DTI, Nestle put up more coffee buying stations By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Nestlé Philippines are putting up more coffee satellite buying stations in the country to purchase directly from local farmers nationwide. Myrna Pablo, DTI’s regional director for the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and national industry cluster manager for coffee, said in a statement yesterday they would set up more coffee buying stations in the country. Pablo said the DTI is initially plans to put up two buying stations in CAR. For her part, Nestlé Philippines vice president for corporate affairs Ruth Novales said the company also intends to set up more satellite buying stations for coffee in the country. Nestle is currently developing a station in Quirino province. This would add to the existing nine satellite coffee buying stations of the firm located in the following areas: Silang in Cavite, Lipa City in Batangas, Tuguegarao City in Cagayan Valley, Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, Tagbina in Surigao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, Tagum City in Davao del Norte, General Santos City in South Cotabato, and Iloilo City in Iloilo. Novales noted that Nestlé Philippines sets up satellite buying stations in communities that are able to produce 350 to 400 metric tons of coffee per year. Pablo noted that bulk of the raw material of Nestlé Philippines is Robusta coffee. Only 20 percent of the raw material requirements of the company however, is produced locally and so it still has to import from other countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia. “In the Philippines, Robusta coffee is most in demand due to instant coffee requirements, and can be planted in various parts of the archipelago,” Novales said. The major instant coffee players buy more than 90 percent of local Robusta coffee. “The sooner we minimize the country’s importation of coffee, the better,” Novales said, adding that the company’s short-term objective is to help farmers get income through better and higher yield. Pablo said the DTI wants to work with other government agencies on supporting and fortifying the coffee industry. “We want to work closer with the Department of Agriculture (DA) because they are more into (coffee) production to complete the (value) chain,” she said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/14/1256362/dti-nestle-put-more-coffee-buyingstations
Farm managers claim rice supply okay; DAR mulls over response as looting continues in Tacloban Category: Agri-Commodities 13 Nov 2013 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning and Jonathan L. Mayuga THE Department of Agriculture (DA) claims the total volume of palay damaged by Typhoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) as nearly a third of the standard allowance the DA maintains in times of disasters. Assistant Agriculture Secretary Emerson Palad said the country has a standard allowance of 600,000 metric tons (MT) of rice for disasters annually and that the palay damaged by the Category-5 typhoon was only 137,225 metric tons (MT). Palad, who spoke as looting of government rice warehouses are reported in Tacloban, said the damage could be covered by existing stocks held by the National Food Authority (NFA). According to him, the NFA has as of November 11, a total of 1.2 million sacks of rice in its warehouses, apart from the millions of sacks kept in households and stored by farmers, wholesalers and retailers. On November 12 news reports said looters have broken into an NFA warehouse in Tacloban as government relief efforts fail to stave off the hunger setting in among the quarter of a million people in the devastated southern Philippine city. According to Palad, the total 1.2 million sacks translates to 30 million kilos of rice or 30,000 metric tons. The daily national consumption, to note, is 35,000 MT. Nonetheless, Palad stressed that the total national supply would be far bigger than the 1.2 million sacks of rice that is available for the needs of everyone, including the 2.1 million evacuees in Eastern Visayas and elsewhere. Palad said importing rice is not in their minds at the moment “since the damage to rice could be compensated by harvests from other regions that were not affected by Yolanda. He added that the rice stocks for Region 8 may come from Region 7. Palad said two ships of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) may be used to ferry rice and other food items for the victims of the typhoon. “Food items will be moved from the production areas to affected places utilizing DA-supported market mechanisms, such as the Barangay Food Terminal/local government unit food trading centers. Functional food warehouses will also be utilized for food stocking,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala was quoted in a statement as saying.
Alcala added that food supply will be made overland to affected areas. One of these is via three refrigerated vans of BFAR stationed in Manila and Baguio City that may transport frozen chicken, potatoes and other vegetables with longer shelf-life to Region 8 (Tacloban and neighboring areas). Another are three refrigerated vans of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority from Albay. Alcala said these could be loaded with food items from Region 5 to Tacloban and neighboring areas. He added that his department also has closed vans that can deliver eggs and other dry food items to affected areas. However, Alcala hasn’t said if these food-supply equipment have been activated as reports of looting in Tacloban continue. Meanwhile, five days after Yolanda devastated Tacloban, the Department of Agrarian Reform said it is still conducting a “quick assessment” of the situation in affected areas. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said on Wednesday that his agency is now “exploring possible assistance to help farmers affected by the super typhoon.” De los Reyes said he also sent a team to Tacloban City to re-establish its satellite office in the city described by the foreign media on Tuesday as the site of an apocalypse. “We are re-establishing our office now and will coordinate with the DA to explore assistance [to the people]. Our people were badly hit, too. We now have a team in Tacloban,” he said. According to the DAR chief, he received information that three of his employees in Tacloban were killed during the onslaught of the typhoon. Government’s news agency, on the other hand, said the amount of damage to agriculture in Aklan has surpassed the P20-million mark. Citing initial reports of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Philippine News Agency said the figure released on Tuesday is expected to increase as other towns have yet to submit their reports to the PDRRMC. Damage to infrastructure reached P41,300 million while those to public buildings stood at P980,000. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/22773-farmmanagers-claim-rice-supply-okay-dar-mulls-over-response-as-looting-continues-in-tacloban
Fisheries loss from ‘Yolanda’ could exceed P1.16-billion estimate, government says Category: Agri-Commodities 13 Nov 2013 Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent FISHERIES loss could exceed the already estimated amount of P1.16 billion, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). “That’s the initial estimate of the Department of Agriculture [DA] in terms of loss, which is based on daily catch that is about P135 million daily in the three regions most affected,” BFAR Public Information Officer Nazario C. Briguera told the BusinessMirror on Wednesday. The agriculture department reported on Tuesday that the estimate of fisheries production loss came from the inability of commercial and municipal fishing activities to commence after most of the existing fishing boats and fishing gears were destroyed along most of the coastal towns. The government’s farm managers said these coastal towns are in Regions 6, 7 and 8. The latter, Region 8, which is composed of Samar and Leyte, sustained the most damage, with combined production loss valued at P682.95 million, including aquaculture. Briguera, who is in Zamboanga, said in a telephone interview that the agriculture department’s data was based on the estimate that “for two weeks, municipal and commercial fishers would not be able to resume fishing.” And based on the destruction wrought by one of the four strongest typhoon to make land fall, resumption of fishing activities could be delayed by many more days, Briguera added. The agriculture department said in a statement on November 12 that some 1,300 fishing boats equipped with 5-horsepower engines will be built to replace destroyed fishing boats, and will be augmented with crab pots and 4,000 fishing nets. The agency will also provide 200 payaws, valued at P40 million, for the three regions most hit. A payaw is an artificial house for small fishes submerged in water to lure bigger fishes. Fishing in the Visayas and Palawan will be suspended until December 1, the DA added. Meanwhile, Typhoon Zoraida weakened into a low pressure area after making landfall in Mindanao on Tuesday, state weather bureau agency said in a statement, sparing Northern Mindanao.
“Despite rain and moderately strong winds, there were no damage reports coming from our provincial fishery offices, so far,” BFAR Caraga Regional Director Nerio Casil told the BusinessMirror in a text message. BFAR Region 9 Director Ahadulla Sajili also said Zoraida’ left Zamboanga Peninsula largely untouched. “But we did not take chances, we alerted our quick-response team, composed of well-trained personnel to disseminate information in the coastal areas and ordered to get ready for immediate evacuation of the residents should it be necessary,” Ahadulla Sajili said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/22775-fisheriesloss-from-yolanda-could-exceed-p1-16-billion-estimate-government-says
Typhoon damage to coconut at P1.5 billion, ‘recoverable’–PCA Category: Agri-Commodities 13 Nov 2013 Written by Alladin S. Diega VISAYAS’S coconut sector sustained a huge loss in production due to the devastation wrought by Category-5 Typhoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan), according to the Philippine Coconut Authority. Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Euclides G. Forbes said in a statement that “initial reports reflected damage” to some 3 million coconut trees “in varying degrees, from slight to severe,” in five provinces in the Visayas. These provinces are Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in Region 6; Cebu in Region 7; and, Eastern Samar and Leyte in Region 8. Including Quezon in Region 4A, the specific number Forbes cited was at 3,058,948 damaged coconut trees. He was quoted in the statement on November 12 as saying the damage to the coconut sector is estimated at P1,495,290,150.” Coconut is one of the high-value crops the Visayas are known for because of its sweeter quality owing to its vicinity to coastal salts. However, Forbes claims his agency, which is attached to the Department of Agriculture, is capable of replacing the destroyed huge number of damaged coconut trees. “There is enough replacement, because the PCA has the continuing program for maintaining nurseries for coconut seedlings throughout the country.” Still, the planting would have to wait, as retrieval and assistance to the typhoon victims should take priority, Forbes added. The agency has ordered the immediate purchase of 100 chainsaws to be used for the current clearing operations in the coconut provinces devastated by typhoon, according to a statement. “The chainsaws will be immediately used to cut felled trees barring free passage of relief operations. Those suitable will be processed into timber for use in the construction of shelters for families made homeless by the typhoon. Each operator will be paid P300 a day as part of PCA’s cash for work program.”
According to him, the agency is maintaining 150 chainsaw operators in Davao and Compostella Valley due to the devastation of Typhoon Pablo. In Davao the PCA team was joined by the Philippine Red Cross and United Nations Development Program. It is expected that international organizations will join PCA in the same operation in Region 8, the agency also said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/22774-typhoondamage-to-coconut-at-p1-5-billion-recoverable-pca
Zambales looks into growing durian, mangosteen fruits Category: Agri-Commodities 13 Nov 2013 Written by Henry Empeño IBA, Zambales —Zambaleños may soon branch out into exporting durian and mangosteen fruits in addition to its world-famous sweet mangoes, as the provincial government seeks out ways to develop alternative agricultural products. Rene Mendoza, head of the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) here, said they are looking at a pilot-farm project for alternative crops that would boost earnings for Zambales residents. “We have been making studies about the viability of establishing durian and mangosteen orchards here as livelihood projects for residents of remote barangays who have access to wide arable lands,” Mendoza told reporters here on Tuesday. He added that his office is completing a comprehensive project study for the approval of Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and for submission to funding agencies later on. According to initial researches conducted by the PAO, the propagation of durian and mangosteen in Zambales is viable because the two fruit crops could thrive well in the soil and climate of the province. Mendoza added that while the popular Zambales carabao mango already brings in ample revenue to Zambales, its fruiting is seasonal. “So we are thinking of products that are also seasonal and that could be harvested alternately with our mango. This way, income generation for the farmers would be year-round,” Mendoza explained. The durian, which is native to Southeast Asia where it is regarded as “king of fruits,” is known for its edible flesh that emits a distinctive strong, penetrating odor even when the husk is intact. In the Philippines durian is farmed in several provinces in Mindanao. The tree flourishes in moist environment with even rainfall distribution, and with sandy loam or clay loam soil. Like durian, mangosteen is considered an exotic Southeast Asian fruit and is also expensive, especially in Western markets. Mendoza said these trees grow well in the same climate and soil at some identified areas in Zambales. Durian grafted seedlings, he added, bear fruit after four or five years.
Aside from the provincial agriculture office, the private livelihood organization “Program of Global Excellence” has also identified the propagation of several alternative crops as potential sources of livelihood for Zambaleños. These include coffee and castor beans, as well as Bana grass and Paulownia trees, which the group said is a “proven investment” because of their commercial value. Former Second District Rep. Jun Omar Ebdane of Zambales said his group is encouraging farming-inclined residents to try out the propagation of these crops and to form business clusters so that they can produce crops in commercial quantity. Of the four alternative crops, coffee is the most widely grown in the Philippines, where two of the most economically important varieties of coffee plant—the Arabica and the Robusta—are grown. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/22770‐zambales‐looks‐ into‐growing‐durian‐mangosteen‐fruits
San Miguel starts grains-handling business Category: Companies 13 Nov 2013 Written by VG Cabuag SAN Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. on Wednesday opened a new commercial grains terminal in Mabini, Batangas. The Golden Bay Grain Terminal, owned by Purefoods unit San Miguel Mills Inc., costs about P2.5 billion to construct and is expected to be San Miguel’s central unloading area for all of its imports. The company is the market leader in feeds and flour sector. “Initially, we are going to use it for our own. But by next year, we can use it for others as well,” Florentino Policarpio, San Miguel Mills and Golden Bay president, said at the sidelines of the inauguration of the terminal. All of San Miguel’s grains imports such as soybean and wheat, which total to about 1 million metric tons (MMT) a year, are being unloaded in Mariveles Grains Terminal in Bataan. Officials said these will all be transferred to Golden Bay, although SMC still has a contract with Mariveles Grains until the end of the year. The start of operation of Golden Bay also signals San Miguel’s entry into grains-handling business after its failed attempt to buy Mariveles Grains beginning in 2008. San Miguel had offered to buy the Bataan facility from Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) but both parties failed to hammer out a price. Sources said San Miguel, which was supposed to team up with Toyota Tusho Corp., offered a P1.6-billion price for Mariveles Grains, but ATI asked a higher price of about P3.2 billion. ATI eventually sold the shares of facility in 2010 to Philippine Grain International Corp. at an undisclosed price and the management was sold to La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp. In 2010 San Miguel announced its investment for its own facility, which is seen as an important strategic investment for the company as it will maximize synergies within the San Miguel group, as well as external partners. “It is also seen to allow the company significant savings in costs for its flour and feed-milling operations,” San Miguel said in a statement. The terminal’s dock has a 300-meter berth, able to accommodate a Panamax vessel that weighs as much as 80,000 dead weight tons.
The facility, situated beside San Miguel’s two flour mills in Batangas, can handle about 2 MMT annually and is able to handle assorted grains houses in eight silos. It has a pair of flat-storage warehouses with a total of 100,000 MT each. It already started operations last month, with cargo vessel Persus Ocean, which docked at the terminal, delivering an estimated 50,000 MT of wheat from Portland, Oregon. The said facility enjoys a non-pioneering status as a new operator of warehouse for its grain terminal, with tax holiday for four years starting July 2013. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/companies/22757‐san‐miguel‐starts‐grains‐ handling‐business
Strengthening of Ilocos garlic industry urged by Freddie G. Lazaro November 13, 2013
Batac City, Ilocos Norte – Ilocos farmers presented at least five problems that need to be addressed by the national government to strengthen the ailing garlic industry in Northern Luzon. Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos aired these concerns in behalf of the farmers in a recent consultation with Senators Cynthia Villar and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala that was held at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) here. It was learned that the identified problems of the Ilocos garlic industry include rampant smuggling, deteriorating size of garlic planting materials, lack of research and development for garlic production, lack of investment to infrastructure, and the concern on climate change affecting the crop’s planting season. Marcos appealed to the national government, particularly to the DA, to look into an alleged irregularity in the distribution of the planting materials for garlic considering that smaller sizes, which considered reject, had always been given to the requesting farmers. She added that investment of watershed and irrigation is necessary to provide sufficient water supply for the growing crops to bring its maximum yields. “Our crops are severely affected by climate change. However, I am also requesting the DA to help us in the preparation of calendar of planting for adaptation to cope with the effect of the climate change,” she said. As initial respond to the concerns in the garlic industry, Alcala gave a commitment allocating an initial funding of P10 million requested by the MMSU for research undertaking to improve Ilocos’ garlic production. Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said the issues and concerns on garlic industry revealed in the inquiry will serve as her aid for legislation of country’s policies and practices on the importation of garlic and onions. Currently, a kilo of Ilocos garlic at the Batac City Public Market sells at P200 while imported garlic sells at P80 a kilo. It was noted that garlic was considered as “white gold” in the Ilocos region. Records from the Ilocos Norte agriculture office showed that at least 3,907 farmers from the 19 towns and cities of the province were engaged in garlic production this year with an estimated average yield of 3.17 metric tons per hectare. http://www.mb.com.ph/strengthening‐of‐ilocos‐garlic‐industry‐urged/
Stampede for rice kills 8 in Leyte By Czerina Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
The sign says it all in Palo, Leyte. Inset shows a boy waiting to leave Tacloban City. EDD GUMBAN/AP
MANILA, Philippines - Thousands of desperate residents stormed a warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA) in Alangalang, Leyte on Tuesday, resulting in the death of eight people when a wall collapsed during the stampede. NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said the eight were crushed when the wall collapsed on them as looters raided the rice in Alangalang town, 17 kilometers from Leyte’s capital Tacloban City. He said the looters carted away more than 100,000 sacks of rice and palay. Estoperez yesterday said the warehouse staff and the police guarding the warehouse could not stop the crowd that took away 33,000 50-kilo bags of rice and 96,000 50-kilo bags of palay. “The wall did not give in because of the typhoon but because of the piles of rice and palay that fell when the looting took place,” he said in a phone interview. “When the staff is confronted with a crowd like that, it is impossible to control.”
Police, soldiers and private security guards were guarding the warehouse in Alangalang but they were overpowered by the crowd, Estoperez added. “There must have been so many people to carry away so many bags of rice,” he said. “Our staff were there but they could not do anything without risking their safety,” he added. Estoperez said his agency believed looters were looking to profit by selling the grain. “Some people are really hungry but others just wanted to ransack for money,” he said, adding that the NFA was coordinating with the transport department and military to ensure that ships and trucks carrying rice would be properly guarded. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the department requested the military to guard NFA warehouses in the region while distribution of rice to local government units continues. He said the incident created fear among staffers in other NFA warehouses. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Kathleen Martin, Edith Regalado, Lalaine Jimenea, AP http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256467/stampede-rice-kills-8-leyte
A ‘Yolanda’ plan, finally Category: Top News 13 Nov 2013 Written by Butch Fernandez FIVE days after Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) ravaged central Philippines, the government has finally “revealed” a master plan to cope with the disaster. Malacañang officials reassured the nation on Tuesday that the government has a master plan for coping with disasters and is capable of delivering badly needed aid—including those from foreign donors. “Yes, there is a master plan,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said at a Palace news briefing, even as he admitted that “this is the first time we are going to try it at this magnitude.” Still, Almendras quickly gave assurance that “so far, things are moving. [Relief] goods are moving. So far, the numbers are beginning to accelerate, we are stepping up. So it’s really the resources. You cannot imagine the…magnitude of resources that need to be made available to do this.” In the same briefing, the Cabinet official indicated that the government is still fine-tuning the master plan for efficiently mobilizing billions of pesos in local resources and foreign aid to typhoon survivors, including those marooned in remote areas. “Yes, this [master plan] is the one that we were working on last night. Some of the basic things have been with the NDRRMC [National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] even before. But because of the scale of the [current] operations, we had to adjust it, we had to expand it.” Almendras reported that relief workers are now moving 58,000 to 60,000 food packs to Tacloban using buses that can ferry evacuating typhoon victims to safer grounds on their way back from disaster areas. “Every single opportunity or channel that we can use to move goods into Tacloban and to that general area, we are exploring it, and we are using it because the volume of goods to move is just so big. We need to move it there. How we wish we had—well, maybe—even if we had 50 C130s. We cannot fly everything by C-130,” he said. However, he cited “safety issues” in Tacloban airport, saying this was why authorities were trying to impose a limit on the flights going into Tacloban. “So even if we have 50 C-130s, Tacloban airport—at this point—cannot handle 50 C-130 flights a day. We are exploring every possible way to move goods into the area.”
He reported that the first challenge was the repacking of relief goods for immediate distribution to the typhoon victims. “So we are going to accelerate the repacking of goods and we are going to open new centers. The [Department of Social Welfare and Development] DSWD is already working on it. They are identifying spaces where [this] can happen, warehouses where we can store them because that’s also another area. You repack, but if you cannot ship right away, you need a place to store, otherwise...” He commended schools and universities that have stepped up, noting that the DSWD has signed up an agreement with one of the universities “and four other universities are also offering, so we will have repacking in those universities.” “We are also stepping up repacking in the major cities throughout the country. So places like Cagayan de Oro, places like Davao are all stepping up. The DSWD will be expanding their centers there—there are supplies centers there to be able to pack additional goods, so that they can contribute,” he added. Almendras disclosed that President Aquino had also appointed Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya to oversee the quick delivery of the packed relief goods to the typhoon victims. “He [Abaya] is the transport guru now. So air, land and sea [are] at his disposal to make sure we move the goods just as fast as we can pack them,” the Cabinet secretary said. Malacañang reported that the latest update from NDRRMC recorded the total number of casualties so far confirmed at 1,833, while 2,623 persons were reported injured. It estimated the cost of damage at P761.4 million. The Palace gave assurance that the government would continue to conduct operations to “address the urgent needs of our people in the calamity areas.” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government is addressing the following priorities: immediate delivery of food, water, medicines and medical assistance; provision of temporary shelters for displaced residents; restoration of power and communication services; restoration of land-, sea- and air-transportation services; and restoration to normalcy of essential government services in hardest-hit calamity areas, where government employees and their families were also displaced. Coloma said the government’s initial efforts were hampered by the massive scale of destruction. “Communication and power lines were cut off. Tacloban airport was destroyed. Access to seaports in calamity areas was also made difficult by the debris left by the storm surges. Roads and bridges were also destroyed. But power and communication services have been restored in many areas,” he noted. But he said C-130 planes are now doing sunrise-to-sunset operations.
Farm damage at P6.87 billion Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala on Wednesday reported that the confirmed damage wreaked by Yolanda on farming and fisheries in Eastern Visayas and elsewhere zoomed to P6,876,564,698, with rice and corn taking the bulk. Rice sustained a total damage of P2,233,229,636 as of Wednesday morning, followed by coconut at P1,498,290,150 and fisheries at P1,159,550,000. Alcala said livestock also sustained P443,469,055 in losses; followed by mango at P220,135,827; corn at P117,407,462; cassava at P94,314,375; and banana at P83,286,188. Vegetable farmers lost P9,135,405 and those cultivating other crops reported damages worth P2 million. Alcala noted that infrastructure facilities also took a hit, with irrigation reporting damages amounting to at P212.7 million. In fisheries, Eastern Visayas took the biggest loss at P682,950,000 from 13,659 metric tons (MT) of foregone catch; followed by Eastern Visayas at P284,200,000 from 5,684 MT lost; and Region 7 at P192,400,000 from 3,848 MT of catch completely damaged. Surprisingly, the biggest damage to infrastructure did not come from any of the three Visayan regions but from the Caraga region in Mindanao, which was not directly in the path of the killer super typhoon. Irrigation systems in Agusan del Norte took the biggest damage at P105 million, followed by Surigao del Sur at P80 million and Agusan del Sur at only P3 million. The minimal damage to irrigation systems in Regions 4B or Mimaropa, Western Visayas and Central Visayas only showed the relatively fewer number of irrigation systems managed by the state or by the farmers themselves. ADB grants and loans Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB)said it was ready to extend $523million in grants and loans to areas ravaged by the super typhoon. In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral development bank said it will extend some $23million grants to the Philippines to address immediate needs and is ready to extend another $500 million in loans for reconstruction efforts. â€œWe are working in close collaboration with the government and all other international agencies to provide hope and rebuild the lives of more than 11 million people affected by what is being described as one of the Philippinesâ€™s worst ever natural disasters,â€? ADB President Tkehiko Nakao said.
The ADB said of the $23 million in grants being provided for immediate relief assistance, around $3 million would come from the Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, ADB’s emergencyassistance facility. The remaining $20 million would be extended by the ADB through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a Trust Fund financed by the government of Japan. The ADB also said the emergency loan of $500 million would be a quick-disbursing program loan to help post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. The ADB added that it is exploring other ways of mobilizing resources, including the establishment of an ADB-administered multidonor trust fund. The ADB has formed the Typhoon Yolanda Response Team, made up of 40 senior staff members from across the bank with experience in post-disaster situations, to coordinate with the government and development partners. The team will soon be engaged in a comprehensive damage and needs assessment for recovery and rehabilitation. P-Noy says ‘thank you’ DESPITE the national tragedy, President Aquino affirmed that Filipinos remain grateful over the outpouring assistance to thousands of typhoon survivors from generous citizens here and abroad, and also from foreign donors who pledged to send relief aid to the country. “In the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan [Yolanda] there are many reasons to grieve. Over the past few days, however, the Filipino people have seen many reasons to be grateful, as well. Filipinos at home and abroad have, once more, come together to render aid and assistance to hard-hit areas,” Mr. Aquino said. In a statement sent to media outlets on Tuesday afternoon, Aquino also acknowledged that “the thought that the community of nations stands in solidarity with our nation has also greatly eased our burdens.” “On behalf of the Filipino people, I thank the governments and peoples of so many nations—28 as of last count—as well as the donor organizations, who have pledged or already provided assistance, whether technical, financial, or in kind, for the relief and rebuilding efforts that we are undertaking in Leyte, Samar, and other provinces devastated by the super typhoon,” Mr. Aquino said. (With Marvyn N. Benaning and Cai U. Ordinario) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top‐news/22782‐a‐yolanda‐plan‐finally
Cracks in government response to Tacloban as tragedy further unravels Category: Nation 13 Nov 2013 Written by Rene Acosta
GOVERNMENT response to what foreign media has described as an apocalypse in Tacloban City is getting wobbly as an official said President Aquino may not be getting his facts correctly on the tragedy. This as politicians are stepping up to air their own views on the devastation of Tacloban and provinces in the Visayas region by Category-5 Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan). On the sixth day after the super typhoon made landfall, disaster-response Council Head Eduardo del Rosario said Mr. Aquino’s figure on the death toll was “unconfirmed.” Del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), told reporters their latest count on the number of fatalities is now at 2,275 people, with 3,665 injured. Earlier, the President was quoted as saying there may be about close to 2,000 to 2,500 people who died from the typhoon that ravaged the Eastern and Western Visayas regions, especially the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban. On Sunday del Rosario reportedly peeved Mr. Aquino in Tacloban City after the former presented a not-so-clear picture of the effects of the typhoon, or how he had classified the damage brought upon the ravaged areas, including buildings and structure. The head of the NDRRMC, which is attached to the Department of National Defense, spoke as the government is also being criticized for alleged slow delivery of relief goods to a city of roughly 220,000 people. Questions on goods
Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras admitted the current challenge is for the government to produce the “goods,” move them up and distribute them to their correct beneficiaries. Almendras, former energy secretary, added that he has received phone calls asking him why relief goods are not still in ground zero. “I hope they could be answered. We’re relying on local talent to do the identification. We don’t know where all the barangays are,” he said. According to Almendras, based on the distribution plan that they hammered out on Tuesday night, Cebu has been designated as the logistics support center for the humanitarian assistance efforts in the Visayas. From Cebu, the relief goods will be transported to Tacloban and to Ormoc for the relief efforts in Leyte. While for Eastern Samar, the goods will be transported to Guiuan from Cebu, and there the assistance will be distributed to the affected towns and municipalities. Roads cleared THE main challenge in the distribution of goods has been attributed to roads that have become impassable because of debris strewn when the 270-kilometers-per-hour typhoon destroyed coconut trees like toothpicks. On Wednesday, however, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that all national roads in devastated areas in the four regions have now been cleared for relief operations. At a press briefing, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said a total of 248 personnel from three regions continue the clearing operations, even in the city roads of Tacloban. Singson said a total of 12,045 kilometers of national roads from Regions 4A, 4B, 5, 6 and 8, were damaged in different levels. “We are now going to the city roads [of Tacloban] because our first objective is to clear our primary national roads, so that supply lines could be accessed for the relief operations,” Singson said. Singson said those bringing relief goods may encounter choke points in some areas, as power lines are still blocking roads. “What is hindering the recovery of the full width of our right-of-way were the power lines, so we had to clear with the electric cooperatives for them to allow us to cut the lines. Until yesterday [Tuesday], we insisted that we be allowed to already cut the lines or segments, so that we can fully recover the road right-of-way,” Singson said.
Looting continues HOWEVER, media painted a different view as looting continues to be reported Wednesday morning. During the same meeting with del Rosario, Philippine National Police Supt. R’win Pagkalinawan said more than communist rebels, ordinary people in villages are “ambushing” relief convoys traveling on the road to Tacloban. He added that cases of looting by hungry residents were reported to have been prevalent during the past days in severely affected areas in Leyte and Samar provinces. Exodus AS the government attempts to bring in relief goods and rescue personnel, people have been on a mass exodus beginning on Tuesday via a C-130 plane in the airport in Guiuan, Samar, the first town hit when Yolanda made landfall on November 9. By Wednesday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) augmented the ferrying out of people from Tacloban, Leyte. PCG Spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said BRP Edsa carried people out to Cebu City after unloading relief goods from the warehouse of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Queen City of the South. Balilo said they were able on the first trip back to Cebu City to accommodate some 200 people whose names are recorded in the ship manifest. But after the first flight out from the Tacloban airport on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) restricted aircraft operations, citing space limitations. Caap Deputy Director General Capt. John C. Andrews said only aircraft that carries relief supplies and equipment, military flights and commercial flights using turboprop aircraft, would be allowed to land. The Caap issued a notice-to-airmen (Notam) of the new restrictions after a private jet landed in Tacloban, causing “disruption on the massive relief operations.” Andrews said President Aquino observed a previously issued Notam prohibiting the use of pure jet (general aviation) aircraft by flying into Tacloban aboard a PAL Express Q400 turboprop plane. On Monday the Caap allowed these airports to open after being closed three days ago: Roxas; Caticlan; Legazpi; Iloilo; Romblon; Surigao; Kalibo; Masbate; Dumaguete; and, Busuanga. The Caap said other airports that are now operational are Guiuan, Samar; Bantayan and Roxas in Cebu; Kalibo and Caticlan in Aklan; Busuanga, Palawan; San Jose, Mindoro; Ormoc, Leyte;
Tagbilaran, Bohol; Borongan, Biliran and Calbayog, Samar; and, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. However, Catbalogan in Western Samar remains closed due to the absence of perimeter fence. Visa requirements relaxed FOREIGNERS who say they are taking part in the rescue-and-relief operations for typhoon victims would be spared from the rigorous immigration checks at the airport. “We are relaxing our arrival formalities for relief and rescue workers. So even if they do not have the proper documents to enter the country, we will process [their papers]. If they want to stay longer in the country, we would process their visa for free,” Immigration Chief Siegfred B. Mison said. Mison added that the Bureau of Immigration is ready to waive the required sixmonth valid passport rule and they do not have to have a return ticket. “You enter here as a tourist and if you want to stay longer, for as long as it is necessary for you to complete your rescue and relief, that would be allowed,” he added. He said the relaxed immigrations rules would also be accorded to foreign media who are covering the devastation. ‘We shall stand, live again’ AMID the bleak landscape, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte urged all the victims to remain strong during this time, saying “we all know we will bring back our lives to normal after this typhoon.”According to Romualdez, most of the affected areas in his province are still isolated with no means of communication to monitor the extent of damages. “This disaster, when it hit Tacloban and other provinces, no one was spared.” Still, he believes the province can be like American Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who said he shall return after Corregidor fell to Japanese control during World War II. After two years, MacArthur waded ashore on October 20, 1944, on the Red Beach on Leyte Island “Without a doubt, we know all the typhoon victims can stand again and fight for the future. Tacloban, we will rise again, just as MacArthur said, ‘I shall return.’ The Leyte and Western Visayas, we shall return.” (Joel R. San Juan, Recto S. Mercene and Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz) In Photo: In this November 11 file photo, survivors carry bags of rice from a warehouse, which they stormed due to shortage of food at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City, Leyte. Supertyphoon Yolanda slammed the island-nation with a storm surge two stories high and some of the highest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone. An untold number of homes were blown away, and thousands of people are feared dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File) http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/nation/22771‐cracks‐in‐government‐response‐ to‐tacloban‐as‐tragedy‐further‐unravels
Refund of excess taxes withheld on compensation Category: Opinion 13 Nov 2013 Written by Atty. Julie Karen Paganaje
EXCEPT in cases where an exemption applies, every employer is required to withhold the corresponding taxes on compensation before paying this to employees. In some cases, the amount actually withheld by the employer is higher than the total applicable tax. The excess is returned to the employee. Because of this, some employees would anticipate that, by the end of each year, a portion of the amount withheld would be returned to them by the employer. It has become a common notion for some employees that they should be automatically receiving refunds at the end of the year. And if there is no refund, these employees complain that their employers are violating the tax laws by not returning the amounts due to them. It is, indeed, required under the Tax Code that the employer shall be liable for the withholding and remittance of the correct amount of tax required to be deducted and withheld. If the employer fails to fulfill this obligation, the responsibility for the payment of the tax that should have been withheld and the corresponding penalties falls on him or her. In this regard, the withholding-tax regulations provide withholding-tax tables to be followed by the employers in complying with their withholding-tax obligations for every payroll period. The withholding-tax tables are designed to approximate the applicable taxes for every taxable compensation payment. The taxable income and the corresponding taxes, however, are still determined on a yearly basis, which, in the case of individuals, is always on the calendar year. The taxes actually withheld are supposed to be equal to the taxes due from the income of the employee. But there are instances when the amount actually withheld does not equal the total taxes due in the year. This is due to various reasons, such as adjustments in the compensation income, improper inclusion or exclusion of non-taxable or taxable items of compensation, or simply an error in the amounts of taxes withheld. What happens, then, if the amount withheld is different from the taxes due from the employeeâ€™s compensation?
