Ratio of agri sector to labor force declining By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The share of the agriculture sector to the country’s labor force has been declining at an average rate of 2.3 percent in the past five years, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). Data recently released by BAS showed that between 2008 and 2012, employment in the farm sector grew by a measly 0.1 percent annually. In 2012, about 12.09 million workers were employed in the agriculture sector, accounting for 32.2 percent of the country’s 40-million strong labor force. Agricultural employment remained highest in Western Visayas with 1.14 million workers but has been decreasing by 1.3 percent each year. In NCR, however, employment in agriculture has been rising by 2.9 percent annually although only 31,000 persons are engaged in farm work in the region as of last year. Positive growth rates in farm employment have been recorded in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and ARMM. In terms of the share of agriculture in employment within a region, ARMM is still the most reliant on the farm sector for work, with 70. 1 percent of available labor absorbed by agriculture.
In Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa and Soccsksargen, as much as 50 to 58 percent of workers are engaged in farm work. In NCR, 0.7 percent of its workers are engaged in agriculture. With the exception of NCR, the proportion of agriculture employment to the total regional employment has been falling by 0.2 to 4.6 percent annually in the last five years. Self-employed workers in the sector comprised 46 percent of the total agricultural workforce equivalent to 5.65 million persons. Salaried workers in the sector comprised around 29.5 of the sectoral labor force, equivalent to about 3.62 million workers. The unpaid family workers made up about 24.5 percent of the of the total agricultural workforce. In 2012, salaried farm workers received an average of P166.74 per day, an average increase 4.7 percent annually. Paid fishermen are paid higher at P191.68 a day. There are around 1.41 million minors aged five to 17 years old working in agriculture. BAS noted that a child is considered economically active if he works for at least one hour daily. Government and industry officials have repeatedly pointed out that the countryâ€™s agriculture labor force is aging with the average age of farmers currently placed at 50 years. Many farmers do not encourage their children to engage in farm work, advising them instead to seek lucrative careers in other industries. The government recently passed the Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Law which would lay down the foundation for the development of an agriculture machinery industry and substitute imports. Pending the implementation of the law, the government is implementing a cost sharing scheme with farmers cooperatives wherein the government shoulders 85 percent of the farm equipment while qualified cooperatives shell out the remaining 15 percent. The thinning of the agricultural labor force is not really a bad thing if coupled with improved mechanization, says manufacturers. â€œThere now more than 11 million workers in the agriculture sector and the manufacturing sector only has a worker base of three million. Mechanization can free up farm laborers to engage in value-adding work,â€? said Roberto Batungbacal, a director of the Federation of Philippine Industries. He said the gradual shift of some farm workers to industry would provide a boost to the economy because manufacturing has higher productivity than rural work and services. Rex Bingabing, the director of the Philippine center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech) earlier said that contrary to concerns that increased mechanization would result to job loss in the agriculture sector, farm hands who shift to industry can be engaged in machine manufacturing it not factory work in the value-adding of agricultural products. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/10/1254894/ratio-agri-sector-labor-force-declining
DA project raises jackfruit yield (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A P1.28 million Department of Agriculture (DA) project has successfully raised jackfruit (langka) yield in a Leyte town by 82 percent to 15.39 metric tons (MT) per hectare, enhancing profitability for a fruit that has abundant value-adding prospects when processed. The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research’s (BAR) project in Mahaplag, Leyte has tapped a superior variety called “EVIARC Sweet, the sweetest known jackfruit variety that also has good crispiness.” It was developed by the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center or EVIARC and is now registered with the National Seed Industry Council. Using EVIARC Sweet, an additional 11.97 hectares of jackfruit land have been put up in Mahaplag, a fifth class municipality in Leyte. This is an 80 percent increase in area in this rural town, exceeding the original project target of just a 30 percent increase.
“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 P. Eleazar. Additional income of farmers from the project, arising mainly from yield increase, was from P77,000.00 to P307,800 per hectare over the September 2010 to June 2013 period. Yield in 2010 was only 8.45 MT per hectare. Training of farmers on improved cultural practices enabled increase in yield. This 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 also enabled yield increase through integrated nutrient management or INM. The establishment of a plant nursery enabled availability of seedlings. The Plant Now Pay Later program likewise helped expand plantation area. Processing Jackfruit, or “langka” in Filipino, has significant market potential for processing similar to the country’s national fruit mango. It is processed into dried jackfruit, jackfruit pastillas, tart, and jelly. As other Asian countries are seizing market opportunities, the Philippines should do the same. “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,” according to Elvira C. Torres, Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Council (RIARC) manager and research chief. With a production increase, EVIARC looks forward to the establishment of a good manufacturing practice-compliant processing center. “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. Baybay Delights Leyte’s jackfruit products have already joined some global trade fairs. Among these is the Asian Seed Congress in Thailand where the country’s jackfruit products have been found to be tasty by visitors. The “Baybay Delights” was also recently exhibited at the Agrilink in Manila.
“Based on our observation, the potential to market EVIARC Sweet, compared to those from Thailand or Vietnam, is good particularly for the vacuum dried jackfruit. Its golden yellow color of the pulp is very natural. Its sweetness is already acceptable, and there’s no need to use sweetener,” said Torres. EVIARC Sweet has a sweetness of 25.6 degree brix, higher than some varieties’ 19 or 18. The processed form will give entrepreneurs a good profit as Baybay Sweet vacuum dried is sold at P65 per 100 grams in the market. CPAR The Mahaplag Jackfruit Growers Association (MJGA) has 22 jackfruit farmer-members. Through the Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR), MJGA was able to raise membership to 52 that also included processors and farmers. BAR’s CPAR system is a process where communities are surveyed on what they think they need to help improve their agriculture-based livelihood. It is employed to ensure that projects will work because there is empowerment and participation of the community. Housewives in Mahaplag were trained to process jackfruit as a livelihood project. Poverty Mahaplag is an economically poor municipality with 87 percent of the households in the CPAR location, Brgy. Malinao, considered to be poor. Poverty rate in the other CPAR location, Brgy. San Isidro is 56 percent. Annual household income in Brgy. Malinao is P46,000 and in Brgy. San Isidro, P32,000. Expansion area for jackfruit is still available in Mahaplag. It has 4,643 hectares for agricultural production. It is trying to raise income from agricultural production as its net return from the farm sector is lower than that of the national average. Pastillas, etc The BAR-CPAR project, in any future expansion, will further focus on the processing of three products that have given the highest profitability potential of 122.18 percent. These are jackfruit pastillas, jackfruit rags (in between the flesh) jelly, and tart. EVIARC has partnered with the Visayas State University which now has expertise on jackfruit food processing technologies.
Other collaborators of the project are the provincial local government unit of Leyte, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Visayas Consortium for Agriculture, Fishery and Natural Resources Program (ViCARP). So far a machine dehydrator has been turned over to the association of Baybay jackfruit producers. The Department of Science and Technology has also given a drying machine to the VSU for processing use. Backyard Jackfruit trees in Eastern Visayas (Samar-Leyte) mostly involved mere backyard farming. But the propagation of more scions, a young plant twig particularly used for grafting, should enable birth of more plantation-type farms. â€œEstablishment of plant nurseries will expand areas into plantations. With 1,000 grafted jackfruit seedlings per year, additional increase of 6.4 hectares of jackfruit plantations would be expected per year,â€? said the EVIARC group that also includes Alicia D. Bulawan, Glicerio N. Perlito, Mario Socrates P. Tisado, Brenda B. Almeroda, Anecita S. Mionda,Diosdada C. Tanola, and Dr. Carlos S. De La Cruz. Uses Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that has numerous commercial and non-commercial uses. Its wood is also used for furniture and clothing. It is a cure for some illness. The ripe fruit is used as dessert in the form of syruped delicacy. Its rags, the portion in between the edible flesh in ripe form, is rich in pectin and may also be eaten when turned into jelly. The BAR project aims to prepare jackfruit producers to become processors. The bureau also hopes to teach growers to become entrepreneurs capable of coming up with high quality products exportable to the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. Another income opportunity for jackfruit is the sale of grafted planting materials. For selling the fruit, it has been an experience at EVIARC that there will be no significant income on the first two years of fruiting but income on the third and fourth year is already attractive at a net income of P140,000. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2013/11/10/1254870/da-project-raises-jackfruit-yield
FDA‐DOH adopts orphaned pest control industry (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The year 2007 was the beginning of a period of “darkness” for the pest control industry when the Supreme Court ruled with finality that any pest control activity in urban areas – including the pesticides in use – are not under the regulation of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) of the Department of Agriculture. For six long years, the industry went haywire – with the mushrooming of “fly-by-night” operators, unrestricted pesticide marketing, and questionable “in-house” practices. This now ends with the publication of Administrative Order of R.A. 9711 or the “FDA Act of 2009”, which will set the guidelines for the rejuvenated industry. “A Brighter Future for the Pest Management Industry Under the FDA-DOH” is an industry forum organized by the Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators’ Associations (PFPMOA) Inc. on the significance of the Philippine pest management industry in assuring food security, safeguarding public health, boosting tourism, and ensuring structural integrity of abodes. It will be held from Nov. 14 to 15, 2013 at the Sarossa International Hotel in Cebu City with the support of the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health (FDA-DOH). Approximately 300 participants are expected to grace the two-day event. Expected to be represented during the convention will be the professional Pest Control Operators (PCOs), the Food and Beverage Industry, the Construction Sector, the Hoteliers and Hospitality Industry, and the Export-Import Industry, among others. Several events in the past have already been organized to address the need for adept government regulation and specific tools to improve environmental preservation with pest management. However, the current clear and present challenge is the full enforcement of R.A. 9711 or the “FDA Act of 2009”, which includes the licensing and regulation of urban pesticides and the urban pest control operators solely authorized to use these. In this context, the congress will provide a unique opportunity to share regulatory, scientific, and technological information in the field of pest management – from new information on dengue-carrying mosquitoes, to the bedbug nightmare of hoteliers, to the ever-present termite problems of builders, to basic skills in sales and Information Technology, to general facts on public health and safety. The gathering is an important venue to discuss both regulatory and business practices that will affect the future of the pest management industry in the Philippines. The Federation has invited a battery of experts who will offer new scientific tools, explore new directions in urban pest management, and present the new direction in the full implementation of R.A. 9711 to regulate urban pesticides and urban pest management operators in the country. Complementing the main
program are sponsored presentations and an open-to-public exhibition of innovative pesticides and top-of-the-line equipment. This congress would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of various pest management associations all over the islands, and the support of their industry partners, sponsors and exhibitors. The Federation, or PFPMOA, Inc. is composed of the Philippine Association of Professional Fumigators Inc (PAPFI), the Pest Control Association of the Philippines (PCAP) Inc., the Pest Exterminators Association of the Philippines (PEAP) Inc., the South Luzon Pest Management Operators’ Association of the Philippines (SL-PMOAP) Inc., the North Central Luzon Pest Management Operators’ Association (NCL-PMOA), Inc. and the Pest Control Association of the Visayas (PCAV) Inc. This aggrupation of professional pest management operators was officially recognized by the FDA-DOH through a standing Memorandum Of Agreement (or MOA) signed by then FDADOH assistant secretary, Legal Department head, and OIC-director Nicolas Lutero III, and the association presidents last Sept. 23, 2012 at the Club Filipino in San Juan, Metro Manila. After almost six years of unregulated industry operation and open disregard for the health and safety of the general public by institutions and their associated government regulators, the Philippine Pest Management Industry now looks forward to a truly brighter, safer, and a more responsible future in partnership, and under the wings of the FDA-DOH. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2013/11/10/1254871/fda-doh-adopts-orphaned-pest-controlindustry
