MVP, SL Agritech eye transfer of hybrid rice project to Indonesia By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and hybrid rice seed producer SL Agritech Corp. may shift their planned joint venture for commercial rice production to Indonesia instead of the Philippines because of difficulties in securing large tracts of land. SL Agritech chairman and chief executive officer Henry Lim Bon Liong said Indonesia is considered as a viable location because both First Pacific (through Indofood) and SL Agritech already have a presence there. “We already have people there, we might do it in Indonesia. This is still preliminary and we are still open to negotiations,” he said. He said Indonesia is more known for producing palm oil but has a big potential for rice production. “After a few rounds of negotiations, if we still cannot get large tracts of land here (Philippines), we can also try in Indonesia because we already have people there. So right now, our direction is there,” he said. Lim said they initially wanted to acquire 3,000 hectares of land in Iloilo but Pangilinan’s group wants a larger land area. Under the joint venture, SL Agritech would provide the hybrid rice seeds that would be used in large-scale farming. SL Agrtitech grows rice and hybrid rice seeds in Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Mindoro. It has also expanded its presence to Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Pangilinan had said they plan to lease the land that would be developed for commercial rice farming. The produce would be distributed for domestic consumption and for export. “The problem with acquiring land here is that these are either under land reform or (have been placed under) conversion,” said Lim. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/08/19/1105841/mvp-sl-agritech-eye-transfer-hybrid-riceproject-indonesia
The mother of all scams August 18, 2013 8:01 pm by ERWIN TULFO
Erwin Tulfo The P10 billion pork barrel scam being investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to be just loose change compared to the P115 billion questionable releases by the Department of Budget and Management between 2007 and 2009 which the Commission on Audit recently discovered. COA Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan said that all of the money went to projects identified by lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives. The COA report said that of the P115 billion released by the DBM, P101.6 billion supposedly went to infrastructure projects, P12 billion to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) projects of lawmakers, and P2.3 billion for financial assistance to local government units. Pulido-Tan said that they unearthed the anomaly after discovering that most of the funds, particularly the pork barrel of several senators and congressmen, ended up with bogus nongovernment organizations (NGO), or expenses by the beneficiary agencies but which were unaccountable because there are no receipts submitted to them, and infrastructure projects awarded to fake contractors who supposedly did these projects but have not submitted any financial or completion report. ”Kung si Cardinal Tagle napaiyak sa P10 billion pork barrel scam, ako po ay talagang napahagulgul dito,” Tan said. And why wouldn’t she? These wasted and pocketed funds were hard earned money of every Filipino that were deducted from their income or salaries as tax, yet, only a few, such as the lawmakers and Janet Lim-Napoles, personally benefited from it. If this will not make us all angry, I do not know what will. Is Pnoy pulling our leg?
The President was surely uninformed during his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he announced that the country will no longer import rice from neighboring countries by 2014 because of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) rice sufficiency program. Mr. Aquino might have been the laughing stock of the diplomats from South East Asia who attended the event since they are aware that part of his rhetoric was a lie. Pnoy may not know it but the Philippines cannot stop the entry of commodities, particularly agricultural products, from members of the WTO. Foremost in the agreement among its members, of which the Philippines is one, was the trade liberalization of each country. This simply means that we cannot and should not deny the entry of goods from a member of the WTO as much as other countries should also accept our commodities. However, in 2005 the Philippines applied for “quantitative restriction” at the WTO particularly on rice importation citing our farmers appeal that it will kill the local rice industry. The WTO approved the request and granted the Philippines until June 30, 2012 to limit the acceptance of imported rice into the country. However, it’s been a year since the “QR” have expired, rice importers and traders are wondering why the government continues to impose restrictions on rice importation. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala admitted to this columnist last week that the country indeed is now violating a part of the WTO agreement. Alcala said that so far, no member country of the WTO has complained against us, therefore the Philippines will continue to restrict the volume of rice entering our country from abroad. On the question whether we can totally stop the entry of rice from other countries by next year, the Agriculture chief said we have no choice but to let it in, which is therefore in contrast to Pnoy’s vow last SONA of zero rice import by 2014. I feel sorry for Mr. Aquino since he sounded stupid on the rice issue because he was probably misinformed by his advisers on the WTO agreement. “Niloloko lang yata kayo ng mga tao ninyo, Mr. President! http://www.manilatimes.net/the-mother-of-all-scams/30839/
Imports prop up local chicken, pork supply, says DA agency Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 18:00 CHICKEN and pork from abroad beefed up the country’s supply of the two commodities, according to a weekly report released by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). As of August 5, NMIS figures show that dressed chicken in cold storages reached 6,623.2 metric tons (MT), almost 8 percent higher compared to the volume registered in the same period last year. More than half of dressed chicken in local storages, or 3,809.92 MT, are imported. The Philippines imports chicken mainly from the United States and Canada. The inventory of dressed chicken reached 2,813.28 MT, according to NMIS figures. Among all regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) held the biggest inventory of dressed chicken at 5,271.87 MT. NMIS said the figures it released included only those stored in accredited storage facilities. As for frozen pork, NMIS figures show that total inventory was at 10,434.32 MT as of August 5. This was 17.5 percent higher than the volume registered last year. Of the total frozen pork inventory, more than 90 percent, or 9,917.03 MT, came from abroad. Only 517.29 MT was sourced locally. Among all regions, the NCR again held the biggest inventory of frozen pork at 9,673.41 MT. The attached agency of the Department of Agriculture said its figures on pork inventory included those in accredited commercial storage facilities and in-house cold-storage facilities found in slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/18146‐imports‐prop‐up‐ local‐chicken‐pork‐supply‐says‐da‐agency
‘Yellow pan de sal’ to solve malnutrition– FNRI Category: Economy Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 19:54 Written by Claudeth Mocon / Correspondent THE Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) has sought the support of the local government units in intensifying the campaign of selling “yellow pan de sal” in public schools nationwide to address the problem of malnutrition and undernutrition among Filipino children. FNRI Director Mario Capanzana said by introducing yellow pan de sal to children, it may help solve the problem of malnutrition and undernutrition. Capanzana said yellow pan de sal, also known as veggie bread, retains the taste and shape of the original pan de sal. The yellow pan de sal uses squash puree, which does not exceed 40 percent of the total ingredient, to maintain the desired taste and palatability. He said it is the squash “which gave the new pan de sal its yellowish color.” The FNRI made a presentation during a discussion with DSM, a global science-based company that is active in health, nutrition and materials, on the importance of nutrition to children’s health and performance. In his presentation, he noted that a high prevalence of malnutrition was recorded in Mimaropa and some parts of Eastern Visayas. “Probably because there were disasters and other calamities in those areas where foods are not readily available when the study was conducted,” he added. Because of this, the FNRI and health and nutritionist experts are advocating that intervention should start at a child’s 1,000 days of life, which covers the time spent in his mother’s womb up to his second birthday. For her part, Dr. Jing Hua, DSM nutrition science and advocacy manager, said, “it is important for parents and health professionals to invest time and effort in ensuring optimal nutrition for children in the earliest years of life.” She cited a study funded by DSM that demonstrated how a diet rich in DHA improved the reading and comprehension performance of school-age children in the United Kingdom.
DHA, she explained, is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. Numerous studies confirmed that everyone, from infants to adults, benefits from an adequate supply of DHA. Hua explained that in early childhood, the immune and neurological systems are still developing, requiring adequate nutritional support to fight disease, build brainpower and establish important functions such as eyesight and hearing. “Therefore, the right nutrition during this 1,000-day window can have an enormous impact on the child’s ability to grow and learn,” she added. Capanzana said the new staple would help address the country’s problems on malnutrition and undernutrition as it is fortified with vitamin A and that a 52-gram serving could already provide 24 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin A and 10 percent of the daily energy requirement of a child aged 7 to 9. According to him, wheat flour is supplemented with squash flour at 12 percent level and yeast is added to the dough and other traditional ingredients such as shortening, sugar, salt and vanilla. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/economy/18170‐yellow‐pan‐de‐sal‐to‐solve‐ malnutrition‐fnri
KMP: Coco-levy funds ‘unsafe’ in Aquino’s hands Category: Regions Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 19:51 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga HUNDREDS of small coconut farmers from Southern Luzon are gearing up for a massive protest action in Manila to denounce an alleged plan to use the recovered coconut-levy fund by the Aquino administration as pork barrel fund. Led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the claimants’ movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM), farmers will reiterate their demand for the immediate cash distribution of the recovered funds in the form of basic social services that will directly benefit small coconut farmers. The protests mark the 40th year of Presidential Decree 276, or the Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund, issued on August 20, 1973, by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Willy Marbella, secretary-general of KMP, said in a statement that 40 years after the government started to forcibly collect the funds from small coconut farmers, justice remains elusive. He said that even today, the recovered coconut-levy fund that was used by businessman Eduardo Danding Cojuangco to buy shares of stocks and wrest control of the food-and-beverage giant, San Miguel Corp. and now in the hands of the Aquino administration, is in danger of being lost forever. Farmers from five provinces in the Bicol region, led by the Bicol Coconut Planters Association Inc. and CLAIM-Bicol, are en route to Manila as of this writing. The Bicol contingent is expected to arrive at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Meanwhile, another group of small coconut farmers from South and Central Quezon, led by Piglas-Quezon and CLAIM-Quezon are expected to arriveon Monday. The protesters plan to picket the Department of Agriculture (DA) to express their indignation over alleged plans to use the recovered funds purportedly for various development projects that will benefit farmers in coconut-producing provinces. “With the magnitude of agriculture funds involved in the present scandals faced by the Aquino administration, the more than P70 billion of small coconut farmers’ money held by Aquino is in grave danger,” Marbella said. On August 20 small coconut farmers will march to Malacañang to demand that the funds be returned to their rightful owners. “Our fears that the coco-levy funds will be used as a pork barrel were bolstered by Aquino’s outright rejection of the people’s demand to abolish, and his continuing utilization of the graft-ridden porkbarrel system, further fuels the culture of impunity in the plunder of public funds. Aquino already
included the coco-levy funds in the 2014 budget without the consent and approval of the real owners, and against the interest of small coconut farmers themselves,” he said. Marbella was referring to the proposed P2.3-billion budget of the PCA for next year, wherein P305 million was allocated for the establishment of “Agro-Industrial Hubs” in five regions, namely Calabarzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga peninsula, or P61 million for each region. He said that last March, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that each “agriindustrial estate” would have at its core a coconut-processing center, at least five of which would be established in major coconut-producing areas. The coconut-processing center would cost P50 million, with financing to come from the coco-levy fund. “The main source of funding for this project will be the coco-levy fund, but we still have to wait for it to be released,” Alcala said in March. The government, according to Marbella, is “only a trustee” of the multibillion coco-levy funds and has no right to use it against the will of its real owners. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/regions/18167‐kmp‐coco‐levy‐funds‐unsafe‐in‐ aquino‐s‐hands
P150-million ‘AAA’ slaughterhouse to rise in Bulacan Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 17:59 Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is hoping to start the construction of a P150-million “AAA” slaughterhouse in Balagtas, Bulacan, before the end of the year. The Livestock Development Council (LDC), an attached agency of the DA, said negotiation between the local government unit (LGU) and the DA is now in its final stages. “After months of negotiations, we are currently in the process of finalizing the memorandum of agreement [MOA] with the local government, headed by Mayor Romeo Castro,” LDC Executive Director Manuel Jarmin said. Jarmin said under the MOA being drafted, the national government, through the DA, will own the slaughterhouse, including all necessary equipment, while the local government of Balagtas will serve as host. The local government will also work on all necessary documents and permits for its construction. Jarmin said a producers’ group will be in charge of the abattoir’s operation as the facility would need the expertise and experience of those from the livestock industry. He also noted that the needed capitalization for the envisioned abattoir is big, and that it would be difficult to expect the private sector to invest in it. The LDC official expects the bidding for the abbatoir’s construction to be completed by October. “Based on the feasibility study, the return on investment [ROI] for the slaughterhouse will be 12 percent of its cost after five years of operation,” said Jarmin. He said the ROI may not be huge but the primary concern of the government is to put up a modern slaughterhouse that would respond to the need of the domestic market for safe and clean meat products. “The construction of the triple A slaughterhouse will also ensure our capacity to compete with our neighbors from Asean come 2015,” Jarmin said. The complex will be capable of processing 250 hogs per hour, but the length of its operation in a given day will depend on available hogs for slaughter.
