projects will soon be released through monographs covering the following topics: scenarios and options, total factor productivity, grains, R&D and extension, traditional export crops, infrastructure, high-value export crops, natural capital, livestock and poultry, human capital, aquaculture, and social capital. SEARCA also completed the assessment of the Gulayan ng Masa Program of the DA.
The project aimed to quantify the impact of the Gulayan ng Masa Program in terms of alleviating hunger and malnutrition in the country, as well as draw lessons that can serve as guides for policymakers and decision-makers in formulating and implementing similar targeted programs. Another project was Strengthening the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) under BAR, which intended to accelerate the commercialization of technologies for increased productivity and profitability of stakeholders and key players. NTCP aims to transform the agriculture and fisheries sectors from being resource-based to being technology-based. Saguiguit also told Alcala about the success of the â€œCapacity Development Program on Knowledge Management,â€? which was targeted mainly to strengthen national capacities of agricultural and fisheries information stakeholders on knowledge management with emphasis on knowledge products development and knowledge sharing technologies. http://mb.com.ph/Business/Business_Main/26499/Alcala_gets_SEARCA_report_on_projects_fi nanced_by_DA#.Ugh_l6yveKE
Pesky rice eel now an export commodity By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The rice eel, which once infested palay cultivation areas in Cagayan Valley (Region 2), is now an export commodity. This foreign specimen, which grows between 25 to 40 centimeters, destroys rice paddies by burrowing into the soil, loosening its composition and disturbing irrigation. The rice eel, locally known as kiwet, also feeds on frogs, snail eggs, small fish and shrimp, and is therefore a threat to native fish species. The eel specie has been infesting rice lands in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces since 2011. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is still determining how the eel specie was introduced to the country. The common eel is native to the Philippines but reports to the BFAR indicate that the rice eel may have been brought into the Philippines for home aquariums and eel farms to be raised for food. To address the infestation, BFAR Region 2 has initiated the processing of rice eels for export.
The bureau has also developed a fishing gear that enables farmers to increase the catch per unit effort (CPUE) by taking advantage of the nocturnal hunting behavior of the rice eel. “These initial efforts combined with the entrepreneurial skill of several international fish trading companies that are now exporting the eel live to Asian countries, have turned this “pest” into a valuable fish,” BFAR director Asis Perez said. The BFAR said two years after its massive infestation, the country is now profiting from the said species, bringing P517 million in export revenues from January to June this year. Region 2 is expected to produce P1 billion worth of eels for export this year. Perez said that the bureau is conducting an inventory of other areas where rice eels thrive so it could implement the same intervention. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/11/1075891/pesky-rice-eel-now-export-commodity
4,000 Hectares eyed for soybeans By Melody M. Aguiba Published: August 11, 2013 The Department of Agriculture (DA) is targetting to plant soybean on 4,000 hectares in a program aiming to give farmers an edge in a highly competitive crop through value-adding like that in the “Healthy Rich” soy coffee. The country may not really come close to competitiveness in production of soybean compared to big exporters like United States, Brazil, or Argentina. But a National Soybean Roadmap (NSR) has started producing soybean value added products where Filipino farmers can have an edge in a globalized market. The soybean program of the DA’s high value crops development program (HVCDP) and funding agency Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has supported the now production of a soybean coffee under the brand “Healthy Rich.” The soybean program distributed 62,000 kilos of seeds to farmers as of 2012, according to BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar at the Techno Forum 2013. “We are proud to have accomplished a lot for soybean. We have commercialized together with regional field units and the HVCDP various soybean products. As of December 2012, a total of 1,685 hectares were planted with soybean,” he said at BAR’s Techno Forum Wednesday. Soy milk is another value added product being generated by the NSR. Soybean seeds are only bought at P50 per kilo by farmers. By yielding an average of 25 kilos (from a kilo of seeds) at P30 per kilo of soybean, a farmer can have a return of P750, according to former DA Undersecretary Ernesto M. Ordonez in a published report. But a farmer can earn higher from turning this into soy milk. Grinding will cost P15 per kilo, but it will yield 10 kilos of soy milk equivalent to 60 glasses of milk, said Ordonez. Placed at P15 per glass, the 60 glasses earns for him P900. The Healthy Rich product claims soybean has higher protein than meat and has more fiber, alkaline, amino acid, and phytochemicals than other plans. “Soybean also contains a special type of ‘polyunsaturated fat called Omega 3 fatty acid’ and a special compound called ‘isoflavones’ that helps prevent cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis,” according to Healthy Rich.
The soybean production is not only part of a soybean roadmap but of a National Legume Roadmap which plans expansion for other nutrient-rich legumes. The crops have also been identified as climate change ready crops as these require less water compared to crops like rice or even corn. “We just finished the National Legume Roadmap which includes peanut, soybean, pigeonpea, and mungbean,” said Eleazar. The local mungbean (monggo) production is hoped to enable the country to displace imports. “The known mungbean area in the country is San Mateo, Isabela where farmers plant it after planting rice on 10,000 hectares. Our importation of mungbean is just about the same –more than 90 percent—as that of soybean,” said International Crops Research Director William D. Dar in the same forum. In another value adding program, import substitution is also seen through Arabica coffee planting. “With a goal of expanding Arabica coffee plantation and enhancing agribusiness enterprises, BAR and various agencies supported ‘Mindoro Arabica Coffee for Agro-Forestry Enhancement’,” said Eleazar. “The two-year project covers planting of 120,000 Arabica coffee seedlings to rehabilitate 60 hectares of open/barren areas and coconut areas.” The coffee project is also a public private partnership (PPP) on reforestation with Mac Nut Philippines, Earth Rights Peoples Rights, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and indigenous people’s groups and upland farmers. It is part of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening Program. http://mb.com.ph/Business/Business_Main/26505/4,000_Hectares_eyed_for_soybeans#.Ugh_yq yveKE
1,500 Quirino farmers get free insurance coverage By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - More than 1,500 farmers in Quirino province who were beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program have received free insurance coverage for themselves, their dependents and their crops, an official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said yesterday. DAR assistant regional director Paramon Furigay said Certificates of Insurance Coverage (CICs) were awarded to 1,532 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). The CICs certify the farmers as recipients of the agricultural insurance program of DAR and Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. Furigay said the agency allocated P1 billion to ease the burden of the ARBs from paying their supposed 10 percent insurance premiums. “The insurance will be good for two cropping seasons, after which, they have to apply anew for the next insurance coverage,” Furigay said. He said agricultural insurance is important to farmers as it serves as safety net in times of calamity. He said to qualify for the program, the applicant must be an agrarian reform beneficiary. Among the CIC recipients were 272 ARBs from Aglipay town, 69 in Saguday, 716 in Diffun and 475 in Maddela. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/08/11/1075671/1500-quirino-farmers-get-free-insurancecoverage
Bank deposits surge 17% to P4.71 T By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Bank deposits surged by double-digit levels in the first five months of the year and the upward trend is expected to continue as funds from special deposit accounts (SDA) seeking higher returns move out of the facility. According to the central bank’s Second Quarter Inflation Report, deposits rose 17 percent to P4.71 trillion as of end-May from the previous year’s P4 trillion. Broken down, savings deposits – normally accessed through automated teller machines – accounted for the bulk of placements, totaling P2.314 trillion. These were up 16.5 percent yearon-year. Time deposits – money placed for a particular period of time to earn a specified interest – likewise rose 14.8 percent to P1.226 trillion. It was the second highest placement during the period. Finally, demand deposits usually used to fund checks also increased by double-digits to P1.170 trillion. This marked an improvement of 20.1 percent from the same period last year.