SM volunteers participate in ‘Grow a Million Trees‘ mangrove planting (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Overcast skies and forecast of heavy rains due to a typhoon did not dampen the resolve of volunteers from SM City Batangas, SM City Lipa, SM Supermarket, and MENRO of Calatagan to participate in the mangrove planting activity in Sitio Burit, Barangay Tanagan, Calatagan, Batangas. Led by SMFI AVP for Livelihood and Outreach Program Cristie Angeles, volunteers planted 5,000 propagules with the assistance of Bataha Advocates of Nature’s Conservation Alliance (BANCA).The mangrove planting is in line with SM Foundation’s Grow A Million Trees project, a project to support the government’s National Greening Program. Aside from SM Supermalls, it is participated in by SM Supermarket, Hypermart and Savemore, SM Land, SM Department, SM Prime Holdings Inc., ACE Hardware, SM Store, Costa del Hamilo, Inc., Manila Southcoast and Development Corporation, SM Hotels, and other affiliates. Under the project, 20 hectares are to be planted with 10,000 seedlings. Seedlings take from three to four months to prepare and are sourced from partner NGOs in the community. Thus, the community is provided a source of livelihood. Volunteers are taught the importance of planting and the proper way to plant the seedlings. Areas planted under SM’s Grow A Million Trees project are monitored by SM for three years to ensure the growth of the young trees. Eventually, these areas are turned over to the DENR. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2013/11/10/1254872/sm-volunteers-participate-growmillion-trees-mangrove-planting
Biggest irrigation project needs P500M by Liezle Basa Inigo November 9, 2013
Rosales, Pangasinan — The country’s biggest but suspended irrigation project may only be beneficial to farmers if the national government releases additional funding of P500 million that the project manager has been requesting. The completion of the P2.4-billion Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP) was put on hold last July and remains half finished after expansion and revision to the original project, said Engr. Reynaldo C. Mencias, ARIIP project manager. The Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators’ Association has already urged President Aquino to prioritize funding for the completion of the project. Mencias said that he recently informed the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) that, as ordered, the project has been renamed to the Agno River Irrigation System Extension Project (ARICEP). Mencias said he already requested for new funding and submitted a project implementation plan and a work program that will expand ARIIP’s service area to include farmlands in the towns of San Nicolas, Tayug, Natividad, San Quintin, Umingan, Sta. Maria and Banayoyo at the Ambayoan-Dipalo River Irrigation System (ADRIS).Originally, the plan was to divert water spilled from the San Roque Dam to irrigation canals to be built at the west and east banks of the Agno River in the town of San Manuel. Under the ARICEP scheme, also to be covered are the towns of Rosales, Alcala, Sto. Tomas and Bautista also in Pangasinan, plus Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, San Manuel, Moncada and Anao in Tarlac covered by the planned Lower Agno River Irrigation System (LARIS). The Agno irrigation project was started in the last few months of the Arroyo administration. It was bandied then as the single biggest irrigation project of the government designed to irrigate up to 70,000 hectares of land in three provinces.To many, it was a revival of the aborted irrigation component of the San Roque Dam Project started by the Ramos administration. In his letter to the NIA chief, Engr. Claro V. Maranan, Mencias reported that the 67-hectare, 100-meter deep re-regulation pond or water reservoir for irrigation built by a Chinese contractor was completed and the irrigation system’s west bank gate opened for operation since July 23 this year. The opened gate has started releasing water to irrigate 15,300 hectares of land in 12 Central Pangasinan towns and Urdaneta City in Pangasinan. The east gate of the same reservoir that was supposed to flow water to irrigation networks east of the Agno river in eastern Pangasinan and northern Tarlac and Nueva Ecija remained closed.Mencias said that the 9.7 kilometer main canal from the east bank gate of the reservoir to the Ambayoan River in the town of San Nicolas had not been excavated yet. http://www.mb.com.ph/biggest-irrigation-project-needs-p500m/
Committees on climate change, disaster control needed by Ben Rosario November 10, 2013
While “Yolanda,” the strongest ever recorded typhoon in the world,” was causing devastation in the Visayas last Friday, environmentalists among members of the House of Representatives called for the creation of the Committees on Climate Change and on Disaster Control while having discussions with a visiting United Kingdom parliamentarian and organizer of a global legislative organization for balanced environment held at the historic landmark Manila Hotel. Led by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez and Mel Senen Sarmiento, who respectively represents typhoonravaged Cagayan de Oro City and Western Samar in Congress, lawmakers also lamented that despite the approval of environmental protection laws, there remains issues about execution resulting from difficulties in raising required government resources. The Filipino lawmakers, all members of the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), met with British parliamentarian Sir Graham Watson to discuss legislative experiences in tackling climate change programs. The group met at Manila Hotel at the height of “Yolanda’s” devastation, with the lawmakers noting the immediate need to put in place a solid legislative action that would prepare the country in counteracting the destructive effects of climate change, if not stop it. Also present were Reps. Susan Yap (LP, Tarlac), Agapito Guanlao (BUTIL Party-list) and Ibarra Gutierrez (Akbayan Party-list). GLOBE Philippines director Christopher Estallo lauded the solons for “showing the willingness” to unite to discuss and draft legislative solutions to “global climate change.” “GLOBE International’s role is to bridge legislators worldwide to mobilize actions and work together towards an ambitious future climate change regime by 2015. To date, we already have 15 legislators who expressed support to be part of GLOBE Philippines,” said Estallo. Graham, a Knighthood recipient in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list in 2011 for his services in politics, was also impressed by the Philippine legislators’ response to a call for global action against climate change. “Strong global networks like the Climate Parliament and GLOBE bring together parliamentarians worldwide to advance policies that promote the use of clean energy and other measures to achieve sustainable development,” Graham said. Rodriguez said the international community should expect Congress’ cooperation considering that the Philippines has been absorbing the destructive effects of climate change. The Cagayan de Oro lawmaker said the most immediate anti-climate change action that may be taken by House leaders is the creation of a Committee on Climate Change and a Committee on Disaster Control. http://www.mb.com.ph/committees-on-climate-change-disaster-control-needed/
Illegal fishponds in Pampanga face removal Category: Regions 09 Nov 2013 Written by Joey Pavia / Correspondent
MACABEBE, Pampanga—At least 200 hectares of illegal fishponds along the Macabebe-Masantol River are set to be removed before the year ends to drastically cut the ill effects of flooding in this Pampanga town. Mayor Annette Flores-Balgan and Enrico Guilas, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district manager and project manager III for Pampanga, recently held a meeting with at least six fishpond operators in Barangay Esteban here. Those who attended the meeting at the municipal hall were part of the at least 84 alleged illegalfishpond owners operating in San Esteban. They have been given until December 31to vacate their fishponds. The illegal structures should also have been demolished at that time. Flores-Balgan blamed the illegal fishponds for the “worsening flooding in our town, notably in San Esteban and nearby Barangay Dalayap.” Students in San Esteban and nearby villages could hardly go to school due to the floods. Sometimes, they only report to school for half a day instead of studying for a whole day because of the floods, Flores-Balgan said. “Enough is enough. The sufferings of the people and the town must end.” Guilas said the DPWH and experts from other countries had studied the effects of the illegal fishponds and found them contributing to the flood problems in the first-class municipality. Guilas said the fishponds are blocking the pathways of the rivers, causing the water to overflow onto the streets and communities. “We are not being personal. We just have to prioritize the welfare of the majority of people and the town,” Guilas told the six fishpond operators, who signed the agreement dated October 24. It stated that they should “comply with the said deadline, the cost of the dismantling/removal of
their structures shall be shouldered by the concerned fishpond operator, which shall be initiated on the 27th of December 2013.” Guilas said at least 80 percent of the rivers’ pathways are blocked by the illegal structure, causing heavy flooding. As early as June 26, the DPWH issued notices to the operators informing them of the necessity of dismantling the illegal structures and fishponds. The same government agency issued three notices, the last of which was given on October 23. “We want to follow protocol and procedures when issuing notices,” said Guilas, who also wrote Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda in June, informing her of the dismantling of the illegal fishponds. In the notice, the DPWH cited the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling (G.R. 171947-48) of the continuing mandamus to remove and demolish structures and other nuisances that discharge solid and liquid wastes, which eventually end up at the Manila Bay. Flores-Balgan said even those illegal-fishpond operators who did not sign the agreement would not be spared from the demolition. Guilas said the funds needed for the demolition works will be shouldered by the DPWH, Pineda and the Macabebe government. In 1991, during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), issued permits to operate fishponds in San Esteban. The permits would last 25 years and end in 2015. But the DPWH said the DA permits “became null and void” following the release of the SC order. Flores-Balgan said the BFAR had not coordinated with the municipal government for the issuance of the permits. In interviews, the fishpond operators said, “We are hoping that the mayor and the DPWH will give us a one-year extension to stay.” They said it would greatly affect their means of livelihood. Guilas said, “We have to implement the law for the benefit of more people and the town.” In Photo: Macabebe, Pampanga, Mayor Annette Flores-Balgan (left) and Provincial Manager III Enrico Guilas of the Department of Public Works and Highways (right) check on the list of alleged illegal-fishpond operators in the town during a meeting on Thursday. Joining them are some of the operators. (Ric Gonzales) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/regions/22544-illegal-fishponds-inpampanga-face-removal
Pineda wants Pampanga Day event to celebrate farmers’ contributions Category: Regions 09 Nov 2013 Written by Joey Pavia CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Gov. Lilia Pineda has pushed for a Farmers’ Day celebration as part of the programs lined up for the 442th founding anniversary of Pampanga. Pineda made the announcement during a recent meeting with farmers’ groups, provincial agriculture officials and Board Members Ferdinand Labung and Rosve Henson. Labung is the chairman of due provincial board committee on agriculture. Pineda said Farmers’ Day is set on December 4. “There are several events lined up for the founding celebration of Pampanga. But what’s important is that we have a day for farmers,” Pineda said in the dialect. Pineda earlier said the agriculture and food production will be one of the top priorities of her administration. In the activity, Pineda and Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda are set to award outstanding farmers aged 65-years and older. The event will be held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center here. Joey Pavia http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/regions/22541-pineda-wants-pampangaday-event-to-celebrate-farmers-contributions
Economist: 2013 inflation figure to remain below 3% Category: Top News 09 Nov 2013 Written by Bianca Cuaresma PHILIPPINE economists see no worry if the country’s inflation rate falls short of the government’s target of 3 percent to 5 percent this year, given the low inflation rate reported in the first eight months of the year. On Tuesday the National Statistics Office reported a seven-month-high inflation of 2.9 percent due to higher prices of key food items. But this was not enough to push the 10-month inflation average within the target range of the government. With the latest inflation rate, it only averaged at 2.8 percent, still sitting slightly below the lowest end of the target at 3 percent. This also decreases the chances of the government hitting its target, given that there are only two months remaining before the year ends. “The probability of reaching 3 percent is very low at this point. Even under a relatively extreme scenario of inflation rising by 3.3 percent in November and 3.8 percent in December, the fullyear 2013 inflation figure will still be below 3 percent—only 2.8 percent actually, in this case,” Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Lead Economist Emilio Neri Jr. said in an e-mail interview. This means that inflation must peak to at least 4 percent in November and December for inflation to fall within the target. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has been targeting inflation as one of its primary mandates. Effective inflation targeting is important as it provides support to price stability by giving prior guidance to consumers and producers to make better decisions in their consumption, investment, savings and production needs. The BSP has been hitting its inflation target for four consecutive years. The last time inflation fell out of the central bank’s target range was in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis. Despite the bleak window of reaching the target, economists are not troubled by the low inflation rate. According to Security Bank Corp. Economist Patrick Ella, the impact of a lower-than-target inflation just means that demand-side pressures in the economy are more tamed than expected. “Well, it is an indicator that the target for this year did not capture the tame inflationary environment and was not calibrated or adjusted soon. No matter, the impact is not anything alarming,” Ella said.