The law requires that on or before the end of the calendar year, but prior to the payment of the compensation for the last payroll period, the employer shall determine the tax due from each employee on the taxable compensation income for the entire taxable year. The difference between the tax due from the employee for the entire year and the sum of taxes withheld from January to November shall either be withheld from the last salary in December or refunded to the employee not later than January 25 of the following year. A refund of the taxes withheld is possible if the difference between the taxes due from the employee, as computed on an annual basis, is less than the total of taxes withheld. It is only in this scenario that the employee can receive a refund. It is not automatic that one should receive a refund of taxes withheld by the end of the year. While there is no refund of taxes withheld on compensation in the absence of excess taxes actually withheld by the employer on the taxable compensation paid to employees, it is the employer’s obligation to ensure that correct taxes are withheld and remitted to the tax authority. In case of withholding excessive taxes, whether or not it is due to the error of the employer, the employee is entitled to a return of the excess. Employees should, therefore, be vigilant in ascertaining that the correct amount of taxes had been withheld by their employers. Upon receiving Bureau of Internal Revenue Form 2316 from their employer, employees should do a recalculation of their taxes. If there is an excess, they have the right to demand a refund from the employer. **** The author is a junior associate of Du-Baladad and Associates Law Offices, a member-firm of the World Tax Services Alliance. The article is for general information only and is neither intended nor should be construed as a substitute for tax, legal or financial advice on any specific matter. Applicability of this article to any actual or particular tax or legal issue should be supported by professional study or advice. For comments or questions concerning the article, e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-2001, local 311. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/opinion/22767‐refund‐of‐excess‐taxes‐withheld‐on‐ compensation
State interventions to sustain growth amid calamities pushed Category: Economy 13 Nov 2013 Written by Mia M. Gonzalez A former chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) turned senator on Wednesday proposed state interventions to sustain the country’s economic growth momentum in the wake of extensive damage caused by recent calamities. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto conveyed to Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, his proposed rehabilitation and reconstruction financing for areas devastated by the Zamboanga City siege, the Bohol earthquake and Typhoons Santi and Yolanda. “A responsive rehabilitation and reconstruction plan should sustain the momentum of economic growth and [hopefully a] better life for our countrymen,” Recto, who served as Neda director general in the previous administration, said in his letter to Escudero. He proposed tapping as fund sources for his proposed programs the Malampaya and coco-levy funds, and the realignment of the Risk Management Program and Debt Management Program under the Unprogrammed Fund of the 2014 general appropriations bill. Recto said the magnitude of the damage inflicted by the recent calamities “has posed an immense challenge to the capacity of national government agencies and local government units [LGUs] to respond to the crises,” and that “the financial requirement of rebuilding disasterstricken areas far exceeds the available resources.” Recto proposed that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of electric power infrastructure and small power-utilities groups and electric cooperatives be funded from the government’s P26.5billion Malampaya gas project royalties. He added that the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines can be provided with a credit facility at preferential rates. The senator also proposed that a portion of the P70-billion coconut-levy fund be earmarked for coconut farmers affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan), and that the People’s Survival Fund be increased to P1 billion for disaster and crisis mitigation activities, risk insurance guarantee for agricultural workers and institutional and community development. Recto proposed that the P30-billion Risk Management Program and the P25-billion Debt Management Program in the Unprogrammed Fund be realigned into a “P55-billion Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.” Of the P55 billion, Recto proposed the allocation of P20 billion for a mass-housing project in the affected areas, P6 billion for the reconstruction and repair of public hospitals and health facilities, P3 billion for school reconstruction and rehabilitation, and P17 billion as subsidy for concerned local government units.
Recto said the Calamity Fund should be increased from P7.5 billion in the proposed 2014 budget to P20 billion, with an additional P4.8 billion from the realigned Priority Development Assistance Fund of the Senate. He added that “another P8 billion can be included as a separate item in the unprogrammed fund and should be used to finance rehabilitation of areas affected by man-made and natural calamities suffered in 2013.” Recto proposed that concerned LGUs get in advance their internal revenue allotment (IRA) and respective shares from the national wealth, so they can front-load funds needed for relief efforts, and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure. “This is expected to stimulate the economic and generate income for residents to keep them in their present domicile,” he said. Recto said local revenues of calamity areas are expected to be adversely affected and, as such, “the LGUs will be depending heavily on their IRA.” “Supporting the LGUs with immediate and additional funds will allow them to cope with the operational requirement of delivering government services and rebuilding their communities,” he said. The senator also proposed that the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines should provide better loan terms to stimulate local economic activity. “The banks can offer preferential rates for loan application of farmers, fisherfolk and micro, small and medium enterprises in calamity-stricken areas. The banks should also expedite loan processing, waiver of incidental fees and charges, and lower interest rates for clientele who are victims of disasters,” Recto said. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/economy/22760‐state‐interventions‐to‐sustain‐ growth‐amid‐calamities‐pushed
SC TRO stops Congress from realigning P13.5‐B ‘pork’ for typhoon relief By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Despite the immediate need for cash for relief operations and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by killer Typhoon Yolanda, Congress cannot realign the remaining P13.5-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in this year’s budget as there is an existing Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) on the use of the fund. This was according to a member of the Supreme Court (SC) who warned that realigning PDAF “is arguably a violation of the TRO issued by the Court.” The SC issued the TRO in September after receiving petitions questioning the legality of PDAF. The SC insider who declined to be named was reacting to the passage of House Joint Resolution No. 7 last Tuesday allowing the conversion of the remaining PDAF of congressmen for this year into savings.The Senate had a similar resolution in the aftermath of the Bohol earthquake last month. The source stressed the magistrates acknowledge the urgency of resolving this case. “That is why we intend to issue the decision before this year ends,” the SC insider said. Close to P25 billion had been allocated for this year’s PDAF. At the Senate, Sen. Grace Poe said they are set to discuss next week a proposal to raise a P10billion Visayan Rehabilitation Fund by realigning portions of the 2014 budget.Senate President Franklin Drilon first broached the idea of creating a special fund for victims of recent calamities, including the earthquake in Bohol.Senate finance committee chairman Francis Escudero said he and his colleagues in the committee are coordinating with different government agencies to determine which portions of their respective budgets can be diverted to a separate fund for the rehabilitation efforts. – With Jess Diaz, Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero, Rhodina Villanueva http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256474/sc-tro-stops-congress-realigning-p13.5b-pork-typhoon-relief
Noy urged to appoint rehab czar in typhoon‐hit areas By Celso Amo (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
Survivors walk near their home in typhoon‐ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into central Philippine provinces Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – President Aquino should appoint a rehabilitation czar in the areas damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said yesterday. He proposed that Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras be named to the post, adding that relief and recovery efforts should be centralized under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Citing a Bloomberg report, Salceda said Yolanda’s economic impact could reach $14 billion or P604 billion, which is equal to five percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). “The impact will be felt on the GDP’s fourth quarter but its full impact will continue next year as it overlaps with the cost of reconstruction from Typhoon Pablo, the damage on Zamboanga City and the Bohol earthquake which could reach P60 billion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Almendras said the President has appointed Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya as the “czar on how to move things.” “He’s the transport guru now. So air, land, and sea are at his disposal to make sure we move the goods just as fast as we can pack them,” he said. Master plan Amid criticisms on the slow pace of relief operations, Almendras also assured the public that a master plan is in place to address the needs of the survivors in hardest hit areas. “This is the first time we are going to try it at this magnitude. So far, goods are moving. So it’s really the resources. You cannot imagine the magnitude of resources that need to be made available to do this,” he said. Jollibee, Metrobank, Toyota aid More private corporations and local government units chipped in for Yolanda victims. Jollibee Foods Corp. and Jollibee Group Foundation pledged P30 million in relief and rehabilitation assistance. Almost 300 of its employees have also been mobilized to assist the DSWD in repacking relief goods. At least 600 sacks of rice and ready-to-eat meals have been previously provided to more than 20,000 survivors and volunteers. Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña announced the P50-million joint donation of Metrobank Group, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) and Toyota Financial Services Philippines. The amount would be equally divided for relief operations and the reconstruction of churches, schools and other infrastructure. “We are saddened by the extent of destruction in the lives and properties among our fellow Filipinos in the Visayas, including the province of Palawan brought about by this recent calamity… We hope other corporations will do their share as a show of solidarity with the victims,” Metrobank Group chairman and founder George SK Ty said. Philippine Airlines flew eight medical teams and one psychosocial team to Tacloban City yesterday. The teams also brought medicine, medical equipment and other supplies to augment the efforts of the Department of Health. – With Mike Frialde, Delon Porcalla, Jose Rodel Clapano, Marvin Sy, Rey Galupo, Evelyn Macairan, Jennifer Rendon http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256472/noy-urged-appoint-rehab-czar-typhoonhit-areas
Climate-change report depicts a planet in peril Category: World 13 Nov 2013 Written by LA Times/MCT Climate change will disrupt not only the natural world but the society, posing risks to the world’s economy, the food and water supply and contributing to violent conflict, an international panel of scientists says. The warnings came in a report drafted by the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The 29-page summary, leaked and posted on a blog critical of the panel, has been distributed to governments around the world for review. It could change before it is released in March. “We see a wide range of impacts that have already occurred...on people, ecosystems and economies,” said Chris Field, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and co-chairman of the group writing the report. “Looking into the future, we see increasing risks that are more pervasive and more severe with greater amounts of climate change.” Field and an IPCC spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the draft. “This is a close-to-final work in progress,” Field said. The report describes a planet in peril as a result of the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, where glaciers are shrinking and plants and animals have shifted their ranges in response to rising temperatures. As global warming continues through the 21st century, many species will face greater risk of extinction, marine life will shift toward the poles and seawater will grow more acidic, the report says. By 2100 hundreds of millions of people in coastal areas will be flooded or displaced by rising sea levels. The arid subtropics will have less fresh water, leading to more competition for resources. The global food supply is also at risk, with yields of wheat, rice, corn and other major crops projected to drop by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of the century, even as demand rises. Among the other risks forecast in the report: Extreme heat waves that will be especially deadly in urban areas, where a growing population will also contend with severe storms, flooding and drought. Rural areas will cope with less drinking and irrigation water and less productive farming. Global surface temperature has risen about 1.5 degrees since 1880 as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, industrial activity, agriculture and
deforestation. Cutting emissions could ease the rate of change, but not until the second half of the century, the report says. The report “brings this issue home and it shows us why it’s important,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University who did not contribute to the assessment. “The reason we care about climate change is because it affects us: It affects our food, our water, our health, our roads, buildings and infrastructure and our natural environment.” Climate change alone isn’t the cause of most of the ill effects. Rather, it worsens them by interacting with other factors, such as population growth, urbanization and exploitation of natural resources. The panel sees the changing climate, slowing down economic growth and worsening poverty, hunger and disease. The report also says climate change increases the risk of violence and civil war. Some low-lying countries will see their territorial integrity challenged by rising sea levels The shifting of water supply, sea ice and fish stocks across international boundaries has “the potential to increase rivalry among states,” the report says. In one section, the report breaks down the effects on specific regions. Among the greatest risks to North America, for instance, are wildfires, heat-related deaths and coastal flooding. Africa is threatened by water shortages, famine and disease as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns shift. The IPCC, created in 1988, has issued five major assessments of the science of climate change, each including a report on its effects. Hundreds of scientists from across the world collect and summarize thousands of peer-reviewed studies to come to a consensus every five or six years. In September the panel predicted the planet will warm between 2.7 degrees and 8.1 degrees if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere double, and that sea levels will rise 10 inches to 32 inches by century’s end. For the first time, the panel also endorsed a limit on the amount of carbon that can be emitted before the temperature rises more than 3.6 degrees and the worst of climate change set in. The UN’s World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday that the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere accelerated to a record high in 2012. Carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas, was responsible for 80 percent of the jump, pushing concentrations to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/world/22745-climate-change-reportdepicts-a-planet-in-peril
Classes in typhoon areas to resume Jan. 15 (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Classes in higher educational institutions in Western, Eastern and Central Visayas that Super Typhoon Yolanda had devastated will resume on Jan. 15. Patricia Licuanan, head of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), said higher education institutions that can manage to operate normally and whose students are able to continue with routine activities may follow the regular schedule for the second semester. “The (schools) in the affected areas are directed to resume operations by Jan. 15, 2014, or as soon thereafter as their capacity to operate has stabilized and been determined to be in the best interest of all concerned stakeholders and when public safety and security have been assured by competent authorities,” she said. The CHED ordered yesterday the temporary closure of all higher educational institutions in areas that Yolanda had affected. Licuanan told CHED regional directors in Eastern Visayas and other areas that the order entails undertaking all collaborative measures to track the whereabouts and physical safety of their staff. “When the situation warrants, affected schools are requested to coordinate with the concerned regional director to ensure that no student, faculty or staff of affected schools shall be unduly prejudiced in their academic standing, employment benefits, or other compensation packages due them,” she said. The Visayas has about 406 higher educational institutions.
Psychologists join effort Dozens of psychologists were starting work in the typhoon-devastated areas to help survivors deal with the psychological fallout of the disaster. The effort is an early attempt to head off what health professionals fear could be serious problems when the physical scars begin to heal. Annabelle de Veyra, Department of Health (DOH) chief administrator in Eastern Visayas, said they are worried that in the next few days anarchy will occur. “Two big stores have already been looted,” she said. “It’s not just food that they are getting. It’s more of a psychological reaction. People from Tacloban are not like that. They need psychological counseling.” Last Tuesday, a 55-member team of DOH psychologists arrived in Tacloban to help some of the residents deal with the disaster. Nedy Tayag, a DOH clinical psychologist, said behavior of typhoon survivors was typical among those confronted by massive disasters or destructive conflict. “Their reaction is normal in light of the abnormal situation,” she said. “It could lead to mental breakdown, emotional imbalance, confusion and depression.” The focus of experts would be “psychological intervention” that could involve therapy and counseling sessions of both individuals and groups. BI eases immigration checks Foreigners taking part in relief operations for Yolanda victims will be spared from the rigorous immigration checks at the airport. Bureau of Immigration (BI) officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison said yesterday they have relaxed immigration regulations for foreign humanitarian workers and volunteers wishing to help typhoon victims in the Visayas. “Even if they do not have the proper documents to enter the country we would process their papers. If they want to stay longer, we would process their visa for free,” he said. The BI also waived the required six months’ passport validity for foreign aid workers. – Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo, Evelyn Macairan http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256471/classes-typhoon-areas-resume-jan.-15
Doppler radar also destroyed By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Yolanda has destroyed the country’s first line of defense against severe weather disturbances even as weathermen expect one or two more storms in the coming weeks. Oscar Tabada, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) director in the Visayas, told The STAR the destruction of the P450-million Doppler radar in Guiuan, Eastern Samar has made the country’s eastern section blind to incoming typhoons. “The Guiuan Doppler is important,” he said in Filipino. “We have to fix it at the earliest possible time as typhoons are headed toward the Visayas.” Tabada said the Guiuan radar was designed to withstand strong typhoons with winds up to 500 kilometers per hour. “It is the first line of defense for Southern Luzon and Visayas communities against storms,” he said. Guiuan was chosen as the location of the radar as it faces the Pacific Ocean, he added. Tabada said PAGASA engineers are still assessing the damage to the radar. The dome, a spherical shell that encloses a radar device, was blown from the tower at the height of Yolanda. “As of this time we are not receiving data from our Guiuan station,” he said. The stations in Coron, Palawan and Tacloban, Leyte are also “totally down,” he added.
Tabada said the repair of the radar might take months, and that the Japanese supplier had been informed and a team of experts is set to arrive to help assess the damage. The PAGASA station in Guiuan, including the equipment, costs around P100 million, he added. Tabada said they are repairing the rain gauges in the areas that Yolanda had devastated as rainfall data are vital in regular weather forecasts. “We can only have rainfall data from these areas for now but not for wind,” he said. Tabada said the forecasters could use the data transmitted by Doppler radars in nearby areas, particularly Cebu and Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. Satellite data from foreign meteorological agencies could also be used, he added. Tabada said PAGASA would relocate its station in Tacloban City that huge waves from Yolanda had wiped out. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256469/doppler-radar-also-destroyed
DNA test to ID dead costs P20 K per specimen By Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
People cover their noses from the stench of dead bodies in an area affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and thousands of people dead. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara) MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should be given appropriate funding to identify the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, an official said yesterday. Wilfredo Tierra, assistant chief of the NBI’s forensics division, said the identification of cadavers would be costly because they would use DNA sampling, which would cost between P15,000 and P20,000 each. Tierra said at least four samples – one from the dead and at least three from living relatives – would be needed. He noted that the government spent millions to identify the victims of Typhoons Pablo, Reming and Sendong. Tierra said the NBI sent a 20-man team to Tacloban City for the initial assessment of the area. He said they are eyeing mass burial for the victims, who will be placed in separate bags, before they start the identification process. The NBI would also use “secondary parameters” like clothes and pieces of jewelry worn by the victims to help the relatives identify them.
No danger Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said decomposing bodies in Yolanda-hit areas do not pose an immediate concern or danger. “The idea is to make sure that the bodies are not left deteriorating or decomposing. If, let’s say, there is a foul smell, the public should not be afraid,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said. However, the DOH recommends the temporary burial of the victims in shallow graves. “Don’t bury them in deep graves so that they can easily be retrieved when the time comes for their identification,” said Ona, adding that the cadavers should be properly documented before burial. – With Sheila Crisostomo http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256468/dna-test-id-dead-costs-p20-k-specimen
Tons of aid undelivered By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 1:00am
Survivors rebuild their house in typhoon ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
MANILA, Philippines - From Metro Manila to the Visayas, relief goods are piling up, with logistical and security problems preventing their distribution to desperate victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Delivery of the relief goods finally got off to a laborious start yesterday, as government forces began bringing the supplies from the airports of Cebu and Tacloban to victims. A military officer who asked not to be named said that days after Yolanda’s powerful storm surge flattened much of Tacloban, many victims still had not received aid. The officer said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) should drop its relief distribution protocol and allow the military and police to distribute relief goods directly to hungry typhoon victims in isolated areas. Apart from relief goods that have accumulated at airports, foreign and local medical teams and relief workers have also been stranded.
The day after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas, a team of 15 doctors and logistics experts was ready to fly to Tacloban, the worst hit city, to help. On Tuesday, five days into what could be the country’s deadliest disaster, they were still waiting to leave. Aid is finally coming to Tacloban: medical supplies, pallets of water and food piled on trucks, planes and ferries, sent by the Philippine government and countries around the world. But the scale of the disaster and challenges of delivering the assistance mean few in the city, strewn with debris and corpses, have received any help. A team from Medecins Sans Frontieres, complete with medical supplies, arrived in Cebu on Saturday looking for a flight to Tacloban, but had not left by Tuesday. A spokesman for the group said it was “difficult to tell” when they would be able to leave. “We are in contact with the authorities, but the (Tacloban) airport is only for Philippine military use,” said Lee Pik Kwan. At the medics’ intended destination, it was getting out that was the problem. Thousands of people hoping for rescue camped at the airport and ran onto the tarmac when planes came in, surging past a broken iron fence and a few soldiers and police trying to control them. Only a few hundred made it aboard. “We need help. Nothing is happening,” said Aristone Balute, an 81-year-old who did not get on a flight out of the city. “We have not eaten since yesterday afternoon.” Her clothes were soaked from the rain, and tears streamed down her face. Foreign television journalists yesterday reported the supposed disorganized relief operations and the lack of presence of local authorities in typhoon-hit areas. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper described the situation in Tacloban as “miserable” and “very, very bad.” “I’m just surprised. I expected on this Day 5, I thought maybe I have gotten here very late, that things will be well on hand. It does not seem like that. People are desperate. People do not have any place for shelter. It’s very difficult for people to get food,” Cooper said in a report for the news program “The Lead.” “It is a very desperate situation, among the most desperate I have seen in covering disasters in the last couple of years,” he added. Cooper was later quoted by the Twitter account of his show “Anderson Cooper 360º” as saying that “the people in Tacloban have great dignity and deserve better than what they have gotten.”
“It is demolition, not a construction job here,“ he added. Cooper said he has seen people who are staying close to the bodies of their loved ones, which nobody has picked up because nobody was there to do so. He claimed not having seen a large Philippine military presence around the area. “It is a miserable situation here and it does not seem to be getting better day by day,” the CNN anchor said. “As to who’s in charge of the Philippine side of the whole operation, that is not really clear.” For his part, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison was quoted as saying that “there does not yet seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.” Officials have previously assured the public that efforts are underway to reach all residents who are in need of assistance. Malacañang admitted yesterday that some remote areas were not yet reached by relief assistance and that more repacking centers would be established by the Department of Social Welfare and Development so that relief goods would not run out. President Aquino himself told CNN in an interview Tuesday night via teleconference that the government would need to deliver 50,000 relief packs every two days due to the magnitude of devastation caused by the typhoon. Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the process of bringing relief items to typhoon victims would be a “huge production line” and that after repacking of the goods, there were obstacles in transporting and distributing them to the victims. “There has never been anything at the magnitude of what we are trying to do now. Not in size, not in volume, not even the breadth of it. The logistics alone – we discussed over two and a half hours how to move the goods, where to move goods, how many trucks we need from packing center to shipping center. It is not a small amount of work that needs to be done,” Almendras said in a press briefing. But as regards the areas that were not reached, Almendras said these were “very least.” “As a matter of fact, I think, we are down to four, three… around four more specific areas that need to be reached. I would imagine that these would be reached by (yesterday), by chopper,” Almendras said. But he said this did not mean the areas were isolated because communication had been established. “As far as reach of goods or repair or clearing, that’s ongoing. The good news is all the major roads are now open so things are flowing already. The DPWH (Department of Public Works and
Highways) was very aggressive in fixing the roads or temporary bridges that toppled,” Almendras said. He said more repacking centers were being set up in strategic areas nationwide to accelerate the processing of goods. Meanwhile, Almendras said most of the foreign aid for typhoon victims had not yet reached the Philippines. He said some of the items were not necessarily relief items but support equipment and goods for emergency teams. “They are self contained. They will feed themselves and operate on their own without resources from us,” Almendras said. He said the only foreign relief goods that were ready for distribution came from Taiwan and these items would be brought to Ormoc City. Bigger planes and ships will also be directed to Cebu rather than stop in Manila to make the delivery of assistance more efficient, Almendras said. An Associated Press reporter drove through the town for around seven kilometers yesterday, seeing more than 40 bodies. He saw no evidence of any organized delivery of food, water or medical supplies, though piles of aid have begun to arrive at the airport. Some people were lining up to get water from a hose, presumably from the city supply. “There is a huge amount that we need to do. We have not been able to get into the remote communities,” UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said in Manila. “Even in Tacloban, because of the debris and the difficulties with logistics and so on, we have not been able to get in the level of supply that we would want to. We are going to do as much as we can to bring in more,” Amos said. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said relief goods were getting into the city, and the supply should increase in the coming days now that the airport and a bridge to the island were open. “We are not going to leave one person behind – one living person behind,” he said. “We will help, no matter how difficult, no matter how inaccessible.” Doctors in Tacloban said they were desperate for medicine. Beside the ruined airport tower, at a small makeshift clinic with shattered windows, Army and Air Force medics said they had treated around 1,000 people for cuts, bruises, lacerations and deep wounds.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Air Force Capt. Antonio Tamayo. “We need more medicine. We cannot give anti-tetanus vaccine shots because we have none.” The longer survivors go without access to clean water, food, shelter and medical help, the greater chance of disease breaking out and people dying as a result of wounds sustained in the storm. The official death toll from the disaster rose to 2,275 yesterday, though authorities have said they expect that to rise markedly. They fear estimates of 10,000 dead are accurate and might be low. More than nine million people have been affected across a large swath of the country, many of them made homeless. Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 people on Leyte island, bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees. Malls, garages and shops have all been stripped of food and water by hungry residents. Damaged roads and other infrastructure are complicating the relief efforts. Government officials and police and Army officers are in many cases among the victims themselves, hampering coordination. In Matnog, Sorsogon, the port for ferries leaving to another hard-hit island, Samar, dozens of trucks piled high with aid were waiting to cross. In Manila, soldiers tossed pallets of water, medical supplies and foods into C-130 planes bound for the disaster area. The United Nations said it had released $25 million in emergency funds to pay for emergency shelter materials and household items, and for assistance with the provision of emergency health services, safe water supplies and sanitation facilities. It’s launching an appeal for more aid. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington is headed toward the region with massive amounts of water and food, but the Pentagon said it won’t arrive until today. The US also said it is providing $20 million in immediate aid. Many other countries, including Japan, Australia and Britain, which is sending a Royal Navy vessel with aid, have pledged aid totaling tens of millions of dollars. For now, relief has come to a lucky few, including Joselito Caimoy, a 42-year-old truck driver. He was able to get his wife, son and three-year-old daughter on a flight out of Tacloban. They embraced in a tearful goodbye, but Caimoy stayed behind to guard what’s left of his home and property. “People are just scavenging in the streets. People are asking food from relatives, friends. The devastation is too much... the malls, the grocery stories have all been looted,” he said. “They are empty. People are hungry. And they (the authorities) cannot control the people.” – With Alexis Romero, AP http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/14/1256476/tons-aid-undelivered
CNN anchor assails slow gov’t disaster response by Alma Buelva November 14, 2013
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, in the country to cover what is deemed one of the strongest typhoon to hit the world, yesterday took to task the Philippine government for its slow response to the disaster. “When I was in Japan, right after the tsunami there two years ago, within a day or two, you had Japanese defense forces going out, carving up cities into grids and going out on foot looking for people, walking through the wreckage. We have not seen that here (in the Philippines) in any kind of large-scale operation,” said Cooper, who lamented that it was unclear who was in charge of the disaster response operations following super-typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught. In 2005, Cooper also took to task the US government for its slow response following the hurricane Katrina’s onslaught. “You would expect perhaps to see a feeding center that had been set up five days after the storm. We haven’t seen that, certainly not in this area (Tacloban City). Some food is being brought to people here at the airport, some water being distributed but these are very, very difficult conditions for the people here on the ground and it’s not clear how much longer it can continue like this. Something’s got to give,” he said in his report. “It looks like the end of the world, for many here it was… The people in Tacloban have great dignity and deserve better than what they have gotten,” Cooper said in his tweet. “The search and rescue never materialized… There is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief,” he said in another tweet. CNN’s critical assessment of the government relief efforts dovetailed with observations by local journalists at the scene. ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon, in his nightly news program TV Patrol, pointed out that most roads in Tacloban City were still littered with bodies and debris, two nights after President Aquino went on the air to report that major roads have been cleared. The French news agency AFP reported that thousands of Tacloban residents remain outside the badly battered airport hoping to fly out of the city. http://www.mb.com.ph/cnn-anchor-assails-slow-govt-disaster-response/
Solons want VAT on oil removed by Ellson Quismorio November 13, 2013
Manila, Philippines – Gabriela party-list representatives have called for the suspension of expanded value-added tax (E-VAT) on oil and other basic commodities as a way to “cheer up” their calamity-weary countrymen. “Removing VAT on fuel would be of great boon to millions of Filipinos who are now struggling to rise up from calamities like (super typhoon) Yolanda and the (Bohol) earthquake,” Rep. Emmi De Jesus. Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan asked President Benigno S. Aquino III to halt the different petroleum companies “from inflicting unregulated overpricing on poor consumers.” According to the Minority lawmakers, the Independent Oil Price Review Committee should start on its own by immediately slashing by half the taxes on oil regardless of the prevailing Oil Deregulation Law. They also said that fuel support for the reconstruction of devastated communities in Leyte, Samar and Panay should be prioritized, fund-wise, over Aquino’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. “We want the VAT suspension to be nationwide, because eventually, the economic shocks will drag the entire country into a slowdown and the crisis will affect not only the people in the Visayas but the poor population in the entire country,” said De Jesus. “To prevent this, the Aquino government should provide this relief to all Filipinos who in turn can help the people in Visayas recover as well. Yolanda struck the region Friday, devastating Leyte as well as parts of Samar and Cebu with strong winds and storm surges. The catastrophe happened just three weeks after the destructive 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol. The left-leaning Makabayan bloc in Congress, which includes Gabriela, have filed numerous house bills and resolutions calling for the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law and reduction of tax levy on oil products since the 12th Congress. Makabayan filed in July House Bill 1547, “An Act Amending R.A. 8424 (Tax Reform Act of 1997) Exempting Oil, LPG, and Other Basic Necessities from the Imposition of the ValueAdded Tax.” The bill covers not only gas, kerosene and other petroleum but also basic commodities consumed or used by poor families, including bread, canned fish, noodles, biscuits, sugar, cooking oil, salt, detergents, firewood, charcoal, candles, and Department of Health-listed essential drugs. The party’s Lingap Gabriela, a relief effort for those affected by calamities, is set to visit the Visayas to get first-hand data on the impact of the super storm. http://www.mb.com.ph/solons-want-vat-on-oil-removed/
PNoy orders early release of gov’t employees’ bonus by Madel Sabater ‐ Namit November 13, 2013 (updated)
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday ordered the early release of the P16.05-billion year-end bonuses for government employees. Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad said the early release of the year-end bonus for the second half of 2013 will allow government workers to better respond to calamity following the destruction brought by supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Visayas last week. Aside from the year-end bonus, the P16.05-billion also includes a cash gift amounting to P5,000. The said perks will benefit a total of 1.209 million government employees: both civilian and uniformed personnel across all departments and agencies, including regular co-terminus employees. “With billions in damage already in view—not to mention the irretrievable loss of life in Yolanda-stricken areas—the Aquino administration is tapping all its resources to mobilize relief operations in all affected areas and communities. But we also need to account for how Yolanda’s survivors will fare in the aftermath, or how their friends and relatives can help in the wake of such a disaster,” Abad said. “We hope to address that with the early release of year-end bonuses for all uniformed and civilian personnel in government,” he added. “President Aquino recognizes that with little to no resources, government employees who were affected by the super typhoon will have a very difficult time getting back to their feet. We recognize as well that millions of public servants whose respective cities were spared by Yolanda are only too keen on giving what they can and helping those who survived such a horrific calamity,” Abad said. The first half of the 13th month pay for government workers was released in May this year. The last time the government released an early bonus to its employees was in September 2009 following the devastation brought by typhoon “Ondoy” in Metro Manila. http://www.mb.com.ph/pnoy-orders-early-release-of-govt-employees-bonus/
Aquino calls for global action on climate change by Genalyn Kabiling November 13, 2013
With Philippines struggling to recover from the catastrophic devastation caused by a super typhoon, President Benigno S. Aquino III has called for swift global action to mitigate the impact of climate change that threatens the nations’ only home, Earth. The President particularly asked the rich countries contributing to global warming to take “moral responsibility” as countries like the Philippine bear the burnt of the worsening natural disasters. “We all live in one planet — either we come up with a solution that everybody adheres to and cooperates with or let us be prepared to meet disasters, every increasing disasters, on a global level,” the president said in an interview with CNN. “Especially to the most developed countries that are contributing immensely to the global warming, there has to be a sense of moral responsibility that what they wreak is playing havoc on the lives of so many others who are less capable of fending for themselves,” he added. The president issued the appeal after super typhoon Yolanda left a vast trail of death and destruction in several areas in the Visayas. Officials earlier said the death toll has risen to 1,833 while millions of families were left homeless. Aquino said climate change has become “an accepted reality” for Filipinos, citing disturbing change in weather patterns in the country. He said typhoons are common in the Philippines but 2013 has been “an exceptionally bad year” especially with the onslaught of Yolanda. “There should be no debate that it (climate change) is happening. In times that should be raining, it suddenly becomes dry. The dry months suddenly become very very wet,” Aquino said. He said since he assumed office in 2010, the country has endured “very strong and devastating typhoons” almost every Christmas season when the country previously never had typhoons. “We are again at the tail end. Our wet season is supposed to be over and we have his super typhoon. It wreaks havoc also on our planting season wherein our farmers are getting hardpressed to adjust to his climate change,” he said. Aquino said he hopes future calamities in the country would “not be worst” than the damaged caused by Yolanda. He said the government intends to make communities “more resilient to ravages of nature,” citing the distribution of geohazard maps as well as investments in the weather and volcanology bureaus to minimize dangers of natural disasters. http://www.mb.com.ph/aquino-calls-for-global-action-on-climate-change/
Senate to prioritize P10‐B Visayan Rehabilitation Fund By Christina Mendez (philstar.com) | Updated November 13, 2013 ‐ 5:02pm 2 40 googleplus0 0
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate will prioritize next week the proposal to realign some portions of the 2014 budget to be able to raise P10-billion for the Visayan Rehabilitation Fund, which will be used for the repair of infrastructure destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated the region. With the aftermath of the strong typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas, Sen. Grace Poe said on Wednesday that senators cannot be insensitive on what is happening in Tacloban. Poe said they are discussing next week the possible items under the 2014 budget that can be tapped to augment the proposed Visayan Rehabilitation Fund. The amount will be “over and above” the amount pertaining to the Priority Development Assistance Fund, totaling to about P26-billion a year for senators and congressmen. “This (Visayan Rehab Fund) will be discussed in plenary setting on Monday,” Poe said. Congress will resume on November 18 after a two week break. Poe reiterated that she has personally advocated for the abolition of the PDAF. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Senate President Franklin Drilon early on sought the creation of the special fund, amounting to about P 10-billion, in the proposed 2014 budget to be used for victims of the recent calamities. Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, revealed that he and his team are coordinating with the different government agencies to look into their respective budgets that can be diverted to a separate fund for the rehabilitation efforts. Sen. Vicente Sotto III expressed belief that the Senate can identify the budget to be realigned for calamity funds without too much fanfare and media hype. The deputy minority leader added that the calamity funds can be programmed through the budget itself because of the cuts Congress will be making. “There is no need for senators to even seek for credits on this. We don’t need to get credits for it,” Sotto said. Call for gov't audit of foreign aid Some senators also batted for the need to ensure that the foreign aid be subjected to proper audit.
