Pangilinan won’t condone Alcala if found guilty in pork barrel scam INQUIRER.net 6:04 pm | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in a television interview on Tuesday said he would suggest to President Benigno Aquino III to sack Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala if he would be found guilty of benefiting from the P10-billion pork barrel scam. “Yes, ‘yun ‘yung utos ng pangulo eh (Yes, that’s what the President wants me to do.),” Pangilinan said when Karen Davila, host of ABS-CBN’s Bandila, asked him if he would ask the president to expel Alcala from his post should he be found liable in the scam. Pangilinan, however, maintained that he did not believe Alcala funneled his funds to the bogus non-governmental organizations supposedly set up by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. He also said that Alcala doesn’t need to resign from his post amid plain accusations that he transacted with Napoles. Pangilinan was appointed by Aquino in May 2013 to head several organizations formerly solely handled by Alcala in the Department of Agriculture. In the same interview, he maintained that he was the Robin to Alcala’s Batman. Jersy Hortaleza Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610511/pangilinan‐wont‐condone‐alcala‐if‐found‐guilty‐in‐ pork‐barrel‐scam#ixzz34UitLaVf Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Aquino assures farmers gov’t will complete CARP By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:42 pm | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
President Benigno S. Aquino III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III met with a select group of farmers on Tuesday, assuring them that his administration has always been and would remain to be “committed” to distributing lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) before the end of his term in 2016. The meeting was apparently meant to allay fears that land distribution under CARP—a centerpiece program of his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino—would remain unfinished even after the term of the second Aquino to become president. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday Mr. Aquino had a “very good discussion” with the farmers’ representatives, who included Armanda Jarilla of Task Force Mapalad and Maribel Luzara of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Bundok Peninsula. “He’s committed to the full implementation of the CARP. So, he’s committed to the full implementation of land acquisition and land distribution until 2016,” Lacierda said in a press briefing. In the meeting, Lacierda said the President briefed the group about the remaining hectares of land that still had to be issued notices of coverage (NOCs) by the Department of Agrarian Reform. NOCs need to be issued before the DAR could proceed with land acquisition and distribution. But the President also made it clear that landholdings still caught in legal disputes would have to be settled through judicial processes, not by the executive branch, his spokesperson said.
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes earlier admitted that the government could only acquire and distribute between 500,000 and 700,000 hectares of land by 2016. As of December 2013, the government still had to distribute 790,648 hectares covered by CARP, which will expire by the end of the month. “You’re going through varying degrees of hectarage and private ownership. And you would certainly expect some issues, concerns when it comes to implementation especially if you would place private lands under CARP,” Lacierda said. “The DAR, under the leadership of Secretary Gil Delos Reyes, will pursue and continue to issue those notices of coverage on or before June 30.” The President earlier certified as urgent a House bill extending the issuance of NOCs until 2016. Lacierda said the Palace was still awaiting the committee report on a counterpart bill at the Senate. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier assailed CARP, saying it “has intensified landlessness among farmers and paved the way for continuous landgrabbing across the country by big local and foreign agribusinesses, agricultural transnational corporations and real estate giants.” Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610563/aquino‐assures‐farmers‐govt‐will‐complete‐ carp#ixzz34UgssqHo Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Noy urged to extend land distribution (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Around 300 farmers and allied groups yesterday staged a protest action in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) main office in Quezon City urging President Aquino to fulfill his promise to redistribute all lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). They asked the government to extend the land distribution component of CARP beyond its June 30 deadline either through legislation such as House Bill 4592 or the release of an executive order by the President. The groups, commemorating the anniversary of CARP this month, also questioned DAR’s performance. “Land distribution under the Aquino administration has been implemented at a snail pace and marked by consistent failure to meet annual distribution targets, underperformance and lack of political commitment manifested by the present DAR administration,” said Jansept Geronimo of the Kilusang Magsasaka ng Bondoc Peninsula. “DAR should publicly disclose the true, complete and detailed status of the implementation of CARP, including all stages of the land transfer component, provision of support services and financial transactions,” he said. Meanwhile, President Aquino is determined to fully implement CARP by distributing lands to farmers before his term ends in 2016, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Aquino on Tuesday met with leaders of stakeholder groups and agrarian reform advocates. The government has assured farmers that DAR will issue notices of coverage on or before the June 30 deadline. – Rhodina Villanueva, Delon Porcalla http://www.philstar.com/metro/2014/06/12/1333778/noy‐urged‐extend‐land‐distribution
Senate ratifies Graphic Health Warning bill By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2014 ‐ 12:00am googleplus
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate ratified yesterday the Graphic Health Warning bill, which will mandate cigarette manufacturers to place vivid pictures of the ill-effects of smoking on cigarette packs. Under the agreed version of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the graphic health warning shall be printed on 50 percent of the principal display surfaces of any tobacco package. It shall occupy 50 percent of the front and 50 percent of the back panel of the packaging. The warnings shall be located at the lower portions of the panels. Nothing shall be printed or applied on a location where it is likely to obscure or cover, in part or in whole, the graphic health warnings or the location where the internal revenue strip stamp is to be affixed as may be required by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). No part of the warning may be obliterated, obscured, folded, severed or become unreadable when the tobacco package is opened or closed or when a wrapper on the package is removed. The picture-based warnings shall be printed or inscribed on the package in a color that contrasts conspicuously with the background of the package or its labels. A maximum of 12 templates of graphic health warnings shall be printed simultaneously and these shall be rotated periodically for each brand family and also for each variant, so that every 24 months the variations of the warnings shall appear in the market with approximately equal frequency. The senators and congressmen also reached a consensus that directs manufacturers to put text warnings on areas of the photograph where it will not obscure the picture itself but will be prominently displayed. During the bicameral conference meeting on Tuesday at the Senate, Senators Pia Cayetano and Vicente Sotto III represented the Senate panel while Rep. Eufranio Eriguel led the House panel. Among the contentious provisions discussed by the panel were the implementing agency and the exclusion of representatives from the tobacco industry in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law. “We were able to find a middle ground where the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) are the lead agencies for the crafting of the IRR, along with
members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T) except the tobacco firm representatives,” Sotto said. Sotto added that anti-tobacco and civil society groups would also be tapped during the consultation process for the IRR. The panel also reached a consensus to place the penalties for manufacturers who would violate the measure at a fine of not more than P500,000 for the first offense, not more than P1 million for the second offense, and a fine of not more than P2 million or imprisonment of not more than five years or both for the third offense. The penalties drastically reduced the Senate’s initial proposal to place the fines from P1 million to P20 million, imprisonment of not more than five years for the 3rd offense and revocation of business permits and licenses. FDA invokes authority to lead implementation Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday invoked its authority to lead the implementation of the graphic health warning law over the IAC-T. In a press briefing, FDA’s officer-in-charge for regulation field office Emil Polig said the agency could effectively implement the graphic health warning law because of the mandates given to the agency by Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009. He noted that the FDA has been “strengthened” by the law to exercise several functions, including the issuance of cease and desist orders, seizure orders and closure orders to erring establishments. “The FDA can use its powers under RA 9711 to impose sanctions on violations of the GHW law,” Polig said. “From the point of view of enforcement, our position is that the enforcement of this measure should be lodged with health agencies and that is the DOH and the FDA,” he added. – With Sheila Crisostomo http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/06/12/1333831/senate‐ratifies‐graphic‐health‐warning‐bill
P18-M imported garlic seized in Batangas By Arnell Ozaeta (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2014 ‐ 12:00am
BATANGAS, Philippines – Two 40-foot container vans containing imported garlic worth P18 million were confiscated by elements of the Bureau of Customs here. Batangas district collector Ernesto Benitez said yesterday about 50,000 kilos of garlic from Taiwan consigned to Good Earth Merchandise in Cagayan de Oro were found unregistered and considered as smuggled goods. Benitez said the contraband was under broker Antonio Enriquez of Guiginto, Bulacan. He said the consignee declared the importation as 50,000 kilos of cocoa beans used in making chocolate drinks. The cargo arrived in Batangas last June 1. Customs authorities waited for the broker to enter his shipment declaration at the BOC but no one came. A warrant of seizure and detention is being readied by the Batangas customs collector for forfeiture of the contraband in favor of the government. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/06/12/1333836/p18‐m‐imported‐garlic‐seized‐batangas
Gov’t braces for 18 typhoons (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Disaster officials are bracing for at least 18 typhoons, many of which are expected to be strong. “We cannot predict how many of them are strong because that is a function of the weather (bureau). But we are experiencing erratic weather,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Alexander Pama said yesterday. “I think the prudent thing for us to do is to assume that most of these are strong,” he added. Member agencies of the NDRRMC met in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City yesterday to thresh out the preparations for the rainy season and vowed to ensure a better response to disasters than during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Malacañang also assured the public the government is now more prepared to deal with flooding and disasters spawned by typhoons and the rainy season. “We have prepared for this,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “There is no way to go but to improve on what we have been doing… We cannot do otherwise,” Pama added. He cited more specific advisories and well-defined roles for agencies, local governments and civilian stakeholders, even as he admitted several gaps in the measures implemented to address the impact of disasters that hit the country last year. “While the relief items were prepared, some were not that necessary while some needed items were lacking,” he noted.