For BPI’s lead economist, missing the low end of the inflation target only has “minor implications.” “Theoretically, it could mean economic managers had been conservative in their growth policies. In practical terms, however, the government may have simply overestimated its target,” Neri said. Economist and Monetary Board (MB) Member Felipe Medalla also said he was not worried about the country’s inflation path. He also cited some factors that may affect inflation and which are “beyond the central bank’s control.” “If you are a good central bank, you will be trying so hard to hit your target. What can make you miss the target? Something you cannot anticipate? What is something you cannot anticipate? How bad the weather will be…. What will happen to the Middle East,” Medalla said. The MB member said low and stable inflation is coupled by other good economic indicators and, therefore, should not cause worry that the country might be reaching the problem of deflation, just like the problem being encountered by underperforming economies today such as Japan and Europe. “All these factors are working together, M3 [domestic liquidity] growth is high, import prices are not very high, the price of rice is not very high, the price of oil is not very high and we have a stable exchange rate,” he said. Ella, likewise, said the low inflation is coupled by a strong gross domestic product growth and money-supply growth. He said low inflation proves to be a good indicator that the robust growth of the economy has no spillover effects in the consumer price index. Medalla also gave assurance the central bank was doing its job of promoting price stability in the country. “In terms of inflation targeting and the credibility of the central bank, people can see that we are dead serious when it comes to inflation,” Medalla said. Both the BPI and Security Bank economists are in consensus with the BSP that inflation is expected to tick up in the last two months of the year. In the event that the full-year inflation does not reach 3 percent, the BSP is required to issue an open letter addressed to the President, explaining the factors that pushed the inflation out of the government’s target. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top-news/22574-economist-2013-inflationfigure-to-remain-below-3
Net foreign investments from Jan to Oct up 37% Category: Top News 09 Nov 2013 Written by Bianca Cuaresma FOREIGN investors already put in about $3.65 billion net worth of short-term investments in the country from the start of the year to the week ending October 25, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. This is a 37-percent jump, or about $1 billion higher, than the short-term investments made by non-residents, or the so-called foreign portfolio investments (FPI), made in the same period last year. In 2012 FPI at the last week of October hit only $2.66 billion. Latest data from the central bank showed that as of October 25, total FPI inflows reached about $24.03 billion. This is 65.38 percent, or $9.5 billion, higher than the total inflows seen in the same period last year. These total inflows were partially offset by the total FPI outflows, which reached $20.39 billion this year. This was an increase of 71.38 percent, or $8.49 billion, from the total outflows seen in the same period last year. From October 21 to 25 alone, FPI posted a net inflow of about $57.79 million. The week’s worth of FPI is significantly lower than the $61.58 million seen in the same period last year and the $407.43 million seen in the previous week. FPI posted continuous net outflow in the months of May and August mainly due to global uncertainties surrounding the plans of the United States in its asset-purchase program. In the second week of September, just before the US announced that it was maintaining the pace of its monthly $85-billion bond-buying program, FPI in the country snapped the negative trend. From then, FPI have been sustaining a net inflow for the eighth consecutive week. These net FPI during the first 10 months of the year were now only about $750 million short of the government’s full-year target of $4.4 billion. However, the BSP may either increase this target or decrease depending on the result of the review of the balance-of-payments target. The revised target, should any change would be made, will be announced this month. FPI are short-term investments made by foreign investors on the country’s securities, stock, bonds or other financial assets. This type of investment is also called “speculative” or “hot” money because they can be easily pulled in and out of the market. This makes them a more volatile type of investment compared to foreign direct investments. Bianca Cuaresma http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top-news/22573-net-foreign-investments-fromjan-to-oct-up-37
‘Aquino gov’t committed to pursuing good governance’ By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed confidence that the Aquino administration’s platform of good governance would be stronger once the cleansing process on the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is completed. Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Drilon said the Aquino government is committed to pursuing good governance and sustainable development. However, he admitted that fighting corruption and pursuing transparency and accountability are not easy tasks. “Today, the Aquino government is getting a public beating because of the alleged misuse of government resources earmarked in the national budget by some legislators, popularly known as the pork barrel, to fund preferred projects and programs,” Drilon said. “We see this challenge, colossal as it is, as a cleansing process. The Aquino government will not spare anyone who will be proven guilty,” he added. “This might be a painful cleansing process, but we are confident that when the political process is completed, and the guilty is punished, the platform of good governance upon which the Aquino administration stands will have a stronger foundation.” The senator assured parliamentarians from around the world attending the event that the government remains committed to adhering to democratic principles and ideals. “Bad governance – the root of all economic ills – can be squarely addressed only in a democracy, because of the presence of institutions and legal environment that make governments and public officials accountable,” he said. Binay, Aquino give up ‘pork’ Senators Nancy Binay and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV have joined the list of senators who have decided to forgo their respective P200-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for 2014. – With Janvic Mateo http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/10/1255016/aquino-govt-committed-pursuing-goodgovernance
5,784 barangays in Visayas ‘highly susceptible’ to floods and landslides Category: Nation 09 Nov 2013 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga
THE Philippines remains highly vulnerable to climate change because of the high susceptibility of many areas to geological hazards such as floods and landslides, an official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said. Sevillo D. David Jr., the top geologist and head of the MGB Lands Gelogical Survey Division, said latest assessment revealed that many parts of the country are prone to floods and landslides because of their topography, soil and rock characteristics, given the country’s weather condition. “These floods and landslides could easily be triggered by an unusually excessive amount of rainfall,” he said. The MGB’s geological survey unit is stepping up geological-hazards assessment, in partnership with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, and is completing geohazard maps with a scale of 1:50,000. The maps identify barangays that are prone to floods and landslides. “Based on latest satellite images, historical data and anecdotal accounts of people in the communities, we were able to determine areas with low, moderate and high susceptibility to floods and landslides,” he said. Aside from captured satellite images and aerial photographs, the MGB Lands Geological Survey Division teams also conducted physical assessment of the areas and determined their susceptibility to landslides based on the steepness of the slope and characteristics of the rocks such as its malleability, ruptures and fracture. Excessive rainfall loosens the soil, he said, which could trigger landslides and mudslides. “Places where landslides previously occurred are already considered as areas with high susceptibility to landslides,” he said. People living in low-lying areas are also advised to monitor soil conditions, because of the possibility of flash floods, he said. “These communities were advised to be on alert considering the risks of landslides and floods during heavy rains,” he said.
On Thursday the MGB released a list of 4,000 barangays “highly susceptible” to floods and 1,784 barangays highly susceptible to landslides in Region 5 (Bicol), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) and Region 13 (Caraga)—all along the path of Supertyphoon Yolanda, which made six consecutive landfalls in various parts of the Visayas before the weekend. In the Bicol region a total of 549 barangays in 75 cities and towns are highly susceptible to floods and 118 barangays in 28 cities and towns are highly susceptible to landslides. These are in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur Catanduanes and Sorsogon. In Western Visayas, the province of Antique has been identified as highly vulnerable to geological hazards. The MGB said 15 out of the 18 cities and towns in Antique, with 172 barangays, have been identified with high susceptibility to landslide and 17 out of the 18 cities and towns with 175 barangays highly susceptible to floods. A total of 964 barangays in 95 cities and towns spread across Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental provinces are flood prone while 473 barangays in 56 cities and towns are prone to landslides. In Central Visayas, 263 barangays are highly susceptible to floods and 151 barangays are highly susceptible to landslides. These are spread across 48 out of 66 cities and towns in the Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor provinces. In Eastern Visayas, there are a total of barangays that are highly susceptible to floods and 324 barangays susceptible to landslides. These are spread across 310 cities and towns in Biliran, Eastern Leyte, Leyte, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte and Western Samar provinces. In Mindanao, particularly in the Caraga region, a total of 789 barangays are highly susceptible to floods and 201 barangays are highly susceptible to landslides. These are in 45 out of 73 cities and towns in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands. The Philippines is within the so-called typhoon belt and it experiences an average of 18 to 20 typhoons in a year. It also experiences a season called La Niña characterized by several days of continuous rains. Aggravating this is the fact that much of the country’s forests are already degraded and its rivers silted. The Philippines, an archipelago of some 7,100 islands and islets, has an area of about 30 million hectares, half of which are classified as forests. However, decades of illegal logging activities has caused its forest cover to shrink. Based on the 2003 Philippine Forestry Assessment estimates, the country’s total forest cover is roughly 7.168 million hectares or 23.89 percent of the country’s total land area. In Photo: This BusinessMirror file photo shows how residents and commuters of a low-lying flood-prone barangay in Makati City cope with the regular occurrence of floods following heavy rains. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau has recently tagged 5,784 barangays across the country as “highly susceptible” to flooding and landslides. (Roy Domingo) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/nation/22550-5-784-barangays-in-visayas-highly-susceptibleto-floods-and-landslides
Potential new cyclone spotted By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Super Typhoon Yolanda left the country yesterday afternoon, but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is monitoring a “cloud cluster” that could develop into a low-pressure area. PAGASA weather forecaster Jori Loiz said Yolanda left the Philippine area of responsibility at 1:30 p.m. and was moving west-northwest toward Vietnam. The cloud cluster was spotted east of Mindanao. “If it enters the Philippine area of responsibility as a cloud cluster we would observe it for two to three days because it could dissipate or turn into a low-pressure area,” he said. If the cloud cluster develops into a tropical depression, it would be the 25th cyclone to enter the country and would be named Zoraida. PAGASA said the eye of Yolanda was at 722 kilometers west of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro at 3 p.m. yesterday.