“Considering na may substantial amount ng foreign aid na binigay sa atin, pabor ako sa transparency at accountability sa paggamit nito,” said Sen. Nancy Binay. Sen. Ralph Recto said the Commission on Audit (COA) is tasked to audit the donations from other countries for the rehabilitation of the areas affected by typhoon Yolanda. “What is subject to CoA is how taxes and donations [become public funds when given to government] are spent by the government," he said. Recto pointed out, however, that donations to the private sector and how they spend it is not subject to government audit. Poe stressed that the foreign donations for calamity acquire the nature of public funds and are usually given to Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. “It is put in a special account and subject to CoA audit. It must only be spent for the purpose it was donated for," she said. "So, if the donations now are for typhoon Yolanda victims, they may only be used for that purpose and may not be realigned for Bohol or succeeding calamity." Escudero and Poe cited Article IX [Section 2 (1)], which provides that the CoA has the duty to audit accounts pertaining to receipts held in trust by government. But donations to the Philippine Red Cross and other civic groups are not subject to CoA, Poe pointed out. Senate raise P300K funds to relief efforts Meanwhile, Senate employees have raised P307,550 as of 2:20 p.m. Wednesday in their drive to help the victims of the super typhoon. Senate Secretary Oscar Yabes said the amount will be turned over to the Philippine National Red Cross. Other relief goods such as food, water and clothing will also be brought to the PNRC. About 110 employees have also volunteered to help in the repacking of relief goods at the Department of Social Welfare and Development National Operations Office along Chapel Road in Pasay City. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/13/1256273/senate-prioritize-p10-b-visayanrehabilitation-fund
Foreign aid balloons to P2.36‐B; COA to audit donations By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated November 13, 2013 ‐ 12:18pm
Indonesia air force personnel load relief supplies donated by Indonesia government for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Foreign governments and agencies have announced a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon. AP/Achmad Ibrahim MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has received a staggering amount of P2,366,669,200 in financial assistance as of Wednesday morning to help the country's typhoon-stricken areas and the calamity victims recover. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), tasked to process and coordinate the donations, said in a statement late Tuesday that the amount, which converts to $54.38 million, is only one half of the assistance the international community extends. Several nations, besides offering monetary support, sent in manpower for medical and sanitary services as well as recovery operations. Several countries such as the United States and Taiwan deployed utilities such as naval vessels and military planes to transport goods, the DFA said.
As of Wednesday, new countries have joined a growing list of donors expressing their condolences for families who have lost their members and those whose homes were flattened by "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan), among the most intense weather systems to ever hit land. Baroness Valerie Amos, United Nations (UN) undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and the emergency relief coordinator, had said that the country needs almost $301 million or P13.174 billion in assistance for relief and rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas in the Visayas. The following are the forms and amounts of assistance of nations as of late Tuesday: Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
AUSTRALIA ‐ P323,653,600 financial aid; medical and search and rescue teams, relief goods BELGIUM ‐ 40 medical personnel for a field hospital; medical and search and rescue teams CANADA ‐ P205,691,000 financial aid; CA $2.5 million worth of purification tablets; relief goods; matching scheme CHINA ‐ P4,552,280 financial aid DENMARK ‐ P77,268,200 financial aid EUROPEAN COMMISSION ‐ P172,816,200 financial aid; two Boeing 747s loaded with relief goods; team of humanitarian experts; medical team FINLAND ‐ 9,500 vaccine and medical packages; two motor boats for rescue operations FRANCE ‐ Group of French first responders; tons of relief goods; medical, search and rescue team GERMANY ‐ P2S,802,700 initial financial aid; medical team, search and rescue; aid organizations with tons of relief goods HUNGARY ‐ search‐and‐rescue team with equipment and search dogs INDONESIA ‐ $1 million financial aid; C130 aircrafts bringing relief goods, naval asset ISRAEL ‐ two 747 planes with 200 personnel with field medical facilities; medical, search and rescue team; mobile desalination equipment, medical supplies, and food JAPAN ‐ 25 personnel as part of a rapid response medical assistance team LUXEMBOURG ‐ P23,042,100 financial aid; 4 rescue experts as part of UNOCHA's International Humanitarian Partnership team, 2 emergency experts MALAYSIA ‐ Military medics, search and rescue team, blankets and medicine NETHERLANDS ‐ P115,211,000 financial aid through Red Cross NEW ZEALAND ‐ P71,006,300 financial aid through Red Cross NORWAY ‐ P140,424,000 through UNOCHA and Red Cross RUSSIA ‐ Hospital plane (Ilyushian 76 Soviet aircraft) loaded with humanitarian goods, medical team SINGAPORE ‐ P6,909,260 financial aid; civil defense force to assist the UN office in coordinating humanitarian activities; medical team, search and rescue SPAIN ‐ Team to assist in humanitarian activities; two (2) planes loaded with relief goods SWEDEN ‐ financial aid through UNOCHA TAIWAN ‐ P8,622,400 financial aid; one (1) plane loaded with relief goods TURKEY ‐ One (1) plane loaded with relief goods; search and rescue team, medical team UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ‐ P431,120,000 financial aid
UNITED KINGDOM ‐ P414,051.000 financial aid through partner organizations UNITED STATES ‐ P4,311,200 financial aid; two (2) medical teams. Mammoth and Rubicon; ships and aircrafts to assist search‐and‐rescue operations and to airlift emergency supplies, including 2 c‐130s (already in PH) and Osprey aircraft VATICAN ‐ P6,466,800 financial aid through local churches in affected areas; prayers and vigils VIETNAM ‐ P4,311,200 financial aid
Senator Francis Escudero said that the Senate has issued letter to the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit (COA) on Tuesday asking the agencies to make the process of receiving and distribution of foreign aid entering through government more efficient and transparent. According to COA guidelines, the agency has jurisdiction over all accounts, funds and property entrusted to government and any of its instrumentalities. "The Commission shall have exclusive authority subject to the limitations in Article IX of the Constitution, to define the scope of its audit and examination," Rule II, Section 1 of COA's 2009 Revised Rules of Procedure. Donations through independent organizations and the private sector, however, are not subject to COA inspection. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/13/1256239/foreign-aid-balloons-p2.36-b-coa-auditdonations
8 dead in rice looting in typhoon‐hit Philippines (Associated Press) | Updated November 13, 2013 ‐ 11:46am 42 262 googleplus0 1
In this Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 file photo, survivors carry bags of rice from a warehouse which they stormed due to shortage of food at typhoon‐ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines. Haiyan slammed the island nation with a storm surge two stories high and some of the highest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone. An untold number of homes were blown away, and thousands of people are feared dead. AP/AARON FAVILA
TACLOBAN, Philippines — An official says eight people were crushed to death when thousands of typhoon survivors stormed a government rice warehouse in the typhoon-ravaged central Philippines. National Food Authority spokesman Rex Estoperez said Wednesday that police and soldiers were helpless when the looting took place in Leyte's Alangalang municipality on Tuesday.He said the eight were crushed when a wall collapsed. The looters carted away more than 100,000 sacks of rice. Estoperez says there are other warehouses in the region but refused to say where they are for security reasons.
Mindanao region readies relief mission by Ali G. Macabalang, Malu Cadelina Manar, Mike U. Crismundo, Camcer Ordonez Imam & Joseph T. Jubelag November 13, 2013
MUSLIM VOLUNTEERS – Muslim volunteers extend their help in repacking rice and other supplies at the satellite Provincial Capitol office in Buluan, Maguindanao, for distribution to the victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in several areas of the Visayas. (Ali G. Macabalang) Cotabato City – Seasoned medical and relief workers from Maguindanao are set to serve this week the Visayan villages ravaged by super typhoon “Yolanda.” “The entire force of seven doctors and 30 nurses manning our regular medical missions will travel Friday to Tacloban City to serve our brethren affected by typhoon Yolanda,” Maguindanao budget division chief Lynette Estandarte told the Bulletin. Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu will personally lead the mission and bring along “substantial medical supplies” alongside “tons of fresh fish and rice” for distribution to needy villagers in Samar and Leyte, particularly Tacloban City, said Estandarte, focal official for provincial special projects. “We (Muslim Filipinos) are lagging behind in terms of material resources. But we can chip out parts of our meager resources for the optimum benefit of suffering brethren,” Mangudadatu said. The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have utilized their vessel, M/V DA-BFAR, to deliver relief goods and “intervention agricultural products” to Tacloban City. This was announced by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala here in Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday during the opening of the four-day 2013 Mindanao-Wide Makina Saka Agri Machinery Road Show, where he was the guest of honor.
Alcala said an estimated cost of P3.7-billion agricultural products went to ruins in the Visayas areas hit by super typhoon “Yolanda,” and the DA is currently facilitating the interventions needed to cope with the losses. The personnel of the Region-13 office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-13) were also deployed to Southern Leyte on Tuesday to help conduct damage and needs assessment in order to provide immediate support to the typhoon victims there. According to DSWD-13 Director Mindanao B. Brigoli, the agency personnel will be divided into three teams – each team is composed of a team leader, three members, and a driver. On the other hand, the officers and men of the Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division donated their subsistence allowance for the typhoon victims in Central Visayas. Aiming to help in a little way and alleviate the agony and suffering of the victims of super typhoon “Yolanda,” the enlisted personnel donated their one day subsistence allowance, while two days for the officers. Meanwhile, North Cotabato Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza has mounted on Tuesday a relief operation to help people in Bohol, Leyte, and other provinces in the Visayas recover from the onslaught of super typhoon “Yolanda.” Mendoza has designated an area in the Provincial Capitol complex as storehouse for food and other relief items they are set to distribute to the typhoon victims. Mendoza said the relief operation is a perfect time to tell to people of Leyte regarding their readiness to help. “We empathize with those family members who were left by their loved ones, as well as thank those who made great efforts to keep safe and help residents during the disaster,” the governor said. Likewise, the city government of General Santos allocated P10-million as donation for the victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” in the Visayas. Geneal Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the money will be charged against the local disaster management funds of the city government. “In these distress times, the people of the Visayas who have been displaced by the recent typhoon are really in dire need of our help,” Rivera said. http://www.mb.com.ph/mindanao-region-readies-relief-mission/
New province by Cherry Mae D. Palicte November 13, 2013
Malita, Davao Occidental – The newly-created province of Davao Occidental is on status quo under the administration of the present provincial government of Davao del Sur until new officials will take over after the 2016 elections, said Davao del Sur 2nd District Representative Franklin Bautista. Bautista recently disclosed that there will be no activities yet in the province and Governor Claude Bautista was tasked to supervise the new province as well as administer the budget allotment intended for the programs and projects for the new province, which covers the municipalities of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos, and Sarangani. Bautista said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already a computation of the budget allocation for Davao Occidental for 2014. Bautista clarified that he will still be representing the three towns of the 2nd District, which are not included in the jurisdiction of Davao Occidental, namely Kiblawan, Malalag, and Sulop. http://www.mb.com.ph/new‐province/
EDITORIAL ‐ Disorganized (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 2 20 googleplus0 0
Relief goods are pouring in from all over the world and from private citizens and groups in the Philippines. Yet looting and armed robberies have become rampant in the typhoon-ravaged areas of Central Visayas, particularly in Tacloban City and neighboring areas, because relief assistance is not reaching them. Just across the waters from Tacloban, doctors, nurses and aid volunteers have been waiting for days to bring much-needed supplies including food, water, medicine and blankets to the disaster area. In Metro Manila, piles of relief goods continued to grow yesterday as the logistics of aid delivery became a nightmare. By many accounts, the problem has been aggravated by teams of New People’s Army rebels who roam transit routes to harass aid convoys including Red Cross teams. These are the moments when you fully agree with the law enforcement methods of officials like Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The NPA is not the only armed group that has no qualms about exploiting human misery. Lawless elements abound in the disaster area, grabbing what they can and attacking aid convoys.
A week after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck, the government has still not restored order in the typhoon area sufficiently enough to ensure the safety of aid workers. Lawmakers representing the typhoon-hit areas can make themselves useful by coordinating with their constituents to facilitate aid delivery. There are many private individuals and groups ready to help and can use guidance on the best routes to get the aid ASAP to the victims. Local politicians should be familiar enough with their turfs to know how aid delivery can be done in the best way possible given the challenging circumstances. The continuing human suffering as the mountains of relief goods continued to grow prompted several foreign journalists to describe the relief operation as disorganized, with the situation appearing to be getting worse. The government must work quickly to correct the situation. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/11/14/1256524/editorial‐disorganized
18‐day campaign on violence against women by Mike Crismundo November 13, 2013 (updated)
BUTUAN CITY – The 18-day campaign to end Violence Against Women is set to start next week in the Caraga region. Along with other concerned line government agencies, the Regional Development Council – Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (RDC-GADCC) will spearhead the series of activities, starting Nov. 25 to December 12, this year. Chaired by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Director Atty. Maylin Pintor, the activity is also fully supported by the city government of Butuan and five other cities and five provinces in the Caraga region. The RDC-GADCC organizers has lined-up several activities for Butuanons and Caraganons to celebrate. As kick-off activity, GADCC will be holding the joint/simultaneous flag raising ceremony at the Agusan del Norte Provincial Capitol Covered Court, this city on November 25. Participating agencies will be wearing their 18-Day Campaign t-shirts using different colors that will also represent their respective sub-committees, namely: Institutionalization of GAD and Gender Governance (Fuchsia); Violence Against Women and Children (Purple); Gender and Poverty (Red); and Gender and Health and Environment (Green). On December 9, GADCC members will be conducting the Regional Judging on advocacy contests with students of Agusan National High School (ANHS) who joined the On-the-Spot Slogan and Poster Making contest for the campaign, and inmates from Butuan City Jail who participated in the feature story writing contest on Violence Against Women whose pieces were chosen among other participants in their respective school and jail center. Both will be held at the Agusan National High School (ANHS) building. On December 12, students in the tertiary level will be participating in the oratorical contest on the campaign to be held at the Luciana Convention Center here. On the same date, GADCC members will also hold the culminating activity of the 18-Day Campaign cum 4th Quarter Meeting to be held at the same venue. GADCC Speakers’ Bureau will be spearheading campaign related seminars and fora on related topics to emphasize the importance of having a functional mechanism, operated by competent and capable dury-bearers with a sense of responsibility and accountability originating from a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of gender-based violence and the provisions of VAW laws. http://www.mb.com.ph/18‐day‐campaign‐against‐violence‐against‐women/
Death toll at 2,500 SEARCH FOR TRUTH By Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 1 22 googleplus0 0
In a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, President Aquino estimated the death toll of typhoon ‘Yolanda’ at 2,500. He said, the 10,000 earlier figure is “too high.” NDRRMC has put the latest official death toll at 2,275. Death toll reports 1,700 from Tacloban; 433 from Basay, Samar; 100 from Guiuan, Samar; 57 from Hernani, Samar; 195 from Iloilo, including 80 from Estancia town and 10 from Carles town; 60 from Northern Cebu; 21 from Ormoc, Leyte; 20 from Capiz; 19 from Palawan; 5 from Aklan; 5 from Biliran. This morning’s newspapers report that the distribution of food and water is not fast enough despite 6 C-130 flights a day. There’s a mad rush of people trying to get out of Tacloban, but only a few can be accommodated on outgoing C-130 and commercial flights to Cebu. Ramon Aboitiz Foundation has mounted a major relief effort in Northern Cebu, worth P200 million, including a donation of P5 million from actress Sharon Cuneta. The United Nations has released $25-million aid to the Philippines and mounted in an effort to raise $301 million. The major problem that has arisen is the lack of body bags and the slow identification of the dead persons. Looting by armed gangs remains a major problem. President Aquino in his CNN interview admitted 29 towns have not been reached. ABS-CBN reached Isabel and Merida, Leyte, and reported 90% devastation. Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Electricity is still 60% down and DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla said that it will take a year to restore power to all areas. One other problem that has come out is the dwindling supply of petroleum. Smart and Globe have restored service to Tacloban, but many of the towers have been destroyed. Damage estimate $15 billion
A US typhoon expert has estimated the damage at $15 billion. Jun Trinidad, a Citibank economist estimated the damage at P600 billion. He also predicted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will suffer a half percentage point decrease. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima admitted a drop in the GDP for 2014. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also expects a spike in the inflation rate. Mayor Romualdez alive Contrary to previous reports, Mayor Alfred Romualdez, his wife Cristina, and 2 daughters survived the typhoon by clinging to the posts of their homes as sea water gushed in through their seaside residence. President Aquino had criticized the Tacloban City officials for not having prepared enough, but the storm surge, which reached 15 meters high could not have been foreseen and prevented. Mayor Romualdez and his City Council are now working double time to help the residents of Tacloban. Also helping Mayor Romualdez is Congressman Martin Romualdez who called for unity among officials at this time of disaster. Another mayor who worked double time to prepare his townspeople is Mayor Sandy Javier of Javier, Leyte, where the casualty toll was kept at a low 3 only. Just like other towns outside of Tacloban, Mayor Javier is appealing for relief assistance. Big business aiding SM Group of Henry Sy has donated P100 million. MVP/Philex Group of Manny Pangilinan has raised P30.4 million. San Miguel Corp., Philippine Airlines (PAL), and Petron have also sent relief goods to Tacloban. PAL offered free flights for medical personnel. Makati City donated P10 million; Pangasinan, P4 million; Davao City, P 7 million, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), P1 million; and Baguio City, P500,000. Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Albay, and Davao City have sent medical teams and rescue workers to Tacloban. Southern Leyte also sent help. No one in charge 25 German doctors, nurses, and personnel arrived Monday at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Nobody met them. They had to take taxis to a 3rd class hotel in Baclaran. They had to contact a fellow Filipino passenger they met on the plane to help them go to Villamor Air Base, Camp Aguinaldo, and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and to arrange their transportation to Cebu. They have a 70 tons of hospital and medical supplies that were still unreleased at the airport.
Sad, but it’s true. Looks like no one’s in charge. David Oro has made the same report about another Filipino group of doctors and nurses who could not get accommodated on a C-130 flight. Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should station a team in NAIA to meet arriving volunteers. Foreign aid at P4 billion British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a donation of P280 million for ‘Yolanda’ victims. He is also sending a UK warship and a Boeing C-17 cargo plane to help in the undertaking. The British will make available the use of helicopters and assigned personnel to clear the roads. The European Union donated euro 10 million; South Korea, $5 million; Norway, P140 million; Canada, $1 million; Japan, $10 million and sent a medical team; Turkey is sending 90 tons of relief goods; and Israel is sending more than 200 doctors and nurses. TIDBITS: DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima is correct to say that in times of calamity, the application of laws should be treated with compassion. Congratulations to Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua who received the Management Man of the Year award from the Philippine Council of Management (Philconman). Congressman Ben Evardone (Eastern Samar) reported at least 12 towns of Eastern Samar flattened by typhoon ‘Yolanda’. With the damage to rice fields in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Bohol, and now Leyte, Samar, and Northern Cebu, the price of rice has gone up. Sinandomeng, which used to sell at P1,800 per cavan is now P2,300. Eight died in a NFA rice warehouse in Alangalang town when the sacks of rice collapsed as looters ransacked the warehouse. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/11/14/1256529/death-toll-2500
Hong Kong activists head to Spratlys in “fishing” trip by AFP November 13, 2013
Hong Kong- Hong Kong activists left Wednesday on what they called a “fishing” boat trip to disputed islands, more than a year after they sailed to another contested chain to assert China’s sovereignty. “We are going fishing,” Tsang Kin-shing told AFP aboard the fishing boat Kai Fung No. 2. He refused to reveal the trip’s itinerary, saying only that the group of 13, along with two journalists, would sail to the Spratly Islands whose ownership is disputed between China and several other countries. “If there are no fish at Nansha, then we will go anywhere within Chinese territory where there is fish, so we can’t say right now where the most amount of fish are,” said Lo Chau, another activist. The Spratlys in the South China Sea — known as the Nansha Islands in China — are disputed between Taiwan, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. In August last year the same group of nationalist activists used the boat to land on disputed islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkakus in Japan and as the Diaoyus in China. They planted a Chinese flag but were arrested and deported by Japanese authorities, who control the islands. Plans to repeat the voyage to the Diaoyus were foiled in August this year when Hong Kong’s Marine Department stopped the 150-foot (45-metre) vessel from setting sail for “safety reasons”. Officials in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city have several times tried to thwart trips by the activists, prompting speculation that Beijing does not favour such high-profile protests. The group’s departure from Hong Kong harbour was delayed Wednesday morning because of inspections by police and other officials. On one occasion police wearing helmets and body armour boarded the boat and prevented it from setting sail for nearly an hour. When the Kai Fung No. 2 finally set off, it was followed by several government vessels. Tsang questioned the motives for the official checks. “Do they have to prevent fishermen from going out to fish?” he said. http://www.mb.com.ph/hong‐kong‐activists‐head‐to‐spratlys‐in‐fishing‐trip/
Shellfish downs 7 in Bataan By Raffy Viray (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
BALANGA CITY, Bataan, Philippines – Seven persons were hospitalized after they reportedly ate shellfish contaminated with red tide toxin in Samal town on Tuesday. Arnold Bucad, 67; Roberto Mena, 49; John Mark Rodriguez, 18; Michael Sanchez, 30; Mara Torres, 20; Dina Reyes, 28, and Ronald Rodriguez, 28, were taken to the Orani District Hospital in Orani town for treatment, according to Danilo Abrera of the provincial fishery office. The victim’s jaw reportedly went numb after they ate sulib or sunset shell for lunch. This is the first recorded incident of shellfish poisoning in the province after the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources declared a ban on eating shellfish harvested from the waters of Orani, Samal, Abucay, Balanga City, Pilar, Orion, Limay, and Mariveles on Nov. 4. Abrera said the coastal waters in Orani was tested positive for red tide toxin last Oct. 28. The ban affected about 3,000 fishermen from eight towns. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/11/14/1256328/shellfish‐downs‐7‐bataan
‘Adopt a Tree, Watch it Grow’ by Luchie A. Arguelles November 13, 2013
Students, even at a young age, must be socially aware and responsible for their immediate surroundings. Environment advocates expressed confidence that with the spate of climate disasters, such as the damage wrought by super typhoon “Yolanda,” youth involvement in nurturing saplings and watching it grow can instill better values and social awareness in them. Trees protect the populace and environment by serving as carbon sequestrator to quell pollution and prevent flooding by sustaining water, they said. In partnership with the San Juan City Mayor’s Office and the Department of Education, the Rotary Club of Greenhills (RCGH) launched the “Adopt a Tree, Watch it Grow” project that entrusts a tree to each student to personally tend and protect. Given a certain period, the best cared-for tree, its student-guardian and the school will be evaluated and given distinction. This project goes beyond tree planting, Dr. Noli Viñas, service project director, said. “By engaging commitment of schools in ensuring proper care and growth of trees, their students will, likewise, grow more responsible and mindful of their environs.” Viñas said he hopes that this is just the beginning, like a seed, on the consciousness of the youth. Asterio “Boy” Favis Jr., RCGH president, said that as of the day of the launch, led by San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, thousands of young trees were distributed to students of one public secondary and nine elementary schools in the city. He said private schools were expected to sign up in this project this month. http://www.mb.com.ph/adopt‐a‐tree‐watch‐it‐grow/
LGUs send relief teams to Tacloban (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 6 57 googleplus0 0
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The provincial governments of Maguindanao and North Cotabato will send relief teams to Tacloban City to help victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda recover from the tragedy. The office of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza, said their relief and rehabilitation group would leave for Tacloban City on Saturday. The team will bring with them relief supplies donated by the residents and the local government units. The provincial government, which started collecting donations Tuesday, is coordinating with government agencies that can expedite the transport of relief supplies and medical personnel to Tacloban. The office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, the league of mayors in the province and the provincial board formed joint relief and rehabilitation mission.
The team will depart tomorrow for Tacloban bringing with them food packs, medicines and nonfood item, according to Bobby Katambak of the Maguindanao provincial board. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya has donated P500,000, while the board members of Isabela will donate part of their salaries for the typhoon victims in the Visayas. Nueva Viscaya Gov. Ruth Padilla pledged to raise more funds by putting up donation sites in several areas in Bayombong. Earlier, the provincial government sent three medical personnel to Tacloban City. For his part, Isabela Vice Gov. Antonio Albano said he would forego his birthday party on Nov. 26 and would donate P20,000 from his salary this month for the typhoon victims. The board members pledged to donate P5,000 each. Although affected by Yolanda, the provincial government of Negros Occidentanl and the city government of Bacolod are sending financial and other assistance to Tacloban and other typhoon-hit provinces. Mayor Monico Puentevella said they are donating P300,000 in cash aside from relief goods for Tacloban residents and would send a medical and rescue team to help in the relief efforts. The provincial board has authorized Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. to open an account with the Development Bank of the Philippines where donations for typhoon victims can be deposited. – John Unson, Charlie Lagasca, Danny Dangcalan http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/11/14/1256329/lgus‐send‐relief‐teams‐tacloban
PhilRice to launch Brown Rice Day By Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 4 8 googleplus0 0
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will launch tomorrow the Brown Rice Day, the first of such celebration in the world and in the country in observance of the National Year of Rice (NYR). The Brown Rice Day aims to encourage the food service industry to serve unpolished rice and to increase public awareness on its inherent characteristics and health benefits, according to Hazel Antonio, NYR campaign director. Citing studies, Antonio said eating brown or unpolished rice could reduce cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, and stroke. The consumption of brown rice may also diminish cancer and diabetes, according to studies. Polishing brown rice removes 15 percent of protein; 85 percent fat; 80 percent thiamine; 70 percent riboflavin; 68 percent niacin; 90 percent calcium; 75 percent phosphorous, and 60 percent of other minerals. “We want Filipinos to get these nutrients, which is lost when rice is fully polished. Thus, we encourage the food industry to serve unpolished rice to the public on this unique day,” Antonio said. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Eating brown rice can also help the country attain rice self-sufficiency as it has 10 percent higher milling recovery. A study showed that if each Filipino would eat brown rice, the country’s rice importation would shrink by an average of 50,000 metric tons per year. The Brown Rice Day will feature exhibits on cheap brown rice at the China Town Mall in Divisoria, feeding program of Jollibee Foundation, and brown rice-based food products such as espasol, bibingkang kanin, and palitao. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/11/14/1256331/philrice‐launch‐brown‐rice‐day
Smart, Sun, and Globe offer 25 free local, int’l SMS by Emmie Abadilla November 13, 2013
In an unprecedented move to help the communities devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the country’s three mobile phone operators – Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular are providing 25 free SMS per day for five days (November 13 to 17) that may be used for local and international text messages. The joint offer will be available to subscribers in Tacloban City and the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Leyte, northern Cebu and the Samar. “This joint effort will help Smart, Sun Cellular and Talk ‘N Text subscribers in the typhoonstruck areas to communicate with their loved ones at home and abroad,” announced Charles A. Lim, executive vice president of Smart and chief operating officer of Digital Mobile Philippines. “This free service is open to all Globe Postpaid, Globe Prepaid, and TM subs in these Eastern Visayas provinces,” added Peter Bithos, Chief Operating Advisor for Globe Consumer Business Group. The free 25 daily SMS bundles are available from November 13 to 17 and can be used to send text messages across all networks. There is also an allocation for international SMS. It will be pushed automatically to subscribers at the start of each day. Subscribers will receive SMS notifications once the bundles are sent. No registration is required. The three operators are also working to restore their respective services and assist emergency relief activities of the government and humanitarian agencies. Globe Telecom yesterday reported that it has restored almost 60% of its affected cell sites in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda as of 6AM, November 13. In Visayas alone, 53% of 3Genabled sites and 40% of its 2G sites are now operational However, the telco called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to be careful while doing their own road projects and clearing operations. The call came after Globe’s cellular services in Tacloban City was disrupted for 3 hours on Tuesday evening (November 12) when a DPWH contractor cut the telco’s fiber cables while doing road construction. Meanwhie, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) yesterday restored high-speed Internet access using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology at the downtown area of Tacloban City in Leyte while cellular coverage was brought back to the city airport to provide vital communication links to aid emergency response efforts.
As of 11 AM yesterday (November 13), Smart and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) have reactivated a total of 83% of its affected sites in the Visayas region. Meanwhile, network services have been restored 100% in Palawan. In particular, coverage has been restored the othr night in Coron and Culion, Palawan. Cellular service was also fired up in Daan Bantayan in Northern Cebu. In other areas, Smart deployed satellite service phones to provide free calls – Libreng Tawag services for residents. Aside from Borongan, Eastern Samar, Smart started providing free calls to residents in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Dulag, Leyte. In partnership with Thuraya, Smart Satellite Services is also providing assistance to various government and humanitarian agencies. http://www.mb.com.ph/smart‐sun‐and‐globe‐offer‐25‐free‐local‐intl‐sms/
LANDBANK allots P30‐B for CARES program rehab assist November 13, 2013
To aid rehabilitation efforts, LANDBANK announced on November 13 it has earmarked P30 billion under the LANDBANK Calamity Rehabilitation Support (CARES) program to help victims recover from destruction brought about by natural calamities. This is in support of the government’s continuing effort to restore economic and social activities and accessibility in calamity-affected areas. “Through this program, LANDBANK helps those gravely affected by typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and other calamities get back on their feet and rebuild their lives,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Gilda E. Pico. Under the LANDBANK CARES program, existing customers may avail of loan restructuring. Short terms loans may be extended up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a maximum of one-year grace period on principal payment. For term loans, tenor can be extended for additional three years over the remaining term of the loan at the time of calamity, with a maximum grace period of three years on principal payment. Meanwhile, both existing and new customers may also avail of rehabilitation credit programs. Eligible borrowers include LGUs, home buyers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), cooperatives and NGOs, and countryside financial institutions (CFIs). LGUs may avail of loans for repair of existing facilities or equipment and construction or acquisition of new facilities or equipment. Loanable amounts depend on the actual need of the project or up to 85 percent of the project cost, whichever is lower, but should be within the LGU’s net borrowing capacity. Interest rate is fixed at 6 percent per annum for 10 years and 6.5 percent for 15 years. Meanwhile, home buyers may avail of loans under the LANDBANK CARES – Lingkod para sa Pabahay (LINGAP) Program for repair of existing housing units or construction or purchase of new ones at a fixed interest rate of 5 per annum for the first year and 6 percent per annum, fixed for the second to fifth year. Thereafter, the interest rate shall either be fixed or variable based on less than 1 percent of the regular rate but such rate shall not fall below 6 percent per annum. Affected SMEs in need of additional working capital or financial assistance for repair of existing faiclities and purchase or acquisition of new ones may avail of loans under the “LANDBANK CARES Program- Kaagapay sa Negosyo (KaNegosyo)” at a fixed interest rate of 6 percent per annum. Co-ops and NGOs may in turn avail of either Livelihood Financing to augment their credit fund for on-lending to small farmers and fisherfolk (SFFs) or MSME members and sub-borrowers or Home Lending to provide them with additional credit fund for the housing loan requirements of their members/borrowers.