The DA had initially targeted the construction of at least five “AAA” slaughterhouses in selected areas in Luzon in 2011. The project had to be put on hold after LGUs units initially chosen as hosts supposedly failed to meet project requirements. The National Meat Inspection Service classifies slaughterhouses as “AAA,” “AA” and “A.” Meat from “AAA” abattoirs is generally regarded as being of the highest quality and could be exported. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/18145‐p150‐million‐aaa‐ slaughterhouse‐to‐rise‐in‐bulacan
New crop varieties to hike output by 20%, says BAR Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 17:58 Written by Alladin S. Diega UNDER the high-value crops-development program of the government, new cultivars of traditional agricultural crops can improve output by up to 20 percent, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR). “The program has set aside 10,000 hectares of experimental plantation in the provinces of Quezon, Samar and Zamboanga. It has a P50-million budget,” BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar said. Later, the program will be expanded to include other areas of the country, Eleazar added. He also said the program includes academic institutions, which will conduct the actual research, and local government units, which will host the program. “In Region 4-A, or Calabarzon, for instance, the program provided funds to the Southern Luzon State University [SLSU] to engage in the research of high-value crops,” Eleazar said. Initially, P3 million was released to the SLSU, as part of the allocated fund of P9 million per university, for the actual conduct of the research. “Some $500,000, or roughly P22 million, is needed to develop a new variety of crop,” said Dr. William Dar, director general of the International Crop Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics. Dar said the 20-percent improvement in production of improved crop varieties will be appropriate in the Philippines. The crop-development program is headed by University of the Philippines Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco. Meanwhile, Sorsogon First District Rep. Evelina Guevarra Escudero said Filipino farmers need to be educated on new farm technologies being proposed or introduced by the Department of Agriculture. “Filipinos should understand first what these technologies are all about, for them to be prepared,” Escudero said during the celebration of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources anniversary held recently. The use of biotechnology, for instance, has met considerable resistance from groups that expressed apprehension over the perceived danger of genetically modified food. Alladin S. Diega http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/18144‐new‐crop‐ varieties‐to‐hike‐output‐by‐20‐says‐bar
‘Maring’ intensifies into a tropical storm –
Pagasa 5:47 pm | Sunday, August 18th, 2013
MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 4:32 p.m., 18 August 2013 MANILA, Philippines – “Maring” (international name Trami) slightly slowed down as it intensified into a tropical storm Sunday afternoon, the state weather bureau said. The storm packed maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. It was last observed 560 kilometers east of Itbayat, Batanes, moving east northeast at 7 kilometers per hour. “Maring” will enhance the prevailing southwest monsoon affecting the whole country. Monsoon rains are seen in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Calabarzon and the provinces of Benguet, Zambales, Bataan and Occidental Mindoro, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. Meanwhile, Mindanao, Western Visayas and the rest of Luzon will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms. The rest of Visayas will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms, Pagasa said. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest will prevail throughout the archipelago and the coastal waters will be moderate to rough, it added. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/468293/maring‐intensifies‐into‐a‐tropical‐storm‐pagasa#ixzz2cgUM9Mmu
Typhoon damage reaches P572M Published on Monday, 19 August 2013 00:00 Damage to agriculture due to Typhoon “Labuyo” reached P572 million as of August 16, the Department of Agriculture reported. Corn plantations were heavily damaged with losses seen at P348.6 million. Estimates for other crops are P92.4 million for paddy rice; P5.2 million for high-value crops, and P124.3 for banana. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the overall effect of Typhoon Labuyo could be considered “negligible” as all the damage it caused can be replaced. A total of 51,645 hectares of agricultural areas with an estimated production loss of 49,667 metric tons were affected in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Region II (Cagayan Valley) and Region III (Central Luzon). “Of course, the third-quarter agriculture performance (will be affected) but it will not be that big. And that is automatic. We are already prepared to replace the damage immediately, so in the next quarter, we will be able to recover right away,” he said. “For example, for corn, which was badly hit, the cropping cycle is only 100 days. So after three months, there is already a replacement. We will have a report by next week,” added Alcala. http://malaya.com.ph/index.php/business/business‐news/38742‐typhoon‐damage‐reaches‐p572m
Why Congress won’t act on call for pork scam probe By Gil C. Cabacungan Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:28 am | Monday, August 19th, 2013
Why is Congress playing deaf to the growing clamor to abolish the annual P24-billion pork barrel? Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said Sunday that with the release of the Commission on Audit (COA) report, the main reason why Congress does not want to investigate the scam has been revealed. “It is now clear that the reason why there is resistance to an investigation in Congress is because those who are involved are in power,” Colmenares said. He said, however, that the lawmakers’ involvement should spur Congress to investigate the scam or “risk being accused of making a cover-up.” The lawmakers involved are either senators or congressmen who received more than their annual Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations (P200 million for senators and P70 million for representatives) or dealt with dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009, according to the 412-page COA investigative report. The COA team that did the special audit of the PDAF was composed of Catherine B. Petri, Kristina Cleo R. Bigornia, Jennifer A. Sanorjo, Cristina P. Mercado, Ma. Cristina Irene P. Franco, Joselita G. Corteza, George S. Tamayo, Jr., Dondon P. Marcos, Joselito N. Sucion, Rosemarie R. Magtaan, Onofre R. Mores, Lydia R. Dizon, Teresita T. Santiago and Grace T. de Castro. The team leaders were Joan Agnes N. Alfafaras, Angelita A. Aquino, Cheryll Apalisoc, Leona A. Andriano, and Gloria D. Silverio. The overall leader of the team was Elsielin C. Masangcay. 9 senators There are nine incumbent senators in the COA report: Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Gregorio Honasan II, Lito Lapid, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Loren Legarda. Six senators are related by blood to the senators involved in the pork barrel: Juan Edgardo Angara (son of former Sen. Edgardo Angara), Pia Cayetano (sister of Alan), Joseph Victor
Ejercito (brother of Jinggoy), Koko Pimentel Jr. (son of former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.), Cynthia Villar (wife of former Sen. Manny Villar, although she is listed in the COA report as the Las Pi単as representative). Cayetano, who used to be at the forefront of congressional probes anchored on testimony far less reliable than pork barrel scam whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Su単as, has been quick to reject public demand that the Senate investigate the scam, saying it amounts to senators investigating senators. His wife, Taguig City Mayor Laarni Cayetano, has also been cited in the COA report for exceeding her pork barrel allocation by P8.5 million when she was a representative under the administration of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Senator Cayetano is also counting on his brother, Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano, to hold the same view. Another political dynasty is in the same boat as the Cayetanos. Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay also exceeded her pork barrel quota by P47 million from 2007 to 2009, but she could count on her father (Vice President Jejomar Binay), her sister (Sen. Nancy Binay) and brother (Makati Mayor Jun-Jun Binay) for support. Aquino officials Some of the implicated lawmakers in the pork barrel scam have taken key positions in the Aquino administration: Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (he gave P5 million to a suspect NGO, Kaloocan Assistance Council Inc.), Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Chair Joel Villanueva. More than 40 congressmen implicated in the pork barrel scam are still going strong in the House of Representatives, and they are led by Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, who has been found to have exceeded his pork barrel allocations by P205 million during the Arroyo administration and has spent P256.381 million of his pork barrel for projects using spurious documents, including 167 transactions worth P28.744 million that have been denied by suppliers. Gonzales was senior deputy majority leader from 2007 and 2009 when all impeachment cases against Arroyo were nipped in the bud. He has been in office since 1995 (except when he became mayor from 2004 to 2007) and is currently serving his second three-year term. Scandal-tainted leaders The scam-tainted lawmakers who managed to get leadership positions in this Congress are Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City (minority leader), Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya (Deputy Speaker), Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela (Deputy Speaker) and Roberto V. Puno of Antipolo City (Deputy Speaker).
