DA abuse and use of power By Ernesto M. Ordoñez Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:15 pm | Thursday, October 31st, 2013 Power is a privilege. If abused, it can cause tremendous harm. But if used properly, it can be a great force for good. Recently, there have been reports about how the Department of Agriculture (DA) abused its power, especially given the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) anomalies. It should be noted that most of these anomalies occurred during the previous administration. Nevertheless, despite current DA efforts to curb corruption, many anomalies still remain. The National Agriculture Fisheries Council (NAFC) is the legally mandated public-private sector body to help formulate and, more importantly, monitor the DA budget. Realizing this, the Alyansa Agricukultura, a coalition of 42 federations and organizations representing all agriculture sectors, applied to be a NAFC member in the previous administration. Because of Alyansa’s wide constituency, the DA had little choice but to accept Alyansa’s application. However, the moment Alyansa joined, all NAFC Council meetings stopped. This lasted for more than two years, until the Aquino administration took over. The Alyansa then made a unanimously approved recommendation that a NAFC Budget Committee be created. The few remaining corrupt elements in the DA sabotaged this, because this committee did not meet for a year and three months. When the committee finally met, Alyansa Agrikultura president Arsenio Tanchuling was elected as the committee’s private sector co-chair. When the PDAF scams were exposed, the Alyansa recommended in two NAFC meetings that a thorough investigation be made and the NAFC Budget Committee informed of this investigation. In an Aug. 12 NAFC meeting, a DA senior official said that NAFC should not be involved in this because it was “just politics.” Disagreeing with this position, Tanchuling then wrote a formal letter asking for a DA NAFC Budget Committee meeting to address this issue. Until now, there has been no DA response. There is still continuing abuse of power at the DA. This can be stopped if the DA allows the public-private sector NAFC Budget Committee to do its legally mandated function of monitoring DA budget use. Unless DA moves swiftly on this, and a Secretary-led DA overhaul takes place, the Alyansa believes that the DA should not be trusted with the planned P148 billion it will supervise in 2014: P78 billion from the DA budget and P70 billion from the coconut levy interest earnings.
On the positive side, DA must make good use of its tremendous power. Since information is power, it must get the best information possible from the private sector, who are the ones directly developing our agriculture. Today, many of them feel they are not being heard. Ironically, instead of strengthening the NAFC, which is the legally mandated vehicle for private sector participation, it is being weakened. The NAFC plantilla is currently 178. There is a DBM decision to cut this by almost half to 101. The DBM should listen to the appeal not only of the DA, but also of the private sector, that this cut not be implemented. Weakening NAFC appears contrary to P-Noy’s statement: “Ikaw ang boss ko”. Already, many private sector groups distressed with the lack of agriculture development are organizing. One such group is composed of UPLB-based scientists and development experts coordinated by Balik Scientist Ben Pecson. While this group joins many others in advocating that the coconut levy interest be used solely for the coconut farmers instead of national government programs, its unique comparative advantage is recommending the best science-based technologies to accelerate our agricultural development. One other group is the UPLB Volunteers for Scale Insect Management, which is combating this infestation killing coconut trees in Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Cavite. Its members include Rural Broadcasters of the Philippines president Louie Tabing and former UPLB Dean of Agriculture Candida Adalla. Both these groups have no contact with NAFC. It is important that the NAFC secure their involvement for two reasons. Firstly, these groups will now have an official DA channel to respond to their recommendations. Secondly, the NAFC will be strengthened as an institution so that our reforms will take place through institutions, not just individuals. Under the previous administration, corruption and incompetence increased because our institutions were severely weakened. The abuse of power should be stopped through transparency and private sector participation. Governance is too important to be left to government alone. In addition, it should also be replaced by the good use of power. This can best be done through the legally mandated NAFC, which should be strengthened instead of weakened through DA and DBM action. Once concrete step is to activate the NAFC Budget Committee. Only then can we achieve the goal of inclusive growth. (The author is chair of Agriwatch, former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Projects, and former Undersecretary for Agriculture, Trade and Industry. For inquiries and suggestions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telefax (02) 8522112). http://business.inquirer.net/150199/da-abuse-and-use-of-power
Food makers push for more investments in agriculture Category: Agri-Commodities 31 Oct 2013 Local food manufacturers are pushing for more investments to boost the agriculture sector to enable it to achieve a 10-percent export growth in 2014 and meet rising local demand. Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex) President Roberto Amores said the country has value-added goods, like mango products and fresh bananas, that are sought after abroad. “China [for one] has a program to buy $150 billion worth of food in the next five years. That will impact on demand in the Philippines,” Amores said in a statement issued by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport). Amores said the local requirements for agricultural products are also growing, driven by the influx of tourists. “The consumption patterns of food services and hotels, and the changing habits of the domestic consumers have expanded the demand of agricultural products. So we need to continue producing raw materials in order to address this demand,” he said. As the Philippines also braces for Asean integration come 2015, Amores said the government and the private sector need to ramp up investments in agriculture to improve productivity and help drive growth in the sector. “Among these are investments in storage, equipment and increased awareness in global agriculture practice,” he said. Amores, also the food trustee of Philexport, said the adoption of sustainable agriculture methods can enhance the sector’s competitiveness and productivity. He said it is “imperative” for the government to fast-track the establishment of common service facilities nationwide. These include mobile repacking and agriculture laboratory facilities. “This is because the global requirements on food safety are becoming very rigid. So the testing and the capability of the sectors to produce raw materials should be fast. The turn-around cycle needs to be fast-tracked,” Amores added. He also recommended the establishment of agriculture productive cluster zones where raw materials can be produced. “[With this], we can generate better yields with the same input; this could automatically lower the cost of production,” Amores said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/22050-food-makerspush-for-more-investments-in-agriculture
Corn farmers press field trial of GM crops Category: Agri-Commodities 31 Oct 2013 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Correspondent Corn farmers have demanded that the government continue the field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops under Executive Order (EO) 430, a regulatory system which they said is “so strict” that it prohibits the commercialization of GM crops that do not pass Philippine standards. Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize) noted that EO 430 made the Philippines the first Southeast Asian country to issue a regulatory system on GM crops. It was supported by Administrative Order (AO) 8 of 2002 and EO 514 of 2006. AO 8 provides for guidelines on the release to the environment of plants derived from biotechnology crops. EO 514, meanwhile, established a biosafety framework that observes strict scientific standards and international best practices on biotechnology crops production. In a resolution during the National Corn Congress held in Tagaytay City, Philmaize asked President Aquino to support the regulatory process administered by the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines. EO 430 created NCBP, which regulates all field trials of GM crops in the Philippines. Corn farmers want the field trials on Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant and Golden Rice to continue even as the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a writ of kalikasan banning such trials in September. The CA’s decision was issued even as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vouched for the safety of GM food products. “The Philippine government, through the FDA, reiterated that all GM food products in the market have passed safety assessment based on the Codex Alimentarius risk analysis. These have met international food-safety standards and are as safe as and as nutritious as the food derived from conventional crops,” Philmaize said. The group said GM crops have been found globally to be safe in all of 15 years of use as feed and food. Philmaize said a case in point is Bt corn, which was commercialized in 2002 in spite of the spirited opposition of Greenpeace, which failed to convince authorities that the GM crop would harm humans and contaminate traditional eggplant varieties vulnerable to pests and diseases. Bt corn is now planted on 730,000 hectares of farm lands in the country and has been largely credited for making the Philippines self-sufficient in corn. The group said the government should support the use of GM crops in its aim to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include the reduction or elimination of hunger. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/22049-cornfarmers-press-field-trial-of-gm-crops
BoC holds rice with no import permits by Jenny F. Manongdo November 1, 2013
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) said Friday that it will temporarily hold rice shipments that have no import permits even as the agency is already waiting a government policy whether to allow foreign rice importation from countries whose quarantine restrictions (QR) have already expired. BoC Commissioner Rufino Biazon said the government is still studying the next steps to take with the expiration of the Quarantine Restriction on rice imports granted by the World Trade Organization to the Philippines. The BOC chief said they will seek the legal opinion of the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture on the issue. While an official policy has yet to be made, Biazon said they will impound shipments without import permit. “Ang default position namin ngayon is rather make an error on the right side which means harangin ang mga shipment na walang import permit [Our default position now is to make an error on the right side which means we will block shipments with no import permits],” Biazon said in an interview. “Kasi we are also being threatened by a lawsuit by those importers na wala daw kaming basis to hold shipments dahil lifted na ang quantitative restrictions. On the other side, pag palabasin naman naming yan based on what we believe is the lifting of the restriction aakusahan naman kami ng ibang ahensya na nagpapalusot. I don’t think we can let that happen [Because we are also being threatened by a lawsuit by those importers saying we don't have basis to hold shipments since quarantine restrictions have already been lifted. On the other side, when we'll claim that it is based on what we believe is the lifting of the restriction, other agencies will accused us of illogical reasoning. I don’t think we can let that happen],” he added. Biazon was commenting on a letter sent by the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) last month that said the Philippines no longer has the right to impose restriction on rice with the expiration of the QR. Biazon said the lifting of QR would result in increased taxes that may reach up to 50 percent. As of press time, the BoC chief said more than 400 container vans of rice shipments are currently on hold. http://www.mb.com.ph/boc-holds-rice-with-no-import-permits/
Mere words to defend NFA chief, vs solid documents GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
This urgent note came from a member of my prayer community: “Please take max precaution. Your exposés of treason in the illegal nickel and black sand mining in Zambales has angered a high politico here. As you well know, he has triggermen from his days in uniform. With a sister of (a national leader) he is fund-raising for 2016.” (If anything happens to me, those fellows would be to blame, and I’ve alerted friends who know what to do.) *
In my lead item last Wednesday, I wrongly typed that a very high official of the Philippine RETIREMENT Authority is a US citizen. I meant the other PRA, the Philippine RECLAMATION Authority, formerly the Public Estates Authority. Chairman Roberto Muldong of the latter agency must have laughed at my mistake. My apologies for causing unease to the very Filipino officers and staff of the other PRA, led by GM/CEO Veredigno Atienza. *
A half-truth is a whole lie, meant to deceive. Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
In disputing my revelations about National Food Authority administrator Orlan A. Calayag, his patron Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala insists he is Filipino. That’s only half the truth. Calayag is a dual American and Filipino citizen, which the Bureau of Immigration granted on Jan. 7, 2013. But that’s not the issue. It’s that he’s not a natural-born Filipino, a status required by the NFA Charter for the food security chief (Gotcha, 23 Oct. 2013). When Calayag swore to US citizenship, he renounced all his Filipino rights, including citizenship status. When he reacquired (dual) Filipino citizenship, in order to be posted to the NFA, he did not regain natural-born status. That’s Supreme Court jurisprudence: Maquiling vs. Comelec (G.R. No. 195649, 16 April 2013) and Mercado vs. Manzano (G.R. No. 135083, 26 May 1999). Alcala also dismisses my other points about Calayag. But that’s just his word, against official documents. Among such papers are Calayag’s sworn Appointive Director Data Sheet and
curriculum vitae. They reveal that while Calayag was drawing salaries from Congress as Alcala’s legislative staff chief, July 2004-Aug. 2008, he was also working in Keybank, Sammamish, Washington, Sept. 2006-Apr. 2008. In 2006 Calayag also took a Real Estate Professional Course in Bellevue, Washington. In effect, Alcala harbored a “ghost employee” for two years. At issue too is the effectivity of Calayag’s appointment to the NFA Council, starting July 2012. There was no vacancy at the Council, for then-Administrator Angelito Banayo was to resign only in Sept. 2012 (to run for Congress). At that time too Calayag was still very much a US citizen, working as Patient Services Specialist at the Swedish Medical Center, Issaquah, Washington, Jan. 2011-Dec. 2012. He returned to Manila only on Dec. 19, 2012, presenting to airport immigration his US Passport No. 462971672. His dual citizenship followed post-haste. On Jan. 21, 2013, Alcala as chairman prodded the NFA Council to elect Calayag as a member. It was mere formality. For, on Jan. 17, 2013, Alcala already had wangled from Malacañang Calayag’s separate appointments as NFA Council member and as administrator. Press Secretary Herminio Coloma joins the fray, claiming that Calayag only took over Banayo’s unexpired term. Belying my report that Calayag’s appointment was effective July 2012, he insists it’s Jan. 2013. That’s again only half true. Newly designated chief presidential spokesman, Coloma months ago complimented my “always fully documented exposés.” Thank you, sir. In Calayag’s case, there is a three-page document from Malacañang, dated Jan. 17, 2013, with barcode No. PNOY-008859. The first page, signed by President Noynoy Aquino, is addressed to “Hon. Orlan Agbin Calayag, thru The Secretary, Dept. of Agriculture.” It states: “Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed Member, Governing Council, National Food Authority, to serve the term of office beginning on 1 July 2012 and ending on 30 June 2013, vice Angelito T. Banayo.” The second page, signed by Executive Sec. Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., is addressed to Alcala. It transmits Calayag’s “appointment letter”, restating the effectivity, July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013, vice Banayo. The third page, also signed by Ochoa, informs Alcala of “the President’s approval” of Calayag’s “nomination as NFA Administrator.” It’s clear: while the appointment was signed Jan. 17, 2013, it antedates the start to July 2012. In effect, Alcala was able to win for Calayag six months’ “uprooting fee” for leaving odd jobs in America. *
Reader Antonio Fajardo says that Americans who join the Philippine bureaucracy can lose their US nationality: “That’s in Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Importantly, this statute offers some wiggle room. The person who performs the relevant act must do so ‘with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality’ in order to lose citizenship. The statute lists
the acts that might result in loss of US nationality: ‘Joining the government of a foreign state. If you accept, serve in, or perform the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or one of its political subdivisions (after age 18), and you either acquire that state’s nationality or take a required oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance to it, you may be found to have relinquished your US citizenship.’” *
Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM). Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JariusBondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA E-mail: email@example.com http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/11/01/1251760/mere-words-defend-nfa-chief-vs-soliddocuments
DA allots more funding to boost garlic production by Mario Casayuran November 1, 2013
Manila, Philippines – After a Senate committee hearing to resolve problems plaguing the garlic production in the Ilocos region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) decided to set aside P10 million to finance a research aimed at improving the production of the famous ‘’Ilocos garlic.’’ This was revealed yesterday by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture committee, which was able to get the commitment of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to fund the research undertaking. “The hearing was able to resolve a lot of problems suffered by our garlic growers. One of these is funding to improve garlic seedlings so that our variety will be more competitive,” Villar said after the hearing held in Batac, Ilocos Norte the other day. During the hearing, Alcala gave the commitment that he would approve the initial funding of P10 million requested by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). Villar said DA officials would meet with MMSU officials next week, after the long weekend, to finalize the agreement. ‘’ We are happy our Ilocos farmers are getting this kind of support from the national government,” Villar added. In her ocular inspection at Batac Public Market, Villar learned from Magdalena Domanais, 49, one of the vendors, that a kilo of locally grown garlic sells at P200 while imported garlic sells at P80 a kilo. “We are hopeful that further R&D (research and development) will be able to make Ilocos garlic more competitive by cutting its production cost and by boosting its marketing as the better garlic than those imported from China,” she said. Villar added that Ilocos Norte farmers would now have a voice in the matter of importation by opening five membership slots for them in the National Garlic Action Team (NGAT). “It is only fair that farmers who produce almost 70 percent of the country’s entire garlic production will be represented in this body,” she explained. It was Sen. Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. who questioned the incongruity in the 34member NGAT. This prompted Alcala to open up five slots for garlic growers in Ilocos Norte. During the hearing, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos enumerated the problems hounding garlic growers in the province.