Lacierda also cited the diggings in España, Manila where the Department of Public Works and Highways has created a catchment area to ensure that floods would recede faster. He said the Metro Manila Development Authority is in charge of making sure that pumping stations would function properly. He said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is likewise “performing marvelously” in identifying the areas where a certain storm will hit. He said the government has also been relocating informal settlers and removing them from danger zones and esteros. Rains to continue Meanwhile, TDepression Ester intensified into a storm as it moved farther away from the country yesterday. PAGASA weather forecasting section chief Rene Paciente said Ester will still enhance the southwest monsoon and continue to bring rains in many parts of Luzon until today. PAGASA said the weather disturbance will continue to bring moderate to heavy rains (five to 15 millimeters of rain) over some parts of extreme northern Luzon. “Ester will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon which will bring moderate to heavy rains over the Batanes group of Islands, Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, the Regions of Ilocos and Cordillera, the provinces of Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan and Bulacan while the rest of Luzon will have occasional rains,” it said. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Ester was spotted at 690 kilometers east northeast of Basco, Batanes, packing winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph. It was forecast to move east-northeast toward southern Japan at 22 kph. Paciente said Ester was expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday. Cloudy Independence Day Paciente said fair weather with isolated thunderstorms would prevail today over Naga City, Camarines Sur, where President Aquino is expected to lead the Independence Day celebration. In Metro Manila, the public can expect partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light to moderate rains, he said.
Ester, which developed into a depression from a low-pressure area on Tuesday, triggered the onset of the rainy season in the western section of the country, including Metro Manila, Palawan, Mindoro, Cavite, Batangas, Bataan and Zambales. Ester is the fifth tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the first weather disturbance this month. PAGASA spotted a potential low-pressure area off the West Philippine Sea, but Paciente could not yet say if it will intensify into a cyclone. – With Aurea Calica, Helen Flores http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/06/12/1333814/govt‐braces‐18‐typhoons
‘Assume stronger typhoons now,’ NDRRMC chief says By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 6:24 pm | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
AFP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—When the advent of the rainy season dropped, the chief of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said everyone should assume the next weather disturbance would be stronger than before. After the full council meeting on disaster preparedness, NDRRMC Chief Alexander Pama said people should learn from the lessons of the past disasters and that the next typhoons could be stronger. Of the 18 remaining typhoons to hit the Philippines in the remainder of 2014, Pama said there would be no sure-fire way to predict the strongest, but it would always be a safe bet to assume every single one is a devastating typhoon. “We cannot predict this precisely. This is a function of the weather, that’s why we can call this as an erratic weather,” Pama said at the Department of National Defense building in Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday. Besides the southwest monsoon that would bolster rains and typhoons, the El Niño phenomenon would also cause unpredictable weather changes. “The prudent thing is to assume the next typhoons would be stronger.” Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610521/assume‐stronger‐typhoons‐now‐ndrrmc‐chief‐ says#ixzz34UhxIWv2 Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
European Union: Philippines faces fish import ban By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated June 11, 2014 ‐ 10:02am
Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, speaks at a press conference on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium to warn the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to implement measures to curb illegal fishing. EU screenshot
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may soon be banned from exporting fish to Europe if it fails to control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Also warning Papua New Guinea, the European Union issued a formal statement on Tuesday denouncing the Philippines "non-cooperation" in the fight against illegal fishing through a lack of system of sanctions, lack of actions to monitor and launch surveillance of the waters.Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said in a press conference on Tuesday that the Philippines fails to fulfill its duties as flag, coastal, port or market state in line with international laws. "I urge the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to fight this practice which puts the livelihoods of fishermen at risk. In the end, sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean means sustainability here in Europe, on our plates," Damanaki said. The European Union recommended that the Philippines, the 12th largest fish producer in the world, amend its legal framework to combat illegal fishing and ensure sustainable use of the sea amid the pressure to meet high demands abroad for imported seafood.The Union said that the decision was based on thorough analysis and takes into account a country's level of development. "Today's decision highlights that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing," the Brussels-based bloc said Tuesday. The "yellow card" warning against the Philippines does not entail any measures affecting trade but allows the country six months to rectify its shortcomings. "Should the situation not improve within six months, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was done recently with Guinea, Belize and Cambodia," the 28-member bloc also warned. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/06/11/1333589/european‐union‐philippines‐faces‐fish‐ import‐ban
NDRRMC not taking chances, gets ahead of rainy season, El Niño By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 11:29 am | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – With the rainy season just about here and El Niño threatening to strengthen future typhoons, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin isn’t taking any chances. “Anticipate accordingly and prepare for the rainy season and El Niño,” Gazmin said as he convened the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Wednesday. Also in attendance were Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, NDRRMC Chief Alexander Pama, General Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, and Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo. “Disaster preparedness must be done…it must be clearly defined and clearly coordinated.” He added that offices which have been subjected to high levels of destruction should set an example in preparing in advance to prevent damage by future calamities. On July 1, the NDRRMC, having the “primordial responsibility” of preventing loss of life during calamities, is set to implement its disaster preparedness plans. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610386/ndrrmc‐not‐taking‐chances‐gets‐ahead‐of‐rainy‐ season‐el‐nino#ixzz34UjVFV9d Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
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Hope also grows in mangrove project By Delfin T. Mallari Jr. 12:02 am | Thursday, June 12th, 2014
RESIDENTS inspect the mangrove areas in the island town of Panukulan, Quezon province. QUEZON ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICE/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Two years after the planting of two million mangrove propagules in Quezon province, signs of a promising future to fishermen and coastal residents are now showing. “Our fishermen, particularly the marginalized, are excited when marine lives start to appear at the mangrove sites,” Manny Calayag, deputy head of the Quezon-Environment and Natural Resources Office (Quezon-Enro), said in an interview. Mangrove forests, also known as the “rainforests of the sea,” are an important part of the marine ecosystem as the roots of the trees provide shelter for marine life while their fallen leaves become feed for fish and other marine animals. Calayag said the mangrove growing sites in different parts of the province had trees that are more than five feet tall. He attributed the feat to the people who take care of the trees. Education campaign “The people now realize the importance of mangroves to their safety and livelihood,” he said. The widespread information and education campaign has paid off, he said, with more fishermen now seeking government support to acquire fishing boats and equipment.
On June 30, 2012, Gov. David Suarez led thousands of volunteers in planting more than two million mangrove propagules in a single day along the province’s 1,066-kilometer coastline to rehabilitate its coast from years of natural and manmade destruction.