Meanwhile, CFIs may avail of short-term or term loans to augment their working capital for onlending and rediscounting to SFFs and MSMEs and other types of borrowers. Interest rate for the term loan is fixed at 4.5 percent per annum. http://www.mb.com.ph/landbank‐allots‐p30‐b‐for‐cares‐program‐rehab‐assist/
PLDT opposes Globe acquisition of Bayantel By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0
MANILA, Philippines - Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has opposed the planned takeover of Lopez-owned Bayan Telecommunications Holdings Inc. by Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. In a verified opposition filed before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), PLDT represented by ACCRALAW is blocking the joint application of Globe and Bayantel for the approval of a debt-to-equity transaction. The transaction would allow Globe to acquire a 56.6 percent interest in the cash-strapped Bayantel. Once approved, Globe and Bayantel would be able to utilize each other’s property, services, infrastructure including radio frequencies. If granted, PLDT warned that the transaction would circumvent well-established rules on allocation of frequencies.
PLDT argued that the transaction contravenes Republic Act 7925 or an act to promote and govern the development of the Philippine telecommunications and delivery of public telecommunications services as well as the laws and rules on assignment and allocation of radio frequencies. PLDT pointed out that Globe that currently accounts for 32 percent of the cellular market as against PLDT’s 68 percent stands to acquire a grossly disproportionate amount of frequencies in relation to subscribers. It added that Globe would have control over 22.5 megahertz (MHz) of the 1800 MHz 2G bandwidth as opposed to PLDT’s 37.5 MHz, 50 MHz, and 2500MHz 4G bandwidth and 35MHz. “In turn, Globe is allowed to control a grossly disproportionate amount of frequencies in relation to its number of subscribers, this would stifle the capabilities of other telcos which would have to strain the frequencies allocated to them thus making it more difficult to provide better services to their subscribers,” PLDT said. The dominant carrier argued that Globe does not need the frequency spectrum assigned to Bayantel as its subscriber to frequency ratio is significantly lower than that of PLDT. Globe would have access to Bayantel’s 50MHz for 4G frequencies on top of its existing 45MHz while PLDT through Smart and Digitel only has access to 35Mhz of frequencies in 4G bandwidth. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/14/1256351/pldt‐opposes‐globe‐acquisition‐bayantel
The enormity of earthquake rehabilitation by Zoilo Dejaresco, III November 13, 2013
The rehabilitation of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake-ravaged Bohol is not as simple as stating dollars and pesos available for the its relief and reconstruction. True, President Noynoy Aquino said that from the “savings” alone of the 2013 General Appropriations Act (National Budget), there is an identified P16-B, from contingency, calamity, quick response funds and other “savings” from government agencies and institutions. The United Nations, likewise, had is organizing with multilateral bodies (UNICEF, Food and Agricultural Organization, World Health Organization , International Labor Organization etc) and international groups like ( Habitat for Humanity International, World Vision) for a US$46.8B (about P2.8-B) New Fund for Bohol Earthquake -expendable up to April 2014. Countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had already sent millions in aid, to be coursed through government implementing agencies and NGOs. Of course, there is still the all-time high 2014 P2.6-Trillion fresh budget by January which can still be tapped, depending on where the actual usage of the funds. This aggregate fund consideration was comfortable enough until last week when the world’s strongest howler “Yolanda” smashed through eastern Visayas and Palawan and punishing the country further with its label as the “worst disaster for the country.” in recorded history. Now, Bohol has to share the disaster ,resources with other province-victims. If the figures demanded of the recent tragedies: Earthquake and storm look so daunting, executing the relief and rehabilitation processes (even just in Bohol) is already like climbing Mt Everest in crutches. Consider the things to do facing 600 wounded and putting back 344,000 displaced persons back to normalcy after 53,000 homes were wrecked by the quake. Money must be sourced to complement the government’s reported share of P5,000 for damaged and P10,000 for destroyed houses, respectively. The Habitat for Humanity has reportedly designed a bamboo, wood and concrete combine “house type model” dwellings with P65,000 as the lowest-cost type of house – as long as the owners/neighbors provide “free labor” (sweat equity) in constructing the houses. Some P42-Million is needed here. Some 75,000 Boholanos are still in evacuation centers but a bigger 250,000 of them are still encamped in open spaces. There is need to reconstruct health facilities, hospitals and school buildings, as well. Water tanks and storage for water in homes are needed as the pumps, pipes and water wells have been compromised health-wise. With the Storm “Yolanda”-derived disruption of power in Bohol, electricity loss will again further hamper the delivery of water supply and threaten the cold storage needs of medicines. Water trucks are available but insufficient.
Toilets are clogged due to the lack of water and open defecation is rampant providing health hazards. Soap and sanitary napkin for women needed to maintain community hygiene. This is reality on the ground. About 270,000 students have been affected as the damage to the schools has been quite extensive. There is a need to build temporary learning centers prior to the rehabilitation of school facilities as school learning for the pupils has been retarded. The UN program aims to directly help feed 100,000 of the worst hit individuals in Bohol and give nutritious meals to 15,000 selected children. Government, of course, will take charge largely of rebuilding damaged roads, bridges, ports and power and water distributions. The UN Program , in turn, will aid in the logistics such as warehousing, transport and logistics equipment totaling P43-Million. Entry points and storage will be in the city of Tagbilaran and Tubigon (with a sea port). About 111 health facilities were damaged and 25 totally destroyed-making the immediate medical services (including surgeries) essential for the wounded and the elderly to be done in temporary health centers to be constructed. About P29-Million is needed here. The program includes treatment of pregnant women and the seriously injured in mobile hospitals to be set up, as well. Just as needed are camp management skills so training for camp managers and assistants is essential. Some 50,000 children under age five years old, 13,000 pregnant women and 23,000 lactating ones, in the meantime, face grave malnutrition and have to be given the intrinsic nutrients to assure their normal and healthy growth. Reports of child abuse, trafficking, exploitation and violence of women have now been reported in the camps and evacuation centers and there is a need to provide for night patrols and empower women against unjust conditions in the encampments. The Program plans to undertake emergency employment (debris cleaning, reconstruction job etc.) to keep money for the men within the community and skills training for livelihood for others. Though agricultural crop losses were minimal since harvest in Bohol was mostly already done before the quake, funds are needed to rehabilitate some of the irrigation dikes and post harvest facilities damaged and new seedlings to be given to 17,500 households in order to sustain their small agricultural plantations. In the end, there is indeed a tremendous challenge to keep the â€œcommunication linesâ€? between the humanitarian sector and the affected communities open in order to perfect the rehabilitation programs. In the beginning, some internet and telecom facilities were hurriedly put in place by the Program directors to facilitate rescue moves in affected areas. Boholanos heaved a sigh of relief when, contrary to earlier forecasts, Yolanda skipped Bohol largely and prevented what would have been an untenable tragedy, otherwise. But the battle for
donor attention, the reality of donor fatigue and bureaucratic exhaustion become new barriers to hurdle. The “full rehabilitation” of Bohol may take a few years to complete – and daunting as the implementation programs of work may seem, it is easier achieved with the full cooperation of the government (local and national), donor states and conduits and the victim-communities. The Boholano private sector Initiative to “Adopt One Family,” for instance, has been receiving enthusiastic response and willing pledges. This should be institutionalized. Work for Bohol’s Rehab is a -plenty. Let us help where we can. (email@example.com) *** (Bingo Dejaresco, former banker, is a financial consultant, media practitioner and political strategist. He is sub-chair of the FINEX Publications that runs columns in two newspapers including the Manila Bulletin. Dejaresco’s opinions are his and do not necessarily reflect those of FINEX). http://www.mb.com.ph/the‐enormity‐of‐earthquake‐rehabilitation/
Phl among 11 economies that relaxed rules on entry of foreign investors By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is among the 11 countries that have adopted policy measures to ease the entry of foreign investors, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In a report released yesterday, the UN agency said the Philippines has amended its Rural Bank Act to allow foreign money into the once-protected rural banking sector. “The Philippines has amended its Rural Bank Act to allow foreign individuals or entities to have equity of up to 60 percent in rural banks in the country. Prior to amendment, foreign banks were allowed to acquire equity in rural banks, but not foreign individuals or foreign entities,” the report pointed out. However, UNCTAD said it was the only investment policy measure that was implemented to make it easier for foreign capital to enter the Philippine market. The UNCTAD report said the Philippines was also one of 25 economies that put in place measures to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) through selective investment liberalization and promotion. These countries pursued efforts to attract FDIs through improved entry conditions, the treatment of established investors, and investment promotion and facilitation. The economies that adopted new policy measures relating to the entry of foreign investors relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership or opened up new business opportunities. “Insofar as new investment restrictions were adopted, they related to various industries, such as mining and maritime auxiliary services,” the report stated. For example, China launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, introducing various new policy measures in the areas of trade, investment and finance. It opened to foreign investors the sectors of finance, transport, commerce and trade, professional services, cultural services and public services. In India, regulations were liberalized governing investments in the defense, multi-brand retailing and telecommunications. Other economies focused on retaining the existing FDIs. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/14/1256379/phl-among-11-economies-relaxed-rulesentry-foreign-investors
GSIS grants loan moratorium by Chino Leyco November 13, 2013
State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said yesterday that the agency will provide a six-month moratorium on all outstanding loans of members and pensioners adversely affected by super typhoon “Yolanda.” The pension fund for government workers estimated at least 300,000 members and pensioners of GSIS were affected by the monster typhoon that flattened buildings and unleashed storm surges that may have killed as many as 10,000 people. GSIS said the loan moratorium aims to enable its members and pensioners to use the deferred payments on their loans for rebuilding their homes and other urgent needs. Loans covered under the moratorium include consolidated loans, housing loans, policy loans, and eCash Advances. The loan moratorium will be extended from November 2013 to April 2014. The payment for existing loans of members will thus resume in May next year. In addition, GSIS members residing or working within the declared calamity areas may also apply for the P20,000 emergency loan in its branch offices and through the GWAPS kiosks until December 31, 2013. GSIS said that it will waive the requirement to pay 12-monthly amortizations before loan renewal for members with existing emergency loans. For old-age pensioners living in calamity-declared areas, GSIS is also opening a new pension emergency loan (PEL) window of P20,000 with terms similar to the emergency loan for active members. As with the existing pension loan, a loan redemption insurance will be included. Likewise, pensioners in hardest-hit areas will benefit from a six-month moratorium on their existing loans. http://www.mb.com.ph/gsis‐grants‐loan‐moratorium/
Prices on basic goods frozen; 15‐day freeze for fuel products by Bernie Magkilat November 13, 2013
The price freeze on LPG and kerosene products will be limited to only 15 days, the Department of Energy reported, but the rest of the basic commodities will be frozen for at least 60 days saving Christmas and New Year holidays from any upward price adjustments. This was clarified by the Department of Energy during an emergency meeting of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) Tuesday. The reckoning date will start from the date of publication of the price list. Each agencies concerned will be publishing price list of basic commodities under their jurisdiction before weekend in a newspaper of general circulation. Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation director Victorio Mario Dimagiba explained that prices of products would be based on the prevailing prices prior to the proclamation of the state of national calamity by President Aquino on Monday, Nov. 11. He, however, said that prices may vary from province to province. Basic commodities include rice, corn, sardines, laundry detergents, candles, bottled water, sugar, eggs, chicken, pork liempo, vegetables, LPG and kerosene. DTI Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said that during the meeting that under the Consumer Act, the price freeze on basic commodities is good for 60 days or until lifted by the President. With a 60-day timetable, Maglaya said this means there will be no price adjustments on prices of basic goods for the entire holiday season – Christmas to New Year. Gardenia Bakeries, the country’s largest breadmaker, also offers a 20 percent discount to its loaf breads with the regular loaf to be sold at P50 per and the Pinoy Tasty at only P30 during the DTI replenishment caravan for Ormoc on Thursday. The DTI has already arranged a 6-wheeler truck filled with basic commodities from Cebu to Ormoc. http://www.mb.com.ph/prices‐on‐basic‐goods‐frozen‐15‐day‐freeze‐for‐fuel‐products/
Fishermen’s choice: Job, not aid Villagers want to return to fishing quickly after losing boats to storm By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. Inquirer Visayas 4:38 am | Thursday, November 14th, 2013
A boat shattered by strong winds whipped up by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” lies among the ruins of a house in a fishing village in Concepcion in Iloilo province. PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. RAUL BANIAS CONCEPCION, Iloilo—“I’ve been a fisherman all my life but all I can do now is look sadly at the sea,” said 41-year-old Raul Hipolito. Hipolito was among the 10 residents of the island-village of Malangabang who took a 30-minute ride to the mainland onboard small, battered boats on Tuesday to seek help. With relief assistance coming in trickles and no money to buy food, the villagers had been eating bananas and shells because they could not fish. But more than anything else, the fishermen are asking the government to help them get new boats so they can start earning a living. “We need help to have new boats first. We can still live in shanties or tents but we cannot survive without boats and gear,” said Sonny Ciriaco, 47, village councilor of Malangabang. Fishing income He said they need to fish again so they can earn. Fishermen earn P200 to P500 per day if they can fish.
“How can we live if we cannot fish?” said Hipolito. The island-village of Malangabang, which has a population of 4,200, is one of the areas worst hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Concepcion, a coastal town about 109 km northeast of Iloilo City where fishing is the main source of livelihood. Eleven of the town’s 25 villages are island-barangays (villages) where 55 percent of the town’s population of 49,000 live, according to Mayor Millard Villanueva. But the residents of Malangabang cannot forget the horror when 20-foot-high waves repeatedly lashed at houses along the shoreline leveling these off and washing away everything on their path last Friday. “As islanders, we know the sea by heart and we don’t easily flee from huge waves. But that time all we could think of was to run,” said Hipolito.
He said families ran for more than a kilometer from their houses to a hilly area on the island when they saw the approaching waves. Projectiles Parents carried small children in their arms and even women who had just given birth ran while covering their heads as debris and roofs flew like projectiles in the air. Many stumbled or fell and rolled over the ground but picked themselves up and continued running. “We were more afraid of the waves than the flying roofs,” said Hipolito. He said the fishermen felt pain from the wounds on their feet the next day. The injuries probably were from nails and debris that the people stepped on in panic. Hipolito said he was able to carry only a pot with cooked rice when his family fled from their house last Friday. All their other belongings are gone. “Zero balance. We have nothing else,” he said. “We cannot fish anymore because all our boats and fishing gear are gone.” Ciriaco said only 30 of at least 500 motorboats were left and remain usable. These were the ones that were stuck in debris and were not washed out or destroyed. 30 out of 400 Of 400 houses, only 30 remain standing and most of the villagers are living in shanties and in the wreck of their former houses.
With no communication and access to the mainland, villagers were only able to receive the first relief assistance transported by a helicopter on Sunday. Those dropped off by the helicopter were enough only for a few residents. The airlifting of relief goods to island-barangays have also been hampered by bad weather. Desperate, the 10 residents decided to cross to the mainland to seek assistance on Tuesday. They plan to return to the island immediately to attend to their families there, hopeful that help would finally come. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/526953/fishermens‐choice‐job‐not‐aid#ixzz2kamxrkfU Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
PH to meet US sugar quota needs by Reuters November 13, 2013
Singapore– The Philippines aims to sell more sugar to the United States in the current 2013/14 crop year under its annual rate quota program, but the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) could determine the quantity, a senior industry official said on Tuesday. “For US export, we are prepared to ship out our whole quota of 136,000 metric tonnes for crop year 13/14. But that will depend on market situation in the US,’’ Regina Bautista-Martin, chief of Sugar Regulatory Administration, told Reuters by e-mail. “The typhoon may affect it, not so much the global prices. We shipped 53,000 to the United States in crop year 12/13.’’ Bautista-Martin gave no further details, but she said on Monday between 50,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes of raw sugar may have been lost in Typhoon Haiyan, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday and killed an estimated 10,000 people in one city alone. The Philippines, which accounts for about 1.3 percent of global output, consumes most of its production, which has been estimated at 2.5 million tonnes for the 2013/14 crop year. The country’s regular US quota allocation is 138,000 tonnes, but exports in the previous crop year were much below target because of ample US supplies and a drop in global prices to threeyear lows, dealers said. Even in the 2013/14 season, stocks in the United States are estimated to hit a fresh 40-year high as output offsets slower imports from Mexico, reinforcing fears about the domestic excess that has hurt prices. http://www.mb.com.ph/ph‐to‐meet‐us‐sugar‐quota‐needs/
He farms for psychic income by Zac Sarian November 13, 2013
FRUITFUL SWEET TAMARIND — Dr. Ronald K. Caumban of Cagayan de Oro City poses with his profusely fruiting sweet tamarind in his 1.5-hectare hobby farm in Ulaliman, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental. He attributes the heavy fruiting to his spraying with Power Grower Combo, a plant growth accelerator formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat. He said the Power Grower Combo also works wonder with his imported apple makopa and Magallanes pummelo. He grows other exotic fruit trees like caimito, abiu, atis and others. People go into farming for their own legitimate reasons. Many really go for the money that could be made. There are others, however, who go for reasons other than money. They go for what they call “psychic income.” We remember a businessman who bought a farm in Lipa. He was telling us one day that no way he could recover his investment just by growing some fruit trees, a few patches of vegetables and some small livestock and chickens. He said that he has spent a big amount just putting up the submersible pump to supply the needed water. He spent more than a million pesos to put up the fence. Another big expense was the farm house with all the modern amenities. He has also hired several workers who are all well paid. They keep the farm sparkling clean. They also produce very nice vegetables but the businessman does not sell them. He enjoys giving them as gifts to friends and relatives. While he does not make money from his farming, he says he is fully satisfied with the way his farming has turned out. He really enjoys sharing what he harvests from his farm with his favorite golfmates and associates in the office. He just calls that as his psychic income. Not cash but very satisfying nevertheless.
Of course, if the businessman is not making money from his farm today, someday he will most likely reap the bounty from his investment. When the time comes, he might want some other moneyed businessman to buy his farm. By that time, the value of his property would have increased many times over.
COMMON MISTAKE IN BANANAS — In many places in the Philippines, a lot of banana planters often make the mistake of allowing so many suckers to grow in one hill. As many as more than ten stems are often allowed to grow in one clump. This is bad because the stems are slender and because of overcrowding, they don’t produce full-sized fruit bunches. The recommended practice is to allow just one or two stems to develop into maturity per clump. This way, full-sized branches will develop. Photo shows an overcrowded banana clump. We remember the story of a DBP retiree who invested his P1 million retirement pay in treasury bills in 1983. With the interest he got, he bought a 6-hectare property planted to coffee and coconut. He eliminated the coffee and planted high-value fruit trees like durian, mangosteen and rambutan. When it was fully developed and the fruit trees were already very productive, a former mayor in Metro Manila approached our friend. He read about the farm when we wrote about it and it came out in Panorama magazine. The former mayor approached the owner to find out if the farm was for sale. When the owner said he was not selling, he nevertheless offered a very juicy offer. Would the farm owner sell for P60 million? He had offered P1,000 per square meter. Now you see, the bonanza could come when the farm is well developed. There are many rich people out there who would love to take over a farm that is already productive. ON BUYING A FARM — This brings us to a related topic – on buying a farm. Which would you prefer, buying a big farm that is raw land or a small but already well-developed? A European who is married to a Filipina came to us for a talk many years back. He had asked us. Would he buy a 20-hectare farm in San Juan, Batangas, or a two-hectare weekend farm that is full of fruit-bearing trees in Sto. Tomas, Batangas which is very much nearer to Manila than San Juan.
BLACK PIGS FOR THE SHOW — Unique small farm animals are being prepared by Friends of AANI that will be showcased during the Horticulture 2014 that will be staged by the Philippine Horticultural Society with the theme: “Horticulture For Tourism, Wellness and Livelihood.” Friends of AANI will have a big commercial area where organic farm products, processed food supplements and small farm animals will be showcased. Aside from the black native pigs, free-range chickens, turkey, goats and others will be exhibited and also offered for sale. Horticulture 2014 will be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City from January 24 to February 3, 2014. He said that the two-hectare farm was two times dearer than the 20-hectare raw land. Eventually, he bought the raw land. A few years later, he came to us. He said, he should have bought the two-hectare well developed farm in Sto. Tomas. Why? He said he is already a senior citizen and didn’t have the physical capacity to develop and manage a big farm. He said that the raw land did not have electricity. To have electricity connection, he had to pay a big fortune for the electric posts and cables. He also had to come up with a big amount to put up some form of fencing to prevent others from entering. In sum, he said, he was already exhausted doing all the things he had to do to make the farm operational. That was when he came to us the second time. He surmised that he could have a much more enjoyable farming had he bought the well-developed farm that did not need any additional fencing, no need for new electrical connection, no need to put up a water system and so on. ****
BIG HORTICULTURE SHOW — Keep posted on the big Horticulture Show 2014 that will be staged at the Tropical Garden at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. This is a project of the Philippine Horticultural Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe. One highlight of the event is the holding of a Horticulture Congress where the latest horticultural trends and developments will be discussed centering on Horticulture Tourism, Wellness and Livelihood.
At the Horticulture Congress, two foreign experts have been invited from Thailand and Hawaii. The Thai expert will discuss the latest developments in horticultural breeding while the expert from Hawaii will discuss the trends in orchid culture. The Horticulture Congress will be held on January 25, 2014 at the conference hall of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management of the Department of Agriculture. On January 26, participants will go on a horticultural tour that will visit the Arid and Aroids nursery in Silang, Cavite, the Merry Mushroom Farm in Amadeo, and the Gourmet Farms also in Silang. The Horticulture 2014 will run from January 24 to February 3 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. ****
Log on to: www.agrizaccess.com for practical farming tips, bright ideas and interesting agripeople. http://www.mb.com.ph/he‐farms‐for‐psychic‐income/
GSIS opens P4.5B loan package for Yolanda victims By Michelle V. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:32 pm | Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 8 126 76
wikipedia photo MANILA, Philippines — The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has made available a P4.5-billion loan package for members residing in the regions devastated by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan). A member or a pensioner residing in any of the affected areas could apply for an emergency loan of as much as P20,000 until the end of the year, the GSIS said in a statement. Due to the dire situation of the victims of the calamity, the GSIS said even those with outstanding loans with the state-run pension fund could apply for emergency loans. The GSIS has also announced a six-month moratorium on payments for outstanding loans of members and pensioners in the stricken areas. Collection of payments from those GSIS members and pensioners with outstanding loans affected by the disaster will resume in May 2014. Loans covered by the moratorium are consolidated loans, housing loans, policy loans and eCash advances, according to the GSIS. The GSIS estimated having 300,000 members and pensioners residing in areas devastated by Yolanda. Meanwhile, various international organizations are extending support to the ongoing relief operations in Leyte and other provinces hit by Yolanda. The Asian Development Bank said on Wednesday it has approved a $23-million grant to the Philippines to help fund relief operations.
Of the amount, the bulk of $20 million will come from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, which is financed by the Japanese government and administered by the ADB. The remaining $3 million will come from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which is the ADB’s emerging assistance facility. The ADB also said it could lend as much as $500 million (about P21.5 billion) to the Philippines to finance reconstruction initiatives. The typhoon has affected 11 million Filipinos residing mostly in central Philippines. The regional economies of Central, Western and Eastern Visayas—the hardest hit areas—may contract in 2014 by as much as 8 percent because of the adverse effects of the calamity, according to the government’s preliminary estimates. The likely contraction of these regions could chip off anywhere between 0.5 and 1 percentage point from the overall growth figure of the Philippine economy. The three regions account for 12.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 20 percent of its population. http://business.inquirer.net/152141/gsis‐opens‐p4‐5b‐loan‐package‐for‐yolanda‐victims‐sets‐loan‐ payment‐moratorium
ADB extends $23M in grants to survivors By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 5:22 pm | Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
A house is engulfed by the storm surge brought about by powerful typhoon Haiyan that hit Legazpi city, Albay province Friday Nov.8, 2013. AP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced that $23 million in grants will be provided for the immediate relief of the survivors of supertyphoon “Yolanda”, according to the ADB website. An additional $500 million worth of emergency loans is ready to help reconstruct communities ravaged by the supertyphoon. “We are working in close collaboration with the government and all other international agencies to provide hope and rebuild the lives of more than 11 million people affected by what is being described as on of the Philippines’ worst ever disaster,” said ADB president Takehiko Nakao in the statement. From the $23 million, $20 million came from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a trust fund financed by the Japanese government. The remaining $3 million came from the Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, ADB’s emergency assistance facility. To further improve in the relief efforts, ADB held a coordination meeting today, Wednesday, with the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition, ADB formed the Typhoon Yolanda Response Team made up of 40 senior staff members with experience in post-disaster situations to coordinate with the local governments and development partners. “ADB will provide full support the people and the government of the Philippines together with other development partners to speedily implement both needed relief and reconstructionespecially as the Philippines is our home,” Nakao said. http://business.inquirer.net/152121/adb‐extends‐23m‐in‐grants‐to‐survivors
Farm advocacy to honor best practices in food security, sustainability By Manila Standard Today | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:01am The Junior Chamber International Philippines and Universal Harvester Inc. will honor on Friday the winners of their search for The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines. Organizers said 16 special citations and a Grand Award for Farmer of the Year will be handed out in ceremonies to be held at 4 p.m. in Shangri-La Manila in Makati City. Launched under the JCIP-UHI partnership, the nationwide program pays tribute to achievers in the public and private sectors that are engaged in farming, fishing, livestock raising, community farming, family farming, urban farming, agri-innovation, agri-entrepreneurship, agri-cooperatives and agriinitiatives. The awards also recognize Local Government Unit initiatives and Young Farmers, the next generation of agriculture, the backbone of the Philippine economy. This year, TOFARM added the Woman Farmer category to recognize female leaders in the fight to achieve sustainability and food sufficiency. JCIP president Ryan Ravanzo said TOFARM was launched to show that agriculture has proven to be lucrative and fulfilling from testimonies of past winners. â€œPhilippine agriculture can only succeed if we involve the youth and more sectors like women to renew interest in farming,â€? he said. TOFARM executive committee led byVirgilio Jose Cabanlet, national chairman; Rommel Cunanan, program manager; and Dr. Milagros OngHow, partner and UHI executive vice president went around the country to
meet farmers and hold Lakbay Aral sessions on farming innovations and best practices. “Through the search and awards, TOFARM hopes to make agriculture attractive for the next generation and for the entire country,” Dr. How said. Chairman Cabanlet said JCIP partnered with Universal Harvester because of a a mutual respect and admiration for farmers. “We both want to do our share in uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers by opening them up to more knowledge and greater opportunities,” he said. Formed in 2003, UHI is involved in manufacturing, distribution and exportation of world-class quality fertilizers. “Through TOFARM, we want to excite women and the youth, both urban and rural about choosing farming as a lucrative and noble profession,” Dr. How said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/farm‐advocacy‐to‐honor‐best‐ practices‐in‐food‐security‐sustainability‐/
MST man leaves city to escape mayhem By Ronald Reyes | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:02am 1 [The author, Manila Standard Today’s correspondent in Tacloban City, lost his home to Super typhoon “Yolanda” and was forced to move his family to Cebu, which was also recently hit by an earthquake. He arrived in Manila on Nov. 13 and filed this report.] HECTOR Hui, a Filipino-Chinese businessman in Tacloban City, could only watch helplessly as groups of people—mostly fathers and young men—break the glass windows of their three family-owned stores before forcibly entering and ransacking them for anything valuable or useful. When the men were done the women and children followed and emptied the stores and left them in disarray. Afterwards the men proceeded to the next stores in downtown Real and Zamora with the women and children in tow. The security guards were helpless as well. There are two giant Gaisano stores, 578 department stores and other stores in the city, and every time a small grocery store or a department store was forcibly opened, the looters emptied them in minutes. The looting occurred almost immediately after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” hit Eastern visayas’ capital city of Tacloban on Nov. 8, wiping out all its coastal villages. Another reason why the looting went on unchecked in Tacloban and nearby areas was that the police headquarters in Palo, Leyte—about 6 kilometers from Tacloban—was similarly destroyed while 983 members of the police force went missing. Reports said only 34 policemen showed up on Nov. 10. “I can understand if those people took away rice and canned goods for survival, but stealing items like mobile phones, refrigerators and computers in the stores is too much,” said Hui whose family, along with the other Filipino-Chinese businessman, fled to Manila, fearing for their safety as more evacuees stormed Tacloban.
Since Nov. 8 Tacloban has been without power and could not communicate with the outside world. All its gasoline stations were destroyed by looters who then used hoses to siphon off gasoline from abandoned trucks. The people desperate for water to drink or to wash their clothes with dug for it and destroyed the pipes of the Leyte Metropolitan Water District. “There was news circulating that prisoners, rebel groups and criminals were all over the city looking for food,” said Regeno Panis who also fled Tacloban with his family on Nov. 12 on board a C-130 plane bound for Cebu. “When food ran out they proceeded to the posh subdivisions to get more.” Panis said some of his neighbors had stopped leaving a lighted candle at night because they were afraid they would be attacked. “It is no longer safe here and there is no future,” he said. Other residents had begun organizing themselves, creating teams of watchmen to guard the neighborhood when night fell. “The aftermath is just so overwhelming. I’ve been in this city for a very long time and this is the first time I have seen many people coming over whose faces are not familiar to me,” said Amadeo Alvero, the Sto. Niño parish priest in Tacloban and spokesman of the Palo Archdiocese. At the city airport, over 3,000 people swarmed the area night and day waiting for a chance to get a free ride on the three C-130 military planes that could only accommodate 150 to 200 people as those also carried relief goods, the sick and the injured. But as of Nov. 11 Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific had resumed operations in the city. “The city was already a ghost town and the only option was to leave it,” said Ando Solar who moved his family to Manila when the situation became desperate. Said another resident who was waiting for a ride out at the terminal: “It was difficult to sleep at night when you kept hearing people knocking down the doors of the houses nearby to steal anything. I was afraid our house would be the next so we left.” A medical volunteer at the airport said the government’s first priority in the city was to restore order and to bring in food, water and medicines. “There are no more policemen and no more government here,” he said.
Still, there is hope. As President Benigno Aquino III declared Tacloban in a state of calamity and the city government enforced a curfew from 6 am to 6 pm, the National Police deployed 1,082 policemen to the areas affected by Yolanda, with 733 already in Tacloban, 85 in Ormoc, 58 in Capiz and 206 on their way to Tacloban. The news reports on Wednesday said the US Marines had deployed 150 military personnel to Tacloban while a military cargo plane carrying relief goods from the US and other countries was already in Mactan. As more help was offered to Tacloban, Mayor Alfred Romualdez appealed for calm. “The worst is over. We survived. It’s time now for unity,” Romualdez said. “Let’s rebuild Tacloban in honor of our families and our loved ones who died during the disaster.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/mst‐man‐leaves‐city‐to‐escape‐ mayhem/
More security forces out to maintain order By Francisco Tuyay | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:02am 1 The Philippine National Police said on Wednesday that it has deployed more government troops in typhoon-ravaged Eastern Visayas to restore peace and order in the area and pave the way for a more systematic and orderly distribution of relief assistance to affected residents. PNP Spokesman Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said the national police flew in 1,100 troops, including 800 members of the Special Action Force to Tacloban City and Eastern Samar to prevent looters and criminals from taking advantage of the situation. An additional 300 policemen are also on standby for airlift to Tacloban City to augment a contingent earlier ordered to arrest looters and small groups of armed men who had ransacked the Gaisano and Robinson Malls on Sunday. “If there’s a need, we will provide more troops depending on the prevailing peace and order environment in Tacloban City and other areas hit by lawlessness,” the PNP official said. Sindac made the statement on the wake of reports that eight people were killed when thousands of survivors stormed a rice warehouse in Alangalang, Leyte. National Food Authority spokesman Rex Estoperez said that the police and soldiers appeared helpless when the looting took place in Leyte’s Alangalang municipality on Tuesday.
