Rolling Piñol CTALK By Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 30, 2016 - 12:00am Among the many cabinet members in the Duterte administration, Secretary Manny Piñol is someone who hit the ground running, has been on a roll, and allegedly, now running over the old guards and old ways of the Department of Agriculture. For starters, Secretary Piñol immediately made use of media particularly radio to give people a “real time” – “on the ground” update on where he is, what he is dealing with and the problems or people he is facing or tackling for that day, week or month. Piñol is one of the very few if not the only cabinet member who has the experience and know-how to connect and use media to get his message across. As a result the Department of Agriculture somehow manages to make its presence felt in the public radar in spite of Malacañang’s historical and habitual concentration on the President and the Press Secretary. If the Duterte administration is going to be known for services other than neutralizing drug dealers, then the rest of the cabinet members should pick up a few lessons from Secretary Piñol whose rogue-like media engagement clearly benefits his department and gives first hand information on what the Secretary’s office is doing. The pretty boys at the Press Secretary’s office may be doing their best being “The Explainers” but their communications design or the lack of it does nothing for informing the public about other government programs and services. Going back to Secretary Piñol, judging from his many trips all over the country for consultation and visual verification, the DA Secretary has probably out-travelled and racked up more miles locally than the Secretary of Tourism. Some will not approve of this but from my personal experience, the only way to understand the state of Philippine agriculture is on the ground by meeting with farmers, growers, consolidators and other stakeholders. Last year, I spent several months on the road with BMeg personnel and officials and those trips made me realize that certain provinces have too much of certain products but lack in others resulting in gluts or low farm gate prices. But local officials don’t try to rationalize matters. Instead they are more interested in urbanization that poses a threat to our food security. The trips made me understand the impact of smuggling, how generalizations made by an Agriculture department official can crash prices and destroy the business of many backyard farmers who’ve invested OFW earnings in hog raising. I learned that policies and standards on where and who slaughters pigs for the market are made more for the profit of local officials but ends up as an added burden and cost to farmers and vendors as well as a risk of spreading disease by transporting live animals across provinces.
I saw first hand how the government’s failure to promote and provide vaccination against poultry diseases resulted in hundreds of millions lost for chicken farmers while consumers had to pay higher prices from the resulting shortages. I also saw how INUTILE it was for local agriculture and veterinary doctors to declare quarantines after the flocks have been decimated. How do you even impose a quarantine or ban on the movement of certain livestock in a country of 7,100 islands? We can’t even surround rebels on one island! I also learned how, because of in breeding, the “Native Manok” eventually got smaller and smaller as well as susceptible to disease eventually making them an endangered feature of provincial households. Ironically, rich sabungeros are allowed to import fighting cocks from Peru and the United States, but the rest of us get a hard time from the DA trying to import new stock for real and genuine poultry purposes from around the region. More recently, I learned that the so-called NFA rice is more myth than reality since you can’t find it in most cities or towns and if it does exist, dealers are accused of mixing it in with better varieties as “fillers” or extenders in every sack. Because of all the stuff I learned on the road, I certainly support Secretary Piñol’s constant journeys especially because it gives taxpayers and stakeholders a chance to meet up with the highest official of the DA and let him know their needs and concerns. For the record, I have never met or spoken personally with Secretary Piñol. I did get to interview him more than a decade ago when I was on radio and who would have imagined then that the Mindanao politician and boxing commentator would one day become a cabinet member. Now that he has had a head start through media engagements as well as meet ups with stakeholders, it might be wise for the Secretary to get his Assistant Secretaries and Under Secretaries as well as PIOs to start going public as well, and help in the dissemination of information, explaining policies as well as procedures because there have been growing murmurs about what observers call “political appointments” as rewards, the Secretary being surrounded by vested interest, and being too eager to please certain sectors. Another thing I heard is that “Secretary Piñol tends to prescribe solutions before fully understanding the problem and considering the repercussions of available solutions.” All that of course may be “unsolicited