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PhilRice recommends drought-tolerant rice varieties By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is urging farmers to plant drought-tolerant rice varieties during the wet cropping season as a precaution for the dry spell that may be experienced in the third quarter of the year. Citing the latest advisory by the weather bureau, PhilRice said the El Nino phenomenon is expected to occur in the last quarter of 2014 until the first quarter of 2015. The state-run rice research agency, therefore, recommends the use of early maturing and drought tolerant varieties for the wet cropping season that begins in June and ends before the fourth quarter of the year. Early maturing varieties can be harvested before the onset of the dry season, minimizing crop damage. PhilRice recommends the use of the PSB Rc10 (Pagsanjan) variety for irrigated lowlands. Farmers may also plant PSB Rc134 (Tubigan 4) and PSB Rc160 (Tubigan 14). For rainfed lowlands, varieties such as NSIC Rc192 (Sahod Ulan 1), PSB Rc14 (Rio Grande), and PSB Rc68 (Sacobia) may be used. “These varieties are also known for their drought-tolerant properties, preferable in areas where El Niño is expected to hit worst,” said PhilRice breeder Dr Nenita Desamero. “With droughttolerant varieties, rice could still thrive even with limitations in water supply.” Other drought-tolerant varieties suitable for rainfed lowlands include the NSIC Rc272 (Sahod Ulan 2), NSIC Rc274 (Sahod Ulan 3), NSIC Rc276 (Sahod Ulan 4), NSIC Rc278 (Sahod Ulan 5), NSIC Rc280 (Sahod Ulan 6), NSIC Rc282 (Sahod Ulan 7), NSIC Rc284 (Sahod Ulan 8),

NSIC Rc286 (Sahod Ulan 9), NSIC Rc288 (Sahod Ulan 10), NSIC Rc346 (Sahod Ulan 11), and NSIC Rc348 (Sahod Ulan 12). Some of these varieties are early-maturing and have a maximum yield potential of up to 6.7 tons per hectare. For upland environment, PhilRIce recommends the use of varieties such as the PSB Rc80 (Pasig), PSB Rc9 (Apo), and PSB Rc23 (Katihan 1). The seed varieties may be provided by PhilRice which is headquartered in Nueva Ecija. More information may be gained by contacting the PhilRice Text Center at 09209111398. “PhilRice is ready and united to provide the needed support to mitigate the negative impacts of this extreme climate event on the livelihood of our farmers,” said PhilRIce executive director Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr. Pagasa’s El Niño vulnerability map for rice lists among the provinces likely to suffer from the dry spell are Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, and some areas in Mindanao.

Gov’t urged to solve coconut infestation By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The chairman of the House appropriations committee is asking concerned government agencies to immediately find a solution to the alarming coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation in order to prevent the collapse of the coconut industry in Southern Luzon and in Visayas and Mindanao. In Resolution 1085, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab urged the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Departments of Agriculture (DA) and Science and Technology (DOST) to prevent the spread of the scale insects. He said the spread of the deadly scale insects “threatens the livelihood of 325,516 coconut farmers and their families, and the economy of coconutproducing communities.” “The PCA, DA and DOST should immediately provide solutions to combat the infestation. Scientists believe the increase of these new species of scale insects and their rapid spread in coconut plantations, could reach the whole of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” said Ungab, a graduate of agricultural economics from UP-Los Baños in Laguna. Ungab said satellite images shown to him indicate massive and invasive insect infestation of coconut plants in several parts of Southern Luzon. “Immediate solutions must be implemented to prevent the total collapse of the coconut industry in Quezon and nearby provinces, Bicol region and some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao,” he said. The lawmaker said scale insects are small parasites found in coconut leaves, fruits and petioles. “The insects excrete thick sooty molds that grow on the coconut honeydew covering the underside of the coconut leaves, suffocating and preventing them from producing food for the tree and siphons off the sap causing the yellowing, wilting and premature nut fall, and even killing the coconut trees,” he said. He urged the House to pass his resolution so the concerned agencies could attend to the problem. In another resolution, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte called for preserving billions in coconut levy funds and assets, including the sequestered United Coconut Planters Bank. Belmonte said he learned of certain financial irregularities in the bank that he wants the House good government committee to look into. He said one of these irregularities is the payment of huge amounts to a law firm in which one bank director is a partner. “There is a conflict of interest and ethical issue in this arrangement,” he said.

CARP beneficiaries shift to organic farming By Rhodina J. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am googleplus MANILA, Philippines - Some 200 farmer-beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) have turned to organic farming after they underwent training organized by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). According to DAR Secretary Virgilio De Los Reyes, the training seeks to expand organicallygrown rice and other crops because “natural farming is not only healthier for us to consume but it is also safe for the environment. Plus, it is cheaper for farmers because it uses natural materials for fertilizers and most importantly, the yield is much bigger.” Under the DAR’s Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services or ARCESS, the department tapped two farmers’ organizations namely, the Sta. Maria Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative (SMARCC) and the Mina de Oro Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multipurpose Cooperative (MAREBEMCO) in Oriental Mindoro, whose farmermembers were trained on organic rice farming and composting. Regional director Homer Tobias said that to show and convince the farmers that going organic is better than conventional farming, “We established four demo farms and provided a team of crop specialist to teach the farmers the skills and know-how in the natural ways of farming without harming the environment and without health hazards to farmers, crops and its yield.” Crop specialist Dr. Rafael Barroso said that the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has greatly degraded the rural environment. Farmlands are poisoned due to the accumulation of chemicals in the soil. “Studies we have made also show that using chemicals has increased the incidence of pests and animal diseases which results in low crop production. It also affects the health of farmers and consumers because the chemicals used in farming leaves harmful residues on agri products,” said Barroso. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 He added, “But aside from the health reasons that we have mentioned, the best benefit that the farmers get in growing organic crops is the yield. We have proven through our demo farms that yield will increase when we harvested 100 cavans of organic rice instead of the expected 80 cavans. “And this is just the first cropping. As the soil gets healthier thru organic farming, the continued practice of organic farming will further increase yield to 20 percent more,” said Barroso.