“The continued growth in deposits reflected depositors’ sustained confidence in the banking system,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in the report. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said deposits may benefit more in the months ahead as more SDA funds leave the facility where interest has been slashed by a total of 150 basis points this year. Returns on SDA – fixed-term deposits by banks and trust departments with the BSP – now stand at two percent from the original 3.5 percent, falling below the inflation rate of 2.9 percent as of July. This prompted some funds, totaling about P200 billion from April to June, to leave the facility. As of July 19, SDA funds totaled P1.79 trillion, 9.73 percent down from its peak of P1.983 trillion last April 15. “Well again, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Possible is for those funds to leave but what are the options. The option one is to go to bank deposits,” Guinigundo told reporters Thursday. Idle money may also seek refuge in government securities, he said, but at the same time, some of them may remain in the SDA in the form of unit investment trust funds. For now, Guinigundo said the BSP is still awaiting data of how much money left SDA when the reform banning 30 percent of existing investment management accounts – placements by trusts for a singular person – took effect last July 31. A complete phase-out of IMAs is also being awaited by Nov. 30. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/11/1075861/bank-deposits-surge-17-p4.71-t
BOC to auction P154 M worth of smuggled rice By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The 93,977 bags of smuggled rice from Vietnam seized in Legazpi City, Albay last year will be auctioned for more than P154 million, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) announced yesterday. BOC district collector Leovigildo Dayoja said they have divided the items to be auctioned off into two sets on Aug. 15. The first set consists 93,952 bags of rice with a price of P154,566,545. The remaining 25 bags of rice worth P15,000 were recommended as ingredients for animal feed since they are not fit for human consumption. The smuggled rice are currently stored at the warehouse of Sun-west Corp. in Bonot, Legazpi City. According to the BOC, the consignees of the “hot” goods were the Ugnayan Mangbubukid ng San Isidro Inc., Malimpampang Concerned Citizens Multipurpose Cooperative, Sili Multipurpose Cooperative, Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalogan Multipurpose Cooperative, and the Kapatiran Takusa Multipurpose Cooperative. The shipment of smuggled rice arrived in the country on Sept. 2, 2012. The BOC set the auction on Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Port of Legazpi. In the event of a failed bidding, the second auction date would be held the following day. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/11/1076421/boc-auction-p154-m-worthsmuggled-rice
NFA denies reported rice panic buying (philstar.com) | Updated August 10, 2013 ‐ 12:21pm
MANILA, Philippines - The National Food Authority (NFA) on Saturday denied that the country is experiencing a shortage in rice supply. “We have adequate supply of rice - from regular, well-milled, premium to NFA rice - in the markets although our monitoring teams have noted a P1-P2/kilogram price increase which traditionally occur during the lean months of July to September,” NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag said. Calayag also denied reports that there is already panic buying of rice in the markets. He said the NFA is regularly infusing stocks into the markets to stabilize supply and prices. He urged rice traders nationwide to exercise their social responsibility and avoid unwarranted overpricing or hoarding of the staple. “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. Reports quoting Jaime Magbanua, president of the grains retailers’ association GRECION, said that the rice's high prices in Mindanao is due to the shortage of supply. Reports said that residents of Cagayan de Oro City went on panic buying after an increase of P10 per kilogram. Calayag said that the reports were "untrue." He also said that Magbanua has also denied to the NFA that he issued any statements on the high prices of rice in Mindanao. “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 (Friday); NFA Cagayan de Oro also dispelled any case of overpricing by up to P10/kg in any of the local markets monitored,” he noted. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/10/1074611/nfa-denies-reported-rice-panic-buying
Coconut processing By Alexander D. Lopez Published: August 11, 2013 GOVERNOR GENEROSO, Davao Oriental â€“ A peopleâ€™s organization that caters to the needs of the coconut farmers here recently received the P6.1 million worth coco coir processing plant to further boost their capacity in the production of coco fiber, and coco dust. Officers of the Davao Oriental Coco Husk Social Enterprise, Incorporated (DOCHSEI) received the project from the provincial government of Davao Oriental. During the turnover ceremony, Governor Corazon Malanyaon said the project will further augment the income of coco farmers in the area, and expected to provide employment opportunities to the local residents. The project aims to tap the abundant resources of coconut husks in the province, and will also serve as a support enterprise to the coconut industry in Davao Oriental. The project was realized through a counterpart scheme between the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), which is a component program of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), the Department of Agriculture (DA), provincial government, and the organization. Malanyaon also urged the members of the organization to take advantage of the assistance given to them, and take care of the new facilities. http://mb.com.ph/News/Provincial_News/26559/Coconut_processing#.Ugh9jayveKE
Contamination scare exposes NZ dependence on dairy monopoly By Nick Perry Published: August 11, 2013 Wellington, New Zealand (AP) â€“ When dirty pipes at a rural New Zealand milk factory put the entire nation on high alert, it was an unsettling reminder for many New Zealanders that their prosperity is tied to a single company. The company, dairy giant Fonterra, announced on Saturday that the unsanitary pipes had tainted some of the whey concentrate it sells for use in infant formula with a type of bacteria that can cause botulism. The revelation sparked the type of response some countries might reserve for a terrorism alert, with dozens of officials and diplomats assigned to around-the-clock crisis management and the Prime Minister John Key saying he was willing to fly to China, a crucial market, if needed. By Wednesday, Fonterra appeared to have contained the threat when it announced that all the affected infant formula had been isolated or recalled, and that no babies had gotten sick. But the panic underscored how dependent New Zealand's economy is on agriculture in general and Fonterra in particular. Fonterra's annual revenue of $16 billion is equivalent to 10 percent of New Zealand's entire economy, meaning everyone from farmers to homeowners were left holding their breath over its dirty piping. In a country that has always relied on its farmers to pay the bills, Fonterra has become a behemoth, exporting more in dairy products alone than the nation's combined exports of lamb, beef, fruit and wine. Some 70 percent of New Zealand's export earnings come from such primary products, and the country has long feared anything that could threaten its farming â€“ in particular an outbreak of the bovine foot-and-mouth disease. A 2003 study by New Zealand's Reserve Bank and Treasury estimated that even a limited outbreak of the disease would cause the currency to plunge by 20 percent and shrink the economy by 8 percent in two years. New Zealand has tried over the decades to diversify its economy. It has developed tourism and some niche manufacturing. Filmmaker Peter Jackson has almost singlehandedly built a movie and special effects empire in the capital, Wellington. But the country's mild weather, abundant rain and verdant farmland have kept agriculture at the economy's heart. ``The caricature over many years has been we should be diversifying away from agriculture,'' said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser in an interview with The Associated Press. ``I think we should be adding to the extraordinary strengths we have within agriculture.'' He said the country could achieve that by selling more branded and finished products.