advise,” unwarranted criticism, or more likely what results when the Secretary focuses on giving the headlines but not the full story or the details of why certain key officials have been selected or appointed to offices of the Department of Agriculture such as the NIA, the PCA, etc. Consumers in the know are also asking about back-up programs for food security after Typhoon Lawin ruined the vegetable producing areas of the north. I recently heard harsh criticism about the DA going back to mechanical methods after the DA suspended all import permits for agricultural products because of smuggling which happened after a partylist group met with Piñol. I myself wonder when the DA will reintroduce “gardening” in schools? I personally support the rogue and somewhat maverick style of Secretary Piñol because we are like-minded, but as a public official who has power and influence over so many sectors of Agriculture, it may be time for the Secretary to get his team to explain and share the details while
he pursues the vision of a self sufficient Philippines. Either way letâ€™s support the good and compost the bad ideas. *** Email: email@example.com http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/11/30/1648862/rolling-pinol
Yolanda victims press Piñol to rehab destroyed farm areas By Marvyn N. Benaning November 29, 2016
In Photo: Typhoon Yolanda victim denounced former President Benigno S. Aquino III, defeated presidential candidate Manuel A. Roxas II and other officials for their failure to provide timely and lasting help to the victims of the typhoon. Three years after Yolanda devastated a wide swath of area in the Visayas, the victims are still mired in hardships and only the help of international and local aid agencies have mitigated their suffering. MORE than 100 farmers and Typhoon Yolanda survivors from Eastern Visayas are pressing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel D. Piñol to rehabilitate farms ruined by the howler in 2013, and eventually suffered infestation the following years. In a picket on Tuesday, staged by the disaster survivors who motored all the way from Samar and Leyte to present their case to Piñol, the farmers insisted that three years after the calamity, the people in the region are still in dire straits, despite claims by officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that Eastern Visayas now produces a palay surplus. The farmers took exception to the claim and stressed that even conservative government estimates place regional hunger incidence at 45 percent, even as the United Nations and the US Agency for International Development (USAid) placed the poverty rate at 55.7 percent two years after one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded hit the region.
“The Duterte administration cannot turn a blind eye on the grim realities in Region 8. Before the calamity, Eastern Visayas was the poorest region with the highest hunger incidence. The situation took a sharp turn from bad to worse,” according to peasant group Sagupa-Sinirangan Bisayas. The majority of the 4.1 million people in the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Biliran are poor and hungry, Sagupa-Sinirangan Bisayas said. Yolanda affected 16 million people all over the country, displaced 4.1 million in Region 8 and destroyed 63,200 hectares of farms, mostly cultivated to palay, with 1.1 million houses completely destroyed or damaged, the USAid reported. A total of 1,473,251 families were affected in Eastern Visayas, with the Official Gazette placing the death toll at 6,300, higher than the USAid estimate of 6,069. Two years after the typhoon hit, the previous administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III claimed that only P48.8 million in assistance was available to the typhoon victims. The Official Gazette reported on November 5, 2015, that the total funding requirement for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) was P167,864,788,553, with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reporting that P52 billion was released immediately. From all appearances, said the Sagupa-Sinirangan Bisayas, the CRRP was nearly double the total damage wrought by Yolanda, which the government placed at 89,598,068,634.88. If the Aquino administration was able to release P52 billion immediately, the disaster survivors said it would mean the balance was P112.86 billion, a big chunk of which could have been utilized to rehabilitate farms hit hard by the typhoon. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged Piñol to heed the demand of protesting Eastern Visayas farmers and fishermen, whose lives turned miserable after Yolanda hit them in 2013. KMP Secretary-General Antonio Flores said they need free organic farm inputs, seedlings, technical assistance and equipment to farmers and fisherfolk, a two-year moratorium on payment of irrigation fees, and the genuine rehabilitation and development of the agriculture and fisheries sector in the region. The DA under Piñol has earmarked billions for increased food production and poverty alleviation in these provinces under the Strategic Areas for Agriculture Development program. However, claimed Sagupa-Sinirangan Bisayas, the government’s aid and rehabilitation efforts are not reaching the intended beneficiaries.
