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Alcala faces fourth plunder raps over rice import ‘midnight’ deal By Marc Jayson Cayabyab 6:11 pm | Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala faces a fourth plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman, allegedly for his involvement in a purported overpriced rice importation deal from Vietnam. Metro Manila Vendor’s Association, in their complaint-affidavit represented by its president Flora Santos, accused Alcala and resigned National Food Authority (NFA) chief Orlan Calayag of amassing over a billion pesos in the deal. “The deal clearly robs the government of a huge sum of money, which could have been used to support other worthy government projects and services…” the complaint read. According to the complaint, Alcala and Calayag facilitated the importation of 800,000 metric tons from Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (VINAFOOD) in April this year. Since the deal was struck a month before former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was appointed the Presidential Adviser for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization, the import project was purportedly a “midnight deal,” the complainants alleged. “Apparently, realizing that their days were numbered, they made the most of their last remaining days in office and arranged a deal that would pay them handsomely in illegal kickbacks…” the complaint read. The complainants alleged that the freightage rate of the deal was overpriced by $30 per metric tons (MT) – the NFA rate is $54 per MT as opposed to the prevailing market price of $24 per MT.

This means the respondents purportedly amassed $24 million or P1.080 billion. (The complainants used P45 per dollar as conversion rate. But the rate as of June 12 is P43.659, which means the alleged ill-gotten wealth is P1.048 billion). The complainants also said the deal is unjustified because it was struck on April this year or during the harvest season when rice supply is at its peak. The deal also contradicted the government’s promise to make the country self-sufficient in rice, the complainants said. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda was quoted in a report as saying the Philippines would no longer import rice in 2014. Alcala is facing three other plunder raps. The first one was filed in October 2013 by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas against Alcala and President Aquino over the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Funds under the scheme of Janet Lim-Napoles. In December 2013, Alcala was also accused over the importation last May 2013 of 205,700 metric tons of rice from Vietnam allegedly overpriced by P457.2 million. Meanwhile, in January 2014, Alcala and National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) President Honesto Baniqued face plunder raps for allegedly amassing P1.07 billion that was supposedly part of the P11.4 billion unaccounted Nabcor funds based on a report from the Commission on Audit. Alcala was also accused of being involved in the pork barrel scam. He was tagged on the list of scam beneficiaries furnished by Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind is the scam.

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El Niño impact to be felt by September – Pagasa By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Some parts of the country will feel the impact of El Niño by September, according to an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) yesterday. “Starting September, rainfall patterns in some parts of the country will be affected,” PAGASA weather forecasting section chief Rene Paciente said. He said below normal rainfall will initially be experienced in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Bicol and Western Visayas. Cordillera is the primary source of highland vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. The Bicol region, on the other hand, produces three major crops, namely pili nuts, abaca and coconut. Western Visayas is the largest producer of sugar and the third largest rice producer in the country. The region also produces coconut, banana, fruits, root crops and vegetables. Paciente said the drier than normal condition could last up to early 2015. He said the situation would be even more alarming if as early as September the country would be receiving below normal rainfall. “We can expect a critical scenario during the summer season next year,” he said. Paciente said the country also received below normal rainfall during the dry months of April and May. On the other hand, the country can expect fewer but more intense tropical cyclones this year due to El Niño. “Although the number of cyclones developing over the Pacific Ocean will still be normal, there is a high possibility that these disturbances would recurve northward,” Paciente said. He said they expect around 15 to 18 cyclones to enter the Philippine area of responsibility this year. Around 19 to 20 cyclones usually visit the country every year.

Paciente said in 2010, only 11 cyclones entered the Philippine area of responsibility when the country was affected by an El Ni単o phenomenon. Foreign meteorological agencies have forecast that El Ni単o is likely to develop by August.

Pro-vampire garlic prices? CTALK By Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am When prices of locally grown garlic hit P300 a kilo, a number of people became quite vocal along with several news organizations that centered their reports on the price increase, without really doing a scientific or input based study on the possible causes. Even friends on Facebook were posting their protests at what many made to appear as shocking. Sorry to say this but my sympathies lie with the poor farmers who’ve always received the low price and the short end of the stick. First of all the increase in prices is the effect of “supply and demand.” The government effectively curbed garlic smuggling, and as a result we now discover that there is not enough garlic currently grown locally to meet the demand. The reason that is so is because most of us preferred to buy CHEAP and BIG, meaning smuggled Taiwanese or “made in China” garlic. So the local farmers had no reason to grow more than they could sell. Now that supplies are short, some people are evidently willing to pay P300 per kilo of garlic, or the prices would not go that high. As my wife Karen always tells me about pricing: “The price of anything is what someone is willing to pay for it.” Even if there was a cartel, they can only horde something as long as it retains its value. When people refuse to pay, the prices ultimately fall. I pointed out to some friends that they are in shock because they have continuously benefitted and preferred the BIG and cheap garlic that are generally smuggled into the country by unscrupulous people. Don’t call them traders because they are not. They are smugglers. Then there is the issue of those imported products being subsidized by the communist system of China and produced by cheap labor in the commune. Anyone of you who has done any type of planting, farming or even gardening for a day, a week, or a month, all call it “back breaking” even if we actually do it as a hobby or for “fun.” The process of soil preparation, buying fertilizers, seed stock or “bulbs” in the case of garlic, the cost of pest control, the months of care, the labor that goes into growing garlic costs a lot of money and there are absolutely no guarantees that your garlic will be plentiful. Not every province and just anybody can grow garlics. There is a limited area and limited season to do so. Then after all is said and done, the farmer has to deal with the consolidator or their buyers who will nickel and dime them and buy their garlic wholesale but low priced. Everybody wants garlic but everybody wants them cheap! How would you feel if everybody declared that your services or skills should have a price cap? How would you feel if everybody simply assumed that you were making a killing without

investigating? That my friends, is the problem; we want the goods but we are not willing to pay the real price. [Why should our pleasure always be at someone else’s expense? Why should the least or the poor always have to pay the price? ] To me the glaring example is when Filipinos go shopping especially when they have visitors from abroad. When we take visitors to malls or department stores, there is “no tawad” or no haggling on prices. We dutifully bring out the cash or the credit card without any second thoughts. But why is it that when we go to public markets, tiangge, or sidewalk vendors, we don’t just make “tawad” we make “barat” or shamelessly chisel down the poor vendor who probably makes no more than P5 or P10 on the sale? Three hundred pesos a kilo for garlic may seem a lot, but so does the load on a prepaid card, a cup of brewed coffee that has the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of Kape Barako is over a P100, car parks charge a minimum of P30 and go up to P60 for 3 hours, we pay P350 to P500 for an hour of massage and many ladies spend more per week to have their pretty nails done. Everybody talks about CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility. Perhaps we should give a second definition to CSR: Christian Social Responsibility to pay a man his just wages. *



If anything the declaration of a “state of calamity” and the unorthodox or extra-ordinary decision to place two heads in the Department of Agriculture tells us that the President has a keen interest in agriculture and that he will act if no one else will. Better late than never, and just in case no one has given the President a proper “thank you,” I express my appreciation that P-Noy stepped into the Coconut Scale Infestation crisis. Knowing all the facts and the seriousness of the problem, many people will certainly appreciate the President’s decision to declare a “state of calamity” in the CALABARZON and parts of Bicol. By doing so all the usual “red tape” and delaying protocols can be dispensed with to find solutions. This will undoubtedly allow anybody and everybody to adopt the battle cry of Senator Cynthia Villar: “In the absence of anything – lets do everything.” I also want to acknowledge the wisdom behind P-Noy’s decision to appoint former Senator Kiko Pangilinan as the Second Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. In the short time that “Sec. Kiko” got into the picture, I have seen the benefits the former Senator brings as he easily has access and favors with current members of Congress and the Senate as well as those in the President’s Cabinet. I also learned that Sec. Kiko has a very “inclusive style of management” and will listen to people who can contribute and come up with sensible solutions. Even with little time left in the P-Noy administration Sec. Kiko can still contribute a lot to various areas of Philippine agriculture as ambassador and legislative liaison between “farmers,” Malacañang, and Congress.

DA intensifies aid to fishermen in ‘Yolanda’devastated areas By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:14 am | Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala: Optimizing government assistance for fishermen in ‘Yolanda’-devastated areas. FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Seven months after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is continually providing material aid to fisherfolk in Eastern Visayas who bore the brunt of the tragedy. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala on Wednesday said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has again deployed its multi-mission vessel to typhoon-ravaged areas to bring in fishing implements. The vessel M/V DA-BFAR sailed to Tacloban City from the Navotas Fish Port Complex to deliver 19,000 units of gill nets, 7,500 line gears and 70 units of payao (fish aggregating device) and ropes. Alcala said the latest sortie is still part of the government’s efforts through BFAR’s “Ahon! Rehabilitation Initiative.” “The DA is determined to optimize government interventions in various forms of assistance for the fisheries sector’s full recovery,” he said. According to BFAR national director Asis G. Perez, more livelihood interventions will be undertaken before the year ends. Perez said these include the completion of 5,000 units of fiberglass boats that will replace fisherfolk’s boats that were lost to Yolanda. He said that in the seven months since the typhoon struck, 24,109 fishing boats have been built through the Ahon initiative—representing three quarters of its goal of 32,224 boats.

Also, 18,000 motor engines were also distributed aside from 56,970 units of gill nets and fishing gear. Since November last year, the Ahon initiative has covered 1,098 coastal barangays in 102 towns in the affected regions. Further, Perez said BFAR has disbursed an estimated P154.3 million to the local government units (LGUs) in the regions of Mimaropa, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas—all for the rehabilitation of fish and seaweed farming livelihoods. He said the amount covered expenses for the enhancement of inland fisheries’ production, restoration of mariculture parks and establishment of seaweed nurseries.

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ECCP helps PH food firms increase sales in Asia By Amy R. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:07 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014 The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is helping local companies increase sales to the Asian food market, following their successful participation in the recently concluded ThaiFex World of Food Asia. In a statement, the ECCP explained that its unit, Fairs and More Inc. (FMI), together with the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, brought 20 Philippine food companies to the expo, deemed as one of the leading business platforms for food companies in the region. This was part of FMI’s initiatives to introduce and expose local food companies to potential foreign markets. The visitor traffic and the number of decision makers present at the expo have proven that ThaiFex was the right venue for Philippine companies to further expand opportunities in the region, it said. The Philippines is said to be in a good position to compete in Asia on certain food products including processed foods, ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruit and vegetable drinks, food preserves, noodles, pastry ingredients and condiments, according to FMI. Philippine companies that participated at ThaiFex included Agrinurture Inc., Brand Exports Philippines, Chef Tony’s, Chocovron Global Corp., Gem Foods Int. Inc., Global Food Solutions Inc., Handyware Philippines Inc., KSK Food Products, Mama Sita’s and Marigold Manufacturing Corp. Mega Fishing Corp., MFP Home for Quality Food Corp., Monde Nissin Corp., Pearl Foods Int. Inc., Philippine Grocers Food Exports Inc., Pixcel Transglobal Foods Inc., See’s Int. Food Mfg. Corp., Super Q Golden Bihon, Sure Marketing Co. Inc., and the Philippine Coffee Board were also at the expo. FMI has been bringing Philippine companies to some of the biggest trade fairs in Europe, Middle East, and Asia while establishing networks for them to expand their respective businesses. Last year, FMI was successful in introducing Philippine energy drinks and coconut water along with organic products to the European market when it took 22 local companies to the Anuga fair in Germany. According to FMI, the world food retail industry is estimated to be worth $4 trillion annually with China and India ranked in the top five. Asia is also estimated to account for the bulk of the 35-percent increase in food demand by 2025. : Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

DA to continue effort vs illegal fishing By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures that it will continue to implement measures to deter and prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) amid the European Union’s (EU) warning that Philippine fish exports may be banned from the trading bloc. “The Philippine Government has stated and made substantial progress in pursuing legal, administrative and budgetary reform to effect good governance in the fishing sector to address not only IUUF, but its concomitant cause or drivers,” Agriculture undersecretary Emerson Palad said in a statement yesterday. He noted that being an exporter to Europe, the Philippine government through the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has been in talks with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to address IUUF issues. During the last informal dialogue between the parties held from June 3 to 6, the DA reported all the gains made and actions being taken by the Philippines to prevent IUUF. Among the measures undertaken is the adoption of a National Plan of Action through Executive Order No. 154 signed by President Aquino in December 2013 which prompts the creation of an Inter-agency Philippine Committee against IUUF. Reforms have also been made in fisheries monitoring control and surveillance through a fully functional vessel monitoring system and acquisition of multi-mission patrol crafts. Amendments to the Fisheries Code to further strengthen policy instruments against IUUF is likewise being pushed. Palad said the initiative has the full support of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee through chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar who filed the Senate Substitute Bill No. 2207, as well as from Benhur Salimbangon, House of Representatives Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources Committee chair and Cebu 4th district representative who authored House Substitute Bill No. 4536. Both proposed substitute bills seek to amend penalties to various violations, including IUUF, among others in the Fisheries Code of 1998.‐continue‐effort‐vs‐illegal‐fishing

Significant increase in adoption of biotech crop varieties noted (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The international agricultural community including the Philippines significantly increased its adoption of crop varieties processed through modern biotechnology. This was disclosed at a recent briefing for media conducted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research on Agriculture (SEARCA), the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and other agriculture research agencies. The SEARCA briefing revealed, as of 2013, that some 800,000 hectares of farmland in the country are already planted with the pesticide-free biotech corn variety, up from 750,000 hectares in 2012. The feat placed the Philippines in the number 12 spot among the world’s top users of biotech crop varieties, SEARCA explained. The ISAAA meanwhile reported that some 18 million farmers in 27 countries have now adopted biotech crops as of 2013. The total size of farmlands planted to these pesticide-free varieties has also increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013, the ISAAA report said. “The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 40 percent of the total global hectares,” the ISAAA report added. “Growth in developing countries continues to expand,” the report said. Latin American, Asian and African farmers collectively grew 54 percent of global biotech crop hectares in 2013, up by two percent from 2012. During the same briefing, Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Research and Development Dr. Segfredo Serrano explained how biotech crops and modern technologies are helping Philippine farmers increase productivity and revenues while protecting the environment. He also emphasized the safety of the technology and the “rigorous safety assessments and the national regulatory system for biotech products.

‘Green’ banca to help save trees By Tarra Quismundo FAO, green banca, livelihood, Philippines - regions, UN, Yolanda aid 5:43 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014 MANILA, Philippines–A “green” banca will help to restore the livelihood of typhoon-devastated fisherfolk and preserve the remaining hardwood stands of the Visayas “Yolanda” disaster zone. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have together developed a sturdy hybrid vessel for fishermen, which is partly made of fiberglass to cut down on the use of wood. José Luis Fernandez, the FAO representative in the Philippines, said there was a need to restore livelihood in the coastal villages devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda while introducing sustainable practices to local fishermen in line with the government’s “build back better” program. “The adoption and fabrication of this inexpensive hybrid fiberglass-wooden boat model is taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce more responsible practices,” he said. The strongest storm to hit the Philippines killed more than 6,000 and affected an estimated 14 million people, including some 30,000 fishing families, or about 150,000 people, in coastal areas last November. “It is imperative that we restore fishing production capacity in a sustainable manner. The disruption to the fisheries sector caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) over six months ago not only threatens fishers’ livelihoods, per capita fish consumption and nutrition levels of coastal communities but the livelihoods of thousands of other fish workers and women in fisheries along the fish distribution chain,” Fernandez said in a statement. Hybrid banca The development of the hybrid fishing banca is part of a $7-million program aimed at supporting some 14,4000 fishermen across the typhoon corridor, including parts of Eastern and Western Visayas and Northern Palawan. FAO said the boat would retain traditional Philippine boat designs but replace materials from the hardwood tree, a protected species, with fiberglass for the keel or kasko. The 6.4-meter motorized banca will still use hardwood for the upper hull but use fiberglass for the lower hull.