Among them are the lack of infrastructure support and the need to adjust the planting calendar to adapt to the changing climate, she said. Imee requested the DA to study the feasibility of planting crops that take shorter time to grow like kangkong, sitaw, mongo in areas usually devastated by typhoons. Alcala asked the local government of Ilocos Norte and farmer associations to identify farmers who the DA will train as accredited growers. http://www.mb.com.ph/da-allots-more-funding-to-boost-garlic-production/
Editorial: National Rice Awareness Month celebration November 1, 2013 November is celebrated annually as National Rice Awareness Month in the Philippines, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 524 issued on January 5, 2004. The celebration is doubly significant as 2013 has been declared National Year of Rice, through Proclamation No. 494, signed on October 18, 2012. The theme for the twin celebration, “Sapat na Bigas, Kaya ng Pinas,” heightens awareness on how the nation and rice consumers can support the promotion of responsible rice consumption for better health and less rice wastage and more productive farming. Farmers are encouraged to adopt modern technologies. A fun run and a symposium on rice genetics are part of the celebration of the 2013 National Rice Awareness Month and National Year of Rice. The month-long event coincides with the Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) which was created in 1985. PhilRice leads the rice sector this month in committing to help the Philippines reaches its goal of rice self-sufficiency starting this year, heighten public awareness on rice, and resolve issues relating to malnutrition. Consumers are encouraged to eat unpolished or brown rice as it has higher milling recovery rate of 75% compared with 65% for white rice. Brown rice is more nutritious as it retains most of the rice bran nutrients that are removed by polishing. The attainment of rice self-sufficiency is a responsibility not only of farmer-producers but also consumers, who must practice responsible consumption of the staple crop. PhilRice Data on rice wastage shows that each Filipino wastes two tablespoons of cooked rice every day which, if not wasted, could result in import savings of as high as P6.2 billion and could feed 2.6 million poor Filipinos in a year. We congratulate the Philippine Rice Research Institute, headed by its Chairman Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Executive Director Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., for their partnerships with farmers’ groups, irrigators’, associations, local government units and the private sector to ensure that infrastructure, modern technologies, and marketing support reach rural rice farmers in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY! http://www.mb.com.ph/editorial-national-rice-awareness-month-celebration/
USDA supports PH food industry November 1, 2013 The representative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Philippines recently said that the US food production sector is supporting the country’s bid for healthier diet by providing the link between the local food industry and US producers of high-quality pulse food. USDA agricultural attaché William Verzani said that the USDA will invite the Philippine nutrition sector to look at the various food products available in the US market to support Filipinos’ bid for healthy lifestyles. Speaking before the Nutritionists and Dietitians Association of the Philippines (NDAP) in a conference organized in collaboration with the USDA, the US Dry Pea and Lentil Council (DPLC) and the US Dry Bean Council (USDB), Verzani also explained the role of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Services in the promotion of healthy diets worldwide. Conference organizers said that this is part of a global advocacy for healthy nutrition to address the rising incidence of diet-related illnesses and problems such as obesity and degenerative diseases. The event also aims to advocate the adoption of pulse foods as healthy ingredients in the Filipino diet. Meanwhile, in the same conference, Dr. Edgar Tan, chair of the Department of Cardiology of the Cebu Doctors Hospital called for a wider adoption of fiber-rich diets in the country to curb the growing incidence of heart diseases. Tan is a product of the New York Medical College Program and one of few Filipino cardiologists certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Diseases. According to Tan, studies have shown that high fiber consumption helps prevent heart diseases. “Fiber-rich foods like lentils provide good amounts of folic acid and magnesium,” Tan said. http://www.mb.com.ph/usda-supports-ph-food-industry/
More investments in agriculture sought November 1, 2013 Food manufacturers are pushing for more investments to boost the agriculture sector and enable it achieve a 10-percent export growth in 2014 and meet rising local demand. Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex) President Roberto Amores said the country has value-added goods like mango products and fresh bananas that are in-demand abroad. “(And) China has a program to buy $150 billion worth of food in the next five years. That will impact in the demand in the Philippines,” he said. Amores said the local requirements for agricultural products are also growing, driven by influx of tourists. “The consumption patterns of food services and hotels and the changing habits of the domestic consumers have expanded the demand of agricultural products. So we need to continue producing raw materials in order to address this demand,” he said. As the Philippines also braces for Asean integration come 2015, Amores said the government and the private sector need to ramp up investments in agriculture in order to improve productivity and help drive growth in the sector. “Among these are investments in storage, equipment and increased awareness in global agriculture practice,” he said. Amores, also the food trustee of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., said the adoption of sustainable agriculture methods can enhance the sector’s competitiveness and productivity. He said it also imperative for the government to fast-track the establishment of common service facilities nationwide. These include mobile repacking and agriculture laboratory facilities. “Why these are needed? This is because the global requirements on food safety, global standard are becoming very rigid. So the testing and the capability of the sectors to produce raw materials should be fast. The turn-around cycle needs to be fast-tracked,” he added. Moreover, Amores recommended the establishment of agriculture productive cluster zones where raw materials can be produced. “(With this,) we can generate better yields with the same input; this automatically lowers the cost of production,” he said. (PNF) http://www.mb.com.ph/more-investments-in-agriculture-sought/
Economy Posted on October 31, 2013 11:02:03 PM
Rice, corn prices rise THE RETAIL prices of well‐milled rice and yellow and white corn grains increased the week of Oct. 16‐22 while the retail price of regular milled rice has slipped, according to a Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) report released Oct. 30. The average retail price of well‐milled rice grew 0.21% from the preceding week and 9.82% from the same period last year, respectively, BAS said in its Updates on Palay, Rice, and Corn Prices on Wednesday. For the Oct. 16‐22 week, the prevailing retail price for well‐milled rice was P38.70 per kilogram, up 0.21% from the preceding week’s P38.62/kg and 9.82% more than the P35.24/kg during the same period in 2012. As for regular milled rice, BAS said the average retail price of P35.50/kg was 0.39% lower than the preceding week’s level. In spite of the decline, the price was higher by 10.80 % than the P32.04/kg of the same period in 2012. The average retail price of white corngrain for Oct. 16‐22, P19.71/kg, was 6.37% more than the preceding week’s P18.53/kg and 0.36% more than the P19.60/kg of the same period last year. The yellow corngrain retail price during the same period was P21.51/kg, registering an increase of 0.47% from the preceding week’s P21.41/kg. Compared with the 2012 price of P21.64/kg, the retail price of yellow corngrain declined 0.60 %. According to BAS’s latest Rice and Corn Inventory, as of Sept. 1, the country had a total rice stock inventory of 1.53 million metric tons (MT). Of the current stock level, about 35% were with households; 32.6%, with commercial warehouses; and 32.4%, in National Food Authority depositories. As for corn, in an Agriculture department press release on Oct. 22, the agency stated that there will be sufficient supply of corn and corn substitutes by year‐end. The corn supply totaled 8.2 million MT, and there will be an ending stock of about 2.935 million MT. Demand for feeds was placed at 5.265 million MT. ‐‐ EVG http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Rice,‐corn‐prices‐rise&id=78808
New variety increases jackfruit production By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on November 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 70 views
A new jackfruit variety promoted by the Bureau of Agricultural Research has raised production of the tropical fruit in a fifth-class town in Leyte province. BAR said a P1.28-million project, promoting the use of EVIARC Sweet, the sweetest known jackfruit variety, increased the yield of farmers in Mahaplag, Leyte by 82 percent. The variety was developed by Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center, the research arm of the Agriculture Department’s regional field unit in Region 8. The BAR said from an average yield of 8.45 metric tons per hectare, jackfruit production in Mahaplag climbed to 15.30 MT per hectare using EVIARC Sweet. The BAR project also expanded the area for jackfruit production by 12 hectares in Mahaplag. “Jackfruit is a flagship project in Leyte. We want to help the province focus on crops that can make a dent in the lives of farmers and farming entrepreneurs in poor communities,” said BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar. The agency said the higher yield in jackfruit production raised the income of farmers from P77,000 to P307,800 per hectare. The project also involved training of farmers, which included pruning, correct timing of fruit bagging and use of a biological agent Metarhizium anisopliae as organic pesticide to control fruit fly and fruit borer. The BAR project enabled yield to increase through an integrated nutrient management and establishment of plant nursery. Jackfruit, also known as langka, has significant market potential for processing, similar to the national fruit mango. It is processed into dried jackfruit, jackfruit pastillas, tart and jelly. “Exotic fruits are in demand during Christmas which is a bright prospect for our fruits. In markets abroad, most of the tropical fruits sold are from Thailand and Vietnam. These command a high price,” said Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Council manager and research chief Elvira Torres. “In terms of processing, the volume of fresh fruits that can be absorbed will be increased. When a shared processing facility is established, it can already absorb the expected oversupply of fresh fruits foreseen by 2015,” said Torres. Leyte’s jackfruit products had joined some global trade fairs, including the Asian Seed Congress in Thailand. “Based on our observation, the potential to market EVIARC Sweet, compared to those from Thailand or Vietnam, is good particularly for the vacuum fried jackfruit. The golden yellow color of the pulp is very natural. Its sweetness is already acceptable, and there’s no need to use sweetener,” said Torres. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/01/new-variety-increases-jackfruit-production/
‘Golden rice’ to be available by 2015 By PNA | Posted on November 01, 2013 at 12:01am | 214 views 2
Legazpi City — The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said here over the week that the genetically modified (GM) rice called “golden rice” it is developing to address Vitamin A deficiency especially among children will be available in the market by 2015. PhilRice is a branch of the International Rice Research Institute which studies golden rice. “We are now in the final stages of the research and evaluation of this GM rice variety that earned the ‘golden’ moniker owing to the yellowish color of its grains,” PhilRice Director and Chief Science Research Specialist Antonio Alfonso said during a recent media seminar on rice and nutrition here. This color, Alfonso said, comes from the beta carotene content of the rice that becomes Vitamin A when processed by the human body. Millions of Filipinos do not get enough of this vital nutrient, so this rice has become the symbol of an idea: that genetically engineered crops can be a tool to improve the lives of the poor, he said. Vitamin A deficiency can damage the immune system and decrease the body’s ability to resist infections, resulting in increase in mortality risk from common diseases especially among young children, he said, warning that such deficiency may also result in impaired vision — including night blindness that may lead to permanent, partial, or total blindness if left untreated. Recent data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute gathered through the 7th National Nutrition Survey in 2008 reveals that 15.2 percent of Filipino children aged six months to five years are affected by Vitamin A deficiency, according to Alfonso. Alfonso said Vitamin A deficiency remains a serious public health concern in the Philippines, affecting approximately 1.7 million children under the age of five and 500,000 pregnant and nursing women many of whom are living in far-flung areas. “A rice variety with beta carotene offers a sustainable response to Vitamin A deficiency as rice that is grown in the Philippines is staple food for more than three billion Filipinose,” Alfonso said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/01/golden-rice-to-be-available-by-2015/
Economy Posted on October 31, 2013 11:01:35 PM
Tobacco agency opens food facility THE NATIONAL Tobacco Administration (NTA) opened a P200‐million food processing and trading facility on Wednesday in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, to generate income for tobacco farmers in the area. The NTA Agripinoy Tobacco Farmers Food Processing and Trading Center was set up in line with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agri‐Pinoy project, according to a briefer distributed during the inauguration rites. The facility, which processes pork and poultry, is to assist 7,693 tobacco farmers in Ilocos Region and in two Abra municipalities, Pidigan and San Quintin. NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said in an interview during the launch that the facility is the first under the agency. “We chose Ilocos Sur because it has the biggest production area for tobacco,” Mr. Zaragoza also said. Construction began in May 2012 and ended just this month, Rex P. Teoxon, NTA corporate planning department manager, said in a separate interview at the launch. Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, told the press at the event: “Tobacco farmers won’t have to rely on their once‐a‐year tobacco harvests anymore.” Mr. Zaragoza added: “We have started conceptualizing this more than a year ago. We want to come up with other investment venues that are doable and can be done by our fellow Filipinos.” NTA has decided to establish a pork and poultry facility for the tobacco farmers because there is year‐ round demand for meat and its processed products. “These are the most fast‐selling products among commodities, Mr. Teoxon said. The pork and poultry project consists of an abattoir with a 200‐heads‐per‐day capacity and a chicken dressing plant with a 200 per hour capacity. “We expect to start regular processing by Nov. 16, 2013 and it will be on a daily basis,” Mr. Zaragoza said.