Within the economy, Fonterra has become the linchpin. A cooperative jointly owned by some 10,500 farmers, Fonterra collects 89 percent of the country's milk, giving it a near-monopoly in dairy. It was created in 2001 when politicians passed a law that allowed dairy farmers to avoid antitrust rules. Many argued they needed a single company to compete effectively in the global marketplace. And since its creation, Fonterra has flourished. It now collects 17 billion liters (4.5 billion gallons) of milk each year from New Zealand farms and exports 95 percent of it. It found its most important market in China. In 2008, many parents there switched to buying expensive imported milk after six babies died and thousands more were sickened when local milk formula was tainted with the chemical melamine. New Zealand now supplies China with more than 80 percent its imported milk powder, and the market is growing rapidly. David Robb, a professor at the University of Auckland Business School who lived in China for seven years, said Fonterra was applauded at the time of the melamine scandal because it helped blow the whistle; it was a minority shareholder in a dairy company that had tainted its milk. He said one student came into his Beijing office weeping, wanting him to thank New Zealand's prime minister for helping save Chinese babies. But Robb warned that Chinese consumers are more concerned with price and quality than with remaining loyal to a particular brand. He said New Zealand risks losing its credibility and customers in China because of the latest scare. Fonterra ran into problems even before the botulism incident. In January, the company announced it had detected trace amounts of the agricultural chemical dicyandiamide in some of its products, prompting alarm and a ban on the chemical's use on New Zealand farms. On Wednesday, China announced that Fonterra was one of six milk suppliers it had fined for pricefixing, imposing a penalty on the company of 4.5 million yuan ($720,000). Willy Leferink, a farmer in the town of Ashburton and dairy chairman for advocacy group Federated Farmers, said farmers have become frustrated with the problems. http://mb.com.ph/Business/Business_Main/26491/Contamination_scare_exposes_NZ_dependenc e_on_dairy_monopoly#.Ugh-9qyveKE
San Miguel Pure Foods income slightly increased in H1 Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 10 August 2013 20:39 Written by VG Cabuag SAN Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. said its net income slightly grew by 6 percent during the first half of the year as a result of higher revenues in most of its businesses. The company, a subsidiary of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., said its net income attributable to the equity holders reached P1.8 billion during the period, while its operating income reached P2.4 billion, 31 percent higher than the previous year. Consolidated revenues reached P47.1 billion, slightly higher than last year on the back of improved performance, increased volumes and better selling prices, the company said. Combined revenues for its feeds, poultry and meats, and flour businesses were 4 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Revenues from the feeds business grew as the game fowl and aquatic segments posted doubledigit growth. The poultry and meats business, on the other hand, generated better margins and grew revenues by 5 percent. At the same time, revenues for the flour business increased 1 percent. Pure Foods’s branded value-added businesses, meanwhile, registered a 9-percent growth, it said. “All categories posted volume and revenue growth, driven by strong sales of core brands such as Purefoods, Tender Juicy, Star, Magnolia and San Mig Coffee,” the company said. “The company also 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,” it added. Pure Foods also initiated measures to mitigate the impact of currency movements to its costs. The company said it is confident that the measures it has put in place in the first half of 2013 will help sustain the gains it has achieved for the rest of the year. VG Cabuag http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top‐news/17746‐san‐miguel‐pure‐foods‐ income‐slightly‐increased‐in‐h1
Exporters join opposition to wage increase Category: Top News Published on Saturday, 10 August 2013 20:44 Written by Jennifer A. Ng EXPORTERS belonging to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) raised their opposition to a minimum- wage hike and an across-the-board wage increase, saying this could result in massive job losses and lost investments. In a letter to Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board Chairman Alan Macaraya, Philexport President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said another round of pay hikes will undermine the viability of most enterprises in the country, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). “An upward adjustment in the minimum wage is the last thing that business, particularly struggling MSME-exporters, need at this very difficult time, as it will adversely impact on their ability to sustain their operations and preserve jobs of their workers,” Ortiz-Luis said. Citing government data, he said exports revenues posted a 12.8-percent decline in April. This was attributed to the negative growth of the main industries and sources of employment in the region, such as electronic equipment and parts, metal components, electronic products and other manufactures. MSMEs account for 25 percent of the country’s total export revenue. It is also estimated that 60 percent of all exporters are MSMEs. Ortiz-Luis said a new wage adjustment will worsen the unemployment rate and consequently increase the poverty incidence in the country. He said high wages could also discourage foreign direct investments (FDI) and labor-intensive industries, such as certain handicrafts and furniture operations. Despite the $2-billion net FDI inflow last year, Ortiz-Luis said the Philippines still trails behind neighboring Asean countries like Malaysia with $9.2 billion, Indonesia with $19.5 billion and Thailand with $8.6 billion. “Hence, further increase in the cost of doing business such as minimum wage will not help attract investors, be it domestic or foreign investors,” he added. Ortiz-Luis said any wage increase could cripple the economy and make the country even more uncompetitive vis-à-vis its Asian neighbors. Instead of an across-the-board pay hike, the industry group expressed its support to the implementation of the productivity-based wage adjustment as espoused by the two-tier wageadjustment system by the Department of Labor and Employment.