â€œWe have no lands to till, no government support and services for farmers and fishermen. Coconut farms are infested with coconut scale insect or cocolisap. Abaca is infested with bunchy-top virus. People who are trying to start a new life in the hinterlands cannot live in peace because of intense military operations. Itâ€™s like we are stuck between purgatory and hell,â€? the group said in a statement. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/yolanda-victims-press-pinol-to-rehab-destroyed-farm-areas/
House panel OKs creation of banana center By Jovee Marie de la Cruz November 29, 2016
The House Committee on Agriculture and Food said it has recently approved a measure calling for the establishment of a unit that will undertake scientific research to help farmers fight banana diseases and boost their output. The setup of the Philippine National Banana Research and Development Center was proposed in House Bill 2926 filed by House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and Rep. Ruel Peter S. Gonzaga of the Second District of Compostela Valley. Alvarez and Gonzaga said the proposal seeks to further develop the country’s banana industry and address the serious diseases afflicting it. “The banana industry has generated earnings amounting to an average of $720 million a year, provided employment to 240,000 workers and contributes P830 million in taxes to local government units,” Alvarez said in his explanatory note. “On top of that, it also supports 30,000 agrarian-reform beneficiaries and small landowners under various contract-growing arrangements or lease arrangements,” he added. Citing the Mindanao Development Authority, Alvarez said the banana industry is a significant player in Mindanao as 13 out of the 26 provinces in southern Philippines are dedicated to banana production.
The center, which will be established in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, will be known as the “Antonio O. Floirendo Sr. Banana Research and Development Center” in recognition of the contributions made by Antonio O. Floirendo Sr. to the banana industry. Gonzaga said there has been a strong clamor for a specialized and banana research center to undertake scientific research which will further develop the industry and address the issue of sustainability. He said the industry has suffered from setbacks brought about by a lot of factors, such as El Niño, the devastation of Typhoon Pablo and the recurrence of the uncontrollable spread of Panama disease. According to the lawmaker, banana producers and stakeholders have voiced out their concerns regarding the industry’s sustainability. Under the bill, the research center will be placed under the Department of Agriculture and shall be mandated to integrate, collate, and support research and development programs and studies on the banana industry and to conduct continuing research on developing productive, high-yielding, disease-resistant and good varieties of banana. The measure also said the center will conduct comprehensive studies and research on banana diseases and how to efficiently and effectively address these concerns. The center will establish, upgrade and maintain germplasm collection and gene bank for banana and banana strains. It seeks to accelerate the transfer of improved banana technologies to farmers and other stakeholders through on-farm research, and scale-up best practices to effectively develop and strengthen the banana supply/chain value. Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said it is high time for government to come in and support the banana industry. “The banana industry is an industry that grew out of its own resources, of its own efforts. It barely received any support from the government,” Piñol said. He said the banana industry has reached its current status as the second-largest dollar earning industry, agro-industry without any support from the government. “But right now the industry is suffering from a very serious disease called Panama disease. Despite this, the government has not really intervened. When the China market closed about two years ago, the government failed to assist the banana growers,” Piñol said. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/house-panel-oks-creation-of-banana-center/
No shortage of holiday goods this Christmas season, Piñol says By Jasper Y. Arcalas November 29, 2016
Red meat and poultry. (Courtesy: National Cancer Institute / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured Filipino consumers on Tuesday that the price and supply of holiday goods will be stable despite the more stringent trade measures it implemented recently. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he sees no disruption in supply despite the implementation of the two importation measures, which some traders deemed as unnecessary. “In the first place, we did not stop importation. We are not telling people not to import,” Piñol told reporters in an interview on Monday. “What we are saying is that [importers] would have to go through this process and we just want to check [their permits],” he added. In a span of two weeks, Piñol imposed two measures as part of the agency’s efforts to curb technical smuggling. Last week Piñol ordered the “revalidation” of all import permits for agricultural goods, except for rice and corn, after receiving reports that many permits were being recycled and that smugglers are misdeclaring imported goods such as meat.