He said the eight fatalities were crushed when a wall collapsed. The looters carted away more than 100,000 sacks of rice. The tragedy was perhaps the most horrific result so far of the growing desperation across the Visayas, where scores have been left homeless without food, water and sanitation facilities. Alangalang is an inland municipality without a shoreline west of Tacloban, which stood in the path of the world’s most powerful storm. In another development, gunshots were heard on Wednesday as the police tried to fend off a band of suspected looters. Initial reports said armed men were trying to enter Tacloban via the San Juanico Bridge, which allegedly prompted the shooting. Later reports said that government forces killed two of the armed men, which the police said were NPA rebels who reportedly attacked an aid convoy en route to Tacloban. “There were no casualties on the government side,” Lieutenant Colonel Joselito Kakilala said, adding that two members of the New People’s Army, the militant wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, were killed and another wounded in the clash in Matnog town, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) from Tacloban. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the gunshots distracted their group which was then digging sites for the dead bodies that were discovered after the typhoon. “We had finished digging the mass burial site. We had the truck loaded with
bodies but there was some shooting. They could not proceed,” Romualdez said. Tacloban, a city of 220,000 residents, has been the scene of the worst pillaging. Survivors reported gangs stealing consumer goods including televisions and washing machines from small businesses. Manila police officer Julian Bagawayan said 150 members of his riot police squad were flown to Tacloban to enforce a nighttime curfew that began Monday. “Our mission is to help the police of Tacloban because they are also victims. We all know the government is down. We came here to help the government,” he said. Earlier Tuesday, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said four Simba armored personnel carriers had been dispatched to Tacloban. “The presence of policemen, military and government forces will definitely improve things (but) it will not be overnight,” Roxas said, confirming reports that the Tacloban city government had imposed a curfew from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., which he said was set up to minimize looting and break-ins. Police have said that some local councilors led the looting of shops to provide food to their constituents. Aside from the checkpoints, which were set up at vital entry points, particularly in food distribution centers and warehouses, the government also tasked soldiers to escort government and private relief organizations in the distribution of relief items in the city and other remote areas of the province.
Reports said that millions of victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City, Guian, Bassey, Hernani, Tanauan in Eastern Samar have grown desperate for much-needed relief as most of them complain of lack of food and other basic needs. “We have to enforce law and order so that relief goods and other emergency stuffs could be distributed to our fellow Filipinos,” Sindac said. With AFP http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/more‐security‐forces‐out‐to‐ maintain‐order/
Govt slow response hit By Joyce Pangco Panares | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:04am
CNN describes relief efforts ‘disorganized’ INTERNATIONAL media on Wednesday slammed the government’s slowness in aiding victims of super typhoon Yolanda, which pulverized provinces in the Visayas five days ago, prompting an admission by President Benigno Aquino III that they have not been as quick to react as they were in previous disasters. “It’s a miserable, miserable situation here,” said CNN’s Andersen Cooper, who reported from Tacloban City. “It is not getting better day by day... You would expect maybe a feeding center that has been set up five days after the storm. We haven’t seen that, certainly not in this area.”
His colleague, Paula Hancocks, added in her broadcast from Tacloban: “It is certainly not organized. It’s just a drop in the ocean compared to what’s needed.” Both Cooper and Hancocks described how disorganized the government’s relief efforts were, prompting some hungry residents to turn to looting. “It looks like the end of the world, for many here it was...The people in Tacloban have great dignity and deserve better than what they have gotten,” Cooper said in his Twitter account.
Relief’s on the way. From left clockwise: Relief goods from the US sit next to a C-130 plane that will take “The search and rescue never them to Tacloban; members of the materialized.. There is no real recently organized HelpLeyte.PH evidence of organized recovery or prepare relief goods to be sent to Leyte province; Indonesian Air Force relief.” personnel carry boxes of relief goods to a military plane that will depart The Guardian’s Tania Branigan noted Jakarta for Cebu; motorists are that “minimal amounts of aid have stranded as people walk along the Samar-Tacloban City Road to get relief reached the worst-hit areas.” goods in Tacloban City. AFP, Ey Acasio and Ver S. Noveno “Desperation is growing in the areas hit by typhoon Haiyan (the international name of Yolanda), as heavy rains lash survivors facing a fifth day without food, water or basic medical supplies,” she wrote in her report for the London-based paper.
Cooper, for his part, compared the response of the Japanese government during the earthquake in Fukushima. “When I was in Japan, right after the tsunami there two years ago, within a day or two, you had Japanese defense forces going out, carving up cities into grids and going out on foot looking for people, walking through the wreckage. We have not seen that here in any kind of large-scale operation,” Cooper said. The international group Doctors Without Borders described the situation as “total chaos.” “The situation is catastrophic... Access is extremely difficult and is preventing people from receiving help,” Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator in the Philippines Natasha Reyes said. At the damaged Tacloban airport, thousands of people jostled and begged for seats Wednesday on scarce flights out of the flattened city as anger at the slow pace of aid turned deadly. News emerged that eight people were crushed to death Tuesday when a huge crowd of survivors from Yolanda rushed a government rice store in Alangalang town, 17 kilometers from Tacloban. “One wall of our warehouses collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly” in Tuesday’s incident, said Rex Estoperez, spokesman for the National Food Authority. Five days after Yolanda -- one of the strongest storms ever – ripped apart entire coastal communities, the situation in Tacloban was becoming ever more dire with essential supplies low and increasingly desperate survivors clamoring to leave.
“Everyone is panicking,” Capt. Emily Chang, a Navy doctor, said. “They say there is no food, no water. They want to get of here,” she added, saying doctors at the airport had run out of medicine, including antibiotics. “We are examining everyone but there’s little we can do until more medical supplies arrive.” After meeting his Cabinet Wednesday, President Aquino promised “one of the largest logistic and relief operations” in Philippine history, said Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras. Almendras said part of the plan was to set up Cebu as a centralized hub for incoming aid, with teams from the Bureau of Immigration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Professional Regulatory Commission to oversee the processing of international relief workers, doctors and nurses who are flying in to help. Almendras admitted authorities had been overwhelmed by the sheer number of deaths. “The reason the body recovery stopped is because we ran out of body bags,” he said. “But we now have 4,000 bags. I am not saying the casualties are 4,000. We are making sure there is an oversupply.” Mr. Aquino said 2013 has been “an exceptionally bad year” for the Philippines in terms of disasters, and except for the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, the government has been effective in delivering relief. The President said the delivery of aid was hampered by the decimation of local government units.
“Our ability to take care of our problems rather quickly, except in this particular case, the foundation of our efforts rely on the local government units. And unfortunately, two or three were just simply overwhelmed by the degree of this typhoon that affected us,” the President said. “The problem is when the local government unit who are acting as first responders fail to respond appropriately, then there was that breakdown. People became desperate and that’s why we are trying to fast-track the situation where the national government takes over these local government functions so that order is restored and people gain the confidence that their needs are being addressed and will be addressed fully.” “But other than that, in the other areas, there was preemptive evacuation and cooperation from the citizenry, which brought down the casualty figures from the other areas affected, except for this corridor in the Leyte and two Samar provinces,” he added. Mr. Aquino explained that damaged power and communication lines, along with impassable roads, have also prevented authorities from giving immediate succor to the displaced residents. “Today all of the national roads, I understand, have already been reopened. We’re already working on the secondary roads, and most of the airports are almost back to normal operating levels,” the President said. “Still, the sheer number of people that were affected in these three provinces is quite daunting,” he added. Aquino played down earlier projections that the deaths could reach up to 10,000.
“Ten thousand, I think, is too much. And perhaps that was also brought about by being in the center of the destruction. There was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate, quoting both a police official and a local government official. They were too close to the incident. They did not have basis for it,” he said. “So far, 2,000 to about 2,500 is the figure we are working on as far as deaths are concerned. But this might still get higher,” Aquino added. The President said the casualty count has yet to be established in about 29 municipalities. In a separate interview, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras admitted that the government cannot yet give a target date as to when all survivors will be able to receive aid. “I would like to give you a date and a time if possible, but it is not within the national government’s control as to how effectively we can hit the ground. There are places which are very remote, which we need to know also so that we can reach them,” Almendras said. Almendras said he also received a text message that some relief did not reach the residents because of “political considerations.” But he quickly added that it was an unverified report. “I am not saying it is confirmed. (But if it is), this is a great disservice to the people.” Despite the growing criticism of the slow response, the President expressed confidence that life would soon return to normalcy in the affected areas. “The well of strength and compassion that characterizes us as a nation has
time and again proven to be bottomless. Solidarity born of faith and prayer, combined with a steadfast resolve, is showing the world that nothing can make the Filipino spirit yield,” he said. “The Almighty has granted us the resilience to withstand such tragedies, secure in our belief that God will continue to guide us as we provide care for our countrymen, rebuild our nation, and prepare for the future,” the President added. But at the airport, journalists from the Agence France-Presse agency witnessed exhausted and famished survivors pushing and shoving each other to get on one of the few flights out of the city. “We have been here for three days and we still cannot get to fly out,” said a frail Angeline Conchas, who was waiting for space on a plane with her 7year-old daughter Rogiel Ann. Her family were trapped on the second floor of their building as flood waters rose around them. “We made it out, but now we may die from hunger.” The UN estimates more than 11.3 million people have been affected with 673,000 made homeless, since Yolanda smashed into the nation’s central islands on Friday. Overwhelmed and under-resourced rescue workers have been unable to provide food, water, medicines, shelter and other relief supplies to many survivors, and desperation has been building across the disaster zones. With AFP http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/govt‐slow‐response‐hit/
Help at hand By Manila Standard Today | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:03am
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (left) and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez (middle) welcome Baronnes Valerie Ann Amos, United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and acting United States ambassador Brian Goldbeck (partly hidden) before they discuss needed assistance in Tacloban City on Tuesday. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/help‐at‐hand/
PLDT bucks BayanTel merger By Lailany P. Gomez | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:04am Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. is opposing the planned merger of Globe Telecom Inc. and Bayan Telecommunications Inc. PLDT urged the National Telecommunications Commission in a letter to deny the joint application of Globe and BayanTel to merge, saying it was against the Public Service Act policy. PLDT is referring to the unused 35 MHz previously assigned to BayanTel. PLDT unit Smart Telecommunications Inc. and Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc. have a combined frequency of 155 MHz distributed to 60 million subscribers, or 387,097 subscribers per MHz of frequency. Globe currently has 87.5 MHz distributed to 27 million subscribers. PLDT noted that the proposed merger would result in Globe getting an additional 122.5 MHz. “Based on the current number of subscribers of both groups, it is clear that Globe would have significantly more frequencies per subscriber than PLDT. Clearly, Globe does not need the frequency spectrum assigned to BayanTel as its subscriber-to-frequency is significantly lower than the subscriber-to-frequency ratio of PLDT,” PLDT said. Globe’s acquisition of a 56.6-percent equity stake in BayanTel will allow it to use each other’s property, especially the radio frequencies of the Lopez Group unit. “Evidently this transfer and/or acquisition is contrary to law, anti-competitive, anticonsumer and will lead to an unfair trade practice by Globe,” PLDT said. PLDT stressed that Globe, which has only 32 percent of the cellular market, stood to acquire a “grossly disproportionate amount of frequencies in relation to its subscribers.” “This is because Globe will acquire BayanTel’s previously allocated, and yet unused frequencies in addition to its already available and existing frequencies,” PLDT said.
It added that the application was a circumvention of the laws and rules on assignment and allocation of radio frequencies. PLDT said the government policy allocates frequencies through competitive bidding by public auction and that BayanTel’s frequencies were effectively transferred or “sold” directly to Globe without the mandated public auction. PLDT argued that in the event that the NTC approved the joint application, Globe should be ordered to divest itself of its excess/surplus frequncies consistent with the policy of fostering fair and efficient market conduct within the telecommunications industry. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/pldt‐bucks‐bayantel‐merger/
Megaworld hikes profit to P6.6b By Jenniffer B. Austria | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:03am
Property developer Megaworld Corp. said Wednesday net income in the first nine months jumped 15 percent to P6.55 billion from P5.7 billion year-on-year, on higher residential sales and strong rental income from office and retail projects.
Megaworld said in a statement to the stock exchange consolidated revenues in the JanuarySeptember period hit P26.7 billion, up 12 percent from P23.8 billion.
Reservation sales climbed 20 percent to P56 billion from P46.5 billion in the same period in 2012.
Megaworld chairman and chief executive Andrew Tan said as housing demand remained strong, the company would launch next year a P35-billion mixed-use township project called Woodside City near Eastwood City along C-5 in Pasig.
Tan said Megaworld commissioned world-renowned architect Skidmore Owings and Merrill to design the first two sustainable office buildings in the 14-hectare Woodside City.
Megaworld unveiled 18 projects in the first nine months. These included 10 projects under Megaworld, five under unit Empire East Land Holdings Inc. and three under affordable housing arm Suntrust Homes. Rental income from office developments that cater to business process outsourcing firms and lifestyle malls amounted to P4.3 billion in the nine-month period, up 20 percent from P3.6 billion a year earlier.
“We will fast-track our BPO office developments and lifestyle malls to support the growing demands of the BPO industry and the retail consumers. This will enable us to make 2014 a record year in terms of rental income,” said Tan.
Security Bank cleared to raise capital to P10b By Jenniffer B. Austria | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:03am
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved the increase in the capital of Security Bank Corp. to P10 billion from P6 billion to cover its planned stock dividend declaration. Security Bank said in a disclosure to the stock exchange at least 25 percent of the proposed increase in authorized capital to stock had been subscribed and would be issued in the form of stock dividends as approved by shareholders in the May meeting. The bank is issuing 100.471 million shares at P10 apiece worth P1.004 billion to qualified stockholders. The record date for stockholders entitled to the stock dividend will not be less than 10 days or more than 30 days after securing all clearances and approvals from the SEC. Security Bank reported a net income attributable to equity holders of P4.2 billion in the first nine months of 2013 and a return on shareholders’ equity of 14.5 percent.Total deposits increased 33 percent year-on-year to P184 billion, with strong growth in low-cost deposits. The financial system was highly liquid with the release of Special Deposit Accounts funds from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas back to the banking sector. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/security‐bank‐cleared‐to‐raise‐ capital‐to‐p10b/
Meralco taps Aboitiz’s barges By Alena Mae S. Flores | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:02am
The Energy Regulatory Commission approved the bid of Manila Electric Co. to secure power from four power barges owned by Aboitiz Power Corp.’s subsidiary Therma Mobile Inc. during the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas field. The ERC approved a three-year supply agreement involving 242.2 megawatts between Meralco and Therma Mobile, subject to certain conditions. The Aboitiz Group acquired the four-barge mounted floating diesel power plant at the Navotas fish power complex in Navotas City in May 2011. The power plant is directly connected to Meralco’s distribution system through the Malabon-Grace Park 115-kV line. Meralco tapped Therma Mobile to meet the peaking requirements of the distributor and its power supply requirement during the shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility shutdown from Nov. 11 to Dec. 10. Meralco said a large portion of the power distributor’s peak and intermediate load requirements was provided by the San Lorenzo and Sta. Rita natural gas power plants while the remainder was secured from the wholesale electricity spot market, the trading floor of electricity in Luzon. Meralco said as a significant portion of its plant portfolio depended on the Malampaya gas facility, it would be exposed to the volatile WESM prices during the maintenance shutdown of the facility. “The subject PSA will reduce its exposure to the high spot market prices as
the contracted capacity and energy will be drawn from TMO during peak hours, thus, providing lower and/or stable electricity prices,” Meralco and Therma Mobile said. The Pagbilao Power Plant Unit 2, Ilijan Power Plant Unit 2, Calaca Power Plant Unit 2 and San Lorenzo Power Plant Unit 50 are undergoing maintenance schedule coinciding with the Malampaya shutdown. Unit 60 of the San Lorenzo power plant was still undergoing repair until the first quarter of 2014. “These events will put much strain on the supply side that will likely drive the market price into very high levels, thereby, probably resulting to price shocks on Meralco’s end-users,” Meralco said. Meralco said the supply agreement with Therma Mobile would result in a blended rate of P11.2623 per kWh, still lower than the P18.9728 per kWh forecasted effective rate at the WESM with the Malampaya maintenance shutdown. “Based on the sample computation for the simulated supply month of November 2013...should the PSA between Meralco and TMO be approved, there will be a reduction by about P0.1299 per kWh in Meralco’s blended generation charge,” Meralco’s joint filing with Therma Mobile said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/meralco‐taps‐aboitiz‐s‐barges/
Miserable conditions By Manila Standard Today | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:01am 7
When CNN reporter Anderson Cooper flew to Tacloban City to report on the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda, he expected that he would be late already—after all, five days had passed since the day the storm made landfall on various locations in the Philippines. What he found, instead, was plain misery. Despite the passage of several days, it was clear that not much has been done to alleviate the sufferings of the people in the city. Corpses remain on the streets, families are cramped in makeshift shelters, there is no food and water and people are still dazed, as if unable to believe what has befallen them. There were no feeding centers, Cooper said, and things did not seem to be getting better This observation is not quite the version President Aquino wants us to believe. In an interview with another CNN reporter, Christian Amanpour, Mr. Aquino said that the government’s response to the tragedy has been “reassuring” to the people. “We have been able to demonstrate....that we do take care of each other,” he said, even as he laid the blame on a number of local government units that he said failed to put in place pre-emptive measures and respond to the crisis.
Mr. Aquino would not be happy to hear Cooper’s description of the typhoon-ravaged city of Tacloban, and of the lack of organized logistical response. If it were a local journalist making this observation, the Palace would have dismissed the report as a work of somebody who cannot find anything positive to say. These observations, regardless of who is making them, tell us that while there is an outpouring of sympathy and aid from the world over, there are severe bottlenecks that prevent these relief items to get to those who need them most. National and local government must learn to work together, and work double time, to remove these bottlenecks. We must also remember other areas in the Visayas who need help as much despite not being given as much coverage by local and international media. Aid goes a long way, but mountains of food and clothing will not do any good if they remain piled up in some warehouse in Manila or even Cebu. There must be a plan to distribute them proportionately to all those who need them, regardless of location or previous media coverage, and regardless of the political color of their leaders. This plan must be hatched and executed not in a few days, but as soon as possible. This is the only response that will stop the suffering and the misery that surrounds the typhoon survivors on all fronts. http://manilastandardtoday.com/category/opinion/
Global Boy Sisi By Jojo Robles | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:03am President Noynoy Aquino took on the big guns of CNN yesterday. And he took his Boy Sisi act—and his campaign-era yellow ribbon—global. It all started when CNN’s preeminent crisis reporter, Anderson Cooper, flew into Tacloban expecting, he said, to be already too late to report on the devastation in that regional capital. What Cooper, of “AC360” fame, saw tore him up. The reporter who became famous for covering the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the war in Iraq, the starvation in Niger and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans found “misery beyond meaning” five days after Typhoon Yolanda hit. Cooper delivered a stinging rebuke of government efforts to bring aid and comfort to the residents of the city, citing, among other things, the mystifying lack of official relief workers, and the unavoidable presence of bodies of drowned victims strewn all over, long after the typhoon had left. “In Tacloban, there isn’t anyplace to go,” Cooper reported. “You won’t find any answers here in Tacloban, you’ll only find loss, you’ll only find misery.” Then Aquino was given a chance at rebutting Cooper’s findings, in a one-on-one interview with yet another CNN star, Christiane Amanpour. But if you think Aquino was able to put the lie to Cooper’s reporting, you must have been watching some other channel. “Government’s response has been reassuring to majority of our people,” Aquino said. From there, Aquino harped on two main points that left any Filipino aware of what’s really going on in Tacloban and other stricken parts of the Visayas totally baffled. First, Aquino reiterated his belief that the local officials in Tacloban failed to warn their constituents, which explains the large number of casualties and damage in the city. Second, Aquino insisted that the reported 10,000 deaths was too large a number—even if he really had no hard data to back up this position, at the moment.
(Meanwhile, from a comfy television studio in Quezon City, a terribly conflicted broadcaster—who just happens to be married to a top Aquino administration official—belittled Cooper’s reporting about the lack of government presence at the disaster area as less than truthful. As if this person, who has not set foot in Tacloban since the typhoon, would know better than the award-winning CNN journalist, who was actually on the ground.) Asked about the slow arrival of aid, Aquino insisted that the city government dropped the ball. “But I understand... it’s almost back to normal,” he said. With his yellow-ribbon pin securely on his chest like some counterfeit national symbol, Aquino said that the reported death toll was the result of “emotional trauma” on the part of those who gave the estimates. He said the actual death toll— even with many parts of the country still not reporting officially or in the media— would be much less, something like 2,000 to 3,000. The number of casualties and the extent of the damage have always been sore points with Aquino, who walked out on a meeting of local residents last weekend after a crisis-response official reported “90 percent devastation” in Tacloban. Why Aquino refuses to even consider the concepts of major damage and many casualties remains a mystery—it’s as if he’s deathly afraid that he will get the blame for the destruction caused by the typhoon, something he has already said that local officials were responsible for. ••• Overall, it was a terrible day for Aquino and his administration as he continued to downplay the typhoon’s damage and the inept and woefully inadequate government response to it. Of course, despite Aquino’s protestations of normalcy, imagine how much worse the situation is for the people of Tacloban, whose suffering their President keeps denying? But what’s wrong with accepting that the typhoon caused so much misery and that, to everyone in Tacloban, the situation is so far from normal that no emotional trauma can explain it? Why can’t Aquino be honest and admit to a failure of the government’s response to CNN— a failure of the national government in Manila, instead of just the local politicians who are not his allies in Tacloban City? I don’t know. My own belief is it would not make Aquino less of a President if he admits to some responsibility when things go wrong, because getting elected
doesn’t mean that he becomes incapable of making a mistake. And Aquino’s mistakes in the aftermath of Yolanda are there for all—even a foreign journalist like Anderson Cooper—to see. There simply is no quick, comprehensive and coordinated response even to the simple problem of dead bodies lining the streets, to cite just one example. But how can anyone convince Aquino that his beliefs about what really happened in Tacloban are so totally erroneous? What will it take for him to understand that it’s okay to admit that no one—including his government—failed to predict the devastation that would happen and that the authorities were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the rescue and rehabilitation work that need to be done afterwards? Ah, but Boy Sisi has to stick to his guns, whatever happens, apparently. Perhaps the emotional trauma of admitting failure or even responsibility is too much for him to handle. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/global‐boy‐sisi/
Rejecting dictatorial powers By Atty. Harry Roque Jr. | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:02am
Credit should be given where it is due. President Noynoy Aquino should be commended for rejecting the option of exercising dictatorial powers. At a time when his popularity has gone on a free fall, courtesy partly of the bad mouths in charge of his communications, the President still rejected suggestions for him to be a dictator by imposing Martial Law in Tacloban. Lesser mortals would have taken advantage of the situation. There is no doubt that the humanitarian crisis resulting from the strongest typhoon ever has caused complete breakdown of law and order in Tacloban. Media have reported rampant lootings and the perpetration of other crimes, including murder, in the city most ravaged by Yolanda. While a despot would welcome any opportunity to infringe on civil liberties, I am happy that PNoy rejected the temptation to exercise powers of a dictator. Under our Constitution, the President has three extraordinary powers as Commanderin-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which powers are hierarchically provided and exercised accordingly. First, he has power to call upon the â€œarmed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellionâ€?, the power to declare a national emergency. Further in cases of n case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Further, Congress may declare a state of emergency. PNoy was correct that while there is a breakdown of peace and order in Leyte, the suspension of the privilege or the declaration of martial law should be exercised with caution. This is because freedoms are protected by the Bill of rights and any derogation hence from the duty to protect and promote them should be construed strictly. Moreover, the correct response to the crisis, in addition to his calling out power, is the
declaration of a state of calamity. Legally, such a declaration would authorize local governments to spend their calamity funds even without local ordinances. While I am not certain about the legal effect of what was actually declared, that of a “state of national calamity”, I suppose that such a declaration was a fusion of the calling out power and authority for local governments involved in the ravaged areas to spend their calamity funds. Of course, the perpetrators of the unconstitutional Disbursement Program will, like Napoles and PGMA, capitalize on the Yolanda disaster to justify the DAP anew. But what we do know is: one, there’s still funds left in the appropriation for calamity funds; and two, if the funds are insufficient, the remedy would be to pass a special appropriation to address the crisis. Of course, the use of savings, provided it complies with Demetria vs. Alba, that is, it comes from savings in the executive to be used in connection with an existing line item, is still an option. The controversy over DAP is not whether the President can do this, but whether the use of savings to add further programs which are not provided in the budget law and /or whether the President can use savings from the executive and disburse them to another branch of government such as the Senate. This was of course what Senator Jinggoy Estrada revealed: that each Senator who voted to remove former Chief Justice Corona was given P100 million each from savings of the executive. PNoy, for all his other shortcomings, should be commended. Recall that his predecessor, the “evil one”, exercised the calling out power thrice and declared martial law twice, albeit the first one, declared to be unconstitutional in David vs. Arroyo, was undeclared . It is no small feat hence for a President to resist the temptation to trample upon civil liberties. Certainly, the Marcos dictatorship was proof of this. All freedomloving Filipinos should hence commend PNoy for rising up to the challenge and rejecting the allure and temptation of dictatorial powers.
Nobody in control By Emil Jurado | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:00am Nobody, not even the government, is in control. This is the impression I get upon watching those horrific television videos of the wasteland that is Tacloban City, where not a single structure stands unaffected by super-typhoon Yolanda. Yolanda, international name Haiyan, is the worst that has hit the planet in recorded history. Decomposing bodies litter the streets filled with debris. Nobody is burying the dead. The stench of death prevails all over Tacloban and its environs. The number is increasing. The looting continues even as it has somehow have diminished with the presence more police and military people. But, the people are hungry and so desperate that those who have something to eat are worried that others may steal whatever food they have. The most pitiful sight are people rushing to get out of Tacloban airport since they no longer have homes to return to. They hope relatives in Cebu, Manila or elsewhere will shelter them. These are sights which we can only see in doomsday movies. And that’s only in Tacloban City. There are many more towns in Leyte which have not been heard of, much less communicated with, since there is no electricity. Roads remain impassable. My gulay, there’s also Guiuan in Eastern Samar where Yolanda made its first landfall. It’s been totally devastated. People there are crying for help. But the most tragic of all is that relief in the form of food, water and medicine are slow in coming into these communities. All these, my gulay, despite Malacañang’s announcement that no one will be left behind in government relief. While there is foreign aid being sent, and food, water and medicine are being donated, their distribution to the hungry Visayans has been slow.
This leads me to ask, where is President Aquino when he is most needed? It’s important that a leader should be where he is needed and not sit still in his comfortable ivory tower. A leader worth his salt should be there where the action is. What Mr. Aquino does in response to this tragedy will define his presidency. It’s bad enough that he has remained insensitive and has refused to listen to the people’s outrage over pork barrel. He cannot afford to botch this once. The President has a golden opportunity to show us he is exactly the kind of leader we need. Whether he will seize this opportunity is a different matter altogether. *** The world is in shock at the devastation wrought by Yolanda. Even China and Hong Kong have set aside their issues with the Philippines and sent much-needed aid. The presence of foreign media people alone indicates that the world is paying attention to us because of this tragedy. Foreign aid is pouring in. The next question is this: Who are handling these and how do they get to the people in need? Only the President can give us answers if he really wants to be transparent and accountable. *** Initial reports coming from Malacañang said that President Aquino seems irked by the lack of preparedness on the part of Leyte officials. But when you have winds at over 225 kilometers per hour, plus storm surges of seven to 10 meters high, no amount of preparation can amount to anything. Preparedness is no issue. What matters more now is relief and rehabilitation after taking out the corpses on the streets. As I said, what is needed is the presence of
the President. He needs to show us all the the government—he—is in control. *** Now, for a little bit of good news. Just as the Philippine Council of Management congratulated Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua as its “Management Man of the Year”, I also commend him for the well-deserved award given by Philcoman during its 39th National Management Congress last Tuesday. I congratulate Cabangon Chua for his outstanding investments most sector of the economy, being involved in insurance, banking, property development, HMO, publishing, radio, schools and hotels among his many businesses. In fact, I’d say that it’s an award long overdue for the former ambassador to Laos. What I like best with Tony is that he’s a self-made man. in his youth, he sold cigarettes and became a boot-black to survive during the Japanese Occupation. He had the will and determination to succeed by graduating from the University of the East and becoming a colonel of the defunct Philippine Constabulary. Through sheer effort and conviction, he now controls a business empire. Tony is somebody I can emphatize with. I, too, was a self-supporting student when I finished at the Ateneo College at the ruins of Padre Faura, and prepared to be a lawyer. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/nobody‐in‐control/
Defining his presidency By Florencio Fianza | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:00am The world’s attention is now on the Philippines. Thanks to extensive TV coverage by international networks, foreign aid is pouring in. Even the Vatican, more known for receiving than giving, donated a sizable amount to the relief operation. That footage by the National Broadcasting Corporation of the United States of a woman in Tacloban washing clothes, crying and asking what was happening to our country, says it all. It was too much even for me to watch that I switched off the TV set. Yolanda was a natural calamity and I do not think anyone or the government should be blamed for what happened. Still, we can take issue about the way the government prepared for the coming of the storm and the way it is responding. The interview by Christiane Amanpour of CNN with President Aquino is both interesting and informative. Amanpour is known for her incisive questioning; she showed this with President Aquino. One of the questions was the way this government responded to the typhoon which all of us saw on TV when the President went to Leyte for his initial survey. Amanpour said that instead of his fight against corruption defining Mr. Aquino’s presidency, it is the government’s response to this devastating typhoon that will instead define his presidency. My impression was that when he first landed in Tacloban to assess the damage, Mr. Aquino initially did not appreciate the gravity of what just happened. When he questioned the Executive Director of the NDRRMC, he was told that it was a “minor devastation” which I consider the understatement of the ages. A storm that flattened a whole city, with bodies lying everywhere, could not be described as a minor devastation. It showed that his Executive Director did not do his homework before talking to the President. And instead of showing determination, leadership and sympathy when he met with the local officials of Tacloban, Mr. Aquino showed his annoyance by leaving the meeting. Clearly, this is not one of the shining moments of President Aquino. It was also clear that the government was totally unprepared to respond to what the storm did to the country. The destruction was almost total that not only the government but
even the people so accustomed to strong typhoons did not comprehend the magnitude and fury of the storm. The tragedy caused numbness and paralysis that it took days to get things moving. Even now, dead bodies remain unrecovered and the danger of disease is real. Garbage has also remained uncollected. The measure of a government and a leader is to rise to the occasion in times of great challenges and show that we can try to cope with the situation to the best of our ability with the little that we have. Our people as always have responded with generosity and private effort has been truly outstanding but it is from our government that the people are expecting the most. For guidance, direction and planning. Unfortunately this is where the national government is struggling. This tragedy is still unfolding and how the government will eventually do its job will indeed define the presidency of President Aquino. It could make or break him. The country has have been suffering from one natural calamity after another. In fact, we just suffered a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol. It stands to reason that we should have perfected a response mechanism to mitigate the effects of destructive natural calamities. Unfortunately, we are still apparently learning. I sincerely hope that we will no longer be hearing public officials saying that this catastrophe is again a wakeup call. It is time for drastic changes in the way we respond to emergencies. Perhaps when all the dust has settled with this tragedy, the government can finally undertake true reform. **** The NDRRMC is totally inadequate and should now be converted into a line agency. Responding and managing natural calamities cannot be handled simply by a coordinating body. In the case of Yolanda, the NDRRMC had to rely on other agencies on the ground as first responders. But since the first responders also were victims of the storm, there was really no one to take charge. Personnel and equipment had to be brought in to establish order but the NDRMMC of course does not have the personnel nor the authority to do that. Worse, it was apparent that the national government did not have a plan of action in place in spite of the fact that there was ample warning. It was also groping in the dark. The best that was done, according to the President himself, to prepare for the typhoon was to inform the public to move to higher ground.