Ortiz-Luis reasoned that industries and sectors have varying capacities to pay their workers. “The solution on the two-tiered wage implementation comes as an appropriate measure therefore, as this provides the flexibility for employers to adjust wages based on their financial situation vis-à-vis the performance of their workers,” he noted. Philexport also pushed for the approval of the amendments to the Productivity Incentives Act that would help ensure the workers could share the benefits of a profitable business even as they keep their jobs. Likewise, the group believed that the reduction by 50 percent of the value-added tax on oil could create a positive ripple effect through the supply chain. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top‐news?start=12
Army vows no letup in bid vs logging in Isabela Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:38 pm | Saturday, August 10th, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—At least 6,000 board feet of illegally cut lumber were seized in San Mariano, Isabela province, on Thursday raising to 23,346 board feet the government’s haul of illegal logs in Cagayan Valley as of Aug. 8, according to a report from the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom). Maj. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., Nolcom chief, said Army soldiers from the 86th Infantry Battalion, the police’s public safety command and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel found 2,000 board feet in the remote village of Tappa in San Mariano at 7 a.m. on Thursday. At 11:25 a.m., 4,000 board feet were recovered at the riverbank of the same village. The DENR has taken custody of the logs, Catapang said. He said aerial reconnaissance over the area showed that illegal logs were now being transported through the river lines along Sierra Madre mountain ranges with Barangay Tappa as catchment area. This could not be immediately verified. The report did not identify the suspects but Catapang said efforts to arrest them were still ongoing. “Nolcom will provide the muscle to stop the destruction of the environment and run after illegal loggers. Nolcom will also be a strong partner of all stakeholders in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the regions,” Catapang said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/462805/army‐vows‐no‐letup‐in‐bid‐vs‐logging‐in‐ isabela#ixzz2bj1280Qa
DOH: Mercury spill inside ‘baby factory’ Patients moved; cleanup on at Fabella By Philip C. Tubeza Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:29 pm | Saturday, August 10th, 2013
A mercury spill inside a major government hospital in Manila prompted officials on Saturday to order a cleanup that required the transfer of least 40 patients from the pediatric ward—and raised questions on why it was still keeping a stock of a chemical supposedly banned from public health facilities since 2008. Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag of the Department of Health (DOH) said a cleanup was underway at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, after an initial assessment showed unacceptable mercury levels in several areas in and around the storage room. “Forty patients from the pediatric ward adjacent to the area of the spill were already transferred to another ward in the hospital as a precautionary measure” after mercury spilled from a broken container in the storage room on Aug. 8, Tayag said in a DOH statement. In a phone interview, Tayag said the mercury was already up for disposal but that the process would require supervision from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “We are still looking for answers,” Tayag said. “What we know was that the dental amalgam spill was discovered in a building away from patient areas, where it was temporarily stored after the DOH-issued ban in 2008.” The spilled mercury had apparently evaporated and could affect the brain and the central nervous system if inhaled, he said. “High exposures can cause respiratory difficulty and even death.” Individuals believed to have been exposed were also being examined, the DOH said. Toxic effects Mercury is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the Top 10 chemicals of major health concern. Small amounts of exposure can already cause serious health problems, including for a child in the womb. Its toxic effects include damage to the brain, kidney and lungs, skin and eyes. Other symptoms of mercury poisoning include headaches, insomnia, memory loss, muscle weakness and impairment of speech, hearing and walking. At higher doses, it could cause kidney and respiratory failure.
Tayag said Fabella would continue to accept and care for patients “as the current assessments do not require any evacuation.” Established in Sta. Cruz in the 1950s, the government hospital has earned a reputation as a “baby factory” for the sheer number of births recorded there, at 60 to 80 daily, reportedly the highest in any hospital in the country. Tayag said a DOH response team was working with the Hazardous Material Unit of the Bureau of Fire Protection to determine the extent of the chemical spill and initiate remediation procedures. “(Health) Secretary (Enrique) Ona laments that this incident happened and ordered a review of the proper and safe storage and disposal of harmful chemicals, particularly mercury, in all hospitals to prevent a similar incident from happening again,” Tayag said. According to the DOH, Fabella was one of the health facilities that had discontinued the use of mercury-containing medical devices after the DOH ordered their phaseout in 2008. “All health facilities were ordered to comply with the mercury ban by 2010,” Tayag said. With a report from Inquirer Research Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/462767/doh‐mercury‐spill‐inside‐baby‐factory#ixzz2bj4NfBN1 Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Pork probe should be impartial Category: Opinion Published on Saturday, 10 August 2013 18:31 Written by The BusinessMirror Editorial
THE group of ex-public officials known as the Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) is correct: the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, should be investigated by an independent body, preferably the Office of the Ombudsman, if the result is to be credible. Letting either the House of Representatives or the Senate, or both, to investigate the allegations of fund misuse would only spark fears of a whitewash. Letting those who should be investigated to investigate themselves is not only unseemly, but also downright improper, as it would be an open invitation to a cover-up of wrongdoing. An impartial investigation by the Ombudsman or some other fact-finding body empowered to conduct a no-holds-barred probe is called for, because of the huge amount diverted every year from government coffers to private pockets through the PDAF. The Aquino administration should review the PDAF process to ensure that the fund will not be further abused by erring lawmakers. But the first step is for the lawmakers linked to the alleged P10-billion pork-barrel scam to clear their names by voluntarily subjecting themselves to an impartial official investigation by the Ombudsman. If they have not done anything wrong, then these legislators should welcome the chance to clear their names. The FSGO is correct in pointing out that the “PDAF has proven itself a cure more destructive than the disease” and that “no benefit can possibly justify the crimes it has spawned and the systematic corruption of public institutions and officials it has promoted.” While the focus may now be on alleged operators who may have diverted pork-barrel funds to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs), “the greater accountability rests with the
senators and representatives to whom the funds were entrusted. It was their responsibility to ensure that their PDAF went only to reputable NGOs proposing priority projects and that these projects produced the promised benefits.” In other words, as pointed out by the former government officials, lawmakers must serve as models for compliance with the law, not lead the way in raiding the national treasury. A mandate to serve in high public office is not a license to do whatever legislators wish to do with taxpayers’ money. Instead, it should be nothing less than a sacred covenant to serve the people who voted them into office. An impartial probe of pork-barrel misuse merits a truly independent and impartial probe that should spare no one, in accordance with the daang matuwid (straight path) of the Aquino administration. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/opinion/17735‐pork‐probe‐should‐be‐impartial
P6M worth of onions, garlic seized By Tina G. Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:58 am | Saturday, August 10th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs has seized P6 million worth of agricultural products allegedly misdeclared as cake ingredients in the Port of Davao. The shipment from China—five containers of onions, garlic and carrots—were placed under alert by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS)-Davao in coordination with the Department of Agriculture. CIIS Director Fernandino Tuason said the seizure is the CIIS’ response to the clamor of agricultural growers for a tighter watch on the entry of agricultural goods to the country as smuggled goods flooding the local markets result in unfair competition. Meanwhile, Alvin Enciso, assistant OIC for the CIIS, said that the seizure is proof that the bureau is still doing its job despite the negative public perception. “This just goes to show that the CIIS personnel in the country are on their toes against the shenanigans of these smugglers even if they are using all of these issues against the bureau as an opportunity to conduct their illegal trade,” he said. http://business.inquirer.net/137767/p6m‐worth‐of‐onions‐garlic‐seized
Palace to study pay hike for gov’t workers By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 11, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said the government is studying whether to grant another round of salary increase for government workers but this must not be tied with the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds. The comment came after ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio hit the Aquino administration for failing to allocate funds for the salary increase of government workers while congressmen and senators got P27 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund, the congressional pork barrel. But deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte yesterday said over dzRB that based on the Salary Standardization Law, government employees already received several tranches of salary increase. President Aquino even expedited the implementation of the third and fourth tranches for the benefit of employees. “Unfortunately after the fourth tranche last year, there was no more increase set under the law,” Valte said, adding that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has given assurance that the salary hike is being studied. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/11/1076221/palace‐study‐pay‐hike‐govt‐workers
‘Labuyo’ heading toward Isabela By May Ann Cherreguine | Posted on Aug. 11, 2013 at 12:01am | 132 views 2
AT least five provinces in Luzon were placed under Signal No.1 as Tropical Storm “Labuyo” intensified and continued to move toward the Cagayan Valley region, particularly Isabela province, where it is expected to make landfall on Monday. Glaiza Escullar, forecaster from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said the public storm warning signal was hoisted in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Quirino and Catanduanes. Escular said the storm is still too far to affect Metro Manila and the rainfall in some parts of the metropolis on Saturday was only brought about by a thunderstorm. The storm’s center was spotted 510 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes and was packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kms per hour and gustiness of up to 100 kph. But Escular said “Labuyo will weaken because its circulation and rotation of winds will be prevented by the region’s mountainous range after its landfall,” she said, referring to the mountains of the Cagayan Valley region. Once it does make landfall, it is expected to trigger moderate to heavy rainfall over Southern Luzon, including Metro Manila, and the Visayas by Monday, she said. Escular said Labuyo increased strength from maximum sustained winds of 65 kph Saturday morning to 85 kph before noon while its gustiness from 80 kph to 100 kph. PAGASA advised residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signal 1 to be alert against possible flashfloods and landslides.