Others got juicy committee chairmanships: Isidro Ungab of Davao City (committee on appropriations), Neil Tupas Jr. of Iloilo (justice) Amado Bagatsing of Manila (ecology), Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina (legislative franchises), Arturo B. Robes of San Jose Del Monte City (social services), Herminia B. Roman of Bataan (veterans affairs and welfare), Arnulfo Go of Sultan Kudarat (Mindanao affairs), Victor Yu of Zamboanga del Sur (science and technology), Vicente Belmonte of Iligan (dangerous drugs), Al Francis Bichara of Albay (foreign affairs) and Manuel Agyao of Kalinga (rural development). At least two incumbents have a direct and bigger participation in the pork barrel scam: Rolando Andaya of Camarines Sur (former budget secretary) and Arthur Yap (former agriculture secretary). Other porkers The rest of the incumbent lawmakers cited in the report are Diosdado M. Arroyo of Camarines Sur (whose uncle, the late Ignacio Arroyo, is also implicated), Philip Pichay of Surigao del Sur (whose brother, former Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr., was also listed in COA report), Julio Ledesma IV of Negros Occidental, Isagani S. Amatong of Zamboanga del Norte, Rommel C. Amatong of Compostela Valley, Benjamin Asilo of Manila; Ma. Theresa Bonoan of Manila, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Emil Ong of Northern Samar, Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan, Czarina Umali of Nueva Ecija, Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Maria Zenaida Angping of Manila, Joseph Gilbert Violago of Nueva Ecija, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Belma Cabilao of Zamboanga Sibugay; Wilfrido Mark Enverga of Quezon, Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro, Dulce Ann Hofer of Zamboanga Sibugay, Antonio Lagdameo of Davao del Norte, Franklin Bautista of Davao del Sur, Victor Francisco Ortega of La Union, Carol Jayne Lopez of Yacap party-list, Mariano Piamonte of A-Teacher party-list group and Francisco Manuel Ortega of Abono party-list group. Related by blood, party ties Some of the incumbent lawmakers are related by blood or party ties to the lawmakers implicated in the COA report: Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro (brother of now Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali), Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City (son of former Speaker Prospero Nograles), Winston Castelo of Quezon City (brother of Nanette Castelo-Daza), Rene Relampagos (cousin of Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos); Eleonor Bulut-Begtang of Apayao (sister of former Rep. Elias Bulut), Carlo V. Lopez of Manila (son of former Rep. Jaime Lopez), Mercedes Cagas of Davao del Sur (mother of former Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas), Harlin Abayo of Northern Samar (husband of former Rep. Daryl Grace Abayo); Gerald Anthony Gullas of Cebu (son of former Rep. Eduardo Gullas), Enrique Garcia Jr. of Bataan (father of former Rep. Albert Raymund Garcia); Mark Villar of Las Piñas (son of Senator Villar), Magnolia Antonino-Nadres of Nueva Ecija (daughter of former Rep. Rodolfo Antonino), Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas of Pangasinan (mother
of former Rep. Rachel Arenas), Rodolfo Biazon of Muntinlupa City (father of former Rep. Rufino Biazon who is now customs chief), Dakila Carlo Cua of Quirino (son of former Rep. Junie Cua), Georgina de Venecia of Pangasinan (wife of former Speaker Jose de Venecia); Grex Lagman of Albay (son of former Rep. Edcel Lagman), Lani Revilla of Cavite (wife of Senator Revilla), Susan Yap of Tarlac (daughter of former Rep. Jose Yap), Regina Ongsiako Reyes of Marinduque (daughter of former Rep. Carmencita Reyes), Scott Davies Lanete of Masbate (son of former Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete), Felix William Fuentebella of Camarines Sur (son of former Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella); Thelma Almario of Davao Oriental (mother of former Rep. Joel Mayo Almario), Jose Ma. Zubiri of Bukidnon (father of former Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri), Elisa Olga T. Kho of Masbate (wife of former Rep. Antonio Kho), Gavini C. Pancho of Bulacan (son of former Rep. Pedro Pancho), Maria Vida Bravo of Masbate (wife of former Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr.); Conrado Estrella of Abono (cousin of former Rep. Robert Estrella), Ma. Carmen Zamora of Compostela Valley (daughter of former Rep. Manuel Zamora) and Josephine Veronique LacsonNoel of Malabon City (wife of former An-Waray Rep. Florencio Noel), with An-Waray Representatives Victoria Noel and Neil Benedict Montejo; Sherwin Tugna and Cinchona CruzGonzales of Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption; and Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. of the Buhay party-list group (brother of former Rep. Rene Velarde and son of El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde), with Irwin Tieng and Lito Atienza of Buhay. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/468545/why‐congress‐wont‐act‐on‐call‐for‐pork‐scam‐ probe#ixzz2cmLlx61b
Palace: Abolish pork call doesn’t get Noy priority • •
Written by Paul Atienza Monday, 19 August 2013 08:00
Despite rising public outrage over the abuse of the pork barrel funds committed by members of Congress who are largely turncoats and are now members of the Liberal Party (LP), President Aquino, who has been steadfast in defending the fund, has not taken up with his officials calls for its abolition, the Palace said. Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Aquino had not said anything on the abolition call. “Perhaps this is something that we can discuss with the President. We haven’t had the opportunity to discuss it with him again in light of the recent findings of the CoA (Commission on Audit) and maybe it’s something that we can raise with him,” Valte said. “But, as far as the last time that I spoke to the President, his position remains unchanged. However, we’d like to have the opportunity to discuss it with him in light of recent events,” Valte said. Aquino, however, had long been furnished an advance copy of the Special Audit Report conducted by the Commission on Audit (CoA), CoA Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan had said. Pulido-Tan had distributed also the copies of her report to the Ombudsman, the justice department and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which Valte said had already started investigations based on the report. Valte said the pieces of evidence and what would come out in the process of investigation would determine what actions Malacanang would possibly take even against administration allies cited in the CoA findings for alleged misuse of pork barrel funds. “Maybe, let’s go through the entire report and what is clear is that, we go where the evidence will take us. So that is very clear for us at that juncture that where the evidence will show us, then we should go there,” Valte said. “If you look at the bulk of the releases that have been given, others have very minimal involvement on the NGOs. Normally, if you look at the list of releases that is up on the (Department of Budget and Management) DBM website, the implementing agencies are of the national government,” she said. “And, yes, one of them is the recent statement of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) on the use of NGOs, they make sure really that these NGOs do the work that they represent themselves to be involved in,” she added.
“In DA (Department of Agriculture), we should expect some of the measures to be made public soon, given the Secretary of Agriculture’s pronouncement that they will be tightening their policies on releasing funds to NGOs as identified by legislators,” Valte said. On August 6, Aquino defended his Agirculture Secretary Proceso Alcala after the Department of Agriculture (DA) was linked to the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam. Aquino said there had already been a “very marked difference” in the DA between the past administration and now, specifically in the “opportunities for misuse of public funds.” Aquino said he had ordered Alcala and Budget Secretary Butch Abad to explain the steps the Aquino administration had taken to decrease the chances of corruption in the agency and in the release of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to non-government organizations (NGO). “Let’s not forget the primary function of Secretary Alcala is to ensure the progress of our agriculture, food security. This assistance to NGOs and the channeling of PDAF from congressmen is not their primary function,” Aquino said. A whistleblower linked Alcala to the scam, saying he facilitated funding for two dummy NGOs created by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Napoles allegedly used pork barrel money for ghost projects. In exchange for endorsing her NGOs as priority development assistance fund (PDAF) recipients, senators and congressmen allegedly got kickbacks. Alcala had initiated investigation in DA relating to the allegations, and studying employees who may have ties to the scheme. The House of Representatives, obviously in an effort to head off clamor to abolish it, said it is going to institute more safeguards in the use of the PDAF. According to Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, the safeguards will be implemented in the succeeding days. “We will most likely adopt the recommendation of the Speaker to strictly implement PDAF only in each congressional district. Meaning, no projects beyond the congressman’s jurisdiction,” Ungab, one of those named in the alleged scam, said. “Also we will exercise transparency by publishing an updated PDAF per congressman in the government websites like the DBM (Department of Budget and Management),” Ungab added. Under the 2014 P2.268-trillion proposed general appropriations bill (GAB), at least P27 billion in pork barrel funds were allocated for Congress. A member of the House of Representatives receives P70-million pork barrel annually while senator has P200 million. Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, noted that the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA) has clear safeguards to ensure the wise spending of pork barrel system. He said there are special provisions mandating the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as sole accreditor of non-government organizations (NGOs) that are beneficiaries of pork barrel, mandating the public disclosure on how PDAF are used, and setting a cap on the amount of public works’ project allotted for each lawmaker. Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, proposed the creation of the Community Development Council or a multisectoral body to be composed of members of the academe, religious sector and civic groups with credible reputation to identify and approve all transactions involving pork barrel funds. “The proposed Community Development Council to be composed of Church, community,
sectoral, and civil society leaders would serve as a watchdog,” Castelo said. “This is an important body that could make PDAF more transparent,” Castelo added. Castelo also called for the establishment of monitoring track system where constituents, stakeholders, and their interest parties could readily check the progress of all transactions, involving pork barrel funds. He said the reforms should include the limitation of “soft projects” to social services with identified beneficiaries and end users discarding the practice of entrusting it to questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and foundations. The Quezon City lawmaker said the monitoring track system should involve the use of online facilities, including the internet, or the information superhighway, and their publication in major newspapers and the Official Gazette, the government main information vehicle. “This is to avoid the situation where PDAF-funded projects operate in a black box, depriving the people, stakeholders and other interested parties any means to determine exactly their progress,” Castelo said. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, incoming president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, urged Filipino Catholics, who comprises 80 percent of the population, to learn from the lessons taught by the pork barrel scandal, saying that this controversy must lead the people to “greater action.” Gerry Baldo, Pat C. Santos http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/18114‐palace‐abolish‐pork‐call‐doesn‐t‐get‐noy‐ priority/18114‐palace‐abolish‐pork‐call‐doesn‐t‐get‐noy‐priority?start=10
Palace vows stricter NGO guidelines By Genalyn D. Kabiling Published: August 19, 2013 Manila, Philippines -- No more dubious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) wasting public funds. This is the latest target of the Aquino administration as it moved to implement stricter accreditation and monitoring of NGOs to prevent a repeat of the pork barrel scam. Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have committed to come up with strict guidelines to insulate their projects that may be funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from bogus NGOs. “On the recent statement of the DSWD on the use of NGOs, they make sure really that these NGOs do the work that they represent themselves to be involved in,” Valte said over government radio. “With the DA, we should expect some of the measures to be made public soon, given the Secretary of Agriculture’s pronouncement that they will be tightening their policies on releasing funds to NGOs as identified by legislators,” she added. Under the present administration, Valte claimed that NGOs have “very minimal involvement” in the implementation of pork barrel-funded projects. “If you look at the bulk of the releases that have been given, some of them have very minimal involvement of the NGOs. Normally, if you look at the list of releases that is up on the DBM website, the implementing agencies are mostly agencies of the national government,” she said. The credibility of NGOs went down a notch after some groups were implicated in the Commission on Audit (COA) report on the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds from 2007 and 2008. The audit showed at least 12 senators and 180 congressmen set aside P6 billion in pork barrel funds to 82 questionable NGOs. Of this amount, P2.157 billion supposedly went to 10 NGOs linked to Janet Napoles, currently the subject of a massive manhunt. So far, Valte said they have yet to get President Aquino’s comment if he has changed his mind on the proposed abolition of the pork barrel following the latest COA report. Aquino previously ruled out the abolition of the pork barrel system, saying the people are the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds if properly utilized. In her last conversation with Aquino, Valte recalled that the President was not keen on abolishing PDAF despite criticisms it has become a source of corruption for politicians. “We all