“[It will be] helping to preserve the hardwood trees and deterring further illegal forestry practices. FAO has further included built-in buoyancy tanks and other features that ensure floatability and durability,” said FAO in a statement. At P45,000 per unit, the hybrid banca is a little pricier than the P30,000 all-hardwood banca but is half the price of a full fiberglass boat. Prototypes

FAO is providing technical assistance in making 45 prototypes of the hybrid vessel for distribution to typhoon-hit villages. It will provide training to nongovernment organizations, local government staff, BFAR personnel, boat builders and other stakeholders in the construction and maintenance of the hybrid boats. “By training trainers, knowledge on construction and maintenance is expected to be passed on to 3,000 boat builders and carpenters,” said FAO. The organization is hoping that the government, private and artisanal boat builders will “adopt the model” for mass production. FAO and the UK-DFID will also provide some 3,000 fishermen with small-fish cage materials and provide 3,500 women with “start-up capital for fish vending, processing and value-adding.”

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Potential tropical depression in northern PH to be named Florita By Frances Mangosing 7:41 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014

MT Satellite image June 13, 2014, 6:32 a.m. Screengrab from MANILA, Philippines–A low pressure area near the Ilocos region may develop into a tropical cyclone that would affect extreme northern Luzon, the weather bureau said Friday. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the LPA was last observed 430 kilometers northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur. If it intensifies into a tropical depression within the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), it will be locally named Florita. Jori Loiz of Pagasa cited two weather scenarios including the LPA moving toward southeastern China, in which case it will not enter the PAR. But if the LPA goes south of Taiwan, it will enter the PAR and affect extreme northern Luzon. It would follow the same path as Tropical Depression Ester. Loiz told that the direction of the LPA would be dictated by the high pressure area. Depending on its movement, the LPA has chances of becoming stationary, he said. Because the LPA is not yet within the PAR, it is not yet directly affecting the country. Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon is prevailing over Luzon and will bring rains to the island, including Metro Manila.

“Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan group of islands, the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera and Central Luzon will experience monsoon rains,” Pagasa said, adding Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have occasional rains. The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. 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 the Visayas and from the south to southwest over Mindanao with slight to moderate sea, Pagasa said.

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China reclaiming land in 5 reefs? By DJ Sta. Ana (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - China is carrying out land reclamation operations in not just one but a total of five areas in the disputed Spratly Islands well within the Philippine maritime zone. A confidential Malacañang report detailed the land reclamation activities of China in five areas, namely Johnson South (Mabini) Reef, Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef, Hughes (Kennan) Reef, Gaven (Burgos) Reef and Eldad (Malvar) Reef. The report noted China has focused its land reclamation operations in areas farther from the Philippine mainland. No such activities were monitored at three other areas, namely Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, Subi (Zamora) Reef and Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, where China had built military garrisons and communications facilities. But the report does not rule out the possibility of China doing land reclamation activities in these three areas once the work is done in the first five reefs. The assessment by both local and international observers is that the expansion of China’s existing garrisons in these areas is part of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to impose its supremacy over the area. The Philippine government revealed in March that China was carrying out land reclamation activities in Mabini Reef, part of the Kalayaan Island Group. The Department of Foreign Affairs released photographs showing how the small Chinese garrison was expanded to almost nine hectares in just two years. There were speculations that China would build an airstrip in Mabini Reef and, once operational, Beijing can enforce its controversial Air Defense Interdiction Zone (ADIZ) in the region.

Apparently, China was busy carrying out reclamation work in four more areas, namely Cuarteron Reef, Hughes Reef, Gaven Reef and Eldad Reef. Senior government officials confirmed to TV5 the Chinese activities, pointing out recent surveillance flights over the area confirmed the presence of dredging and “material displacement” ships. President Aquino has seen the surveillance photos, which were taken in March and April this year, and was reportedly surprised at the extent of China’s activities. The same Malacañang report estimates Beijing will likely start land reclamation work at Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef first. China has built a formidable garrison at Fiery Cross Reef, where some 200 troops are stationed and which contains air and surface search radars as well as satellite data transmission facilities. The Fiery Cross garrison also has helicopter landing pads and a wharf. The garrison is heavily armed with naval guns and is considered China’s main headquarters within the Philippines’ Kalayaan Island Group. The Chinese garrison in Subi Reef also has around 200 troops stationed as well as helicopter landing pads. Officials noted, however, that China may hold off any activity at Mischief Reef due to its proximity to the Philippines. They said Beijing expects Manila to adopt a more aggressive diplomatic stance and attract more international attention should there be any land reclamation activity at Mischief Reef. The Philippines and China already had several clashes over Mischief Reef. From several octagonal structures on stilts, China now has at least four building complexes in Mischief Reef and over a hundred soldiers guarding the communications facilities, docks and landing pad. The geopolitical analysis website Stratfor pointed out China is using the strategy of oil exploration activities and land reclamation activities to enforce its claim over the disputed Spratlys and Paracel Islands. In its recent paper on rising tensions between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, Stratfor pointed out Beijing’s use of oil exploration activities was one example of its firming up claims and gradually eroding other claimants’ ability to challenge its supremacy. Stratfor says Beijing will continue to push its boundaries using this strategy, as it still has to build up its navy’s logistical capability. “China’s navy is not good enough to overcome the logistical challenges such distances present, so its ability to project its dominance throughout the maritime sphere is limited,” Stratfor said.

Stratfor added Beijing will continue with its three-step strategy, namely using the nine-dash line as a historical justification for its continued operations in disputed waters. China is also expected to enforce its claim in “tactically advantageous areas where it has an actual presence,” such as the Paracels and Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal near the Philippines. Stratfor added China would continue to develop its military and technological capability to carefully push its maritime boundaries farther “without antagonizing all of its neighbors at once.” ‘Thousand year-old friendship’ Despite these recent developments, Aquino and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua exchanged conciliatory statements and both stressed the territorial disputes do not define the “thousandyear-old friendship” of Manila and Beijing. Officials showed to TV5 the surveillance photos taken at Gaven Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Keenan Reef. At Gaven Reef, three dredgers and an ocean tug were seen. One of the dredgers, identified as Tian Jing Hao, has deployed a long hose to suck up seabed material and redistribute this in the reclaimed area. Another dredger, the Nina Hai Tuo, can also be seen working in another area of Gaven Reef. China had built a troop and supply garrison at Gaven Reef as far back as 2003. The garrison has several gun emplacements, including a large bore naval gun. It also had a platform where supply ships can dock. Officials said the reclamation operations at Gaven Reef are expected to last a month or more, “barring any environmental setbacks.” At Hughes Reef, a lone dredger can be seen and a sizable area has already been reclaimed. Construction equipment can be seen in the reclaimed area. China had built a permanent reef fortress and supply platform, which also have several gun emplacements and a helicopter-landing pad. At Cuarteron Reef, a dredger equipped with a long black hose can be seen spreading seabed material over a wide area. The reclamation work is being done near the Chinese garrison which has been refurbished into a permanent reef fortress with radar and communications equipment. At Eldad Reef, a ship can be seen anchored off the reef and a backhoe can be seen moving seabed materials.

Philippine government officials estimate that reclamation activities at Calderon and Eldad reefs will last a month. At Johnson Reef, the reclamation work was completed last March. Reclamation area The reclaimed area is estimated to be around 90,000 square meters and the perimeter has been secured to prevent erosion. Located in one corner of the reclaimed area is a Chinese garrison, which also serves as communications and radar facilities and is equipped with naval guns. A helicopter-landing pad was built in the garrison as well as a small dock. In their respective speeches Tuesday before the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry on the occasion of Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day, Aquino and Zhao expressed confidence that the disputes can be settled. Zhao described the Philippines-China territorial disputes as “temporary… compared with our thousand-year-old friendship and extensive cooperation.” “China always attached great importance to its relationship with the Philippines, and I believe that we have the wisdom, the patience and the courage to settle the disputes through negotiations and consultations. I am fully confident about the future of China-Philippines relations,” Zhao stressed.‐reclaiming‐land‐5‐reefs                    

5,000 protesters demand ‘true freedom’ at Manila rallies By Julliane Love De Jesus 8:20 pm | Thursday, June 12th, 2014 MANILA, Philippines—About 5,000 protesters from different sectors, both from the religious and militant groups, gathered to “demand true freedom” on Independence Day Thursday. And true freedom for them means the Filipinos’ liberation from the pork barrel system and all forms of graft and corruption in the government, said the leaders of the half-day protest in Manila. From Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola Peace Arch, the rallyists marched bearing lit torches. They also paraded a 10-foot effigy that the militants called the “giant golden pig” symbolizing President Benigno Aquino III as the “pork barrel king.” Former whistle-blower Jun Lozada, one of the convenors of the protest organizer #abolishpork movement, told that the significance of holding the anti-pork rally on Independence Day is recognizing the significance of “true freedom.” “These are the people (rallyists) who value true freedom… our responsibility is to fight for our own freedom and to speak the voice of the Filipino people,” Lozada said. The protest, according to Lozada, was held to “register the voice of the people against the system that continues to oppress Filipinos.” “If in the past centuries foreign conquerors oppress the Filipinos, now Filipinos oppress their fellow Filipinos,” he said in Filipino. Lozada said the demonstration denouncing the government’s pork represents Filipinos who have “no food, no jobs, and no money.” The groups that participated in the marched included the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the Whistleblowers Association, Church People’s Alliance Against Pork, Artista Kontra Korapsyon (Aksyon), University of the Philippines (UP) Faculty versus Pork, Youth ACT Now! and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). Aside from Lozada, artists Mae Paner and Monet Silvestre, Lozada, lawyer Harry Roque and Archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz expressed their support to anti-pork barrel demonstrators.

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Phl may lose tariff incentive with EU's 'yellow card' By Dennis Carcamo ( | Updated June 12, 2014 - 3:32pm MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines might not get its request from the European Union to lower tariffs for exports of canned tuna if it fails to immediately address the illegal and unregulated fishing in the country, international environment organization Greenpeace said. Greenpeace noted that the Philippines could lose its chance to get the incentive after the European Union issued a "yellow card" for the government's failure to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Since 2010, the group said that EU has identified so-called "non-cooperative countries" that do not fulfill their international obligations to fight IUU fishing. The concerned countries first receive a formal warning and issued a "yellow card." In case they do not improve their fisheries management and vessel control policies, in line with international law, they can be blacklisted and issued a "red card" which entails numerous sanctions, including an import ban, Greenpeace said. The group noted that the EU has already blacklisted Cambodia, prohibiting the ASEAN membernation's seafood products to enter into EU market since March. "Countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are moving towards an integrated market starting in 2015. Having illegally caught fish that goes through the supply chain in the region would taint the whole of ASEAN," Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said. "Strong political will, enforcement and allocation of resources, together with the cooperation of all sectors most specially the commercial fishing sector will be required to stamp out these dirty fishing practices and ensure the health and productivity of our seas and oceans," Dia added. Dia also cited a recent study which showed that the following ASEAN member countries that were exporting illegally caught tuna to the US market: Thailand (around 25-40 percent), Vietnam (around 25-35 percent), Indonesia (around 20-35 percent) and the Philippines (around 20-32 percent). Greenpeace said that globally, IUU fishing is estimated to cost governments between $10 billion and P23.5 billion a year. Aside from the staggering economic costs, IUU impedes fisheries management since the real fish catch is not accurately reported, thereby contributing to overfishing. Some fish stocks might already be depleted before any useful management measures can be in place.

In Indonesia, illegal fishing is estimated to generate losses of up to $5 billion a year, the group said. "The seas are a shared resource. Rather than paper policies, stronger mechanisms must be in place to counter illegal fishing activities and to reduce the overall capacity of ASEAN’s fishing fleet, starting with the worst offenders. Governments should also set aside large areas of networked ocean sanctuaries that would allow the fish stocks to replenish," Dia said.‐may‐lose‐tariff‐incentive‐eus‐yellow‐card                                        

'Ester' out of Phl but rainy June 12th due to Habagat By Louis Bacani ( | Updated June 12, 2014 - 12:22pm

Satellite image from MANILA, Philippines - Tropical Depression "Ester" will no longer affect the country but the southwest monsoon or "Habagat" will still dump rains over parts of Luzon this Independence Day, the state weather bureau said on Thursday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ester gained more strength but it left the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday night. In an advisory issued before noon, PAGASA said the Habagat is expected to bring moderate to heavy rains over the Batanes group of Islands, Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, regions of Ilocos and Cordillera and over the provinces of Bataan, Zambales and Pampanga. "Residents in these areas and local disaster risk reduction management councils concerned are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides," the weather bureau said. Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience occasional rains. PAGASA said in its 24-hour weather forecast that the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. 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.‐out‐phl‐rainy‐june‐12th‐due‐habagat  

LPA to enhance southwest monsoon, rains seen until Saturday By Jeannette I. Andrade Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:36 pm | Thursday, June 12th, 2014

MTSAT Image, June 12, 2014, 5:01 PM. SCREENGRAB from MANILA, Philippines—The weather bureau is closely monitoring a potential tropical cyclone west of the country. Although the low pressure area (LPA) could enhance the habagat (southwest monsoon) and bring rains over parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, it is only anticipated to graze the country’s area of responsibility on its way to Taiwan or China, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). Weather forecaster Alvin Pura said the LPA could intensify into a tropical depression while still over the West Philippine Sea and enter the PAR but would only briefly pass through on its northnortheasterly path. Pura told the Inquirer that even then the LPA, which was estimated at 4 p.m. to be at 560 kilometers west of Sinait in Ilocos Sur well outside the PAR, would enhance the habagat, which would spawn rains over portions of Luzon until the weekend. He said that monsoon rains would continue over the Batanes group of Islands, the Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, and the regions of Ilocos, the Cordillera and Central Luzon. The forecaster advised residents and local disaster risk reduction management councils in the areas to take the necessary precautions against possible flashfloods and landslides. Pagasa likewise cautioned fishing boats and other small vessels against venturing into the northern and western seaboards of Luzon due to strong to gale force winds caused by the southwest monsoon surge and alerted big ships to waves that could reach 4.5 meters. Sea conditions in the areas are expected to be rough to very rough. Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience occasional rains while the Visayas and Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

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Zambo wants task force vs rice smuggling By Roel Pareño ( | Updated June 12, 2014 - 3:58pm 0 57 googleplus0 0 ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines- - The city government and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) are heading for a clash due to the rice smuggling problem that remains unabated with the imported staple still finding its way to the retailers in the market. Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has requested former Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, to study the possibility of creating a national task force on Anti-Rice Smuggling to guide local government units and law enforcement agencies in the conduct of anti-smuggling operations. Salazar said they are making the request following reports that some 12,000 sacks of alleged smuggled rice seized in series of military and police operations in this city in recent months have been released by the BoC. “I am not happy to note that there were 12,000 sacks of rice that [operatives from] Task Force Zamboanga in coordination with the police confiscated and seized but these were released again by a particular agency of government,” Salazar said in a press briefing here. Salazar said she communicated with Pangilinan to request the creation of a national task force on anti-smuggling to guide local government units and law enforcers. The local chief executive observed that since last year some of the confiscated smuggled rice done by the Task Force Zamboanga, Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were released by the BoC. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The seized rice have been turned over to the customs here for proper disposition. Salazar believes that Pangilinan's directives will ensure proper coordination between the apprehending authorities and the BoC. “We appeal for the creation of the task force because there were complaints from local rice dealers and shipowners that there were many confiscation [of smuggled rice] but these were later released,” Salazar added.‐wants‐task‐force‐vs‐rice‐smuggling    

New stress tests ordered for banks Regulator moves to head off property bubble  By Paolo G. Montecillo  Philippine Daily Inquirer   12:08 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014  

Talks of a real estate bubble forming in the country have once again been dismissed, but this hasn’t stopped regulators from brandishing a giant pin meant to pop the balloon and stop prices from inflating beyond safe levels. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) this week announced a fresh wave of stress tests where banks must prove that their books would be able to handle massive losses should the real estate loans in their portfolios turn toxic. Regulators said the stress tests were pre-emptive measures “to ensure the banking industry’s continuous healthy exposure to real estate development.” “The Monetary Board is implementing the macro-prudential measure while cognizant of the social agenda of providing shelter as a basic need,” the BSP said. “It also recognizes the continuing growth of the real estate industry in line with national demographic factors.” Stress tests will be conducted under the new prudential guideline to determine whether the capital level of a bank is sufficient to absorb the credit risk to real estate, the BSP said. “We want to know the effects in interest rates and other factors that impact the real estate sector,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. told reporters last month as he hinted at the new rules.