Estimated amount of rainfall within the 400-km diameter of the tropical depression is from five to 16 millimeters per hour, which is classified as “moderate to intense.” Escular said Labuyo is expected to be out of the country by Tuesday headed towards China. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council updated on Saturday death toll from the rains brought by low-pressure areas since late July. The figure rose to 11 as of Saturday morning. In its update posted on its website, the NDRRMC said the latest fatalities included three people who drowned in Mother Kabuntalan in Maguindanao. The latest fatalities included Faty Malumpil, Baby Malumpil and Emran Guiamin. Still missing is Pulina Sumimba, 45, of Gutalac in Zamboanga Del Norte. At least 21 were injured, including nine in Laguna, seven in Sarangani and four in South Cotabato and one in Zamboanga City. The NDRRMC stated that at least 100,632 families or 503,122 people were affected by the rains. It added that 39 houses were destroyed and 147 damaged. Damage to property was estimated at P1.57 billion. http://mst.ph/2013/08/11/labuyo‐heading‐toward‐isabela/
Fisher Mall to boost customercentric mall By MST Business | Posted on Aug. 11, 2013 at 12:02am | 365 views
No other segment of the market is as sensitive as retailers. A good reputation is not enough when the tide is against you. Size is not even the determining factor in creating a profitable business. Focus is. The newest mall that will soon open in Metro Manila, Fisher Mall, understands the dynamics of commerce; on the other it is transfixed by shopper psychology. The tone, like the owners themselves, is confident, assertive, straightforward and hardworking.
Ray del Rosario Ray del Rosario, president of Mallers Management Corp., which will operate Fisher Mall faces the challenge of being a new player in the retail industry. No detail is too small to escape his attention. Heâ€™s an astute observer of retail trends. He understands the needs of SMEs starting up in retail. Speaking before the 22nd National Retail Conference and Stores Asia Expo organized by the Philippine Retailers Association at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Aug. 7 to 8, Del Rosario says challenges are never-ending even for both veterans and most especially for new players.
Everyone in the retail leadership—from chief executives, presidents, directors, managers and business partners—benefited from the knowledge gained and the huge networking possibilities. Del Rosario notes the lessons they have learned to make Fisher Mall a very customer-centric mall—more vivid, intelligent, adventurous, imaginative, and alive with the human quest for art and beauty. “There has to be emotional content to the shopping experience,” he says. When it comes to flexibility, Del Rosario points out that they can decide fast be it in designing the mall to the brands they would like to bring in the mall—“but always keeping in mind the needs and wants of the community, like my younger brother Obby whose idea it is to open the supermarket early to offer the freshest catch each day.” Proud of their roots and humble origin, the Del Rosario family owns Irma Fishing, headed by their patriarch Roberto “Bobby” del Rosario, touted as the country’s largest galunggong supplier. The is a lot of community life in the mall and the retail arena is still the best place for seeing what people wear and eat, how they look and how they interact with parents and friends and lovers and kids. It’s also not a bad place to shop. “Mall is made by people who go to malls. We look at the best practices and will always introduce new features which the community needs— all the features, convenience present are things we normally look for ourselves,” Del Rosario says, stressing the empathy factor. Recognizing the value of adopting green strategies will have visible impacts on the mall’s efficiency and profitability. Del Rosario perceives the environment as foremost among their responsibilities. His older brother, Paul, the vice chairman of Mallers Investment Corp., is incorporating green strategies into the heart of their business strategies. “We are following the Green Building Program set by the local government of Quezon City for our internal and external community, our customer’s convenience and needs, as well as our tenants needs that will partner with us,” he says.
Fisher Mall follows the global standards in the development and operation of the mall, and collaborates with local and international partners to ensure the safety and sustainability of the mall, tenants and immediate community. But that’s not all. In order to address the needs of their category, Fisher Mall will have an amenity-packed offering—from fashion-forward department store headed by Moleen del Rosario, dining, supermarket, cinemas and an arcade to even chore-like errands of paying one’s bill to conveniences like Wi-Fi in all areas, hotel-like restrooms to driver’s lounges and easy navigation for customers. “We keep in mind that these amenities are what drive the customers in more often and longer. This is good business for both the tenants on a long-term basis, a win-win situation for both the tenants and us,” Del Rosario says. “We are truly serious in our business and we’re here to stay,” he concludes. Fisher Mall is all about accessibility in terms of the brand and the mall in general and where everything one needs is located in one place. http://mst.ph/2013/08/11/fisher‐mall‐to‐boost‐customer‐centric‐mall/
Newsmen become businessmen By MST Business | Posted on Aug. 11, 2013 at 12:01am | 133 views
A decade ago, two newsmen, in search of additional income to augment their meager salary in newspapers, pooled their life savings and borrowed money from their relatives to establish a barbershop.