On Monday Piñol ordered the creation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Trade Facilitation Unit, which would inspect all inbound shipments of agricultural goods and food before the Bureau of Customs evaluates the tariffs for these imports. Piñol noted that the DA has revalidated 2,375 sanitary phytosanitary import clearance certificates as of Saturday. “You are only scared to undergo these processes if you are doing something wrong,” he said. “There’s a leeway [in the re-validation process]. For example, your imports are chilled products we release them immediately because we know that these products will easily get spoiled on the basis that you will sign an affidavit of undertaking that you would submit the documents lacking as soon as possible,” Piñol added. He said the new measures are not meant to harm importers. “For those who are saying we are doing this to extort money, we are not that cheap.” http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/no-shortage-of-holiday-goods-this-christmas-season-pinolsays/
PCA eyes moratorium on cutting of coco trees By Jasper Y. Arcalas November 29, 2016 The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said it is mulling over the implementation of a moratorium on the cutting of coconut trees to stop illegal logging in the country. “As of this moment, we are looking at options on how to minimize the cutting of trees. We may issue a moratorium on the cutting of trees,” PCA Administrator Avelino Andal said in news briefing on Monday. “We fear that the cutting permits being issued by our officials are being abused,” Andal added. He said there are about 340 million coconut trees in the country, 20 percent of which are senile or subject for cutting. Andal said there is a discrepancy between the number of trees being actually cut and the number of seedlings being planted. “There are more trees being cut than seedlings being planted. There’s a disparity so we would like to address that,” he said. Meanwhile, PCA Deputy Administrator Roel M. Rosales said the government has already treated 2 million out of the 3 million trees affected by cocolisap, or coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation, in the province of Basilan. About 30,000 coconut farmers were affected by the CSI in Basilan. “We have about more than a month left, so realistically speaking we can address the CSI by the end of the year,” Andal said. Rosales said that, since 2014, they have already released a total of about P300-million budget to eliminate cocolisap in Basilan province. “[The budget] involves not just the chemicals used for treatment, but also the cost of putting up laboratories for the biocontrol agents control production,” Rosales said. “But major expenses are devoted for replacement income,” he added. Rosales said the coconut farmers affected by the CSI were the ones tapped for the recovery and rehabilitation process in the province which includes pruning and trunk injection of trees. “We pay them and, in reality, it goes back to the local economy,” he added.
Andal went to Basilan on Monday to determine further interventions needed to address the CSI in the affected province. “He [Andal] will go to Basilan to determine what other rehabilitation activities will be done, such as replanting, distribution of fertilization, intercropping and animal raising activities,” Rosales said. As of end-September, the PCA has started implementing a P104-million “emergency containment measure” to stop the spread of cocolisap in Basilan, according to the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS). The P104 million will be spent for the application of the integrated pest management protocol, including labor requirement for trunk injection and leaf pruning for the 2.1 million affected coconut trees, according to the OCS. The IPM is the only protocol for cocolisap treatment approved by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, University of the Philippines-Los Baños and the PCA Governing Board. The CSI infestation in Basilan increased rapidly to some 3 million trees, from 2 million trees, due to El Niño last year. Farmers had been affected by the prolonged drought since 2014. Cocolisap is known to multiply rapidly during the dry season. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/pca-eyes-moratorium-on-cutting-of-coco-trees/
DSWD partners with carabao center for milk-feeding program By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 30, 2016 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will launch a milk-feeding program in public kindergarten schools in Bukidnon in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the program is a convergence of the livelihood and feeding programs of the DSWD and the PCC. “We signed a memorandum of agreement to facilitate this initiative. The project has two components – milk supplementary and livelihood. We hope that both components will be beneficial to our kababayans and their children,” Taguiwalo said. The DSWD released P13,324,080 to the PCC to provide milk for children in selected child development centers. The dairy products produced by PCC and farmer communities engaged in carabao-based enterprises will be served in school-feeding programs. Under the program, at least 200 milliliters of milk will be provided to each child every day for 120 days. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2016/11/30/1648747/dswd-partners-carabao-center-milkfeeding-program