know that he has already laid down his position on the PDAF earlier on. However, we’d like to consult him again in light of the recent events,” she said. For now, Valte said the Palace would defer to the Office of the Ombudsman to take action against personalities implicated in the COA report on the pork barrel scam. She said the Palace does “not want to be accused of pressuring any independent agency into acting a certain a way.” Asked if the Palace will support the filing of charges even against administration allies involved in the fund mess, Valte said: “Let’s go through the entire report. It is clear that we go where the evidence will take us.” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said COA’s findings on the alleged irregularities in the use of PDAF would contribute to the case build-up being pursued by the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman that may result in determining who may be prosecuted if warranted by evidence. “These developments underline the vital importance of the anti-corruption and good governance reform programs being pursued vigorously by the Aquino administration. If ever these findings have seen the light of day instead of being swept under the rug, it is due to the new regime of openness, transparency and accountability that is being actively promoted by the President and his Cabinet,” Coloma said in a text message. In light of the pork barrel scam, the Department of Budget and Management earlier imposed certain limitations on the NGOs that may participate in projects funded by the PDAF. The proposed 2014 national budget included a provision that “civil society organizations may only be identified as a recipient, beneficiary or implementing entity” of the PDAF upon the accreditation of the DSWD. At least P27 billion has been allocated for the PDAF of lawmakers under the P2.268 trillion national budget for next year. Of the P70-million pork barrel of congressmen, P30 million will be set aside for soft projects such as social services and peace and order while the P40 million will be used for hard projects such as infrastructure projects. http://mb.com.ph/News/Metro_News/27915/Palace_vows_stricter_NGO_guidelines#.UhccuX‐veKE
Economy Posted on August 18, 2013 11:17:58 PM
By Jomari D. Guillermo
Corn short of Q3 goal DUE to the damage by typhoon Labuyo, the country’s third‐quarter corn output will be less than the projected volume, a Department of Agriculture (DA) official said yesterday. “It will be lower than the forecasted third‐quarter corn output. Because of the typhoon, we may lose some 100,000‐200,000 metric tons of corn in the third quarter, but we are hoping that we will recover in the fourth quarter,” DA Assistant Secretary and National Corn Program Coordinator Edilberto M. De Luna said in a phone interview yesterday. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) earlier this month forecasted that corn would rebound to 2.6 million metric tons (MT) in the third quarter of the year, after it fell by 26.21% in the second quarter. “We are implementing quick turnaround, and we are now positioning seeds in affected areas for the 30,000‐hectare damaged areas in Cagayan Valley region. Farmers can plant by August and September and harvest in November and December,” Mr. De Luna added. Asked if this will affect the 8.4‐million‐MT production target for the year, Mr. De Luna said, “There is a huge probability that we will not meet the target for the year, but we are still hoping that what has been damaged by the typhoon will be replaced in the fourth quarter of the year.” The corn subsector recorded the most damage in the agriculture sector with P380.95 million in cost of damage. “Planting 30,000 hectares will yield about 180,000 to 210,000 MT by November to December, and that is more than enough to compensate for the losses occasioned by Labuyo,” Mr. De Luna said. As for the palay subsector, DA Undersecretary for Field Operations and National Rice Program Coordinator Dante S. Delima said in a phone interview that the agency is ready to offer buffer palay seeds to the farmers affected by the typhoon. “Aside from the buffer seeds, some farmers also have their insurance, so a farmer could get P10,000‐ P15,000 per hectare,” Mr. Delima said. He also said that the damage by the typhoon on the palay subsector won’t have a great impact on the second‐half palay production. “We are still positive that the country will reach rice‐self sufficiency. Our target for the third quarter is a 2‐3% increase in the palay production,” Mr. Delima said. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Corn‐short‐of‐Q3‐goal&id=75131
Economy Posted on August 18, 2013 11:20:34 PM
2.5 M MT sugar yield for year THE COUNTRY’S final raw sugar output this crop year is about 2.5 million metric tons (MT), the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) yesterday said, adding that most millers have now ended their operations. “Yes, final figure is 2.457 million MT, and I think all mills stopped milling for this crushing season,” Rosemarie S. Gumera, SRA policy and planning manager, said in a text message yesterday. The amount is 4.41% more than the 2.356 million MT production target for the crop year and 9.63% up from the previous crop year’s output. The country began exceeding its 2012‐2013 target in May, when it produced 2.44 million MT. “There are no more canes to mill. It is normal that there’d be a minimal increase in July as we are already approaching the end of the crop year,” Jose Rojo G. Alisla, SRA Office of the Administrator chief of staff, said in a text message. Mr. Alisla also noted that there are still three mills operating in Negros Occidental at the moment as they resumed milling this month. The sugar crop year runs from September to August. In crop year 2011‐2012, the country produced a total 2.244 million MT of raw sugar, 6.46% less than the previous year’s 2.399 million MT. Mr. Alisla said that the SRA has yet to set a target for the next crop year, and this will come out in the agency’s Sugar Order No. 1. ‐‐ Jomari D. Guillermo http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=2.5‐M‐MT‐sugar‐yield‐for‐ year&id=75132
Mga produktong Pinoy, ibinida sa US (Aries Cano)
Labing-walong kumpanya mula sa Pilipinas ang lumahok kamakailan sa business mission na naglalayong palawakin ang oportunidad sa pagnenegosyo sa pamamagitan ng pag-export ng mga produktong Pinoy sa Estados Unidos.
Ang outbound business mission na tinaguriang ‘Barkadahan 2013’ ay inorganisa ng Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA-AMAS) katuwang ang Philippine Consulates sa San Francisco at Los Angeles at ang Philippine Trade and Investment Center ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Layon din ng business mission na i-promote ang produktong Pinoy sa Filipino at Asian markets sa US at gawing pangunahing merkado.
Ang 18 kumpanyang dumalo ay mga miyembro ng Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc. (Philfoodex).
Kabilang sa mga produktong Pinoy na tampok sa business mission ay ang mga native Filipino biscuits at pastries kagaya ng polvoron, sardines, coconut wine (tuba), calamansi juice products, monk-grown Arabica coffee beans, moringa (malunggay) products at marami pang iba. http://www.abante.com.ph/issue/aug1913/abroad02.htm#.UhcduH‐veKE
Business subject in high school urged By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:01am | 713 views
Entrepreneurship, which is one of the key drivers of the economy, should be included as a subject in the high school curriculum to promote business growth and opportunities, Sen. Cynthia Villar said on Sunday. Villar said small and medium-scale business create jobs and people exposed to entrepreneurship were more creative, have higher self-esteem and overall sense of control over their own lives. “Many experienced business people, political leaders, economists and educators believe that fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture will maximize … economic and social success,” she said. Villar has filed a bill titled “An act requiring inclusion of entrepreneurship as a separate subject in the high school curriculum.” She is a former college professor. Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new businesses to fill up a need or a response to new opportunities. It range in scale from solo undertakings to major projects that require creating an organization. Villar, whose family is engaged in a multi-million real estate business, said future generations will benefit from entrepreneurship training and it will help Philippine economy to flourish. She said the subject will teach such topics as management, fund sourcing, values and skills that business people need to compete in the various industries here and abroad. Entrepreneurship education in other countries starts in the elementary school and it progresses to high school, college and post-graduate levels, Villar said.
A presidential adviser’s pork barrel case By Alvin Capino | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:01am | 2,984 views
People would be justified if they are skeptical in President Aquino’s statement that the irregular use of pork barrel funds has significantly decreased under his administration. There are also valid reasons why the public doubts his promise that no one will be spared, even his political allies, in the ongoing investigation into PDAF misuse. The misgivings about the seriousness of the President’s position on misuse of the so-called “pork barrel” by legislators is founded on how the President has dealt with the issue of the alleged corruption committed by one of his closest allies — Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Secretary. Nereus Acosta. Mr. Aquino is already constrained from expressing outrage on the “pork barrel” issue considering the soft position he has taken on the corruption case of Acosta, precisely on the issue of misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund — more popularly known as the pork barrel — when the latter was still a congressman. Acosta and his mother, former Manolo Fortich mayor Socorro Acosta, have been accused by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan of illegally transferring P5.5 million of pork barrel to the Bukidnon Vegetable Producers Cooperative run and owned by their relatives. The Acostas are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Despite the Sandigan graft case against Acosta, President Aquino appointed him presidential adviser with Cabinet rank as well as chairman of the Laguna Lake
Development Authority. This was a clear indication that the President does not give much weight to the accusations of pork barrel abuse against Acosta. There was even news at the start of the Aquino administration that Acosta was going to be appointed as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Apparently, this did not push through because Acostaâ€™s graft case would have made a big controversy in the confirmation of his appointment at the Commission on Appointments. In fact in a clear message of what he thinks of the graft charges against Acosta the President said he was considering paying the P6,000 bail of Acosta in a case of perjury related to his graft case. He made claims in his counter-affidavit in response to the graft charges that the alleged irregular transfer of some P5.5 million from Acostaâ€™s pork barrel allocation to the Bukidnon Vegetable Producers Cooperative had the approval of the Sangguniang Bayan of Manolo Fortich town when it appears it did not have such approval. The bail of P6,000 is a small amount and Acosta can certainly afford to pay it. But the offer of the President to post bail for Acosta is a gesture and a statement of his strong support for Acosta in his cases before the Sandiganbayan. President Aquino has done this before. He paid the P70,000 bail of acting Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca from his personal funds. Padaca is facing charges before the Sandiganbayan for awarding P25 million in credit facilities for a farmersâ€™ NGO. Many Aquino political allies are being implicated in the current controversy on the misuse of PDAF by senators and congressmen particularly those funnelled to dubious NGOs or to NGOs owned and run by their relatives. Glancing through the names of senators and congressmen named in the 20072009 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the use of PDAF we can see the names of legislators identified with Pres. Aquino and the ruling Liberal Party. True, the report covered the last three years of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Still, among the 12 senators and 180 congressmen
named in the reports are members of the Liberal Party or has since joined the party when Pres. Aquino took power. These political allies of the President are expected to ask Malacanang for the same treatment extended to Acosta and Padaca who have been accused of funds misuse through NGOs. It is unfortunate that leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives have refused to investigate the issue of the misuse of the pork barrel. A probe would have resulted in drastic reforms that would put in place mechanisms to avoid abuses committed in the past — and which are still being committed. They say that people might not believe the results of their investigation because those who would be investigated are their own colleagues. They want the Executive through the NBI and the Department of Justice to investigate. But isn’t there a conflict of interest here, too, since all the alleged misuse of billions of pork barrel necessarily involves the Department of Budget and Management and other implementing agencies of the Executive as well?