The operation will begin with an initial capacity of 250 hogs per week, and around 40% of the slaughtered hogs or 8,500 kilograms will be processed into pork products. The said facility will be slaughtering hogs twice a week. Sixty percent will be sold as meat, the NTA chief added. Mr. Zaragoza clarified via a text message on Oct. 31 that the facility will be taking in chicken by March 2014 and will be processing 1,600 heads/day. The food processing unit of the facility will be taking in livestock such as pork and poultry in order to churn out value‐added products such as bagnet, Vigan longganisa, bacon, ham, barbecue, tapa, tocino, and others, according to the briefing. NTA emphasized that the suggested retail prices of these products will be comparatively lower than the prevailing prices in line with the Department of Agriculture’s commitment to provide affordable food for the consumers, Mr. Teoxon explained, though he declined to cite exact figures because the prices will vary. About P165 million was alloted to the construction of the infrastructure while P35 million will fund NTA’s acquisition of livestock and feeds. The project is curently managed by the Project Management Office under the Office of the NTA Administrator. Tobacco farmers themselves develop the hogs and chicken for the processing plant, according to Mr. Zaragoza. These farmers have been trained in hog fattening and production since June 2013, according to the briefer. They will later be trained in broiler production for poultry. “We will see more involvement from the tobacco farmers in the future,” said Mr. Teoxon. “However, the training is long, so we couldn’t say as to when they will participate in the food processing. What we want to focus [on] now is their capacity‐building so that they will be equipped.” As October 2013, a total of 4,370 piglets were delivered by Universal Robina Corp., the official supplier of livestock. Each piglet is priced at P3,470, said URC District Account Executive Victoriano C. Magtalas, Jr. said in an interview at the launch. Delivery of fattened hogs will also commence after the food processing plant’s inauguration.According to Mr. Zaragoza, in Ilocos Region, areas planted with tobacco cover around 25,000 hectares. Tobacco can only be harvested once a year, during the months of March and April. The planting season is from mid‐December to January. In Abra, there are 3,000 hectares of land planted with tobacco, according to Esmeralda G. Valera, NTA‐ Abra officer‐in‐charge. ‐‐ E.V. Guadalope
ADB: Declining farm output threatens Asian growth October 31, 2013 8:19 pm by KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO REPORTER The Philippines may be the fastest-growing economy in Asia side-by-side with China, but the country’s “agricultural productivity and extreme weather” changes threatens the country’s opportunity to rise further, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study. In the study titled Food Security Challenges in Asia, ADB Independent Evaluation Department Vinod Thomas said that the slowing of rice production not only in the country, but also in Asia, as well as the effects of climate change puts pressure on food prices, but in a steady pace for the coming years. But these are “not grounds for complacency” as investment in agriculture is falling and that further climate change risk may threaten Asia’s goal to be a growth leader worldwide. “Further high volatility in food prices is likely unless there is a significant response from governments, development institutions and the private sector to markedly increase agricultural productivity across Asia,” Thomas said. According to ADB, Asia has “coped fairly well” during the 2007 to 2012 food crisis, but the more frequent disasters and climate change destructions would be the “biggest threat” to food security for the coming years. “But climate change may well prove to be the biggest threat to food security in the next 10 to 20 years; indeed, it’s already having measurable adverse impacts in Asia,” he added. The study’s main author, Andrew Brubaker, said that factors such as food, energy, financial markets, fuel and fertilizers are linked to the contribution of higher food prices over the past 30 years. “What is changing are the much tighter links between food, energy and financial markets. Fuel and fertilizer costs are driving food prices more than ever, and speculative investment on commodity markets is an increasing source of potential price volatility,” he said. The study emphasized the use of technology to “raise productivity in land and water,” which are essentials for agricultural production. They noted that majority of the farmers in Asia only get less than 80 percent of their total crop investments, as the other 20 percent will eventually be destroyed by pests, droughts, economic constraints as well as the low basic pricing for other crops.
The study further cited that in 2006, 2008 and 2012, prices for basic food commodities like rice, corn and wheat were boosted. In late 2012, rice prices have gone up, but have since decreased slowly by about 10 percent at the start of 2013. Brubaker said that though efforts for agricultural research and international funding for agriculture increased, the main concern is that if the investment would reach targets or be sustainable. “Asia faces a witch’s brew of supply and demand factors in food security. On the supply side are overexploited natural resources, including growing water scarcity, and the increasingly tangible impacts of climate change. On the demand side, Asia is becoming more urban and prosperous, which bring more diversified food requirements,” Brubaker said. The study stated that measures to adapt to climate change will benefit food security in the long run, both for national and household levels. Despite rapid the region’s economic growth, ADB said that Asia still has 67 percent share of the world’s hungry, which would be equal to more or less 552 million to 900 million people who live with less than $1.25 (P53.75) a day. “This raises the question of whether government food policies need rethinking in a less secure world facing the dilemma of high food prices hurting consumers in the short run, but low prices not providing an incentive for farmers to increase productivity,” Thomas said. “At the end of the day, while recognizing the merits of open trade at the global level, the study recommends getting country policy choices right. These include incentives for raising productivity, safety nets for the poor, and predictable trade policies to ensure food security,” he added. http://manilatimes.net/adb-declining-farm-output-threatens-asian-growth/49389/
MGA BALASUBAS NA OPISYAL NG GOBYERNO by Baletodo/Ed Verzola Oct 31, 2013 8:06pm HKT
MANA y MANA. Iyan ang nangyayari sa rehimen ni Benigno Aquino III (BSA3). Mabuti sana kung ang minana ay sa kabutihan. Hindi eh. Ang minana nila ay ang kanya-kanyang pag-angkin sa pera ng taumbayan. Puro kasamaan ang ginagawa ngayon halos lahat ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno! Nagpista at patuloy na nagpipista si BSA3 sa iba’t ibang uri ng pondo ng bayan bilang Pangulo raw kasi dahil nasa kanya na halos lahat ng salapi sa magkakaibang mukha. Presidential Social Fund, Presidential Emergency Fund, Presidential Intelligence Fund, Calamity Fund. Name it, he has it all! Kaya naman, tulad ng kasabihan, “ano ang nakikita at ginagawa ng lider, siya rin ang ginagaya ng kanyang mga tauhan…” Si Aquino, sa kabila ng kanyang walang hanggang paninisi kay dating Pangulo at Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ay nabubulgar ang mga totoong pondo na nasa kanyang bulsa’t pundilyo. Ang huli sa paninisi na ginawa niya kontraArroyo ay sa South Korea. Ang huli sa nabuking na pondo, ang pagka-ubos sa kanyang administrasyon ngayon ng P130 billion na Malampaya Fund! Hindi nagpahuli ang mga government owned and controlled corporations na patuloy rin ang pagpipista sa salaping bayan. Hindi lang ang mga opisyal ng Social Security System ang nagbigay ng multi-milyong bonus sa kanilang sarili. May special bonus naman sa mga opisyal ng Government Social Insurance System, MWSS, Development Bank of the Philippines, Landbank of the Philippines at iba pa. Ewan lang kung may ngipin ang Commission on Audit ni Ms. Grace Pulido-Tan. Pero mukhang “tinahi” na ng Malacañang ang kanyang bibig. Ang Department of Agriculture ay nagiging balasubas tulad ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Asan ang ipinangako ni Sec. Proceso Alcala na masaganang ani at pagbabalik ng estado bilang rice exporter? Sinasabi niya ngayon, kumain na lang tayo ng mais kapalit ng bigas. Sa DENR, yumayaman ang ilang opisyal sa koleksyon nila sa illegal mines.
Nagtangka naman ang DOTC na mangotong ng US$30 million sa Inekon ng Czech Republic. Nauna nang kumita ang LTO sa ilalim ni casino lady Virginia Torres, na mula nang siya ay maupo, nagkandahetot-hetot na ang operasyon ng ahensiya. Hanggang ngayon walang plaka na maibigay sa mga bumili ng sasakyan nila? Ang DAR naman ay kumita na rin kay Janet Lim- Napoles at sa mga may lupa na ayaw maapektuhan ng agrarian reform law. Garapal. Makakapal ang mukha at balasubas sa ugaling balasubas. Sa punto, mukhang hindi sila tumitigil sa kawalanghiyaan dahil alam nila, hindi sila sisitahin man lang ng kanilang BOSS sa MALACAĂ‘ANG! http://www.remate.ph/2013/10/mga-balasubas-na-opisyal-ng-gobyerno/#.Uncu8FOveKE
BIR eyes more taxes from heirs of the dead By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares
MANILA, Philippines - As Filipinos remember their departed loved ones, the taxman is watching. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), under pressure to increase its collections, is aiming to collect more taxes from heirs of people who die, particularly the rich. BIR Commissioner Kim Henares has told a congressional hearing that her agency is targeting families of the dead for more estate and donor’s taxes. She said they are monitoring people who die through the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the obituary and society pages of newspapers. She said the BIR has arranged for the NSO to report to it people who file death certificates. “We want to collect the correct amount of estate taxes because sometimes, people just pass on the properties to their heirs without the payment of taxes,” she added.
She said the law requires the payment of estate taxes before assets are distributed. Henares said that if the properties are passed on to the heirs and the latter do not have sufficient income to acquire them, such properties would be considered as donated assets and subject to donorâ€™s tax. Under the National Internal Revenue Code, the family of a person who has died has to file an estate tax return and pay an estate tax based on the value of the dead personâ€™s assets. If the value is P200,000 or less, the estate is tax-exempt. The tax is five percent of the excess over P200,000 if the value is P200,000 to P500,000; P15,000 plus eight percent of the excess over P500,000 if it is P500,000 to P2 million; and P135,000 plus 11 percent of the excess over P2 million if the value is P2 million to P5 million. If the properties are worth P5 million to P10 million, the tax is P465,000 plus 15 percent of the excess over P5 million, and P1.215 million plus 20 percent of the excess over P10 million if the estate is valued at more than P10 million. Donorâ€™s tax rates are similarly structured. There is no tax if the donated asset is P100,000 or less. The tax starts at two percent of the excess over P100,000 if the donation is P100,000 to P200,000; P2,000 plus four percent of the excess if it is P200,000 to P500,000; P14,000 plus six percent of the excess if it is P500,000 to P1 million; and P44,000 plus eight percent of the excess if it is P1 million to P3 million. If the donated property is worth P3 million to P5 million, the tax is P204,000 plus 10 percent of the amount in excess of P3 million; P404,000 plus 12 percent of the excess if it is P5 million to P10 million; and P1,004,000 plus 15 percent of the excess if it is P10 million or more. The BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have been under increasing pressure to collect more taxes to support the national budget. The BIR has been doing better than the BOC. In his State of the Nation Address last July, President Aquino publicly denounced corruption and inefficiency at the BOC. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/01/1251734/bir-eyes-more-taxes-heirs-dead
Government executives ordered to comment on petition vs P11-billion Iloilo dam Category: Regions 31 Oct 2013 Written by Joel R. San Juan THE Supreme Court on Thursday issued a writ of kalikasan directing government officials to comment on a petition to stop building a “mega” dam in Iloilo. The order, issued by acting Chief Justice Presbitero Velasco, directed seven members of the Cabinet to reply to the petition for mandamus and writ of kalikasan by former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. Syjuco has asked the High Tribunal to issue a temporary environmental protection order enjoining the respondents from proceeding with the construction of an P11.2-billion dam in Iloilo. Syjuco claims that the dam’s construction alone would displace about 17,000 indigenous peoples or around 600 households living in the affected areas. “The indigenous peoples were presented with a promise of a better future and possible benefits. The horrendous environmental impact… were deliberately concealed from them,” Syjuco said. He also alleged the project would cause damages to the environment in the province, citing expert study by Ricarte Salgado Javelosa and similar findings by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and non-governmental group Advocate of Science and Technology for the People. Justice Velasco ordered the Cabinet members to submit their answer to Syjuco’s petition within 10 days. Named respondents in the petition included the following: National Irrigation Administration Administrator Claro Maranan; Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala; National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan; Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes; and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson. Also named were Environmental Management Bureau Regional Office VI Regional Director Jonathan Bulos and Senate President Franklin Drilon. Drilon is the proponent of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II. “Now, therefore, you respondents are hereby required to make a verified return of the writ of kalikasan before this Court within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt hereof as provided in Section 8 of Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases.