Tobias said that the DAR thru ARCCESS partnered with agencies like the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Labor and Employment, Strategic Intervention and Community-focused Action towards Development and the Department of Trade and Industry, to train farmers in product development and entrepreneurship so that they could sell their harvested organic rice. “Aside from organic farming, we also trained them on basic business techniques so they can properly manage their produce as it goes out in the market,” he said. Tobias added, “We call these line agencies as service providers. The DAR and these service providers will help link our farmers to bigger markets.”

DA turns over P81-M rice, irrigation facilities By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently turned over P81 millionworth of rice processing and irrigation facilities in the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur. Turned over to the Agusanon Para sa Bagong Pilipino, Inc. (Agus Pinoy) farmers’ cooperative in Purok Sunrise, municipality of Talacogon in Agusan del Sur is a P7.3- million rice mill and parboiling plant. The facilities would service the rice processing requirements of 1, 500 farmers in the area. Parboiling is the precooking of rice while still in the husk to improve the nutritional value of the grain. Two farmers’ cooperatives in Barangay Calagdaan, Cantilan and Patong-patong, Madrid in Surigao del Sur, meanwhile, received a rice processing center (RPC) each with a combined value of P30.5 million. The milling component of both RPCs is capable of processing 1.2 million tons of palay (unhusked rice) per hour. Both also have drying and storage components. The RPCs would serve the processing needs of 3,000 farmers belonging to the Pabantaba Association in the municipality of Madrid and the Tuyake Pederoid Domoyog Irrigators Association in Cantilan. The cooperatives work on a combined 5,000 hectares of rice lands Turned over to Barangay Nueva Era in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur is a pump irrigation project valued at P43.3 million which would service 600 hectares of arable land in Nueva Era and adjoining barangays which are tilled by 1,000 farmers. The grant of more rice processing and irrigation facilities to qualified farmers’ cooperatives is in line with the DA’s continued goal of attaining self-sufficiency in domestic rice supply by the end of the current administration’s term. Attaining rice self-sufficiency could be done specifically through increased mechanization which leads to lower post harvest losses and better quality of produce. The government is instilling good agricultural practices among rice farmers to enable the rice industry to compete with other producers in Southeast Asia when the economies of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are integrated into a single market economy by 2015.

Pamalakaya doubts Jica’s plan will address Metro Manila woes Category: Economy   31 May 2014   Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga   THE  Pambansang  Lakas  ng  Kilusang  Mamamalakaya  ng  Pilipinas  (Pamalakaya)  is  skeptical  of  the  development  plan  proposed  by  the  Japan  International  Cooperation  Agency  (Jica)  for  the  National  Capital  Region  (NCR),  Central  Luzon  and  Southern  Tagalog  to  solve  traffic,  infrastructure  and  housing  problems.  In  fact,  Pamalakaya  Vice  Chairman  Salvador  France  said  the  Jica  study  titled  “Roadmap  for  Transport  Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its surrounding areas” is “a recipe for destruction” and “will  not bring genuine development” to millions people in the NCR, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.  France said the Jica proposal is “bereft of any genuine land reform, negates free land distribution and  does  not  entail  national  industrialization”  which  he  said,  are  “sound  fundamentals  to  ease  congestion  and address the housing problems in Metro Manila.  “This dream plan of Jica is actually a recipe for destruction. It denationalizes everything in the name of  capital  accumulation  and  exploitation.  The  Tokyo  technical  agency  intentionally  did  not  prescribe  thoroughgoing land reform and economic nationalization to keep modern‐day slavery in our midst,”  he said.  The  study,  conducted  from  March  to  December  2013,  recommended  public  and  private  sector  investments of up to $57.3 billion through 2030 to realize the overall impact encapsuled in five “Nos”— “No traffic congestion, no excessive transport cost burden for low income groups, no households living  in high‐hazard risk areas, no barriers for seamless mobility of people, and no air pollution” in the Mega  Manila area.  But  France  noted  that  it  was  Jica  that  prescribed  the  export‐bane  industrialization  program  of  the  Marcos regime in the 1970s.  “It  is  the  same  think  tank  group  that  deluged  succeeding  regimes  with  the  same  prescription  on  privatization,  deregulation  and  liberalization.  Four  decades  after,  where  are  we  now?  We  are  still  languishing  in  the  jails  of  economic  prisons  due  to  absence  of  genuine  land  reform  and  national  industrialization,” France added.  Jica’s development plan calls for the rehabilitation of major roads like the 23‐kilometer Epifanio de los  Santos Avenue, development of secondary roads; and completion of the so‐called missing links, which 