Napoles names us all By Fr. Ranhilio Aquino | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:01am | 3,984 views
“Napoles” has become shorthand for “corrupt beyond redemption”. It is uttered with an accusing finger pointed at lawmakers — and their partners in business, fair but mostly foul — who supposedly squandered the money we paid in taxes on ghost projects, ghost NGOs and many things nocturnal and sepulchral. Maybe Napoles deserves this, and then, maybe again, she does not. I did not watch him on television, but I was told that Cardinal Chito Tagle shed tears at the sheer magnitude of the injustice. Being the acute theologian that he is, I am sure he remembered the admonition of Jesus to the women of Jerusalem, and I am sure that he was weeping not in anger at Napoles nor at the suspects-in-Congress. I am sure he was weeping for us and for our children! Indeed, Napoles names us all. Napoles is our common name. It is not news at all that pork-barrel funds are misused. We have known this all along. They were misused; they are misused. In that, there are no bones broken! There have been sordid affairs in the past that moved us to shriek and foam in the mouth, but our indignation did not last long enough to sustain any really determined moves against the unabated loot of taxpayers’ money. The latest national peeve is Napoles, but given our erratic temper as a people, this too shall pass! In the “Araling Panlipunan” that grade-schoolers take, there is introduced the concept of “separation of powers”. School children are taught that Congress writes the laws, the Executive enforces them, and the Judiciary interprets them. This is a lesson that one miraculously forgets upon election to Congress. The formula is simple, but it remains sound constitutional law. And because it is so simple, it continues to baffle me, at least, why no serious constitutional challenge has ever been hurled against the annual practice of including in the budget hefty chunks of pork — no, not really chunks, but entire piggeries — for members of Congress. Why should those who write the laws be allocated funds for public works projects? Should it not have been clear from the very start that this was in gross violation of the constitutional apportionment of governmental power? But
we allowed this sin of injustice to remain in Malacanangâ€™s budget proposals to Congress, year after year, through the different administrations and different Malacanang tenants that we have had, none exempted, no icon of righteousness who can now claim immunity from contagion! And Congress after Congress served the interests of its members over the interests of the Republic their honors repeatedly swore to uphold as they passed the appropriations acts that included appropriations for themselves and their corruption. And we, while seething against the moral bankruptcy of legislators who received cuts, gifts, sweets and delights from those with whom they shared their booty, nevertheless continued to press our congressmen for school buildings, bridges, roads, churches, and cheered them as these were lavished on us. We hardly ever bothered to ask whether they had introduced any legislative measures at all, and whether any of their remarks in floor debates, no matter how impertinent, ever made it to the records of Congress. Napoles names us all, because while our leaders conspired to see to their allocations, we shared in the spoils, in fact demanded our share! Janet Napoles has merely furnished us a focal point for our national rage. In that, she has done us a favor. She has provided us with a by-word that has allowed us to revive the outrage we had over corruption. It is necessary that we be shocked once more by the grievousness of the sin, the magnitude of the betrayal. Things become hopeless when we reconcile ourselves with injustice. But like the experience of refraction that every elementary pupil has with a pencil in glass beaker half-filled with water, there is the danger of seeing a break where there is none. There is the danger of demonizing Napoles so that we effectively shield ourselves from beholding our brazen culpability. Those who acted reverently towards the totem pole in totemistic societies, Emile Durkheim thought, believed that they were in touch with the sacred and with its force. But since the totem was in fact a symbol of the community, then what its members held with sacral regard was in fact the force or the power of the community. The same phenomenology should be applied to the phenomenon that is Napoles. Napoles is not just Janet Napoles. It behooves us, as a nation, to see in all that we accuse her of, our sin us a people â€” watching nonchalantly as our coffers were looted with the use of the statutory vehicle: by the occupants of the Palace by the Pasig who, term after term, asked Congress to approve a budget that had lard aplenty to be doled out to the friendly and the docile. We dirtied ourselves
with the same perfidy when we voted into office and kept in office members of Congress who voraciously dug into the pork allotted to them, and when we asked them for morsels by demanding from them what we should have demanded of other offices of government! We are rightly angry that teachers, despite nearstarvation salaries, should pay more taxes than millionaires and billionaires with lawyers and accountants at their beck and call able to work saving wonders on tax returns! But it is the same evil, the same execrable corruption, that is at work in channeling funds to ghost NGOs and phantom projects that is at work in dangling largesse to induce legislators into voting for the impeachment of a Chief Justice or for the passage of a controversial legislative measure. Napoles is our name!
Solons find COA report full of flaws By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 1,916 views
LAWMAKERS on Sunday questioned the accuracy of a report by the Commission on Audit on alleged anomalies in the use of their pork barrel, and said its expose was aimed at enraging the public and diverting attention from even bigger anomalies under the Aquino administration. While the COA report covered only the years from 2007 to 2009, Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio demanded to know what happened to the P4 billion in pork that the Akbayan party-list had allocated to agrarian reform communities under the Aquino administration. They also wanted COA to explain how Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya managed to be allocated P20 million when he was not even a lawmaker but the Budget secretary at the time. Batanes Rep. Dina Abad was also listed in the COA report as getting P20 million when she was not a congresswoman at the time. Andaya said there were clerical errors in the COA report and that former Compostela Valley Rep. Manuel Way Kurat Zamora’s did not receive P3 billion as the audit agency reported. Nobody got that much during the Arroyo administration, he added, but one allied party got P4 billion under President Aquino. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. confirmed Andaya’s statement and said Zamora did not get any allocations in his name. “The centerpiece of the report, that P3 billion went to Way Kurat (Zamora) is definitely not true. I talked to him, he never heard of it or got even one centavo of it. It turns out to be not PDAF, but MOOE (maintenance operating and other expenses) of DPWH for the maintenance of roads, highways and bridges nationwide. The covering SARO (special allotment receipt order) does not mention his name at all,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard.
Dela Cruz added: “This is not an audit report. This is to muddle and divert the issue when we are demanding that the President disclose the details of his own pork barrel.” Dela Cruz, who revealed that 78 of his colleagues were listed by the COA as having misused pork barrel, is facing charges before the House committee on ethics for divulging the findings. Dela Cruz said the erroneous COA report came at a time when the two minority blocs led by House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez were demanding that the government disclose the details of some P1 trillion in pork barrel of the President, Dela Cruz said. Tinio said the Aquino government should also provide details of the disbursement from 201-2012, particularly to the P4 billion that the Akbayan identified for the “Tulay ng Pangulo” in agrarian reform communities. Akbayan, an ally of the President, on Sunday denied having pocketed a single centavo from the P4-billion project.
NBI wants Ombudsman in on wider ‘pork’ probe By Rey E. Requejo | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 2,227 views
THE Justice Department will expand its investigation of pork barrel anomalies following the release of a Commission on Audit report on the alleged misuse of over P6 billion in the development funds. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also suggested parallel probes by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman on the misuse of funds allocated to senators and congressmen as detailed by state auditors. “With the release of such a COA report, the NBI’s probe will now be full blown,” De Lima said. “Having said that, NBI remains open to a joint probe with both the Ombudsman and COA, or at least to a parallel, coordinated probe with both offices.” The COA report covered the period from 2007 to 2009, but NBI witnesses said the diversion of funds to ghost projects had been going on for the last 10 years, allegedly through the fake non-government organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. De Lima said the NBI probe would take things one step at a time. “For now, the focus is on Napoles and Napoles-related transactions and the NGOs, as well as the lawmakers, executive officials and personnel and other individuals implicated by the whistleblowers,” she said. De Lima said she believes the COA report will support the case against Napoles and several lawmakers whom the NBI has found liable. “Certainly, the COA report will be utilized as a major reference for the needed evidentiary support to buttress and complete NBI’s ongoing probe,” De Lima said. “Documents in COA’s possession… will corroborate and strengthen the whistleblowers’ statements and the NBI’s own documentary evidence,” she said.
She said the NBI was still in the fact-finding stage of its probe, but would soon start its preliminary investigation once if files charges against Napoles and several lawmakers “in the next few days.” In its report released last Friday, the COA disclosed that at least 12 senators and about 180 congressmen, through the Department of Budget and Management, funneled P6.156 billion in pork barrel funds to 82 questionable NGOs from 2007 to 2009. It said 10 of the dubious NGOs had links to Napoles, while six had links to sponsoring lawmakers through relatives. There were only 12 senators linked to the controversy, but the 135-page COA report referred to 15. Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim remained in hiding four days after a Makati City regional trial court ordered their arrest for alleged serious illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy from December last year until he was “rescued” by the NBI in March. De Lima on Sunday again warned that obstruction of justice charges would be filed against anyone who aids Napoles or her brother. The government has frozen Napoles’ 107 bank accounts, cancelled her passport and launched a nationwide manhunt for the businesswoman. De Lima admitted authorities were having a hard time locating the two fugitives after a quick search of Napoles’ 28 known addresses, and after an alert was put out on her 30 vehicles. The photos of Napoles and Lim have already been posted in airports and toll gates in expressways. The public has also been urged to help in the hunt as De Lima said citizens’ arrest could be applied in this case. The Palace on Sunday assured the public that the axe would fall on friend and foe alike, if they were found to have abused the pork barrel system. Presidential deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte also said the Palace would defer to the Office of the Ombudsman to take action on the COA findings.
CoA chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan earlier disclosed that six senators and 68 congressmen “significantly exceeded” their allocations of P200 million and P70 million in pork barrel, respectively. The special audit report showed that former Compostela Valley Rep. Manuel Zamora had the biggest excess by almost P3 billion in 2007. Zamora, currently Compostela Valley vice governor, has disputed the COA report. Former Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles also expressed openness to any investigation to disprove the claim that he got P604 million for his soft and hard projects. “As far as I am concerned, congressmen only have P70 million a year in PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Funds or pork barrel] and that was my allocation during our time. I can account for all my PDAF because they all went to my district,” Nograles said. The COA report said Nograles had projects in Mandaluyong, Taguig, Bataan, Sorsogon, Masbate, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao del Sur. The audit agency released its report amid an expose that Napoles had allegedly channeled as much as P10 billion in pork barrel into ghost projects and kicked back some of those funds to the lawmakers involved. Despite calls to abolish pork barrel, President Benigno Aquino III remained firm in his position supporting the continued release of the funds. “The last time that I spoke to the President, his position remained the same,” Valte said. In an earlier interview, Valte said the President believes that the Priority Development Assistance Fund is “the share of constituents in the budget.” “In theory, PDAF is really a good thing. And what we want to achieve is to make that theory a reality,” she said. Senator Miriam Santiago has already filed a resolution to phase out pork barrel by 2016.
The Palace has also been lukewarm to proposals to abolish Aquino’s own executive pork barrel, officially known as the President’s Social Fund. The PSF usually amounts to more than P1 billion and is not included in the General Appropriations Act. The fund is used to finance development projects, and is taken from the earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Palace invests a portion of the Social Fund in Treasury bills, other marketable securities and high-yield accounts. With Joyce P. Panares
Govt seeking additional concessions from Europe By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 403 views
The Philippines plans to seek additional non-trade concessions under the European Union’s generalized system of preferences scheme. The additional incentives, called the EU GSP+ arrangement, are granted to nations that comply with 27 international conventions on human and labor rights, environment and governance principles. “We [the Trade Department] have been holding a series of briefings with stakeholders to provide them information on the requirements and processes in applying for the GSP+ scheme and its benefits,” Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said. Cristobal recently assured representatives from the tuna and garments sectors that Trade would assist them on non-tariff measures and rules of origin issues to maximize fully the benefits of GSP+. “The Manufacturing Industry Roadmap identifies market access as a specific government intervention. The sustainability of the tuna and garments sectors will contribute significantly to the revival of the country’s manufacturing industry since these sectors account for more than 50 percent of the country’s industry labor force,” Cristobal said. The regular GSP, a package that the Philippines is currently availing, covers 6,209 tariff lines, with 3,767 enjoying reduced duties and 2,442 with not duty at all. The GSP+, meanwhile, offers a more generous scheme of preferences and covers 6,274 products, which enjoys zero duty. Sectors with the highest preferential margins between regular GSP and GSP+ are prepared foodstuff, garments, textile products, live animals and animal products, footwear, headwear and umbrellas.