Thirty-four of Quezon’s 42 towns are coastal: 17 along Lamon Bay in the Pacific Ocean; 12 in Tayabas Bay facing the China Sea; and 5 in Ragay Gulf. ‘Beach forests’ The mangrove planting project also transformed these areas into “beach forests” that help shield inland communities from storms and sea surges, Calayag said. In most parts of the province, cutting of mangrove for charcoal and fishpond expansion has stopped due to strict enforcement of environmental laws by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the local and provincial governments, he said. Cutting of mangrove trees is banned by Presidential Decree No. 705 (Forestry Code of the Philippines) and Republic Act No. 8550 (Philippine Fisheries Code). The provincial board, through a resolution, prohibits charcoal making using wood products as a way of protecting mangrove areas and their fragile forest. But challenges remain, Calayag said, noting how newly planted mangroves along the Tayabas Bay continued to die due to the presence of plastic materials washed ashore, particularly in coastal areas off Lucena and the towns of Sariaya and Pagbilao. “Plastic (materials) that were washed ashore wrapped around the propagules and suppressed their growth,” he said. People still throw plastic trash into the sea despite the ban on plastic use in most Quezon towns, he added. Strong waves also destroyed some of the mangroves, prompting another planting activity to replace those that had died, Calayag said. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610598/hope‐also‐grows‐in‐mangrove‐ project#ixzz34UkNhg9W Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Zamboanga preparing for possible scale insect invasion By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) | Updated June 11, 2014 ‐ 2:03pm 0 12 googleplus0 0
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Zamboanga City agriculture office and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are closely monitoring the possible coconut scale insect infestation commonly known as ‘cocolisap’ following reports that the parasites have invaded fruit trees in this city. There were already reported cases but assistant city agriculturist Teodulo Adora said there has been no infestation level yet reported in this city. The agriculture official said at least six agriculture field offices have been mobilized to closely monitor cases as two agencies- the Department of Agriculture and PCA– assured readiness with the preventive and control measures in case the threat will hit the city. Adora also urged farmers to closely coordinate and immediately report to their office once they notice such infestation of scale insects. Farmers reported that the parasites which destroyed thousands of coconut trees in the nearby provinces of Basilan have reportedly invaded fruit bearing trees, specially lanzones. The PCA office in Isabela City, Basilan reported more than 70,000 trees from the 12,000 hectares of coconut areas were damaged by the scale insects. Residents here claimed that the cocolisap invasion to lanzones trees were in the barangays of Baluno and Patulon, west coast of this city. The city agriculture office has yet to verify the reports. The PCA described the coconut scale insects as small insects which are known as Aspidiotus destructor (Signoret). Coconut trees invaded by the parasites show yellowing, wilting, premature nutfall and low yield because the scale insects suck off the plant sap. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2014/06/11/1333619/zamboanga‐preparing‐possible‐scale‐insect‐ invasion
PH to open doors to more foreign banks Congress passes bill to widen foreign participation in finance system By Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:50 am | Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Maybank’s latest branch in the country (77th) opened in Legazpi City. Maybank is the largest bank in Malaysia. The Philippine House of Representatives has ratified a bill that will pave the way for greater foreign participation in the banking industry in the country, and which proponents say may boost trade and create more jobs. PHOTO FROM maybank2u.com.ph MANILA, Philippines–The House of Representatives has ratified a bill that will pave the way for greater foreign participation in the banking industry in the Philippines, and which proponents say may boost trade and create more jobs. The measure, approved by both the House and Senate, will allow the Monetary Board to authorize more foreign banks to operate within the Philippine banking system by acquiring, purchasing, or owning up to 100 percent of voting stock of an existing bank, or by investing in up to 100 percent of the voting stock of a new banking subsidiary incorporated under Philippine laws. Under the present law, foreign banks may only own or invest in 60 percent of voting stock of Philippine finance institutions. The bill seeks to amend that law. The bill states that only established, reputable and financially sound foreign banks may be allowed into the Philippines. According to the measure, the foreign bank applicant must be widely owned and publicly listed, unless the foreign bank applicant is owned and controlled by the government of its country of origin.
It says the Monetary Board must also adopt measures to ensure that control of at least 60 percent of the resources or assets of the entire banking system will be held by banks majority-owned by Filipinos. Foreign banks allowed to establish branches in the country may be required to assign capital of an amount not less than the minimum capital required for domestic banks of the same category. A foreign bank branch may open up to five branches. Locally incorporated subsidiaries of foreign banks will have the same branching privileges as domestic banks of the same category. The single borrower’s limit of a foreign bank branch must be aligned with that of a domestic bank. The bicameral version of the bill also states that foreign banks may be allowed to bid and take part in foreclosure sales of real property mortgaged to them, and take possession of the mortgaged property for up to five years. But the title of the property may not be transferred to the foreign bank. Should the bank win the bid, it must transfer its rights to a qualified Philippine national during the five-year period. If a bank were not able to comply, it would face a penalty of one half of one percent per annum of the price at which the property was foreclosed. Earlier, in seeking approval for the measure, its proponents said it would augment the country’s financial resources and help create more jobs. They said the measure was also meant to further strengthen the banking system by providing an opportunity for weaker banks to exit the system through the sale of their voting stock or equity to foreign banks. It likewise aims to promote the Asean Banking Integration Framework, which is supposed to be implemented by 2020. Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/172727/ph‐to‐open‐doors‐to‐more‐foreign‐ banks#ixzz34UqyP7U0 Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
MGB orders strict enforcement of black sand mining rules By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2014 ‐ 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The national government has ordered local government chief executives to strictly enforce restrictions on black sand and beach mining to prevent the destruction of coastlines and stop the illegal extraction of minerals, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said yesterday. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), in coordination with the MGB, issued a memorandum circular on April 4 ordering provincial chief executives to cancel the sand and gravel permits of and file charges against entities who use their permits for black sand mining, those operating within prohibited zones, and small scale miners who engage in black sand mining. The order also enjoins local government units to strictly ban the extraction of minerals in beaches. “The order is meant to prevent any illegal extraction of black sand. There are gravel and sand permit holders who use their permits to mine black sand,” said MGB director Leo Jasareno in a phone interview. Local government units can issue two types of permit for the extraction of gravel and sand: Commercial Sand and Gravel Permit (CSGP) which is valid for one year renewable for one or more terms but not exceeding 25 years; and Industrial Sand and Gravel Permit (ISGP) valid for five years and renewable for one or more terms but not to exceed 25 years. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Citing Republic Act 265, also known as An Act Prohibiting the Extraction of Gravel and Sand from Beaches, the DILG noted that the extraction of gravel and sand are prohibited in beaches. The DILG also cited the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Mining Act of 1995 which states that no mineral extraction shall be allowed within one kilometer from the boundaries of reservoirs established for public water supply, archaeological and historic sites, and any public works. Likewise, mineral extraction is prohibited within 500 meters from the coast. “The new mining policy (Executive Order 79) also stipulates that small scale mining shall only be conducted within Minahang Bayan areas. Small- scale miners are also prohibited from extracting iron,” said Jasareno.
As such, all local government units are instructed to strictly monitor and enforce compliance to the legal restriction and mining and quarrying activities and to coordinate with the MGB as needed. The MGB has been coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on stopping the illicit operations of black sand miners in several provinces such as Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Cagayan among others. Black sand extraction along beaches could erode coastlines, causing floods in coastal communities. Black sand, or magnetite, is a component of steel production. Many black sand miners in the Philippines export to smelters in China. The MGB is also laying down the groundwork for the establishment of more Minahang Bayan sites where small- scale mining activities would be confined. The MGB has completed the proposed revisions to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Small- Scale Mining Act of 1991 that would pave the way for the declaration of more Minahang Bayan areas. The IRR was revised pursuant to the provisions of the new mining policy that provides for the formalization of small- scale mining operations in the country. There are only three established Minahang Bayan sites in the country with 10 applications awaiting approval by the MGB. With the enforcement of the revised IRR, the operations of the small-scale miners would be placed under direct supervision of the MGB. In the past, small -scale miners were regulated by local government units that lack the technical expertise in monitoring the operations of over 3,000 small miners nationwide. In compliance with the new mining policy, small scale mining operations has been limited to the extraction of gold, silver and chromite. The use of hydraulic and compressor mining methods has been prohibited as well as the use of mercury in any phase of mineral processing. There would be no limitations, however, on the extraction of non-metallic minerals. Meanwhile, Bluemax Tradelink Inc. said it is not involved in any illegal black sand mining activities Zambales. The company said its only activity in Zambales particularly in Botolan is the exportation of lahar sand to Singapore for their massive reclamation project and that this is backed by all the necessary permits.