refer to flyovers, interchanges and bridges and completion of the North Luzon Expressway and South  Luzon Expressway connection to cite a few.  The  plan  also  pitches  call  for  the  development  of  a  new  international  airport  to  replace  the  Ninoy  Aquino  International  Airport,  which  Jica  maintained  can  be  closed  and  converted  into  a  business  district.  Jica said about 500,000 people live in “high‐hazard risk areas” in Metro Manila and 1.4 million people in similar  areas in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. On the other hand, about 700,000 people reside in “moderate‐ hazard risk areas” in the NCR and 1.8 million people in similar communities in Regions 3 and 4A.  The agency also reported that there was a “backlog of 800,000 housing units in Metro Manila,” and the  “need to resettle 300,000 additional households,” including squatter families.  It  proposed  that  squatters  living  in  high‐risk  areas  and  those  who  need  affordable  housing  can  be  accommodated  in  “planned  new  urban  areas  with  good  accessibility  and  living  environment”  in  the  provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna. 

“The Jica paper instead of advising the Philippines government to ensure genuine land reform and pursue a patriotic path toward economic nationalization is prescribing the outright displacement of nearly 2 million Filipino families through the grand sell out spurred by this Marshal Plan for Greater Capital Region,” France said.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures unit buys Vietnamese feeds firm Category: Economy   31 May 2014   Written by Roderick Abad   AS part of the expansion of its feeds business and entry into the Vietnamese market, a subsidiary of  Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) is acquiring an aqua‐feed producer from Vinh Hoan Corp. (VHC) for  $28 million.  AEV’s Singapore‐based unit Pilmico International Pte. Ltd. (Pilmico International) has executed a Share  Sale and Purchase with VHC to initially acquire a 70‐percent equity stake in Vinh Hoan 1 Feed JSC  set for  closure in July 2014.  Equivalent to 21 million shares, each is priced at $0.93, or a total of $19.53 million.  As per the pact, Pilmico International will then buy the remaining 30 percent within five years at a pre‐ agreed  price.       “We are delighted to have this opportunity to expand our feed business and to enter Vietnam with  such  a  strong  and  well‐respected  partner  as  VHC,”  said  Sabin  Aboitiz,  president  and  chief  executive  officer of Pilmico Foods Corp., AEV’s food subsidiary.  For his part, VHC Chairman Truong Thi Le Khanh noted: “Pilmico is a highly reputable feed producer and  we look forward to working closely with Pilmico in the future.”  He  added  that  VHC  and  Pilmico  are  set  to  conduct  a  joint  research  in  feed  formulation  so  as  to  produce the highest quality products to their customers globally.  Business Development Asia (HK)  Ltd.  acted as financial advisor for the deal as Honor Partnership Law  Co. Ltd. served as legal advisor to VHC.  For Pilmico, Indochina Capital Corp. acted as financial advisor and Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. served  as legal advisor. 

Roderick Abad

400,000 ha. of ‘CARPable’ lands still not covered by program–TFM Category: Regions   31 May 2014   Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga   A ROUND 400,000 hectares of agricultural lands supposed to be covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian  Reform Program‐Extension with Reform (CARPer) have not been issued their notice of coverage (NOC)  by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).  This was stressed on Friday by the Task Force Mapalad (TFM) as it reiterated its call to President  Aquino to take over the CARPer’s implementation of the government’s land‐transfer program.  “Contrary to the DAR’s claim that it is proceeding quickly with the NOC issuance, the agency’s own data  show otherwise, as there are still almost 400,000 hectares of farmlands that have not yet been issued  NOCs,” TFM President Alberto Jayme said.  Based  on  data  obtained  by  the  TFM  from  the  DAR  as  of  December  2013,  there  are  still  more  than  396,000 hectares covering some 47,800 landholdings that have not yet been issued NOCs, he said.  Of  the  total  landholdings  without  NOC,  43  percent,  or  about  170,400  hectares,  are  still  undergoing  research; 22 percent, or more than 87,000 hectares, remain under preocular inspection; 11 percent, or  close to 49,000 hectares, await NOC service; and the rest, about 4 percent or 16,000 hectares, are under  the DAR’s project landholding on land‐classification map.  He  said  the  issuance  of  the  NOC  “is  the  first  major  critical  step”  in  the  process  of  acquiring  and  distributing lands to farmer‐beneficiaries.  “The issuance of the NOC will ensure that the landholding will be subject to Section 30 or Republic Act  9700  or  the  CARPer  law.  The  said  section  of  the  law  provides  that  the  DAR  can  continue  the  acquisition  and  distribution  of  landholdings  even  beyond  2014,  the  ending  year  for  the  extended  CARP‐funding period,” the TFM president said.  Jayme  said  that  if  an  NOC  is  not  issued,  a  landholding  can  never  be  processed  for  acquisition  and  distribution  to  its  farmer‐beneficiaries  and,  thus,  “will  remain  under  the  control  of  its  present  landowner, thereby defeating the CARPer’s land‐to‐the‐tiller objective.”  TFM  urged  the  DAR  officials  to  be  transparent  in  its  reporting  to  the  public  of  the  details  of  its  land  acquisition and distribution process, especially on the issuance of the NOC. 