The maximum sustained wind was 185 kilometers per hour near the center with gustiness of up to 220 kph. It is moving at 35 kph. PAGASA said the Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley would experience cloudy skies with light rains in the next 24 hours. Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon would be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated light rains. The rest of the country would have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southeast to east would prevail over Luzon and the Visayas while the winds in Mindanao would come from the southeast. The coastal waters throughout the archipelago would be moderate to rough. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/10/1255012/potential-new-cyclone-spotted
Noy wants all‐weather communication system (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has tasked the Department of Science and Technology to come up with an all-weather communication system so that government officials can be reached all the time, especially during calamities. This developed after Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II could not be contacted last Friday in Tacloban City when telecommunication services there were cut off as Super Typhoon Yolanda battered the city and other areas in the Visayas. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President asked Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo to study and propose a secure all-weather communication system. Montejo would also have to submit a concrete suggestion on how to address the problem with communication lines in times of calamities. Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Coloma said Gazmin and Roxas were only able to get in touch with President Aquino early Friday night to update him on the devastation caused by Yolanda. Gazmin and Roxas used a satellite phone to communicate from Tacloban City. Almendras said the government was able to establish communication with Cebu. “Actually, we now have communications link... All the cell sites are down, but the government communication infrastructure is coming. It’s already in place in most of the areas,” Almendras said in an interview with CNN yesterday. Telcos racing to restore facilities
Telecommunications providers, meanwhile, are racing to restore services in the provinces ravaged by Yolanda. As of noon yesterday, damage assessment found that about 53 percent of the Globe network in the Visayas region had been adversely affected. Ayala-led Globe Telecom said restoration of its communication services is now underway in areas severely affected by the typhoon. It has restored communication services in Iloilo and Roxas City following service disruption on Friday as Yolanda wreaked havoc in these areas. Globe head of corporate communications Yoly Crisanto said it would take the company at least 48 hours to restore services in areas hard hit by the typhoon. She also said back-up power facilities have been fully utilized in the company’s major regional exchange centers. “We have activated our Disaster Coordination Center in Lahug and our Regional Operations Center to expedite restoration efforts in the Visayas region. Globe technical teams in the region continue to do coordination, monitoring and site assessments in the affected areas,” Crisanto said. Service areas affected include those in Aklan, Antique, Biliran, Bohol, Capiz, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Siquijor, Southern Leyte and Western Samar. Crisanto said service disruption in the Visayas region was due mostly to multiple transmission link failures and prolonged commercial power outages following storm surges and strong winds brought by the super typhoon. Voice, text and data services in large parts of the following areas are now available: Antique, 45 percent; Bohol, 64 percent; Cebu, 60 percent; Guimaras, 88 percent; Iloilo, 64 percent; Negro Occidental, 70 percent; Negros Oriental, 87 percent; Northern Samar, eight percent; Southern Leyte, 28 percent; Siquijor, 100 percent; and Western Samar, two percent. Globe has also authorized the use of all its manned cell sites in Bohol, Samar and Leyte as free charging stations since there is no electricity yet in the provinces. The facilities are being powered by heavy-duty generators. Smart Communications Inc., on the other hand, has also started restoring its facilities and expects to fire up most of these equipment in the next two to three days. “The teams that we pre-positioned in the affected provinces started restoration work immediately after the storm passed. They put Ormoc City back on air last night and we are moving on to the surrounding municipalities from there,” Rolando Peña, head of technology services for PLDT and Smart, said in an advisory. “About 15 percent of our cellular coverage in the three regions of Central Philippines was affected by the super typhoon, most of these in Eastern Samar and Leyte which bore the brunt of the storm’s fury,” Peña said. In Mindanao, less than one percent of Smart’s network there was affected, mostly in Surigao del Norte, while less than 10 percent of its network in South Luzon was affected, mostly in Masbate and Romblon.
“In a number of areas, service is not available because of the lack of commercial electricity. To address this, we are dispatching generation sets to augment local power. We are also making available to local residents power in our cell sites to enable them to re-charge their mobile phones,” Peña said. Smart also said that its subscribers can donate to the Philippine Red Cross. Donations are accepted in the following amounts: P10, P25, P50, P100, P300, P500 and P1,000. Subscribers may text RED (amount) to 4143. Power not yet fully restored Several areas in the Visayas and Luzon, however, are still without electricity due to damaged transmission lines. The National Electrification Administration said that as of yesterday, there was still no power in Lubang, Romblon, Iloilo, Coron, Antique, Capiz, Mindoro, Biliran, Catbalogan, Ormoc, Leyte and Aklan. The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said in its latest advisory that there was also no power in Samar and Bohol as transmission facilities there remained down. But the NGCP said in Cebu, 157 megawatts of affected power have been restored. These are in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Balamban City, Toledo, Asturias, Naga, San Fernando, Carcar City, Sibonga, Argao, Dumanjug and Alcoy. In Luzon, affected transmission lines are the Batangas-Lipa 69 kilovolt line covering Lipa, San Jose and Mataas na Kahoy; the 69 kilovolt Batangas-Rosario line covering Ibaan, Rosario, Padre Garcia, San Juan and Taysan; and the 69 kilovolt Batangas-Holcim line covering portions of the Mabini substation. – Aurea Calica, Czerina Valencia, Iris Gonzales, Lawrence Agcaoili, Jaime Laude http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/10/1255010/noy‐wants‐all‐weather‐communication‐ system
Gov’t preparing for rebuilding efforts By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The government is bracing for massive rebuilding efforts in areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda as initial reports hint of devastation on a colossal scale, President Aquino said last night. Aquino said he was expecting the number of casualties to “substantially” increase because of the typhoon’s scale and local officials in areas caught unprepared would be made to explain. “As you know, any casualty is an issue with me,” Aquino told reporters after a closed-door meeting at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations center at the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ heaquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Aquino said he did not want to make conclusive statements without getting complete data, although based on initial information, Tacloban City appeared to be the least prepared among the affected areas. It was in Tacloban City where 100 casualties have initially been reported. He is set to visit the city today. Aquino said he greatly appreciates help from foreign governments but stressed the administration is capable of addressing the needs of the people. Aquino said there were enough savings amounting to billions of pesos that could be tapped. He said these were the same lump sum funds, currently vilified by critics, that his office could use in times of calamities and disasters. The President said four Cabinet secretaries – Voltaire Gazmin of the Department of National Defense, Manuel Roxas II of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development )DSWD) and Jericho Petilla of the Department of Energy – had been sent to assess the damage in the areas battered by Yolanda. He said it was hard to say at the moment which areas were the most affected because of lack of information.
But he noted the DSWD had prepared a storm track to help authorities determine which localities were hardest hit and needed to be reached immediately. The Department of Public Works and Highways is conducting clearing operations and will construct bunkhouses for affected residents in cooperation with local governments. Air Force helicopters have been conducting aerial surveys and also delivering relief to areas presently inaccessible, Aquino said. The President said some relief goods had been prepositioned but the devastation was on such a massive scale that make distribution of relief difficult. He said C-130 aircraft and naval vessels were working double time to deliver relief supplies and transport personnel in cooperation with the Red Cross. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/10/1255009/govt‐preparing‐rebuilding‐efforts
Anti-smuggling drive shouldn’t ease up this Christmas Category: Opinion 09 Nov 2013 Written by The BusinessMirror Editorial
THE onset of the Yuletide season is palpable, with store shelves filled to the brim with all sorts of merchandise, from garments to bags and toys and all kinds of electronic goods, among many other things. You would think that with all the goods up for grabs by consumers with enough cash in their pockets, the economy is really booming and poised to grow even more in the months to come, particularly since OFW remittances go through the roof at this time of the year. But looks can be deceiving. Even if stores and sidewalks groan under the weight of tons of merchandise, that does not necessarily mean that the economy is benefiting from the brisk sales. In the first place, how much of all the goods for sale in legit stores and in the sidewalks or the informal economy actually paid the proper taxes? That should be the concern only of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), because that’s their job. But it should also be the concern of the citizenry—every one—because smuggled goods hurt the economy as a whole by depriving the government of revenues that should otherwise go to, say, the construction of roads and bridges, more classrooms and barangay health centers catering to the poor and disadvantaged sectors. Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon should be extremely happy with the onset of the Christmas season because the bureau should be posting hefty increases in duties and taxes from the marked increase in imports at Yuletide. But it seems that he now actually dreads the Christmas season, as it’s also the time when smuggling syndicates will stop at nothing to sneak in more goods through the ports without paying the right taxes. And this is also the time when Biazon must contend with jeers and catcalls from all directions attacking his integrity and competence to lead the agency.
All the noise comes, presumably, from those whose illegal operations at the various ports would be enormously hurt by a no-nonsense campaign against smuggling by the BOC. We believe, however, that Biazon should pursue his anti-smuggling drive without letup as this would guarantee that all Customs revenues would go to the national coffers, instead of ending up in the pockets of the corrupt and the unscrupulous within the bureau, and among the ranks of traders and brokers. Over the years, the Customs bureau has earned an unwholesome reputation as a cesspool of corruption. Even today, the stench has not gone away, even prompting President Aquino to publicly castigate the BOC in his July State of the Nation Address for its rank failure to stop corruption. But with the reforms introduced by Biazon, including computerization of all aspects of its operations, the Customs bureau may yet redeem itself in the eyes of our people. It’s about time, if you ask us. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/opinion/22566‐anti‐smuggling‐drive‐shouldn‐t‐ ease‐up‐this‐christmas
Calamities may push more Filipinos into poverty–Neda By Michelle V. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:20 am | Sunday, November 10th, 2013
Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and other natural calamities that have struck the Philippines may not drag down the country’s overall growth but they could push more households into “transient” poverty, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said Friday. Government economists believe a significant portion of the country’s poor are “transient poor”— people who were previously not poor but were suddenly pushed below the poverty line because of untoward incidents, including natural calamities. The latest poverty report said that 27.9 percent of Filipinos were living below the poverty line in the first semester of 2012. Neda Director General Arsenio Balisacan said with the series of natural calamities hitting the country, the government could not discount the possibility that some people living in the affected areas had been pushed into poverty because of the damage wrought on their properties and sources of income. He said the Neda would study the impact of Yolanda and the recent earthquake on the country’s poverty incidence. Yolanda hit the Visayas less than a month after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the central Philippine region last month, severely affecting Bohol and Cebu provinces. Based on the Neda’s assessment, the Philippine economy could still maintain the robust growth it had exhibited in the first semester despite the earthquake and Yolanda. However, while the impact of natural calamities on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was not much of a concern, the social impact should be a worry, said Balisacan on the sidelines of a partnership ceremony between Ayala Corp. and the UP School of Economics, which will conduct a series of economic forums in the next three years. Neda Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra, meanwhile, said that the government agencies concerned were developing a program that would serve as a safety net against transient poverty in times of calamity. In particular, he said, the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture and Department of Social Welfare and Development, among other agencies, were designing a program to help families affected by calamities recover from lost income sources.