Bluemax described as black propaganda recent reports that they were among those companies doing questionable mining operations in Zambales especially the black sand mining. “Bluemax is in the business of extracting lahar sand not black sand as erroneously reported in Botolan, Zambales,” the company said in a statement. Lahar, the flow of volcanic debris that came from the Pinatubo eruption in 1991, is a perennial problem in the province of Zambales especially when the rainy season begins, Bluemax pointed out. When rain mixes with the volcanic sand on the slopes of Pinatubo, it flows down as lahar clogging the river channels and overflowing to the fields and roads, it added. Lahar and sand practically destroys everything in its path. The government, specifically the DPWH is incapable of extracting lahar from these areas due to lack of resources, so through provincial governments, it commissions private companies like Bluemax to do it for them practically for free, the statement said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2014/06/12/1333668/mgb‐orders‐strict‐enforcement‐black‐sand‐ mining‐rules
DA: PHL ready to cooperate with EU on curbing illegal fishing Category: Agri‐Commodities 11 Jun 2014 Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent THE Philippine government has promised to conserve its marine and aquatic resources and will cooperate on any plans of the European Commission (EC) to curb widespread illegal fishing in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday. The announcement was a reaction to the EC’s warning on Tuesday to Papua New Guinea and the Philippines on the continuing illegal fishing in the two countries. The commission, a unit of the European Union (EU) tasked with fighting illegal fishing worldwide, has proposed an action plan for each country to address their shortcomings, saying “should the situation not improve within six months, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade sanctions on fisheries imports, as was done recently with Guinea, Belize and Cambodia.” Agriculure Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said Philippine representatives “are in close communication” with the EC representatives, citing the attendance of the country during the ongoing meeting in Rome organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for “Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small‐scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication” as the country’s interest in curbing illegal fishing, but at the same time, securing the livelihoods of small fishers who depend on coastal fishing and are affected by illegal poachers with bigger fishing vessels. The DA chief made the reaction on Wednesday morning during a send‐off ceremony of the DA’s multipurpose ocean vessel which will be distributing gill nets, various line gears such as tuna handline and multiple handline, deep‐sea water “payaos” or fish attractants, and rolls of fishing ropes, for the Eastern Visayas. The fishing paraphernalia were part of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) efforts in rebuilding the lives of fishermen in the Eastern Visayas affected by the Supertyphoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan). Alcala also told reporters that BFAR National Director Asis G. Perez is currently in Rome, attending the meeting called by FAO.
The meeting, a FAO statement on Wednesday, is tackling broad topics “ranging from measures to improve fisheries governance systems and working and living conditions to recommendations on how countries can help small‐scale fishers and fish workers cut down post‐harvest food losses and waste.” FAO said “these guidelines are a breakthrough,” adding that the resulting document is an important tool that will promote the implementation of national policies “that will help small‐scale fishers thrive, and play an even greater role in ensuring food security, promoting good nutrition and eradicating poverty.” The EC said the Philippines and Papua New Guinea “are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing” and has identified concrete shortcomings, such as “lack of system of sanctions to deter illegal fishing activities or lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries.” In the statement, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki said, “If half of the Western Pacific’s tuna is exported to the EU, we cannot ignore IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated] illegal fishing activities in this region and I urge the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to fight this practice which puts the livelihoods of fishermen at risk.” She said that in the end, “sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Ocean means sustainability in Europe, on our plates.” The EC considers that the Philippines and Papua New Guinea do not currently fulfill their duties as flag, coastal, port or market state in line with international law, citing the need to amend their legal framework to combat IUU fishing, including improvement in control and monitoring actions and proactive role in complying with international law rules, such as the ones agreed by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. The fight against illegal fishing is part of the European Union (EU) drive to ensure the sustainable use of the sea and its resources, as the world’s major fish importer. Besides the Philippines and Papua New Guinea and the three countries who are subject to the trade ban, eight other Third World countries have already received formal warnings under the “IUU Regulation” which include Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu in 2012; and Ghana, Curaçao and South Korea in 2013. Estimate of the global value of IUU fishing is approximately €10 billion per year, and it is said to account for 19 percent of the reported value of catches. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/33644‐da‐phl‐ready‐to‐ cooperate‐with‐eu‐on‐curbing‐illegal‐fishing
Quezon moves to fight ‘cocolisap’ Category: Agri‐Commodities 11 Jun 2014 Written by John Bello / Correspondent LUCENA CITY—Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan rallied Quezon province’s government officials to declare war against cocolisap, a coconut‐scale insect that threatens devastation in the coconut industry not only in the province but also nationwide. On Tuesday Quezon provincial and municipal officials led by Gov. David “Jayjay” Suarez and Vice Gov. Sam Nantes gathered at the Bulwagang Kalilayan to coordinate with Roxas and Pangilinan on ways and means to combat the dreaded pest that hit coconut‐bearing trees and other high‐value crops like mangosteen and lanzones. “This is a modern calamity that needs to be stopped or else the risk will cascade,” Roxas said as he asked the mayors to be in the frontlines in the fight against cocolisap. He told the participants at the “Konsultasyon Kontra Cocolisap” which included representatives of various government agencies led by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the private sector, that the massive operation has now been at the Cabinet level and President Aquino has already issued an executive order establishing emergency measures to combat the infestation on coconut trees. PCA Deputy Administrator for Field Operations Ruel Rosales said urgent and concerted action is needed in all areas affected by the infestation which has now hit 1.2 million coconut trees nationwide, Southern Tagalog region being the hardest hit. The PCA said the massive infestation has adversely affected 972,263 coconut trees in the four provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon in Calabarzon region alone. The PCA has been using oil‐based Cochin insecticide sprayed on infested coconut trees and so far, 119,232 coconut trees in the region have been treated. Celia Medina and Barbara Caoili, University of the Philippines Los Baños faculty members and researchers and both members of the Task Force Scale Insect Comprehensive Action Program, claimed to have identified the pest as Aspidiotus rigidus. Roxas, Pangilinan and Suarez led in signing the commitment of support of stakeholders in the massive operation against cocolisap scheduled to kick off on June 20 in Quezon.
Pangilinan said some 6,000 coconut trees daily will be treated with organic pesticides in Quezon; 10,000 in Batangas; and 13,000 in Laguna. Municipal mayors will be in the frontlines in the comprehensive operation against the infestation. Suarez said Quezon province was the first to declare a “state of calamity” and has set up a task force against the coconut scale‐insect infestation. He asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the guidelines on quarantine and movement of vehicles to properly implement protocols on the ground. Polillo Mayor Cristina E. Bosque said 12 out of 20 barangays of his island municipality has been hit by the coconut pest while former Quezon First District Provincial Board Member Claro Talaga said coconut trees in barangays Ibabang Bukal, Iba, Palale and Ipilan in Tayabas City have been devastated. Talaga said the coconut farmers in the areas affected in Tayabas are using a combination of wood, bamboo, coconut husk and vinegar organic pesticide to spray the undersides of the leaves of coconut trees. The PCA‐led multiagencies will implement emergency measures and methodologies that include leaf pruning, burning, use of organic pesticides, utilization of biological control agents, and buffering to prevent the further spread of the dreaded pest, the infested areas will be declared to be under quarantine. Rep. Vicente “Kulit” Alcala of Second District of Quezon urged his fellow House representatives Mark Enverga, Aleta Suarez and Helen Tan to unite and to eschew politics in the fight against coconut infestation in the province. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/33643‐quezon‐moves‐to‐ fight‐cocolisap
Price of imported garlic shoots up; native produce missing in Manila marts Category: Agri‐Commodities 11 Jun 2014 THE Philippine Network of Food Security Programs (PNFSP), a non‐governmental organization advocating for food security, said the price of imported garlic had an upsurge last week, rising from P180 per kilo to between P280 and P400 per kilo, more than a 100‐percent increase. Native garlic, however, continues to remain invisible in metro markets even as Estrella Catara, PNFSP executive director, told the BusinessMirror in a telephone interview that the crop is only available in areas where the product is grown, such as the Ilocos region. The group said in a statement they could only conclude that the sudden price upsurge is “the creation of traders who manipulate the prices of commodities in the market to drive up their profits.” “Because a significant volume of garlic is imported and smuggled, the power to dictate prices lies in the hands of traders, instead of local farmers,” Catara said. “But the ultimate culprit in situations like these is the government’s policy of agricultural liberalization under the World Trade Organization.” She said that among the provisions of WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture is the decrease in tariff levels over time and reduction of government support or subsidies for local producers. Moreover, it used to be that the Magna Carta of Small Farmers protects local farmers by prohibiting importation of agricultural products where these are abundantly produced in our own country. But, because of the Philippine government’s commitment to WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, this provision of the Magna Carta of Small Farmers was removed, she said. “Even though garlic may not be as big of a deal as rice in terms of consumption, it is a vital ingredient in Filipino cooking. Therefore, its price increase should not be taken lightly by the DA,” she said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri‐commodities/33642‐price‐of‐imported‐ garlic‐shoots‐up‐native‐produce‐missing‐in‐manila‐marts
Coco scale insect infestation checked by Zac Sarian June 11, 2014
A lot of people in the coconut-producing areas like Batangas, Laguna and Quezon are panicking. They don’t seem to know how to deal with this pesky insect pest that has wreaked a lot of damage in Calabarzon and now in Zamboanga. One fellow is not panicking, however. He is Ronald C. Costales who has about 50 mature coconut trees in his organic farm in Majayjay, Laguna. Earlier this year, his trees were also infested by the scale insects.