The group  had  accused  the  DAR  of  keeping  farmers  in  the  dark  about  the  true  state  of  CARPer  implementation.  “The  transparent,  complete  and  objective  reporting  both  of  its  accomplishments  and  perennial  underperformance will banish beliefs that it is aiding recalcitrant and influential landlords in evading  CARPer,” Jayme said.  The TFM cited the case of landless tillers in Mindanao. Based on initial data gathered by the Alliance of  Land Rights Movement in Mindanao (Alarm‐Mindanao), there are about 10,000 hectares of agricultural  lands that have not yet been issued NOCs. The landholdings without NOCs include the 590‐hectare Ayala  farmland in Davao del Sur; 845 hectares owned by Sodaco (Consunji) in Davao provinces; 764 hectares  owned by NAIDCOR‐Cojuangco in Agusan del Sur; 111 hectares owned by Lapanday Group of Companies  in Davao City; and the 1,178 hectares of untitled lands claimed by the Fortich family in Bukidnon.  In  Negros  Occidental,  preliminary  data  gathered  by  the  TFM  showed  that  there  are  over  128,000  hectares  of  agricultural  landholdings  covering  188  haciendas  in  12  municipalities  that  remain  without  NOCs.  In  February  this  year,  DAR  Undersecretary  for  Field  Operations  Jose  Grageda  was  quoted  in  news  reports  as  saying  that  the  issuance  of  NOC  for  landholdings  under  compulsory  acquisition  “was  proceeding apace.”  Moreover,  reports  quoted  the  DAR  as  saying  that  it  had  begun  fast‐tracking  preliminary  work  that  resulted in the issuance of NOCs starting in 2012.  “But  its  own  data  are  a  clear  proof  its  sluggish  performance  and  the  high  probability  of  breaking  the  commitment of President Aquino that the CARPer’s land acquisition and distribution [LAD] component  will be completed before his term ends in June 2016,” Jayme said.  As  of  December  2013,  the  DAR  is  still  left  with  a  LAD  backlog  of  771,995  hectares.  The  January  2014  LAD  accomplishment only stood at 26,400 hectares.  Minus the March 2014 accomplishment of 26,400 hectares, this means that in the last 27 months of P‐ Noy’s  term  from  April  2014  to  June  2016,  the  DAR  has  to  acquire  and  distribute  close  to  508,000  hectares or about 253,000 hectares per year in the last two years of the Aquino administration, Jayme  said.  But based on the agency’s data, the DAR’s average yearly LAD accomplishment from 2010 to 2013 never  reached 150,000 hectares, and only stood at nearly 114,000 hectares.

Villar pushes farm tourism (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am

Villar at the Farm Tourism confab. MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines’s emerging farm tourism sector got a major push as a driver of inclusive economic growth in the Farm Tourism Conference held recently in Daet, Camarines Norte. Guest speaker Sen. Cynthia Villar noted that farm tourism is one of the country’s sunshine industries which could be exploited because of the agricultural nature of the Philippine economy. However, Villar acknowledged that farmers and fisherfolk need to diversify and supplement their agricultural incomes, and farm tourism is one creative strategy to achieve this goal. As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Villar is working for the passage of vital legislation and amendments to existing laws to complement this growing subsector of the tourism industry. Organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and the province of Camarines Norte and supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the three-day confab put the spotlight on the unique fusion of agriculture and tourism. For her part, ISST president and project director Dr. Mina Gabor said that farm camps focus on low-impact travel and empowers local communities socially and economically. “Farm Tourism attracts visitors and travelers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes that encourages economic activity to provide farm and community income,” she said. The former tourism secretary also noted that it involves the community and its benefits should be distributed to stakeholders to ensure sustainable tourism and inclusive development. The gathering showcased the successful farm camps across the country such as the Sunflower Farms in Ligao City, Albay; Rapha Valley in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental;

Dragon Fruit Farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte; Dasoland in Dasol, Pangasinan; and the Disneyworld of Farming Systems of The Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center Foundation Inc. in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, among others. Gabor said the confab also underscored that the integration of tourism and farming allows more efficient resource utilization which could provide jobs, increase income, business opportunities and reduce urban migration. The ISST plans to hold the homestays of the World Summit later this year which is another potential sector in the tourism industry which could benefit people at the community level. The Farm Tourism Conference is in line with the theme of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for this year, “Tourism and Community Development” which underscores tourism’s vital role in spreading its economic fruits to the grassroots. The UN has declared 2014 as a celebration of “Family Farming” while the UNWTO has its annual theme “Tourism and Community Development” giving importance to small- and medium-scale farming and its contribution to local economies. The gathering was attended by local government executives, municipal tourism and agricultural officers, barangay officials, entrepreneurs, and community stakeholders from various provinces which have potentials in agriculture- and rural-based tourism. Supporting government agencies were the municipal government of Daet, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology, and the University of the Philippines-Los Baños. Corporate supporters were East West Seed Co. and Planters Products.