These tests will involve simulations to how losses from real estate loans would affect individual banks’ books. If, after these simulations are done, the BSP sees that a bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) would fall below the minimum 10 percent required by regulators, that institution would be asked to formally explain. If the BSP finds this explanation insufficient, the bank would be told to submit an “action plan” that outlines how that lender plans to address its deficiencies. A bank’s CAR measures the amount of a bank’s capital, in the form of equity and loss-absorbing debt securities, relative to its risky assets. CAR is an indication of a bank’s capacity to absorb losses. “The Monetary Board believes that this is an opportune time to introduce such measure so that banks will be appropriately guided by policy direction,” the BSP said.

Prudential measures by the BSP aiming to keep the real estate sector in check were partly blamed for the slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said property firms were less willing to finance the construction of new homes and buildings due to the stricter regulatory scrutiny, resulting in a slowdown in private construction. At the end of last year, the banking sector’s exposure to the historically volatile real estate sector rose to the equivalent of 21.8 percent of their loan portfolios from 21.7 percent in June 2013. Read more:‐stress‐tests‐ordered‐for‐banks#ixzz34UoAC0Kc   Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook                                       

Phl firms in good position to tap EU food market By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Local food companies are in a position to expand their presence in Asia amid increasing demand for food in the region, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said. The ECCP’s Fairs & More Inc. (FMI), a leading trade fair organizer in the country, said there are opportunities for Philippine food firms to expand in Asia as the region’s demand is expected to grow. FMI noted that the region is projected to account for the bulk of the 35-percent increase in food demand by 2025. The world food retail industry is estimated to be worth $4 trillion annually. Philippine food firms’ participation in international trade fairs is a way to expand their presence in the region. Late last month, the FMI together with the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions brought 20 Philippine food companies to the ThaiFex World of Food Asia, considered as one of the leading business platform for food companies in the region. Among the Philippine companies FMI brought to ThaiFex were Agrinurture Inc., Brand Exports Philippines, Chef Tony’s, Chocovron Global Corp., Gem Foods Int. Inc., Global Food Solutions Inc., Handyware Philippines Inc., KSK Food Products, Mama Sita’s/Marigold Manufacturing Corp., Mega Fishing Corp., MFP Home for Quality Food Corp., Monde Nissin Corp., Pearl Foods Int. Inc., Philippine Grocers Food Exports Inc., Pixcel Transglobal Foods Inc., See’s Int. Food Mfg. Corp., and Super Q Golden Bihon. Sure Marketing Co. Inc. and the Philippine Coffee Board were also at the World of Seafood and World of Coffee and Tea pavilions, respectively.

The ThaiFex was seen as a right venue for Philippine companies to gain a stronger foothold as well as expand in the region given the visitor traffic and number of decision makers present during the event. “Their participation in the expo is one of steps they are taking in introducing local food companies outside the country,” FMI said. “The Philippines is in a position to compete in Asia on certain food products including processed foods, ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruit and vegetable drinks, food preserves, noodles, pastry ingredients, and condiments,” it added. Last year, FMI took 22 Philippine firms to the Anuga fair in Germany and introduced energy drinks, coconut water and organic products to the European market.‐firms‐good‐position‐tap‐eu‐food‐market                                

Partners for Clark food facility sought By Amy R. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:05 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014 State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority is seeking private sector partners to put up the Food Processing and Cold Storage Center within a 3,000-hectare block at the Clark Green City in Pampanga. BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said in a briefing that this proposed area is expected to help spur the modernization of agriculture in Luzon, as the Clark Green City is being envisioned to promote inclusive growth and global competitiveness in this sector. According to Casanova, the proposed center, which should have been part of the Phase 2 development of the Clark Green City, will house urban farms, cold storage equipment and other necessary facilities that could help modernize Philippine agriculture.

This site is reportedly ideal as the 9,450-hectare Green City is within a highly strategic location, given the availability of crucial infrastructure in and around the area such as the seaport in Subic, airport in Clark, and the four tollways, namely, the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway and eventually the Central Luzon Expressway. Casanova explained that the different components in the center will be offered under a public private partnership mode, under which the BCDA is expected to form joint ventures with the winning proponents. For now, the BCDA has allocated some $1.7 million to fund the conduct of the feasibility study for the proposed Food Processing and Cold Storage Center and financial closing. Once completed, the center is seen to “empower farmers who will be equipped with much better knowledge and facilities to produce better crops and earn higher incomes using the expressways, Clark International Airport and the Subic seaport to transport their goods both locally and internationally.”

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Vigorous planting of rice, corn in 8 major regions Category: Agri‐Commodities   12 Jun 2014   Written by Alladin S. Diega   A  WEEK  before  weathermen  officially  declared  the  onset  of  the  rainy  season,  the  major  agricultural  regions in the country were already readying their lands for planting, according to the monthly regional  agricultural situation report of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) for the month of May.  In  the  Ilocos  Region,  farmers  in  the  eastern  and  northern  municipalities  have  already  harvested  their  palay,  while  palay  seeds  for  the  next  cropping  are  being  distributed  in  some  municipalities,  even  with  the irrigation water level have continue to decrease due to very warm weather.  Well‐placed irrigation in Ilocos Sur has allowed the areas to be planted with palay earlier than usual and  the crops already are in reproductive stage, while in several municipalities, palay are in vegetative stage.  The remaining municipalities are engaged in palay‐seed sowing activities.  In  Ilocos  Norte,  harvesting  of  corn  for  both  white  and  yellow  were  noted  in  seven  municipalities.  In  Ilocos  Sur,  harvesting  of  yellow  corn  was  still  on‐going,  with  several  municipalities  still  at  the  milking  stage.  In Pangasinan, harvesting of corn areas was already completed with an average yield of 5.51 metric tons  per hectare, the BAS report said.  In  Bicol,  farmers  in  Albay  had  started  planting  palay,  with  other  municipalities  into  land  preparation,  while harvesting of corn areas are ongoing.  In Occidental Mindoro, about 19,087 hectares of irrigated palay areas and 8,050 hectares of corn areas  were harvested with an average yield of 4.3 metric tons (MT) and 4.38 MT, respectively.  In Romblon, lesser farm activities on crop production were undertaken due to intense dry weather.  In Western Visayas, majority of municipalities are already into planting activities, with few engaged in  harvesting palay, the BAS said.  Most  palay  in  Aklan,  for  instance,  were  harvested,  while  palay  in  other  areas  are  on  reproductive  to  maturing stages, while in irrigated and rainfed palay areas, land preparation are ongoing in the central  and southern parts of Antique due to early onset of rain. 

Erratic harvesting  of  palay  in  Capiz  is  also  ongoing  and  planting  of  palay  was  limited  in  rainfed  areas  because of lack of water supply, but farmers are already planting corn in several areas, according to the  BAS report.  Land  preparation  of  palay  farms  was  noted  in  Guimaras  while  scattered  planting  of  palay  through  dry  seeding was also observed.  In Iloilo, plowing and cleaning of dikes have started, with dry seeding in rainfed palay farms being done.  Harvesting and planting of palay and sugarcane were noted in Negros Occidental.  In Clarin, Bohol, seven hectares of palay farms were planted with Mestizo 20, a fast‐growing variety.  The  early  planting  of  irrigated  areas  was  sponsored  by  Department  of  Agriculture  (DA)  in  the  Central  Visayas region, as part of the rehabilitation effort for the provinces struck by an earthquake last year,  according to the DA in a separate statement.  The rehabilitation services came with insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. and a sack of  urea per hectare given free.  In Sagbayan, Bohol, five hectares of irrigated palay areas were planted with white corn.  Intermittent rains in Negros Oriental has allowed for the planting not only of palay and corn, but also  sugarcane and banana, while first cropping of corn areas was noted province‐wide.  Areas in Siquijor province are also being planted with corn.  For Mindanao, only three regions have shown active agricultural activities, according to the Bas monthly  update.  The Zamboanga Peninsula is also planting corn and, at the same time, rice harvest was reported.  Palay areas in Zamboanga City are ready for harvest with some municipalities preparing their land for  planting. Corn areas were on vegetative to maturing stages in some areas.  About a hundred hectares of the total irrigated palay areas and 700 hectares of upland palay areas were  planted  in  Zamboanga  del  Norte.  In  Zamboanga  Sibugay,  land  preparation  was  noted  in  rainfed  and  irrigated  palay  farms  with  transplanting  in  some  irrigated  palay  areas  were  observed.  Corn  farms  in  Sibugay were on vegetative stage.  In  the  Soccsksargen  region,  particularly  in  South  Cotabato,  more  farmers  planted  cassava  instead  of  palay,  to  serve  as  an  alternate  crop  for  corn  because  of  growing  demand  from  private  companies  for  industrial use, including for feed ingredients, in which both corn and cassava are used. 

The Caraga region has shown the most number of agricultural activities in the month of May.  In Butuan City and Las  Nieves in Agusan del Norte, land  preparation of palay farms has started, while  most palay areas in Buenavista and Nasipit were on maturing to harvesting stages.  Farmers in Agusan del Sur are also harvesting their palay, while palay farms in the upper portion of NIS  Canal in Bayugan City has started land preparation activities.  About 807 hectares and 334 hectares of irrigated and rainfed palay farms were harvested respectively in  Alegria and Placer, Surigao del Norte.  Palay  farms  in  municipalities  of  the  Dinagat  Islands  were  also  being  planted  with  palay  while  the  remaining  municipalities  are into land preparation, with several areas unable to till the soil for lack of  water.  Harvests of palay farms in Surigao del Sur in the month of May were completed, with harvests in some  areas still ongoing. In Tandag City, 10 percent of the total palay farms were to be harvested until the first  week of June. Other areas in the province are being tilled and readied for palay seed bedding activities,  while in Madrid, most of the palay farms were already planted.  Corn in Butuan City and Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte were on reproductive stages, while 18 hectares of  traditional white corn were planted in the municipality of Tubay, with a hectare planted to modern open  pollen corn varieties (OPV) at the vegetative stage.  In  Agusan  del  Sur,  most  corn  areas  were  on  reproductive  to  maturing  stages,  and  in  Dinagat  Islands,  harvesting of modern OPV white corn in the municipality of Basilisa, Cagdianao and Libjo was noted by  Bas,  while  most  corn  areas  in  the  municipalities  of  Basilisa,  Libjo,  Dinagat  and  Cagdianao  were  on  maturing stages.  Alladin S. Diega‐commodities/33692‐vigorous‐planting‐ of‐rice‐corn‐in‐8‐major‐regions       

DA to turn over P31.6‐M Agusan Sur rubber‐processing hub Category: Agri‐Commodities   12 Jun 2014   Written by Alladin S. Diega   IN a bid to boost the rubber processing industry, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to turn over  this month to the local government of Agusan del Sur a P31.6 million natural crumb rubber processing  plant.  A  big‐ticket  project  under  the  DA’s  Mindanao  Rural  Development  Program  (MRDP),  “the  facility  is  expected  to  produce  high‐quality  semi‐processed  natural  crumb  rubber  for  tire  and  footwear  manufacturers,” MRDP livelihood specialist Samson Mate said in a statement on Thursday.  The  multimillion‐peso  processing  facility  is  equipped  with  “creper  and  macerator,  shredder,  trolley  dryer, hydraulic baling press and weighing scale,” Mate said.  He  added  that  the  facility  is  also  expected  to  improve  “the  consistency  and  standard  of  the  plasticity  retention  index  of  natural  crumb  rubber  products  and  to  increase  value  of  rubber  cup  lump,  the  coagulated rubber latex.”  According to Mate, despite being a major rubber producer, the province [Agusan del Sur] has no existing  commercial  rubber  processing  plant.  The  southern  Philippine  province  does  have  the  conventional  processing type.  With the facility, rubber farmers can have an annual incremental income of at least P3,600 to P6,900 per  hectare  as  savings  from  freight  and  handling  if  delivered  in  processing  centers  in  North  Cotabato,  according to Mate.  The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics shows that as of 2011, the province has 13,321 hectares planted to  rubber and about 4,972 trees are already productive.  According to Mate, the total average volume of cup lump production of the province was 15,273 metric  tons (MT) with an average production of 3.1 MT per hectare.  A cup lump is a blanket crepe rubber produced from the dried films and lumps of rubber found in the  tapping cups at the beginning of the next tapping, the Rubber Economist web site said. Crepe rubber is  coagulated latex that is rolled out in crinkled sheets, commonly used to make soles for shoes and boots. 

Mate explained that Agusan del Sur’s produce would serve as the main source of cup lump for milling in  the province’s crumb rubber processing center, with a capacity of at least 4,337 MT.  The MDRP is a special project of the DA.  Alladin S. Diega‐commodities/33691‐da‐to‐turn‐over‐ p31‐6‐m‐agusan‐sur‐rubber‐processing‐hub                                         

Govt scientists develop new ‘lacatan’ banana Category: Agri‐Commodities   12 Jun 2014   Written by Hannah Aman   THE  country’s  top  banana  experts  are  developing  highly  resistant  banana  varieties  that  can  resist  the  banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) disease, a major threat to the local banana‐exporting scene.  According to a report by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research  and Development (Pcaarrd), the new lacatan variety was developed from plant genes or mutant lines by  using gamma irradiation to sterilize the plant.  This induced mutation helps breed a new variety of the cultivar, a plant variety that has been produced  in  cultivation  by  selective  breeding.  Cultivars  are  usually  designated  in  the  style  Taxus  baccata  “Variegata,” Internet sources explained.  The new variety was developed by a research team headed by Olivia P. Damasco of the Institute of Plant  Breeding‐University of the Philippines in Los Baños (IPB‐UPLB).  Research  results  by  Damasco’s  team  showed  that  along  with  monthly  maintenance  of  the  plants,  the  lacatan variety had low incidence of BBTV despite the presence of infectious agents like infested plants  and aphids.  BBTV  slows  down  the  overall  growth  of  the  plant,  alters  the  regular  shape  of  its  leaves  leading  to  premature death, and decreases the rate of yield, the Pcaarrd said.  Plants  that  are  infested  during  their  early  plant  stages  rarely  bear  fruit,  while  those  affected  in  later  stages exhibited distorted bunches, the Pcaarrd said citing Damasco’s research.  A sure sign that a plant is infected with BBTV disease is when dark lines appear in the veins of the leaf  midrib, stem and blade.  Winged insects called aphids (Pentalonia nigronervosa) are the known BBTV disease‐carriers responsible  for the recurring infestations. These transmit the virus by feeding on an infected plant and transferring it  into other plants.  The noncooking banana—often called dessert bananas that include lacatan, latundan and cavendish— are more prone to attacks than the cooking type such as saba. 