The order, which is just procedural and does not yet enjoin the implementation of the project, will be subject to collegial approval of the magistrates when they resume session. The assailed project seeks to upgrade the existing irrigation systems from 22,000 to 31,840 hectares of farmland for a year-round irrigation, supplement the power supply in the province through the building of a 6.6-megawatt hydroelectric power plant, augment the supply of good quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption, mitigate flood, promote ecotourism and generate employment for 17,000 workers during construction. Velasco has been designated as acting chief justice of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio are both on leave. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/regions/22053-government-executives-orderedto-comment-on-petition-vs-p11-billion-iloilo-dam
Consumersâ€™ group seeks TRO against Integrated Transport System Category: Nation 31 Oct 2013 Written by Joel R. San Juan A GROUP of Filipino consumers asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Executive branchâ€™s implementation of the socalled Integrated Transport System (ITS). In a 19-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC), through its counsel Erikson Flores, said Administrative Order (AO) 40 pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 67, both signed by President Aquino, and Memorandum Circular (MC) 2013-004, signed by lawyer Winston Ginez, are unconstitutional. CFC Secretary-General Perfecto Jaime Tagalog argued the said issuances violate the constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process and equal protection of laws under Section 1, Article III of the Constitution. Earlier, a group of commuters also filed a similar petition before the Court questioning the legality of ITS being implemented by the government to address traffic congestion in Metro Manila. As part of his 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, Mr. Aquino signed EO 67, which sought the creation of ITS. Under the plan, two integrated transport terminals that are on a par with international standards will be established with locations in the North and South of Metro Manila, with the objective of providing effective interconnections between different transport modes and services to ensure smooth travel for the commuting public. In line with EO 67, Mr. Aquino issued AO 40 creating the so-called Interim Transport Terminals (ITTs) for the loading and unloading of passengers by buses and AUVs (Asian utility vehicles) plying provincial routes entering Metro Manila, and their efficient transfer to city buses operating within Metro Manila. Section 5 of AO 40 directed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to amend the routes and areas of operation of affected provincial buses and AUVs in order that their routes would end on the ITTs. To implement this, the LTFRB issued MC 2013-004 directing all provincial public-utility buses coming from provinces south of Metro Manila entering via Coastal Road and/or Manila
Expressway to end their routes at the Southwest ITT at Uniwide Coastal Mall in Baclaran, Parañaque. The CFC, however, argued that the issuances were unconstitutional because these were issued without prior notice and a public hearing. The group said the scheme has resulted in “additional financial burden on the part of the commuters as they had to shell out extra money from their pockets.” http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/nation/22061‐consumers‐group‐seeks‐tro‐ against‐integrated‐transport‐system
Economy likely grew above 7% anew in Q3 Category: Economy 31 Oct 2013 Written by Genivi Factao Robust consumer spending and government expenditure for infrastructure likely pushed the domestic economy’s growth to above 7 percent anew in the third quarter of the year. This is according to the Market Call of the First Metro Investment Corp., (FMIC) and University of Asia and the Pacific Capital Markets Research released on Thursday. The study said the latest economic numbers bring continuous optimism that the economy would likely hit another above-7-percent growth in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in the Julyto-September period. This could be the fifth consecutive quarter of fairly rapid growth of the local economy, the research noted. Roberto Juanchito T. Dispo, chairman of the Capital Markets Development Committee of FMIC, said the industry sector probably had the fastest growth anew due to increased gains in electricity sales and industrial output. “Infrastructure spending of the government continued to exceed the 30-percent growth pace, while the peso depreciation vis-à-vis the dollar a year ago should translate in more robust consumer spending and support for residential construction for the second half of the year,” he said. Citing the report, he said the inflation outlook for the rest of the second semester is benign. Rice prices were seen to normalize by October to November as the delayed harvest flows into the markets. Also, crude oil prices are expected to ease in the fourth quarter since oil futures are trading at prices below current levels. With US rates slipping and even more domestic liquidity to be provided by overseas Filipino workers and savers as a consequence of the rapid above-7-percent GDP growth, Treasury-bond (T-bond) yields should follow suit, particularly in the long-end. This is further supported by the strong national government cash position as a result of robust tax-collection gains. “We, thus, keep our year-end forecast of 10-year and 25-year T-bond forecasts at 3.25 percent and 4.75 percent, respectively,” he said. However, on the equities market, valuation indicator showed weaker market performance in the next 12 months.
“With these in mind, we prefer a tactical approach with a long-term investment horizon rather focusing on short-term adjustments to risk events and high-frequency macrodata. We favor equities that can leverage the ‘Philippine macrostory’ and have clear earnings visibility in the next 12 months,” he added. Meanwhile, the financial sector recovered from lackluster trading in August. The pullback in the banks’ share prices since June, accompanied by a still-robust Philippine macroeconomic outlook, made Philippine banks more attractive. “The merger and acquisition speculation drove up banking stocks share prices anticipating robust banking performance throughout 2014,” the report said. Metrobank’s stock price increased after Fitch upgraded the bank’s ratings to “BB+.” Metrobank stock price went up 1.8 percent to close at P83 on September 30 from P81.50 on August 30. Metrobank will market its Basel 3-compliant Tier 2 capital issuance by holding a series of international road shows. To comply with the global Basel 3 requirements, the company announced its plan to issue some $500 million worth of Tier 2 notes. Based on Philippine Stock Exchange quotation reports, Banco de Oro stock price increased by 1.4 percent to close at P75 on September 30 from P74 on August 30. On the other hand, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) posted a 4.8-percent increase to P96.40 from P92.00. BPI had a P15.8-billion net income in the first nine months of the year, up 19 percent from P13.2 billion in the same period last year. BPI President and CEO Cezar Consing said, “We are very pleased with the momentum across our corporate and consumer franchises, and we are well-positioned to take advantage of changing market conditions.” http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/economy/22066‐economy‐likely‐grew‐above‐ 7‐anew‐in‐q3
Production loans help push September lending higher Category: Banking & Finance 31 Oct 2013 Written by Bianca Cuaresma The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Thursday that the banks’ lending portfolio posted sustained growth in September chiefly on the back of robust loans extended to the productive sectors of the economy. Outstanding loans of commercial banks grew by 15.8 percent in September, faster than loan growth the previous month averaging only 14.2 percent. The central bank attributed the faster rise in bank lending to higher credit channeled to production activities. These loans comprise more than four-fifths of the banks’ total loan portfolio. Loans used to finance production activities expanded further to 14.8 percent in September, up from the 13.1-percent rise the previous month. The BSP said the loan expansion helped support the growth momentum of the economy. “The continued broad-based growth in bank lending supports the sustained expansion of the productive sectors of the economy. The BSP will continue to closely monitor credit and liquidity conditions to ensure that the monetary environment remains consistent with its price and financial stability objectives,” the BSP said. Across sectors, real estate, renting and business services got the largest share of the total lending portfolio with P664.63 billion, while the manufacturing sector followed with P583.65 billion and wholesale and retail trade with P495.72 billion. Loans to the fishing sector got the lowest share of the total portfolio with $8.29 billion, followed by loans to the education sector with P11.8 billion and loans to the mining and quarrying sector with P18.217 billion. Consumer loan growth, however, slowed down slightly in September to hit 10.9 percent from the 11.5 percent. This is due to the overall slowdown in the consumer loans subsector. Credit-card loan growth slowed down to 8.7 percent in September, while auto loans also posted a slight decline from 15.9 percent to 15.5 percent. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/banking‐finance/22046‐production‐loans‐help‐ push‐september‐lending‐higher
Senator seeks removal of tax imposition on 13th-month pay, benefits Category: Banking & Finance 31 Oct 2013 Written by Mia M. Gonzalez Another senator has filed a bill seeking to exclude the 13th-month pay and other benefits from the computation of taxable income to strengthen the purchasing power of Filipinos during the Christmas holidays. Sen. Lito Lapid has filed Senate Bill (SB) 1838 which proposed amendments to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 that he believes would spur “robust spending” and foster inclusive growth. Lapid’s bill has the same objectives as SB 452 filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in July. “The rising growth of the Philippine economy as well as the appreciation of the peso’s value may be strengthened and supported by robust consumer spending…. As such, the State should enact measures that will promote household spending,” he said in filing the bill. Lapid said reports have cited the emphasis placed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on the role of household consumption “as a key driver of economic growth.” He said removal of the tax imposition on 13th-month pay and other bonuses, such as Christmas bonuses, released at the end of the year would “empower” households to spend more during the Yuletide season. “This measure creates a more inclusive approach to our country’s ever-growing economy,” Lapid said. Like Recto’s bill, SB 1838 seeks to lift the P30,000-cap on the total amount of 13th-month pay and benefits excluded from computation of taxable income. In filing SB 452, Recto said it is necessary “to cushion the diminishing purchasing power” of an estimated 37.7 million public- and private-sector employees. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/banking‐finance/22044‐senator‐seeks‐removal‐ of‐tax‐imposition‐on‐13th‐month‐pay‐benefits
Papaya King of San Pablo by Zac Sarian November 1, 2013
WRAPPING HARVESTED PAPAYA — Carmelo Ramos (second from left) is the acknowledged Papaya King of San Pablo City with three different papaya plantations in San Pablo City in Laguna. His biggest plantation is in Brgy. Soledad where he grows 12,000 papaya trees consisting of three varieties, namely Sinta, Red Lady and Red Royale from East-West Seed Company. From the Soledad plantation, he harvests an average of 8 tons a week, most of it bought by a big trader in Metro Manila. Here he is overseeing his workers who are wrapping the fruits with newspaper prior to putting them inside plastic crates in his warehouse for for pick up by his buyers. A former seaman who worked as an oiler in a rescue ship that went around the world rescuing vessels in trouble is now the acknowledged Papaya King of San Pablo City. He is 54-year-old Carmelo ‘Milo’ Ramos of Brgy. Soledad, San Pablo City in Laguna. Right now, he has three papaya plantations in three different places in this provincial city where he has planted a total of 18,000 papaya trees of different ages. His currently most productive plantation is in Brgy. Soledad where he has a total of 12,000 trees consisting of three varieties. These include 5,500 Sinta, the hybrid produced by the Institute of Plant Breeding in Los Baños, Red Lady developed in Taiwan, and Red Royale developed by plant breeders of East-West Seed Company. The planting materials are all distributed by EastWest. From the Soledad plantation, he harvests about 8 tons a week, most of which is bought by a big trader from Metro Manila who pays an average of P15 per kilo. The seconds (rejected by the big buyer) are sold to stallholders at Nepa Q-Mart in Quezon City and roadside stalls in Laguna. Ka Milo was a seaman for nine years, enjoying his job because he was able to go around the world. While working at sea, however, what an old lady fortune teller had told him when he was
a young boy was always on his mind. The fortune teller, he said, had told him that his good luck will be found on land and not at sea. Thus, after 9 years as a crew member of the rescue ship, he decided to give up his maritime job and become a farmer in his home barangay. That was in 1999. First, he and a relative planted rambutan trees on land owned by his family. While waiting for the rambutan trees to grow and bear fruit, they decided to plant Sinta papaya which had become popular at that time.
RED ROYALE â€” This is a dwarfish variety of papaya developed by East-West Seed Company that is one of the varieties being grown by Carmelo Ramos in San Pablo City. The first fruits are just a few inches above the surface of the soil. It is highly prolific, yielding oblong fruits. Carmelo buys ready-to-plant seedlings from East-West instead of germinating the seeds himself. He finds it more practical that way. That first papaya venture was an instant success. They harvested no less than 50 tons from the 1,000 Sinta papaya trees they grew. Although the selling price then was only P7 to P8 per kilo, it was very profitable. He estimates that they did not spend more than P100,000 to produce the 50 tons worth P350,000 to P400,000 in a matter of two years. Since then, Ka Milo has always been planting papaya. After new varieties like Red Lady and Red Royale have appeared on the market, he did not hesitate to try them in his plantations. Aside from making money for himself, Ka Milo is providing a lucrative source of income for young men who work for him as pickers of the ripening fruits. As soon as the fruits show signs of color break (a portion of the skin becomes yellow), the fruits are harvested. This is to prevent the fruits from being damaged by fruitfly. As many as 15 workers are hired to harvest the fruits each time. After doing the harvesting, they wrap each fruit with old newspaper, load them in a trailer for delivery to Miloâ€™s warehouse
where the buyers pick up their requirements. Milo said that the workers are P250 per half day of work. Milo shows that one need not own every land that he cultivates. There are many farms that are for rent. Milo, for instance, rents the 6-hectare Soledad plantation for only P5,000 per year per hectare. He said that the owner is a friend who owns a lot of farm lands. Being a good friend, he can get that for practically a song. The term is good for at least two years. What is good about using rented land for papaya production is that one can relocate his plantation every so often. The advantage is that there is less possibility of disease prevalence when every now and then a new site is used for growing papaya. There is no build up of viruses and other disease organisms, for instance.
INSPECTING HIS SINTA PAPAYA â€” Photo shows Carmelo Ramos, the Papaya King of San Pablo, posing with his fruitful Sinta papaya, one of the three varieties he is growing in his Brgy. Soledad plantation. Sinta is a hybrid produced by the Institute of Plant Breeding at UP Los BaĂąos. It is a prolific hybrid that remains a current favorite of growers in Luzon. It has yellow flesh that is sweet. It is claimed to be tolerant to papaya ring spot virus. Ka Milo is happy with papaya because the gestation period is quite short. For instance, the papaya trees from which he is harvesting a bumper crop in Brgy. Soledad were planted in December 2012 through the following January. By the following September, he already started harvesting from them. And he expects to make a good harvest for at least 15 months from the first harvest. Right now, he is already readying a new plantation that will take over the production from his Soledad plantation. This early, he has placed an order of a few thousand ready-to-plant seedlings from East-West Seed. Because he orders by the volume, he is also given a good discount.