Philippine GSP exports to the EU in 2012 reached 1.076 billion euros. The largest users of GSP preferences are chemical products, 101.0 million euros; live animal and animal products, 12 million euros; vegetable products, 5 million euros; wood and articles of wood, 5 million euros; and jewelry, 31 million euros. Philippine exports to the EU are projected to increase by at least 12 percent and create an additional 270,000 jobs.
DMCI’s profit soars 134% to P13.5b By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 444 views
DMCI Holdings Inc., owned by the family of construction tycoon David Consunji, said net income in the first six months of the year jumped 134 percent to P13.5 billion from P5.77 billion, year-on-year, buoyed by the one-time gain from the partial sale of its stake in the water business. The company booked P8.35 billion in profit from the sale of its 16 percent stake in Maynilad Water Services Inc. to Marubeni Corp. of Japan. The sale reduced the company’s holdings in Maynilad to 25.24 percent. DMCI said in a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange that first-half consolidated revenues declined 3 percent to P26.5 billion from P27.4 billion a year ago, while core net income fell 11 percent to P5.1 billion. It said a decline in commodity prices resulted in lower sales from its coal and nickel mining activities. But DMCI said domestic-oriented businesses showed more resilience and registered strong growth in the first half of the year. Net income contribution of the group’s power business soared 176 percent in the first six months of the year to P1.91 billion from P693 million a year ago, with the completion of the rehabilitation of the Calaca coal power plants in Batangas province. The profit contribution of the real estate unit increased 9 percent to P1.27 billion from P1.17 billion in the first six months of 2012, as reservation sales climbed 8 percent to P10.2 billion from P9.4 billion in 2012. The company’s construction business posted a 12-percent increase in net income contribution to P675 million from P601 million a year ago, as order book reached P16.3 billion as of end-June. DMCI was recently awarded the construction of the P10.45-billion NAIA Expressway and the MRT 7 railroad projects.
Net income contribution from the coal and nickel mining activities, meanwhile, declined 84 percent and 113 percent, respectively, due to lower commodity prices in the world market. The company also reported lower net income contribution from the water business due to the reduced interest in Maynilad. DMCI president Isidro Consunji earlier said he expects core net income to slightly dip this year due to lower revenue contribution from water, nickel and coal ventures, while sales are expected to grow by a single digit on higher revenues from construction and real estate units.
Electronics group to hike local parts By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 271 views
Electronics exporters have committed to increase the local content of their products as a part of the sector’s roadmap over the next 15 years. “We request [allied] associations to entertain us so that we can work together to that end. We’re motivated to localize the supply chain but we need support,” Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. president Dan Lachica said over the weekend. The SEIPI groups 240 foreign and local semiconductor and electronics companies in the Philippines. The Bureau of Export Trade Promotion earlier urged electronics exporters to raise the local content of their products from the current 30 percent to a range of 50 percent to 70 percent. “In order to provide value to whatever we manufacture or assemble in the Philippines, we have to make a decision to which part of the value chain we want to move,” Bureau of Export Trade Promotion director Senen Perlada said. Perlada said semiconductor manufacturers could raise their local content by enhancing their design, research and development, innovation, standardization, logistics, marketing, brand or combination of them, to add to existing product lines. Lachica said this would be possible with the cooperation of the local chemical and automotive industries. The SEIPI asked the chemicals industry to provide semiconductor manufacturers with production materials they needed and called on the automotive sector to buy electronic parts for automobiles.The SEIPI said it was looking forward to a meeting with the chemicals and automotive sectors to finalize the industry roadmap and submit the same for evaluation by the Trade Department over the next two weeks. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/08/19/electronics‐group‐to‐hike‐local‐parts/
ATI: Efficient ports support industries By Lailany P. Gomez | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 527 views
Asian Terminals Inc., a publicly listed port operator, said sustaining efficient gateway ports is critical to boosting the competitiveness of industries, especially at this time of rapid economic growth. ATI vice president Sean Perez, speaking at the Philippine Port Development Summit recently, said this could only be achieved if ports were contiguous to the main economic centers, thereby making goods for consumption and production readily available and more accessible to end-users at competitive rates. “Manila is the center of the country’s consumer-driven economy and where majority of economic activities transpire. This is what the ports of Manila serve,” he said. Perez said ATI was taking a balanced approach in port development initiatives to ensure that Manila and its surrounding environs were adequately served by Manila South Harbor while at the same time opening up a viable option for industries based in southern Luzon via its modern Batangas Port. Perez said developments at Manila South Harbor were on schedule and primarily anchored on expanding pier- and land-side infrastructure, improving current facilities and acquiring new equipment to sustain the port’s reliability, efficiency and high productivity. ATI, which is investing P4.2 billion over the next three years, expects to meet its expansion targets for Manila’s gateway port. “These investments form part of our contractual commitments with the Philippine Ports Authority,” he said. Perez said Batangas Port would continue complementing Manila ports. He said the 300,000 TEU capacity container terminal was strategically designed to support the thriving industries of Calabarzon, which have substantial volume potential.
PH to top tax goal, says Japan Tobacco By Jennifer Ambanta | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:02am | 542 views
The government can meet its excise tax collection target, if not exceed it, as the drop in consumption is not as dramatic as projected, Japan Tobacco Inc. general manager Manos Koukourakis said over the weekend. Koukourakis cited that the cigarette prevalence in the Philippines is 52 percent, which means one in every two Filipinos smoke. “That ratio went down to 46 percent, that happened gradually but not immediately,” he said. “Now as we speak, it’s even less. It is probably 42 to 43 percent.” Koukourakis said about 18 million Filipinos smoke and consume at least 12 billion sticks of cigarettes a year. A study commissioned by Japan Tobacco showed a decline in consumption of about 12.4 percent to 11.6 billion to 11.7 billion cigarettes. “We believe that the truth is a little bit smoother, it’s not 12 percent, but around eight percent,” Koukourakis said. Japan Tobacco produces brands such as Winston, Camel and Salem outside the United States. The government had expected cigarette consumption to drop by 50 percent following the enactment of the excise tax bill. Koukourakis, however, said the expectations of the government and private companies were wrong. “The reality is that the total market consumption fell by eight percent and not by 50 percent,” he said. He said the influx of foreign brands had considerably driven the smoking public to continue consuming cigarettes.
Koukourakis said the lesser premium priced cigarettes took a portion of the market share of the premium brands. These are cigarettes that are priced at P1 per stick, or P17.80 for every pack. “Before the sin tax enactment, you have less than 10 [brands of cigarettes], today you have more than 30, that means consumers have cheaper choices that they had before,” he said. Koukourakis predicted the Filipinos would continue to consume tobacco in the long run, translating into more revenues for the government. “This is a successful legislative measure from a government perspective, because at the end of the day, the government will achieve the financial target it had, so we can appreciate that it is in the right direction. Government in that respect did a good job,” Koukourakis said.
Legal education and the bar exam By Rita Linda V. Jimeno | Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:01am | 2,264 views
In just over a month, some 6,000 law graduates all over the country will take the bar examinations, considered to be one of the most difficult law licensure tests in the world. It will run for eight hours a day for four Sundays in October. In the past 20 years, the passing percentage has ranged from a low of 16.59 per cent in 1999 and 17.25 per cent in 1992 to a rare high of 32.89 per cent in 2001 and 31.95 in 2011. The questions that play in the mind of the general public is, are law schools not doing enough to prepare their students to pass the bar exams? Is the bigger number of Filipino law graduates not good enough to make the cut? In the first-ever conference on legal education jointly organized by the Legal Education Board, a government institution, and the Philippine Association of Law Schools held in Cebu City from August 16 to 17, the answers to these questions, and more, were sought and explored. Law schools are the ones that teach and prepare law students to join the Philippine bar and practice law. And since the onus is on them to produce lawyers who can cope with the changing times and compete in the arena of international legal standards, their law curricula must adjust and adapt as well. The University of the Philippines, for instance, has offered more electives geared to put their students in the tracks or specializations of their choice. For instance, UP has been offering alternative dispute resolution courses (considered as the wave of the future), environmental law, international humanitarian law, intellectual property, and other new courses that will prepare future lawyers in the practice of new fields of law. Many other law schools have tried, or at least, desired, to follow suit by implementing changes in their law curricula to make them more relevant. Yet, being innovative has its price and costly it is. In UPâ€™s change of curriculum to make the study of law more relevant; more skills and practice-oriented, rather than being purely knowledge-gathering-oriented; it has
suffered the consequence of losing the top ranks in the bar exam to other law schools and of having a good number of examinees fail. UP Law alumni have bemoaned this as passing the bar exams in the past was a matter of course for UP law graduates. Now, more than ever, the consensus among law school deans and professors is for law schools to be given greater academic freedom in developing their respective curriculum to make it more responsive to the times. The Asean integration of 2015 is, after all, fast approaching. Recall that in 2000, the 10 member states of Southeast Asia have agreed to narrow the development gap among its members. In 2015, trade barriers will be lifted to allow for the free flow of goods and services in the Southeast Asian region. This means that Filipino lawyers must be skilled in, and prepared, to practice in international trade law, intellectual property, cyber law, international arbitration and many other new fields. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Law students must first pass the bar examinations before they can even begin to practice any area in law. The administration of the bar examinations, however, is done by the Supreme Court of the Philippines while the crafting of bar exam questions is done by the examiners chosen by the Chairman who is an associate justice of the Supreme Court. While the justices of the Supreme Court are supreme in the adjudication of cases and dispensation of justice in accordance with the Constitution and the laws they are, however, not in the business of legal education. Imagine a teacher teaching a class of pupils while someone else who did not do the teaching gives the test. The result is predictable. A greater number will fail and this is exactly what happens in the bar examinations. A former dean and professor of law, Pacifico Agabin, said that the bar examination has made academic freedom truly academic. To survive, the natural impulse of law schools is to cater and pander to how the Supreme Court views and carries out the bar examinations. What is unfortunate is that the substance of the bar examination has remained the same since its inception in 1900 or 113 years ago. Thus, certain subjects remain to be bar subjects when in reality, very few lawyers specialize in them. These are: taxation, labor law, some areas in commercial law such as negotiable instruments law—now practically a dead law—banking, public
administration and a few others. There is, thus, a clear disconnect between what is taught in law schools and what are given in the bar examinations. What do the law deans propose? That the bar exam cover only four core subjects which could be taken in only two instead of four Sundays. These are political law, criminal law, civil law and remedial law. Legal ethics could be integrated into all the four core subjects. Then, when lawyers pass the bar examinations, it will be up to them to study some more toward their chosen tracks or fields of specialization. And to ensure the quality of students who will enroll in law schools, they also proposed that there be a uniform national entrance examination for all law school applicants as a minimum admission requirement. It is time to rethink the bar examination. It is the only way legal education will ever change radically to produce competent, ethical and dynamic lawyers capable of responding to the changing needs of the millennium.