Cloud seeding fails to raise Angat Dam’s water level By Dino Balabo (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am 0 16 googleplus0 0 MALOLOS CITY, Philippines – Despite continuous cloud seeding operations and heavy rains, the wa™ter level at the Angat Dam in Bulacan continued to drop in the past five days. Records show that the water level at the dam dropped to 174.29 meters at 6 a.m. yesterday, lower by .54 meter compared to the 174.83 meters recorded on Friday. Friday’s water level dropped by .53 meter compared to Thursday’s 175.36 meters, which dropped by .40 from 175.76 meter on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the dam’s water level was 176.03 meters, which dropped by .23 meter from Monday’s 176.26. Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant (ARHEPP), said cloud seeding operation over Angat Dam has completed about 25-flight hours. German said cloud seeding operation combined with late afternoon thunderstorms failed to improve the water level at Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water needs. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 German said increased allocation to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System concessionaires was one of the causes of the rapid drop in the water level. However, he said that water allocation to MWSS would be back to 41 cubic meters tomorrow.‐seeding‐fails‐raise‐angat‐dams‐water‐ level        

DPWH wants developers to install retarding ponds By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Subdivision developers should install their own retarding ponds to prevent flooding, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson said. In a recent roundtable discussion with STAR editors and reporters, Singson reminded local government officials to require developers of subdivisions to include the installation of retarding ponds in their design plans. He believes that the developers could build a retarding pond in a lot measuring one or two hectares and then cover up the structure with a garden or other adornments. By doing so they would not only beautify their area, but they would also prevent floods, he said. When asked how the local mayors responded to his appeal, Singson said they have been very receptive. “I told the mayors that you can do local ordinances so that no subdivision developer can directly discharge their water pipes into the existing bodies of water. That (direct discharge of floodwater) should already be prohibited,” Singson said. “The drainage in the streets was designed to take care of the streets, they were not designed to catch water coming from the subdivisions,” he added. The DPWH secretary said he is trying to prevent a scenario similar to Cavite, where what was once farmland had been turned into subdivisions. The rainwater from these private residential areas end up in Imus River or in the open drainage canal, causing floods in Imus and Bacoor.‐wants‐developers‐install‐retarding‐ponds            

Inflation to remain major focus of BSP policy moves Category: Top News   31 May 2014   Written by Bianca Cuaresma   AFTER some statements in the past that many interpreted as hawkish, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)  Governor  Armando  M.  Tetangco  Jr.  sought  to  clarify  matters  by  explaining  the  “principles”  behind  a  potential  rate  increase,  saying  that  inflation—which  has  moved  toward  a  higher  path  in  the  past  months—would still be the major focus of any possible policy action this year.  In  a  recent  speaking  engagement,  Tetangco  reiterated  the  BSP’s  readiness  to  “deploy  appropriate  measures” to maintain a “non‐inflationary growth” in the country.  The BSP is known to drop “hints” to the market as a form of guidance to its plans on monetary policy  and macroprudential environment.  In Tetangco’s statements on May’s inflation forecast and on the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of  the  country  in  the  first  quarter,  the  governor  put  emphasis  on  the  central  bank’s  readiness  to  tweak  policies—a  move  that  was  interpreted  by  several  market  analysts  as  hawkish  hints  favoring  policy  adjustments in the near future.  “I know that many of you are aching to find out when the BSP is going to raise its policy rates.  No one  has  a  crystal  ball,  even  Nostradamus  missed.   Instead  of  giving  you  a  day  and  date,  let  me  give  you  principles,” Tetangco said, giving three main points on policy actions.  He said the BSP was “focused on inflation”; that it would not think twice before acting “pre‐emptively,”  if the inflation target was at risk; and that the BSP was not “wedded to a pre‐set course of action.”  The central bank’s primary mandate is to maintain price stability in the country.  For five consecutive years, the BSP has been able to keep inflation within the set target for the year. In 2013 full‐year  average inflation hit 3 percent—falling at the lower end of the government’s official target of 3 percent to 5 percent.  Tetangco said that although the current inflation is seen to be “manageable over the policy horizon,” the  path of the growth of consumer prices has “somewhat moved higher” in the previous months. 

Potential increases in power rates and higher food prices as a result of El Niño are among the key potential  price risks on the upside. The downside risk, meanwhile, remains on the global front, as emerging markets will  potentially slow down and the risk of deflation in advanced economies is still evident.  “Going forward, to help ensure that the BSP is able to sustain the “trend” of meeting the inflation target,  we  will  continue  to  watch  developments.  We  will  deploy  appropriate  measures  as  needed  to  ensure  sustainable,  non‐inflationary  and  inclusive  economic  growth,”  Tetangco  noted  in  that  speaking  engagement.  The central bank’s target for the year is for inflation to fall between 3 percent and 5 percent. In its latest  policy‐setting  meeting  in  May,  monetary  officials  forecast  inflation  to  hit  4.3  percent  this  year,  higher  than the earlier projection of 4.2 percent. The next policy meeting will be on June 19.  The forecast inflation for next year is also seen to be near the upper ceiling of the inflation target. The  BSP  said  it  expects  2015  inflation  to  hit  3.4  percent,  higher  than  the  3.2  percent  that  was  earlier  projected.  The government assigned a target range of 2 percent to 4 percent for inflation in 2015.  Some  analysts,  including  economists  from  international  banks  Standard  Chartered  and  Hongkong  and  Shanghai Banking Corp. said they were expecting a rate increase in  the second half of the year.  But other economists are weighing their biases on the BSP keeping rates on hold a little longer following the  disappointing GDP numbers in the first quarter of the year.  