Such a program, details of which are still being finalized, is expected to be part of the revised Philippine Development Plan that will be released before the end of the year. Esguerra said that the program may include financial help as well as technical assistance. “The idea is that the program should be responsive in a timely manner,” Esguerra said. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/524333/calamities‐may‐push‐more‐filipinos‐into‐poverty‐ neda#ixzz2kIrJ5Hvv Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Fuel prices going down Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:34 am | Sunday, November 10th, 2013
AFP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Oil firms will cut their pump prices this week amid the downtrend in the international market. Petron and Shell said in separate announcements that their price cuts were to start at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 10 as follows: gasoline—60 centavos per liter, diesel—60 centavos per liter, and kerosene—70 centavos per liter. For Cebu and Bohol, which were hit by a recent earthquake and then faced Supertyphoon “Yolanda’s” wrath, the rollback was 60 centavos per liter for gasoline, 25 centavos per liter for diesel and 50 centavos per liter for kerosene. Most oil firms spared Cebu and Bohol from last week’s price hikes for diesel and kerosene. Other oil firms are expected to announce similar adjustments. Meanwhile, electricity rates for November will increase by P1.24 per kilowatt hour for a typical household with a monthly consumption of 200 kWh due to higher generation and other charges, Meralco said Friday. Riza T. Olchondra http://business.inquirer.net/151639/fuel‐prices‐going‐down
7 senators now for scrapping senate PDAF in 2014 budget by Mario B. Casayuran and Charissa M. Luci November 10, 2013
Manila, Philippines – Neophyte Sen. Nancy Binay urged her colleagues in the 24-member Senate yesterday to withdraw the proposed P25.24-billion pork barrel for senators and members of the House of Representatives from the proposed 2014 P2.26-trillion national budget (General Appropriations Act). She also sought the removal of lump-sum allocations of other government agencies in the national budget. “This signifies the Senate’s firm commitment to its important duty of enacting a national budget based on transparency and accountability,” she said. “Considering the public’s perception on the use of the PDAF and other lump sum items in the national budget, coupled with the fact that PDAF’s validity is under judicial inquiry, it is my view that it is of paramount necessity for the Senate to take action on the issue of its continued inclusion in the appropriations law.” Thus, she said in a formal communication to Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, “I therefore convey my intent to have the proposed P200-million allocation for my office removed and the full amount deducted from the national budget for 2014.” P4.8-B PDAF For 2014 The Senate has a P4.8-billion PDAF for 2014, with each senator entitled to P200 million annually. A member of the House of Representatives is allotted P70 million a year. With her declaration, Binay joined six other senators who have signified their intention to have their pork barrel allocations removed from the Senate budget for the coming 2014 fiscal year. The six others are Senators Escudero, Grace Poe, Aquilino Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto, Loren Legarda, and Benigno “Bam’’ Aquino. Escudero was expected to submit late this month for Senate floor deliberation his committee report on the proposed 2014 national budget after having collated the reports of his finance subcommittees and the positions of the senators on the PDAF issue. P3-B Given Up By Senators At the sidelines of the 20th anniversary of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) at the historic landmark Manila Hotel yesterday, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said the
senators have already given up the P3-billion balance of their PDAF for 2013 and asked President Benigno S. Aquino III to realign it to the Calamity Fund. He added that after the recent earthquake in the Visayas, “we allocated a savings of about P6 million which we gave to DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for relief operations.’’ The Senate chief also said that the Upper House will review its proposed 2014 budget “and see how much savings can still be feasible, which we can use to help our constituents affected by the typhoon (Yolanda).’’ “For 2014, already a good number of senators have said that we will not avail of the PDAF in 2014 and remove it from the budget,’’ he said. Drilon stressed that these are initiatives being undertaken even before the Supreme Court decides on the constitutionality of the PDAF “and even before the initiative taken by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno’’ against the PDAF. As a former Justice Secretary, Drilon said he recognized that Puno’s proposed People’s Initiative “is a process recognized by the Constitution and what I am saying is that we have already taken steps to do what the People’s Initiative wants to achieve.” ‘No Conflict’ In the House of Representatives, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said he sees “no conflict” if the Senate completely deletes the senators’ PDAF in the proposed 2014 budget, while the House of Representatives realigns the congressmen’s pork barrel funds to implementing agencies. “I do not see any conflict since both houses respect each other’s decision,” he said. “We will respect whatever the senators decide on their PDAF allocation. We already approved the House version by scrapping the PDAF and reallocating the funds to various agencies,” Ungab said. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the timely passage of the P2.268-trillion national budget must be the Congress’ priority. “We don’t like to interfere with their PDAF. What is important is that they pass the budget,” he said. In defending the Lower Chamber’s decision to realign their PDAF to implementing agencies, he explained that congressman and senators are “not similarly situated.” “We have definite districts and constituents to serve. Also, by line item of our hard projects, there is no more discretion… that’s no longer pork, but ordinary appropriations,” Belmonte said. http://www.mb.com.ph/7‐senators‐now‐for‐scrapping‐senate‐pdaf‐in‐2014‐budget/
‘People’s move vs pork barrel needs P750M’ By Rio N. Araja | Nov. 10, 2013 at 12:00am | 21 views
Passing legislation that will outlaw the Aquino administration’s pork barrel system will cost P750 million, according to the Empowered People’s Initiative and Reform Movement Alliance (ePIRMA) which held its people’s congress to find solutions and reforms against corruption in the country. ePIRMA convenor Manny Lopez said they need that amount to push the legislation necessary to reform the public finance system via the people’s initiative system that is provided in Republic Act No. 6735, or the Initiative and Referendum Act. “This is to effect real change in the country. We have to institutionalize reforms para kahit sinong pumasok sa gobyerno or any leadership will conform to certain standards that protects and advances public interest,” Lopez, a businessman, said at a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday. Asked how ePIRMA will fund the initiative, Lopez said they are looking at a “piso-piso” campaign where supporters will be asked to donate even P1 to the cause. “It will not be a walk in the park, but if we want change in this country, we will have to do it,” Lopez said. “It is not impossible. It is challenging. It is difficult, but it could happen with the rage of people now regarding corruption. This is the chance, this is the tipping point that we could pursue to improve the quality of governance.” Lopez said they will seek the assistance of former Chief Justice Renato Puno who called for a people’s initiative. “Definitely we will reach out to different groups including ex-CJ Puno and all other groups that seek change in this country,” he said. Puno last week said his group of advocates are already working on a draft law that will stop the alleged misuse and abuse of government funds, such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program and it may be ready by January. Puno wants to specifically prohibit “off budget items,” such as the Presidential Social Fund, and require the government to consider programs suggested by barangays or local government units. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/10/‐people‐s‐move‐vs‐pork‐barrel‐needs‐p750m‐/\
Aquino scored for using MWSS as ‘Good example’ By Joel E. Zurbano | Nov. 10, 2013 at 12:00am | 48 views
Two more groups scored President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for using the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System as a “good example” during his controversial television address last week because the profits the President reported were actually “paper gains” due to the appreciation of the peso against the US dollar. The groups, Filipinos for Accountability and Reforms and Coalition of Filipino Consumers, said Aquino should instead fire the MWSS board of directors for making it appear that the water agency is earning money to justify the hefty bonuses of four board members. Silvestre Liwanag, chairman of the Filipinos for Accountability and Reforms, and Jason Luna, convenor of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers backed the calls of the MWSS Labor Association for the immediate sacking of MWSS head Gerardo Esquivel Jr., MWSS administrator Emmanuel Caparas and his deputy, Vince Yambao. The trio, according to these groups, lied before President Aquino and the public to justify the more than P500,000 allowances that they each gave themselves for the reported P2 billion earnings of the MWSS in 2012. Liwanag said the President looked stupid when he included this alleged profit in his television address last Oct. 30 because this alleged 70% of the reported net income was only a “paper gain” coming from the appreciation of the peso against the US dollar. “Poor PNoy, he looked stupid when he praised his bosom buddy Esquivel for reportedly steering MWSS to profitability. The President was misinformed. The gain, if ever there was, was just on paper, because MWSS corporate funds and investments are tied with the movement of the US dollar. “Earnings from this,” Liwanag said, “ are not earnings kept by MWSS. Rather this paper gain is simply numbers, and not actual earned income,” Liwanag said, citing proof provided by the MWSS Labor Association. Quoting MWSS vice president Napoleon Quinones, the consolidated statement of profit and loss reflects gains from foreign exchange which surged to 1.357 billion in 2012. Quinones said, this was included in the MWSS net income, which explains why it increased to P1.945 billion. “ President Aquino should have checked first before using the MWSS as “justification” adds Liwanag. For his part, Luna wants the Office of the President to immediately order the sacking of Esquivel who faces 11 graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman. Aquino, Luna adds, should place people of competence and integrity in sensitive government posts like the MWSS. “ How will the people believe that the President has a strong political will against graft and corruption when the very people that now runs his GOCCs are helping themselves with the people’s monies and even have the gall to stay in their posts while graft charges have been filed against them?” says Luna, who heads the umbrella organization composed of five urban poor groups in Metro Manila. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/10/aquino‐scored‐for‐using‐mwss‐as‐good‐example‐/
Bet on the future with artificial photosynthesis By Joyce Pangco Panares | Nov. 10, 2013 at 12:00am | 65 views 11
Brussels – If having a four-storey building running only on renewable energy sources sounds futuristic, try artificial photosynthesis by harnessing carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce fuel. In Brussels, there stands a 150-year-old building, known as the Renewable Energy House, that runs purely on “green” resources such as biomass and wind power. But while the REH already provides a glimpse of what is yet to come in the renewable energy sector, some groups are taking the search for clean energy a step further by collecting CO2 and converting it into energy. “Our future is in artificial photosynthesis. If we get it right, we might actually close that gap,” said James Pieper, media relations manager of the European Chemical Industry Council. Experts have cited the breakthrough that Bayer MaterialScience achieved in using CO2 to replace portion of the fossil-fuel raw materials, such as petroleum, used to produce foam mattresses. The company undertook a two-year test on the artificial The Renewable Energy House photosynthesis technology – otherwise known as polyols, and is set in Brussels. to commercialize the use of CO2 at its site in Dormagen, Germany by 2015. “CO2 is taking on a new light: The waste gas is turning into a useful and profitable raw material. That makes us one of the first companies worldwide to take an entirely different approach to the production of high-quality foams,” Bayer MS chief executive officer Patrick Thomas said. Pieper, however, acknowledged that it would take about “20 to 30 years” to perfect the technology, and even Bayer admits this much when it dubbed its research in its pilot plant in Leverkusen as “Dream Production.” During the test phase, Bayer drew CO2 from a nearby power plant, and Thomas envisions a future where power plant operators will eventually pay to have carbon dioxide taken off their hands. The European Union, in fact, has set a 20-20-20 target for 2020 – a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; raising the share of energy consumption produced
from renewable resources to 20 percent; and a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. According to energy expert Dafydd ab Iago, the 28-member bloc currently imports 350 billion euro worth of oil and petroleum products, thus contributing to global carbon emissions. European Commission press officer for environment issues Monica Westeren said the key is resource efficiency or how to produce more with less. “Resources are getting scarce. If we protect nature, we protect our future,” Westeren said. But while European lawmakers are discussing resource efficiency in their fossil fuel-ran office in Brussels, nearby is the REH that has proven that it can be done. Even in the harshest of winters, the REH building along Rue d’Arlon keeps its 100 tenants warm – and without using traditional energy resources. “We use 100 percent renewable energy supply for heating, cooling and electricity,” REH secretary general Kim Vanguers said in a separate interview. “This is a bet on the future,” Vanguers added. REH uses a wide range of renewable energy resources – including biomass fuel, solar photovoltaic cells, geothermal energy, and even so-called green electricity from wind energy. Vanguers said they have also limited their thermal exchange through heat recovery and the use computerized motion sensors to determine if they need ventilation.