What he did was to cut off all the fronds that were infested and burned them. Right away, he sprayed the crown with EM or effective microorganisms, a probiotic developed by a Japanese company which is now used in many countries, including the Philippines. To the EM, Costales added extracts of hot chili and neem. Then he sprayed this concoction on the leaves of his trees using a power sprayer. He has been spraying his trees once a month with his concoction. So far so good. The trees are coming up with new leaves that are very healthy. And they have been coming up with new flowers and fruits. Of course, Costales has only about 50 trees unlike others who have thousands. The thing is that he has been able to cure the infestation of the scale insects. In the scale of thousands of trees, the approach should be a concerted effort of the community. Maybe the local governments should spearhead the adoption of measures, like that of Costales and others, to stem the tide of the scale insect infestation. ****
AANI FARM TOUR — Participants in the June 29 AANI Farm Tour will be able observe the Salad Garden for goats at the Alaminos Goat Farm of the Almedas in Alaminos, Laguna.
The Alaminos Goat Farm has developed a system whereby the animals are provided with a daily supply of nutritious forage to supplement the formulated feeds that the farm also prepares for its herd. AGF has planted Indigofera, a leguminous tree with a high crude protein content, as a major forage crop. Aside from feeding the young leaves fresh, Indigofera powder is also pelleted with other ingredients for feeding to the animals. As Rene Almeda has been emphasizing in his talks, proper nutrition is very important in maintaining a high level of milk and meat production in goat raising. AGF is considered the leading goat milk producer in the Philippines today. It was the first to introduce goat’s milk in the high-end supermarkets in Metro Manila. Aside from selling fresh goat’s milk, AGF is making ice cream and cheese using goat’s milk. Rene has also informed us that he has acquired planting materials of the Super Napier or Pakchong 1 from Thailand and this will add to the proper nutrition of their goats. GREEN CHARCOAL, ETC. – The farm tour participants will also observe the making of green charcoal, vermiculture and the manufacture of activated carbon in the Mapecon plant which is also located in Alaminos, Laguna. The third tour destination will be the Ato Belen Farm in San Pablo City. The farm is engaged in making organic fertilizer, growing salad greens in greenhouses and fruit trees. Those interested to join the farm tour could make their reservation at the AANI store at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City or at the AANI Weekend Market office at the FTI in Taguig City. ****
INVITATION TO TAIWAN — This agri-editor has been invited to visit 12 leisure farms in Taiwan from June 15 to 20. The invitation is from Leo Fang of the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association. Last year, we were also invited to visit other leisure farms. Among those that we will visit are the oyster farming area and lychee farms which are in season now. There are more than 200 members of the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association. ****
Log on to: zacsarian.com for practical farming tips, ideas, opportunities and interesting agripeople. You can also contact us at 0917-841-5477. http://www.mb.com.ph/coco‐scale‐insect‐infestation‐checked/
Coconut infestation Published : Thursday, June 12, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 66
AN estimated 1.2 million coconut trees in six provinces, five of them in Luzon, are affected by Aspidiotus Rigidus, a species of scale insect, prompting President Benigno S. Aquino III to issue an executive order instituting emergency measures to control and manage the infestation. Plagued by the infestation are the coconut plantations in the CALABARZON area (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Basilan in Mindanao. Yield loss due to the infestation is projected at a staggering P33.6 billion in Regions IV-A, V and IX. administration’s presidential adviser on food security and agriculture modernization, rolled out an emergency program worth P750 million to bring the infestation down to manageable levels within the next six months. Pangilinan, a former senator and a close ally of President Aquino, said the Scale Insect Emergency Action Program calls for the injection of insecticides, pruning and burning, setting up of a scale insect laboratory to produce biocontrol agents, rehabilitation, surveillance and quarantine. After spraying the affected coconut trees with organic insecticide, the authorities will release the bio-control agents or the friendly “kulisap.” They will provide nutrients to the coconut trees for them to recover faster. With the launching of the emergency measure, concerned government authorities and worried coconut farmers hope to see significant results in the next six months considering the fact that the Philippines has 60 percent share of the world’s total coconut exports. Pangilinan admitted that they do not have the data and the evidence as to how the destructive scale insects got into the country, but pointed out that “there is the possibility” that they could have been brought in through the busy Batangas ports. Hardest hit by the infestation are the coconut plantations in Batangas, where over half-a-million trees are affected. It’s certainly time to address the problem because millions of our countrymen, particularly the impoverished farmers and their families, depend on the export-oriented coconut industry for their cash and livelihood. That’s why, as Pangilinan said, “failure here is not an option.” Tama ka diyan, Mr. Secretary. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/editorial/74259-coconut-infestation
60,000 kg of smuggled garlic seized in Batangas By Maricar Cinco Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:03 am | Thursday, June 12th, 2014
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Philippines—Some 50,000-60,000 kilograms of smuggled garlic were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Batangas port in Batangas City on Wednesday. The smuggled products, in two containers, were marked for close watch by the BOC intelligence group since last week after the government received information about the arrival of the hot cargo, according to customs information officer Charo Logarta. She said the shipment from Taiwan, transported via Hong Kong, arrived in Batangas on Wednesday morning.
Logarta said the shipment appeared “spurious,” with records showing the consignee, Good Earth Merchandising, without any background information except for an address in Cagayan de Oro City. The shipment was also labeled as cacao beans. “This will be subjected to examination and valuation,” Logarta said in a phone interview. Smuggling is costing the government hundreds of billions of pesos in lost revenue every year but authorities appear helpless in putting a stop to it as a result of corruption. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610602/60000‐kg‐of‐smuggled‐garlic‐seized‐in‐ batangas#ixzz34VEqR1dd Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Too late to panic about coconuts June 11, 2014 8:40 pm
Ben D. Kritz It may be four years too late, but it seems the Department of Agriculture has finally realized that the twin infestations of coconut scale insects and coconut leaf beetles rampaging through the Philippines’ most valuable export crop are actually a problem that needs to be addressed. Concerned stakeholders in the coconut industry, however, are not at all happy with the proposals in the “Scale Insect Emergency Action Program” announced by Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan this past Monday, fearing that the plan could actually do more harm than good. The epidemic killing the nation’s coconut trees is caused by two different pests. The more serious of the two is the coconut scale insect (Aspidiotus destructor), which breeds rapidly and can cover the undersides of coconut leaves, killing them by blocking the leaf’s natural pores; as an added evil bonus, as the tiny insect feeds, it also poisons the leaf with toxic saliva. The second infestation is the coconut leaf beetle, also called the coconut hispine beetle (Brontispa longissima Gestro), which also feeds on coconut leaves. Both pests can and do spread to other crops such as bananas, other fruit trees and vegetables. While they are difficult to control, the two pests are not impossible to conquer, and the effective method of doing so is not at all new; in doing a little background research for this column, I was directed to a paper written in 2000 that detailed the history of successful efforts using biological control agents, i.e. parasitic aphids and small beetles, to control coconut scale infestations in Fiji and Indonesia between 1928 and 1935. The key to success, however, lies in correctly choosing the predator insects for the species of pests involved, and deploying them quickly as soon as it becomes evident that an infestation is a growing problem. Even though the Department of Agriculture’s quasi-Secretary Pangilinan tried to portray the new plan as a proactive and comprehensive program that will quickly set things right for the beleaguered coconut sector, it is clear that the Aquino-era DA has already failed miserably. The concerned agencies—the Philippine Coconut Authority, the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Department of Science and Technology —are in panic mode only now that the crisis has seeped through the thick layer of insulation that separates the Office of the President from the real world, provoking His Excellency B.S. Aquino 3rd to “order” them to do something about it.