Ban on ‘parading’ suspects before media proposed August 19, 2013 2:03 pm
A professional basketball coach turned lawmaker wants to ban the practice of “parading” crime suspects before the media, saying it is a violation of human rights. Pampanga Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao made the proposal in his House Bill 324 which aims to safeguard the presumption of innocence of suspects. The presentation of suspects in press conferences, Guiao said, is more of a posturing for law enforcement agencies since it sends a signal that the case has been solved when it is really far from over. “Even if the charges, if at all they are filed, are later dismissed, the zeal of our law enforcers in showing that they are on top of a case could besmirch the name and reputation of a suspect or their family. In so far as the suspect, whose name and face have already appeared in newspapers or television, is concerned, the harm has already been done,” Guiao pointed out. “While an accused enjoys due process and the constitutional presumption of innocence, a suspect who is presented in a press conference is subjected to unwarranted publicity. Fundamental rights are violated,” Guiao said. The proposed bill also bans media interviews with the suspect, unless the suspect consents in writing and with the assistance of his or her lawyer. If Guiao’s measure is enacted, violators will face up to six years in jail or a fine of P20,000. An offender from the police or a law enforcement agency face from six to eight years of imprisonment. Guiao clarified that his measure does not apply to suspects who are at large or for whom arrest warrants have been issued. “Their names and photographs can be provided to the public for dissemination in order to facilitate their arrest,” said Guiao, who coaches Rain or Shine Elastopainters in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Posted on August 19, 2013 09:34:30 PM
Rupee, rupiah lead slide in emerging Asia SINGAPORE -- The Indonesian rupiah fell to its weakest in more than four years yesterday due to a wider current account deficit, while the Indian rupee touched a fresh low on sustained doubts over the government’s ability to halt further declines in the currency. THE RUPEE marked a new record low in yesterday’s trading, with new steps unveiled by the central bank last week failing to convince the market. -- Reuters
Spot rupiah lost 1.1% to 10,490 per dollar, the weakest since May 2009. The currency fell in forwards markets with one-month dollar rupiah non-deliverable forwards rising to 10,820, the weakest level for the rupiah since April 2009. Bank Indonesia data released last Friday showed the current account deficit widened to 4.4% of the gross domestic product in the second quarter from 2.4% the previous quarter. “Although the current level of reserves is still equivalent to a reasonably healthy 5.5 months of imports, the Bank can’t continue to burn reserves at the current rate without the market worrying about a ‘crisis’ scenario unfolding,” Credit Suisse said in a note. The rupiah has lost 8.2% against the dollar so far this year, becoming the second-worst performing emerging Asian currency after the rupee. The rupee weakened to 62.5001 per dollar in early trade, breaching the previous low of 62.03, as government steps unveiled last week seemed inadequate to stall the currency’s fall. The rupiah and rupee are seen to be more vulnerable to capital outflows from the US Federal Reserve’s planned cut in monetary stimulus due to their countries’ current account deficits. Local importers chased dollars for payments. Some banks placed bids for dollars at much higher than interbank market levels to meet demand for their clients, some traders said. The central bank was spotted providing dollar liquidity to support the rupiah, they added. – Reuters
Posted on August 19, 2013 09:43:44 PM
BDO offers P5B in LTNCDs BDO UNIBANK, Inc. began to offer seven-year long-term negotiable certificates of deposit (LTNCDs) yesterday as it seeks to raise more cash to bankroll its expansion plans while lengthening the maturity profile of its resources.
In a notice published in BusinessWorld, the Sy-led bank said it targets to raise up to P5 billion from the issuance. The proceeds will be used to extend the maturity of BDO’s funding sources, as well as support its business expansion. The LTNCDs will be offered until August 27. The settlement date is scheduled on September 5. The certificates due in 2020 could fetch a coupon rate anywhere between 3-3.25% -- at par with the rate of seven-year papers at the secondary market -- to be paid quarterly. The final interest rate of the papers will be determined after the offer period. At the secondary market, the seven-year debt papers were quoted at 3.125% last Friday. Financial markets were closed yesterday as tropical storm Maring (international codename: Trami) dumped heavy rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. LTNCDs, like time deposits, offer higher interest rates than regular deposits. But unlike time deposits, they cannot be pre-terminated although they can be traded in the secondary market. The minimum initial placement for investors interested in the certificates is P100,000. It can be increased by increments of P50,000 thereafter. Standard Chartered Bank and ING Bank N.V. (Manila branch) are the joint lead arrangers and selling agents for the LTNCD issuance. BDO and BDO Private Bank are also selling agents. This is the second time that BDO has offered certificates of deposits to the public. It raised P5 billion from the sale of five-and-a-half-year LTNCDs that carried a 3.8% coupon rate in March. Last week, BDO also announced it would retire P15 billion in unsecured subordinated notes used as Tier 2 capital starting next month. Banks have been retiring Tier 2 notes and issuing LTNCDs instead as the former no longer qualifies as capitalization under the Basel III framework, to be implemented in January 2014. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. told reporters last Friday that Tier 2 notes are no longer compliant with international standards because they do not have loss absorption features. He pointed out, “Then it would make sense to redeem the Tier 2 notes to lower [banks’] costs.” Mr. Espenilla said the moves also show that banks are working to manage their liabilities. “What is happening is some banks are exercising call options or are shortening the life of their existing Tier 2 notes because those debt papers were issued when interest rates were higher. So after five years, they exercised their call option and then they issue new instruments with a lower rate,” he explained.
He added that the low interest rate environment and the need to match their assets and liabilities are among the “good reasons” to issue the certificates of deposit. Other than BDO, the country’s largest bank in asset terms, Philippine National Bank and EastWest Banking Corp. have also issued LTNCDs this year. BDO’s shares closed at P81.50 apiece when they were last traded on Friday. -- Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio
Posted on August 19, 2013 09:49:32 PM
Policyholders urged to file claims INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS affected by the bouts of rains and floods can immediately claim for coverage for their properties, the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (PIRA) said.
“Filipinos who have acts of nature (AON) coverage for their homes and cars can already file claims if they suffered a loss from yesterday’s inundation,” PIRA said in a statement. “This is the moment of truth for insurance. We advise our countrymen to file claims with their insurance companies so they can start rebuilding whatever was damaged by the floods.” The country has suffered heavy flooding in the past two days after incessant rains brought about by the southwest monsoon, enhanced by tropical storm Maring (international name: Trami). Last week, typhoon Labuyo (international name: Utor) also battered Metro Manila and nearby provinces, causing over P1 billion worth of damage to property, data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed. “[I]t is in times like this when Filipinos realize how vulnerable they are and start appreciating how important insurance is,” said PIRA, the industry group of non-life insurers. “[T]hough flood is an added cost as far as insurance premiums are concerned, the good news is it doesn’t really cost much. For a mere 0.5% of the value, you can have your property -- your car, house, factory or machinery -- insured against flood which is becoming a growing risk,” it said. To ensure the fast processing of insurance claims, especially those related to yesterday’s floods, PIRA advised affected policyholders to immediately call their insurers. “It is best to call the insurance company as soon as possible once a claim arises. This is to ensure that the damage will be contained and the claim will be processed pronto,” it said. Clients must also prepare then supporting documents for their claims for coverage, said the group. “Documents to establish ownership of a car or property are always needed, so are documents like invoices and receipts that can prove the actual cost of the loss,” PIRA said. The group reminded, though, that insurance is “not charity,” and claims still need to be verified to make sure they are legitimate and accurate. “Insurance companies are here to indemnify the insured, meaning they are here to put their clients back to their previous position prior to the loss. The insured should not profit from insurance,” it stressed. Lastly, claimants must make sure that the property is covered under their existing insurance policies.
“During typhoon Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana) in 2009, there were cars that got flooded which had comprehensive insurance but did not have acts of nature coverage. Sadly, you need AON to cover you from flood,” said PIRA. “The same goes true with fire insurance. You need protection from allied perils such as typhoon and flood to be able to collect from your insurer,” it noted. The Philippines is one of the most prone to natural disasters. An average of 25 typhoons is estimated to hit the country every year. -- Bettina Faye V. Roc
QC to create new beneficial programs for senior citizens, PWDs, vendors • •
Written by PNA Monday, 19 August 2013 08:00
Three social development programs which will be for the benefit of senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and vendors will be prioritized by the Quezon City government. This was disclosed over the weekend in a statement by QC Mayor Herbert Bautista who vowed to prioritize the three social development programs during his second term. Bautista admitted his administration had concentrated on projects and programs on housing and disaster risk management for the past three years. He explained that it was due to the city’s desire to provide decent homes to informal settlers and protect them from harm and danger, including man-made and natural calamities. However, he promised that on his second term, senior citizens, PWDs and vending issues concerns will be among his top priorities. “In my second term, I will also focus on concerns of senior citizens, PWDs and vending issues. “Inaamin ko na medyo nakapag-concetrate ang programa ng lungsod sa housing at disaster,” the mayor said. Bautista explained it was his great desire to have a good program for senior citizens. “I want to have a program that truly addresses the elderly’s needs which they can enjoy for the rest of their life,” he said. Bautista added he consulted city hall executives to list down better program proposals for the elderly, excluding burial assistance and other forms of assistance that the city could offer. He also directed office heads to study programs for PWDs, including health- related programs. On vending program, the mayor cited he would like to create a set of policies for street vending. “The policies will be a guide for the market development and administration department (MDAD) in issuing permit for hawkers or those vendors plying their trade in designated vending sites,” he said. He added he will order the creation of a board that will decide on areas to be declared as vending sites and will determine the stall rates depending on the sites the vendor would like to occupy. He believes that in having a board to decide on the approval of vending sites and rates, there will be no “political color” on the issuance of permits and collection of fees because there will a set of requirements that will be implemented and should be complied with by vendors. Special discount on rates, the mayor said, should be given to legitimate residents of QC who will sell their
goods in designated vending sites. He added that higher rates on permits and other fees will be collected from non-QC residents to discourage them from vending in the city so that only the legitimate city residents who want to engage in vending activity as source of income will be given priority. He added those “hard-headed” vendors who will sell goods by occupying the sidewalks may be allowed, provided they could afford to pay higher fees per day. “Those vendors who will insist to continue selling on the sidewalks, instead of occupying the stalls inside the market, will be imposed with higher hawker’s fees. For example, if it in the stall, they were asked to pay P200 a day, on the sidewalk, they will be charged P1,000 a day,” he said. He explained that the city will do that to discourage vending in non-vending areas such as sidewalks.