Given the frequency and severity of natural disasters, it makes sense to have a dedicated agency whose sole duty is to prepare for disaster both natural and manmade. This way, it will have its own budget, have the ability to recruit and train personnel, buy all the necessary equipment and maybe more importantly, be a specific agency where calamity funds could be channeled and spent. In this hour of tragedy, we all hope that our President can rise to the occasion and provide leadership and direction so that the people can feel confident that their President knows exactly what he is doing. It would be unfortunate of he misses this chance and opportunity to project his leadership qualities to the Filipino people now reeling from the effects of the worst recorded storm in the history of the world. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/defining‐his‐presidency/
Abnormal By Jojo Robles | Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:01am Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Escudero have condemned looters in Tacloban City and other places hit by Typhoon Yolanda. But I confess that I don’t remember either of these two fine gentlemen uttering a word against the theft of billions in pork barrel funds by their own colleagues in Congress. “There is no justification for looting,” intoned Drilon. “We do recognize this happened because of the calamity, but we just have to put back law and order.” “Stealing is stealing under any circumstances,” added Escudero. “Some are just using the calamity as an excuse [to steal].” But if I were a senator, I wouldn’t be too hard on the people of Leyte who are being forced to steal food because there is none to be had. After all, the Leytenos who are breaking into food stores, drugstores and other such establishments just want to survive, while the lawmakers who steal from the public till are already rich enough to provide for several new generations of their political dynasties. *** Before he left devastated Tacloban City, reporters asked President Noynoy Aquino if he thought the situation in Leyte province and other places ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda was under control. “I think so,” he said. Everyone else who has been to the once-bustling city, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas, said it was not. One of them was the known tough-guy Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City, who broke down in tears after a visit to Ground Zero of the typhoon’s great swath of destruction. There are so many dead people in Tacloban alone that the stench of rotting flesh has forced people who venture out to wear makeshift cloth masks. Looting continues almost unabated; there is no government presence to speak of, according to Duterte. People are fleeing the scene of the disaster on foot and on the few military and
commercial planes that have ventured to Tacloban airport. Convoys of relief goods sent by humanitarian agencies are being waylaid and local residents have taken to arming themselves and threatening to kill anyone who is suspected of being a looter. The people who remain beg on the streets for food, even as workers being deployed by the worldwide relief effort still cannot reach many of those stricken because of blocked roads and lack of power and communications facilities. The situation is not under control, regardless of what Aquino says. It will take many weeks, months and even years until the damage in Leyte alone is fully assessed and remedied. Right now, chaos still rules in Tacloban, not any imaginary control that Aquino and his government say they have established. The government response has been woefully inadequate, especially for an administration that can quickly find and release billions of pesos for “priority” projects like the conviction and removal of an unfriendly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Even the foreign press is noticing how badly the official effort has gone. “[T]he fact that [government] officials and agencies have not even come together on the death toll, much less a national effort to serve the hundreds of thousands reportedly displaced, highlights just how badly the country was caught off guard by the storm’s destruction,” opined the Washington Post. And it’s not just a question of money and resources, but also “about a government’s power to not just deploy helicopters and clear roads but to earn its society’s trust and, at the right moments, its compliance.” If Aquino is to really earn the trust of the people, he can start by acknowledging how bad the situation is, instead of pretending that everything is just fine and dandy. Every day that passes without a real and comprehensive official response to the situation in Tacloban and other devastated areas only erodes whatever trust the people have left in their government – which leads to more chaos and instability. *** Businesswoman Malot Veloso Galenzoga, former mayor of Baybay, Leyte, one of the localities hardest hit by Yolanda, has sent an urgent message for people who still don’t realize how desperate the situation is in the province and other places destroyed by the typhoon. Here is what she says:
“The devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda needs to be address seriously ASAP. We are now so desperate here in Leyte, because of a shortage of food, the absence of electricity and communication; the death toll in Tacloban is rising by the minute, looting and robbery happen at random. “Chaos is the word that describes our province. What is more alarming, the people of stricken places from Tacloban down to Palo, Tolosa and others are now so desperate that they have walked hundreds of kilometers just to seek medical help and food, which in turn results in holdups and robberies reaching as far as Baybay. Top provincial officials, including local officials of Baybay, are nowhere to be found in the aftermath of the calamity. “We badly need your help since we are deprived even of communication. The people need help immediately.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/13/abnormal/
After Yolanda By Danilo Suarez | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:00am The full extent of the damage wrought by Typhoon Yolanda both in terms of life and property is yet to be fully determined. As of yesterday, there were 1,744 confirmed fatalities with close to 2,500 people hurt according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Consequently, its impact on the Philippine economy could be as much as P604 billion, or five percent of the country’s gross domestic product according to chairman of the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund and Albay Governor Joey Salceda. He adds that the P23 billion fund allocated by the national government for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure is inadequate and forecasts that failure to replace the economic capacity lost to Yolanda would limit the country’s economic growth to 5 percent this year. In hindsight, nothing could have really prepared us for the horrific force that it brought as even international bodies concede that it is the strongest typhoon recorded. We commiserate with all the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, and join the continuing calls for solidarity at this very challenging time for our nation. Indeed this is a time for cooperation and thinking outside the box when it comes to disaster relief and rehabilitation. Central Visayas in particular, is still reeling from the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude Earthquake that hit the region last October 15. We welcome reports of the unprecedented wave of support of the business and other key sectors of society; of how people and organizations come together to pool resources and warm bodies to expedite relief distribution and humanitarian aid, as well as the reconstruction of affected areas. Highly commendable are the rapid response initiatives by local government units and government agencies under the lead of the NDRRMC. However, much still needs to be done to address both the immediate and long term consequences of Typhoon Yolanda. Beyond the quick and continuous flow of relief goods, the prevention of diseases and expeditious bringing back to normalcy operations of government offices must be addressed in the immediate term. Contingency mechanisms for the long term similarly need to be set in place at the soonest possible time. This should include support programs for coconut farmers as most of the typhoon hit areas are coconut lands. Already our coconut farmers constitute the poorest farming sector in the country and the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda’s has severely
exacerbated their situation. The Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Agriculture should immediately buckle down to work to make a proper accounting of the total affected hectares of coconut farmland and how much set back this implies for harvest and production. The ensuing rehabilitation must be systematic enough to maximize production in light of the damages sustained by the sector. For the interim, one recommendation we suggest is for farm diversification or intercropping to be doubly encouraged among our farmers. Intercropping involves the growing of short season and high value crops such as corn, peanut, banana, cacao, coffee, pineapple, among others, in between spaces of coconut trees. Properly implemented this stop gap measure can have a stronger impact on improving the livelihood and income opportunities of our coconut farmers, maybe even better than that of the Conditional Cash Transfer. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/14/after‐yolanda/
Should the Cabinet intervene now? By Francisco S. Tatad | Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:00am In Palo, Leyte alone, as many as 10,000 are believed to have perished when super-typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda to Filipinos) tore through the Visayas last week. They have not finished counting the dead, the missing, the injured, and those who had lost their homes, properties, livestock, and various means of livelihood. The victims are now low on food, water, clothing, emergency medical and sanitation facilities and supplies, and other basic human needs. Looting, not always without violence, has spread across Tacloban. One could not just venture out anywhere after dark without risk of being mugged for the clothes on one’s back. A poor family could lose the pot of rice they’re cooking---if they actually had any to cook---if left unattended even for just a while. This does not begin to describe the horrid conditions in Tacloban. But as if the human suffering were not enough, unbridled political madness now threatens to overshadow the humanitarian disaster. On Sunday, President B. S. Aquino III walked out of a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting in Tacloban, after hearing that the devastation of the city had reached about 95 percent, and an unnamed businessman claimed he had been held at gunpoint by looters and urged the President to declare a state of emergency to contain the spread of crime. Obviously irked by the businessman’s brusque manner, Aquino showed he could be brusquer. “But you did not die, right?” he told the man, and walked out. Malacañang has since denied the story, saying Aquino merely went to the restroom and came back. Whatever the truth, Malacañang has lied too long and too often, it has lost credibility altogether. Aquino enraged the
people of Tacloban when he blamed the city government for not being fully prepared for the disaster. They felt they were being blamed for their own suffering. Super-typhoon Yolanda was said to be the strongest to hit the Pacific. It made its landfall in Guiuan, Samar, but the hardest hit was Tacloban. Aside from 256-km/hr winds, it unleashed a typhoon surge that sent the waves shooting up 20 feet high and destroying all structures along Red Beach like Wilbert Lee’s 165-room Leyte Oriental Hotel. (Lee was able to put all his foreign guests on board a C-130 to Cebu for safety, but he will now have to rebuild his sprawling two-storey structure from the ground.) The Leytenos got even angrier when they learned that Aquino had brought relief goods for Mar Roxas’s people in Capiz, but none for those of Rep. Martin Romualdez, the House independent minority leader from Tacloban. For them this was the meanest cut of all. Aquino has since disappeared from the scene. According to highly informed sources, after US President Barack Obama sent his message of solidarity and support to the typhoon victims, the White House was waiting to be informed what kind of assistance it could give to the Philippines. Someone suggested that Aquino write Obama a letter. But the same false pride that prevented Aquino from apologizing to Hong Kong for the death of eight Hong Kong tourists in a hostage-taking incident in Manila in 2010 kept him from writing that letter. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario had to write to Secretary of State John Kerry to get things moving, the sources said. Since then the US has dispatched two C-130 transport planes with a Marines contingent to help in the rescue operations, and generators, water and sanitation supplies for the victims. Twenty-three other countries plus the UN Children’s Fund have sent various types of assistance. But like us, the donor governments must be wondering, who exactly is in charge? The nation seems leaderless at this time.
This has become a regularly recurring episode every time a significant disaster strikes any part of the Philippines. Whether it be a bus hostagetaking in the heart of Manila, a devastating flood in Central Luzon, Compostela Valley or Misamis Oriental, a military standoff in Zamboanga, a 7.2 earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, the President appears on the scene unfashionably too late or makes a brief awkward appearance and then just as awkwardly disappears, without giving the nation a clue as to where he has gone. More and more people seem convinced this is not a function of character, breeding or governing style, but more likely of a psychological condition, which the President and his Liberal Party colleagues had succeeded in keeping from the people ever since they rejected the proposed psychiatric tests for all presidential candidates in 2010. Perhaps it is time for the electorate to insist that Aquino should get his tests cleared now to assure the nation that he is not only physically fit but above all in no remote danger of ever ending up with England’s King George III’s famous mental condition. Aquino must assume full command and control of the situation. Failing that, he should inform the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives pursuant to Sec. 11, Article VII of the Constitution that he can’t hack it anymore ; then the Vice-President takes over. Or, invoking the same provision, a majority of all the Cabinet members could inform the two Congress leaders in a written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, then the Vice-President assumes as acting president. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/11/13/should‐the‐cabinet‐intervene‐now‐ /
Big storm could level Metro by Ritchie A. November 13, 2013 10:11 pm
Architect Felino Palafox Jr. (center) met with The Manila Times President and Chief Executive Officer Dante F.M. Ang (second from left) on Wednesday. A noted urban planner, Palafox says that Metro Manila should prepare for more Yolanda-type typhoons as well as earthquakes similar to the one that crippled Bohol province last month. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI WHAT will happen if a typhoon as powerful as Yolanda hit Metro Manila? Utter devastation and chaos, renowned architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. said. If a typhoon with winds of up to 315 kilometers per hour bore down on the metropolis, many buildings, particularly the old structures, would collapse, he said. If such an intense typhoon hits and the residents are unprepared, the devastation would be worse than what was seen in Central Visayas. The same thing would happen if a 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook the metro. Palafox cited a study conducted in 2004 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)—the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction—which said that low-rise buildings are most likely to collapse than high rise structures.
According to the JICA study, at least 40 percent of low-rise buildings and only 2 percent of high-rise buildings would collapse if a strong quake shook Metro Manila. “The reason for that is high rise buildings were constructed using the right design. They conducted a geologic study, structure study, earthquake analysis and wind tunnel analysis. While the low rise buildings seemed to have violated the building code,” Palafox told The Manila Times in an interview. Aside from the damage to structures, Palafox said the study also estimates that more than 30,000 people would die, most of them informal settlers. At least 34 government offices and seven bridges would collapse and Metro Manila would be divided. The typhoon that smashed entire villages in the Visayas was considered more powerful than Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,833 people in the United States in 2005. Meteorologists consider Yolanda to be the most powerful typhoon to make landfall in history. The Philippines lies smack in the path of typhoons, being on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, the world’s most active area for tropical cyclones. Typhoons become super typhoons once they reach maximum sustained winds of at least 240 kilometers per hour. A super typhoon in the Philippines is equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. Palafox said that if a Yolanda-like typhoon sliced across Metro Manila, dozens of buildings will be toppled, leading to a “chaotic” scenario. He called on the government to ensure that structures comply with building codes to minimize loss of lives and damage to property. Palafox urged the government to review and update the building, structural, and zoning codes, as well as land use and planning policies. “The government should conduct structural audit immediately. We should update the building code now, that was nine years ago,” he added.
Palafox said structures should not only be resistant to strong quakes but should also withstand the powerful winds of super typhoons. He explained that under the Building Code, developers are required to ensure that their structures must withstand winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour only. “But in case there will be strong winds, our buildings are not ready for it, they are not designed well,” Palafox added. The deadly typhoon and associated storm surge—which survivors have likened to a tsunami—tore through the archipelago last week, killing at least 10,000 people. “Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines,” said Michel Jarraud, the agency’s chief. Experts say the relationship between climate change and tropical cyclones is still an open question. Some, though, predict these events will become more powerful and possibly more frequent, too, as a result of global warming. “Global sea level reached a new record high during March 2013,” the WMO said in its report. At 3.2 mm (0.12 inches) a year, the current average rise is double the 20thcentury trend of 1.6 millimeters (0.06 inches) a year, it said. The WMO said that in 2012, concentrations of greenhouse gases hit a new high of 393.1 parts per million, a rise of 2.2 parts per million over the previous year and an increase of 41 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. “We expect them to reach unprecedented levels yet again in 2013. This means that we are committed to a warmer future,” Jarraud declared. The agency said the first nine months of 2013 tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest such period since modern data collection began in 1850.
Global land and ocean surface temperature of about 0.48 degrees Celsius (0.86 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 average. Most regions posted above-average temperatures, with notable extremes in Australia, the north of North America, northeastern South America, North Africa and much of Eurasia. Emissions of greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide, are mainly caused by fossil-fuel burning to power industry, transport and farming. Experts warn that unless more is done to rein them in emissions, the world faces potentially devastating effects. In addition to megastorms, expect impacts include species extinctions, water shortages, heatwaves or drought, crop die-offs, loss of land to the rising seas as glaciers and polar ice melt, and spreading disease. With report from AFP http://manilatimes.net/big‐storm‐could‐level‐metro/52891/
Surviving a post-Aquino scenario November 13, 2013 8:36 pm by THELMA DUMPIT-MURILLO
Thelma Dumpit-Murillo What will happen to the country after PNoyâ€™s term? This is a concern I heard from one bank executive while thinking aloud. How do you make sure that reforms that have been initiated will continue beyond the term of PNoy? The answer of course is to make the reforms not personalityâ€“based. This is also one of the staple questions asked in various discussions, according to Trade Secretary Greg Domingo. And his staple answer is major reforms have all been institutionalized through laws such that future administrations have no way to go but pursue the reforms introduced. Secretary Domingo has just recently returned from a trip that took him to several countries in Europe and Asia on a mission to invite more investors to the Philippines. Of course, he is not in competition with PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima who also was on a road show of the Scandinavian countries, and successful too. News about the Philippines moving up 30 notches in the World Bank report on Ease of Doing Business was a welcome treat. Of course, the target has always been to land in the top third from bottom third or no.63 countries out of 189 countries by 2016.
Major gains have been in the areas of resolving insolvency, getting credit, and getting electricity or three of eleven items MSMEs need to contend with in the conduct of their business. Indeed, it would be nice if we are able to land in the top third of countries in the next round but it would be nicer if the jobs our people have been hoping for finally sees the day. Naiinip na po kasi ang mga tao eh! Recent calamities have shown the Filipinosâ€™ indomitable spirit and resiliency. Each time, we rise up and pick up the pieces. I am sure the country will survive a post-Aquino scenario. Not that we consider his rule in the same vein as a calamity. http://manilatimes.net/surviving-a-post-aquino-scenario/52800/
Words November 13, 2013 8:36 pm by KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO
Katrina Stuart Santiago There are no words for what has happened. Even as it is also all that we have, helpless in Manila as many of us are. It was words, too, that kept me watching, waiting, for government to prove that it was in control of the situation that was wrought by Typhoon Yolanda. On November 7, PNoy had warned about Super Typhoon Yolanda’s strength. “Storm surges in Ormoc, Ginayangan Ragay Gulf in Albay and Lamon Bay in Atimonan will bring grave danger. And waves in these areas may reach up to five to six meters high,” the good president had said. “Let this be a warning to local government units: Your constituents are facing grave danger. Let us do all we can while ‘Yolanda’ has yet to make landfall.” To the public he said: “Coordinate with and follow authorities. Evacuate if your area is in danger. To those near the shore: do not head towards the open sea,” PNoy implored. Filipinos were also told to stay informed about which communities will be affected by Yolanda, by checking the websites of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and Project NOAH.
‘You mean food?’ On November 8, the day of the storm, before we realized how bad it actually was for Filipinos in Samar and Leyte, Aklan and Cebu, reliefph.com asked DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman on twitter: when you say you have enough goods, you mean food and also medicines blankets clothes, etc.? And she said: “From us (DSWD) food and nonfood items are enough. From DOH, medicines also enough. Thanks . . .” ReliefPH.com was not updated on November 8, nor November 9. Because we had such little information, we had no idea really how bad things were. Because we were fed words celebrating the bravery of news reporters delivering the news “Live!” we were distracted. Because I believed that government was in control not just because DSWD had said they had enough, but because November 9 news reports had Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras saying that “We have all the government resources.” This included “air and naval assets” bringing relief goods to affected areas. I resisted updating reliefph.com uncertain of the function of relief operations all the way in Manila—how do we even begin to get those goods to the most affected areas when airports were badly damaged, too? And given that the DSWD had said they have enough, would relief efforts in Manila even be needed. By the evening of November 9, images of the ravaged Leyte and Samar provinces, stories of towns not getting enough relief goods—if they were getting any help at all—took over the news, those media heroes nothing but memory. November 10, as I settled into updating the reliefph site, relief operations were also underway mostly in places where systems for gathering goods and getting volunteers were already in place: media companies ABS-CBN 2, GMA 7 and TV5, schools like the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila, and the University of Santo Tomas.
Government inefficiency That these systems are in place, of course, is already a horrible thing: it means that we have done this so many times before, it means that we have had to augment government’s inefficiency with our own sense of aid and support too many times. But the case of Super Typhoon Yolanda is different, not only because this was the strongest storm we have seen in recent years. It is because it happens at time when we know for a fact that government has money to spare, that our Congressmen and Senators have been spending money on things other than disaster preparedness. Super Typhoon Yolanda is different because we want government to use its resources properly and well, we—I actually— waited for them to do so. Only to prove that this is not a question of money, as it is a matter of preparedness. It is a question of PNoy ordering the evacuation of those towns in Samar and Leyte. A complete evacuation of every province, every town, that he had warned might be hit by storm surges as high as five to six meters. Why were relief goods not distributed? The question is this: if relief goods were already in Tacloban when the storm hit, why were these not distributed right away, to every Juan and Juana, Juanito and Juanita who survived the storm? Why would people resort to looting if relief goods were actually getting into their hands, whoever they were, wherever they had walked from? The question is this: if air and naval resources were enough and available, why is it that towns like Guiuan in Easter Samar and Dulag in Leyte, Libacao in Kalibo Aklan and Culion in Palawan have yet to receive any relief goods as of today? And this is the thing with the words that government continues to spew from their well-spun web about how responsible they are and how unapologetic. We hear these words at a time when the citizenry’s words prove government’s assertions untrue. When the president said “low
casualty counts” in Aklan and Palawan on TV last night, November 11, reliefph.com received this call for help for Libacao Kalibo, for the second night in a row: “Alexis Reyes @queenalexis88 —PLS HELP LIBACAO, AKLAN. Severely damaged. Isolated. Need aid asap. Access thru CERRES. Contact me 09174637964 officer, LGU. No aid po up 2 now per Mayor of Libacao. 90 percent homeless, no food, aid, rescue. PLEASE HELP. <Govt> Been directing me to Regional Office VI but people in Libacao can’t go there. Still isolated.” On this night that the President wanted to tell us all that his government is in control, reliefph.com got this txt message: “Gud eve po! Help people in Dulag Leyte, especially Barangay Del Pilar, wala na silang makain dun, maraming nagkakasakit. Magdala kayo ng pagkain dun . . . kahit kendi or tubig lang. Salamat po.” Others text messages, tweets and Facebook messages have asked about Tolosa Leyte, Tanauan Leyte, Jaro Leyte, Carigara Leyte, Brgy. Market Site Dulag Leyte, Barugo Leyte, Brgy. Del Pilar Dulag Leyte, Baybay Leyte, Hospital Village Guian Eastern Samar, Sulat Eastern Samar, Isidro Eastern Samar, Talustusan Naval Biliran, Cabongan Naval Biliran, Ormoc, Culion Palawan. Truck driver urgently needed On November 12 I received this message via Facebook: Hi Ms. Katrina. I’ve been following your updates on Typhoon Yolanda and I turn to you now because I am frustrated with the lack of news regarding the towns of Tanauan and Tolosa in Leyte. My cousin, Jojo Advincula, traveled on different buses from Manila to Samar and on foot from San Juanico bridge to Tolosa, Leyte to reconnect with our relatives. He arrived in Tolosa on the 10th but he was unable to see any of our relatives and family because of the chaos. He walked back to San Juanico Bridge without speaking to any of our family members.
I was able to get a hold of him today and he reported the lack of rescue operations in these towns. He said that people are going hungry. I am also monitoring a Tolosanon forum with 2,000 members but no one can confirm that relief goods have reached Tolosa. When I first heard about the typhoon, I prayed that my fellow Leytenos and their properties be spared. Then the news trickled in and I no longer cared about property damage; I just wanted my family to survive. I know in my heart that they are okay. And my wish is for them to hang tight until we can send them the help that they require. Please help me ensure that Tolosanons receive the help that they need. I still haven’t heard from my grandmother, Generosa Advincula, my aunties, Celerina and Mansueta Advincula, and my cousin, Shazien Advincula. They are all from Malbog, Tolosa, Leyte. If you have any information about Tolosa and Tanauan, please post it on your wall. I will keep following your Facebook wall for updates. PS: My cousins and I are arranging for trucks loaded with relief goods to travel from Manila to Eastern Samar and Leyte. Two trucks have left this morning. My cousins have been advised by their mother (stranded in Borongan, Samar) not to push through with any more trucks as private vehicles are being held up in Samar. We are looking for 3 more drivers so that when we get the signal to go ahead, we can deploy the trucks as fast as we can. We will pay the drivers until the mission is completed. Unfortunately, we do not have any takers because of the risk of traveling to Leyte by land carrying a truck full of relief goods. I’d appreciate it if you can let me know if anyone is interested. http://manilatimes.net/words/52796/
Filipinos abroad gather relief for kababayans November 13, 2013 10:02 pm HONG KONG: Filipinos abroad who have spent harrowing days trying to contact loved ones after a typhoon devastated their homeland are mobilizing to send relief, despite misgivings about corrupt local officials pocketing aid on the ground. With thousands feared dead and aid only trickling in after Super Typhoon Haiyan laid waste to entire coastal towns on Friday, many among the 10million strong disaspora are still frantically trying to find out if their relatives are alive and their homes still standing. And from Asian capitals to the United States and Europe, Filipino communities are taking to churches and social media sites to raise funds for communities left with nothing—and growing increasingly desperate. In Hong Kong, where some 150,000 Filipinos work as domestic helpers, the Red Cross said a hotline set up to trace the missing had been overwhelmed since the typhoon smashed into the nation’s central islands, displacing an estimated 673,000. “The maids were crying. They didn’t know what to do,” spokeswoman Denise Wong told Agence France-Presse. Liezel Miralles, a 40-year-old domestic worker from Batad, a coastal town of 20,000 people, had not been able to contact her husband and other relatives to find out if they had survived. “I feel very, very, very sad, my whole family is there,” Miralles said as she bought groceries for her employer at a street-side market. “There is no house, no phone, no connection.” On Sunday, when Hong Kong’s downtown throngs with domestic helpers congregating on their day off, worker groups will hold an “information drive” on the crisis and gather donations.
But support group United Filipinos is one of many organizations and individuals around the world planning to direct aid only to non-government agencies. “We are afraid that if we send to the government, it will just to go their pockets and will not reach the beneficiaries,” secretary general Eman Villanueva told Agence France-Presse. “Politicians are using it for their own benefit even in the midst of this devastating situation. They are still thinking for themselves.” In Singapore, Filipina expatriate Dimples Larrazabal said the 24 hours it took for her to get in touch with her mother, her brother and his family in the town of Ormoc in devastated Leyte province seemed like an eternity. “At first I was half-positive [that things would be OK] because our house is a good structure,” said Larrazabal, a 35-year-old homemaker. But she began to panic after seeing photos showing the unimaginable devastation. “That’s when I cried ‘Oh my God! Nothing was spared!” she said. “I knew that Ormoc was directly in the path of the typhoon.” Social media sites were inundated with posts from people searching for missing relatives, uploading pictures of individuals and families to Facebook and Twitter in posts tagged #tracingPH or simply #missing. Google said it had updated its Person Finder site—which helps people find loved ones after a disaster—to include Philippines mobile numbers. Krima Molina, a 26-year-old teacher from storm-struck Leyte now living in Tokyo, said she watched in horror as Facebook posts from friends at home turned into increasingly desperate pleas for help. “They need medicine. They need volunteer doctors. A lot of people are injured,” she said. Many of the homes destroyed have been built with the earnings of the staggering 10 percent of the population, which works abroad. Although many toil for low wages as construction workers, maids, sailors and janitors, they are collectively a major economic force and last year sent home $21.4 billion, almost 9 percent of the nation’s economic output.
“Support from our kababayans [countrymen] abroad is overwhelming. Despite their dire circumstances, they are more than willing and ready to pitch in,” said Garry Martinez, the chairman of Migrante International, a group supporting overseas Filipinos. In southern California, home to 300,000 Filipinos—the largest population outside the Philippines—many were gathering funds even as they struggled to get news of their loved ones. http://manilatimes.net/filipinos‐abroad‐gather‐relief‐for‐kababayans/52880/
8 KILLED AS HUNGRY MOB STORMS LEYTE RICE WAREHOUSE November 13, 2013 10:01 pm Eight people were crushed to death as a huge crowd of typhoon survivors stormed a rice warehouse near the devastated city of Tacloban. “One wall of our warehouse collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly,” Rex Estoperez, spokesman for the National Food Authority said on Tuesday. Police, soldiers and private security teams were guarding the storeroom in Alangalang town, 17 kilometers from Tacloban, but were overpowered by the crowd, who carted off more than 100,000 bags of rice, Estoperez added. “There must have been so many people to carry away so many bags of rice,” he said, adding that each bag weighed 50 kilograms. “Our staff were there but they could not do anything without risking their safety.” The spokesman said 129,000 bags had been taken—33,000 of which were full of edible milled rice but 96,000 contained grain which could not be readily eaten. Estoperez said his agency believed looters were looking to profit by selling the grain. “Some people are really hungry but others just wanted to ransack for money,” he said, adding that the food authority was coordinating with the transport department and military to ensure that ships and trucks carrying rice would be properly guarded. http://manilatimes.net/8‐killed‐as‐hungry‐mob‐storms‐leyte‐rice‐ warehouse/52878/
President says 10,000 deaths too high November 13, 2013 9:51 pm by Catherine S. Valente Reporter President Benigno Aquino 3rd debunked reports that the death toll from Typhoon Yolanda could hit 10,000. Interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, President said the death toll from Friday’s typhoon may be lower than earlier estimates by local officials. He said the local officials did not have basis for their estimates. ”Ten thousand, I think, is too much. And perhaps that was also brought about by . . . being in the center of the destruction . . . There was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate quoting both a police official and a local government official,” Aquino said. ”They were too close to the incident. They didn’t have basis for it,” Aquino added. He said government agencies need to reach 29 municipalities more to check the casualties. ”The figure right now I have is about 2,000 but this might still get higher. We are hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish the numbers especially for the missing,” he said. ”But so far, 2,000 to about 2,500 is the figure we are working on as far as deaths are concerned,” Aquino said. As of 7 a.m. on Wednesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) put the number of dead at 1,833, with 2,623 injured and 84 missing. A total of 1,387,446 families or 6,937,229 were affected in 7,488 villages in 41 provinces, reported NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario.
Of these, 59,733 families or 286,433 people are staying in 993 evacuation centers. Del Rosario said the situation in the stricken areas is fast improving after more policemen and soldiers were deployed and the distribution of medicines and relief goods have been orderly. Aquino linked the Visayas disaster to climate change. “I think it is already an accepted reality for the Filipino community that global climate change is a reality, and that there should be no debate that this is happening,” he said. “We all live in one planet; either we come up with a solution that everybody adheres to, operates with, or let us be prepared to meet disasters, ever increasing disasters at a global level,” Aquino added. He also urged developed countries to take steps to slow global warming and protect the planet. “Especially to the most developed countries that are contributing immensely to global warming, there has to be a sense of moral responsibility that what they wreak is playing havoc on the lives of so many others incapable of defending themselves,” he said. “People were—became—desperate, and that’s why we are trying to fasttrack the situation where national government takes over these local government functions so that order is restored.” http://manilatimes.net/holes‐in‐disaster‐management/52790/
Holes in disaster management November 13, 2013 8:33 pm by GIOVANNI TAPANG, PH.D.
Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D. A few hours after Super Typhoon Yolanda entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, Project NOAH and our weather agencies have already been predicting the intensity and size of the typhoon. As it neared landfall, local and foreign meteorological agencies and news sources started warning us about the intensity and scale of the storm. Super Typhoon Yolanda broke records not only as one of the largest typhoons but also as the worst typhoon disaster in the world. Officials now estimate a death toll of more than 10,000 and more than 8 million affected individuals in the Visayas. Typhoons on such a scale would drain the capacity of local communities to cope-up with the associated impacts of the disaster. However, we should have learned from previous strong typhoons that we have experienced such as Sendong and Pablo. Risk reduction and disaster management must not come after the calamity but it should be a preemptive measure to prepare the people from extreme conditions. Overdependence on telcos We have mastered post-disaster response online and social media but we
still need to master it offline. Government’s overdependence on private cellphone companies reflect this state of preparedness. Communications are vital in order to have systematic coordination during disasters and to have a good information system for families that are concerned with their loved ones. All channels of communications should be tapped. Simply relying on existing private telecommunication infrastructures and short range radio would be problematic. This was shown as Yolanda rendered communication lines useless during the typhoon. All-weather communication systems such as high frequency radio have been available since World War I. Despite the early warning on the strength of the storm, it reflects on the preparations that the Aquino administration made when they did not make these channels the priority medium for information to coordinate and get updated reports. Off the charts Yolanda has been referred by the scientific community as an “off the charts” typhoon. It packed 300kph winds which was expected to lift cars and destroy structures including cellphone tower. Apparently, Secretary Roxas and Secretary Gazmin did not prepare back-up communication as they went to Leyte to lead disaster mitigation efforts. Radio communication like the popular walkie-talkie and high-frequency radios should have been deployed all throughout as part of the disaster preparedness mobilisation on top of prepositioning relief goods and evacuation centers. These prepositioned goods become useless if coordination breaks down. Pagasa and Project NOAH of the DOST have given us accurate forecast on the path, rainfall, wind and storm surge brought by Yolanda. The country has already experienced Pablo, Sendong and Ondoy which should have been a wake up call to BS Aquino Administration on how to prepare for impending disasters. These extreme weather events are slowly being the norm as pointed out in the new UN FCCC report on climate change. Despite Super Typhoon
Yolanda being an infrequent storm, we should have prepared way before for events such as these. As such, funds for these preparations should have been integrated in the overall budget. We cannot rely on emergency funds alone for such disaster response capability. The national government justified the use of the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) and other so-called presidential pork barrel in disaster situations like these. A televised broadcast is not enough to mobilize the whole nation to prepare for Yolanda. That would be only effective, if the national government has an organized and systematic plan to evacuate, coordinate, rescue, provide relief and rehabilitation. In the long term, communities should be supported to be resilient. Unfortunately, resiliency will always be inadequate unless families are capable of building strong enough shelter on safe grounds and prepare provisions. http://manilatimes.net/holes‐in‐disaster‐management/52790/
In desperate times November 13, 2013 6:53 pm by ALICE BUSTOS-OROSA
ALICE BUSTOS-OROSA The devastation wrought by the super typhoon last weekend has truly been heartrending that it was such a struggle to write an uplifting column this week. From one tragedy after another, our country has borne the brunt of the toughest disasters of this decade. Being an archipelago geographically situated right smack in a risk-prone area in the Pacific leaves us all feeling extremely vulnerable to the whims of nature. It is so heartbreaking to think that death and destruction came like a thief in the night, as howling winds and five-meter high waves for many families in Tacloban, Iloilo, Samar, Coron and all the towns in the typhoon’s path. From all accounts, no one could have ever been completely prepared for the wrath of nature. It is extremely troubling to see grief-stricken families recount how helpless they had been in saving loved ones, their homes, and their only possessions. It was only days after the super typhoon hit that the survivors’ tales gave a human face to the fury of the typhoon. Then, in an act of desperation, survivors rampaged and looted whatever they could get their hands on. It was like a scene from a disaster movie— where all hell breaks loose and the situation turns chaotic. As these images fill the news, disbelief grips us as they are indeed unexpected from a
generally gentle and prayerful people. And yet, we all empathize too with how survival instincts push one to act in desperate times. While we are inherently resilient because of faith and the bayanihan spirit, we all fear that for a distressed and desperate populace, they can reach a breaking point. It is but human for us all to share the fear of disasters and calamities— nature’s reminders of how life is only momentary and absolutely unpredictable. Words may never capture the pain and grief the survivors feel. Nor can we express enough the empathy we all feel for the affected families, orphans, and even hard-working professionals who have lost so much in a blink of an eye. Yet, in the direst circumstances, it is remarkable that there is an unexpected outpouring of charity and generosity from people and governments everywhere in the world Just imagine how the prisoners of Mun-tinlupa gave up a meal as their act of giving. As a first, political lines were crossed in carrying out relief efforts. And for most, everyone volunteered in their own way in their schools, communities, and charities. http://manilatimes.net/in‐desperate‐times/52850/
Posted on November 14, 2013 12:16:34 AM
PPP auction postponed
THE GOVERNMENTâ€™S focus on typhoon relief operations has forced a fresh postponement of an already-delayed public-private partnership (PPP) project. PHOTO A soldier shields the face of a child as an aircraft takes off from Tacloban airport, where many people are waiting for evacuation after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) battered the city on Friday, in this photo taken yesterday. -- Reuters
"The bid submission date for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) project originally scheduled this Friday has been postponed since the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Board meeting did not push through under current circumstances," Transportation department spokesperson Michael Arthur C. Sagcal yesterday said. The NEDA board, chaired by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, needs to approve a revised concession agreement for the MCIA project. A meeting was scheduled for Monday but Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan on Sunday said it had been moved to Wednesday. Yesterday, Mr. Balisacan texted: "The NEDA Board meeting has been postponed to give priority to urgent relief and rehab efforts in typhoon Yolanda-affected areas." A new meeting date has not been set.