An open letter issued by Rene Pamintuan, one of the leaders of a coconut growers’ and stakeholders’ advocacy group called the Save the Coconut Movement (SCM), to Secretary Pangilinan makes some damning accusations which, unfortunately for the government, are all completely verifiable: • The coconut scale insect problem was first reported as a serious infestation back in 2011 by one municipality in Batangas, by way of an urgent request for DA assistance in getting the problem under control before it got out of hand; that request was apparently set aside and forgotten. • It took three years for the particular species of coconut scale to be correctly identified (Aspidiotus destructor rigidus, a particularly tough variety that is native to Indonesia), in part because the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) must rely on other government agencies to conduct laboratory research, and has to course any request for quarantine of affected areas through the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), who claims – probably correctly, as infuriating as it is to coconut stakeholders – that they have neither the budget nor the manpower to do that. • There is a huge disconnect between the government’s and the industry’s understanding of the severity of the problem. Pangilinan cited a rate of spread of 400 meters a month, but reports shared with the SCM group by farmers indicated a rate of spread closer to 10 kilometers per day; the real rate is certainly somewhere between those two extremes, but just as certainly much nearer the higher estimate. The main areas affected now are the Southern Tagalog region and Basilan Island; given rather porous quarantine and inspection controls, the fear is the infestation will probably also take hold in Leyte and Samar as farmers replace the vast number of coconut trees lost to last year’s Typhoon Yolanda. • While the P750 million plan presented by Pangilinan does include the standard biological control methods, those seemed to be offered as a maintenance measure, with heavy reliance placed on sub-organic sprays (combinations of oil and liquid soap) and chemical injections of trees with neonicotinoid pesticides. Although neonicotinoids apparently have not been widely used in coconuts, they are effective; a crude version made from soaking used cigarette filters has long been used by marijuana growers as a pesticide, as one example. The problem—and it is a big problem—is that neonicotinoids are a sort of “atomic bomb” of pesticides, as deadly or even more so than DDT, the use of which has been banned for close to half a century. Neonicotinoids will kill the coconut pests, but also everything else – bees, butterflies, birds, and even small animals. Coconut stakeholders are gravely concerned that the use of these chemicals will result in Philippine exports being rejected in favor of “cleaner” products, and even banned outright in some markets. As an added insult, the injection method has not even been confirmed as being reliably effective; the few studies that are available disagree with one another, or have inconclusive results. Coconut stakeholders like the SCM are strongly pushing for a massive effort to deploy the triedand-true biological control agents, which would involve education and assistance to farmers along with direct action by the DA and other agencies. The organic approach is certainly a much more rational plan in the sense that it does no further harm and can at least point to historically successful outcomes, but the disturbing reality is that it may already be too late to salvage the
coconut industry – and with it the $2 billion export resource it represents. Any plans to address the crisis – which, ideally, would be a product of the Administration actually working with a concerned sector, for a change – should now include detailed alternatives to “saving” the coconut industry, because that seems increasingly unlikely to be possible. email@example.com http://www.manilatimes.net/too‐late‐to‐panic‐about‐coconuts/103577/
Four long years of the coconut infestation by Floro M. Mercene June 12, 2014
As usual, the government had closed the barn long after the horse is gone; meaning they have finally moved to control the coconut infestation, long after millions of coconut trees have died of the disease. As of May, 2014, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) says more than one million coco trees have been infected in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, and Basilan. The culprit is identified as Aspiriotus Rigidus, a tiny insect that we call cocolisap or coconut kulisap, which invades the tree leaves and fruits in the millions, sucking it dry of nutrients until the tree turns yellow, shed its fronds and undeveloped fruits and dies. The Philippines is the world’s top supplier of coconut products, with estimated $2 billion net foreign earnings. It also provides livelihood to some 3.5 million coconut farmers nationwide. The disease was identified four years ago and the government’s reaction to the coco crisis is an exercise in cover-up. The President is taking the situation as if there is nobody to blame and is playing along with his factotum who should be taking the fall for this fiasco.Between now and 2010, the question that has been bugging us – pun intended – is to ask where are the top officials of the PCA, Department of Agriculture (DA) when they heard of the infestation four years ago. What did they do to address the problem? Four long years, mind you, when days and months have gone by and the trees are slowly wilting and shedding their leaves in full view of everyone who cares to look. And you tell me that they are putting their act together only now? Candida B. Adalla of the University of the Philippines Los Baños’s (UPLB) College of Agriculture said the infestation started in 2010. However she said efforts to contain it have failed. What efforts may we ask? Was there aerial spraying of the trees? Since coconut plantations are usually large tracts of land, we would imagine that aerial spraying by fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter would do the job. This is commonly practiced in banana and pineapple plantations in Mindanao. http://www.mb.com.ph/four‐long‐years‐of‐the‐coconut‐infestation/
Report: Boosting ASEAN climate change action by Philippine News Agency June 11, 2014
Manila – An expert believes ASEAN member-nations must learn about each other’s initiatives on adapting to climate change so Southeast Asia can better address this threat. “There’s lots of commonalities among the nations in terms of climate change adaptation so these can learn from one another,” International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) rice expert Dr. Reiner Wassman said Friday at the climate forum the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc., held at this bank’s headquarters in Metro Manila. He’s optimistic the sharing and learning experience will eventually enable ASEAN to harmonize its relevant activities and standards, helping the region enhance resilience to climate change. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) defines resilience as “the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to, and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions.” ADB economist David Anthony Raitzer sees need for collective action on climate change, noting this threat has “large negative impact potential.” “How we adapt is in our hands,” he said at the forum. He cautioned against inaction particularly in the Philippines which experts already identified as among the world’s 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts. “It’s imperative for us to act,” he said. Raitzer noted that projected changes in the Philippines, including rise in annual mean temperature, greater intensity of the rainy season in Luzon and the Visayas as well as increased length of the dry season, raised urgency for action. Agriculture is among the sectors most vulnerable to climate change. Wassmann said IRRI continues looking into ways of makingagriculture climate-resilient. Among IRRI’s climate change adaptation-related initiatives for increasing agricultural resiliency are tapping mobile technology to help open up farmers’ and extension workers’ access to information on rice crop management, said Wassmann.
IRRI is also promoting irrigation management protocols farmers can understand to help improve production while reducing water demand by about 30 percent, he continued. He noted IRRI likewise continues developing rice varieties that can tolerate flooding and other conditions. One of those rice varieties can already survive fully submerged for a longer period, he said. http://www.mb.com.ph/report‐boosting‐asean‐climate‐change‐action/
Visayas Newsbits for June 12, 2014 June 11, 2014
NEW CORN TECHNOLOGY PILOTED IN FIVE AREAS Iloilo City, Iloilo (PIA) – Upland areas in the towns of Sara, Batad, and San Joaquin in Iloilo and Maayon and Cuartero in Capiz will pilot-test new corn technology to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA). The DA will put up a 3-5-hectare demo farm in the town of Sara this year, with the rest of the pilot areas to follow. The new technology, seen to improve corn production amid weather changes, is called Sustainable Corn Production in Slopping Areas (SCOPSA). The technology aims to give farmers skills to cultivate slopping areas planted to corn through contour farming and planting leguminous plants and permanent trees. http://www.mb.com.ph/visayas‐newsbits‐for‐june‐12‐2014/
CONSUELO DE BOBO SA PORK by BURDADO/Jun Briones Jun 11, 2014 11:00pm HKT
NAGPAPATULOY ang imbestigasyon ng Malakanyang sa mga isinasabit sa pork barrel scam. Ito ang sabi ng Malakanyang at kumikilos umano ang DoJ para rito. Waaaat? King ina! Sino ang maniniwala sa Malakanyang sa pinagsasabi nito? Kung totoo ang sinasabi ng Malakanyang, magsimula ito sa tatlong miyembro ng gabinete na pawang sikat sa pagkakadawit sa P10 bilyong Janet Lim-Napoles scam. Umaalingasaw na ang ngalan nina Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala at TESDA Director Jonjon Villanueva. Pero ano ang ginagawa ng Malakanyang? Pinoprotektahan ang mga ito at idinideklarang inosente ng mga hijo de puta sa kataas-taasan. Sina Abad at Villanueva ay naging kongresman at tiyak na nagkaroon ng pork barrel ang mga ito. Ito namang si Alcala ay dinaanan ng mga non-government organization ni Napoles. Pero pare-pareho ang tatlo na sa panahong namamayagpag si Napoles, nakinabang ang mga ito sa P10 pork barrel. Si Abad pa nga ang inginunguso ni Napoles na nagturo sa kanya kung paano magmaniobra sa pork barrel para masiguro na ma-release ng DBM ang mga pondo. Ngayon, sinasabi ng Malakanyang na nagpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon. May 12 senador at may 180 kongresman na sangkot sa scam. May kabuuan namang 80 ang NGO na sangkot at 10 rito ang kay Napoles. Lahat ng ito ay inilabas ng Commission on Audit. Patuloy naman umano ang pagkilos ng DoJ at COA. Pero nasaan ang palatandaan ng mga ito?