Though only certain varieties are found vulnerable to infestations, the BBTV is sure to attack any stage  of plant growth.  Pcaarrd expects that farmers who will grow the newly developed variety will see a 20‐percent decrease  in BBTV incidence.  Before the BBTV‐resistant lacatan gets sold in and out of the country, the research team will first assess  the  fruit‐bearing  performance  in  five  banana‐growing  provinces:  Quirino,  Cavite,  Laguna,  Quezon  and  Davao, the Pcaarrd said.  Hannah Aman‐commodities/33690‐govt‐scientists‐ develop‐new‐lacatan‐banana                                   

Farm bondage persists By Christine F. Herrera | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am Congress fails to extend CARP; landlords prevail BIG landlords, including some lawmakers, will get to hang on to some 200,000 hectares of plantation land after Congress failed to pass a bill extending the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The failure of Congress to pass the bill breaks an “Independence Day promise” made by President Benigno Aquino III to farmers at the Palace Wednesday, that he would extend the coverage of the program’s land acquisition for two more years – until he steps down from office on June 30, 2016.

Baguilat “Of course we are disappointed because what we are after here is to grant the farmers the long denied social justice and to free them from bondage. I am particularly saddened that my colleagues refused to acknowledge that the bill had been certified as urgent by the President,” said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, chairman of the House committee on agrarian reform. Once a bill is certified as urgent by the President, Congress can speed up its passage by holding a second and third reading on the same session day. Baguilat said the Visayan bloc, most of whom were big landlords, surrounded House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II strongly urging them not to include the passage and ratification of the bill in the schedule for the last session day. One of the landlord-lawmakers, a close ally of the President, admitted opposing the extension of the agrarian reform program, but claimed the blame should also be shared by the President, whose family owns the 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita.

The lawmaker said President Aquino preferred the Senate version of the bill by Senator Gregorio Honasan, but certified it only during the last session day. Baguilat’s HB 4296 seeks to extend the issuance of notice of coverage for two years, while Honasan’s SB 2278 mandates the completion of the land acquisition and distribution component of the CARP. Baguilat explained that his bill became contentious because of Section 3, which mandates that all agricultural lands in military reservations, such as some 20,000 hectares in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, must be covered by CARP and distributed to landless farmers. This provision was absent in the Senate version of the bill. Aside from the agricultural lands in military reservations, Baguilat’s bill also included for CARP coverage some 80,000 hectares of agricultural lands owned by state colleges and universities and thousands of hectares more in penal colonies such as those in Palawan and Davao. “This contentious provision was not present in the Senate version, which the President backed so he instructed the House leadership to revise its version. The House sought another certification from the President but the House failed to come up with the Senate-type version,” said a Palace sourc, who requested anonymity. Baguilat said his panel conducted consultations with the Commission on Higher Education for the position of the state universities and colleges, the Defense Department for the military reservations and the Justice Department for the penal colonies, but all of them opposed the inclusion of their lands in the program. Baguilat said on Wednesday night before adjournment, they were waiting for the Senate to ratify their version of the bill so the House could simply adopt it, but the senators failed to pass their version of the bill. Sources in the Senate said they ran out of time because Senator Jinggoy Estrada delivered a privilege speech. Another source, however, said Senate President Franklin Drilon did not have the numbers to have the bill ratified because most senators, particularly those who were implicated in the pork barrel scam, were defying the President for persecuting his political opponents such as Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Estrada. Baguilat said his panel would push for the ratification of the bill once Congress opened the second session of the 16th Congress on July 21, the President’s 5th State-of-the-nation address. “We are hoping that Congress could ratify the bill by August because we would be swamped by equally compelling national issues such as the national budget and the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Baguilat said.

Because the bill has not been passed, the Department of Agrarian Reform will not be able to buy 44,000 hectares of private land that have yet to be issued notices of coverage. “Without the bill, all private lands in the hands of the landlords and big business cannot be acquired by government even if the government has the money to procure the lands,” Baguilat said. He said Congress has allocated some P150 billion for land acquisition and post-harvest facilities assistance and that P130 billion had already been used up. “There is still remaining P20 billion allocated for land acquisition. It would be a shame if we don’t get to use it,” Baguilat said. While the DAR can continue other activities such as the distribution of land that it has already acquired, it can no longer acquire new land until the President signs a law extending the CARP coverage, he added.‐bondage‐persists/                            

Irrigators welcome rice farm subsidy By Rio N. Araja | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan backs rice subsidy for farmers, according to 1.5 million farmers belonging to the National Confederation of Irrigators Association Inc.

Pangilinan Silvestre Bonto, NIA president, said Pangilinan had expressed his support for the planters in a recent meeting with National Irrigation Administration head Claro Maranan and officials at the NIA central office in Diliman, Quezon City. “Rice subsidy could lower the farm gate prices of palay and rice prices in the local market, and help stabilize farmers’ profits,” he told the Manila Standard. “Pangilinan has agreed to our proposal because he himself wants prices of rice to go down.” According to Bonto, 82 percent of the country’s rice supply comes from the members belonging to the irrigators confederation. Pangilinan was appointed last May 6 with a cabinet rank to handle the National Food Authority, the National Irrigation Administration, the Bureau of Fisheries, the Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority. As a lawmaker, he was the chairman of the Senate’s agriculture committee from 2010 to 2013. Rio N. Araja‐welcome‐rice‐farm‐subsidy/

Loggers denude Mt. Pulag By Dexter A. See | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am BOKOD, Benguet—Hundreds of illegal loggers and vegetable farmers have penetrated Mt. Pulag National Park and cleared more than 10 hectares inside the forest, which they converted into farmlands, Gov. Nestor Fongwan said on Thursday. He said a joint team from the provincial and municipal Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force discovered the farmlands inside the forest in Naubunan, Ekip and found more than 200 pine and oak trees that were cut and burned. “More than 10 hectares of forest land inside the Mount Pulag reservation were found to have been burned and cleared and converted into farmlands in Naubunan, Ekip,” Fongwan said. The Mount Pulag National Park, at 2,022 meters above sea level, is the country’s second highest mountain peak. The park covers 11,550 hectares and is known for its rare wildlife and flora and fauna. Benguet supplies 80 percent of the highland vegetable market in Metro Manila. Farmers in the 13 towns of Benguet have been trying to expand their farms to meet growing demand for highland vegetables. Emerita Albas, Mount Pulag Protected Areas Superintendent, said the challenge posed by illegal loggers and vegetable farmers was serious because many families have occupied the forest, which was not intended for residential and commercial use. She said illegal loggers opened a road in the area and clearing work and forest denudation have been uncontrolled because people from Kabayan and Balete in Bokod have gained access to the forest reservation. She said she has recommended to the Provincial Peace and Order Council to close down the road, which opened the area for incursions by illegal loggers and vegetable farmers. “We are still gathering evidence but we will file appropriate charges against people living inside Mount Pulag,” Albas said. She called on the people in the area to help protect the Mount Pulag National Park, which the native tribes call “mountain of the gods.”‐denude‐mt‐pulag/    

BSP sets new limit on real estate loans By Julito G. Rada | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am The Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral, approved the conduct of stress tests on banks and imposed new capital buffers, as a part of a pre-emptive measure to ensure a healthy exposure to the real estate sector. “Stress tests will be conducted under the new prudential guideline to determine whether the capital level of a bank is sufficient to absorb the credit risk to real estate,” the Bangko Sentral said Thursday.The Bangko Sentral, however, said the new measure did not indicate any imminent vulnerability among banks with exposure to the real estate sector, but only aimed to reinforce prudential policy that banks should have sufficient capital to absorb any possible shock on credit exposure. Banks are expected to meet two specific thresholds under the new framework. Universal, commercial and thrift banks are required to meet a capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent of qualifying capital after adjusting for the stress test results.“In addition, universal and commercial banks as well as their thrift bank subsidiaries will be required to maintain a level of common equity Tier 1 that is at least 6 percent of qualifying capital after factoring in the stress scenario. For stand-alone thrift banks, however, the relevant measure will be a Tier 1 ratio of 6 percent of qualifying capital,” the Bangko Sentral said. Latest data showed the real estate exposure of universal, commercial and thrift banks as of end2013 rose 7.1 percent to P1.006 trillion in the fourth quarter from P939.8 billion in the third quarter of 2013. The end-2013 real estate exposure represented 21.8 percent of the banks’ total loan portfolio. The regulator said using stress tests as a prudential measure was in line with international standards set under the Basel Accord. It said the stress tests were also preferred over absolute limits because they would not prejudice the development of the real estate industry. “Instead, banks can have greater exposures to real estate for as long as they manifest their increased ability to absorb these risks vis-à-vis their capital position,” it said. A breach of the prudential limit requires a bank to explain formally to the Bangko Sentral why it should not merit further remedial action.“If the BSP deems the explanation as insufficient, the bank shall be instructed to submit, within 30 calendar days from date of notification, an action plan so that the bank can meet the stress test limit within a reasonable timeframe,” the Bangko Sentral said.‐sets‐new‐limit‐on‐real‐estate‐loans/  

PH debt payments drop 31% By Jennifer Ambanta | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am The government said debt payments in the first four months fell 31 percent from a year ago, on the back of effective debt consolidation program. Data from the Bureau of Treasury showed debt service in the January-April period amounted to P174.2 billion, lower than P255.6 billion paid to foreign and local lenders a year earlier. The agency said of the total amount, interest payments represented P116.5 billion, which was down 4.5 percent from a year ago. The remaining P57.7 billion went to principal amortization, which was 56.8 percent lower than P133.543 billion paid in the first four months of 2013. National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the government had no plan to raise more funds from the tap facility. “We’re oozing with cash. We want to make sure we’re maximizing our savings on interest payments,” De Leon said. Data showed debt service in April dropped to P16.1 billion from P30.3 billion a year ago. Interest payments reached P13.4 billion while amortization hit P2.685 billion during the month. The Bureau of Treasury said it would keep the borrowing plan this year, despite the decline of interest rates, as investors anticipated the Bangko Sentral to move rates upward. Finance Department chief economist Gil Beltran said interest rates would likely fluctuate until the United States completed the quantitative easing. “Interest rates will go up and down until the US is through with the QE,” he said.‐debt‐payments‐drop‐31‐/          

PDIC selling 186 lots of closed banks By MST Business | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am State-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. said it is set to sell via public bidding on an “as-is, where-is” basis 186 commercial and residential lots owned by various closed banks with combined disposal value of P319.35 million on July 1. It said the public bidding, the second for the year, would be held at the PDIC training room at the 9th floor of SSS Building along Ayala Avenue in Makati City starting at 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The bank deposit insurer said the properties up for sale are located in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Pasay, Parañaque and Baguio; and in the provinces of Aklan, Albay, Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Romblon, Samar, Sorsogon and Tarlac. PDIC said before submitting bids, prospective buyers should physically inspect the properties they were interested to buy. It said bidders should present a valid identification card with photo to be allowed entry into the bidding area. “Sealed bids will be accepted from direct buyers only. The deadline for submission of bids is at 2 p.m. and participating bidders are advised to come at least one hour earlier to register,” it said. PDIC said each bid must be accompanied by a bond or deposit equivalent to at least 10 percent of the submitted bid in the form of cash or manager’s or cashier’s check. The winning bidder is required to pay the balance of the bid price not later than July 10.‐selling‐186‐lots‐of‐closed‐banks/                

Pacific nations seek to increase tuna fishing fees By AFP | Jun. 13, 2014 at 12:01am MAJURO—Pacific island nations announced plans Thursday to dramatically increase the fees they charge tuna fishing boats for the right to enter their waters, saying it will boost revenue and help conservation efforts. Around half the world’s skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned variety, is caught in waters belonging to an eight-nation group known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which opened its annual meeting in Majuro on Thursday. Much of the fishing is conducted by so-called “distant water” fleets from as far afield as Europe, the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, who pay US$6,000 a day for the privilege. Marshall Islands president Christopher Loeak said a plan by PNA nations to lift the day rate to $10,000 in 2015 would help them improve management of a vital natural resource and ensure it was sustainable. The fee system had allowed Pacific nations to increase earnings from their tuna fisheries from $60 million in 2010 to more than $240 million last year, he said. “The PNA has shown how valuable the tuna resource is,” Loeak said Thursday. “The need for enhanced, closer cooperation has never been more crucial if we want to continue reaping economic gains from our tuna resources.” The PNA allocates 50,000 fishing days a year to tuna boats, with demand high from both international and local operators.‐nations‐seek‐to‐increase‐tuna‐fishing‐ fees/          

Rallyists have field day bashing the President June 12, 2014 10:25 pm   by Joel M. Sy Egco Senior Reporter THOUSANDS of rallyists turned to bashing President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday to mark the observance of Independence Day. The rallyists called the President “protector of thieves” and “coddler of pork lovers,” referring to his refusal to fire members of his Cabinet who have been implicated in the anomaly involving the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel. Intermittent rains failed to dampen the resolve of the rallyists who had converged in several areas before marching to Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila. Contingents from nearby provinces proceeded directly to the Bonifacio Shrine in the plaza to join members of Scrap Pork Network, bringing with them umbrellas bearing anti-pork slogans. The 6.12.14 Protest Coalition also joined the rally. The coalition seethed at Aquino’s Independence Day pledge to fight corruption, uphold the rule of law and forge a just and equitable country as his “greatest tribute to Filipino patriots who fought injustice to win the nation’s independence 116 years ago.” Coalition spokesman and lawyer Argee Guevarra dismissed this as “porky platitude soaking in hogwash” as he scoffed at Aquino’s guarantee that his administration is “combatting corruption.” “How can the President combat corruption when he coddles the corrupt and defines ‘rule of law’ as exempting from criminal investigation and prosecution his Kaklase, Kabarkada at Kabarilan [Classmates, Gangmates and Shooting Buddies]?” he asked.“Instead of empty talk about combatting corruption, the President should consider gulping barrels of Combantrin [referring to a de-worming syrup] to flush out cholesterol-addicts in his Cabinet and from his LP or ‘Lovers of Pork,’” Guevarra said. The rallyists represented Kontra-Korapsyon, Movement Against Dynasties (MAD), Tanggol Demokrasya (TanDem), Scrap Pork Network (SPN), consumer group WARM and Alliance for Truth Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN) and various Quezon City and Caloocan City civilsociety groups that marched from Welcome Rotunda; and Church-based groups and causeoriented organizations such as Sanlakas, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML) and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) that assembled at Plaza Salamanca, Taft Avenue, in Manila. They paraded a mock jail for Tanda, Sexy and Pogi (opposition senators) and Panot, Pandak and Praise-the-Roof (Cabinet secretaries).