Bianca Cuaresma‐news/33039‐inflation‐to‐remain‐major‐focus‐of‐ bsp‐policy‐moves                

Solon bats for rain-harvesting facilities to prevent floods by Ellson Quismorio  June 1, 2014  

Manila, Philippines — A House leader sees wisdom in building “rain harvesting facilities” all over the metropolis as a means of preventing the heavy floods that has been seen in the past. Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, specifically wants all subdivisions, condominium communities, malls, government institutions, central business districts (CBDs), and information technology (IT) parks to build anti-flood facilities. Under House Bill (HB) 3540, or the Rain Harvesting Facility Act of 2014, which Castelo has authored, all owners and builders of subdivisions, malls, state structures, IT parks, CBDs, and condominiums would be required to incorporate rain harvesting and storage facilities in their designs mainly to capture rainwater and provide adequate water for sanitation and other domestic purposes. Castelo, the House Committee on Metro Manila Development chair, has indicated in his bill that the House and Land Use Regulatory Board and local government units (LGUs) would have to approve these rain-harvesting facility-augmented structure designs. HB 3540 also requires LGUs to issue building permits to structures that contain rain-harvesting and storage facilities. It likewise provides a penalty of a six-month imprisonment and fine of P500,000 for officials who approve or issue building permits for structures that do not contain those rain harvesting and storage facilities.‐bats‐for‐rain‐harvesting‐facilities‐to‐prevent‐floods/              

Beetle infestation threatening John Hay pine trees by Zaldy Comanda  June 1, 2014  

Baguio City — Pesky beetles are threatening the pine-studded landscape of Camp John Hay. Sixty-five Benguet pine trees have died so far, and need to be felled to prevent the spread of the disease, no thanks to a beetle infestation. More than 200,000 need to be protected.

BEETLE INFESTATION – Environment Manager Alberto Banatao of the John Hay Management Corporation shows the infestation of bark beetles that caused the pine trees to die. (Zaldy Comanda) Alberto Banatao, environment manager John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), said seven plots now being studied by a forest pathologist and entomologist of the Benguet State University (BSU). “We are waiting for the sanitation permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The DENR also did the inspection on the pine trees which have earlier died, so that we can cut them and burn their barks, where we believe the ips are thriving,” Banatao said. The JHMC-BSU team identified as the pests four bark beetles–Ips grandicollis, Ips calligraphus, Dendroctonus terebrans, dendroctonus frontalis. The other species have yet to be identified. Banatao added that their “on-going study is good,” as it will help them, in this early stage “find solutions on how to stop the insects. This will not only benefit the trees inside John Hay, but those that abound the entire Cordillera.” John Hay, a former U.S. military rest and recreation facility, also has a number of fledgling pine seedlings which are planted in different areas within the reservation to maintain the forest cover of the camp.

Banatao reported that on July 18, 2013, they were able to secure a permit from DENR to cut 136 dead pine trees, of which some were killed by insects. Of the number, they were able to implement the cutting of only 59 pine trees, while the 77 will be cut as soon as they get an extension of the July 2013 sanitation permit. Banatao said he aims to protect and preserve all the trees inside the reservation. All trees within the facility, he explained are accounted and registered with the DENR.‐infestation‐threatening‐john‐hay‐pine‐trees/                                        

Sin tax law ‘success’ hailed Published : Sunday, June 01, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 140

MALACAÑANG yesterday hailed results of a survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing significant reduction in consumption of cigarettes and alcohol following the implementation of the sin tax law. Coloma noted that the law showed the political will of President Benigno Aquino in pushing for its passage, pointing out that the law covers efforts to cut consumption of cigarettes and alcohol among the public to ensure their well being. “…. At kakaiba ito dahil iniugnay natin ng tuwiran doon sa pagpapalaganap ng kaalaman na dapat ay bawasan o itigil ‘yung tobacco at alcohol consumption para sa kalusugan ng mga mamamayan. Kaya magkaakibat ‘yung kalusugan sa kabutihan ng kanilang pamumuhay doon sa Sin Tax Reform kaya ito ay nagtagumpay at patuloy na umaani ng papuri mula sa iba’t ibang bansa,”Coloma said. Reports earlier said, quoting SWS survey results, that the sin tax law has proven to be effective in reducing tobacco consumption among the youth and the poor. The results of the Department of Health (DoH)-commissioned survey were released by the health department as part of the observation of World No Tobacco Day yesterday. The survey, conducted in March and involving 1,200 respondents nationwide, was aimed at assessing the effects of Republic Act No. 10351, also known as the sin tax law, more than a year after its implementation. The sin tax law, which increased the taxes on tobacco and alcohol—the socalled sin products—was passed by Congress on Dec. 11, 2012, and signed by President Aquino about a week after. The Philippines joined World Health Organization (WHO) today in observing “World No Tobacco Day” that seeks to promote the reduction of tobacco consumption as a vital health and wellness measure.

This observance heightens public awareness on the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates the adoption of effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption Coloma noted that in a recently published document, the WHO commended the Philippines as one of the countries in the world that successfully pushed for reforms in the government’s health agenda by enacting a law restructuring taxes on tobacco and alcohol. This is Republic Act No. 10351, more commonly known as the “Sin Tax” Reform law. Last week the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), the tobacco control coalition in the ASEAN region, gave recognition to President Aquino, as well as the Department of Health and Department of Finance for the country’s landmark achievement in passing and thereafter implementing the Sin Tax Reform law. In a statement, SEATCA recognized President Aquino’s efforts in “inspiring leadership and unwavering political will to push forward a revolutionary sin tax reform law thereby putting public health before profits and ensuring tobacco control measures.” Smokin’ PNoy Coloma, however, was mum on President Aquino’s smoking habit. Reports earlier claimed that Aquino could consume a pack or 20 sticks a day owing to tension. His brand is Marlboro Lights Menthol. The President previously said he assumed office with the people knowing fully well that he is a smoker. Aquino has repeatedly rejected calls to quit smoking, pointing out that he is not violating any laws in doing so. He had also called smoking among his last remaining freedoms. “Although we’ve been only a year in the implementation of the Sin Tax Law, we are glad to already see a decrease in smoking prevalence among the youth and the poor, the main groups we aimed to protect through the law,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a press statement. The survey, however, also showed that while there was a reduction in