ATI: Rapid economic growth needs ports near main economic centers • •
Written by Tribune Monday, 19 August 2013 08:00
Sustaining efficient gateway ports is critical to boosting the competitiveness of the country’s industries, especially at this time of rapid economic growth, according to listed Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI). Speaking at the Philippine Port Development Summit recently, ATI vice president Sean Perez said this could only be achieved if ports are contiguous to the main economic centers, thereby making goods for consumption and production readily available and more accessible to end-users at competitive rates. “Manila is the center of the country’s consumer-driven economy and where majority of economic activities transpire. This is what the ports of Manila serve,” he pointed out. Aligned with this, Perez said that ATI is taking a balanced approach in its port development initiatives to ensure that Manila and its surrounding environs are adequately served by Manila South Harbor while at the same time opening up a viable option for industries based in southern Luzon via its modern Batangas Port. Perez said that developments at Manila South Harbor are on schedule and are primarily anchored on expanding pier- and land-side infrastructure, improving current facilities and acquiring new equipment to sustain the port’s reliability, efficiency and high productivity. Backed by P4.2 billion in capital investments over the next three years, ATI expects to meet its expansion targets for Manila’s gateway port. “These investments form part of our contractual commitments with the Philippine Ports Authority,” he said. Perez, meanwhile, said Batangas Port will continue complementing Manila ports, noting that the 300,000 TEU capacity container terminal was strategically designed to support the thriving industries of Calabarzon which have substantial volume potential.According to ATI’s estimates, around 26 percent of manufacturers in the country are based in the high-growth area of Calabarzon, with some 700 businesses potentially generating 350,000 TEUs of containerized cargoes annually.Such growth prospects attracted inter-Asia shipping line MCC Transport which has been servicing the port weekly for over a year now and have encouraged CNC Line, a fully integrated subsidiary of global transport giant CMA-CGM, to seriously study expanding services via Batangas.Current users of Batangas Port, especially those located within a 60-kilometer radius from the port, have also been increasing, satisfied with its advantages, most notably lower truck haulage costs, discounts and incentives from port authorities and fast transactions.
World Bank certifies LBP as responsible carbon user • •
Written by Ed Velasco Monday, 19 August 2013 08:00
The Land Bank of the Philippines, the fourth biggest bank in the Philippines in assets, is now a carbon seller participant under the World Bank’s (WB)Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF). This was formalized in a seller participation agreement (SPA) with the WB during the latter’s 2013 CPF annual meeting held recently in Barcelona, Spain. The CPF is a partnership among industrial-country buyers and developing-country sellers of emission reductions as well as developing and donor country governments, with the objective of facilitating mutual decision making and sharing of experience and knowledge regarding carbon finance. It aims to scale up clean technology investments through programmatic and sector-based approaches to emission reduction programs and to set key policies of the CPF together. The signed SPA, which serves as the first step towards negotiation of carbon credits sale, covers the LandBank’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Program of Activities (PoAs) on piggery biogas recovery and landfill gas recovery projects being implemented under the WB’s Carbon Finance Support Facility (CFSF). Both programs are registered with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and are considered the first of their kind in the agricultural and waste management sectors in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. As a seller participant, LandBank is assured of WB’s continued support in the implementation and scaleup activities of LandBank’s piggery and landfill gas programs in the country. The WB likewise intends to purchase carbon credits from LandBank’s two PoAs from 2014 to 2020 through the CPF. CFSF is LandBank’s flagship program for the promotion of climate change mitigation projects through CDM. Aside from piggery and landfill projects, the program also assists mini-hydro projects. With an asset of over P700 billion, the bank is the fourth largest among the 32-member Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP)in this category behind Banco de Oro, Metrobank and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
PSE H1 2013 net income up 31.8% • •
Written by Tribune Monday, 19 August 2013 08:00
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) reported a 31.8 percent increase in its net profit for the first half of 2013 to P428.95 million from P325.53 million in the same period a year ago due to the robust growth in its listing and trading related income. Total revenues, likewise, surged by 30.1 percent to P789.62 million. Listing-related income, which accounted for 34.9 percent of total revenue, grew 29.7 percent to P275.30 million on higher listing fees. Between January and June, listing activities included the IPOs of Philippine Business Bank and Asia United Bank, Del Monte Pacific Limited’s listing by way of introduction, and 25 additional or follow-on listings. Higher trading volume was mostly the reason for the 49.1 percent growth in trading-related income. Brisk trading activity also resulted in a 48.2 percent surge in the service fees of the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP), PSE’s wholly owned subsidiary, to P250.78 million. Total value turnover expanded by 48.2 percent to P1.40 trillion in June 2013 from P947.73 billion in June 2012. That translated to an average daily value turnover of P11.51 billion from P7.64 billion in the same period last year. “The stock market’s remarkable feat in the first half of 2013 supported the good corporate performance of the PSE. Given the continued strong macroeconomic environment and the impact of the investment grade rating of the country on the real economy, we believe that we can continue to post good corporate numbers through the rest of the year. We remain optimistic about the prospects of more listings in the second half of the year as we surpass the market volatilities we experienced a month ago,” PSE president and CEO Hans Sicat said. Total expenses for the first six months of the year grew at a manageable pace of 15 percent to P237.14 million from P206.21 million. Revenue growth continued to outpace spending as shown in the decline of total expense as a percentage of total revenue to 30 percent in the first half, better than the 34 percent recorded in the same period a year ago.
PEOPLE POWER VS PORK BARREL! Nina Juliet de Loza-Cudia, Aries Cano at Boyet Jadulco
Ikinakasa ngayon ang isang panawagan para sa isang panibagong “people power” kontra sa Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) o mas kilala bilang pork barrel sa darating na Agosto 26 sa Luneta, Maynila.
Sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang “social media networks” ay ipinakakalat ang imbitasyon sa publiko na makiisa sa pagtitipon na gagawin dakong alas-12:00 ng tanghali para ipakita ang pagtutol ng mamamayan sa pagbibigay ng pork barrel sa mga mambabatas.
Nabatid na ipinagbabawal sa panawagan ang pagdadala ng mga banners, placards at pagsusuot ng anumang ‘political color’.
Layunin ng rally, na makabuo ng isang malaking puwersa para ma-pressure si Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy Aquino III na itgil na ang pagbibigay ng pork barrel sa mga mambabatas.
Kaugnay nito, nakatakda ring magsagawa ng isang pagkilos ang mga militanteng kabataan sa darating na Agosto 23 sa Liwasang Bonifacio kontra sa pork barrel.
Ayon kay Mark Joseph Vicencio, convener ng Youth Revolt Alliance (YRA), isasabay nila sa pagkilos ang paglulunsad ng kanilang alyansa, kasabay na rin ito sa pagdiriwang ng ika-153 anibersaryo ng “Cry of Pugad Lawin”.
Ipapanawagan ng YRA ang abolisyon ng pork barrel sa legislative branch.
Sa halip umanong padaanin pa sa mga mambabatas ang pondo mula sa kaban ng bayan ay dapat umanong gastusin na lamang ito nang direkta ng pamahalaan sa pagpapagawa ng mga proyekto para sa social service.
Kahapon ay hinimok din ni incoming Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas ang mga debotong Pinoy na matuto sa leksyong iniwan ng pork barrel scandal kaakibat ang pahayag na ang kontrobersya ay dapat na magdala sa mga tao ng mas malaking pagkilos.
Giit ni Villegas, hindi dapat burahin ng bawat Filipino ang leksyong natutunan sa eskandalo para maiwasan na itong maulit sa hinaharap.
“The scam continues to baffle and hurt us every time we discover something new about it,” pahayag nito.
“The hurt that it causes us should lead us into action. We should not just allow the hurt to lessen with the passage of time,” dagdag pa ng arsobispo.
Mula sa palasyo, bagama’t kontra si Pangulong Aquino sa pagbuwag o pagputol sa PDAF ng mga senador at kongresista, sinabi ni deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte na kukunin nila ang posisyon ng Pangulo sa pork barrel bunsod ng umiinit na panawagan ng taumbayan laban dito.
“Perhaps this is something that we can discuss with the President. We haven’t had the opportunity to discuss it with him again in light of the recent findings of the COA and siguro it’s something that we can raise with him. But, as far as the last time that I spoke to the President, ganoon pa rin po ‘yung posisyon niya,” ani Valte.
Disiplina at urbanidad Editorial OPINION
EDITORIAL: Disiplina at urbanidad ELLEN TORDESILLAS: Dasal para sa mga biktima ng trahedya sa banggaan sa karagatan RAYMOND BURGOS: Way Kurat PAYONG KAPATID: Ang pag-ibig ay hindi damdamin LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Maganda itong kwento ni MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino. Sumakay daw siya sa isang ordinaryong pampasaherong bus (ibig sabihin ay hindi air-conditioned) na bumibiyahe d’yan sa EDSA. Gusto raw kasi niyang maranasan nang personal ang araw-araw na pasaning dinadala ng isang karaniwang mananakay.
Syempre, kasama rin sa eksperimento ni Tolentino na makita niya at personal na maranasan ang matinding sikip ng trapiko sa EDSA at kung ano ang mga nagiging sanhi o pinag-uugatan nito.
E, ‘di bumulaga sa kanya ang napakalaking problema ng kawalang disiplina, hindi lang ng mga pasaway na bus drivers na bumababad, bumabalagbag at nakikipagkarera para lamang makarami ng pasahero. Nariyan din daw ang kawalang disiplina na rin ng mismong mga pasahero. Para lang nang para kahit saan nila gusto. Bababa at sasakay kahit sa bawal dahil ang gusto nila ay sa mismong tapat ng kanilang pinag-aabangan o bababaan sila ihihinto ng tsuper.
Tama ito! Personal na maranasan ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno ang tunay na sitwasyon sa kalye bago sila gumawa at magpatupad ng mga panuntunan at solusyon sa trapiko.
Pero sa totoo lang, mahabang panahon ang bubunuin at pagtitiyagaan ng pamahalaan bago madisiplina ang riding public. Malalim na kultura ang pinanggagalingan nito.
Hindi sa minamaliit natin ang ating mga kababayan sa probinsya pero ang ganitong ugali na pagpara ng sasakyang pampubliko kahit saan ay ugaling probinsya. Intindido naman dahil sa probinsya ay walang katrapik-trapik. Ni hindi makakaabala ang kung saan-saang baba’t sakay ng pasahero dahil nga hindi naman sunud-sunod ang mga sasakyan. Ni wala halos kabuntot ang mga behikulo rito.
Ngayong ang karamihan sa mga dumayo sa mga syudad, lalo na dito sa Metro Manila, ay galing sa mga probinsya (mapa-motorista o mananakay), dala-dala nila ang ugaling probinsya partikular sa istilo ng pamamasada at paggamit ng pampublikong transportasyon. Pati na ang pagtawid sa tamang tawiran ay isang disiplinang bumabangga sa kultura ng probinsya na kahit saan at kahit anong oras ay pwedeng tumawid.
Nasa gobyerno ngayon ang pagtatanim ng disiplina at kung paano maipauunawa sa mga tagaprobinsyang dayo na maraming nakagisnang gawi at pag-uugali ay hindi nararapat na patuloy na gawin sa syudad.
Sa nakaraang mga henerasyon, tinuturuan ng urbanidad ang mga tao nang sa gayon ay tumugma ang kanilang asal sa tamang lifestyle sa lungsod. Kailangang-kailangan ang pag-a-adjust dahil sa malaking kaibahan ng lungsod sa probinsya. Mas maraming tao rito, mas masikip ang daloy ng trapiko, at mas maraming mga ordinansa at polisiya na kailangang sundin nang buong istrikto at disiplina para sa pangkalahatang interes.