Barbers at work at a Newsbarbers outlet. Former business reporter Dennis Gadil of Malaya and political reporter Zaldy de Layola of People’s Journal named their first barbershop at Ever Gotesco mall on Commonwealth Avenue as Newsbarbers. “The name was chosen to reflect the profession of the people who founded it— media practitioners. It was SEC-incorporated in 2003. The idea started to percolate in 2001 until we saw a good location in 2003. Ever Gotesco Commonwealth was our first mall branch,” Gadil says. Gadil, who had interviewed businessmen and entrepreneurs as a journalist for 15 years, says he decided to establish the barber-shop to augment his income from newspapers. “Income of journalists is not that much. I have a growing family that time and going into business was just the practical move,” he says. He says news and barbershop share common features. “It harks back to my childhood days when barber shops where our ‘tambayan’ and the repository of information and ‘tsismis’ in the community. Before, if someone is lost or looking for someone, he or she would surely find his answer in a town’s barber shop.
This perhaps is what attracted me, plus the old-world charm of barbershops—a world wherein boys become gentlemen and girls become ladies,” he says. Gadil says it was De Layola who broached the idea of putting up a barbershop as early as 2001, but it took them two years to bring it to reality, given the need to raise the capital. “Our initial cash out was P900,000,” he says. “We got some personal loans from our relatives and used our savings to start. Our first branch in Ever had 11 people.” The two newsmen registered Newsbarbers Co. as their business name. Gadil says establishing a company has many other challenges. “Regulatory compliance was our biggest challenge— the building permit, business permit, fire permit, sanitation permit, BIR, SSS, Pag-Ibig etc.,” he says. Gadil says he had a first-hand knowledge about the complaints of businessmen on how difficult it is to invest in the country. “Here’s government encouraging people to start a business but only to find out the myriad of compliances that they would have to secure before they can be called legit,” he says. The new entrepreneurs, however, refused to give up, in the face of these challenges. “We learned and coped along the way. No matter how we exerted effort to ‘reform’ the system, the syndicates are powerful and well-embedded. Talagang maglalagay ka no matter what or else, di gagalaw ang papel mo,” he says. The barbershop drew customers because of its strategic location. “We had a good start with Ever shop and followed it up with another in just three months. It became an annual event, opening one new branch every year,” he says. At one point, Newsbarbers Co. was employing as many as 120 people, but Gadil says they had to close down non-profitable shops to sustain the business. “When we had 10 branches, we had 120 people. We had to close down the weak ones and now we’re down with six organic ‘Newsbarbers’ shops, meaning wholly company owned,” he says. Gadil says including joint ventures with other investors, Newsbarbers Co. has eight barber shops. “We also dabbled in joint ventures, namely: Bellasbarbers
with a group of lawyers at Wilcon City Center on Visayas Avenue and the recently opened, Dailybarbers in Starmall San Jose del Monte, Bulacan with a new group of investors,” he says. Dailybarbers Corp. recently opened its newest barbershop branch at Starmall San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan. The outlet is located at the second floor of the mall near the cinema area. Gadil says the new shop was put up to serve the haircutting needs of people in the city of San Jose del Monte as well as the towns of Sta. Maria, Marilao and Norzagaray who usually travel all the way to Quezon City for their grooming needs. The shop is just 15 to 20 minutes away from Fairview, Quezon City and is nestled right along the main Quirino Highway that traverses the boundaries of Caloocan City and Quezon City in the south and Rodriguez, Rizal in the east. The new barbershop features second-hand US-made unique imported barbershop chairs that were reconditioned to suit the modern demands of haircutting and are now considered rare in the American barbershop market. The chairs were commissioned by Layug Industries, the country’s number one maker of barber chairs. The Starmall branch brings to eight the total branches of the Newsbarbers Group. Its other branches are located at Ever Gotesco Commonwealth, Circle C Congressional, SM Fairview, SM Pasig, SM Taytay, UP Village Maginhawa and Bellasbarbers-Wilcon City Center Visayas Avenue. Gadil says a good branch grosses P350,000 to P400,000 in revenues and nets P50,000 to P70,000 a month. “We sought the help of an accountant to help us in the finance side. Daily sales are deposited in a bank,” he says. He says the Newsbarbers Group plans to add more outlets soon. “We plan to start franchising next year,” he says. “The business had its share of ups and downs. Mostly ups, fortunately. The annual increase in mall rent is eating up our margins over the years. But generally, we’re having a good run. There’s still room for growth,” says Gadil.
Gadil says three business principles guide the operations of Newsbarbers. “First, our workers are our co-partners, co-investors in the business. Second, customers are king. Finally, service first, profit second,” he says. To other newsmen, professionals or young entrepreneurs, he has this to say: “Be brave, innovative and try to reform the status quo despite the difficulties. Don’t relax on our successes, always push the envelope.” Gadil left the Journalism profession in 2011 to join the Senate as staff of Senator Ralph Recto. He is now working for a multinational company. De Layola is now a Cabinet assistant secretary at the Presidential Communications Operations Office. RTD http://mst.ph/2013/08/11/newsmen‐become‐businessmen/
San Marino now sold in Puregold By MST Business | Posted on Aug. 11, 2013 at 12:00am | 148 views
San Marino canned tuna products are now available in all Puregold outlets. This was announced by Pilar de Guzman, category brand manager of Foodsphere Inc., the maker of the popular canned tuna brand. “Indeed, the entry of San Marino products in Puregold is an important milestone for our brand,” says De Guzman, adding this will further boost the company’s effort to reach out to more Filipino consumers and offer them healthy and delicious products. Foodsphere rolled out San Marino Tuna variants including Corned Tuna, Chili Corned Tuna, Tuna Paella, Blue Mackerel, Tuna Fillet, Tuna Spread and Tuna Embutido in all Puregold Price Club, Puregold Junior and Puregold Extra outlets. “San Marino Corned Tuna has the delicious taste of corned beef and the health benefits of tuna. It has less oil than the usual tuna flakes in oil and has lot of tuna. It is also rich in Omega 3 and DHA which are good for the heart and brain,” De Guzman says. http://mst.ph/2013/08/11/san‐marino‐now‐sold‐in‐puregold/
Market has enough rice, NFA assures public By PNA | Posted on Aug. 11, 2013 at 12:00am | 81 views THE National Food Authority on Saturday stressed that the country has enough supply of rice nationwide as it assured consumers that there is no panic buying in the markets. NFA administrator Orlan Calayag said the agency’s market monitoring showed there are no problems in supply as well as prices of rice in any of the markets being monitored across the country. “We have adequate supply of rice – from regular, well-milled, premium to NFA rice – in the markets although our monitoring teams have noted a P1-P2/kilogram price increase which traditionally occur during the lean months of July to September,” he explained. Calayag said the NFA is regularly infusing stocks into the markets to stabilize supply and prices. He urged rice traders nationwide to exercise their social responsibility and avoid unwarranted overpricing or hoarding of the staple. He warned that should any of these occur, the NFA can easily coordinate with the proper agencies to make the offenders 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. Recent news reports quoting Jaime Magbanua, president of the grains retailers’ association GRECION, claiming that a rice “shortage” has been pushing prices in Mindanao provinces. The reports said that price increases as high as up to P10/kg in Cagayan de Oro City was triggering “panic buying” among the people, some of whom were victims of flooding from the recent typhoons. “We have [tried to] verify these reports and found out they were untrue,” Calayag stressed. “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 (Friday); NFA Cagayan de Oro also dispelled any case of overpricing by up to P10/kg in any of the local markets monitored,” he noted.