"We are still confirming the new schedule. Should the proposed revisions be approved by then, we will schedule the opening [of bids] five days after," Mr. Sagcal noted. The MCIA project was originally set to be auctioned off last Aug. 28 but interested bidders balked at the offered contract. The Transportation department moved to accommodate their concerns, rescheduling the bidding to mid-October and then to Nov. 15. The concession agreement’s terms have since been sweetened to include the following: • lengthening the concession period to 25 years from 20 years; • transferring the operation and maintenance of the airport apron to the concessionaire, including the right to derive revenue from these areas; • allowing for flexibility in the implementation of capacity augmentation provisions; • sharing of the real property tax liability; and • further raising a prohibition on competing airports to 25 years from 20. In September this bar was increased to 20 from 10 years. Seven groups have pre-qualified to bid for the project: • the Metro Pacific Investment Corp.- JG Summit consortium; • AAA Airport Partners of the Ayala and Aboitiz groups; • Filinvest-CAI consortium; • San Miguel Corp.-Incheon Airport consortium;
• First Philippine Airports led by First Philippine Holdings, Inc.; • Premier Airport Group led by SM Investments Corp.; and • the GMR Infrastructure and Megawide consortium. The MCIA project includes the rehabilitation of the existing terminal and construction of a new building with an eight-million annual passenger capacity. The airport -- the Philippines’ second largest and gateway to the Visayas -- is now being used as a staging point for relief operations to areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda. Cebu was largely spared by the storm, known internationally as Haiyan, which ripped through the central Philippines last Friday. Aside from the airport project, the NEDA Board was also set discuss two other PPP projects that were deferred due to the need to revise concession agreements: the P1.72-billion Automated Fare Collection System and the P60-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 extension. -- L. C. S. Marasigan http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=PPP‐ auction‐postponed&id=79356
Posted on November 14, 2013 12:13:58 AM
‘Policy tinkering’ possible THE DEVASTATION caused by super typhoon Yolanda will push the government to accelerate spending and likely prompt monetary authorities to keep key rates on hold next year, a regional bank said. "Expect fiscal expenditure growth to accelerate in the upcoming few months. Given the prevailing primary budget surplus, the government can still afford this," Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank said in a report released yesterday. "On the monetary policy front, the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) may now be less keen to raise its interest rates next year, as we have previously expected," it added. With economic growth to be affected, DBS said "some policy tinkering may be crucial to sustain the current pace...". Gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 7.6% in the first semester, exceeding the official full-year goal of 6-7%. Prior to Yolanda, officials said above-7% results could be expected for the last two quarters. They have since revised 2013 expectations to a within-target result. Yesterday, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said a "onepercentage point slowdown [in economic growth] is expected, but it could be offset by reconstruction." Mr. Beltran, nevertheless, said the economy was still expected to grow within the 6-7% goal. "The economic impact from Haiyan (Yolanda’s international designation) is likely to be quite material," DBS said, noting that the affected central Philippine regions accounted for about 20%
of GDP last year. It also pointed out initial damage estimates of some $10-15 billion and that the agriculture sector, which appears to be the worst hit, accounted for at third of jobs in the country. Cebu, while minimally affected, was also noted as being an "important" outsourcing center. Reconstruction efforts, meanwhile, could be "complicated" by the lack of insurance coverage. Central bank officials were not immediately available for comment. The Monetary Board, which kept overnight borrowing and lending rates at record lows of 3.5% and 4.5% last Oct.. 24, is expected to begin adjusting rates sometime in the second semester of next year. -- A. R. R. Gregorio http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=%E2%80%9 8Policy‐tinkering%E2%80%99‐possible&id=79355
Posted on November 14, 2013 12:13:14 AM
Finance’s sights still trained on professionals PROFESSIONALS remained the focus of the Finance department’s latest Tax Watch ad, with eight sectors added to an ongoing comparison with the official list of the country’s biggest taxpayers. After zeroing in on lawyers, doctors, accountants, architects, interior designers and ad executives last week, the department yesterday trained its sights on fashion designers, dermatologists/beauty consultants, realtors, pawnshop owners and executives from car dealers, the fishing industry, brokerages and life insurers. Again, only a handful figured in the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) list of the top 500 individual taxpayers for 2012. No fashion designers, dermatologists, beauty consultants, car dealer executives, real estate brokers and fishing industry executives made it to BIR ranking, the Finance department said. Six pawnshop owners, meanwhile, were among the top taxpayers, the ad showed, all belonging to the family behind P.J. Lhuillier, Inc.: • Philippe Lhuillier (21st in the BIR list with P29.565 million in income taxes); • Jean Henri D. Lhuillier (33rd, P23.83 million); • Michel Jones Lhuillier (66th, P16.96 million);
• Edna D. Lhuillier (149th, P11.41 million); • Amparito L. Lhuillier (249th, P8.62 million); and • Michael Edouard L. Lhuillier (414th, P6.43 million). The brokerage industry contributed more top taxpayers -- 11 -but the Finance department noted that they represented only five out of the country’s 135 brokerage firms. Two -- Deutsche Regis Partners, Inc. and COL Financial Group -- accounted for eight of the 11 executives named. Heading the list was UBS Investments Philippines, Inc. Managing Director Lauro C. Baja III , who was 26th in the BIR 500 after paying P26.27 million in income taxes. Following were: • Michael B. Macale, Deutsche Regis managing director, ranked 45th by the BIR with P20.62 million; • Conrado F. Bate, COL Financial president and chief executive (49th in the BIR list with P19.32 million); • Catherine L. Ong, COL Financial chief financial officer and treasurer, (91st, P14.52 million); • Rafael P Garchitorena, also a Deutsche Regis managing director, (127th, P12.33 million); • Giovanni L. dela Rosa of Deutsche Regis, (134th, P12.24 million); • Ceasar A. Guerzon, COL Financial senior vice-president (161st, P10.99 million); and • Juan G. Barredo, COL Financial vice-president (205th, P9.6
million). Rounding out the list of 11 were Godofredo Abdulah Aquino of ATR Kim Eng Securities, Homer Perez of Papa Securities and Ma. Elena Lopez of Deutsche Regis. The list of the top taxpaying life insurance executives was spread out a bit more among eight companies, though three of the 12 came from one firm, Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life). Vicente R. Ayllon, chairman and chief executive officer of Insular General Insurance Co., Inc. was the biggest taxpayer from the industry, ranking fourth in the BIR 500 with P52.307 million in income taxes. Following were: • Rex Ma. A. Mendoza, Philam Life president and CEO (139th, P11.96 million); • Rizalina G. Mantaring, president and CEO of Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (208th, P9.59 million); • Mayo Jose B. Onsingco, Insular Life president and chief operating officer (221st, P9.26 million); • Omar T. Cruz, president and CEO of BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corp. (245th, P8.69 million); • Reynaldo C. Centeno, Philam Life senior executive vicepresident (275th, P7.99 million); and • Andreas W. Rosenthal, Philam Life senior vice-president. Rounding out the list were Indren Naidoo of Manulife, Takaaki Ueda of BPI/MS Insurance Corp., Antonio Manuel de Rosas of Pru Life UK and Anton du Plessis of AIU Insurance Philippines.
"Where are the other professionals from these industries?" the Finance department asked. The Finance department and the BIR have long tagged selfemployed individuals, professionals, and small business owners as priority sectors in its thrust to increase its revenue base. BIR data showed that while 1.8 million individuals are registered as self-employed, professionals, or small business owners, only about 400,000 file income tax returns, with their annual payments averaging P33,441 annually. The BIR is the government’s main revenue agency, accounting for about 70% of collections. It is mandated to net P1.253 trillion this year. It has shored up P897.949 billion as of September, 16.24% higher year on year but short of the three-quarter target of P932.246 billion. -- B. F. V. Roc http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Finance%E2 %80%99s‐sights‐still‐trained‐on‐professionals&id=79354
Posted on November 13, 2013 09:28:56 PM
Strong lending fuels banks’ growth LISTED East West Banking Corp. (EastWest Bank) and Philippine Business Bank (PBB) saw profit rise in the nine months ending September, buoyed by their core businesses. In statement attached to a disclosure yesterday, Gotianun-led EastWest Bank said its net income rose 25.37% to P1.7 billion as of September from P1.356 billion in the same nine months last year. This translated to a 12.6% return-on-equity (ROE), or the net income earned as percent of stockholders’ investment and a key measure of performance, and return on assets (ROA) -- or the net income earned as percent of total assets -- of 1.8%. “Our core businesses continue to grow. Clearly, we are feeling the cost of our branch store expansion. We expect the full cost impact in 2014. While this somehow depresses ROE and ROA this year and the next, we remain convinced it will be value enhancing in the future and will put EastWest among the list of major Philippine banks,” EastWest Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Antonio C. Moncupa, Jr. was quoted as saying in the statement. “We are pleased with our current momentum.” EastWest Bank did not disclose its net interest and non-interest earnings for the nine-month period, but reported that its lending business expanded by 45.97% to P89 billion.
Consumer loans grew by 35% to P47.5 billion, with its credit cards, auto and mortgage loans posting double-digit growth. Corporate loans, meanwhile, climbed by 47% to P41.5 billion. Despite a low interest rate environment, EastWest Bank’s net interest margin stood at 8.3%, double the industry’s average. Deposits, meanwhile, rose by 34.7% to P95.2 billion, with lowcost deposits increasing by 56% and high-cost deposits climbing by 20%. Income from fees jumped by 50.5% to P2.3 billion as of September. On the expenditure side, the bank’s expenses increased by 31.1% to 5.9 billion “due to the full effect of the branch stores that were opened in the latter part of 2012 and branch stores that were opened this year.” EastWest Bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) -- a measure of financial strength -- was 17.1% as of September, well above the central bank’s 10% minimum requirement. Its Tier 1 CAR stood at 13.8%, higher than the central bank’s 7.5% requirement. Total assets of the bank grew 30.7% to P127.4 billion as of September. Currently, EastWest Bank has 347 branches nationwide. It aims to have 400 branches by the first quarter of 2014. EastWest Bank’s shares closed at P24.50 apiece yesterday, 1.8% or 45 centavos higher than its P24.05 close on Tuesday. In a separate statement attached to a disclosure, Yao-led PBB reported that its net income surged 60.71% to P1.002 billion in the same comparative periods. “The strong performance was propelled by the IPO proceeds in
February and the growth in the deposits supported lending activity,” PBB said. “Treasury business continued to deliver as well with the favorable trading climate in the first half of the year.” The thrift lender said its net interest income rose by 57.71% to P1.227 billion from P778.07 million, driven mainly by lending growth. Loan portfolio climbed by 35.07% to P28.2 billion, driven by the growth of its small- and medium-scale enterprise loan portfolio, PBB said. Deposits likewise grew 28.03% to P33.8 billion from P26.4 billion due on “improvement in the ratio of low-cost to high-cost deposit and SDA (special deposit account) rate.” Resources expanded 33% to P44 billion as of September. PBB has 91 branches and plans to open nine more in Metro Manila, southern Luzon and Mindanao by yearend. Its shares lost 0.63%, or 15 centavos to close at P23.75 apiece yesterday. -- A.R.R. Gregorio http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=Strong‐ lending‐fuels‐banks%E2%80%99‐growth&id=79331
Posted on November 13, 2013 09:25:34 PM
Peso joins rebound across Asia THE PESO yesterday recovered against the dollar at the end of trading with much of Asia despite general weakness, as investors awaited scheduled remarks of US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s anointed successor. The local currency ended Wednesday’s trading at P43.720 to a dollar, gaining six centavos from its P43.780-per-dollar finish on Tuesday. But it started the day two centavos weaker at P43.80 to the dollar from the previous day’s finish, and traded within a weaker range of P43.64-43.82 from P43.56-43.80. One trader noted investors are awaiting a hearing set on Thursday by the US Senate Banking Committee on nomination of Fed Vice-Chairman Janet Yellen, who has been named to replace Mr. Bernanke. “The market is preparing because Ms. Yellen will speak…There is a strong dollar and they expect her to say that they (Fed) will taper soon,” the trader said in a phone interview. Reuters said in a report from Singapore that most emerging Asian currencies rebounded on Wednesday as investors covered pessimistic bets with the dollar’s dip, helping the Indonesian rupiah recover losses after hitting its lowest in more than 4 1/2 years. The rupiah stood at the previous close of 11,590 per dollar as of 0830 GMT.
The Indian rupee turned firmer after the central bank was suspected to have intervened earlier, traders said. The Indian unit also found support from speculation the Reserve Bank of India may be considering extending its swap facility window. -withReuters http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=Peso‐joins‐ rebound‐across‐Asia&id=79330 Posted on November 13, 2013 09:17:54 PM
Fed senior execs say aggressive policy action still needed MONTGOMERY, Ala./ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Federal Reserve should keep monetary policy ultra-easy given the economy’s tepid growth and an uncertain outlook for jobs growth, two senior officials said on Tuesday, reinforcing views that the US central bank will not taper bond buying before next year. At the same time, last month’s government shutdown may undermine the reliability of economic data through December, said Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That could provide another reason not to expect policy action when the Fed holds its next policy meeting, on Dec. 17-18, though Mr. Lockhart would not rule it out. “Monetary policy overall should remain very accommodative for quite some time,” he told an economic forum in Montgomery, Alabama. “Even though the economy is growing, and we’re making progress on unemployment, there are real concerns about whether the recent modest pace of GDP (gross domestic product) is enough to maintain employment momentum.” OUTLOOK The economy picked up speed in the third quarter, but largely because businesses restocked their shelves. With growth in consumer spending the slowest in two years, the gain in business inventories may prove to have not been
necessary, and the outlook for activity in the final three months of the year is dim. Consumer and business confidence was also dented by a bitter budget battle in Washington that partially closed the government for 16 days last month. Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Fed, spoke even more strongly about the need for aggressive action to foster growth. “Reducing the flow of (bond) purchases in the near term would be a drag on the already slow rate of progress of the economy toward the committee’s goals,” Mr. Kocherlakota told the Chamber of Commerce in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Inflation remains weak, or very low by historical standards, by the (Fed’s) goal of 2% per year, so there is no reason to be afraid of monetary stimulus.” Mr. Kocherlakota argued that the central bank should be ramping up, not dialing back, its efforts to stimulate the economy, perhaps by lowering the interest rate the Fed pays to banks for the excess reserves they park at the central bank. The Fed should do “whatever it takes” to bring the economy back to full employment quickly, he said, repeating a theme he has hammered home in at least three speeches since September. Mr. Lockhart is a policy centrist who is usually viewed as a good indicator of the consensus among senior officials. Mr. Kocherlakota is a noted policy dove. Neither official is a voting member of the Fed’s policy-setting committee this year, but they participate in the panel’s discussions.
Mr. Kocherlakota will regain a voting seat on the policy committee next year. A hearing set on Thursday of the US Senate Banking Committee on the nomination of Fed Vice-Chair Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke at the helm of the central bank will be followed closely in financial markets for clues about future Fed action. To spur faster growth and hiring, the Fed has been buying bonds at a pace of $85 billion per month while promising to hold interest rates near zero at least until unemployment hits a threshold of 6.5%, providing the outlook for inflation stays under 2.5%. The jobless rate was 7.3% in October. EXPECTATIONS Few economists expect the Fed to scale back its stimulus at its December meeting, although the US Labor Department’s report on Friday showing solid job growth in October was seen as raising that risk. When the central bank does begin to taper its asset purchases, some economists think the Fed may try to offset any negative reaction in financial markets by also lowering unemployment threshold to 6%. Mr. Lockhart said the mix of policy tools to provide stimulus might change, but he did not signal that he has made up his mind to support a lower unemployment threshold. COMFORTABLE “I’m comfortable with 6.5%, it certainly gives us great flexibility,” Mr. Lockhart told reporters. “But I think there may very well be a discussion of the idea of lowering it to 6.0%.” Like Mr. Kocherlakota, Mr. Lockhart noted that inflation remained
well below the Fed’s 2% target. He pointed out that the Fed’s preferred gauge of price pressures - the PCE price index -- averaged an annualized 1.2% over the last three months. “Inflation is too low. A persistent low rate of inflation raises concerns about a stalling out of economic expansion,” Mr. Lockhart said. At the same time, however, he said it was premature to be alarmed about the danger of a damaging bout of deflation. -Reuters http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Finance&title=Fed‐senior‐ execs‐say‐aggressive‐policy‐action‐still‐needed&id=79329
Posted on November 13, 2013 11:12:44 PM
Food firm sees savings from grain terminal SAN MIGUEL Pure Foods Company, Inc. yesterday inaugurated a grain terminal in Batangas, a P2.5-billion investment that is expected to help it trim expenses. The Golden Bay Grain Terminal, built in the last two years, can handle more than two million tons of grains annually, Florentino B. Policarpio, president of San Miguel Mills, Inc., told reporters on the sidelines of inauguration ceremonies in the town of Mabini, where the terminal is located. San Miguel Mills is a unit of Pure Foods, a subsidiary of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. The terminal, which is now the receiving facility of Pure Foods’ grain imports, will consolidate incoming shipments, resulting in cheaper freight cost. Before, grain imports of companies under Pure Foods were shipped to various commercial ports in the country. “We are saving anywhere between 3-7% per ton, depending on market price,” Mr. Policarpio said. San Miguel Mills and San Miguel Foods, Inc. import a combined one million tons of grains -- such as wheat and soybean -- every year. To further maximize the terminal, Mr. Policarpio said the facility could also be used by other firms.
“We really intend it to be used by other companies as well,” he said. San Miguel Foods President Maria Rita B. Palabyab, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the same event, said that while freight cost is “less than 5%” of Pure Foods’ total cost and expenses, “it is still significant.” Pure Foods booked a net income of P4.32 billion last year, slightly up by 2.61% from P4.21 billion in 2011. Revenues rose 6.92% to P95.79 billion from P89.59 billion, while cost of sales increased 6.17% to P77.95 billion from P73.42 billion. In the nine months to September, net income attributable to equity holders of the parent company fell 6% to P2.75 billion from P2.92 billion, according to briefing materials from San Miguel. This, despite net sales improving 3% to P71.41 billion from P69.35 billion in the same comparative periods. Its shares rose P1.00 or 0.42% to P237.00 apiece yesterday from P236.00 each on Tuesday. -- Cliff Harvey C. Venzon http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Food‐firm‐ sees‐savings‐from‐grain‐terminal&id=79351
Posted on November 13, 2013 11:05:30 PM
Higher costs eat into fuel retailer earnings ROFIT of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. fell last quarter due to higher costs and expenses booked in that period, according to the latest financial report the fuel retailer disclosed yesterday. Net income sank 33.03% to P169.03 million from P252.4 million, according to unaudited consolidated statements of comprehensive income in the report. Revenues rose 24.12% to P9.83 billion from P7.92 billion, while costs and expenses grew by a faster 26.26% to P9.52 billion from P7.54 billion. Third-quarter results brought net income to P541.3 million as of September, 5% more than the P515.75 million in the same nine months last year. Consolidated revenues rose 26.94% to P31.66 billion from P24.94 billion, driven by a 32% hike in fuel sales volume. Costs and expenses grew 27.44% to P30.65 billion from P24.05 billion. Shares of the company, which said it had 358 stations nationwide as of September, lost six centavos or 1.15% to P5.14 apiece yesterday. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Higher‐ costs‐eat‐into‐fuel‐retailer‐earnings&id=79349
Posted on November 13, 2013 05:32:26 PM
The farce we call ‘elections’ Strategic GRANTED, the Filipino people have never Perspective actually elected their leaders -- these have René B. Azurin always been chosen by a small political and economic elite in various modes of cooperation with certain outside agencies -but the way Filipinos have allowed this travesty to persist all these years and indeed get worse in a time when communications technology has presumably made voters more informed and aware is absolutely appalling. Today, what we call "elections" is a complete farce and what we accept as an independent Commission on Elections (Comelec) is so arrogant as to no longer care that it is clearly exposed as no more than a servile instrument of the political ruling class. Last Tuesday, Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) -the multi-sector citizens’ coalition made up of groups of academics and school-based organizations, computer industry professionals, information technology experts, various industry associations, civil society groups, peoples’ organizations, youth groups, church-based organizations, and assorted advocacy groups -- released its "Final Report" on the May 2013 automated polls. These findings were the result of five months of investigation done with absolutely no cooperation from the Comelec, which seemed bent on acting precisely to ensure that there was no longer any way of retrieving data or verifying its integrity.
Held at the University of the Philippines Law Center, this 2nd Post-Election Conference was given the title "Raping Democracy: What Rule of Law?," which made it rather clear what conclusions had been reached. Among the presenters at the conference were
former Philippine Computer Society president engineer Nelson Celis ("No basis for proclamation"), Ateneo University computer programming professor Dr. Pablo Manalastas ("Vote discrepancies"), Ateneo mathematics professor Dr. Felix Muga II ("The 60-30-10 pattern is statistically significant"), Comelec ballot folder scam whistle-blower attorney Melchor Magdamo ("Post-election irregularities such as excess ballot printing and media killings"), information security consultant Angel Averia, Jr. ("Safeguarding the vote: What should the election system be in 2016?"), former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman ("Reforming the Comelec"), Univesity of the Philippines law professor attorney Harry Roque ("Rule of Law and votersâ€™ rights"), and UP political science professor Bobby Tuazon ("Synthesis"). A statement by activist-priest Fr. Joe Dizon, written before he suddenly passed away last week, was also read. The collective assessment: "The 2013 polls was one of the worst devastations that has ever struck the nation." Some of the notable disclosures established by AES Watchâ€™s investigations were: 1.) A huge discrepancy of 59 million votes between the Comelec list of winning senatorial candidates (June 5) and the Comelec public access website (May 17); 2.) An unexplained and unexplainable 12-million vote surge only a few hours after polls closed; 3.) A canvassing marked by long interruptions and apparent tampering of the program, that is to say, no publicly transparent and uninterrupted counting of votes as mandated by the election code and the poll automation law; 4.) An apparent attempt to cover up the election blunders and anomalies through post-election excess ballot printing and the killing of two reporters/whistle-blowers; 5.) The existence of a suspicious 60-30-10 final sharing of canvassed votes (among the Liberal Party [LP] coalition team, the United Nationalist Alliance [UNA] team, and the independents) which was found true at all levels of the canvassed votes, from the clustered precincts to municipalities/cities, provinces, regions, and the national canvass; 6.) No conclusive review of the missing voting source code and no credible random manual audit of the polls; 7.) Disabling by Comelec and Smartmatic of various mandated-by-
law safeguards and security requirements; and 8.) Absence of digital signatures on all election returns, hence, no legal basis for proclaiming "winning" candidates. It should be recalled that, for the May polls, AES Watch and other election watchdogs had demanded a "parallel manual count" of votes and, after the May 13 counting anomalies, the sealing of servers and the opening of all ballot boxes to recount the votes. That demand was, expectedly, ignored by Comelec. AES Watch has challenged Comelec to dispute its findings and to release the real source codes, the transmission and audit logs, and all the other election documents and data it appears to be hiding. Effectively accusing Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. of both a lack of integrity and malicious intent, an AES Watch statement asserts, "The corruption and commercialization of the election process continues with the deliberate and systematic denials of critical documents and information by an election body that is beholden to the powers that be and chaired by an election lawyer who at one time counselled the Ampatuans of the infamous Maguindanao massacre and now takes pride in maligning vocal citizens groups and stifling legitimate dissent by any and all means, such as the use of presidential discretionary funds to conduct surveillance of election critics." AES Watch contends, "Comelec should first be held accountable for the major violations of law before it is able to take the path to genuine reforms now before the next elections. No reform can be possible without dealing with the culture of impunity that mocks the electoral process." Further, the election watchdog states, "Unless all the problems of accuracy, transparency, and credibility of the voting and counting system are addressed, the results of the automated elections will continue to be contested and the proclaimed candidates will continue to hold office under a shadow of illegitimacy." Finally, AES Watch reiterates strongly, "As we first stated in October 2010, the Smartmatic PCOS system should be junked
now! The Filipino IT community and other citizens’ election stakeholders should be involved in designing a new election system compliant with IT standards and best practices, with the right of suffrage, and with the demands of transparency, reliability, and auditability preserved. The right to vote should never be compromised to favor a privatized, unreliable, and unsecured election system." The Filipino people had better not be oblivious to the fact that the control of a society -- meaning, its resources, its wealth, and its people -- is effected by the control of its government, and that, in supposedly democratic societies, control of government is accomplished by controlling the electoral process. With the electoral process rigged to favor the minions of the ruling class, the policies and programs of government can easily be crafted to promote the interests of the governing elite. Which is the way it has always been in this country. And which is why President Aquino and all our senators and congressmen will simply not let go of their pork barrel. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=The‐farce‐ we‐call‐%E2%80%98elections%E2%80%99&id=79314
Posted on November 13, 2013 05:30:22 PM
Socially responsible investment pension funds The View From I CHANCED upon this ILO (International Taft Labor Organization) publication on Global Divina M. Extension of Social Security (GESS) that Edralin featured the issue on Socially Responsible Investment (SRI). Let me share with you a portion of the document, which I find very timely and relevant for our Social Security System (SSS, which recently issued a policy of increasing our monthly premiums) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to benchmark on in investing our pension funds. SRI is becoming a prevalent practice globally. According to Mercer (2007), SRI is "an investment process that seeks to achieve social and environmental objectives alongside financial objectives." Moreover, the signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) believe that "environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios (to varying degrees across companies, sectors, regions, asset classes and through time)." The diversity in definitions of SRI reflects the variety of approaches in "socially responsible" investments, and its concept varies among investors in different countries.
Here are concrete examples of what a socially responsible pension fund can do based on the good practices of these five countries: â€˘ Previ. This is the employeesâ€™ pension fund of the state-owned Banco do Brasil. It is the largest pension fund in Latin America. Previ views companies as potential change agents through which
social and environmental issues can be addressed and contributions made for the development and sustainable growth of Brazil. It invests in companies that are both profitable and socially responsible and that benefit the communities in which they operate. • The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global. This is a sovereign fund that invests proceeds from Norway’s petroleum industry. It is closely tied to the government. In 2001, the Norwegian government established, on a three-year trial, a dedicated "Environment Fund" for investing in companies in emerging economies that met environmental performance criteria. The Environment Fund was conceived as a mechanism to promote sustainable development. In 2002, the Graver Committee was appointed to develop an approach to ethical investment by the Fund and to propose ethical guidelines. The committee justified that the Fund should avoid complicity in violation of ethical norms linked to human rights and to the environment. • The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF). This is Africa’s largest pension fund. The GEPF implements ESG issues in its investment decisions using a positive screening strategy such as devoting a portion of its assets to investments that address socio-economic imbalances, especially financing Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and HIV/AIDS initiatives. • The Government Pension Fund. This is one of the largest institutional investors in Thailand. It is designed for officials of the Royal Thai Government and is autonomous from the Ministry of Finance. It does not invest in the alcoholic beverages sector because alcohol consumption is against the values of most Thai people and the GPF wants to avoid offending its beneficiaries. It has also extended its focus to environmental and social performance. • CalPERS. This is the largest public pension plan in the US and the third largest in the world in terms of assets under
management. It provides a variety of programs and services to California’s public employees, retirees, and their families. CalPERS is recognized as a leader in corporate governance. It prudently exercises ownership rights with the objective of increasing shareholder value while minimizing risk. It undertakes legal action and lobbying when necessary. I wonder when our SSS and GSIS pension fund managers will refocus their strategies on socially responsible investments. The sooner they can do this, the better for us and the entire country. http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Socially‐ responsible‐investment‐pension‐funds‐&id=79312
Posted on November 13, 2013 05:25:24 PM
The humanities crisis Project NEW YORK -- A striking symmetry is emerging Syndicate in debates about the future of higher education Andrew around the world. On the one hand, there is Delbanco growing concern that the United States and many European countries are failing to prepare enough university graduates in the fields driving the 21st century "knowledge economy," such as engineering and information technology. This fear has led to the narrowing of the concept of education to mean the acquisition of practical skills. On the other hand, the worry in some parts of Asia is that young people entering the work force with strong technical training lack sufficient experience "thinking outside the box." This fear is manifesting itself in an incipient effort to expand education to include the cultivation of feeling and imagination.