Mrs. Ramos, the former Maria Victoria Gonzales, is handling the finances of the farm. She takes care of the income as well as the payroll for the workers. Besides his papaya project, Milo is also involved in buying fruits of rambutan and lanzones in partnership with his brother-in-law. He said his brother-in-law, Ruben Gonzales, is a very hard working guy who takes care most of the chores of contracting the buying of fruits from other plantation owners. Even before the flowers of the fruit trees come out, they might have already contracted to buy the harvest. Most of the time, they make money but there are also times when they only break even or even lose money. But that is the reality in the business, according to Milo. http://www.mb.com.ph/papaya-king-of-san-pablo/
Mandatory support for triplets sought By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Lawmakers are seeking mandatory government support for triplets, quadruplets and other high order multiple births to assist parents who are not economically prepared to raise them. Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Bill 2613 or the proposed “Multiple Births Support Law of 2013,” which they said is in keeping with the constitutional provision that the state shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all people, particularly to the underprivileged sick, elderly, disabled, women and children. “Children of multiple births also means additional financial burden to the parents, doubling or tripling the expenses for every child as they grow older, and more so if they have disabilities,” Colmenares said. “There is a need to extend not only maternity leave benefits, but also paternity leave benefits, for both parents to help the children adjust to their predicament, and even the parents themselves,” he added. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/01/1251752/mandatory‐support‐triplets‐sought
Bill prohibiting parking fees in malls pushed by Ben Rosario November 1, 2013
Despite Congress inaction in nearly two decades, the bill seeking to prohibit shopping malls and other commercial establishments from collecting fees for vehicle parking has been re-filed in the 16th Congress. YACAP Partylist Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez aired hopes that this time, her congressional colleagues might act on measures that will protect the interest of consumers against alleged excess fees committed by business owners. Lopez authored House Bill 592 which imposes the provision of free and adequate parking spaces for customers in all shopping malls, markets, schools, hospitals and other commercial establishments in the country. Similar bills have been filed in nearly six past Congresses but all never surpassed committee level. In the 14th and 15th Congress, the Committee on Trade which was tasked to deliberate on bills prohibiting vehicle parking fees conducted one or two hearings for such measures Lopez said the provision for parking of vehicles is one concern that affects the lives of consumers. “Most establishments and business centers charge and collect parking fees for the use of their parking areas notwithstanding the fact that the reason for the use of their parking area is that the car owner intends, in general, to conduct business and in particular, to patronize the products or services marketed thereat,” she said.Lopez also protested the fine print provisions indicated in parking tickets that clears parking operators any liability in case of loss or damage of personal property in a parked vehicle.Ever Gotesco Mall in Quezon City give customers free parking spaces while Sta. Lucia Mall in Taguig do not charge vehicle owners who spend a minimum P500 for any merchandise or services. A QC councilor has claimed that an old QC ordinance that authorized the commercialization of the Araneta Center provides that its owners, the family of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, allocate a certain percentage of the whole area for free vehicle parking. “Apparently, this ordinance has been repealed,” the local legislator who refused to be identified said. Under HB 592, violators of the free parking provision will pay a fine of P50,000 and not more than P100,000. They also face six months to one year imprisonment. http://www.mb.com.ph/bill‐prohibiting‐parking‐fees‐in‐malls‐pushed/
PH among countries with high TB cases by Jenny F. Manongdo November 1, 2013
The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region urged member states to increase its investments in fighting tuberculosis even as most countries are on track in achieving the Millennium Development Goal 6 which targets the dramatic reduction of tuberculosis incidences by 2015. “The burden of tuberculosis in our Region is still unacceptably high. We need political commitment, bold investments and actions to sustain our progress,” WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-Soo said in an official statement. The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the disease Tuberculosis (TB) that affects the lungs and is transmitted from one person to another when an infected person coughs or sneezes. WHO observed that TB tends to concentrate in high-risk and vulnerable populations, such as migrants, the elderly and the poor. The Philippines is among the 22 high-burden TB countries that account for more than 80 percent of the world’s cases. The other three countires in the Western Pacific Region in this category are Cambodia, China and Viet Nam, the global health body noted. The WHO said Philippines and these other three countries account for 93 percent of the cases in the Region. “The expansion of Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS)—the TB control approach launched by WHO in 1995—has proven very successful and cost-effective. The treatment strategy was implemented in all countries in the Region by 2005. This contributed to the achievement of the intermediate TB control targets of 70 percent case detection, successful treatment of 85 percent of cases and reaching 100 percent of the population with DOTS access,” the WHO added. In the Western Pacific Region, about 1.4 million people are diagnosed with TB annually, and 130 000 people die each year. WHO experts are also worried over the rise of drug-resistant TB with an estimated 78,000 multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients diagnosed annually. http://www.mb.com.ph/ph‐among‐countries‐with‐high‐tb‐cases/
LGUs urged: Enforce ban on plastic bags by Chito A. Chavez November 1, 2013 (updated)
Manila, Philippines - An environmental group yesterday urged local government units (LGUs) to enforce the regulation banning the use of plastics in their areas, even as it noted that tons of garbage, including non-biodegradable ones, piled up in cemeteries and roads leading to memorial parks. Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation and head of the EcoWaste Coalition Task Force on Plastics, appealed as vendors and stores in Quezon City and other cities banning their use, resorted to using plastic bags to pack the goods they sell to the huge crowd that trooped to the cemeteries for the All Saints ‘Day and All Souls’ Day celebrations. “The mammoth gathering of people in public and private cemeteries during Undas should not be used to justify the laid-back enforcement of key environmental measures such as LGU ordinances banning plastic bags,” Mendoza said. “We hope that concerned LGUs will take extra steps to ensure that ordinances are not relegated to the trash bins as the age-old practice of remembering the dead is observed,” she added. She urged vendors and other traders to cooperate and observe the restrictions on the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers, citing that these laws are meant not only to protect nature but to minimize the effects of climate change. EcoWaste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation and green groups hailed the local ordinances as vital measures to trim down the burgeoning solid waste and the subsequent disposal costs, avert flood woes, reduce greenhouse gases and instill environmental awareness and responsibility among businesses and citizens. http://www.mb.com.ph/lgus‐urged‐enforce‐ban‐on‐plastic‐bags/
BOC misses September collection goal 9-month revenues of P224.45B is 10% off target By Michelle V. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:34 pm | Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon INQUIRER FILE PHOTO The Bureau of Customs again fell short of its monthly collection target in September, staying further off track of its full-year revenue goal. Nonetheless, collections for the month marked a double-digit pace of increase from a year ago on the back of latest measures attempting to reform the bureau, which has been highly criticized for corruption and its failure to curb smuggling. The Department of Finance reported Thursday that the BOC collected P25.84 billion in September, short by 11.8 percent of its goal for the month. However, the collection in September was up by 11.3 percent from September last year. It was the third consecutive month that the BOC registered a double-digit pace of increase in monthly collection compared to the previous yearâ€™s levels. The faster pace of increase came amid an ongoing reorganization in the agency. In particular, new deputy commissioners were appointed and some port collectors were reassigned to research jobs. Moreover, the agency is also reviewing profiles of employees to determine whether they are fit for their current posts or have to be reassigned as well. The latest collection performance brought the BOCâ€™s total collections for the first three quarters of the year to P224.45 billion, short by 10.3 percent of its goal for the period. The collection for January to September, however, was up 5.1 percent from last year.
The BOC was criticized by President Aquino during his latest State-of-the-Nation Address in July as one of the most corrupt agencies that his administration intended to reform. An earlier proposal to abolish the BOC and create a new one was raised, but questions about the legality of such a move prompted the administration to simply attempt at reorganizing the agency. For this year, the BOC is tasked to collect P340 billion, which is 17-percent higher than its collections last year. Customs officials had said that the full-year goal was difficult, if not impossible, to achieve given the monthly collection shortfalls. Some officials blamed lower-than-target imports as well as declining tariffs on imported goods from Southeast Asia for the collection shortfalls. Under a regional trade agreement, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are continually reducing tariffs on goods coming from member countries until the taxes on most goods reach zero by 2015. However, observers said there was a huge room to boost collection of the BOC given the substantial leakages arising from smuggling. According to estimates, the government loses about P200 billion in potential revenue collection a year due to smuggling. http://business.inquirer.net/150243/boc‐misses‐september‐collection‐goal
Microinsurance seminar by Camcer Ordonez Imam October 31, 2013 Cagayan De Oro City — The Department of Finance; National Credit Council (DOF-NCC) and the Insurance Commission (IC) earlier staged a public seminar on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Microinsurance (ADReM), here. The seminar aimed to inform microinsurance providers and policy holders about ADReM objectives and procedures. This is the second leg of a nationwide campaign to implement the provisions of the ADReM Framework, launched in October, 2012 by a technical working group led by the DOF-NCC and the IC, with key representatives from the industry as members and with technical support from the German Development Cooperation Regulatory Framework Promotion of Pro-poor Insurance Markets in Asia program (GI-RFPI Asia), Mr. Gil Beltran, Department of Finance undersecretary said. Beltran said microinsurance responds to the needs and paying capacities of the low-income sector. Products have affordable premiums, the benefits correspond to the risks, and claims settlement is fast. “Dispute resolution using methods from conventional insurance will not be appropriate as these could incur high expenses and delays in judicial processes,” he said. IC Deputy Commissioner George Florendo said “the ADReM will further promote microinsurance through the principles of LAPET, or Least-cost, Accessible, Practical, Effectively and Timely resolution of disputes.” He said: “This is a collaboration of the government with the insurance industry to ensure that we protect microinsurance consumers.” http://www.mb.com.ph/microinsurance‐seminar/
Bank lending grows 16% By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The country saw a faster rise in bank lending in September on the back of a growing economy. Lending by universal and commercial banks, net of bank placements in the central bank, jumped 16 percent to P3.5 trillion in September from P3.004 trillion in the same month last year. The growth rate was higher than Augustâ€™s 14.2 percent and Julyâ€™s 12.3 percent, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said. Together with placements with the BSP, lending went up 14.6 percent to P3.736 trillion in September from P3.26 trillion last year. This is faster than the 13 percent expansion seen the previous month. The central bank noted loans extended for production activities continued to make up four-fifths of that total credit in September. Loans for production activities rose 14.8 percent to P3.142 trillion from P2.736 trillion last year.
These primarily went to real estate (P664.630 billion), manufacturing (P583.647 billion), wholesale and retail trade (P495.717 billion), electricity, gas and water (P340.780 billion), and financial intermediation (P293.780 billion) activities. At the same time, consumer loans grew 10.9 percent to P272.956 billion in September from P246.101 billion a year ago. Credit card loans made up bulk of these at P151.076 billion, followed by auto loans (P91.801 billion), and others (P30.078 billion). “The continued broad-based growth in bank lending supports the sustained expansion of the productive sectors of the economy,” the BSP said. “Going forward, the BSP will continue to closely monitor credit and liquidity conditions to ensure that the monetary environment remains consistent with its price and financial stability objectives,” the BSP added. The Philippine economy has expanded 7.6 percent in the first half, one of the fastest in the region. Moreover, this is already higher than the government’s six to seven percent target growth rate for this year. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/01/1251603/bank‐lending‐grows‐16
DTI says 2013 exports to match last year’s record By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has expressed confidence the value of merchandise exports this year to at least match last year’s $51.994 billion, even as the electronics industry has slashed its growth projection for shipments. The DTI’s Bureau of Export Trade Promotion director Senen Perlada told reporters yesterday that while the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) has cut its electronic exports projections for the year the department expects the value of merchandise exports by yearend to at least match 2012’s level given the positive performance of nonelectronic shipments. “That (SEIPI’s revised projection) would weigh down merchandise exports, however we are still encouraged by the fact that non-electronics is buoying merchandise exports and has grown 10.3 percent (in the) January to August (period) this year,” he said. “If this trend continues for the rest of the year, and with non-electronics now making up more than half of merchandise exports, we can expect merchandise exports to have at least a flat growth this year, if not a slight positive growth,” he added.
The SEIPI announced earlier this month that it has revised its forecast and now expects outbound shipments of electronic products to decline 10 to 12 percent this year from last year’s $22.557 billion. The group initially expected electronic exports to grow five percent this year compared to a year ago. It slashed its projections citing the weak performance of electronics exports. For the January to August period, the value of electronic exports amounted to $13.664 billion, down 13 percent from the $15.707 billion in the same period last year. Electronics products account for the bulk of the country’s merchandise exports. As a result, receipts from merchandise exports for the eight month period also posted a 0.8 percent decline to $35.003 billion from the $35.297 billion in the same period last year. Earlier, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the group likewise expects merchandise exports to post flat growth this year from a year ago. Perlada said all the developments will be factored into the assumptions for the new Philippine Export Development Plan for 2014 to 2016. “That is when we will adjust and come up with our new targets,” he said. “The silver lining is that we are getting less dependent on electronics and somehow diversifying the base of our export products,” he added. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/01/1251606/dti‐says‐2013‐exports‐match‐last‐years‐record
BPI ties up with Smart for mobile banking promo By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 1, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Bank of the Philippine Islands, through its mobile banking platform BPI Express Mobile, and Smart Communications Inc. have launched a mobile banking prepaid reloading promo that gives BPI clients a chance to win Smart Money cash credits. Officially launched at the Smart Jump Experience Center in SM Megamall Cyberzone, the “Load Smart and Win” promo seeks to reward loyal users of BPI Express Mobile’s SMS-based mobile banking through Smart. There will be three monthly draws wherein 75 clients get a chance to win P1,000 in Smart Money cash credits. Furthermore, there will be 10 lucky winners of P10,000 in Smart Money cash credits in the grand draw. BPI clients who are Smart and Talk ‘N Text subscribers can earn entries by simply reloading any Smart or Talk ‘N Text prepaid SIM using BPI’s SMS-based mobile banking through Smart. During each covered date, clients will earn one electronic raffle number for every prepaid reload transaction they make regardless of the amount loaded. All entries generated during each covered date will be included in their corresponding raffle draws. “This partnership of BPI with Smart solidifies our commitment to continuously offer fast, secure, and easy mobile banking to our mutual clients. Adding to this, we want to make even the most basic of transactions, in this case prepaid reloading, extraordinary by rewarding our clients with exciting prizes,” said Frederick Faustino, BPI AVP for mobile banking channel. “Through this promo, mobile banking services through the BPI-Smart partnership will become more than just a regular transaction – It will be rewarding. Imagine winning Smart Money cash by simply reloading your or your friends’ prepaid numbers! We want consumers to realize that they get more than just a reliable service when they reload with us. This promo is both Smart and BPI’s way of rewarding our customers for their continuous patronage of our service,” said Lawrence Ferrer, Smart’s head of financial services. With BPI Express Mobile’s SMS-based mobile banking through Smart, BPI clients who are Smart subscribers can do their banking transactions on the go. Clients can do balance inquiry, funds transfers, bills payment, prepaid reloading, and Smart Money transfers directly from their mobile phones. Backed by the widest network coverage in the country, Smart enables BPI’s clients to do their essential banking transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The promo will run from Oct. 15 to Jan. 15, 2014. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/01/1251609/bpi‐ties‐smart‐mobile‐banking‐promo
Gains in gender, credit and competitiveness rating by Florangel Rosario Braid November 1, 2013 After the recent calamities and disputes over the Priority Development Fund, and later the Disbursement Acceleration Program, the announcement of some good news is much welcomed. These are our improved ranking in three areas – as Asia’s best performing country in closing the gender disparity; upgraded credit rating from Moody’s; and an increase by 30 notches in the survey on ease in doing business. For this column, I would like to focus on the first – that the country now ranks fifth (from No. 8 last year) among 136 countries in the Global Gender Gap report of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report measured the global gender inequality gap in four areas – economic participation and opportunity, salaries, participation and highly skilled employment; education – access to basic and higher levels of education; political empowerment – representation in decision-making structures; and health and survival – life expectancy and sex ratio. The Asia-Pacific region is reported to have closed 67% of its gender gap but still lags behind the other regions of the world except the Middle East and North Africa. This report, which is the 8th annual edition, shows that this year, 96% of the health and survival gender gap had been closed. This is the only one of the four pillars that had widened since 2006 when the first WEF survey was undertaken. It is interesting to note that while past global trends had consistently shown limited gains in women’s rights in politics and decision-making, the 2013 survey reported that 86 countries had in fact shown improvement in this area. It is also in this field where these countries had demonstrated the greatest progress. Iceland has the narrowest gender gap followed by Finland, Norway, and Sweden. But while the local authorities are elated by the news, some are “puzzled,” according to Rina David, who cites the Philippine Commission for Women which notes that the index does not reflect overall development levels which are still wanting, as well as Dr. Junice Melgar, executive director of Likhaan, an NGO, who cites disturbing patterns such as how Filipino women continue to suffer the consequences of discrimination. Some examples include the “obstruction of enjoyment of human and sexual and reproductive rights”; and the state of existing services – their “quality and affordability, and how the proximity of health facilities continue to constrain our poor and marginalized women from enjoying their rights.” Now that the spotlight is on us, let us endeavor to use the recognition given by the WEF to remind policy makers and other sectors that are responsible in the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women about the need to infuse more creativity and relevance in translating this “Bill of Rights for Women.” Among these rights are: Protection from all forms of violence.