cigarette consumption among population sub-groups, the overall smoking prevalence in the country had not yet significantly decreased since the law took effect. Among smokers belonging to socio-economic class ABC, smoking prevalence went down only from 25 percent in December 2012 to 20 percent in March 2014, while Class D even went up from 26 percent to 27 percent during the same period. There were also insignificant changes in tobacco consumption among other age groups, the survey showed. Health authorities said one possible reason for this could be the smokers’ shift to less expensive brands. Based on the survey, 45 percent of smokers switched to another brand of cigarettes when prices increased. Almost seven out of 10 (67 percent) of Filipino smokers buy cigarettes per stick, making it more affordable than buying per pack. According to the survey, median price of cigarette per stick in the country is P3 in spite of the price increase. “Reducing overall prevalence of smoking in the country will take some time. The implementation of the Sin Tax Law is in its initial stage and we are very hopeful that it will reach its goal of reducing overall smoking prevalence in the country as tobacco taxes continuously increase each year,” said Ona. The DoH has expressed confidence that the effect of the Sin Tax Law will also be felt among other socio-economic classes and age-groups later on.‐stories/73561‐sin‐tax‐law‐success‐hailed              

TAX CUT SA MGA EMPLEYADO, DINAGSA NG SUPORTA Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:00  Written by  Aries Cano 

Dinadagsa ng suporta ang ideya na tapyasan ang sinisingil na buwis ng gobyerno  sa mga empleyado at patunay rito ang patuloy na panganganak ng mga  panukalang batas patungkol dito.   Abellanosa. Mula sa umiiral na 32% buwis na kinakaltas sa kita ng mga manggagawa ay ibababa ito sa 15%, 13% at 10%. Rodrigo Ang pangatlong bill ay inihain ni Cebu City Rep. Tinatarget ng House Bill (HB) 4372 ang pagkakaroon ng income tax rate reduction nang sa gayon ay makaagapay ang sinusuweldo ng mga manggagawa sa mataas na presyo ng mga serbisyo at pangunahing bilihin. for those earning P20,000 to P70,000 be lowered from the present 32% to 15% beginning Jan. 1, 2015, then 13% beginning Jan. 1, 2016 and 10% starting on Jan. 1, 2017,” ayon sa panukala. rates tax “The Kapag ibinaba aniya ang bayaring buwis, imbes na sumugal ng kayod sa abroad ay maraming manggagawa ang magpupursigeng magtrabaho na lamang sa loob ng bansa.  

“Higher take home pays for income earners will ease some of the burden from our people and diminish the need to look for employment outside the country,” pahayag ni Abellanosa. Malabo umanong maiangat ang salary level sa ngayon at isang problema dito ay ang pagtutol ng mga negosyante at employers. aniyang humanap ang gobyerno ng ibang paraan para mapagaan ang buhay ng mga manggagawa at mas maging attractive ang local employment, ayon kay Abellanosa. Kinakailangan ng Marso, inihain ni Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo ang HB 4099 na naglalayong ibaba din sa 15% ang individual at corporate income tax rates. buwan Nitong ang mga kahalintulad din na probisyon na nagsusulong para tapyasan ang income tax rate. nakapaloob inihain naman ni Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan noong Abril ang HB 4278 kung saan nito, Kasunod‐tags/news/nat/6584/tax‐cut‐sa‐mga‐empleyado‐dinagsa‐ng‐ suporta.html        

Abad gets ‘presumption of innocence, regularity’ Written by Paul Atienza Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:00


The Palace again went all out in shielding the beleaguered Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim Napoles tagged as her mentor in setting up the syndicate in siphoning off P10 billion from legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), saying that the close ally of President Aquino is entitled to “presumption of innocence” and a “presumption of regularity in the performance of his duties” as a Representative of the Batanes Islands in the House of Representatives during the period when Napoles claimed that she dealt with Abad. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma said the “mere allegation against actions taken in the past should not affect the presumption of regularity in the performance of current duties,” Coloma said. He also took exception to calls for the resignation of some Cabinet members who are close allies of Aquino as demanded by anti-pork barrel critics primarily the organizers of the proposed June 12 people’s protest movement.

Coloma also reacted on the allegations of Navotas Representative and United National Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco that Aquino vested “unrestrained power and control” to the family members of Abad. Coloma said Aquino had already made his position regarding Abad that the allegation should have proof, and that he has the right to be presumed innocent and given the chance to perform his job as there was no formal charges against the Cabinet member. “On this aspect, we are awaiting if there was really a case buildup based on evidence,” Coloma said. Aquino said those allegations that could not be proven should not be entertained. Coloma denied the allegations of Tiangco that the administration has been controlled by the Abad family. Coloma said that even as secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, his actions were within the bounds of the law. “He is not the one approving the General Appropriations Act. He does not decide upon it. His decisions should concur with the President and the Cabinet members,” Coloma said. Coloma also explained that his daughter, Secretary Julia Abad, performs the functions as head of Presidential Management Staff. Coloma said it is on the nature of personal assistance to Aquino or staff work to Aquino or to the Cabinet. “There was nothing mentioned that Secretary Julia Abad was not doing good in her duties,” Coloma said. As to the wife of Abad, Congresswoman Henedina Abad, Coloma said she was twice elected as Representative of the islands of Batanes. Tiangco, the other day, said it was appalling to see relatives and family members of Abad holding key government posts by virtue of their patriarch’s position in the ruling Liberal Party (LP). “What is alarming is the fact that the Abads virtually control the Aquino Administration from the President’s schedule to the trillion-peso purse. We can say that the government is now largely a family-run operation,” he said. Tiangco stressed that Malacañang has become a family business having the budget secretary’s daughter, Julia, as head of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS). Abad declared four nephews, two first cousins and a niece all working under the administration. All of Abad’s relatives are appointees of Aquino, while Abad’s wife is a Representative for the lone Batanes congressional seat. As a member of Congress, Henedina Abad, holds a high position in the House of Representatives, being the vice-