Bodies litter Tacloban November 9, 2013 11:11 pm by LLANESCA PANTI, ANTHONY VARGAS, BENJIE VERGARA AND AFP
An aerial photo by AFP shows houses in Tacloban destroyed by the strong winds of Typhoon Yolanda. AFP PHOTO Tacloban City on Saturday put a face to the death and devastation inflicted by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), with bodies scattered in the streets, buildings flattened by savage winds and giant waves, and people walking around dazed and begging for help. The extent of the destruction in Leyte’s capital, a city of 220,000 people, slowly emerged at daybreak Saturday as the government began to rush aid to areas that Yolanda smashed with 315-kilometer-per-hour winds. More than four million people were affected across 36 provinces, officials said. Many of the worst-hit areas remained cut off from communications on Saturday, with power and telephone networks destroyed, but initial accounts from some areas reached by the military and the media painted a deeply ominous picture. In Tacloban, the city’s airport manager reported more than 100 bodies were littered in and around the facility, with at least 100 more people injured. “The terminal, the tower, including communication equipment, were destroyed,” Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy chief John Andrews told Agence France-Presse, as he recounted the airport manager’s assessment. Large areas of Tacloban were flattened, according to a news agency photographer who reached the coastal city aboard a military plane carrying relief supplies. Storm surges more than three meters (10 feet) had pounded the area, the Philippine Red Cross said.
In scenes reminiscent of tsunami damage, some houses in Tacloban were completely destroyed, with piles of splintered wood lying on concrete slabs, while others had just the stone frames remaining. Almost all the trees and electric posts were torn down, while cars were overturned. Some dazed and injured survivors wandered around the carnage asking journalists for water, while others sorted through what was left of their destroyed homes. Eight bodies had been laid to rest inside the airport’s chapel, which had also been badly damaged. Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the typhoon likely killed hundreds of people. “I think hundreds,” Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said on ABS-CBN television when asked how many people had died in the coastal town of Palo and surrounding villages that he visited on devastated Leyte island. Palo and the neighboring city of Tacloban were struck by devastating storm surges early Friday as Yolanda began scything through major central islands, disaster officials have said. Petilla, a Palo native, was dispatched by President Benigno Aquino 3rd to the island, and surveyed the damage aboard a helicopter. “We saw 24 corpses in Palo, but officials there reported to us that there are people in nearby areas planning to bring their dead to the town center,” he said. “Palo, Ormoc, Burauen… Carigara, they all looked the same. The buildings were all unroofed and littered with fallen trees,” he said, describing the devastation in some of the other Leyte towns and cities that he visited. Rescue work starts Yolanda blew out of the country Saturday morning as government and civilian volunteer groups started ferrying relief, rescue and telecommunication facilities and volunteer workers to help in the worst-hit areas of the worst ever storm that hit land. Malacañang officially confirmed receiving reports of over 100 deaths in Tacloban, but hundreds more are missing in Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga City, Surigao del Sur; Masbate, Bicol and Palawan. CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews flew to Tacloban on a Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo plane to assess the damage on the airport. He brought with him supplies, food, medicine and communication equipment. CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss said airport runways in Iloilo, Caticlan, Romblon, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Masbate, Legazpi and Surigao were being cleared of debris. Military reports identified three of the dead as Regie Francisco Bucoy, 2, who was hit by lightning in Zamboanga City and Jimmy Cabilan, 56, in Surigao del Sur and Rhandy Cejar in Iloilo, both electrocution victims.
Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said in an interview with CNN Secretaries Mar Roxas 2nd of Interior and Local Government and Voltaire Gazmin of National Defense were in the Visayas even before the storm hit. Almendras said the government was setting up command centers in Western and Eastern Visayas to better coordinate relief efforts. Eastern Visayas covers the islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran, while Western Visayas is composed of Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo. Roxas airport remained closed until Sunday while Kalibo airport is expected to resume operations on Monday. Tacloban and Busuanga airports were severely damaged. “While the casualties are lower in the Western part compared with the East, the destruction brought by the typhoon was just as bad. We expect more people to be housed in the evacuation centers,” Almendras said. “We have pre-positioned relief goods and that would be good for two to three days,” he added. The National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) placed the death toll from Yolanda at four, with seven people injured and four missing. Interviewed on state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino has tasked government officials to prioritize the safety of the people and ensure that the lines of communication are restored as soon as possible. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and PAL Express said they would resume their flights once the provincial airports are fully cleared. Over 90 flights had been cancelled because of Yolanda. The Philippine National Police (PNP) sent a team headed by Special Action Force commander Director Carmelo Valmoria to Eastern Visayas to assist in the search, rescue and rehabilitation efforts in Leyte and restore communication lines, according to PNP Public Information Chief, S/Supt. Theodore Sindac. Fifteen thousand soldiers had been deployed to the disaster zones, military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told Agence France-Presse. He said helicopters were also flying rescuers into priority areas, while infantry units deployed across the affected areas were also proceeding on foot or in military trucks. Another area of particular concern was Guiuan, a fishing town of about 40,000 people on Samar that was the first to be hit after Yolanda swept in from the Pacific Ocean. The Red Cross said contact had not yet been made with Guiuan. The Philippines suffered the world’s strongest storm of 2012, when Typhoon Pablo left about 2,000 people dead or missing in Mindanao. http://manilatimes.net/bodies‐litter‐tacloban/51833/
‘IT WAS LIKE THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI’ November 9, 2013 11:10 pm by NEIL A. ALCOBER
A barangay hall, also in Iloilo, collapses at the height of the typhoon’s fury. AFP PHOTOS MEMBERS of a United Nations (UN) disaster assessment coordination unit who visited Tacloban City on Saturday were shocked by the extent of devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda on the province. According to Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the team, roads are strewn with debris making them impassable. The only way to get around is by helicopter. Stampa reported that the level of destruction was unprecedented. “The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami,” Stampa said. She was referring to the tsunami generated by a magnitude 9 earthquake that hit Indonesia on December 26, 2004, killing more than 230,000 people in 14 countries. “This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris,” he added. The UN team arrived to prepare the ground work for an inter-agency humanitarian assessment. “The roads between the airport and the town are completely blocked and relief operations will be extremely difficult,” Stampa said. Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology of US-based Weather Underground, said that Samar endured catastrophic winds when the typhoon made landfall in the town of Guiuan. ‘Yolanda’ was packing winds of 190-195 miles per hour when it slammed into the island, making it the strongest cyclone in history to make landfall.
“Wind damage on the south shore of Samar Island in Guiuan must have been catastrophic, perhaps the greatest wind damage any place on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century,” Masters said. “I’ve never witnessed a Category 5 storm that made landfall and stayed at Category 5 strength after spending so many hours over land, and there are very few storms that have stayed at category 5 strength for so long.” Dr. Julie Hall, UN acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, extended her sympathies to the Philippine government, most especially to the typhoon victims in Leyte and Samar. “We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the government and the people of the Philippines who have been affected by this devastating typhoon which appears to have caused significant damage across a large tract of the Visayas,” Hall said. The UN in the Philippines and its humanitarian partners also vowed that they will help the government in assessing the damage caused by Yolanda. “We are working very closely with the government and are ready to respond in any way we can to this tragedy,” Hall said. “The humanitarian country team and partners are fully prepared to support and assist government in response to this latest typhoon,” she added. Enough resources Malacañang gave assurances on Saturday that the government has enough resources to rehabilitate damaged infrastructures in Leyte and other areas. In a radio interview, Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the government will help rebuild the province. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas reported to President Benigno Aquino 3rd that damage to property and infrastructure in Leyte is massive. “We have the Core Shelter Assistance program to help those whose houses were either partially damaged or destroyed,” Valte said. http://manilatimes.net/it‐was‐like‐the‐indian‐ocean‐tsunami/51831/
Dam women turn to jewelry making November 9, 2013 11:09 pm by ROSE DE LA CRUZ DAM Good Stuff Inc. is a designer/producer and wholesaler of fashion accessories hand-made by the women of San Manuel and San Nicolas, Pangasinan province, whose families were forced out of their homes by the construction of the San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam of the National Power Corp. in 1998 to 2003. The company was founded by spouses Raymond and Carol Cunningham, who work as engineers at the San Roque dam. The couple took pity on the displaced families and cooked up a livelihood project to sustain them. From its founding in October 2002, the company began exporting most of its products to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. Shipments reached its peak in 2006 and 2007, but dropped in 2008 because of the global financial crisis, when consumer spending shrank. Since then, it has lost the Australia and Japan markets, but retained its buyers in the US and UK. It was able to penetrate another market in Europe, Denmark, just last year. DGSI Business Manager Analyn Blardony said that starting this week, the company will be shipping to a buyer in Costa Rica, who saw DGSI fashion accessories at the Manila Fame Expo in October. The company is also supplying shops at Makati Shangrila Hotel and Silahis Arts and Artifacts, a specialty shop in Intramuros. DGSI personnel also sell their products in fashion and jewelry expos where it is able to attract retailers. “DGSI, being owned by foreigners, can’t go into retailing under Philippine laws so we are just wholesaling our products to retail vendors,” Blardony explained. Seamstress Carlina Vitales, a mother of four, said her income from DGSI enabled her to send her younger children to high school. She also makes enough to buy milk, diapers and pasalubong when she visits her grandchildren. Siblings Jocelyn Cortez and Marjorie Cabuslay said their younger brother was able to finish high school, thanks to their earnings. They were also able to save enough to send him to a vocational school. Marife Lorena thanked DGSI for helping artisans like her and the other families in Agno area. Designer Lilia Salceda, who used to work abroad, is also grateful that she can help her husband support their family. Her child is now in high school. DGSI wants to become a leader in the fashion jewelry business by pursuing excellence in design, quality, and service to its customers. By being a leader in the industry, “we
can increase our sales, which will provide more jobs for the women in the affected families of San Roque,” Blardony said. Blardony said their products are affordable, with prices starting at P500. The company employs 12 artisans who are members of the Agno Artisans MultiPurpose Cooperative women’s cooperative and 12 other office-based workers, including Blardony, herself from San Manuel. Many individuals, including foreigners, have taken interest in promoting DGSI products to civil clubs. DGSI made a presentation before the Rotary and gave out handouts that said: “By purchasing DGSI products you are supporting these women and their families and assuring them of sustainable income while expanding and enhancing their livelihood potential.” “We guaranty that our export-quality fashion accessories are really Dam Good Stuff!” DGSI will be holding a pre-Christmas sale at its showroom at Unit 303 One Corporate Plaza, 845 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City. Fashion accessories made from semi-precious stones and nickel-free and lead free metal and sterling silver will be sold at half price from Nov. 11 to 15. http://manilatimes.net/dam‐women‐turn‐to‐jewelry‐making/51814/