Participation and representation. Equal treatment before the law. Equal access and elimination of discrimination against women in education, scholarships, and training. Equal participation in sports. Non-discrimination in employment in the military, police, and similar services. Non-discrimination and non-derogatory portrayal of women in media and film. Comprehensive health services and health information and education, leave benefits. Equal rights in all matters related to marriage and family relations. The Magna Carta likewise guarantees the civil, political, and economic rights of the marginalized sectors. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mb.com.ph/gains‐in‐gender‐credit‐and‐competitiveness‐rating/
Editorial: November is ‘Filipino Values Month’ October 31, 2013 November is “Filipino Values Month.” It seeks to promote greater consciousness of values that are uniquely and positively Filipino – love of God and country, strong family ties, care and respect for elders, diligence, patience, loyalty, hospitality, bayanihan, generosity, regard for personal honor and dignity. The observance is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 479 dated October 7, 1994. Activities to celebrate the event include poster-making, slogan contests, fun run, lectures, cooking tilts, dance contests, and essay writing in schools. Values are the roots of traditions that Filipinos find important in their day-to-day events. They are instilled early in life, are deeply ingrained, and are resistant to change. They are developed from people’s direct experiences with others who are important to them, such as parents, teachers, friends, and classmates. The family is at the forefront of instilling values among Filipino youth, with the home as the place for nurturing and strengthening values. Schools reinforce these values by providing opportunities for the youth to observe the values that they have imbibed at home and in their interactions with peers and superiors. We congratulate the Department of Education headed by Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro and Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, for working together to instill the importance of the time-honored values and culture that make us distinct as a people in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY! http://www.mb.com.ph/editorial‐november‐is‐filipino‐values‐month/
Phl reports accelerated money supply growth in Sept. (philstar.com) | Updated October 31, 2013 - 7:00pm MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Money supply growth accelerated in September due to the transfer of cash from the central bank's special deposit accounts (SDA) to time deposits in banks, the country's central bank said today. The domestic liquidity or M3 increased by 31 percent at the end of September to reach P6.2 trillion ($143.85 billion), an all time high, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said. This was faster than the 30.9-percent growth in August. M3, the broadest measure of money, includes currencies in circulation, bank deposits and money market funds among other highly liquid assets. "Money supply growth was driven largely by the sustained expansion in domestic claims, or credits to the domestic economy... . in line with faster growth in bank lending,"the BSP said in a statement. "The fine-tuning of the SDA facility is aimed at encouraging financial institutions to deploy their funds in the domestic financial markets and to help finance economic activity,"the BSP said. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said growth in SDAs may stay elevated until late 2014 as the economy adjusts to the availability of extra funds that left SDAs. However, these extra funds are not expected to push consumer prices up since most of the cash will likely find their way into low-risk investments, in line with the risk-profile of SDA investors. Growth in bank lending in September also contributed to the spike in M3 growth for the month. Loans extended by universal and commercial banks grew by 15.8 percent in September, higher than the 14.2-percent growth registered in August. "The continued broad-based growth in bank lending supports the sustained expansion of the productive sectors of the economy,"the BSP said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/10/31/1251590/phl‐reports‐accelerated‐money‐supply‐ growth‐sept.
Health benefits of dark chocolate by Nelly Favis-Villafuerte November 1, 2013 Who doesn’t love to nibble chocolate? All kinds of chocolate – dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. When we were children, chocolates were favorite giveaways to us of our relatives and family friends. As children, we never cared to know about the health benefits of chocolate. We just love to go on a ‘chocolate binge.’ But as we get older and we feel the aches and pains of aging, we get to be more health-conscious. We spend more time educating ourselves with healthy foods and fitness habits. We also become more selective with our foods; and start patronizing healthy foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. Hoping that we stay strong and healthy for a long time. Dark chocolate is one healthy food we should take – but in moderation. Unfortunately, not many of us know that dark chocolate is healthy food. In our younger years, we were warned by our older folks that chocolates cause tooth cavities and make us fat. One may ask: What makes chocolate darker than other chocolates? It’s the cocoa content. The more cocoa content, the darker the chocolate. This is the reason why dark chocolate bars (100 grams) have in their cover labels the cocoa content like 90% cocoa (Supreme dark) or 85% cocoa or 70% cocoa or other indications of lower cocoa content. Let me share other interesting information about dark chocolate most of which are found in the internet: Do you know that chocolate is derived from the seed of the cocoa tree by the Mayans as early as the 6th century. Chocolate played a special role in religious and royal events in both the Mayan and Aztec culture; Do you know that today, Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa with Côte d’Ivoire growing almost half of it. Our country also exports some cocoa-based products; There was a study conducted at the University of Cologne, Germany of forty-four (44) adults (24 women, 20 men), ages 56-73 who had mild high blood pressure (hypertension) or borderline blood pressure milder than hypertension, who were not taking blood pressure drugs or nutritional supplements. It was found out after eighteen (18) weeks of taking thirty (30) calorie dose (one group took white chocolate while the other took chocolate with chocolate liquor or cocoa) that the group who took dark chocolate were benefited more. The systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lowered by 3-5 counts on the average. There was no improvement in the white chocolate group. This study was reported in the August 27 issue of the American Medical Association.
Do you know that dark chocolate has a high level of epicatechin, a special healthy compound found in chocolates. On the other hand, milk chocolates have the lowest epicatechin levels of all chocolates. In another study in Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition research in Rome, it was found out that dark chocolate (but not milk chocolate or not dark chocolate eaten with milk) is a powerful antioxidant. It was also found out that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate; Do you know that eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate slows down the signs of aging and protects us from many kinds of cancer; Do you know that dark chocolates as well as other foods like many vegetables and fruits contain powerful antioxidant flavonoids (referred to at Vitamin P) that are good for the brain. Says Dr. Small, Director of the University of California – Los Angeles Longevity Center: “As the brain ages, it undergoes wear and tear in what’s called oxidative stress,” he notes. “And these antioxidants in our foods actually protect the brain from that kind of aging wear and tear.” Do you know that cocoa-based foods like dark chocolate boosts our thinking and memory performance, as well as something called “neurovascular coupling” — where blood flow in the brain changes in response to brain activity — This plays a key role in Alzheimer’s and other mental-health conditions.” This is a recent Harvard study published in a recent issue of the journal Neurology. In short, Harvard researchers found out that chocolate (like drinking highpotency cocoa) protects us against Alzheimer’s disease; Do you know that eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Yes, dark chocolate is good for our heart; Do you know that dark chocolate has a pleasant effect on our moods. A study shows “that chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical our brain creates when we feel like we’re falling in love. PEA encourages our brain to release endorphins – so eating dark chocolate will make us happier;” Do you know that a 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains only 27 mg. of caffeine, a mild stimulant – compared to the 200 mg. found in an eight ounce of coffee; Do you know that dark chocolate helps control blood sugar. It protects us against type 2 diabetes. Also, the flavonoids in dark chocolate helps us regain the use of our body’s insulin. Type 2 diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, primarily caused by obesity. Ninety (90%) percent of diabetes cases fall under Type 2 diabetes characterized by excessive thirst, frequent urination and constant hunger; Do you know that dark chocolate contains theobromine which has been shown to harden tooth enamel thus lowering our risk of getting cavities assuming of course that we also practise dental hygiene;
Do you know that dark chocolate suppresses cough. No wonder people suffering from acid reflux always bring with them dark chocolate to suppress acid reflux attacks. Acid reflux causes symptoms like burning chest pain called heartburn. Yes, let’s nibble dark chocolate – in moderation. The higher the cocoa level of dark chocolate, the more healthy it is. Me, I take only dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content. My taste buds cannot take the bitter taste of dark chocolate having more than 70% of cocoa content. The day dark chocolate will use ingredients that are wholly organic like organic cocoa and organic sugar (like coconut sugar) will be a day of great celebration by organic health-conscious consumers. Have a joyful day! http://www.mb.com.ph/health‐benefits‐of‐dark‐chocolate/
Big dip SEARCH FOR TRUTH By Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 31, 2013 - 12:00am 1 4 googleplus0 0 The latest Pulse Asia survey shows that 48% of respondents consider fighting graft and corruption as a top priority. It is up 17% points from the previous survey. The appreciation for the government’s anti-corruption initiatives dropped from 59% to 47%. This puts into doubt the 79% approval rating of the President reported by Pulse Asia for its September survey. There’s also a big difference from the +49 approval rating reflected by Social Weather Stations (SWS). The credibility of Pulse Asia is again in question, since relatives of the President are reportedly co-owners of the firm. The Administration’s rating on fighting criminality also went down. Estrada thinks big A new Chinatown in Binondo is on the drawing boards of Mayor Joseph Estrada’s grand plan to upgrade and improve Manila. It will have new and lively trading centers, dining kiosks and a strong security force. Mayor Estrada got his new Chinatown vision during his recent visit to Yokohama’s Chinatown. The Mayor has also approved the reclamation of 300 hectares of Manila Bay. Mayor Estrada is working double time as he plans to step down after 3 years. Good job The barangay elections have been finished except in Bohol and Zamboanga, with a small number of incidents of election-related violence, numbering only 34 in the country’s 43,000 barangays. The barangay elections proved it is still easy to return to manual voting. Once again in 2013, charges of fraud in the automated election system have been raised. We should consider manual voting for 2016. The TV reports showed once again that senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD) had difficulty climbing to precincts in 2nd and 3rd floors. VP Binay called for implementation of reforms for seniors and PWDs by 2016.
The Philippines is only one of a handful of country holding elections at the lowest village level. Despite a few reported cases of misuse of barangay funds, barangays have generally been effective in solving problems on a local level. Barangay halls, multipurpose centers, school repairs, drainage canals, and other minor infrastructure projects have been completed by barangay officials. Distribution of farm kits and medical kits should be done through barangays. Congratulations and thank you to 500,000 teachers who served on the Board of Election Tellers (BETs). P-Noy's TV address The President delivered a 10-minute TV address on the issue of the pork barrel on Wednesday night. The President’s credibility can be restored by announcing the following: 1. Total abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) without any realignment; 2. Total abolition of the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAF) and return the ‘savings’ to the original agencies given in the General Appropriations Act (GAA); 3. No releases of funds to members of Congress; 4. Relieve 3 Cabinet members whose offices were involved with Napoles’ non-governmental organizations (NGOs); 5. Release the list of beneficiaries of the Malampaya Fund and the President’s Social Fund (PSF); 6. Ask the Senate to increase the Calamity Fund to P20 billion; 7. Assign Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) engineering brigades to Bohol and Zamboanga. Rep. Yap's design Rep. Arthur Yap (Bohol, 3rd District) has come out with a housing design made of local bamboo material. The house will be 16-20 square meters each. Rep. Yap is also pushing for the creation of a Visayas Rehabilitation Commission, with sufficient funding to handle the reconstruction of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.
He estimates that it will take 5 years to complete the work. 17,000 families have been affected by the earthquake. De Lima OKs Jinggoy's trip Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that there will be no hold order for Senator Jinggoy Estrada for his planned trip to the US within the next few days. De Lima said that as long as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not cancelled Jinggoy’s passport, he can still leave. Jinggoy promised to return in time for the resumption of Senate sessions on Nov. 18, 2013. The DFA has given Jinggoy and 36 others five days to give their comment on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for cancellation of passports. Jinggoy has asked for an extension of time to answer the DFA’s request. COA rips NFA The Commission on Audit (COA) reports that the government over-imported more than 2 million metric tons of rice causing total losses to the National Food Authority (NFA) of P90 billion. This has happened time and again in the past, but no NFA officials have been charged and convicted. Meanwhile, Malacañang announced it is investigating the case of NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag, who is an American citizen. He is a former staff of then Congressman Proceso Alcala. NPA steps up attacks Two hundred New People’s Army (NPA) rebels attacked a piggery farm in Libona, Bukidnon. Recently, NPA rebels kidnapped 6 candidates for barangay positions in Agusan Del Sur. NPAs are active also in Compostela Valley, Surigao Del Sur, Negros Oriental, the Davao provinces, Sorsogon, Albay, and Masbate. The AFP/PNP appears helpless in preventing the NPA attacks. TIDBITS: President Aquino visited the tombs of his parents at Manila Memorial Park yesterday. Twenty-seven schools are totally destroyed in Bohol; 33 others are damaged. DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman admitted in a TV interview that more than 50,000 are still in evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.