Enrile agrees with CA ruling Fort Bonifacio part of Makati â€˘ â€˘
Written by Angie M. Rosales Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:00
Another lawmaker has come out to back the assertion of the Court of Appeals (CA) in declaring the ownership of a portion of the more than 729-hectare Fort Bonifacio, formerly called Fort William McKinley, as within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati City and not Taguig City. "I used to administer that area as Secretary of National Defense (during the Marcos regime) and I knew that it was part of Makati," Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday said, pertaining to the disputed area in Bonifacio Global City, an urbanized district in Metro Manila that has been experiencing robust commercial growth following the privatization of the former military land by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). Historically, Enrile said, Fort McKinley was part of Makati City. "I do not know why all of a sudden Taguig has a part. I know that Bicutan which used to be a part of the military reservation was a part of Taguig but, the great part of the old Fort Mckinley was I think 5,000 hectares, if I recall correctly, including what you have there, that used to be owned by the American government, the United States when we were a colony, was a military reservation under the control of the Department of National Defense. And part of Mckinley was a part of Makati," he said. The senator further pointed out that all of the cities in Metro Manila, with the exception of Taguig, Makati and Muntinlupa used to be a mere "little towns" after the war. "When Ayala (Corporation) developed the Makati business area, the area prospered but until the Ramos government privatized Fort Mckinley or the Congress created the bases conversion of authority law, all of these areas where under the control of the military. "When the law creating the BCDA, yung mga iniwanan ng mga Amerikano na base nila, base militar, pati yung mga military base na hindi na kailangan or at least could dispense with was transferred to the BCDA," Enrile told reporters in an interview. The senator sided with the decision of the CA, saying the appellate court was right in ruling in favor of Makati City, saying this claim could be backed up further by old maps showing the boundaries of the then covered municipalities. Besides Enrile, former Sen. Joker Arroyo, who was also once a congressional
representative of Makati City for several years, lauded the recent decision of the CA ordering the return of Global City from Taguig City to Makati City. "Such ruling writes finis to a 20-year fight of Makati which started during the congressional deliberation on the bill creating the City of Makati which I authored as a congressman," he said. "The Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals, in clear and simple language ordered 'Taguig to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return the same to Makati. "The appellate court also declared that President Marcos' proclamation No. 2475 and President Cory Aquino's proclamation No. 518, which supported Makati's position relative to the disputed area as constitutional and valid, contrary to Taguig's position that they are unconstitutional. All's well that ends well," he said in a statement. http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/metro‐section/item/17711‐enrile‐agrees‐with‐ca‐ruling‐fort‐ bonifacio‐part‐of‐makati
Solon wants student’s fare discount implemented even on weekends, holidays • •
Written by Angie M. Rosales Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:00
Student's fare discount should be made applicable all year-round, even during weekends and holidays, and not only during school days, Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara said yesterday. "Isn't it high time that we institutionalize this so-called student fare discount to help and encourage the youth to stay in school amid the financial hardships that confront them day in and day out? This is our way of helping the underprivileged and indigent students to cope up with the times and finish their studies," Angara said. The neophyte senator and known education advocate recently sponsored Senate Bill (SB) No. 203 which seeks to grant a 20-percent fare discount to students on all transport utilities, even during weekends, semestral breaks, Christmas vacations and other legal holidays. An estimated 30-million students all over the country will stand to benefit from the expanded coverage of the student fair discount. If passed into law, Angara's bill may also be a perfect counter to the recent pronouncement of an impending P10- rate hike at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2 and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 scheduled to take effect starting late September. At present, students are given a 20-percent fare discount only during weekdays from June to March, by virtue of a mere memorandum circular issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board which actually does not cover rail transport utilities. "Students usually conduct their academic researches and group study activities during weekends. On the same note, it is only during semestral breaks and holidays that they are able to go home to their provinces to spend time with their families as well as to perform family-related duties," the senator explained. "We must not only provide our young generation with a better quality of education. We must make sure that they stay in the race and do not drop out of school," Angara pointed out as he called on his colleagues to support his proposal. Covered by the measure are students from elementary, high school and college students, including those enrolled in vocational and technical schools. SB 203 provides that students who are refused to avail themselves of the privilege may file their complaints with the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
PNP advises public to be calm amid report BIFF in Metro •
Written by Gina Peralta-Elorde
Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:00
The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday advised the public to remain calm amid reports that several members of a rebel group are now in Metro Manila to create terror activities. Raw reports said some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are now in Metro Manila to conduct several "test missions." PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Therodore Sindac made the appeal following bomb threats at some government agencies in Metro Manila, bomb threats received in Davao City and Cebu City, bomb scare in Pagadian City and the spate of bombings in Cotabato City, Cagayan de Oro City which was also hit by bomb scare, the bombing in Midsayap, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and the foiled bomb plot by Abu Sayyaf Group member in Basilan and Zamboanga. The PNP spokesman asked the public not to participate in spreading false information that could only cause fears. "We are asking the public to be calm and be careful," Sindac said, noting that if doubtful individuals will be spotted the public should report to the police immediately through 117 or text hotline 0917-8475757. The Aquino government, meanwhile, said the recent spate of bombings was the handiwork of the BIFF, breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. At least 14 people were killed in two blasts in Mindanao on July 26 and Aug. 5, with 76 others wounded in the attacks. Seven soldiers were also wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Shariff Mustapha Saydona town in Maguindanao province last Wednesday. Last Thursday, the military said government troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan province, killing seven bandits and disrupting a fresh bombing plot. One soldier was killed in the clash with about 70 bandits, the police report said.
OIL LEAKERS WARNED Published : Sunday, August 11, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 196 Written by : Efren Montano
MALACAÑANG said it would throw the book at the culprits behind the oil spill off Cavite adding President Benigno Aquino wants government agencies to step up efforts to clean up the oil spill that has affected coastal communities in the Calabarzon region composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. “Ang directive ng Pangulo is to make sure that we focus on the recovery and clean-up operations dahil maraming mga barangay na maaapektuhan doon,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told Palace reporters yesterday. Valte also said that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is forming an adjudication team to handle the investigation after the clean up efforts and to determine which entity is accountable for the leak. The Palace official also said that the PCG met yesterday morning with the representatives of oil companies, local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders.