Celebrating the Mother of All Churches November 10, 2013 10:02 pm by RICARDO SALUDO
Ricardo Saludo My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers. — The Gospel of St. Matthew, 21:13 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. — The First Letter to the Corinthians 3:16-17 Quick, which is the oldest church in the world? Those who went to mass last Saturday may know the answer: the Lateran Basilica in Rome, built in the years before its dedication in 324. It is also called the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and the Saints John the Baptist and [John] the Evangelist in Lateran, translating its Latin name. The land and the original edifice of the church was bequethed by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who ruled from 306 to 337, after he adopted Christianity as his and the Empire’s religion in 311. Various accounts had it that Constantine defeated a rival for imperial power, using the cross as his emblem. Whatever the reason for his conversion, it set the nascent faith on its way to becoming a world religion. With persecution of believers and the destruction of churches ended, the Lateran Basilica became the first among all other Christian places of worship erected or converted with no more threat of demolition. Hence the title “Mother of All Churches.” Eventually, it became the cathedral of the Supreme Pontiff as Bishop of Rome, a status it holds to this day. In the hierarchy of Catholic places of worship, it stands above all, including the monumental Saint Peter’s Basilica. Hence, only the 140-by-140-meter Lateran edifice is given the name Archbasilica, and its dedication is marked as a feast. If all this sounds like interesting trivia for Bible night or banter with a bishop, far from it. And last Saturday, in a weekly traditional Latin mass at the lower chapel of Christ the
King Church in Greenmeadows, Quezon City, Jesuit Fr. Tim Ofrasio’s homily, excerpted below, explained the importance of the feast of Christianity’s oldest church: “Why do we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, and what is its significance for us here and now? . . . We celebrate it simply because it is “the mother of all Christian churches in the world.” It is linked to the teaching authority of the Pope as successor of Saint Peter [the first Bishop of Rome]. “The second question is not easy. I believe the answer lies in the readings assigned for today, either from the prophet Ezekiel (Ez 47:1-2,8-9,12) or from the First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 3:9c-11,16-17), and from the gospel we proclaimed from Saint John (Jn 2:13-22). In these readings the theme of the Temple stands out prominently. From this we glean that the Church is our point of reflection today. “Allow me to share two points with you. First, the Church as a building constructed by people; and second, the Church as people of God, namely all of us believers who are the living stones making up the Church and Temple of the Holy Spirit. “This place (and any other church or chapel) where we gather together regularly to offer the sacrifice of the Lord in Holy Mass is the image of the oldest temple which the Basilica of Saint John Lateran is. That is why we adorn it with only the best and most precious materials we can produce; it is the House of God. “It is here where we encounter and share intimate spiritual moments with our Lord, where we share in the Body of Christ offered for our salvation. And so it is fitting that we give to the building that is the church the best that we have to offer. It is a sign and a manifestation of the deepest love and respect that we have for God.” More from the homily later, after a brief comment. If Christian readers are finding all this discourse and detail about an ancient church few would aver visit, that may well be the problem for which last Saturday’s feast is part of the solution. Many avowed believers see little meaning or value in centuries-old events and observances, except in the particular relevance to the here and now. But in fact, there is immense significance in the original tales, revelations and interpretations, which can be glossed over, if not totally lost or distorted by efforts to “modernize” the faith. Take the Nativity of our Lord to be celebrated next month. His birth in Bethlehem fulfilled an age-old prophesy about the Messiah, but many faithful give little importance to the imperial edict at the time for all subjects to return to their birthplaces for census. Ditto Constantine’s bequest of the Laterani family land and building to the early Church. Yet these seemingly mundane facts of imperial action underscore an oft-forgotten truism about how God acts in the world. Many times He harnesses earthly power for heavenly plans, even if the personages or institutions taking action are oppressive or evil. Thus, a den of thieves, so to speak, is made a house of worship. Human machinations advance Godly visions. The divine is in the details.
Going back to Fr. Tim’s homily, he says further: “But we also know that no matter how beautiful our places of worship are, the more important Church is not the place where we gather but we who gather here. The physical beauty of a church building is not nearly as important as those who gather in it to worship God. The exquisite adornments of a church building do not matter as much as the followers of Christ who live a life that is just, is committed to the truth, and follows the will of God. “The benchmark of the true Church founded by Jesus Christ, is a community of believers who daily strive to live the gospel in their individual lives, manifesting Christian charity towards all. Multiplication of Masses, praying the rosary, novenas and other devotions, and erecting a beautiful church are not sure signs of the living faith of a Christian community. The life that is lived in the love of Christ is the only benchmark of the true and living Church of Jesus Christ.” True worship then demands not just erecting a place of devotion, but also building the house of God in ourselves, by making every moment of our individual lives a prayer of adoration and love for the Lord through caring for the least of His brethren. Thus, we can truly fulfill the last line of Fr. Tim’s homily: http://manilatimes.net/celebrating‐the‐mother‐of‐all‐churches/52066/
Posted on November 08, 2013 07:23:08 PM By Diana Jean B. Evite
Peso closes the week on the up
THE PESO ended the week on the up against the dollar despite positive data from the United States and an unexpected rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB). The local currency appreciated for the second trading day on Friday, although very slightly, to close at P43.20 a dollar, one centavo stronger than its P43.21-per-dollar finish on Thursday. “The peso closed stronger despite better US data and surprise cut of ECB... China’s exports data fueled risk appetite for Asian currencies,” a trader said in a phone interview. China’s exports grew 5.6% last month, exceeding the market expectations of 3.2% and recovering from a 0.3% drop in September. This lifted the peso and its regional peers, despite the ECB’s interest rate cut which caught markets off guard. The ECB took its main refinancing rate to 0.25%, down 25 basis points, while its bank deposit rate and emergency borrowing rate were cut to 0.75% and 1%, respectively. The US, on the other hand, saw its gross domestic product grow by 2.8% in the July-September period, well above the economists’ 2% forecast. Jobless claims also fell by 9,000 to 336,000 in the week ending Nov. 2. Another trader added: “There was some sell-off of dollar due to seasonal flows coming in, and some traders also decided to trim dollar positions ahead of the non-farm payroll tonight.”
Overseas Filipino workers typically send home more money to their families in time for the holidays. Meanwhile, the US non-farm payrolls will be released tonight, and the market remains cautious as a positive reading could convince the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its stimulus program. Analysts expect the payrolls to record only 130,000 new jobs for October, even lower than the 148,000 jobs created in September. Dollars traded on Friday rose to $645.7 million from $575.4 million on Thursday. The peso is expected to trade against the dollar within the P43.10-P43.40 band next week. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=Peso‐closes‐the‐week‐on‐ the‐up&id=79138
Gathering public-private sector stakeholders to strengthen country’s health system •
Sunday, 10 November 2013 00:00
Key officials of government agencies and private-sector stakeholders shared their inputs during a multi-stakeholder forum that focused on health financing and universal health care. Organized by Novartis Healthcare Philippines in collaboration with St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Dr. Stephen Zuellig Center for Asian Business Transformation, Future Health Trends Forum II aimed to align the priorities of government and private sector stakeholders in order to strengthen the Philippine healthcare system. The forum was held last month at the SLMC Global City. “The Aquino administration recognizes the need to harness all efforts under the banner of Universal Health Care. We have raised more resources for health through the Sin Tax Reform Law, which assures PhilHealth coverage for the poorest Filipinos. More resources will be allotted to upgrade government health facilities, 2013 being the (government’s) biggest year for health revenue,” said Alexander Padilla, executive vicepresident and chief operating officer, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Padilla was the forum’s keynote speaker. “As the country transitions to universal health care, more Filipino doctors will emerge as leaders and managers in the healthcare sector,” said SLMC medical director Dr. Edgardo Cortez. “The Aquino administration is entering into innovative public-private partnerships with private companies to build modern medical centers and health facilities that will provide Filipino patients with quality, affordable health services,” said Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, undersecretary, Department of Health. “Government alone cannot address the nation’s healthcare needs. We need the support and cooperation of the private sector to improve access to health services, particularly to the most vulnerable and marginalized Filipinos,” said Margarita Juico, chairman, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. “In the Philippines, the population is aging and the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases is increasing. Novartis looks at patients’ needs and addresses them through research and development,” said Thomas Weigold, president and managing director,
Novartis Healthcare Philippines. The Future Health Trends Forum series aims to assess local healthcare and business trends in order to project future trends that would enable stakeholders to become relevant and strong partners of society. Held in February 2012 and hosted by SLMC Global City, Future Health Trends Forum I assessed the country’s health financing status and public-private partnerships in health as well as discussed ways to increase access to medicines. Since the holding of the first forum, the Sin Tax Reform bill and Reproductive Health bill were enacted into law and amendments to the National Health Insurance Act were made. As such, the forum’s organizers believed there was a need to reassess the healthcare environment and realign the strategies crafted in the previous forum. Other resource speakers in Future Health Trends Forum II included Patricia Moser, lead health specialist, Asian Development Bank; Mario Silos, president, Association of Health Maintenance Organization of the Philippines; and Roberto de Vera, assistant professor, School of Economics, University of Asia and the Pacific. http://www.tribune.net.ph/life‐style/gathering‐public‐private‐sector‐stakeholders‐to‐ strengthen‐country‐s‐health‐system
PNoy gulantang sa lawak at laki ng pinsala, mga ahensya inapura (Juliet de Loza-Cudia/Armida Rico) Share on stumbleuponShare on twitterShare on gmailShare on facebookMore Sharing Services6 Ikinagulat umano ni Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III ang pagsabog ng balita na nagkaroon ng may mahigit 100 casualty sa naganap na storm surge sanhi ng bagyong ‘Yolanda’ kahapon sa Tacloban City. Sanhi nito, kaagad na iniutos ni Pangulong Aquino na kumpirmahin ang ulat at alamin kung bakit nagkaroon ng maraming casualty. Sinabi ni Cabinet Sec. Jose Rene Almendras, nagtataka raw ang Pangulong Aquino kung bakit marami ang casualty sa storm surge gayung nagpatupad naman sila ng maagang evacuation. Sinabi ni Almendras na nagpahayag ng pagkakalungkot si Pangulong Aquino sa mga dumarating na balita lalo sa mga sinira ng kalamidad at mga nasawi sa pagragasa ng storm surge. Kasabay nito, iniutos ng Pangulo ang paggamit sa lahat ng resources ng gobyerno sa gagawing rescue and relief operations. Lahat umano ng air at naval assets ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ay gagamitin sa pagdadala ng mga rescue teams at relief item sa mga biktima ng kalamidad.