Meanwhile, groups belonging to the #Abolishpork Movement slammed the Aquino government for its failure to bring to justice all of those involved in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam. The groups are not content with the filing of plunder and graft complaints against senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose ‘Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and several former government officials.“We reiterate our demand that all those who participated and benefited from the pork barrel scam should be made accountable. The people deserve nothing less. It has become a cause of great outrage that the administration protects its allies implicated in the pork scam,” said Sister Mary John Mananzan, a convenor of the #Abolishpork Movement. Janet Lim-Napoles had also linked Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Joel Villanueva, chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to the pork barrel scam but Malacañang had said the three officials are innocent until proven guilty.A giant “Golden Pig” made its return to the street protests after first appearing in anti-pork actions in Makati City last year. This time, the pig wore a crown, a reference to the Pork Barrel King label given to Aquino at the height of the mass actions in 2013. “Filipinos are called upon now to show love of country, in a time when our rights and interests are being trampled on by the ruling few. We should never tire of demanding accountability, as we should never tire of fighting to change the rotten and corrupt system that benefits only the few,” said musician Monet Silvestre of #abolishpork.The harshest criticism was reserved for Aquino. The groups said the President had long known of the various personalities involved in the pork scam. Aquino has ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to draw up a matrix of names of those implicated in the pork scam, categorizing the names among those where evidence is strong, weak and where there is purportedly no evidence. “We carry on the fight for sovereignty and democracy as we march to Mendiola Bridge today to bring the protest at the doorsteps of the Pork Barrel King himself. He has become the main stumbling block to achieving complete justice. Aquino has become the protector of thieves and the chief proponent of presidential pork. In fact, nothing in his Naga speech indicated that he would be going after his allies implicated in the pork scam,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr.Anti-pork Muslim organizations also marched from Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, while Koalisyon Kontrapork, labor organizations under Nagkaisa! and MASO, Freedom from Debt Coalition massed up in Santa Cruz, Manila. Among those who joined the “Rally for Accountability” are Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) with Dante Jimenez, Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, Concerned Citizens Movement, Babae Laban sa Katiwalian (BABALA), Church People’s Alliance Against Pork led by Fr. Ben Alforque, Ang Kapatiran Party, Artista Kontra Korapsyon (AKSYON) led by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Anti-Trapo Movement, Youth ACT Now!, RX Pork, DePORK, UP Faculty vs Pork, Youth ACT Now! and organizations under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.‐have‐field‐day‐bashing‐the‐president/103776/  

287 colleges, universities allowed to raise tuition June 12, 2014 10:20 pm   by Neil A. Alcober Reporter THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has allowed 287 private colleges and universities across the country to raise their tuition and other school fees for the academic year 2014 to 2015. The CHEd said only 345 or 20 percent of 1, 683 private higher education institutions (HEIs) nationwide applied for an increase in tuition and other school fees, but only 287 or 17 percent were given the go-signal.The commission approved fewer tuition hikes this year than it did last year when at least 354 tuition hike applications were authorized. CHED said the nationwide average tuition increase per unit for school year 2014-2015 is P35.66 or 8.13 percent. Other school fees nationwide saw an average increase of P141.55 or 7.97 percent.Colleges in Metro Manila had the highest increase at P66.24 per unit or 6 percent, followed by Region IV-A with P51.04 or 7.35 percent and Central Luzon, P39.42 or 9.3 percent. The highest average tuition increases were posted in Regions IV-B, II and I with P55.60 or 13.90 percent, P39.41 13.53 percent and PP37.28 or 12.99 percent, respectively.Metro Manila, Region IV-A and Central Luzon have the most number of HEIs with 308, 230 and 202, respectively. Of the 69 HEIs in Metro Manila that applied for tuition increase, 64 were approved. In Region IV-A, 25 of 46 that applied for a tuition hike got the CHEd’s nod. In Central Luzon, 26 of 39 were approved.The CHED also approved the petitions of 16 of 22 schools in Region I, 11 of 15 in Region II, 26 of 39 in Region III, 8 of 9 in Region IV-B, 11 of 18 in Region V, 24 of 25 in Region VI, 13 of 15 in Region VII, 14 of 14 in Region IX, 18 of 19 in Region X, 30 of 33 in Region XI, 4 of 7 in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and 5 of 5 in the Caraga Region. Meanwhile, only one of the 81 private tertiary schools in Region VIII (Eastern Visayas), which suffered the most from Super Typhoon Yolanda, applied for an increase, but CHED denied its petition. No data were given for private colleges and universities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.CHED Chairman Patricia Licuanan earlier said the commission cannot impose a moratorium on tuition increases for private colleges and universities. Licuanan noted that none of the state universities and colleges will increase their tuition this school year.‐colleges‐universities‐allowed‐to‐raise‐tuition/103767/   

Albay governor angry over tree cutting June 12, 2014 10:17 pm   by MANNY T. UGALDE LEGAZPI CITY: Saying only God can make a tree, Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who is also an environmentalist, asked for the head of the district engineer who ordered the cutting of 29 trees in the province for a road widening project. Salceda said the “massacre” was allegedly perpetrated by Albay first district engineer Teodoro Castillo in the towns of Malinao and Tiwi and covered about 10 kilometers. He declared Castillo a persona non grata for ordering the cutting of 14 trees in Tiwi and 15 in Malinao. Salceda appointed former provincial board member Arnold Embestro to head the province’s Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) to immediately stop the cutting of trees and file charges against violators. He also asked Embestro to plant more trees, enhance the biodiversity of Mayon Volcano Natural Park, collect quarrying fees from all franchisees, and file for a writ of kalikasan with the Supreme Court to stop all tree cutting activities for infrastructure under the provisions of R.A. 3571. Salceda was dismayed after learning that the old trees at the roadside between Malinao and Tiwi were cut down by the Department of Public Works and Highways without his knowledge. “As chief protector of the environment and the elected executive, I demand, in no uncertain and non-negotiable terms, the immediate transfer outside Albay of Castillo for acts inimical to the interest of our people and for putting at risk the future of our children,” he said. Under R.A. 7160, Salceda said the provincial government is specifically and principally tasked with environmental protection. Castillo could not be reached for comment but his information officer Teresita Manago confirmed the cutting of the trees due to road widening. Earlier, the Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) asked for the relief of three Albay district engineers for failing to clear the national road of pedicabs and the drying of palay that interferes with the flow of traffic. CCW said this practice continues in spite of a memorandum from Secretary Rogelio Singson last year to clear the roads and impose penalties on violators.‐governor‐angry‐over‐tree‐cutting/103755/   

Imported potato varieties growing well in Benguet June 12, 2014 10:17 pm   by GABY B. KEITH LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: Imported potato varieties grown here that are ideal for chips and fries appear to be a big hit in northern towns. Provincial Agriculturist Lolita Bentres said the Calwhite, Chero–kee, and Conestog varieties were well-received by residents at the end of the five-year experimental period where potatoes from New Brunswick, Canada were grown. Governor Nestor Fongwan believes imported processing varieties have a great potential even if this would only benefit the potato industry. In 2008, the provincial government decided to test four imported potato varieties in different agro-climatic conditions and locations. These were grown initially at the Buguias Seed Farm and tested in Kibungan, Atok and Mankayan. At the end of the trial, three varieties showed good results and passed tests for bacterial and pest susceptibility. Because of this, Fongwan said potato chips maker Liwayway Marketing Corporation is currently evaluating test results. If all goes well, local farmers will have a field day meeting the demand for the said potatoes.‐potato‐varieties‐growing‐well‐in‐benguet/103750/               

PAGASA MONITORING POTENTIAL LPA June 12, 2014 10:13 pm   by JING VILLAMENTE THE Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) is closely monitoring a cloud cluster over the West Philippine Sea that may intensify into a low pressure area (LPA) in the next few days. Pagasa forecaster Alvin Pura said the cloud cluster may form into an LPA on Friday. He added that the southwest monsoon is the prevailing wind system during the rainy season and because of this, Metro Manila and most parts of Luzon, especially the western section, will continue to have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with occasional rains until Saturday.‐monitoring‐potential‐lpa/103730/                               

Banks face stricter property lending rules June 12, 2014 9:49 pm   by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter No imminent property bubble, but stress tests a pre-emptive measure The Monetary Board (MB) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sees no imminent danger of a property bubble in the financial system, but has approved a pre-emptive macro-prudential policy measure to ensure the banking industry maintains a healthy exposure to real estate development. In a statement released late Wednesday, the Board said that stress tests will be conducted under the new prudential guideline to determine whether the capital level of a bank is sufficient to absorb the credit risk to real estate. However, the MB clarified that the new measure does not reflect any imminent vulnerability among banks with exposures to the real estate sector. Instead, the measure simply reinforces the prudential policy that banks must have sufficient capital to absorb any possible shock on its credit exposures, it said. The MB noted that banks are expected to meet two specific thresholds under the new measure. First, universal, commercial (U/KBs) and thrift banks must meet a capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent of qualifying capital after adjusting for the stress test results. Second, U/KBs as well as their thrift bank subsidiaries will be required to maintain a level of Common Equity Tier 1 that is at least 6 percent of qualifying capital after factoring in the stress scenario. For stand-alone TBs, however, the relevant measure will be a Tier 1 ratio of 6 percent of qualifying capital. The MB said that a breach of the prudential limit requires the bank to explain formally to the BSP why the bank should not merit further remedial action. If the BSP deems the explanation as insufficient, the bank shall be instructed to submit, within 30 calendar days from the date of notification, an action plan so that the bank can meet the stress test limit within a reasonable timeframe.

“The MB is implementing the macro-prudential measure while cognizant of the social agenda of providing shelter as a basic need. It also recognizes the continuing growth of the real estate industry in line with national demographic factors,” the Board said. The MB believes that this is an opportune time to introduce such measure so that banks will be appropriately guided by the policy direction. “The decision of the MB expands the macro-prudential toolkit used by the BSP in pursuing its prudential objective of fostering financial stability,” the central bank said. The BSP noted that using stress tests as a prudential measure is in keeping with the tenets of the international standards set under the Basel Accord. “These stress tests are also preferred over absolute limits because they do not prejudice the development of the real estate industry. Instead, banks can have greater exposures to real estate for as long as they manifest their increased ability to absorb these risks vis-à-vis their capital position,” it added. BSP data as of end-2013 showed that the real estate exposure (REE) of banks rose by 7.1 percent to P1.006 trillion, compared to the bank’s P939.8 billion exposure in the third quarter of 2013. The central bank said that the growth in REE can be attributed to accelerated lending in real estate loans (RELs) which grew by 7 percent to P843 billion at end-2013 from P788 billion a quarter earlier. RELs accounted for 83.8 percent of the banks’ REE last year.‐face‐stricter‐property‐lending‐rules/103700/                    

NGO screening tightened for agri projects June 12, 2014 9:42 pm   by James Konstantin Galvez The Department of Agriculture (DA) has further tightened the accreditation system for nongovernment organizations, implementing stricter spending controls and purging the list of NGOs that transact business with the department. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said on Thursday the exposé on the corruption involving the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has provided an opportunity for the department to strengthen its checks and balances system in the approval and implementation of projects. Alcala said he did not allow the PDAF to be coursed through the DA from July 2010 to August 2012 because he saw the need to firm up the guidelines. But they later resumed the practice of accepting “pork” funds after he was advised that government ”cannot simply refuse to be a project conduit since agriculture, livelihood and infrastructure projects are part of the Department of Budget and Management’s menu.” “Even witness [Benhur Luy], in one of his congressional appearances, mentioned that they had a hard time getting projects from DA because of our stringent measures,” Alcala said. While the controversy damaged the reputation of even the genuine NGOs, Alcala said that the DA will not stop supporting rural-based organizations, in line with the prescribed process following President Aquino’s abolition of the PDAF. “We cannot leave behind authentic NGOs such as cooperatives and farmers’ and fishermen’s groups,” he said. “Ano pa ang saysay ng ating mga programa sa Kagawaran (ng Pagsasaka) kung hindi natin sila matutulungan [What is the use of our programs in the Department of Agriculture if we cannot help them?]” Alcala said that the DA has tried to ensure that mechanisms are in place to make the system— from accreditation up to project implementation and completion—scam-proof. In January, Alcala signed Administrative Order 01, which spelled out the revised guidelines for the accreditation of NGOs and the implementation and monitoring of DA-supported projects. Accreditation is the first step for NGOs or rural-based groups to take before they can pre-qualify to carry out any DA project. At this stage, the updated AO now requires six additional documentary requirements from project proponents, on top of the original seven, including the

submission by NGO officers of current clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation and their respective barangays. NGOs are also required to submit a certificate of registration with the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System or PhilGEPS. PhilGEPS is the central portal that hosts information on the procurement of goods and general support services, civil works or infrastructure projects and consulting services undertaken by procuring entities of the government. During the pre-implementation stage, public bidding is now required in the procurement of materials or services to be used in the project, in keeping with Republic Act 9184 or the government procurement law. The old guidelines did not require this provision. Old safeguards remain, including the release of funds in up to four installments, based on liquidation and progress implementation of a project. In support of the new AO, DA will also publish in national dailies and its website the full list of its accredited NGOs, highlighting the newly-accredited ones, Alcala said. At the time the pork barrel scandal surfaced, DA had 26 accredited NGOs, including the Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KPMFI). KPMFI would later be identified as a bogus NGOs with links to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Alcala’s housecleaning efforts led him to formally ask the Office of the Solicitor General (letter to SolGen. Francis Jardaleza dated 6 September 2013) and the Department of Justice (letter to Secretary Leila De Lima dated 17 October 2013, through Prosecutor Claro Arellano of the National Prosecution Service) to file appropriate cases against KPMFI. Alcala reiterated that his office acted in good faith when it accredited KPMFI to pre-qualify and eventually qualify for several livelihood projects. After all, he said, KPMFI submitted complete and orderly documentary requirements, including a certificate of good standing from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alcala said DA will exert all means to hold KMFI officers accountable, as well as DA officials and employees who will be proven to have connived with the NGO. He said DA will continue to foster greater transparency and accountability in all its actions and plans, in tandem with agro-fishery stakeholders and development partners. “We welcome suggestions from all concerned sectors on how to guarantee that our processes and transactions at DA are conducted in the most transparent and efficient manner,” he said.‐screening‐tightened‐for‐agri‐projects/103692/  

PPP approves Clark Green City food study funding June 12, 2014 9:41 pm   by Voltaire Palaña The Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines (PPP Center) has granted funding support for the feasibility study of the Clark Green City Food Processing Terminal Project of the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The support from PPP’s Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) Committee will facilitate the procurement of consultants who will prepare the feasibility study for the food processing terminal and provide transaction support services during the PPP project approval and bidding stages.BCDA President Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said the Clark Green City Food Processing Terminal Project is envisioned to be a “stock exchange” of fresh agricultural produce and processed products within Clark Green City, which is located in the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga. “In a similar fashion where Clark Green City will be the intellectual hub for science and technology education and research, the Clark Green City will also be a “stock exchange” of fresh produce and processed products that would ensure the food security and nourishment of the residents in the city,” Casanova said.Casanova said the Clark Green City Food Processing Terminal Project, to be set-up in District 4 of Clark Green City, aims to attract investors from the private sector, local government units, cooperatives and other associations to invest in the establishment and management of storage facilities and other infrastructure for processing, handling, and distribution of agri-fishery products utilizing integrated research development and technology.The Food Processing Terminal project will consolidate food supply chain and postharvest production systems for agricultural and fishery products for Northern and Central Luzon, Metro Manila and even neighboring countries. Earlier, Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and NEDA Director-General Arsenio M. Balisacan said that the food processing terminal will promote social inclusiveness within the concept of the inclusive growth thrust of the government, by ensuring sufficient supply and better quality of food within Clark Green City, beyond the project area, and perhaps outside the country as well.The food processing terminal is also seen augmenting the void left by the disposal of the old FTI in Bicutan.‐approves‐clark‐green‐city‐food‐study‐funding/103690/     

Abad should be indicted for stonewalling COA probe June 12, 2014 10:28 pm   by RIGOBERTO TIGLAO It doesn’t really matter if pork-barrel scam queen Janet Napoles was telling the truth or not when she said that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, when he was congressman, taught her how to use non-governmental organizations to steal from legislators’ pork barrel funds. Abad’s crime is that he stonewalled the Commission on Audit’s (COA) three-year special audit of the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, the pork barrel money. For that, President Aquino must fire him, and the Ombudsman must indict him for obstruction of justice. Abad refused to give COA investigators the data they asked for, which raises suspicions that he gave information mainly about opposition legislators especially the three senators now facing arrest and incarceration. This is not my allegation but was contained in the COA report itself, which, in fact, was formally submitted to Abad himself in August 2013 by the audit team’s head Susan Garcia. The report’s page 5 states: “The DBM could not provide the team, despite repeated requests, with the complete schedule of releases per legislator from PDAF for soft projects . . . ” According to the COA team, the DBM released a total of P116 billion from 2007 to 2009 in pork barrel funds, both in the form of soft projects and hard (infrastructure). Abad, however, provided documents on legislators’ disbursement of funds amounting to only P45 billion. He refused to provide documents on funds amounting to P70.4 billion, or 61 percent of the total, so that the COA had to label these in their report as going to “unidentified solons” which they were unable to audit. In short, Abad hid and buried the data which would have showed how P70.4 billion in PDAF funds were used and by whom. In the case of senators, Abad provided data on 79 to 100 percent of the pork barrel funds of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla. In contrast, NO documents at all were provided in the case of senators Francis Escudero and Jamby Madrigal, who in fact were not mentioned in the entire COA report, as if they were not members of that 14th Congress. Apparently, in an amateurish hope that no one would notice why these two senators weren’t included, Abad provided documents on the pork barrel of Juan