LWUA Administrator Rene Villa admitted that he served as legal counsel of Janet Lim-Napoles for 4 years. Atty. Lorna Kapunan has withdrawn as lawyer of Janet Lim-Napoles, only in the illegal detention case. Northern Police District (NPD) Chief Inspector Romeo Ricalde, Jr., 40, was shot dead near his house in Barangay Pansol, Quezon City. The death toll of the Bohol earthquake is now at 222. Happy Birthday greetings to Ka Eduardo Manalo, Rep. Noli Fuentebella and to Armida SiguionReyna. Condolence to Dr. Nelson Bunye on the death of his wife in Beijing, China. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/10/31/1251412/big‐dip
Gov’t trims GOCC subsidies to P1.64B in Sept. by Chino Leyco November 1, 2013 The Aquino administration’s expenses in subsidizing the operations of some state-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) dropped by almost half in September this year, government document showed. Data from the Bureau of Treasury showed yesterday that the national government spent P1.64 billion in subsidies in September this year, 47 percent lower compared with P3.1 billion in the same month last year. In September, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) were the three biggest recipients of state subsidies. The national government’s financial aid extended to NEA, SSS and PDIC reached P531 million, P481 million and P314 million, respectively. Other major recipients of state subsidies during the month were the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (P65 million), National Kidney and Transplant Institute (P51 million), Lung Center of the Philippines (P43 million) and National Dairy Authority (P33 million). Further, recipients include the Development Academy of the Philippines (P26 million), Philippine Children’s Medical Center (P25 million), Cultural Center of the Philippines CCP (P24 million), Philippine Heart Center (P16 million), and Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (P10 million).In January to September, state subsidies to GOCCs amounted to P35.4 billion, higher by 92 percent year-on-year from P18.47 billion. For this year, the national government has allocated P42.79 billion for its subsidies for stateowned companies.In 2012, the national government spent P42.15 billion in subsidies, higher by 33 percent compared with P31.76 billion program for the year. However, total subsidies last year dropped by 21.5 percent compared with P53.7 billion spent in 2011. The biggest recipient of government subsidies in 2012 was the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or commonly known as PhilHealth with P14.07 billion. State-owned firms that enjoyed hefty financial assistance from the national government in 2012 were cash-strapped National Food Authority with P7.66 billion, the National Electrification Administration with P4.95 billion and the National Irrigation Administration with P2.81 billion. http://www.mb.com.ph/govt‐trims‐gocc‐subsidies‐to‐p1‐64b‐in‐sept/
Public debt increases to P5.642 trillion by Chino Leyco November 1, 2013 The national government outstanding debt increased by P461.4 billion in August this year due to higher domestic borrowings. Data from the Bureau of Treasury showed yesterday that the national government’s debt increased by 9 percent year-on-year as of August to P5.642 trillion from P5.181 trillion. The increase in total debts was primary due to a 16 percent spike in domestic obligations, which stood at P3.647 trillion as of August from P3.135 trillion in the same period last year. The treasury bureau said that the increase was in line with government’s bias towards domestic financing to lessen its exposure to foreign exchange risks. On the other hand, the national government’s foreign debt at end-August declined by 2.5 percent to P1.994 trillion from P2.045 trillion a year ago. Month-on-month, the national government debt grew by 3.3 percent from the end-July level. Of the total debt, 64.6 percent was from local creditors while the remaining 35.4 percent was sourced from domestic creditors. In August, the national government domestic debt rose 4.2 percent from the recorded end-July level due a net issuance of 147 billion in Retail Treasury Bonds which aims to mobilize savings and take advantage of the domestic market’s immense liquidity. On the other hand, external debt increased month-on-month due to currency adjustments by 1.7 percent, equivalent to P34 billion, over the same period. The national government guaranteed debt, meanwhile, amounted to P500 billion as of August, or 1.6 percent higher month-on-month. Of the total, 28.7 percent was domestic guaranteed debts, while 71.3 percent was external guaranteed obligations. Similar to external debt, the national government guaranteed obligations increased as a function of currency adjustments. http://www.mb.com.ph/public‐debt‐increases‐to‐p5‐642‐trillion/
China says Japan action in the Pacific a ‘dangerous provocation’ By AFP | Posted on November 01, 2013 at 9:01pm | 525 views Beijing — Beijing’s military accused Tokyo of a “highly dangerous provocation” by interfering in Chinese live-fire drills in the Pacific last week, warning that Japanese lives could be at stake, state media reported Friday. Japanese ships and aircraft tailed Chinese navy vessels conducting the exercise in the western Pacific ocean, the defence ministry said, according to reports. “The actions of the Japanese ships and planes not only interfered with our normal exercises but also endangered the safe navigation of Chinese ships and planes, and might lead to misjudgment and accidental injuries,” the state-run China Daily quoted defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun as saying. Yang made the comments at the defence ministry’s monthly press briefing, which foreign media are barred from attending. According to China’s state-run Global Times, the People’s Liberation Army Navy was conducting drills in the western Pacific last Friday when a Japanese warship “broke into the drill zone” and remained in the area for three days. An unspecified number of Japanese aircraft also entered the area several times, tailing and monitoring the Chinese vessels, the report said. The ministry had lodged a “solemn representation” over the action, it added. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/01/china‐says‐japan‐action‐in‐the‐pacific‐a‐ dangerous‐provocation/
Tolentino to keep U-turn slots By Rio N. Araja | Posted on November 01, 2013 at 12:02am | 349 views
The Metro Manila Development Authority will keep the U-turn slots and other innovations as “part of urban growth”, said Chairman Francis Tolentino. He updated President Benigno Aquino III at Thursday’s meeting of the Metro Manila council composed of 17 mayors in the National Capital Region. “Slots are not permanent,” said Tolentino, mindful of criticisms that the roadisland gaps have led to collisions. “They part of urban growth consistent with traffic management. We adjust slots when the need arises.” Former chairman Bayani Fernando, an engineer, introduced the U-turn slots to cut cost on traffic equipment and train motorists to practice self-discipline and road courtesy. “We cannot avoid urban growth adjustment, and we have to go along with it,” Tolentino said. Last Oct. 10, MMDA closed several slots in Quezon City to ease vehicular flow in anticipation of the last quarter holiday rush. The U-turn slot on C-5 Eastwood in front of BMW was closed to traffic from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. along with the slot on C-5/Katipunan/Boni Serrano from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Quezon Avenue U-turn slot, between Examiner and Scout Borromeo, would be shut throughout the day. Admitting there was no “silver bullet” to fix the traffic problem, Tolentino proposed car-pooling, saving that private cars aggravate congestion, needing a “bitter pill” as well. “Many of our (private motorists) drive alone, or have one or two passengers only. Why can’t we try follow other countries’ scheme of high-occupancy vehicles?,” he said. “We are promoting this, but our people find it hard to follow.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/01/tolentino‐to‐keep‐u‐turn‐slots/
HK govt, hostage victims accept Manila’s apology By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on November 01, 2013 at 12:02am | 1,554 views The representatives of the Hong Kong government and the victims of the hostagetaking incident at the Luneta Park in 2010 had accepted Manila’s apology over it, an official said Thursday. “They were very happy that the [Manila] city government was very sincere in passing a resolution and apologizing,” Councilor Bernardito Ang told the ANC channel. “Basically, they received the apology,” Ang said, referring to the resolution unanimously passed by the Manila City Council authorizing the city government to apologize to the people of Hong Kong over the incident in which eight Hong Kong tourists died. The tourists died after a dismissed Manila policeman took over their tourist bus with 25 people in it on Aug. 23, 2010, and ordered it to proceed to the Rizal Park, where he later opened fire on the passengers after a bungled rescue attempt by the police. In its resolution, the City Council expressed hope that the formal apology from the city would put closure to the issue that had haunted the Aquino administration for the past three years. Ang said the victims’ families now understood why the Manila city government was the one apologizing, noting that the incident took place in the capital. He said the families of the victims actually had four demands, but they considered three of them fulfilled. They wanted an apology, the punishment of those involved, and an assurance that the authorities would protect all Hong Kong tourists visiting the Philippines. “I gave assurance that the tourists visiting Manila will be protected,” Ang said. He said what remained to be decided was the compensation to the families of the victims.
“There are different demands for compensation coming from the families of the victims,” said Ang, who is still in Hong Kong for a second meeting with the representatives of the Hong Kong government and the families of the victims. Vice Mayor Isko Moreno said the Manila city government would raise P120 million to compensate the victims’ families. He said the money would not come from the city coffers, which had only P235 million, but from Filipino-Chinese businessmen and from the Filipinos in mainland China. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/01/hk‐govt‐hostage‐victims‐accept‐manilas‐ apology/
Aquino’s speech was disappointing, say political analysts October 31, 2013 11:12 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, CATHERINE S. VALENTE, LLANESCA T. PANTI, JHOANNA BALLARAN AND WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL DISAPPOINTING and defensive. This was how renowned political and anti-corruption analysts saw President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s speech that he delivered on national television Wednesday night which, they said, failed to address the main issue of fund misuse in government. Political analysts Ramon Casiple and Clarita Carlos said that while there was nothing wrong with the speech, it also did not contain any significant declaration that would address the issue regarding the questionable Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and other forms of “pork.”. Considering that the President took the prime time slots of all major broadcasting networks, Casiple said Aquino should have given the people what was due them and squarely faced the issue instead of issuing statements that only tend to defend his own people. He also noted that the President’s statement that he is not a crook and that he would go after the corrupt only implied that he was already clearing his allies who are also being dragged into the pork barrel controversy. Damage control Carlos, for her part, said that Malacanang should stop its effort to control the damage from the DAP issue and instead come up with data that would show how the funds coursed through DAP were spent. The President should also explain why the administration was being selective in choosing legislators who should be allotted funds through DAP. The two added that the real issue is the DAP and the failure of the administration, particularly the Budget department, to be transparent about it since the public was never aware of its existence until Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada disclosed it in a privilege speech last month. As for Aquino’s statement that DAP is being used to divert the attention of the public from the pork barrel scam, Carlos said that she sees nothing wrong if ever there was really an attempt to make a diversion because the people deserve to know the truth. She added that the government should include everybody in the investigation, regardless of their political labels.
Carlos said that while she believes that the President is not corrupt, he lacks the courage to run after his own partymates and allies. Defensive On Thursday, University of the Philippines Prof. Bobby Tuazon told The Manila Times that the president’s speech indicated how he was deeply affected by the plunge in his ratings. Tuazon, the policy director of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), also noted that nothing in Aquino’s speech can be considered as “consequential or eloquent.” It was the first time for Aquino to do such an address since he assumed the presidency in 2010. The last presidential address that happened on primetime TV was in 2005, when former President Gloria Arroyo apologized over the Hello Garci scandal. Aquino reiterated in his 10-minute speech that he, along with his allies, are not thieves. He also used the opportunity to lash out at his unnamed detractors for muddling and misleading the public with regard to the pork barrel scam. But Tuazon said the President’s pronouncements were far from what his “bosses” wanted to hear. He stressed that the public outcry against pork barrel is not just about his administration but the whole system itself. The political analyst said that the administration has to seize this rare opportunity to scrap the pork barrel system by allocating government funds to poverty alleviation and basic social services and through participative budget planning like in Canada. Downfall Also on Thursday, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) warned Aquino that “stubbornness” could lead to his downfall. Dante Jimenez, chair of the VACC, said that Aquino’s collapse has already started following the result of the survey conducted by the president’s Office of Political Affairs showing a steep 35 percent drop in Aquino’s rating. Aquino’s ratings also suffered drops in the surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations (SWS). He said that the president should start listening to his “bosses” and scrap all forms of lump sum funds if he really wants to regain the trust of the people who now doubt his capability and sincerity. No intrigues Meanwhile, in Malacañang, officials defended the President’s speech. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the speech was not meant to sow intrigues among those individuals who have been charged before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The 89-year-old Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is among the more than 30 people who are facing charges in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam. Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Estrada were also indicted. According to Coloma, he witnessed the preparation of the speech and that the president himself drafted it and never mentioned names. The President, he said, was already mulling to deliver his speech on the DAP as early as the first week of October. Coloma also claimed that 75 percent of online feedbacks to the President’s speech were positive. Funded campaign Senate President Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said the negative propaganda against the administration steered people’s focus away from the real issue which is corruption in the use of the PDAF. He said that he himself has been a subject of a supposed highly-funded vilification campaign to make him appear crooked and corrupt before the public. Drilon reminded the people that they should refocus their consciousness towards ensuring that the country’s justice system will work by punishing and jailing those who pocketed people’s money. Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th meanwhile maintained that there is nothing patently illegal with the DAP as long as it is allocated to projects that benefited the people. At the House of Representatives, Reps. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list, Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao and Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol partylist also defended Aquino’s speech. But for Rep. Sitti Hataman of Anak Mindanao party-list, it would have been better if the President emphasized how his discretionary funds made an impact on the lives of ordinary Filipinos. Loyal The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared that it will continue to follow the chain of command amid allegations of large-scale corruption in the Aquino government.