‘Yung tatlong senador pa rin na kinasuhan na ng Ombudsman sa Sandiganbayan ang nababalitaan lang natin. Heto ang isang malinaw na katarantaduhang ginagawa ng pamahalalang Aquino: napakabilis nitong kumilos at nakapagkakalkal ng todo ng mga ebidensya, kung hindi nila kaalyado ang mga sangkot…at guilty pa agad ang mga hindi nila kaalyado. Pero kung kaalyado nila ang nasasangkot, katulad nina Abad, Alcala at Villanueva at ang nakararami sa 12 senador at 180 kongresman, agad na nagdedeklara ang Palasyo na inosente ang mga ito hangga’t hindi napatutunayan ng korte ang kanilang pagkakasala. King ina, paano makarating sa Ombudsman at Sandiganbayan ang iskam ng mga ‘yan kung, sa totoo lang, ay hindi naman kumikilos ang Malakanyang? http://www.remate.ph/2014/06/consuelo‐de‐bobo‐sa‐pork/#.U5qu‐3aveKE
Foreign funds hit $545m in May By Julito G. Rada | Jun. 12, 2014 at 12:01am Foreign fund inflows hit $545 million in May, the highest in six months and a sharp reversal of the $641-million net outflow registered a year ago, after Standard & Poor’s upgraded the country’s debt rating to a notch above the minimum investment grade on May 8. Data from the Bangko Sentral also showed Wednesday the foreign portfolio investment inflow in May was 64 percent higher than $324-million net inflow in April. The Bangko Sentral said despite the net inflows recorded in April and May, foreign portfolio investments or hot money yielded a $1.4-billion net outflow in the first five months, compared to the $1.6-billion net inflow a year ago. Hot money yielded a record net outflow of $1.8 billion in January, $355 million in February and $93 million in March. Gross inflow in the five-month period reached $8.741 billion, while gross outflows hit $10.163 billion. Foreign portfolio investments are overseas funds that are temporarily invested in local stocks, government securities and money market. These are also called “hot money” because of the ease they are invested in and taken out of local market “About 75.2 percent of the investments [in May] were in PSE [Philippine Stocks Exchange]listed securities [property companies, banks, holding firms, food, beverage and tobacco firms, and telecommunication companies]; 20.7 percent in peso government securities; and the rest or 4.1 percent in peso time deposits,” the Bangko Sentral said. Top sources of foreign funds in the five-month period were the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong and Luxembourg. S&P upgraded the Philippines’s debt rating to BBB from BBB- in the first week of May, citing the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Hot money registered a net inflow of $4.2 billion in 2013, surpassing the revised forecast of $3.2 billion made by the Bangko Sentral. Bangko Sentral expects hot money to be lower at $2.1 billion in 2014, considering the possible effects of the US Fed tapering of stimulus program. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/06/12/foreign‐funds‐hit‐545m‐in‐may/
Govt agrees to pay P1b to GSIS By Jennifer Ambanta | Jun. 12, 2014 at 12:01am The Budget Department agreed to release nearly P1 billion to the Government Services Insurance System as payment for premium arrears of government employees in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara said the arrears amounted to more than P990 million for the period 1997 to 2004. “This will restore the benefits of more than 29,000 government employees in ARMM,” he said. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said public school teachers were mostly affected by the suspension of the benefits, as more than half of the ARMM employees were school workers. “Public school teachers actually comprise a remarkable 80 percent of the civil service pool in the ARMM, and many of them have faithfully served their communities for most of their professional lives. Restoring their benefits is only just and fitting,” he said. The Budget Department agreed to pay P891.4 million to GSIS within 30 days of the signing of the agreement, to cover all unpaid GSIS premiums for DepEd-ARMM personnel. The agency also agreed to release P100 million to the GSIS, without interest, within one year of the signing of the agreement. The payments will be sourced from savings under 2014 General Appropriations Act. “The Bangsamoro peace pact signed earlier this year signals a period of greater socio-economic development in the ARMM which will help the government to push the interest of the public particularly health, education and social security,” Abad said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/06/12/govt‐agrees‐to‐pay‐p1b‐to‐gsis/
BFAR sends more help to Yolanda‐hit fishermen June 11, 2014 9:12 pm by James Konstantin Galvez The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will again send the vessel MV DABFAR to Tacloban City to deliver thousands of fishing implements to Typhoon Yolanda-affected fishermen in Eastern Visayas. In a simple send-off ceremony at the Navotas Fish Port Complex, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the undertaking is part of the government’s effort, through BFAR’s AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative, to hasten the recovery of the region’s fishing communities. “The DA is determined to optimize government intervention in various forms of assistance for the fisheries sector’s full recovery,” Alcala said. He added that the vessel is loaded with more than 19,000 units of gill nets, more than 7,500 pieces of various line gears – including tuna handline, multiple handle and bottom set longline. It is also provisioned with deep sea water payao (fish aggregating device) floaters and 350 rolls of ropes measuring 660 meters each. BFAR National Director Asis Perez noted that in seven months after its launching, AHON! has covered 1,098 coastal barangays in 102 municipalities and built some 24,109 fishing boats, or almost 75 percent of the target 32,224 units. Perez also said that 18,000 motor engines have been distributed, while 56,970 units of gill nets and fishing gears have been awarded to fishermen-beneficiaries in the affected regions. Also, BFAR has released an estimated P154.3 million to the local government units of MIMAROPA and Central and Eastern Visayas for the rehabilitation of fish and seaweed farming livelihoods, which include enhancement of inland fisheries’ production, restoration of mariculture parks and establishment of seaweed nurseries. Perez said that more livelihood interventions will be undertaken before the year-end, including the completion of 5,000 units of fiberglass boats which will be awarded to fishermen whose boats were completely destroyed by the typhoon. http://www.manilatimes.net/bfar‐sends‐more‐help‐to‐yolanda‐hit‐fishermen/103473/
PH woos SE Asia food, agri industries to local exhibit for B2B exchange June 11, 2014 9:08 pm by James Konstantin Galvez The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday urged local and foreign investors to take advantage of the business-to-business strategies and exchange development opportunities under the Philippine Rural Development Program. In his keynote address for this year’s Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (SIAL) Southeast Asian Food Market Exhibit in Pasay City, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the event will serve as a venue to introduce the PRDP to various agriculture stakeholders to network and exchange ideas on agri-entrepreneurship. “This is also an opportunity for our local agri-entrepreneurs to witness different practices in food production, processing and trading in different countries, and at the same time promote their products to foreign investors,” Alcala said. Dubbed as Southeast Asia’s largest food exhibition with more than 500 exhibitors from 20 countries worldwide, the three-day SIAL-ASEAN is designed to give opportunity for the country’s food, agriculture and agribusiness industries to pitch their products to the world. SIAL, which was first launched in Paris in 1964, said it has set the standards for worldwide food and retail industries. It recently expanded to different parts of the world including North and South America, the Middle East and Asia. The event is organized by Paris-based Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire, and held alongside the Manila Foods and Beverage Expo (MAFBEX) between June 11 and13 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Some 15, 000 visitors from Philippines and other parts of Asia are expected to attend this year’s exhibit. Alcala said that the DA is expected to feature its new World Bank-funded PRDP, which aims to put up market-oriented interventions in the rural areas throughout the country. The six-year PRDP program is expected to pool $671.59 million or about P28 billion from a loan portfolio of the World Bank and equity share of national and local government units. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s agricultural exports last year increased by 25 percent to $6.32 billion from $5.04 billion in 2012.