Both movements are rooted in economic concerns. In the US, where most undergraduates bear at least part of the cost of their university education, political pressure is mounting to provide incentives like tuition discounts or loan forgiveness to students of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (the so-called STEM fields). Cost-cutting measures, such as compressing traditional four-year degree programs into three years -- thereby reducing or eliminating elective courses in "impractical" subjects like literature, philosophy, and fine arts -- are also being discussed. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Singapore, and China, there are calls for extending university programs so that students can obtain a broad, liberal education, in the hope that graduates will be more inclined to experiment and innovate. Hong Kong University, for example, has extended its undergraduate programs from three
years to four. But such a narrow, economics-based view fails to account for the larger questions of value that societies worldwide are facing. To be sure, progress in any field, from commerce and communications to health and environmental science, will become increasingly dependent on technological innovation, and thus on the high-order skills -- acquired through intensive technical training -- that drive it. It is also true, however, that such training does not provide an adequate foundation for addressing the more abstract, but profoundly important, questions that ultimately must guide global policy and decision-making. For example: • How can the imperative of economic development be reconciled with the need to limit climate change? • What does national sovereignty mean in a world where diseases, pollutants, and terrorists cross national borders at will? • Are there universal human rights that transcend conflicting claims of particular cultural traditions? • How should limited resources be distributed in order to provide opportunity and hope to young people, while treating the elderly with dignity and respect? • What are a country’s obligations to refugees fleeing from persecution, poverty, or strife elsewhere? • How should we balance individual liberty and collective security? In answering such questions, advances in science and technology (for example, new methods of energy production, surveillance, or online learning) will have a key role to play. But moral and ethical questions never yield fully to technical solutions; they also
require an understanding of humanity’s social and cultural heritage. Science can help us to attain the life we want, but it cannot teach us what kind of life is worth wanting. In short, each side in the current education debate is half right. As human affairs become increasingly complex and morally exigent, future generations will need both scientific and humanistic learning -- and they will need them more than ever. Fortunately, promising new models for making education more coherent and capacious are emerging. Yale University and the National University of Singapore have worked together to establish Yale-NUS, Singapore’s first liberal arts college. Led by a literary scholar and an astronomer, this new residential college aims to break down interdisciplinary boundaries and enable students to learn from one another. Likewise, Quest University in Canada encourages students to bring both scientific and humanistic knowledge to bear on today’s most pressing problems. Similar efforts have been underway for years in the US. For example, North Carolina State University’s Benjamin Franklin Scholars program -- a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences -aims "to produce well-rounded professionals who are analytical problem-solvers, ethical decision-makers, and effective communicators." Unfortunately, such programs largely lack the visibility and influence needed to shape educational reform. It is time to abandon the "either/or" discourse that pits science against humanities -- which the British chemist and novelist C.P. Snow identified more than a half-century ago as an obstacle to human progress. It is time to seek out best practices that bridge this putative divide, and scale them up. In the important work of adapting educational institutions for the future, we must not lose sight of their core mission as articulated in the past. No one has expressed that mission better than
Benjamin Franklin, a man of letters and a scientific innovator, who defined education as the quest for "true merit." "True merit," Franklin wrote, consists in "an inclination joined with an ability to serve mankind, one’s country, friends, and family; which ability is... to be acquired or greatly increased by true learning; and should, indeed, be the great aim and end of all learning." This is an aspiration that should be renewed for every generation. (Andrew Delbanco, Director of American Studies at Columbia University, is the author ofCollege: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. www.project-syndicate.org) http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=The‐ humanities‐crisis&id=79308
CNN’s Cooper scores Noy gov’t for slow aid response • •
Written by Tribune Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
Aquino claims credit for clearing airport, roads
It can no longer be claimed by President Aquino and his administration that it is his local critics who give him and
Philippines a bad name, as
foreign journalists who came to the country to cover the super typhoon “Haiyan” (local name: “Yolanda”) aftermath held the same observations on the chaotic and ineffective and unorganized way the Aquino government has been handling the delivery of basic services to the typhoon victims,
stressing on the Philippine government’s slow response and bereft of organized relief and rescue operations. Cable News Network (CNN) senior correspondent Anderson Cooper who was in Tacloban City severely criticized the Aquino government for its slow response to help desperate survivors of typhoon Yolanda who, after five days, have not received any aid from the Aquino government, and are starving, as they have no supply of clean potable water and no food and shelter. In his live coverage near the Tacloban airport at around 9 a.m Tuesday, Cooper said: “Simply there isn’t enough aid and what aid there is isn’t getting out to those who need it the most.” Another known CNN reporter, Christine Amanpour, told Aquino: “The way you respond (slowly to the typhoon crisis) will define your presidency.” Aquino quickly laid the blame on the local executives. Cooper was shocked upon learning that five days (today is the seventh day, he made the comment Tuesday), very little relief efforts have been done by Philippine rescue operatives. “There’s very little organization in terms of the Philippine side. That’s what the frustrating thing for the people here,” he added. Cooper was able to do a coverage in Tacloban City when he boarded a cargo plane containing 250 US marines from Okinawa, Japan. It wasn’t only Cooper who came up with these criticisms of the Aquino government’s handling of the relied and rescue. Other CNN reporters covering the typhoon story had the same observation. Cooper’s plane was only able to land at the airport when the US marines cleared the airport of debris. Another CNN correspondent, Andrew Stevens said: “(I’m) increasingly frustrated. “You walk around downtown Tacloban, there’s pile of rotting garbage; there are corpses and animals; there’s no real evidence of organized recovery,
organized relief going on.” The correspondent said he saw a van distributing relief goods but he guessed it was good only for 50 people. “There are tens of thousands of people who need food, water, clothes and medicines. “The frustration down there is extraordinary high,” the correspondent added. In the midst of incredible disaster being experience by almost 700,000 people in the Visayas where an estimated 10,000 have died while others are convulsing in hunger, President Aquino was still in his usual blame the others mode, this time again on local officials for not heeding the “distress call”. In his interview over CNN international with Amanpour, Aquino was asked about his responsibility as President. He was also asked whether or not he would agree that “the way you (Aquio) respond and your government respond to this terrible devastation will probably define your presidency”. “I think you’re gonna ask all of the governors, for instance, on the areas that have been saying that… are making them aware of the dangers that were forthcoming from this typhoon that enabled them to move their population from danger areas and to safer areas and thereby minimize casualties. “A lot of them, with the exception of Leyte province, Eastern and Western Samar, have reported that practically, well, one or two casualties or even zero casualties, when normally when we have a typhoon you will also have ships that were travelling that would have sunk, casualties in the hundreds probably didn’t merit too much attention,” was Aquino’s excuse. On a personal note, Aquino was asked: ”How has it affected you, what you’ve seen, and how do you manage to reassure your people who have gone through this super typhoon, after the earthquake, after the typhoon last year? Aquino said typhoons in the country are not unusual occurrences, but that this year has been an exceptionally bad year, with more than 20 visits.
He then claimed that he has been able to “demonstrate as a government and as a people, collectively, that we take care of each other and the government’s immediate response, I think, has been reassuring to the vast majority of our people,” claiming that he has that ability to take care of problems rather quickly. He put the blame on the local executives, saying it is they who are responsible for the relief and rescue operations. “Our system says that the local government units have to take care of the initial response,” Aquino said. Rosemarie Church, a CNN anchor in Atlanta Georgia, commented that Aquino was trying to evade responsibility. Her co-anchor agreed with her. In the worst hit areas where some of the local officials could not be seen or are presumed dead, survivors are looking up into the heavens, and the dead people, old and young, are piling up. Aquino simply denied the slow response, as well as the bottleneck of trying to give vital aid to the people, laying all blame on the local executives. With policemen also becoming victims, he said that “the national government had to not just augment what the local government could do, but actually replace a lot of the personnel with personnel from other regions to take care of government’s vital functions,” Aquino said. Aquino emphasized that “what hampers the effort is that the typhoon brought havoc on the power lines and also the communications facilities giving us immense difficulty in identifying needs and (then) dispatching the necessary relief supplies and various equipment”. “So today (Tuesday), all of the national roads, I understand, have already been reopened. We’re already working on the secondary roads and most of the airports are almost back to normal operating levels. But still, the sheer number of people that were affected in these three provinces is quite daunting,” Aquino said, conveniently omitting the fact that things moved only when the foreign troops took charge of clearing the roads and
providing water and food, among others. Aquino said the Social Work Department workers “are tasked to provide something like 50,000 family food packs every two days; and this is a number that is still not hard, it might still grow. Family food pack is defined as enough sustenance for a family of five for two days”. Aquino denied having catastrophic death toll estimates of 10,000 in the worst-hit areas in Tacloban City alone. He said initial government estimates are about a couple of thousand dead. “Ten thousand, I think, is too much. And perhaps, that was also brought by being in the center of the destruction, being (in) actual (situation) there was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate quoting both a police official and a local government officials. They were too close to the incident. They didn’t have basis for it,” Aquino said. Aquino said that, “the figure right now I have is about 2,000 but this might still get higher. We are hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish the numbers especially for the missing”. “But so far, 2,000 to about 2,500 is the figure we are working on as far as deaths are concerned,” Aquino said. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares yesterday accused the Aquino administration of being too slow in its relief and rescue efforts in the typhoon-stricken areas in Visayas as it instead spends too much of its time in blaming the local government officials for the loss of lives and properties they have suffered. “All of us have to unite to deliver relief to the victims of Yolanda. It is not the time to pinpoint whether the fault lies with Malacañang or local officials,” said Colmenares. “However, media reports show that efforts of the national government are really quite slow and inefficient considering that six days have already passed since Yolanda struck. Relief goods have been pouring in since day
one but the victims have yet to get them. Billions have already been donated but funds given to the storm struck areas are coming in trickles. In fact private companies and individuals as well as NGOs are more efficient in giving help,” said the party-list solon. Meanwhile, militant teachers’ group, Alliance of Concerned Teachers lashed at Aquino for being inutile in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the country. “Five days after Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Central Philippines and the aid and assistance from the national government is yet to be received by the survivors,” said ACT secretary-general France Castro. “It is appalling to know that the national government under Aquino seems to be inutile in responding to the disaster faced by our By Ed Velasco and Paul Atienza http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/cnn‐s‐cooper‐scores‐noy‐gov‐t‐for‐slow‐ aid‐response
No basis to proclaim senatorial winners of 2013—AESwatch • •
Written by Tribune Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
The Commission on Elections, acting as the National Board of Canvassers, had no basis with which to proclaim the senators as winners in the May 13, 2013, a convenor of an election watchdog said, adding that the Comelec did not comply with the election law. In a presentation by Nelson Celis, Automated Election System (AES) Watch co-convener, in the 2nd Post Election Conference held at the Malcom Hall, College of law of the University of the Philippines he presented the technical and legal consequences of not utilizing the digital signatures in electronically transmitting election returns and certificate of canvass. Under RA 9369 Sec. 2 the digital signature was not defined. But, “secure communication channels,” “digitally signed” and “electronic
signaturesâ€? as provided in Republic Act No. 8792 â€?are used in RA 9369 SECTIONs 7, 22, 25 and 30. Celis said that under the said law, all electronic transmissions by and among the Automated Election System (AES) and its related components shall utilize secure communication channels as recommended by the eAdvisory Council to ensure authentication and integrity of transmission. Under Sec. 30, Celis said the manner of determining the authenticity and due execution of the certificates shall conform with the provisions of RA 7166 as maybe supplement or modified by the provision of the said act. However, in the last two elections, 2010 and 2013, the election returns transmitted electronically were not digitally signed as provided for by the law since it should be the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate. Under Sec. 25. the certificates of canvass transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for the proclamation of a winning candidate. The digital signature as explained by Celis, RA 8792, otherwise known as the e-Commerce Law, stated an electronic signature on the electronic documents should be equivalent to the signature of the person on a written document if that signature is proved by showing that a prescribed procedure, not alterable by the parties interested in the electronic document. Celis cited Rule 2 Sec. 1 of the Supreme Court that stated, digital signature refers to an electronic signature consisting of a transformation of an electronic document or an electronic data message using an asymmetric or public crypto system such that a person having the initial untransformed electronic document and the signerâ€™s public key. Digitally signed on the other hand refers to an electronic document or electronic data message bearing a digital signature verified by the public key listed in a certificate.
Further, an electronic signature or a digital signature authenticated in the manner prescribed hereunder is admissible in evidence as the functional equivalent of the signature of a person on a written document. Celis also noted the absence of the key pair in the elections which is a private key and its mathematically related public key such that the latter can verify the digital signature that the former creates. “Private Key refers to the key of a key pair used to create a digital signature and the public key refers to the key of a key pair used to verify a digital signature,” Celis stated. Because of the absence of the said safety features in the conduct of the automated elections in the 2010 and 2013 elections the election watchdogs is poised to write Congress, the Comelec, Advisory Council to use the Digital Certification Center of the Department of Science and Technology so the May 2016 elections will be equipped with the needed safety features to prevent an elected official chosen by th e machine. Also, Celis urged the Comelec to include digital signing in their 2014 Information System Strategic Plan and to budget its implementation for 2016 elections. Celis said the Comelec included digital signing in their 2009 TOR but Smartmatic just didn’t provide it for2010 and 2013elections. Also, the watchdogs wanted the Comelec to come up with IRR for RA9369 and policies and procedures in using digital signatures by 2014. The group likewise stated that digital signature which was ignored in the 2010 and 2013 elections should not be absent in the 2016 national elections. http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/no‐basis‐to‐proclaim‐senatorial‐winners‐ of‐2013‐aeswatch
Eight killed as mob storms rice warehouse • • •
Written by Tribune Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
Eight people were crushed to death as a huge crowd of typhoon survivors stormed a rice warehouse near the devastated city of Tacloban, an official said yesterday.
“One wall of our warehouses collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly,” Rex Estoperez, spokesman for the National Food Authority, the government’s rice trading agency, said. Police, soldiers and private security teams were guarding the storeroom in Alangalang town, 17 kilometers from Tacloban, but were overpowered by the crowd that carted off more than 100,000 bags of rice. “There must have been so many people to carry away so many bags of rice,” he said, adding that each bag weighed 50 kilos. “Our staff were there but they could not do anything without risking their safety.” The spokesman said 129,000 bags had been taken — 33,000 of which
were full of edible milled rice but 96,000 contained grain which could not be readily eaten. Estoperez said his agency believed looters were looking to profit by selling the grain. â€œSome people are really hungry but others just wanted to ransack for money,â€? he said, adding that the food authority was coordinating with the transport department and military to ensure that ships and trucks carrying rice would be properly guarded. The United Nations fears that 10,000 people may have died in Tacloban alone when Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded, smashed into the Philippinesâ€™ central islands on Friday. The typhoon left huge areas isolated and hundreds of thousands homeless and hungry, largely across Leyte island where Tacloban is the provincial capital. Overwhelmed and under-resourced rescue workers have been unable to provide enough food, water, medicines, shelter and other relief supplies to many survivors, and desperation has been building across the disaster zones. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone yesterday appealed authorities to send more police and troops to Eastern Samar to thwart incidents of looting and robbery. Eastern Samar is one of the provinces affected by super Typhoon Yolanda. Evardone noted that incidents of looting and robbery are growing in Eastern Samar four days after the typhoon that devastated large parts of Central Visayas. The lawmaker also appealed for relief goods like water, food, medicine and fuel. He said that the delivery of relief goods have been hampered because
of the scarcity of fuel. Also, thousands of people Wednesday jostled and begged for seats on scarce flights out of Tacloban city, which was demolished by a super typhoon, as anger at the slow pace of aid reaching the disaster zone turned deadly. On the rice looting, the NFA spokesman said: “One wall of our warehouses collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly” in Tuesday’s incident. Five days after Haiyan ripped apart entire coastal communities, the situation in Tacloban was becoming ever more dire with essential supplies low and increasingly desperate survivors jostling at the airport. “Everyone is panicking,” Captain Emily Chang, a navy doctor, told AFP. “They say there is no food, no water. They want to get of here,” she added, saying doctors at the airport had run out of medicine, including antibiotics. “We are examining everyone but there’s little we can do until more medical supplies arrive.” The United Nations estimates 10,000 people may have died in Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte province where 16-feet waves flattened nearly everything in their path as they swept hundreds of metres across the low-lying land. President Aquino, however, questioned the death estimates, saying that he believes that toll was “too much”, adding that 2,500 “is the figure we’re working on”. At Tacloban airport, AFP journalists witnessed exhausted and famished survivors pushing and shoving each other to get on one of the few flights out of the city, where festering bodies still littered many streets. Health Secretary Enrique Ona admitted authorities were struggling to deal with the sheer numbers of the dead. He told radio station DZMM they had “delayed” the retrieval of bodies “because we ran out of body bags”.
“We hope to speed it up when we get more body bags.” ‘We made it out, but now we may die from hunger’ “We have been here for three days and we still cannot get to fly out,” said a frail Angeline Conchas, who was waiting for space on a plane with her seven-year-old daughter Rogiel Ann. Her family was trapped on the second floor of their building as flood waters rose around them. They made their way to safety by clinging on to an electricity cable to move to a higher structure where they stayed until the waters subsided. “It is a good thing the electricity had already been cut off or we would have died,” Conchas said. “We made it out, but now we may die from hunger.” The UN estimates more than 11.3 million people have been affected with 673,000 made homeless, since Haiyan smashed into the nation’s central islands on Friday. Overwhelmed and under-resourced rescue workers have been unable to provide food, water, medicines, shelter and other relief supplies to many survivors, and desperation has been building across the disaster zones. On Tuesday UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos praised the international community’s reaction but said much more needed to be done in a disaster of such magnitude. The international relief effort is building momentum with many countries pledging help. The United States and Britain are sending warships carrying thousands of sailors to the Philippines. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which has 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft aboard, is heading from Hong Kong with five other US warships, while three amphibious vessels are also being deployed. The carrier group is expected to reach the Philippines later this week, the Pentagon said, bringing much needed supplies. But for a shattered population already in dire straits, any delay is too long.
“People are desperate because they have nothing in Tacloban,” Marco Boasso of the International Organization for Migration said. Hundreds of soldiers and police were patrolling the streets and manning checkpoints in Tacloban Wednesday to try to prevent pillaging. ‘It will be days, if not weeks, before we have a clear picture’ http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/eight‐killed‐as‐mob‐storms‐rice‐warehouse
More int’l aid pours in for ‘Yolanda’ victims • •
Written by Tribune Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
The international relief effort is building momentum with many countries pledging to help thousands of homeless people, without food and shelter in the Visayas. In Washington, President Barack Obama spoke to President Aquino Tuesday to express sorrow for the destruction left by super typhoon “Yolanda” and to coordinate US help. Obama expressed America’s “deep condolences for the lives lost and the damage caused” by the storm that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 people, his spokesman Jay Carney said. The President had ordered his administration to mount a “swift and coordinated response to save lives and provide assistance to alleviate suffering,” Carney told reporters. He said the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and several escort
ships had been dispatched to the Philippines. US Agency for International Development (USAID) was managing the American response, including food aid, and US armed forces were providing search and rescue operations and medical assistance, he added. “In the days ahead the United States will continue to work in the Philippines to deliver whatever help we can,” Carney said. Czech Republic chief envoy to Manila Josef Rychtar, meanwhile, said the Czech government has committed humanitarian assistance to the hapless victims of the super typhoon. “It is my pleasure to inform you that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic approved an emergency humanitarian assistance worth 4 million Czech Crowns for the Philippines due to the tragic consequences of the typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda),” Rychtar said. He added “a substantial number of Czech NGOs (non-government organizations) are helping with public collections and team send to the Philippines.” due to the tragic consequences of the typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda),” Rychtar said. He added “a substantial number of Czech NGOs (non-government organizations) are helping with public collections and team send to the Philippines.” “The total funds now reach to almost CZK15 million (approximately $750,000) and are still growing, thanks to the public outcry and growing solidarity among the Czechs toward the Filipinos,” Rychtar said. He added “the Czech Republic will follow closely the needs of the affected population with a view to further assistance during the subsequent recovery and reconstruction.” In Tokyo, Japan is ready to send as many as 1,000 troops to the Philippines to help with relief efforts, a defense ministry spokesman yesterday said.
The comments came a day after Tokyo dispatched 50 members of its SelfDefense Forces (SDF) to assist in medical support and transport operations following Manila’s request for assistance. Three naval ships and an unspecified number of aircraft would accompany the proposed contingent, Jiji Press news agency reported. “We will continue consulting with the Philippine government about the size of the deployment it may need,” the defense ministry official said. Their work would be focused on the devastated city of Tacloban, after one of the biggest storms in recorded history demolished entire communities across Visayas region. The Japanese earlier said they would supply $10 million in grant aid to provide evacuees with emergency shelters and other help through aid organizations. Taiwan has also extended its deepest sympathies and pledged $200,000 financial assistance to the country. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II also sent her “heartfelt condolences” to the victims of Yolanda. “I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and devastation caused by the typhoon that hit the Philippines at the weekend,” she said in a message sent to President Aquino. “Prince Philip joins me in offering our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families at this difficult time. “Our deepest sympathies go out to all those whose lives have been affected.” A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the monarch would contribute to Britain’s rescue appeal, which has raised £1.5 million ($2.4 million) in the 15 hours since it was launched last Tuesday. The government will match all donations up to £5 million, and on Monday announced it was sending a warship and transporter plane to help the relief operation.
The Department for International Development (DFID) later revealed that the first of Britain’s several aid flights had landed in the Philippines late Tuesday. A chartered Boeing 777 carrying 8,836 shelter kits landed in the city of Cebu, with food, water, medicines and other supplies to be delivered over the coming days and weeks. “UK humanitarian aid is now on the ground to be distributed urgently to the people who need it,” said International Development Secretary Justine Greening. “It will be followed rapidly by other basics like food and water purification kits, and the equipment needed to clear the way to get that aid to hard to reach communities.” Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that Beijing will be donating $100,000 (about P4.2 million) for victims of the typhoon. DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said “China has pledged to donate $100,000,” Hernandez confirmed to the Tribune in a text message. Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, for his part, yesterday assured the government has enough money to sustain the ongoing massive relief operations for the victims of Yolanda. During a briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Almendras said the Aquino government can sustain the relief requirement of more than six million people affected by Yolanda which “flattened” several areas in Eastern and Western Visayas regions. thtp://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/more‐int‐l‐aid‐pours‐in‐for‐yolanda‐victims
Agribusiness Posted on November 13, 2013 09:35:35 PM
Mindanao brews coffee congress KORONADAL ‐‐ Coffee growers and other industry stakeholders, in coordination with the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA‐12), will mount a Mindanao‐wide conference and trade exposition in General Santos City from Nov. 26 to 27. A FARMER dries coffee cherries in Amadeo, Cavite, in this Jan. 31, 2010 photo. Coffee growers farther south will meet this month for a conference and trade expo. ‐‐ AFP
Amalia J. Datukan, DA-12 director, said the event aims to help producers boost their production. The coffee congress will be private sector-led with assistance from the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council-12, she said. Coffee is one of the priority commodities under the DA’s High-Value Crops Development Program; hence, the attention to this commodity, Ms. Datukan said. Soccsksargen, or Region 12, has 25,117 hectares of land planted with coffee, cornering roughly 31% of the country’s total coffee output in 2011, she said. The region produced 28,502 metric tons of coffee beans in 2011, DA-12 data showed. The region includes the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato (also known as North Cotabato), Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, as well as the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, General Santos and Koronadal. Ms. Datukan said the congress will cover issues and concerns affecting the development of the coffee industry, not only in Central Mindanao but the whole archipelago. "Production is our main concern, so expect that the forum will be more on enhancement of technologies," she said. Aside from technical inputs through resource persons’ lectures, there will be showcases of coffee products and coffee concoctions, Ms. Datukan said, as well as competition among coffee baristas. In August and earlier this month, DA-12 and farmer stakeholders also held industry events on banana and rubber. -- Louie O. Pacardo
Agribusiness Posted on November 13, 2013 09:45:55 PM
Instability threatens Gulf food security DUBAI ‐‐ Instability in Egypt and Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz are serious risks to food security in the Gulf, according to a report by a British think tank. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries depend on imports for 80%‐90% of their food, and most of it has to be brought in through two shipping routes that could close due to regional conflicts or political pressure, London‐based Chatham House warned. With over 80% of the Gulf’s wheat coming through the Suez Canal and 80% of its rice supply brought in through the Strait of Hormuz, the most vulnerable countries are the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, the study said. Iran threatened in 2012 to block the Strait of Hormuz if it came under attack as tensions rose with the West last year over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. Political instability in Egypt has raised concerns over the safety of commercial shipping through the Suez Canal over the last two years. Egypt has faced a string of militant attacks in the lawless North Sinai region to the east of the canal after the army overthrew the country’s first elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3. "All the Gulf countries’ imports from North America, South America, Europe and the Black Sea must pass through the Suez Canal, which militants recently tried to close by firing rocket‐propelled grenades at a container ship," report author Rob Bailey said. "Were Suez to close, imports would have to be rerouted round the Cape of Good Hope. But were regional conflict to close both Suez and the Strait of Hormuz, then Gulf governments could face real difficulties getting enough food into their countries." Because of their reliance on two supply routes to feed their booming populations, most GCC members have their own reserves, but talk of a regional tie‐ up of stockpiles has been going on for years with little real progress. Chatham House said GCC governments could hedge against supply disruption by building strategic storage facilities and improving ports on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia and Indian Ocean coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. Food could then be transported by rail, it said. It is practically impossible for the countries to become self‐sufficient in food, the report said. The GCC members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ‐‐ Reuters
Crop losses reach P7 b By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:01am
Super typhoon Yolanda caused P 6.87 billion damage to the farm sector, the Agriculture department said on Wednesday. Damaged areas reached 134,085 hectares of which 56,294 hectares were beyond repair, it said. A total of 81,056 hectares of rice suffered damage, causing production loss of 137,225 metric tons valued at P 2.23 billion. Yolanda also destroyed 31,189 hectares of coconut stands, with P1.5 billion foregone. Fisheries sector incurred losses of P 1.159 billion while damage to irrigation and facilities was at P1.015 billion. Damage to corn reached P 117.4 million, cassava at P 94.3 million, and high value crops at P 84. 19 million. The agency reiterated that it was ready to assist farmers and fishermen affected by the typhoon. “ The uprooted coconut trees will be cut and can be used as coco lumber,” said DA Undersecretary Emerson Palad. Replacement seeds for rice and high-value crop farmers will be provided, Palad said. Food items will also be moved from production areas to typhoon-ravaged places by utilizing DA-supported Barangay Food Terminals and LGU food training centers. “A BFAR boat which is a 1,200 tonner with a storage capacity of 300 metric tons will be delivering rice, poultry, fish and eggs to the affected areas,” he said. The vessel is currently in Ozamis City and will go to Tacloban and then to Surigao to load supply before going back proceed to Ormoc.” Three vans of BFAR from Manila and Baguio will also deliver frozen chicken, potatoes and other vegetables to Tacloban and nearby areas. As typhoon Yolanda destroyed fishing boats in the Visayas region, BFAR will also construct and distribute 1,300 fishing boats. It will also give 4,000 fishing nets, and 200 payaws to the affected municipal fishermen.
Agribusiness Posted on November 13, 2013 09:43:15 PM
EU Commission renews bid to unblock GMO crop approvals BRUSSELS ‐‐ The European Commission proposed last week that governments approve only the third ever genetically modified crop for cultivation in Europe, but took steps to avert an expected backlash from France and other genetically modified organism (GMO) opponents. The proposal covers an insect‐resistant maize developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical which, if approved, would end Monsanto’s current monopoly in Europe’s tiny market for GMO crops. The Commission said it was "duty‐bound" to make the proposal after Europe’s second highest court in September censured the European Union (EU) executive for lengthy delays in the approval process, first launched back in 2001. EU governments now have three months to vote on the issue. The plan is likely to face strong opposition from France, as well as Austria, Italy and other countries that have previously banned the growing of GMO crops. But with Britain, Spain and Sweden expected to back the proposal, there may be little that opponents can do to prevent approval. Under EU rules applying to the application, the Commission is obliged to approve cultivation unless a weighted majority of governments vote against it. Seeking to head off criticism from anti‐GMO governments and campaigners, the Commission called for the restart of stalled talks on draft EU rules to allow member states to decide individually whether to ban or restrict GMO cultivation. That would enable countries to prevent farmers from growing GMO crops even if they had been approved for cultivation at EU level, provided they do not use environmental or health reasons to justify the restrictions. EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said he hoped the draft legislation would be discussed at the next meeting of EU environment ministers in December, but EU officials said the issue was not currently on the meeting agenda.
Mr. Borg also hinted that Wednesday’s move would not lead to a rush of similar cultivation approval proposals from the Commission, despite a backlog of six applications currently awaiting a decision. "I know that this is a controversial subject, and that therefore one does not rush into areas where angels fear to tread," he told a news briefing in Brussels. MONSANTO CHALLENGE Only two GMO crops are currently approved for cultivation in the European Union. Monsanto’s insect‐ resistant maize ‐‐ known as MON810 ‐‐ is the only one grown commercially and was sown on around 130,000 hectares in 2012, mostly in Spain. That compares with about 100 GMO varieties approved elsewhere in the world, with global cultivation estimated to cover some 170 million hectares in 2012. The maize variety covered by Wednesday’s proposal is known as 1507 and is sold outside Europe under the Herculex brand name. Like MON810, the plant has been modified to produce its own insecticide against the European corn borer. If the product is approved it is unlikely to lead to an overall expansion in GMO cultivation in Europe but could challenge sales of MON810, particularly in Europe’s biggest market, Spain. Since the cultivation request was first lodged in 2001, the EU’s food safety watchdog EFSA has delivered six positive scientific safety assessments on 1507. Environmental campaigners say the Commission has failed to fully address concerns over the impact of the insecticide‐producing crop on butterflies and other pollinators, despite requiring companies selling the crop to monitor its impact on "non‐target" insects. "The Commission is ignoring very real concerns about the harmful impacts of GM maize 1507 on butterflies, which are essential pollinators, as well as the risks of cross‐contamination of conventional and organic crops," said French anti‐GMO campaigner and Green MEP Jose Bove. In a separate decision on Nov. 6, the Commission granted import approval for three GMO maize varieties for use in food and feed after EU governments failed to reach a decision. ‐‐ Reuters
Agribusiness Posted on November 13, 2013 09:38:00 PM
Cuba rolls out master plan for food production and distribution HAVANA ‐‐ Cuba rolled out a master plan this week to reform food production and sales that definitively ends the state’s monopoly on distribution and replaces many rules that hamper farmers and consumers. A WOMAN waits for customers as she sells ripe bananas from a nearby farm from a window of her home on the outskirts of Havana in this Nov. 8 photo. Cuba’s new food plan definitively ends the state’s monopoly on distribution and replaces many rules that hamper farmers and consumers. ‐‐ Reuters
A decree, which puts the management of most food distribution in non-state hands, will be applied on an experimental basis in Havana and the adjoining provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque before going nationwide, beginning in 2015. With the country importing around 60% of its food and private farmers outperforming state farms on a fraction of the land, authorities are gradually deregulating the sector and leasing fallow land to would-be farmers. It is slow going, with farm output up just a few percentage points since President Raul Castro, who replaced his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, began agricultural reforms as part of a broader effort to "modernize" the Soviet-style economy. Many aspects of the new law bring together reforms already in place or activities that have spontaneously developed and been tolerated by authorities even if technically illegal, including the renting and selling of trucks to farmers and allowing them to contract private hauling of crops instead of relying on the state. The decree allows farmers, cooperatives and state farms to sell produce in any quantity and to anyone they please after meeting state contracts, instead of being mired in regulations as to how much they can sell, to whom and how. Large consumers, including state entities and private eateries, can purchase produce wholesale from private farms and cooperatives, instead of just the state. According to the law, published in the official Gazeta on Wednesday, state-run wholesale markets will be leased to cooperatives, and most state retail markets will be leased to farm and non-farm cooperatives and licenses issued to individuals to sell produce. BOON TO PRIVATE SECTOR The new system still sets prices for a few basics such as rice and beans, prioritizes state contracts (54% of output last year) and prohibits the sale of a few export crops such as tobacco and coffee,
but by and large represents a big step toward allowing market forces to govern production and prices. "This very important initiative fulfills the government’s commitment to facilitating wholesale markets for fruits and vegetables as the private sector has petitioned," said Richard Feinberg, whose new study, "Soft Landing in Cuba? Emerging Entrepreneurs and Middle Classes," was released this week by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution. "Remarkably, it provides space for private businesses to both produce and market foodstuffs in wholesale quantities, in open and healthy competition with the state," he said. Cuban farmers and consumers have long complained that the state’s monopoly on food sales is a disincentive to production, inefficient and leads to waste and poor quality produce. "Many times we do not produce all that we can for fear we will have nowhere to sell it," said farmer Diogenes Telles, in a phone interview from central Camaguey province. "Now, nothing will rot in the fields because the state doesn’t pick it up. If we have the security that all we produce we can sell, of course we are going to produce more," he said. Cuban economists and farmers have argued for years that the state should get out of assigning farm supplies and equipment to farmers in exchange for contracted food and let those who till the land purchase what they need based on their success and thus purchasing power, something not addressed in the law. Roberto Perez, the member of the Communist Party reform commission in charge of agriculture, told the state-run media this week that a pilot project to sell supplies to farmers was already under way in the special municipality of the Isla de la Juventud. "With the measures that are being taken and those that will be implemented we will have an agricultural sector closer to what we need," the official media quoted him as stating. -- Reuters
Meeting expectations through agriculture November 13, 2013 7:30 pm As the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) celebrates its 56th anniversary this year, the question asked is: Has the industry successfully met its main objective some 50 years after its creation? Admittedly, in spite of the presence of rural banks in most rural communities and their best efforts to reach out to the poor sector, many Filipinos are still left unbanked. But that is not to say that rural banks have not been doing their jobs. In fact, in more than 60 percent of areas nationwide where they are located, rural banks are the only financial institutions that service the financial needs of the people. This shows that rural banks are socially and economically significant niche players in the Philippine banking system. The rural banking industry remains an important cog in the Philippine financial system, especially in rural communities. One of the sectors the industry is continuously working with to help improve the plight of the poor at the grassroots level is agriculture, which accounts for a fifth of the countryâ€™s total domestic economy. RBAP and the Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP) are currently in the midst of a joint effort to share to the rest of the rural banking industry the best practices in agricultural lending, through a series of regional workshops. The AGFP, a Department of Agriculture (DA)-led program with Land Bank of the Philippines as Institutional Manager, was created in 2008 to mitigate risks in agricultural lending, thereby facilitating the provision of credit to the agricultural sector. By providing guarantees to unsecured loans made by lending institutions to small farmers and fisher folk for their food production, the program facilitates the flow of formal credit to farming households in the rural areas. By 2014, RBAP and the DA target to reach out to at least 40 percent of the RBAP membership through these workshops about the importance and success of these practices. For the past five years, AGFP was able to provide a guarantee cover of P4.5 billion in loans for agricultural production to its partner-rural banks, representing more than a quarter of our total five year cumulative coverage of P17.4 billion. These involved 110,473 loan transactions benefiting almost 72,000 small farmers and fisher folk. As of September 2013, the program has guaranteed almost P1 billion in agricultural production loans to more than 16,500 small farmers and fisher folk in partnership with rural banks, and paid claims of P92 million. Overall, the future looks bright for the industry even as the need for additional capital increases and competition from other financial institutions, formal or informal, remains.
The passage of the rural bank foreign equity law and the incentives offered to prospective white knights under the Strengthening Program for Rural Bank Plus of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will address the industry’s financial concerns, as well as enable rural banks to achieve economies of scale, attract more skills into their fold, and reduce risk through diversification of their products and services. Diversification of their products will deepen the relationship between banks and clients, and ensure that the bank branches are relevant to the specific needs of their market.