Former chief justice Andres Narvasa dies October 31, 2013 11:11 pm by JOMAR CANLAS SENIOR REPORTER RETIRED chief justice Andres Narvasa died on Thursday due to infections caused by pneumonia. He was 84. According to the Supreme Court Public Information Office, the remains of the former chief justice lie at the Mount Carmel Shrine Parish in Quezon City. The High Court will hold necrological services for Narvasa on Monday. Narvasa, the country’s 19th chief justice, was born on November 30, 1928. He took up law at the University of Santo Tomas where he graduated magna cum laude in 1951. He took the bar examinations in the same year and placed second. He was appointed as associate justice of the Supreme Court by then president Corazon Aquino on April 11, 1986. He served as chief justice from Dec. 8, 1991 until his retirement at the age of 70 on Nov. 30, 1998. Before his service in the highest court of the land, Narvasa had already established a distinguished career. He was the “gray dean”, the General Counsel of the historic Agrava Fact-Finding Commission, which investigated the death of former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. Narvasa was also a towering presence in the academe, especially at the UST, where he served as the dean of its Faculty of Civil Law. He was also a professor and lecturer at the Law Center of the University of the Philippines, the San Beda College of Law and the Manuel L. Quezon University. He carried over his penchant for academic excellence into the judiciary, where the longplanned Philippine Judicial Academy became a reality under his watch, with its mission to upgrade and improve the education of judges. He was an agent of change, ensuring speedy justice for litigants by instituting reforms in court procedures and constantly evaluating the court machinery to see how it could be improved, with some notable results being the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 and the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. As associate justice, he penned decisions with clarity and substance. As chief justice, he led the High Court by example, displaying integrity and wisdom, and serving as a model for justices and judges to emulate. http://manilatimes.net/former‐chief‐justice‐andres‐narvasa‐dies/49498/
Out-of-school kids lack interest to study – survey October 31, 2013 11:08 pm by KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO Majority of children who are out of school chose not to study because they have no interest in going to school, a survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed. In its 2011 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), the NSO said that 51.3 percent of the children surveyed aged 6 to 11 claimed that they had no “personal interest” to go to school. The second reason for staying out of school was “illness and disability” (15.2 percent) and “high cost of education” (10.5 percent). Children aged 12 to 17 gave the same top reason—lack of personal interest (38 percent) while the others said high cost of education and interest to work were the second and third reasons (33 percent and 13.1 percent share, respectively). The survey also cited that 1 in every 10 children aged 6 to 17 were “not attending formal school.” A big proportion of these children are from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at 16 percent, while the National Capital Region has the lowest share at 7 percent. Children aged 0 to 17 who are unable to attend formal school account for the 28 percent of the country’s poorest families. The NSO said that 86 percent of the children nationwide, from 10 to 17 years old, were “functionally literate.” Region 4A-Calabarzon had the highest functional literacy rate [92 percent], followed by NCR, Cordillera Administrative Region [CAR] and Region 3-Calabarzon with 90 percent each. Region 8–Eastern Visayas had the lowest functional literacy rate [70 percent]. The NSO defines “literate” children as those who can read, write and compute basic solutions. http://manilatimes.net/out‐of‐school‐kids‐lack‐interest‐to‐study‐survey/49486/
Oral diabetes treatment coming October 31, 2013 11:08 pm TOKYO: Japanese researchers said on Thursday that they had moved a step closer to an oral treatment for diabetes, offering hope of a breakthrough against a disease racking an increasingly obese world. Scientists at the University of Tokyo said they have created a compound that helps the body to control glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is a fuel that is vital to the functioning of organs all over the body, but too much of it is bad news. In some people it leads to Type 2 diabetes, a condition that can cause heart disease, strokes and kidney failure. Doctors say the incidence of Type 2 diabetes has rocketed over the last few decades, a factor they blame largely on the growing number of overweight people. Studies have shown that obese people tend to have lower levels of adiponectin—a hormone that regulates glucose and increases the effectiveness of insulin. Now researchers in Japan have developed a compound they named AdipoRon that mimics the effects of the hormone. Crucially, unlike adiponectin, which is broken down as it passes through the gut, AdipoRon survives unscathed all the way to the blood. AdipoRon could be “a lead compound” in a possible oral treatment for diabetes, according to Toshimasa Yamauchi, a member of the research team and lecturer at the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo. Doctors advise people with Type 2 diabetes to eat healthily and exercise, but the researchers said that sometimes proves too much of a challenge. A firefighter or goal keeper in the body Researchers found the four-month survival rate for obese and diabetic mice fed with high-fat food was only 30 percent against 95 percent for the same kind of mice on a normal low-fat, balanced diet. Similar overweight and diabetic creatures on the high-fat diet that were given the compound showed a four-month survival rate rising to 70 percent. The team’s repeated experiments “have showed mice given the compound lived longer even though they were fed with high-fat food and did not lose weight”, Yamauchi said. He noted some people have difficulty exercising because of heart or other physical problems, or may find it difficult to cope with restrictions on the intake of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The compound could eventually supplement exercise or dietary restrictions for those people, he said, adding it also had potential as a weight loss medicine because of an increase in energy consumption that had been noted.
Yuji Matsuzawa, the doctor whose research team found and named adiponectin in humans in 1995, said the latest findings marked “major progress” in the study of the protein. As the study proceeds, “we will see whether the approach to invigorate the hormone receptor could outstrip the effect of self-made adiponectin”, said Matsuzawa, who heads Sumitomo Hospital in Osaka. According to the World Health Organization, around 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. The less common kind, Type 1, is characterized by the body not producing enough insulin. It can be treated by daily injections, but cannot be cured. Around 90 percent of global sufferers have Type 2, a form the WHO says is “largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity . . . (a) growing global problem”. Half of all diabetes sufferers die of cardiovascular disease, according to the WHO. AFP http://manilatimes.net/oral‐diabetes‐treatment‐coming/49484/
DSWD EXPANDS PRO-POOR PROJECTS IN 2014 October 31, 2013 8:30 pm by LYDIA C. PENDON ILOILO CITY: The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is expanding the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and other pro-poor projects of the government such as Kapit Bisig Laban sa KahirapanComprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services and the Sustainable Livelihood Program in Western Visayas. DSWD Asst. Reg. Dir. Joel Galicia said the province of Antique was selected as the pilot area for the convergence program with other government agencies in the region. By the year 2014, the 4Ps program will be extended to children aged 18 years old from the usual 14 years old as beneficiary of the program. http://manilatimes.net/dswd‐expands‐pro‐poor‐projects‐in‐2014/49421/
Low agri production, climate change increase risk of food security for 1020 years October 31, 2013 2:14 pm The Philippines may be the fastest-growing economy at present side by side with China, but the country’s “agricultural productivity and extreme weather” changes threatens the country’s opportunity to rise further with the “great risk of sustained higher level of food prices” for the next 10 to 20 years, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study. In the study titled Food Security Challenges in Asia, ADB Independent Evaluation Department Vinod Thomas said that the slowing of rice production not only in the country, but also in Asia, as well as the effects of climate change puts heightens food prices but is seen in a steady pace for the coming years. But these are “not grounds for complacency” as investment in agriculture is falling and that further climate change risk may threaten Asia’s goal to be growth economies that will lead economies worldwide. “Further high volatility in food prices is likely unless there is a significant response from governments, development institutions and the private sector to markedly increase agricultural productivity across Asia,” says Independent Evaluation’s director-general Vinod Thomas. According to ADB, Asia has “coped fairly well” from the 2007 to 2012 food crisis, but the more frequent disasters and climate change destructions would be the “biggest threat” to food security for the coming years. “But climate change may well prove to be the biggest threat to food security in the next 10 to 20 years; indeed, it’s already having measurable adverse impacts in Asia,” Thomas said. The study’s main author Andrew Brubaker, said that factors such as food, energy, financial market, fuel and fertilizers are linked to the contribution of higher food prices over the past 30 years. “What is changing are the much tighter links between food, energy and financial markets. Fuel and fertilizer costs are driving food prices more than ever and speculative investment on commodity markets is an increasing source of potential price volatility,” Brubaker said. The study emphasized the use of technology to “raise productivity in land and water,” which are the essentials for agricultural produce. They noted that majority of the farmers
in Asia only get less than 80 percent of their total crop investments as the other 20 percent will eventually be destroyed by pests, droughts, economic constraints as well as the low basic pricing for other crops. The study further cited that in years 2006, 2008 and 2012, prices for basic food commodities like rice, corn and wheat boosted. In late 2012, rice prices have gone up, but have since decreased slowly about 10 percent at the start of 2013. Brubaker said that though efforts for agricultural research and international funding for agriculture went up, the main concern is that if the investment would reach targets or sustainability. “Asia faces a witch’s brew of supply and demand factors in food security. On the supply side are overexploited natural resources, including growing water scarcity, and the increasingly tangible impacts of climate change. On the demand side, Asia is becoming more urban and prosperous, which bring more diversified food requirements,” Brubaker said. “[Sustainability in agricultural investment] is a pressing issue for today, not a distant threat, and needs to be addressed as part of a country’s overall climate strategy integrating adaptation and mitigation,” he added. The study stated that measures to adapt to climate change will benefit food security in the long run, both for national and household levels. Despite rapid economic growth, ADB said that Asia still has the 67 percent share of the world’s hungry, which would equal to more or less 552 million to 900 million people who lives with less than $1.25 (P53.75) a day. “This raises the question of whether government food policies need rethinking in a less secure world facing the dilemma of high food prices hurting consumers in the short run, but low prices not providing an incentive for farmers to increase productivity,” Thomas said. “At the end of the day, while recognizing the merits of open trade at the global level, the study recommends getting country policy choices right. These include incentives for raising productivity, safety nets for the poor and predictable trade policies to ensure food security,” he added. KRISYTN NIKA M. LAZO http://manilatimes.net/low‐agri‐production‐climate‐change‐increase‐risk‐of‐food‐security‐ for‐10‐20‐years/49307/
BSP sees risks from Fed move October 31, 2013 8:20 pm by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO REPORTER “Risk on” behavior can be expected in emerging markets as the United States Federal Reserve decided to keep its strong monetary stimulus, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). “The Fed’s decision prolongs the waiting game for the inevitable. In the meantime we can expect ‘risk on’ behavior in emerging markets,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message. The US Fed earlier announced that it is keeping its interest rates at record low, and will continue its $85-billion-a-month quantitative easing (QE) program. The Fed’s QE program, which fueled an investment splurge in emerging Asia over the past year, was meant to stimulate the US economy. “The BSP will be watching market conduct closely for excessive volatilities in financial asset prices and will maintain presence in the markets as appropriate,” Tetangco added. An earlier statement from the central bank said that it stands ready to make refinements to its existing macro prudential measures, or deploy new ones as necessary to preemptively address any potential risk of financial market imbalances. The BSP also said that it ready to make adjustments to the stance of policy, as the inflation outlook would allow, in order to support economic growth. After a closely watched two-day policy meeting, the Fed said on Wednesday that it would hold steady on its bond-buying program, as it awaits further signs that the US economy is strong enough to stand on its own feet. Policymakers made no reference to the potential impact of October’s government shutdown and did not hint at future plans for the stimulus. However, analysts noted the US Fed did not downgrade its outlook from earlier statements, and some suggested it could begin to reel in the scheme as early as December. “While maintaining that the economy continued to expand at a moderate pace and that housing may have slowed slightly, overall the Fed noted that downside risks have diminished,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange. The commentary was “slightly more optimistic than expected” and “not as doveish as many had expected,” Esiner added.
Investors have been keeping a close eye on the Fed’s plans for the stimulus since May, when it indicated it might begin cutting down its bond purchases, sending global markets tumbling. Tapering had been expected by the end of this year but a weak set of data—including soft jobs growth—and October’s two-week government shutdown had made that highly unlikely. WITH REPORT FROM AFP
‘ABUSE OF POWER’ Published : Friday, November 01, 2013 00:00 Written by : Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
OPPOSITION lawmakers yesterday warned of more corruption in the government after President Benigno Aquino strongly defended the other night the highly-controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Presidential Social Fund (PSF). In an interview, House independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez pointed out that President Aquino should address questions concerning wanton abuse of his power in the use of public funds, stressing that DAP was illegal and unconstitutional. “It was very disappointing that President Aquino failed to address the main concern that we have been talking about which is the abuse of his presidential prerogative in the disbursement of lump sum and other discretionary funds. It would have been better had the President made an admission about the shortcomings of his government in the judicious use of public funds,” Romualdez stressed. Romualdez also said that President Aquino “blew all his chances to salvage his waning popularity and performance ratings because the real issues are about the constitutionality and transparency in the use of public funds.” He expressed strong belief that President Aquino’s statement would further drive the people to demand the abolition of the entire Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), including the so-called presidential pork barrel.
“This will give more reason for the public to demand the total abolition of pork barrel system,” Romualdez stressed. In separate interviews, Buhay Hayaang Yumabong party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, members of the Romualdez’s independent bloc, also expressed disappointment over the President’s speech. “I am very disappointed, the people have been expecting him to deliver a dramatic speech against the pork barrel system especially that Congress inserted the pork barrel funds to various agencies in next year’s budget. He should have listened to the clamor of the people to abolish the pork barrel and stop defending DAP whose constitutionality is pending before the Supreme Court,” Atienza explained. “Sayang, sana inamin na lang ni PNoy na may pagkukulang ang administrasyon. Ang matuwid na daan ay ‘di lamang tungkol sa kanyang integridad, ‘di naman isyu ‘yan. Tungkol iyan sa pagtalaga ng tamang panuntunan para sa pagtupad ng batas at paggalang sa Constitution at dapat tingnan niyang mabuti ang gawain ng kanyang mga tauhan at kaalyado na sangkot sa mga anomalya. Sila ang nagdadala sa kanya sa kapariwaraan, sayang talaga,” Dela Cruz stressed. But President Aquino’s allies rallied behind him, agreeing that the Chief Executive was right in lashing out at his critics for muddling the issue of thievery in the pork barrel funds scam. In defense of Aquino Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said President Aquino never stole public funds, unlike those who have been accused of the misuse of P10 billion in pork barrel. “I believe in the President and I am fully supportive of his administration,” Belmonte Jr. said. Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo said the “President’s address has clarified many issues re pork barrel scandal and spelled out the national policy and determination to run after its alleged perpetrators.” “This is an exercise of statesmanship. This is what the people want -- a rightful conclusion to the scam. His statement that he has not raided the public coffers and doesn’t intend to rob is obviously strong but it leaves a
poignant message that defines the quality of his leadership. The people expect a lot from his daang matuwid. He is responding properly,” Castelo, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), explained. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said “the critics are again misleading the public by insinuating that there is graft and corruption when lawmakers recommend projects to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) that should be funded out of savings.” “I think the critics should zero in on punishing those who were accused of pocketing public funds. They should mount a strong lobby with the DoJ (Department of Justice), Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan to expedite the prosecution of those accused of channeling PDAF to bogus NGOs (nongovernment organizations) and ghost projects,” Evardone stressed. “Their deafening silence on this issue of putting those involved in graft and corruption in jail is really a big puzzle to me. Aren’t you surprised also? Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo said “I have always had faith in our people’s ability to see an ounce of significant truth amidst the mountain of lies thrown in this poisoned political atmosphere. The apparent recent success of those implicated in the pork barrel scam in diverting the attention from them to the president has been a sad development but I am certain that this success will be shortlived.” AKO-Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe also defended President Aquino’s lump sum funds, saying such “cannot be really eradicated.” “There are contingencies such as calamities that cannot really be specified since no one can predict exactly the future,” Batocabe said. “What can be done is for Congress to prevent abuse by providing for standards or requirements on spending lump-sum funds.” Batocabe, Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna and Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, LP secretary general, also believe that the President has succeeded in his “inclusive growth” objective, thus ensuring the country’s economic stability. “The fact that we achieved economic stability is backed by glowing economic indicators and positive credit ratings by international agencies. That cannot be disputed,” Batocabe said. Tugna said “I believe the President has sufficient basis in his claims of the
country’s economic improvement. It is good that he addressed the PDAF, DAP and PSF issues. Straight to the point. He dissected the issues, who are accountable and he tried to quell public distrust in the government.” For his part, Sarmiento said the President’s speech highlighting the gains of his administrations in the economy “goes to show as well how committed the President is in sustaining the gains of the past three years brought about by Daang Matuwid in our goal to achieve inclusive growth.”