Recipe for success SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 30, 2016 12:00am It looks like the financing program for micro and small enterprises is seriously underway, with the Office of the President setting aside for micro lending in 2017 an initial P1 billion from its budget for the Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or Fund for Change and Progress. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the objective is to allot P1 billion per region in the coming years for micro lending. The move is meant to fulfill President Duterte’s promise to end the usurious “5-6” lending (with 20 percent interest) in the informal economy. But beyond ending 5-6 (good luck on that), if the government wants the micro financing program to succeed, it should also provide assistance in basic financial management and entrepreneurship. For a longer-term boost to aspiring entrepreneurs, the government may consider introducing basic business management or Entrepreneurship 101 as part of the regular high school curriculum. No complicated math formulas, just practical financial management: how to tap money in circulation to make an honest buck, market assessment, all the government requirements for starting small. A push for micro and small enterprises is ideally also accompanied by a review of rules governing large players. The current business environment gives big players an overwhelming advantage that can nip the entrepreneurial spirit of micro players in the bud. Stack ’em high, sell ’em low is obviously impossible for micro entrepreneurs operating from their backyards. The current environment stunts the development of local artisanal products – and we have a lot of good ones. Small producers simply can’t compete with big players, and most are scared of the unknown that is the export market. These types of start-ups and micro enterprises need breathing space from the economies of scale. With limited financing, they can’t afford to wait a long time to collect payment so they don’t sell their products to certain large malls. Neither can they afford to lease space in a typical mall, where rent, power costs and layers of VAT can gobble up the little that they might earn. We need laws to promote and protect these types of business operations. This will prove good not only for livelihood but also for travel and tourism. With a few exceptions, the world’s most visited cities are dotted not with shopping malls that look alike but with artisanal shops that
provide a distinctive look and ambience. On weekends in these cities, flea markets selling artisanal items and organic produce are top tourist draws. Think Paris, Prague and Barcelona. * * * For a budding micro entrepreneur, rudimentary business savvy and awareness of basic requirements and opportunities can spell the difference between success and failure. The other day I attended the 80th anniversary celebration of the iconic Aristocrat Restaurant along Roxas Boulevard, one of my favorite success stories in Filipino entrepreneurship. I happened to share a table with Butch Reyes, one of the many grandsons of founder Engracia Cruz-Reyes, a.k.a. Aling Asiang. Reyes remembers accompanying his grandma to the market to pick only the best ingredients for her food business. And he remembers how Aling Asiang moved up from an ambulant food cart occupying a space of two by four square meters to its current sprawling flagship. According to a book I read about Aling Asiang, she started out selling lunch packs that she lowered down over a wall to students on a school campus near their home in Manila. With 14 children (three died young) and, later, with kids from another family, she was more used to feeding a crowd than a small group. Unable to finish formal education and with a large family to feed together with her husband, lawyer Alex Reyes, who would become a Supreme Court justice, venturing into the food business seemed to be a natural course for her. She reminds me of many other moms these days who try to work from home while caring for their families. Her recipe for success was the three Mâ€™s: masarap, malinis, mura (delicious, clean, cheap). Plus she promoted Pinoy comfort food such as the adobo sandwich amid the proliferation of American-inspired hotdog, burger and corned beef during the Commonwealth. With demand growing, Aling Asiang set up a food cart named after her son Andy. But her son, at the time an Ateneo law student, protested the use of his name. Disappointed that her son felt embarrassed among his wealthy or aristokrato classmates, Aling Asiang renamed her cart the Aristocrat. There was another problem: authorities kept chasing away the ambulant food cart, from the open space between the Manila Hotel and Army Navy Club and around Ermita. This was where the lawyer-husband stepped in: he said if Aling Asiang wanted an end to the harassment, she had to go legit. So she found the space at the street corner where the flagship now sits, and began paying rent. Back in the day, such property deals were sealed with a handshake, with no need for official documents. Butch Reyes told me Aristocrat still leases the entire space from its original owner, Compania Maritima, which promised Aling Asiang that her restaurant could occupy the area at friendly rates for as long as the clan wanted. * * *