They agreed to dispatch additional tugboats and marine environment personnel to assist the clean-up operations, Valte said. The Palace is also in touch with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to find out what possible assistance the government could extend to coastal barangays affected by the oil spill, Valte said. So far however, LGUs are already providing assistance to affected communities, she added. The coast guard earlier reported that the spill has affected at least four coastal towns in Cavite and it continues to spread and threatens the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen in the Calabarzon. The municipality of Rosario, Cavite, declared a state of calamity Friday after officials said the spill damaged coral reefs in its municipal waters. The coast guard said samples taken from areas hit by an oil spill matched that of the diesel being used by a fuel tanker that had earlier unloaded fuel at the Petron Corp. terminal in Rosario, Cavite. Fisheries experts The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will seek the assistance of experts from the University of the Philippines (UP)-Visayas in connection of the oil spill in Rosario, Cavite. BFAR Director Asis Perez said the UP-Visayas has the capabiliity and wide experience to assess the damage wrought by the oil spill on the fishing sector. â€?Kasi kahit po walang lumutang na mga isda dahil sa tagas ng
langis sa dagat definitely apektado ang mga semilya ng mga isda na hindi na makita,” Perez said. Perez said the primarily affected by the oil spill are the fish fry. A BFAR study has shown that the sea areas of Rosario, Cavite have plenty of such marine varieties as malacapas, bisugo, asuhos, pusit and of sea crab. BFAR has deployed two patrol boats to keep to fishermen away from the places affected by the oil spill. Perez said experts have to assess the possible short and long term effects of the oil spill. Shipowner’s statement In connection with the oil spill in Cavite, Herma Shipping and Transport Corporation (HSTC) states that its vessel MT Makisig completed, without any incident, discharging operations of petroleum product last August 8 at 8:55 a.m. following safe, secure and standard operating procedures through Petron’s underwater pipeline at the Rosario, Caviute depot. The Management of HSTC and the crew members of MT Makisig who remain in the vicinity will continue providing assistance to Petron, the appropriate government agencies and Cavite’s local government. With Jun Icban-Legaspi http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/headlines/56018‐oil‐leakers‐warned
Farmers panic Published : Sunday, August 11, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 124
PIKIT, North Cotabato — About 2,000 farmers have fled their homes in the southern Philippines after fighting between government forces and renegade Muslim rebels flared anew, officials said Saturday. Families carrying bags of clothes and cooking implements dragged their water buffalo and cattle into the rural hamlet of Nalapaan on Mindanao island on Saturday as exploding mortar rounds could be heard in the distance.”We can hear the fighting from here,” said Tibungko Abdul, village chief of Nalapaan. ”As of now we feel we are safe here, but if this worsens we may have to leave for the town center as well,” he added, referring to Pikit, the town nearest to Nalapaan and to the villages where the evacuees had come from. The villagers fled overnight Friday from fresh fighting between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), said provincial governor Emmylou Mendoza. ”We have about 2,000 people who have sought shelter at a local high school,” Mendoza told AFP.The local military spokesman, Army Colonel Dickson Hermoso, confirmed the operation but would not provide details. ”This is an operation against lawless elements,” he told AFP.Mendoza said the fighting was centered in villages near the town of Aleosan on Mindanao, the southern homeland of the large Muslim minority in the Catholic Philippines.”The soldiers are protecting the highway. We cannot afford to have it fall into the rebels’ hands, otherwise the economy of Cotabato and other provinces will be paralyzed,” she added. The government is in advanced peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest of the insurgent groups, to end the decades-old conflict that had claimed 150,000 lives. However the BIFF opposes the peace talks, and the government alleges the group is mounting armed actions in a bid to derail the peace talks.
On Thursday, President Benigno Aquino said a series of deadly bombings in Mindanao that claimed 14 lives and left more than 70 other people injured may have been launched by groups he did not name to relieve military pressure on the BIFF. Police reported two other violent incidents elsewhere in Mindanao in the past 24 hours, including a grenade blast outside a house that injured four people in the town of Kabacan late Friday.An improvised explosive went off at a roadside near the town of North Upi early Saturday, injuring no one, while police disarmed a second device nearby. The bombs were “most likely” meant for military convoys that use the road, said Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, police chief of Maguindanao province. AFP http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐stories/56017‐farmers‐panic
Rosario under state of calamity Published : Saturday, August 10, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 159 Written by : Zaida delos Reyes-Palanca
THE municipality of Rosario in Cavite yesterday declared a state of calamity as oil spill affected most of their residents aside from coastal towns of Naic, Tanza and Ternate. An aerial surveillance conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) yesterday morning showed the affected areas of oil spill covers 20 kilometers stretch from Rosario shorelines to Ternate and by 15 kilometer going seaward. Coast Guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said they already collected samples of oil spill from the shoreline to determine if it is the same with the diesel carried by M/T Makisig that was delivered in a Petron terminal in the municipality of Rosario. Residents in the area feared that if the oil continues to spread in the seawater of Cavite, the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen will be affected. The oil spill was first spotted Thursday afternoon. The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said investigation is now underway to determine if there was a leak from the underwater pipeline of Petron Corporation which owns a depot in the province. In line with this, M/T Makisig of the Herma Shipping Transport Corporation denied allegation that the oil spill came from them, saying that they carried different oil while Petron stressed that there is no problem with their underwater pipeline. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐stories/55945‐rosario‐under‐state‐of‐calamity
Palace denies external pressure behind probe Published : Saturday, August 10, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 153 Written by : Efren Montano MALACAÑANG is optimistic that the Philippines’ relations with Taiwan will soon “return to normal” even as it denied external pressure influenced the outcome of the probe by the National Bureau of Investigation into the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman which various sectors perceived as a way to appease the Taiwanese government. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that the investigation was conducted with “complete impartiality, without regard to external pressure.” “The contents of the report will attest to that,” Valte told Palace reporters yesterday in a text message. Valte also said the Philippine Coast Guard will remain vigilant in guarding the nation’s waters and observe the rules of engagement to avoid another shooting incident in the future. She reacted to speculations that the outcome of the probe will eventually embolden Taiwan to make incursions into Philippine territory. Valte also said the Philippine government is hoping that recent developments in the death of a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes would contribute to the resolution of the row with Taiwan. Taiwan on Thursday lifted sanctions against the Philippines after Manila apologized over 65-year-old Hung Shih-Cheng’s death last May 9. Those sanctions include a ban on the hiring of Filipino workers and a travel alert urging Taiwanese not to visit the Philippines. The NBI on Wednesday recommended the filing of homicide charges against eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the incident. Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chief Amadeo Perez flew to Taiwan on Thursday and offered an apology on behalf of President Benigno Aquino. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the fisherman’s family and the Philippine government had reached a settlement on compensation but did not disclose the amount. Manila had also agreed to hold further talks on a proposed fisheries agreement. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top‐stories/55973‐palace‐denies‐external‐pressure‐ behind‐probe