Flavier and Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.—both of whom were no longer in the Senate from 2007 to 2009. Abad provided documents on only 15 to 30 percent of the pork barrel of Senators Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda and Ralph Recto and about half of the funds of Alan Cayetano, Rodolfo Biazon, and Francis Pangilinan. But then alleged whistle-blowers Benhur Luy, his associates, as well as Ruby Tuason —who became state witness for returning P40 million—testified against the three senators, didn’t they? Yes, but all that testimony, in the cold courts and not in the heat of television, would all boil down to a “he-said, she-said” situation. How could the testimony of people who admitted to crimes overturn the word of senators? In former President Estrada’s case, Chavit Singson and Atong Ang testified that they handed over cold cash to Estrada. But banks cooperated to open Estrada’s accounts where the dirty money was found—bolstering the two’s accusations. But this time, I would think the three have already emptied their bank accounts. They’ll argue: “If we stole from the pork-barrel where is it? Maybe, it’s a figment of these low-lifes’ imagination.” However, Abad and Aquino apparently planned for the COA report to provide the documentary evidence to support the whistle-blowers’ testimonies. Clever indeed. It is COA’s de facto accusation that Abad stonewalled its audit of PDAF that raises a huge cloud of doubt whether Aquino’s prosecution of the three senators is his campaign against corruption through pork barrel funds. Or is it just a vindictive, selective attack on the opposition? Maybe it is a kind of poetic justice for hypocrites who sold their souls to help Aquino savage the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Renato Corona. But Aquino and Abad have also used it to demolish the opposition, in their game plan to perpetuate their rule after Aquino steps down in 2016. Abad, King of Reforms Rather than debunking a popular demand for Abad to resign, his friends have resorted to mostly “but-I-have-known-him-as-honorable” arguments. A columnist I respect wrote in her piece last week wrote: “Abad is doing a good job as budget secretary—as he did in his short stint as agrarian reform secretary under Cory Aquino, and as education secretary under Gloria Arroyo. We need more like him.” I nearly fell off my seat hearing that from my former economics professor. President Corazon Aquino pushed Abad in December 1989 to the agrarian reform department when she fired secretary Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The feisty lady would later claim that she was sacked for raising serious questions regarding Hacienda Luisita’s agrarian reform program, which the Supreme Court finally ruled a sham last year. Abad would serve as secretary for four months leaving April 15, 1990, after he had put in the finishing touches for the Hacienda Luisita’s fake land reform that made its farmers into sham stockholders. A “good job”? For whom? The Cojuangcos, obviously. After that, the supposed champion of reforms spent his next nine years continuously as sole congressman for Batanes (population, 16,000 plus), which would be his family’s fiefdom complete with a mansion on top of the small island. Just like any run-of-the-mill politician his wife of course took over his post, since a consecutive fourth term is prohibited by law. He and then his wife, of course, would collect their pork barrel—the same amount as for other bigger provinces. They should have just distributed it to the 4,000 families of Batanes there to make it an instant middle-class neighborhood. In his nine years as congressman, this champion of Philippine reforms authored 10 laws he couldn’t boast as earth-shaking – which includes the making of August 21 as a national holiday, known as Ninoy Aquino Day. He became education secretary July 2004, when I was Presidential Chief of Staff. He couldn’t even handle a squabble between the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Education Department over teachers’ GSIS benefits, and the Palace had to be the referee. My office also then was starting a probe into what was and still is among the biggest moneymaking ventures in government– providing usurious loans to public school teachers. The syndicate was helped by corrupt DepEd officials who collected for the criminals the teachers’ loan payments through the payroll. In effect, the lending was virtually risk-free (the usurious practice still exists). I don’t remember Abad talking of reforming that system or, for that matter, any reforms in the department. It was his undersecretary Juan Luz who seemed to be running the department, and Abad was always on some “important meeting.” We would learn later what those important meetings were: planning and implementing the Hyatt 10 conspiracy, a stupid revolt via “press conferences.” What about the claim that he was a good budget secretary under Aquino? Absolutely not. He squeezed the budget so much that it starved the economy and infrastructure development in Aquino’s first year in office. He didn’t program properly the funding of capital projects such that they are now playing “catch-up” in the last two years of their administration. The most ass-licking defense of Abad was written for an online-only news site by Filomeno Sta. Ana, who’s been in Abad’s NGO crowd most of his working life. He unabashedly wrote: “Abad would make a great president. But he, vilified as the king of pork, is really a king of reforms.” What reforms?

Sta. Ana says Abad was responsible for the hard measures sin tax and reproductive health. I’m sure the finance secretary would have a mouthful to say about the sin tax. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, slapped down the RH bill nearly unanimously. I’m sure though that it was Abad who made this one drastic change in government that he thought was a monumental reform. This was his baby, the “Disbursement Acceleration Program,” which juggled the budget so that bigger bribes can be given to senators (including Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla). Realigning this money through the DAP is patently illegal. But Abad and Aquino needed the money to pay off the senators so that they would go along with their pet project of removing the Chief Justice. King of Pork, indeed.‐should‐be‐indicted‐for‐stonewalling‐coa‐probe/103778/                                  

DAR official received kickbacks placed inside cartons of sardines??? June 12, 2014 10:21 pm  

by ERWIN TULFO What’s this I’ve heard over at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that a certain female official there received her commissions or kickbacks from pork barrel placed inside cartons of sardines? The rumor that has been going on at the department about this official, whom we will call “ Ma’am Tess,” was linked to the ongoing priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scandal. According to the gossip that has been floating around at that office for months now, this official, who is assigned at DAR’s finance section, received two to three boxes full of money in two separate occasions in her office during lunch breaks a few years ago. No wonder she was able to acquire a large seaside resort in Mangaldan, Pangasinan, and a big mansion in San Andres Bukid in Manila, said my source who works at DAR, too. My informant, however, claimed that “Ma’amTess” made big money out of the commissions given to her by contractors who were awarded with hundreds of millions worth of farm-tomarket road projects. While her bosses received 15 to 20 percent commissions, “Ma’am Tess” reportedly got 5 percent kickback from the total amount of the projects. my source said. If I were Pnoy, I would have long fired this “Ma’am Tess” from DAR. She is a holdover from a corrupt administration, and everyone in that agency knows how she works. “Ma’am Tess” should not be allowed to stay in office a day longer, considering that she holds the budget of the department!

*** PDAF agent Maya Santos a former govt official Long before she became a pork barrel agent, Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos reportedly had learned the ropes on how to make millions through the PDAF and other government funds at the Agriculture department. An official of the Department of Agriculture, who requested anonymity, said Santos was an assistant secretary at the DA during the Arroyo administration. She allegedly mastered, during her stint with the department, where to allocate there the pork barrel of unscrupulous legislators who eventually would earn millions out of the people’s money, my source said. Santos was said to have discovered that allocating PDAF to buy fertilizers for farmers and for the livelihood of rural folk would mean a huge commission or kickback since these allocations can easily be diverted to “ghost” projects. She even perfected the art of illegally channeling the fund, in the guise of helping the poor, to other “ghost” projects after she was transferred by then-President Gloria Arroyo to the National Anti-Poverty Commission, my source said. Santos resigned from her government work after Arroyo stepped down from Malacanang. Soon after, the former assistant secretary ventured into the contracting business, funding projects using government funds. And in just a few years, Santos reportedly was able to purchase several pieces of property in Makati and Taguig and acquire several expensive cars and jewelry with her commissions from the pork barrel, according to the same source. Her name was exposed in the PDAF scam after Janet Lim-Napoles came out with a list of personalities involved in the racket. Santos was listed as a pork barrel agent. She definitely, has to answer these accusations before the Ombudsman and she should also be charged with plunder. *** Big-time DPWH contractors do not pay taxes Two of the 12 construction companies that are being investigated by Congress for overpricing the P19-billion infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) reportedly do not pay taxes too. Based on records given by an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to this writer, the DSB Construction, owned by Dante A. Bombales, and the Three W Builders, owned by

Victoriano L. Ada, did not file their respective corporate taxes this year and during previous years. The BIR computer printout shows that DSB Construction has no tax returns filed since 2010, while Three W Builders has no file at all at the bureau. These two companies should not only be investigated for graft or plunder but also for failing to pay their respective taxes despite the billions of pesos they made through the years. Paging BIR Commissioner Kim Henares!!!‐official‐received‐kickbacks‐placed‐inside‐cartons‐of‐ sardines/103763/                                  

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:00:05 PM

Duterte assures Malaysian palm oil investors of protection in Davao City DAVAO CITY ‐‐ Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has assured two Malaysian investors that he will help  protect their capital if they pursue a palm plantation project in  the city.     Mr. Duterte said he will talk to indigenous communities whose  areas will be among those proposed for the project particularly  in the city’s hinterlands. “I will guarantee them that they will not be disturbed,” said Mr.  Duterte, who is known for his hard stance against criminality.    Ivan C. Cortez, officer‐in‐charge of the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center, said the  two Malaysian companies want to develop about 50,000 hectares in Davao City to make a  plantation that will produce palm oil. “We suggest to them that they may set up (the  plantation) in agriculture areas such as Calinan, Marilog, Paquibato and Baguio,” said Mr.  Cortez, who declined to identify the companies that sought the assistance of his office in  looking for possible plantation areas.    He added that he told the companies that investing in the rural areas of the city will result in  added incentives as there are more tax exemptions provided to them, like five‐year exemption  in the payment of real property taxes.    In urban sections of the city, exemption on the payment of real property taxes lasts only three  years. Mr. Cortez said the city government is pushing for investment in palm oil production  because it has the area that it can offer to investors. Last year, a group of South Korean  investors also visited the city for the same purpose, but then acting head of the City  Agriculturist Office, Valente D. Turtur, said the plan did not materialize.    In the last five years, the city government has been pushing for investments in agriculture,  among the sectors it has identified as priority investment areas. Among the crops being pushed  are cacao, coffee, oil palm and rice. ‐‐ C.Q. Francisco‐assures‐ Malaysian‐palm‐oil‐investors‐of‐protection‐in‐Davao‐City&id=89084   

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:06:16 PM

$1.7M set for Clark food terminal feasibility study THE PUBLIC‐PRIVATE Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines has approved funding for a  $1.7‐million feasibility study on a food processing and cold storage center project in the  planned Clark Green City, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) yesterday  said in a statement.    The funding, to be provided by the PPP Center’s Project Development and Monitoring Facility  (PDMF), “would facilitate the procurement of consultants who will prepare the feasibility study  for the food processing terminal and provide transaction support services during the PPP  project approval and bidding stages,” according to the BCDA.    The planned facility is to consolidate the food supply chain and post‐harvest production system  of agri‐fisheries products like fruits, vegetables, and livestock for northern and central Luzon,  Metro Manila and even neighboring countries.    BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova lauded the PPP Center  and the PDMF for securing funding for the feasibility study and said: “It is a major first step in its  (the project’s) realization.”    Should the food terminal materialize, Mr. Casanova said it would help thousands of farmers in  northern and central Luzon connect with global agricultural value chains.    The 40,000‐hectare (ha) Clark Green City is expected generate 925,000 jobs and contribute  approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the country’s economy.    The first phase ‐‐ covering 1,300 ha ‐‐ is expected to be bid out in the third quarter following the  National Economic and Development Authority Board’s approval of the Clark Green City master  plan on May 29.    BCDA is the agency entrusted with the management and sale of former military lands. ‐‐ Daryll  Edisonn D. Saclag$1.7M‐set‐for‐Clark‐ food‐terminal‐feasibility‐study&id=89098 

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:05:05 PM

Fertilizer prices slide NATIONWIDE fertilizer prices last month were generally lower year‐on‐year, a report by the  Philippine Statistical Authority ‐‐ Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (PSA‐BAS) showed.    “At the national level, the monthly average dealers’ prices of four fertilizer grades were lower  in May 2014 compared with the same period last year,” the report read.    It noted that prices across all fertilizer types were lower than May 2013 numbers, despite  having different movements from last April’s prices.  Average urea prices in May climbed a meager 0.51% to P1,111.40 per 50‐kilogram sack versus  April figures, but were lower by 6.96% than prices in May last year.    PSA‐BAS noted that, regionally, urea price increases ranged from 0.02% for the Autonomous  Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to 2.96% in Eastern Visayas, while price cuts in five  regions ranged from 0.12% in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to as much as 2.51% in  Zamboanga Peninsula.  The average national price of complete fertilizer also increased month‐on‐month, but by a  smaller 0.19% to P1,202.26 from P1,119.94/sack. This was still 2.90% lower than last year’s  P1,238.16/sack.  The report noted that complete fertilizer in Ilocos Region cost P1,137.50/sack as prices had  “scaled up in most regions,” except for slight dips of 0.16% in the CAR, 0.30% in Central Luzon,  0.18% in Western Visayas, 1.29% in Zamboanga Peninsula, and 0.98% in Soccsksargen.    Average national month‐on‐month prices of P642.34/sack of ammosul and P1,033.50/sack of  ammophos, meanwhile, fell by 0.42% and 0.12%, respectively, and were lower than May 2013  prices by 14.45% and 5.23%.  Month‐on‐month, ammosul prices in Eastern Visayas had the biggest gain, 4.21%, while  Zamboanga Peninsula saw a 3.85% price cut to P692/sack from P719.69/sack.    Compared with April figures, ammophos price cuts ranged from 0.12% in Caraga to 4.78% in  Northern Mindanao, even as the cost per sack rose in the CAR, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Davao  Region and the ARMM. ‐‐ Anton Joshua M. Santos‐prices‐ slide&id=89095 

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:04:40 PM

Halal certification standards bill seen passed by yearend THE SENATE Committee and Agriculture and Food chairperson said that a bill ensuring reliable  halal certification for the country should be passed by yearend, as the country looks to tap the  $2.3‐trillion global halal consumer product market.    Senate Bill (SB) 312, or the proposed Philippine Halal Act, should be passed within the year,  Senator Cynthia A. Villar told reporters at the sidelines of the Salon International de  I’Agroalimentaire ‐‐ Association of Southeast Asian Nations 2014 food trade fair, at the World  Trade Center in Pasay on Wednesday.    “We have filed the bill, except that only the committee report came out, but we don’t want to  issue a committee report without consultation as there is a problem: there is the religious side  and the technology side,” Ms. Villar said, noting that SB 312 is still with a technical working  group to work out a balance.    Halal refers to food following Sharia law and Islamic custom, which include guidelines ranging  from consumption classifications to procedures for slaughtering animals.    Ms. Villar added that even while the Senate was spearheading the bill, they were working  towards a counterpart bill in the House of Representatives, and implementing rules and  regulations (IRR) for the proposed law should be released by next year.    The senator noted that they were currently conferring with stakeholders such as food  processing firms, as well as the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), which is  under the Office of the President.    “That would be a very big opportunity for Filipinos because the halal market is around $2.3  trillion, and it’s very huge,” she said, adding that standard regularization would give the country  access to the large market of which food ‐‐ an industry that includes 50% of the country’s of  micro, small, and medium enterprises ‐‐ comprises a small $700‐billion portion.    Ms. Villar noted that the larger non‐food remainder of the market, which also includes non‐ Muslim consumers of halal‐certified food and goods, consists of products such as cosmetics.   