The restaurant was destroyed in the Battle for Manila during the war, but it was rebuilt. (Operating 24 hours, it temporarily shut down last year after daang matuwid closed the entire stretch of Roxas Boulevard and adjacent roads for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.) With growing success, the clan opened a beach resort in Las Piñas near the boundary with Parañaque, beside Ja-Le Beach. Sporks had not yet been invented, however, and cutlery was being pilfered. That was when Aling Asiang developed Aristocrat’s iconic chicken barbecue with Java rice, to be eaten with the hands. In the 1950s, amid reports of UFO sightings, the 1920s-era adobo sandwich was reinvented into its squished version, the flying saucer. Butch Reyes told me that the restaurant has retained many of its original suppliers, such as the one for the puto for dinuguan (slow-cooked meat not innards are used, and sinuso or cow udder when it was still available). Quality control, innovation, abiding by the rules, access to resources for expansion, patience and persistence have propelled certain other local entrepreneurs from ambulant sidewalk start-ups into multibillion-peso operations. Aristocrat has retained Aling Asiang’s original recipes for its top items, including pancit luglug (circa 1920), as well as her three M’s. Budding entrepreneurs, armed with micro financing, can learn useful lessons from such recipes for success. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/11/30/1648859/recipe‐success
Duterte reappoints Lopez as DENR secretary By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 30, 2016 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has reappointed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and praised her for being strict in implementing mining regulations. The President, however, failed to explain why Lopez’s name was not included in the list of Cabinet reappointments Malacañang had sent to the Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation. Lopez was one of 15 Cabinet officials who were not confirmed by the CA before Congress went on recess last month. The absence of Lopez’s name triggered speculations that she is no longer a member of the Cabinet. Duterte, however, confirmed that Lopez is still part of his team. “By the way, I reappointed her. She was bypassed (by the CA),” Duterte said during the ceremonial switch-on of a power plant of the Palm Concepcion Power Corp. in Malacañang on Monday. “I like her. She is okay, very strict. I like that. She is not corrupt, I like that. And cannot be corrupted. Why? Because I want my country at least relatively safe from predators of all sorts,” the President added. The environment department under Lopez has suspended 10 mining firms and has recommended the suspension of 20 others for failing to pass an environmental audit. Meanwhile, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III yesterday said Lopez should not assume office yet. “Obviously, her new appointment was issued while Congress is already in session. That means that it is a regular appointment, which has to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments before the appointee can assume office,” he said. Albano, CA majority leader, said if Lopez was appointed between Oct. 22 and Nov. 6 during Congress’ recess, she could immediately assume office since she received an ad interim appointment. Albano said he is for confirming Lopez’s appointment. “I will support her. But for her own sake and for the sake of her agency, she should delay assuming office because she has a lot of enemies in the mining industry who could be waiting for her to commit a mistake so they could file a case against her. Her actions and decisions could be questioned,” he said. Alternatively, he said Lopez could wait for Congress to go on its Christmas recess middle of next month and ask the President to issue her an ad interim appointment so she could immediately assume office. – With Jess Diaz http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/11/30/1648918/duterte‐reappoints‐lopez‐denr‐secretary
Bank lending grows 15% to P6T in Oct By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 30, 2016 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines – Banks’ loan portfolio grew 15.2 percent to P5.99 trillion in end-October from P5.12 trillion in end-October last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday. The latest growth rate, however, was slower than the 16.5 percent growth recorded in September. Espenilla said loans to the manufacturing sector grew at a steady clip of 17.4 percent to P5.07 trillion from P4.31 trillion and accounted to 89.2 percent of banks’ total loan portfolio in endOctober. Espenilla said loans to the real estate sector rose 20 percent to P1.01 trillion and accounted for 17.8 percent of the total loan portfolio while lending to the manufacturing sector rose 8.6 percent to P798.44 billion. Loans to the wholesale and retail trade as well as repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles went up 12.2 percent to P770.81 billion while lending to electricity, gas, steam and airconditioning supply jumped 30 percent to P657.27 billion. The BSP official also reported loans for household consumption grew 22.2 percent to P449.58 billion in end-October from P367.89 billion in end-October last year. Statistics showed motor vehicle loans zoomed 30 percent to P187.97 billion from P144.62 billion while credit card loans went up 9.2 percent to P186.06 billion from P167.77 billion. Salary-based general consumption loans surged 58.6 percent to P62.5 billion from P39.77 billion. The BSP will continue to ensure that domestic credit and liquidity conditions keeps pace with overall economic growth while remaining consistent with the BSP’s price and financial stability objectives,” Espenilla said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2016/11/30/1648693/bank‐lending‐grows‐15‐p6t‐oct