Ahensya ng gobyerno, pinagmamadali ni PNoy Unang kinalampag kahapon ni Aquino ang Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) at Department of Energy (DOE) na madaliin ang pagsasaayos ng mga nasirang komunikasyon at mga linya ng kuryente at linya ng telepono sa mga lugar na matinding sinalanta ng bagyong Yolanda.
Abut-abot ang hinagpis ng inang ito habang minamasdan ang anak na kasama sa nasawi sa storm surge na tumama sa Tacloban City dulot pa rin ni ‘Yolanda’. (AFP)
Nabatid na sa kasalukuyan, pahirapan ang pagkontak sa mga opisyal at residente sa bahagi ng Eastern Visayas at sa Tacloban City kung saan sinasabing naitala ang malaking bilang ng casualties.
Nalaman na, kamakalawa ng gabi ay nakausap lamang ni Pangulong Aquino sina Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas at Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin na nasa Tacloban City sa pamamagitan ng satellite phones. Kaugnay nito, sinabi ni Communications Sec. Sonny Coloma, na patuloy ang kanilang beripikasyon sa mga napapaulat na pinsala at casualties. Nabatid kay Coloma, iniutos na ni Pangulong Aquino ang puspusang search and rescue operations hanggang sa barangay level para ma-account ang lahat ng mamamayan. “The President has directed all government agencies to conduct continuous search and rescue activities to ensure that, at the barangay level, all families and community members are accounted for. Special attention is being given to areas that may have been isolated from town centers in the aftermath of the typhoon,” ayon kay Coloma Pinabibigyan na rin ng Pangulo ng special attention ang mga bayang isolated na dahil sa bagyong ‘Yolanda’.
Sinabi naman ni deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, matindi raw ang pinsalang iniwan ng bagyong Yolanda sa mga istruktura at mga ari-arian sa Leyte at Tacloban City. DOE report Samantala, nagsasagawa na rin ng inspeksyon ang DOE sa mga lugar na dinanan ng supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ na nawalan ng supply ng kuryente. Ayon kay Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla, na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay wala pang supply ng kuryente ang Leyte, Samar at Bohol dahil sa pananalasa ng malakas na bagyong Yolanda kamakalawa. Nangangamba ang kalihim dahil sa malaki ang naging pinsala ng bagyo sa mga transmission lines dahil sa ilang lugar ang nawalan ng supply ng kuryente. Ayon kay Petilla base sa natanggap niyang report kamakalawa kay Atty. Cynthia Alabanzam, tagapagsalita ng National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), na hanggang sa ngayon ay wala pang supply ng kuryente sa mga main island ng Visayas kabilang ang Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, Panay, Sorsogon, Mulanay, Quezon. Sinabi ni Petilla kung mayroon man sa lalawigan ng Visayas grid ng 97 megawatt ay hindi ito makakasapat dahil ay kailangan ay halos 1,000 megawatt para makapagsupply ng kuryente roon. Aniya, maging ang komunikasyon ay pahirapan din ang pagkontak sa Leyte at Eastern Samar dahil sa walang kuryente. Posible aniyang matatagalan pa na magkaroon ng kuryente sa mga lugar na napinsala ng malakas na bagyo matapos mapinsala ang ilang pangunahing linya ng NGCP. “Halos lahat ng linya going through the area sustained damage so nawalan na tayo ng daanan ng kuryente mula sa mga generator papunta sa mga distribution utilities,” dagdag pa ni Petilla.
Sinabi pa ni Petilla, huli siyang nagkaroon ng kontak sa Tacloban noong Biyernes ng alas-7:30 ng umaga at nang mga oras na iyon ay nasa 10 feet ang taas ng tubig baha sa kasagsagan ng malakas na bagyong ‘Yolanda’. “Bihirang mangyari sa Tacloban dahil nang ako ay gobernador doon ay nagkakaroon din ng malakas na bagyo, hindi nawawalan ng supply ng kuryente doon at hindi tumataas ang tubig-baha na hindi katulad ngayon ay nasa 10 feet ang taas ng tubig,” kuwento pa ng kalihim. http://www.abante.com.ph/issue/nov1013/news02.htm#.UoBj33CBlOI
DOH nagpasaklolo sa ‘Tweetizens’ para sa impormasyon (Juliet de Loza-Cudia) Gagamitin ng Department of Health (DOH) ang mga impormasyon na ipagkakaloob ng mga ‘Tweetizens’ para ma-assess ang sitwasyon sa mga lugar na binayo ng super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ noong Biyernes. Sinabi ni Health Asst. Sec. Eric Tayag, director ng DOH-National Epidemiology Center (NEC), mahalagang makakuha sila ng mga impormasyon upang matukoy at maipadala ang mga agarang pangangailangan ng mga biktima ng bagyo. “Tweetizens, please send us information post-#yolanda that will allow us to assess situation and immediate needs in affected areas #doh,” ani Tayag, gamit ang kanyang Twitter account na @erictayagSays. Nabatid na nawasak ang linya ng komunikasyon sa mga lugar na sinalanta ng super bagyo. Samantala, mahigit sa P15 milyong halaga ng iba’t ibang uri ng gamot at mga medisina, medical supplies, tubig at sanitation for health (WASH) kits, cot beds, family tents at iba pang emergency supplies ang inihanda na DOH sa mga regional health offices nito, sa mga lugar na dinaanan ng bagyo.
Sinisilip ng ilang survivor ang inihilerang mga bangkay sa kapilyang ito para silipin kung mayroon silang kaanak sa mga
Kabilang sa mga naturang tanggapan ang Centers for Health Development VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas) at VIII (Eastern Visayas), gayundin sa DOH Manila central office. Sinabi ni Health Sec. Enrique Ona, in-activate rin niya ang Code Blue sa lahat ng rehiyon, na nangangahulugan na lahat ng medical personnel ay nasa 24-hour duty upang makapagkaloob ng tulong sa lahat ng mamamayan na nangangailangan ng tulong medikal.
Price rollback sa petrolyo (Armida Rico) Nagtapyas ng presyo ng produktong petrolyo ang mga kumpanya ng langis kaninang hatinggabi.
Pinangunahan kahapon ng Pilipinas Shell at Petron Corporation ang pagbawas ng 60¢ kada litro ng gasolina, 70¢ sa kerosene at 60¢ kada litro naman ng diesel na epektibo kaninang alas-12:01 ng hatinggabi. Inanunsyo rin ng Pilipinas Shell na nagbawas din sila ng presyo ng kanilang mga produktong petrolyo sa lalawigan ng Cebu at Bohol na 60¢ sa gasolina, 50¢ sa kerosene at 25¢ naman sa diesel. Paliwanag ni Bobby Kanapi, tagapagsalita ng Pilipinas Shell na maliit lamang ang rollback ng kanilang mga produktong petrolyo sa Cebu at Bohol dahil noong Nobyembre 5 ay nagkaroon ng pagtaas ng presyo ng kanilang mga produkto na hindi ito ipinatupad sa mga nasabing lalawigan makaraang yanigin ng 7.2 magnitude na lindol. Ayon naman kay Raffy Ladesma ng Petron Corporation, ang bagong price rollback sa petrolyo ay sanhi ng pagbaba ng presyo ng langis sa pandaigdigan pamilihan. Inaasahan naman na susunod na rin ang ilang pang kumpanya ng langis na magbababa ng presyo ng kanilang mga produktong petrolyo. http://www.abante.com.ph/issue/nov1013/news06.htm#.UoBj‐HCBlOI
Singil sa kuryente, sisirit ngayong Nobyembre (Nonnie Ferriol) Inanunsyo ng Manila Electric Company (Meralco) na tataas ang singil sa kuryente ngayong Nobyembre. Binanggit ng Meralco na aabot sa P1.24 kada kilowatt-hour (kWh) ang madadagdag sa bill ng mga konsumer ngayong buwan. Para sa isang typical na tahanan na may buwanang konsumong 200 kWh ay aabot sa P247 ang idadagdag sa kanilang bill. Ayon sa Meralco, bunsod ito ng pagsasara para makumpuni ang ilang power plants tulad ng Malampaya deep water gas to-power project. Ipinaliwanag ng Meralco na dahil ito sa kanilang mas mahal na bibilhing kuryente sa Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) dahil sa maintenance shutdown ng ilang power distributor na pinagkukuhanan ng kuryente ng Meralco, ganu’n din ang paggalaw ng transmission at system loss charge. http://www.abante.com.ph/issue/nov1013/news07.htm#.UoBj_3CBlOI
Rich rewards, poor dues Published : Sunday, November 10, 2013 00:00 Article Views : 66 Written by : People's Journal
Farming, teaching, and healing are noble professions. One who tills the land feeds communities; the other who teaches cultivates minds; and another who binds wounds and cures illnesses saves lives. Of the three, farming and teaching require from practitioners a virtual vow of poverty: Farmers and teachers hardly ever get rich. Only medical practice is bestowed rich rewards. True, healing is an “act of social compassion,” but doctors and other medical professionals are quite decidedly “high networth individuals.” And as the Good Book says, “to whom much is given, much will be required”. If top-flight doctors and other medical professionals are to follow this biblical dictum, then they must pay their rightful dues to the state. Unless, of course, they are all pro-bono practitioners, which is more the exception rather than the rule. In fact, many of them are engaged in the high-end practice of dermatology and cosmetic surgery. As such, they must be morally bound or motivated by their sense of patriotism to give their share in the never-ending task of nation-building by the simple act of paying their correct taxes. But what is the actual fiscal record of our physicians in paying their dues to the state? The Department of Finance has said very few professionals, who are on the list of the highestpaying jobs in the country, make it to the top individual taxpayers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Aside from doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals, included in the latest tax-watch drive of the DoF are lawyers, architects, accountants, interior designers, and advertising agency experts. These are the so-called “hard-to-tax” professionals, a rather unflattering if not embarrassing,
classification. The department listed about 3.1 million such professionals in the country in 50 registered professions. “These are based on the 2013 list Philippine registered professionals from the Professional Regulation Commission,” the DoF said in a statement. DoF data showed about 65,300 lawyers in the country, but less than one percent made it to the top individual taxpayers’ list. The lawyers were closely followed by certified public accountants with more than 145,000 registered individuals. “There are 145,209 accountants but only eight were on the list,” the Finance department said. Meanwhile, about 170,000 doctors are practicing in the country but despite the large population, only two medical practitioners made it to the BIR list. Next are architects with 29,892 registered licensed individuals, but only four made it on the top taxpayers’ list. They are followed by ad agency experts who number 11,791 and just one person made it to the list of the BIR. Interior designers number about 1,948, but none made it to the top individual taxpayers list. The DoF and the BIR are bent on plugging the revenue leakages of the government, thus the launch of the tax-watch drive. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/editorial/61528‐rich‐rewards‐poor‐dues