Coconut oil remained the biggest export earner at $950.55 million, followed by fresh bananas at $911.75 million, tuna at $664.86 million, and pineapple-based products with $416.8 million. During that period, the country successfully reduced its agricultural trade deficit by 52.6 percent—from $3.13 billion in 2012 to US$1.48 billion in 2013 –as exports soared while imports dropped. PSA data also showed that farm and fishery imports from January to December fell by 4.5 percent to $7.8 billion. “It is the first time for the Philippines to host the event. For a country that derives a significant part of its export earnings from agricultural commodities, SIAL ASEAN is a vote of confidence about the potential and prevailing dynamism of Philippine agriculture,” Alcala said. http://www.manilatimes.net/ph‐woos‐se‐asia‐food‐agri‐industries‐to‐local‐exhibit‐for‐b2b‐ exchange/103466/
Aquino certifies CARP extension as urgent June 11, 2014 9:02 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE President Benigno Aquino 3rd has certified as urgent a Senate bill extending the land acquisition and distribution component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which is due to end in three months. Aquino on Tuesday held a closed-door dialogue with six leaders of farmers’ organizations in Malacanang and promised to fully implement the agrarian reform program by 2016. “The President is committed to the full implementation of the CARP. He’s committed to the full implemenation of land acquisition and land distribution until 2016,” Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told a press conference. Lacierda said the President assured farmer-groups that land distribution will not end when Republic Act 9700, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper) Law, expires this month. Section 30 of the Carper Law states that land acquisition and distribution may proceed for landholdings with pending proceedings even after June 2014. “The DAR, under the leadership of Secretary Gil Delos Reyes, will pursue and continue to issue those notices of coverage on or before June 30,” the Palace mouthpiece said. According to him, the President has certified as urgent a House bill extending the land acquisition and distribution component of CARP. “As to the Senate, we are just waiting for the committee report,” he said. Meanwhile, Lacierda said there was a “very good discussion” between the President and the farmers about the implementation of CARP. “They expressed concerns that other branches of government must address. So the President said: ‘The issues with the executive branch, we can take care of that. But when it’s with the courts, that’s the turf of the judiciary,” he said. “So, it was a very good discussion yesterday and so they saw that the President is committed to distributing the lands by end of 2016,” Lacierda added. http://www.manilatimes.net/aquino‐certifies‐carp‐extension‐as‐urgent/103449/
Comelec has money for recall polls: DBM June 11, 2014 10:49 pm by Jing Villamente Reporter The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is not buying the claim of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that it suspended the holding of two pending recall elections in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and in Bulacan for lack of funds. In fact, the DBM said on Tuesday, the Comelec has nearly P4 billion to conduct the recall polls, with the one in Palawan needing only more than P13 million to be accomplished. In a letter forwarded to The Manila Times, DBM Undersecretary Luz Cantor, responding to the letter of Palawan Rep. Douglas Hagedorn asking the DBM to validate the poll body’s position that it has no “line-budget” for the exercise, said as of end-2013, the Comelec has “unobligated allocation” of P3.6 billion, referring to the commission’s “statement of appropriations, allotments, obligations, disbursement and balances.” Hagedorn had sought clarification from the Budget department after Comelec officials headed by Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. reasoned that they had to suspend the recall petition against Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron for lack of funds. The Comelec en banc made this position official thru Resolution 9882 issued last May 27. In her reply on June 9 to Hagedorn, Cantor pointed out that this year’s allocated budget of P1.4 billion disbursed to the Comelec at the beginning of the year— already includes the budget for the conduct and supervision of elections, referenda, recall votes and plebiscites as one of its “regular programs.” “Comelec’s principal role is to enforce and administer all laws and regulations in connection with the conduct of elections, initiatives, referendum and recalls,” she noted. Fiscal autonomy The DBM further debunked the Comelec’s claim that it cannot set aside any amount for the continuation of the recall process against Bayron without risking violation of the law as Congress failed to specifically provide money for recall in the 2014 budget. As far back as April 3, 1992, Cantor said that under Joint Resolution 1 signed by all constitutionally-created bodies—Comelec, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit and Office of the Ombudsman—all agreed that the “very essence” of fiscal autonomy is “independence or freedom from outside control, characterized by self-direction or selfdetermination.”
“Thus, fiscal autonomy connotes such independence regarding financial matters. “That as envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the Comelec guarantees the exercise of full management and control of themselves of their financial affairs as well as flexibility to allocate, administer and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their official needs require,” the DBM reminded its co-equal body. The DBM noted that in the past, the Comelec asked the DBM for additional funding, again contrary to the poll body’s claim in Resolution 9882 that it would be “unwise” for the poll body to request additional funding or set aside money for recall, citing Congress’ power to enact laws and the allocation of public funds. “Historically, the Comelec has sourced additional funds through supplemental budget [P11.3 billion in 2009]; overall savings [P4.143 billion in 2012]; and contingent funds [P10 million in 2011]. http://www.manilatimes.net/comelec‐has‐money‐for‐recall‐polls‐dbm/103527/
Alcala faces another plunder complaint June 11, 2014 11:02 pm by Reina Tolentino Reporter Another plunder complaint was filed on Wednesday against Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala with the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with “anomalous” rice imports. The Metro Manila Vendors’ Association claimed that Alcala and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Orlan Calayag amassed P1.08 billion from the “massive” importation of rice from Vietnam.“This latest importation reeks of corruption and is clearly anomalous,” the vendors asserted, saying it was overpriced by at least $30 per MT. “There is absolutely no justification to import rice at a time when the country has abundant supply of it,” they said, noting that the deal was struck in summer when rice production was at its peak.The group, represented by its President Flora Santos, hit Alcala for contradicting his promise of rice self-sufficiency by 2013. “Alcala’s media statements were meant only to lull the public into believing that the tuwid na daan [straight path] policy being espoused by the [Aquino] administration would also include graft-ridden NFA,” the 13-page complaint read. The lifting of the quantitative restrictions on rice importation by June 30, 2012 contained in the Department of Agriculture’s rice self-sufficiency 2011 to 2016 roadmap should have already let the private sector take charge of importation, the group said. It added that Alcala and Calayag entered into the “midnight deal” because the rice importation was made just a few days before President Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization. The group claimed that the two officials sealed the deal to import 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice from Vietnam in April and that the volume of rice to be imported was more than the government’s quota of 187,000 MT. Vietnam Southern Food Corp. and Vietnam Northern Food Corp. won the contract.Emerson Palad, undersecretary and spokesman f the Department of Agriculture, said Alcala is yet to be informed about the latest plunder case filed against him. With James Konstantin Galvez http://www.manilatimes.net/alcala‐faces‐another‐plunder‐complaint/103546/
Southwest monsoon continues to bring rains over Luzon June 12, 2014 11:33 am Tropical storm “Ester” is already out of Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) but still rains are expected over Luzon due to the Southwest Monsoon affecting these area, the state weather bureau said on Thursday. In the Thursday forecast, PAGASA said that Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera and Central Luzon will experience monsoon rains while Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have occasional rains. It added the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. PAGASA weather forecaster Manny Mendoza said the agency continues to monitor a weather disturbance near Northern Luzon. He said the low pressure area has high chance to become a tropical cyclone. Should the LPA become a cyclone while inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be locally codenamed Florita, Mendoza said. Meanwhile, The state weather bureau issued gale warning as strong to gale force winds associated with the surge of southwest monsoon which would affect northern and western seaboard of Luzon. “Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves,” he said. It added moderate to strong winds coming from the southwest will prevail over Luzon and its coastal waters will be moderate to rough. Light to moderate winds coming from the southwest will prevail over Visayas and from the south to southwest over Mindanao with slight to moderate seas. PNA http://www.manilatimes.net/southwest‐monsoon‐continues‐to‐bring‐rains‐over‐ luzon/103585/