chairman of the House finance committee, and holding other committee seats in the House. Aside from his daughter, Abad’s son, Luis, is the Chief-of-Staff of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. “It is almost as if the Abads obtained a franchise to hold seats in the Aquino government that naturally does not pass the approval of the Filipino people, ” Tiangco noted. Abad, who is the incumbent budget and management secretary, is said to be the brain trust of Aquino, as well as the prime Liberal Party ideologue. He has stated openly that he and Aquino are close. Despite Abad having been linked to the Janet Lim-Napoles pork barrel scam, Aquino has refused to have him investigated and has made it clear that Abad continues to enjoy his trust and confidence. Tiangco stressed that the Abads are the embodiment of nepotism, cronyism and favoritism in the Aquino Administration. “Why are there so many Abads in government? They control every activity of the President. They manage the government’s financial bureaucracy,” said Tiangco. “Just because they are part of the ruling party does not give the Abads the authority to monopolize government positions. They may be at the pleasure of the President, but they are not accountable to the people. “The Abads don’t have the ‘trusteeship’ elected officials have,” Tiangco pointed out. According to Tiangco, it is hard to believe that the Aquino Administration is having a hard time looking for qualified individuals to be appointed in government. “Is it really necessary for relatives of secretaries like Abad to be appointed to their posts in the executive department? Are the Abads the only family in the entire Philippines that is talented? ” the Navotas solon asked. Coloma added the validation on the controversial Napoles list being undertaken by the Commission on Audit is expected to be fair and objective while extolling CoA chairman Grace Pulido-Tan’s credibility. “The Commission on Audit is an independent constitutional body of our government and that is according to the framers of the Constitution,” Coloma said. Coloma said that the present COA chairman and the Commission had produced the Special Audit of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) transactions that covered the period between 2007 to 2009. “If you notice, the basis to have a validation or case buildup was made by the Department of Justice,” Coloma said. The Special audit, however, was assailed as being selective and mainly targeted

opposition senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. Coloma said the critics should take an objective view to the public institutions such as COA where the officials, and employees were taking efforts to do their job,” Coloma said. On the matter of opinion by Senator Koko Pimentel to ignore the Benhur Luy files, Coloma said Pimentel’s statement would be similar to the previous positions taken by Aquino and his aides.‐gets‐presumption‐of‐innocence‐regularity                                      

DA steps up nationwide cloud seeding drive to fight dry spell Written by Tribune Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:00   By Alvin Murcia   With the hot weather staying and prospects of an El Niño high in the coming months, the Department of  Agriculture (DA) has decided to increase the cloud seeding operations in various parts of the country to  induce rain and help farmers grow farm products.  The DA is intensifying cloud seeding to induce rain over the watershed areas and farms in Central Luzon  and Cagayan Valley.  The DA plans to carry out more such operations in the Visayas and Mindanao to help parched farms  avoid further damage.  Director Silvino Tejada of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management reported to Agriculture Secretary  Proceso Alcala that his bureau has completed cloud seeding sorties over Angat dam and nearby areas  equivalent to 12 hours and 10 minutes between May 16 and 28.  He said such helped to slowdown the rate of decline of water in the reservoir from 0.31 meter per day  from May 1 to 15, to 0.23 meter per day from May 15 to 28.  The bureau, an attached agency of the DA, was tasked to spearhead cloud seeding operations in areas in  need of water supply.  They are also scheduled to conduct sorties over Lake Lanao starting in early September to generate  more rains to feed the Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants, the major sources of electricity in  Mindanao. This was made upon the request of the Mindanao Development Authority. 

The agency is also set to evaluate the request for sorties by sugarcane planters in Iloilo and other  sugarcane‐producing areas in Western Visayas, made through the Panay Federation of Sugarcane  Farmers Inc.  Alcala announced in mid‐May that the department is looking at an initial budget of P1.61 billion to  mitigate the adverse impact of a possible prolonged drought across the country.  Of the total amount, P764.3 million is already available while the remainder is still being requested from  the Department of Budget and Management.  Nearly half of the total, or P729.9 million, is intended for stocking and distribution of inputs, P340  million for the construction of small‐scale irrigation facilities and P199.9 million for crop insurance.  Alcala said they are in the process of putting in place policy initiatives, water management and  conservation measures, as well as modern and innovative farming and fishery technologies to soften the  effects of dry weather.‐steps‐up‐nationwide‐cloud‐seeding‐drive‐to‐fight‐dry‐spell                    

2014 06 01 quedancor daily news monitor  
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