She added that the Malaysian government ‐‐ which she said best implements halal certification  ‐‐ was helping in the standards’ development, and its grant will help establish a laboratory to  figure in the certification process.    The senator noted that the national halal accreditation and regulatory board that SB 312 seeks  to form, and which should be internationally recognized to ensure market credibility, would be  derived from the Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Trade and Industry departments.    In a separate statement on the Senate Web site, Ms. Villar noted that no common guidelines  for halal certification exist, and she “read reports that there are about 50 halal certifying  bodies” nationwide.    Currently, there are only three NCMF‐approved halal certifying bodies in the country: Halal  International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, Inc., based in San Juan  City; the Mindanao Halal Authority, in General Santos City; and the Muslim Mindanao Halal  Certification Board, Inc., in Cotabato City.    In April, the local unit of an Australia‐based livestock shipper conducted a test shipment of halal  beef from the Philippines to nearby Brunei Darussalam.    The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) explained that a representative from the oil‐rich sultanate  had certified the consignment, composed of two containers of meat from Philippine‐reared  Australian cattle, as halal. ‐‐ Anton Joshua M. Santos‐certification‐ standards‐bill‐seen‐passed‐by‐yearend&id=89094                 

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:07:06 PM

Debt payments down in April THE GOVERNMENT’S debt payments declined by nearly 50% in April as it settled less in interest and 

principal for its liabilities, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.    The state spent P16.083 billion to service its interest and principal payments to its creditors in  April, 46.81% less than the P30.238 billion disbursed in the same month last year.    Interest payments accounted for the bulk of the month’s total at P13.398 billion. This amount  was 43.42% less than the P23.681 billion in interest settled in April 2013.    Of this total, the government made P10.655 billion in interest payments to its domestic  creditors, down by 37.02% from the P16.919 billion paid a year ago.    Broken down further, of the interest payments made to domestic creditors in April, P5.841  billon went to holders of fixed‐rate Treasury bonds. Holders of retail Treasury bonds were paid  P4.596 billion while Treasury bills holders accounted for P196 million.    The remaining P2.743 billion in interest paid in April, meanwhile, went to foreign lenders. This  was also down from the P6.762 billion spent in the same month in 2013.    On the other hand, principal payments in the month dropped to P2.685 billion from last year’s  P6.557 billion.    Majority of this went to the state’s external creditors at P2.413 billion, less than the P2.875  billion paid in April 2013. Some P272 million, meanwhile, went to local lenders, down sharply  from the P3.682 billion recorded a year ago.    For the first four months of the year, debt payments totaled P174.194 billion, 31.83% less than  the P255.56 billion spent in January to April 2013.    Interest payments during the period amounted to P116.527 billion, less than the P122.017  billion recorded the year previous. Of this, P75.082 billion was paid to local lenders and the  remaining P41.445 billion, to external lenders.    Meanwhile, principal payments made from January to April totaled P57.667 billion, also less  than the P133.543 billion recorded a year ago. Payments to foreign lenders made up bulk of 

this total at P56.683 billion, and the remaining P984 million went to local creditors.    A significant portion of the national budget goes to interest payments on debt, while principal  payments are off‐budget items covered by debt refinancing.    The government is programmed to spend P793.583 billion to service its debts this year, with  P440.931 billion of this total going to principal payments and P352.652 billion to interest  payments, according to the national budget.    In 2013, debt payments dropped by over a fifth to P559.017 billion from P729.774 billion the  previous year, staying well below the P767.394 billion programmed for debt service last year.    The national government’s outstanding debt grew by 6.2% year‐on‐year to P5.64 trillion at end‐ April from the P5.308 trillion recorded as of the same month in 2013. ‐‐ Bettina Faye V. Roc‐payments‐down‐ in‐April&id=89101                           

Posted on June 12, 2014 10:07:27 PM

BIR reorganization approved THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the Bureau of Internal  Revenue’s (BIR) rationalization plan, reorganizing the agency’s divisions and offices to help it  perform its functions better.    In an issuance dated May 26 but published in a newspaper only yesterday, the DBM detailed  the changes to be implemented at the BIR following the approval of its rationalization, which  involves functional and structural shifts meant to help streamline the tax agency’s operations.    “The BIR shall continue to be under the supervision and control of the Department of Finance...  and be responsible for the assessment and collection of all national internal revenue taxes,  fees, and charges, and the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties, and fines connected  therewith...” the DBM order read.    On the functional side, the tax bureau, it noted, will pursue the optimal utilization of  computerization or information technology to enhance its productivity and service delivery.    The BIR shall likewise push for “sustained tax administration reform efforts” and “fortified  taxpayers monitoring and assistance functions.”    Meanwhile, structural changes will also be implemented in the tax bureau, pursuant to its  rationalization plan.    For one, a Project Management and Implementation Service unit will be created in the BIR and  will, in turn, have two divisions: the Project Development and Management Division and the  Project Monitoring and Evaluation Division.    The BIR’s Excise Taxpayers Service (ETS) will also be merged with the Large Taxpayers Service  (LTS), under which audit divisions for both services will be created, as well as a Large Taxpayers  Division (LTD) for Cebu.    Some divisions under the ETS and LTS will be abolished, however, such as the Excise Taxpayers  Assistance and Programs Divisions, and LTDs Manila and Quezon City. Meanwhile, the existing  LTD Makati, which is currently under the purview of Revenue Region No. VII ‐‐ Makati, will now  be transferred to the LTS.   

The BIR will also establish document processing divisions in each of its revenue regional offices  (RRO).    On the other hand, nine revenue district offices (RDO) will be split into several offices, bringing  the total number of RDOs to 124 from the current 115. The RDOs set to be split into two offices  each are RDO 17 ‐‐ Tarlac City; RDO 21 ‐‐ San Fernando, Pampanga; RDO 23 ‐‐ Cabanatuan City;  RDO 25 ‐‐ Plaridel, Bulacan; RDO 43 ‐‐ Pasig City; RDO 53 ‐‐ Las Piñas ‐‐ Muntinlupa Cities; RDO  54 ‐‐ Trece Martires City; RDO 93 ‐‐ Zamboanga City; and RDO 113 ‐‐ Davao City.    Among other changes, a Collection Performance Monitoring Division will also be created under  the Deputy Commissioner for Operations Group, as well as a Customer Assistance Division, Tax  Audit Review Division, and Value‐Added Tax Audit Division.    The DBM said that the rationalized staffing complement shall consist of 2,774 positions for the  BIR’s national office and 16,715 positions for RROs and RDOs.    Under the 2014 budget, the BIR has a total of 13,578 permanent positions. ‐‐ Bettina Faye V.  Roc‐reorganization‐ approved&id=89102                       

Posted on June 13, 2014 07:03:02 AM | BREAKING NEWS

Del Monte Pacific posts 4 months net loss on acquisition costs FOOD and beverage conglomerate Del Monte Pacific Ltd. (DMPL) said that it recorded a net  loss for the first four months of the year due to one‐off acquisition expenses, and gave a  positive outlook as it started its new fiscal year.  In a disclosure to the Singapore Exchange last night, the dual‐    listed, British Virgin Islands‐incorporated firm said that its  January‐April result represents a “transition period,” after    which it will adopt the 12 months to April calendar of Del    Monte Foods, Inc., which it finished acquiring in February for  some $1.68 billion.    The net loss comes after the company spent $46.7 million in acquisition expenses, without  which the group would have generated a net income of $3.8 million.  DMPL noted that sales in the period totaled $379.2 million included DMFI’s $292.9 million,  boosted by Easter sales in the United States and 27% growth driven by “expansion into the  Middle East, business development in the Philippines and strong growth in Korea.”  “Excluding DMFI, DMPL’s branded business in Asia, comprising Del Monte in the Philippines  and the Indian subcontinent as well as S&W in Asia and the Middle East, and non‐branded  business globally, recorded sales of US$94.7 million (which included sales to DMFI),” it added.  DMPL noted lower sales in the Philippines caused a dip in numbers compared to the same  period last year.    “Given the timing of the acquisition towards the end of the fiscal year in April 2014, a  majority of the revalued inventory will be sold in the financial year ending April 2015, and will  continue to impact the bottom line of the Group,” DMPL managing director and chief  operating officer Joselito D. Campos Jr. said in the statement.  The company added that it expects higher recurring earnings next year, and that cash flow  generation will remain strong in the present financial year, adding that cross selling of  products between Asia and the US was “in the pipeline.” ‐‐ Anton Joshua M. Santos‐Monte‐Pacific‐ posts‐4‐months‐net‐loss‐on‐acquisition‐costs&id=89115   

DA tightens rules on NGO accreditation Published : Friday, June 13, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 47

THE Department of Agriculture has made the procedure in the accreditation of non-government organizations more stringent amid the investigation of the controversial P10 billion pork barrel scam. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the expose on the alleged misuse of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund has provided his office the opportunity to strengthen its checks and balances system in the approval and implementation of projects. Alcala added it also has finally able to implement strict spending controls and purge the list of NGOs transacting business with the DA. Alcala said he did not allow the PDAF to be coursed through the DA because he found the need to firm up the guidelines from July 10 to August 2012. However, the DA later resumed the practice after he was advised that government "cannot simply refuse to be a project conduit since agriculture, livelihood and infrastructure projects are part of the Department of Budget and Management's menu." "Even witness Benhur Luy, in one of his congressional appearances, mentioned that they had a hard time getting projects from DA because of our stringent measures," Alcala said. While the controversy affected the reputation of real NGOs, Alcala said it will not stop the DA from supporting rural-based organizations, in line with the prescribed process following President Benigno Aquino III's abolition of the PDAF. Alcala pointed out the government could not just leave behind authentic NGOs such as cooperatives and farmers' and fisherfolk' groups. "Ano pa ang saysay ng ating mga programa sa kagawaran ng pagsasaka kung hindi natin sila matutulungan," he added The DA, Alcala said, has tried to ensure that they work out mechanisms to make the system -- from accreditation, up to project implementation and completion -- "scam-proof."‐stories/74318‐da‐tightens‐rules‐on‐ngo‐accreditation        

Rallyist shouts ‘Aquino ibagsak’ in front of PNoy Published : Friday, June 13, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 116

POLICE arrested a college student for calling for President Benigno Aquino III’s ouster in front of the Chief Executive at the celebration of the 116th anniversary of Independence Day in Plaza Quinse Martirez in Bicol. Police Sr. Supt. Wilben Mayor, spokesman of PNP chief Director General Alan LM Purisima, identified the arrested rallyist at Pio Emmanuel, alias Ems, single, 4th year BS Psychology student of Ateneo de Naga and resident of University Villa Grande Homes Subdivision in Concepcion Grande, Naga City. Mayor said Ems was arrested at around 8:45 a.m. in front of the state of Quinse Martirez Plaza where President Aquino was guest speaker for the celebration of the Independence Day. Emmanuel shouted, “Walang pagbabago sa administrasyon. Aquino, ibagsak,” at Aquino. The student also waved a banner bearing the messages “OUST PINOY, FREE BENITO AND WILMA TIAMZON AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS” and “SCRAP ALL FORMS OF PORK, DAP, IBASURA.” Emmanuel is now under police custody and facing charges of violation of Article 153 of the Revised Penal Code. It was learned that President Noynoy Aquino led the memorial honor ceremonies. Zaida delos Reyes-Palanca‐stories/74329‐rallyist‐shouts‐aquino‐ibagsak‐in‐front‐ of‐pnoy      

Dating opisyal ng DA, ahente na ng PDAF Published : Friday, June 13, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 57

LINGID sa kaalaman ng karamihan na ito palang isang contractor, na dawit ngayon sa “pork barrel” scam, ay dating assistant secretary pala ng Department of Agriculture (DA) at ng National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). Si Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos, na idinawit ni Janet Napoles sa “pork barrel” scam, ay nagsilbing assistant secretary for finance sa DA at sa operations naman ng NAPC noong panahon ni dating Pangulong Arroyo. Ayon sa ilang mga dating kasamahan ni Santos sa DA, dito raw marahil natutunan kung paano at saan ilagak ang mga priority development assistance fund (PDAF) ng mga mambabatas para kumita sila ng limpaklimpak na salapi para sa kanilang mga sarili. Napag-aralan umano kasi ni dating Asec. Santos na ang pagbili ng mga fertilizer at pagpondo naman sa livelihood ng mga magsasaka ay hindi naman kailangan i-deliver daw kaya ito ay lalabas na isang “ghost” project, at ang pondo ay mapupunta lang sa bulsa ni senador o congressman. Kaya pagbaba ni Arroyo sa puwesto, umalis na rin sa government service si Santos at naging isang contractor na lang at ang PDAF ng mga tiwaling mambabatas ang kanyang pinuntirya. Dahil umano sa kinita niya sa PDAF, nakapag-pundar umano si Catherine ng ilang bahay sa Makati at condo naman sa Global City sa Taguig. Hindi pa kasama diyan ang ilang expensive luxury cars at alahas na nabili niya nitong panahon na ni PNoy. Sus...kailangang maisama talaga si Santos sa kaso na plunder ng tatlong

senador at Napoles. KASALUKUYANG OPISYAL NG DAR, TUMANGGAP NG MILYUN-MILYONG SUHOL NA NAKALAGAY SA KARTON NG SARDINAS Ano ba itong aking naulanigan sa loob ng tanggapan ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) na isang babaing opisyal nito ang tumanggap daw ng limpak-limpak na kuwarta bilang suhol na nakalagay sa loob ng karton ng sardinas? Ayon sa mga makakating labi sa loob ng DAR, dalawang beses daw na tigtatlong karton ang idineliver sa tanggapan ng opisyal, na tawagin na lang natin sa pangalang “Ma’am Tess” noong 2008. Lunch break daw nang dumating ang mga karton na inakala noong una ay relief goods. Pero laking gulat daw ng mga empleyado noon nang makita na puno ng mga bundle-bundle ng tig-P1,000 ang mga karton para kay “Ma’am Tess.” Bulung-bulungan ngayon na ito na marahil ang mga pera ni Janet Napoles, na kumare ni “Ma’am Tess,” na marahil ipinatago lang o ibinigay na sa kanya. Laking gulat din daw ng mga inggiterang kasamahan ni “Ma’am Tess” dahil nakabili ito ng isang malawak na resort sa Mangaldan, Pangasinan at malapalasyo na bahay naman sa San Andres Bukid sa Maynila. Saan kaya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha si “Ma’am Tess”? DPWH CONTRACTORS, DI NAGBABAYAD NG BUWIS Dalawa sa 12 contractors ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), na iniimbestigahan ng Kongreso dahil sa mga overpriced na mga proyekto na umabot sa P19 billion, ay hindi pala nagbabayad ng buwis. Sa Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) records na nakuha ng inyong lingkod, lumalabas na itong DSB Construction, na pag-aari ni Dante A. Bombales, at ang Three W Builders, na pag-aari naman ni Victor L. Ada, ay hindi nag-file ng tax nitong nakaraang taon. Base sa isang computer printout mula sa BIR, ang DSB Construction ay hindi talaga nagpa-file ng buwis habang ang Three W ay talagang walang file sa BIR bilang isang kumpanya. Paniwala ng isang empleyado ng BIR, na ayaw magpakilala, ilang taon nang hindi nagbabayad ng buwis ang DSB habang ang Three W ayaw talagang magbayad ng buwis dahil hindi nagparehistro sa BIR para walang record. BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, Ma’am... kilos pronto po!

Palakasan, problema sa ‘Pinas Published : Friday, June 13, 2014 00:00 Article Views : 46  

BAGO ang lahat binabati muna natin si PO1 Rehuel ‘Jazz’ del Rosario ng La  Union Police Office sa kanyang kaarawan kahapon. ‘Asan na ang beer at pulutan, hehehe…

*** Kaisa tayo sa hinagpis ng masang Pinoy at iba pang kilusang makabayan na wala pa ring tunay na kahulugan ang ginawa nating paggunita sa ating ‘Araw ng Kalayaan’ kahapon, Hunyo 12. Isang daan at isang dosenang taon matapos iproklama ng ating unang “Pangulo” (at diktador) na si Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo ang ating bandila sa Kawit, Cavite, wala pa rin itong tunay na kabuluhan. Bagaman nga kasi na napagtagumpayan ng ating mga rebolusynaryong ninuno na putulin ang tanikala ng kolonyalismong Español, nabigo sila at ang mga sumunod pang henerasyon na palayain naman ang ating bayan sa mas matibay na tanikala ng Imperyalismong US. Sa totoo lang, dahil wala namang naging “pundamental” na pagbabago sa ating lipunan sa nakaraang higit 100 taon, peke pa rin ang ating kalayaan at ang ating bayan ay patuloy na “nakagapos” sa tatlong “ismo” -imperyalismo, burukrata-kapitalismo at pyudalismo. Sa mas simpleng salita, mahirap tayong bansa dahil hindi tayo totoong malaya. At simple lang din ang “solusyon” sa “salik” (basic) na mga problemang ito batay na rin sa ating kultura na nakabatay sa indibidwalismo (individualism) at “pagtingala” sa kung sino ang ating pinuno: isang lider na may “yagbols,”

may “karisma” sa masa at mas binibigyang halaga ang interes at dangal ng bayan bago ang kanyang sariling reputasyon at kahihiyan. Opo mga kabayan, hindi si PNoy ang sinasabi ko, hehehe! Ang kailangan natin? Isang “Pinoy version” ni Napoleon Bonaparte, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro o Hugo Chavez. Kayo ba d’yan sa AFP, wala bang puwedeng pagpilian sa inyo ang sambayanang Pilipino? Nagtatanong lang, hehehe!Isa pang dahilan kung bakit walang saysay ipagdiwang ang ating kalayaaan ay ang lumabas na balitang magpapalit na pala ng citizenship si Filipino chess grandmaster, Wesley So. “Malas” ang ‘Pinas at pulos walang malasakit sa interes ng ating mga atleta at palakasan (sports) ang halos lahat ng ating mga sports officials -- mula noon hanggang ngayon. “Suwerte” naman ang ‘Tadong Unidos at doon napili ni Wesley na permanenteng manirahan bilang isang ‘US citizen.’ Our loss, their gain. Sa mga darating na panahon, natitiyak nating magiging world champion si Wesley dahil sa kanyang galing at abilidad at siyempre, ang karangalang ito ay mapupunta na sa mga Kano at hindi sa atin. Kumbaga, “makikiamot” na lang tayo sa ano pa mang tagumpay at glorya na makakamit ni Wesley sa larong tinawag na ‘Game of Kings,’ katulad nang “epal” na lang tayo sa naging tagumpay ng iba pang Pinoy na nagpalit ng kanilang citizenship. At kasama ako ng FESSAP (Federation of School Sports Association) sa kanilang panghihinayang sa desisyon ni Wesley. Tama si FESSAP president, David Ong (na kasama natin sa Pasay City Host Lions Club) na “big loss to the country” ang naging desisyon ni Wesley. Bagaman, dapat itong irespeto ng lahat.Maganda ang artikulong isinulat ni Journal Group sports editor, boss Ed Andaya noong Miyerkules kung saan idinetalye ang mga hinagpis ni Wesley laban sa ating mga sports officials partikular na sa National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) sa ilalim ni ex-Cong. Prospero Pichay. Mabuti na rin at “sinampal” ni Wesley sa artikulo ang iba nating sports officials katulad nitong POC (Philippine Olympics Committee) na nasa ilalim (pa rin) ni ex-Tarlac Cong. Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, ang tiyuhin ni PNoy. Matapos kasing bigyang-karangalan ni Wesley ang ‘Pinas sa panalo niya sa torneo sa 27Th ‘Summer Universiade’ sa Kazan, Russia noong isang taon (kung saan “sponsor” niya ang FESSAP), kahit simpleng ‘certificate of recognition’ na isinulat sa balutan ng tinapa mula sa NCFP/POC, wala! Kumbaga, sinuklian ng kabastusan ng NCFP/POC ang tagumpay ni Wesley, tsk,tsk,tsk! Sapul naman ng maluklok sa “trono” ng POC itong si Cong. Peping noong dekada ’80, wala na itong “accomplishments” kundi isadlak sa kangkungan ng kahihiyan ang delegasyon ng ‘Pinas sa mga nilahukan nating international sports events. Translation? Puwede ba, mahal na Pang. Noynoy, gawan mo ng paraan na

umalis na itong iyong ‘not-so-favorite-uncle’ sa POC at tuluyan nang magretiro? Atupagin na lang niya ang sabong, hehehe! Komento nga ng mga miron, itong “yotits” ni PNoy ang “biggest calamity and disgrace to visit Philippine sports!” At napag-usapan na rin lang ang palakasan, Sen. Sonny Trillanes (na kilalang masugid na taga-suporta ng Philippine sports), kahit daw pala ang RP baseball team “pinepersonal” daw nitong si Comm. Jolly Gomez ng Philippine Sports Commission? Bukod sa “pinalayas” na umano ang mga player sa bakuran ng Rizal Memorial Coliseum, ayaw din umanong ipagamit sa kanila ang playground para sila makapag-praktis dahil may laban pala sila ngayong Setyembre sa 27th Asian Games sa Incheon, Korea. Kung totoo ang reklamong nakarating sa atin, ano ang gusto ng PSC/POC, wala tayong ipadalang baseball team sa Asiad? At kung matuloy man sila ay “magkalat” na lang doon at magbigay sa bansa ng panibagong kahihiyan? Aber, walang praktis, anong magandang laro ang ipapakita nila? At isang taon, na raw, DBM Sec. Butch Abad at COA chair, Grace Pulido Tan, na hindi ibinibigay ng PSC ang allowance ng mga player! Grabe! Sa nasabing sports officials, bukas ang pitak na ito sa inyong paliwanag -hindi palusot, hane?‐palakasan‐problema‐sa‐pinas                      

Customs foils smuggle try of P5‐M imported garlic Written by Conrado Ching Friday, 13 June 2014 00:00   The Bureau of Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle in more than P5‐million imported garlic at the Port  of Batangas.  The confiscated shipment was part of the bureau’s stepped‐up drive against illegal entry of agricultural  products in the Philippines.  The garlic, packed in 10‐kilogram bags from Taiwan, was stored in two 40‐foot container vans that  arrived from Hong Kong last June 1. Estimated total weight of the seized garlic is between 50,000 and  60,000 kilograms.  The shipment was consigned to a certain Good Earth Merchandising based in Cagayan de Oro City and  addressed in Tuktukan, Guiguinto, Bulacan.  The imported shipment was declared as “cocoa beans to be used as raw material for chocolate,” but an  inspection revealed that the vans contained garlic.  “We cannot allow smuggling of agricultural products to go unchecked. These unscrupulous importers  disrupt our local economy and cause loss of jobs and livelihood for our farmers,” according to Ernesto  Benitez Jr., District Collector of the BoC’s Port of Batangas.  Imported garlics are sold in an unusual high price in the retail market. From the usual P60 to P90 per  kilo, the price of garlic has risen to as high as P360 to P400 in the markets and groceries  nationwide.     ‐foils‐smuggle‐try‐of‐p5‐m‐imported‐garlic  


Protesters zero in on Aquino, allies By Erika Sauler, Leila B. Salaverria, Maricar B. Brizuela Inquirer Bureaus 1:45 am | Friday, June 13th, 2014 Hundreds of activists march toward the Presidential Palace in Manila to demand that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III prosecute all officials, including some of his allies, who were allegedly involved in stealing from state funds intended for projects to help the poor Thursday, June 12, 2014. VIDEO BY NOY MORCOSO/ MANILA, Philippines–A funny thing happened to marchers protesting against the pork barrel in all forms. Their target turned out to be President Aquino. Thousands marched on Chino Roces Bridge (Mendiola Bridge), some carrying a huge replica of a pig, while hundreds of others demonstrated in provincial cities in simultaneous protests against the pork barrel scam. But altogether, less than 10,000 people took part in Thursday’s protests in Manila and other cities—a far cry from the 100,000 protesters who took part in the original antipork rally dubbed Million People March in Manila in August 2013. Timing their demonstrations to coincide with the celebration of the country’s Independence Day, some protesters wore the red-and-white costumes of the Katipuneros signifying the 19th-century Filipino revolutionary group Katipunan. In a rally at Bonifacio Shrine in Manila, Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the pork scandal should not be used to pin down only the members of the political opposition but also the Aquino administration allies. “It’s not just those in the opposition who were involved in the pork barrel issue but also those who are allies. All those involved should be prosecuted and not just a few,” Pabillo told a crowd of 1,000 at Bonifacio Shrine. ‘Cover-up’ About 5,000 protesters rallied at Liwasang Bonifacio before marching toward Malacañang. The demonstrators, headed by #Abolishpork Movement, slammed the “selective prosecution allegedly designed to protect President Aquino and his allies.”

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. told the Inquirer the rallies were an expression of the people’s frustration over the administration’s failure to prosecute all those involved in the scam. “We believe there is a cover-up happening in the [case] and this is meant to protect the President and his allies,” Reyes said. #Abolishpork Movement said all those implicated in the scam should be investigated and Aquino’s allies should not be spared. It said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala should step down since their names had been dragged into the scandal. Both Abad and Alcala have denied any role in the scam. Among those who showed up at Liwasang Bonifacio were Bayan president Satur Ocampo, activist Mae Paner (aka Juana Change), Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez and Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). They led in the dumping of balls made to look like pork heads into a makeshift jail where they said the guilty lawmakers should be thrown in. The crowd chanted in Filipino, “All those involved should be made to answer.” Golden pig The protesters later marched on Chino Roces Bridge carrying torches, with a 2.4-meter-tall effigy of a “Golden Baboy (Pig)” leading the way. Reyes said the effigy symbolized the false idol worshipped by lawmakers implicated in the pork scam. The protesters, who included the urban poor, concerned citizens and members of church and civil society groups, called for the abolition of the pork barrel and for freedom from corruption. They were gathered at the shrine by 6.12.14 Protest Coalition under the theme “Answer the Charges or You’re Done.” Three demands They had three demands: scrapping of all forms of pork, accountability in the use of public funds and punishment of all those involved. “We reiterate our demand that all those who benefited from the pork barrel scam should be made accountable. It has become a cause of great outrage that the administration protects its allies implicated in the pork scam,” said Sr. Mary John Mananzan.

“We challenge the Aquino administration to jail all, including its allies,” labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino said in a statement. Besides Abad and Alcala, the group also claimed that Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva and Senate President Franklin Drilon were also involved. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the fight against pork should continue since it was “alive and kicking in the 2014 budget.” Health advocates joined the protest and called for higher allocations for healthcare and basic social services. Labor groups brought with them empty pots and pans “to highlight the worsening poverty amid the affluence and luxury enjoyed by the trapos (traditional politicians),” said rally leader Leody de Guzman. The VACC called for an “all-out war” against corruption and all forms of pork barrel. “On Independence Day, our people should be given hope that they can still be liberated from poverty,” VACC said.

Protests in provinces Elsewhere in the nation, some 1,350 members of various groups in Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz provinces also marked Independence Day by calling for the prosecution of those involved in the pork barrel anomalies. Protesters on Panay Island also criticized the Aquino administration for the delay in the implementation of rehabilitation programs for victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which struck seven months ago. In Cebu, about 300 protesters joined an interfaith rally at Fuente Osmeña Circle to call for the prosecution of those involved in the pork scam. Signature campaign Cebu-based bands performed at the rally in support of the protest. Various groups in Cebu will launch a signature campaign on Aug. 23 to push for a bill abolishing all forms of pork barrel. Msgr. Rommel Kintanar of Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System urged the prosecution of all those involved in the anomaly.

“We are happy with the progress of the investigation. But we also have our dismay. Why only these three? When will the investigation be completed with others [who are also] involved?” Kintanar said, referring to charges filed against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. In Roxas City in Capiz province, 800 protesters marched on the city’s main streets. They also decried the delay in aiding the victims of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). About 150 protesters in Iloilo City said Aquino’s allies linked to pork anomalies should be prosecuted. In Kalibo town, Aklan province, about 100 members of Bayan marched on Kalibo Bridge where a program was held. Protest song In Baguio City, dozens of militants staged a cultural jam session against the PDAF and used songs to express their outrage over the pork barrel scam. The gathering was attended by students, teachers and lawyers. Lawyer Jose Olarte, also a folk singer, performed an original song that denounced corruption. “Ibalik, isauli sa kaban ng bayan/mga kayamanan, mga nakaw na kayamanan (Return all stolen riches to the public coffers),” said Olarte’s song. Fellow lawyer Nestor Mondok said: “In the long run, what matters is what we will do about corruption and [the people behind it].” In Pampanga province, militants also held a forum on the pork barrel.–With reports from Carmel Loise Matus and Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas; Kimberlie Quitasol and Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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Alcala purges list of NGOs doing business with DA, tightens spending June 12, 2014  

Manila, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has implemented strict spending controls and purged the list of non-government organizations (NGOs) transacting business with the agency. DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said the exposé on the corruption in the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has provided an opportunity for the agency to strengthen its checks and balances system in the approval and implementation of its projects. Alcala said he did not allow the PDAF to be coursed through the DA because he found the need to firm up the guidelines from July 10 to August 2012. But the Department later resumed the practice after he was advised that government “cannot simply refuse to be a project conduit since agriculture, livelihood and infrastructure projects are part of the Department of Budget and Management’s menu.” “Even witness [Benhur Luy], in one of his congressional appearances, mentioned that they had a hard time getting projects from DA because of our stringent measures,” Alcala said. While the controversy affected the reputation of real NGOs, Alcala said that it will not stop the DA from supporting rural-based organizations, in line with the prescribed process following President Aquino’s abolition of the PDAF. Alcala said that the DA tried to ensure that they work out mechanisms to make the system from accreditation up to project implementation and completion “scam-proof.” Last January, Alcala signed Administrative Order (AO) 01, which spelled out the revised guidelines for the accreditation of NGOs and the implementation and monitoring of its DAsupported projects. Accreditation was the first step to take for NGOs or rural-based groups before they could prequalify to carry out any DA project. At this stage, the updated AO now requires six additional documentary requirements from project proponents, on top of the original seven, including the submission by NGO officers of current clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation and their respective barangays. NGOs were also required to submit a certificate of registration with the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System or PhilGEPS.

PhilGEPS refers to the central portal that hosts information on the procurement of goods and general support services, civil works or infrastructure projects and consulting services undertaken by procuring entities of the government. During the pre-implementation stage, public bidding is now required in the procurement of materials or services to be used in the project, in keeping with Republic Act 9184 or the government procurement law. The old guidelines did not require for such provision. Old safeguards remain, including the release funds in tranches, of up to four installments, based on liquidation and progress implementation of projects. In support of the new AO, DA will also publish in national dailies and its website the full list of its accredited NGOs, highlighting the newly accredited ones, Alcala said. (Ellalyn B. De Vera)‐purges‐list‐of‐ngos‐doing‐business‐with‐da‐tightens‐spending/    

2014 06 13 quedancor daily news monitor  
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