DTI confident of export recovery by next year By Catherine Pillas November 29, 2016 The Department of Trade and Industry is confident of exports recovering in 2017 with the gradual weakening of peso shoring up overseas remittances and export receipts. At the second day of the agency’s Manufacturing Summit:Trabaho at Negosyo, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expressed optimism as exports saw a slight rebound last September. This is as local exporters still harbor a dim outlook of negative growth in merchandise exports this year. “We are bullish with exports because the exchange rate is cooperating and the range right now of P 48-P50 to the dollar is still okay. What we don’t want is a drastic depreciation,” Lopez said, warning the P55 to P 60 peso territory would be a cause for concern. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, export shipment receipts amounted to $5.21 billion in September 2016, a 5.1 percent increase from $4.960 billion recorded value in September 2015. However, year-to-date, the accumulated $41.6 billion thus far in the year is a 6.2 percent decrease from the same period last year. On a monthly basis, September’s export figures represented the first growth in over a year – goods exports have been declining month-on-month since September of 2015, attributed to sluggish global trade growth. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/dti‐confident‐of‐export‐recovery‐by‐next‐year/
Piñol: 4 factors to help push PH rice self sufficiency Published November 29, 2016, 4:33 PM
By Ellalyn B. De Vera The government is focusing on four fundamental aspects to achieve rice sufficiency in the next two to three years, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol. “I am very confident that within the next two to three years, we will be able to hit rice sufficiency. We just need to focus on four things,” Piñol said at the sidelines of the celebration of the 50th year of the release of high-yielding rice variety called IR8 in Los Baños, Laguna. Piñol said by producing quality seeds, supporting fertilization, enhancing irrigation, and fostering farm mechanization, the country will be able to achieve rice sufficiency.
Rice farming / Photo courtesy of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol via Facebook / Manila Bulletin In commemoration of one of the biggest milestones in food security, a Farmers’ and Partners’ Day was held at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna on Nov. 29, back where the first real-world tests of IR8 and succeeding high-yielding rice types have started. IR8, which was developed by IRRI from the cross breeding of tall vigorous variety “Peta” from Indonesia and dwarf variety “Dee-geo-woo-gen” from Taiwan, is credited to have sparked the Green Revolution in Asia that saved the region from famine in 1960s and 1970s.
This particular rice variety is the first offspring of intensive research and breeding work to allow the production of more rice and stave off possible food shortages in Asia. Dr. Peter Jennings, who led the breeding team that developed IR8, has also attended the event. “On behalf of the Filipino people, we would like to thank you for your contributions to our goal of feeding this nation. You have fed not only the Philippines but the whole world,” Piñol told Jennings. “In recognition of your contributions, I would like to inform you today, sir, that as Secretary of Agriculture, I will be recommending you for a Congressional honor. I will also write the President recommending that you be given a Presidential award for your contributions to food sufficiency in the country,” he added. http://news.mb.com.ph/2016/11/29/pinol‐4‐factors‐to‐help‐push‐ph‐rice‐self‐sufficiency/
PH‐developed IR8, world’s first high‐ yielding rice, turns 50 Published November 29, 2016, 5:02 PM
WATCH: IR8 – the rice variety that fed the world
Video produced by the International Rice Research Institute November 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of IR8; the world’s first high-yielding rice variety and the first rice variety released by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). IR8 sparked the Green Revolution in Asia—a phenomenon that saved the region from famine in the 1960s and 70s. This scientific innovation was soon followed by other high-yielding varieties that each offered increasing vigor and resistance to pests and disease—the major scourges of that period. These varieties were also adaptable where they were most urgently needed: the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar (then Burma), Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the biggest of them all—India. In the 1950s, Asia was on the brink of famine and millions of people were in danger of starving. In 1960, IRRI was established with one pressing mission: To develop high-yielding rice varieties. Thus began intensive research and breeding work that sought ultimately to enable the production of more—much, much more—rice than previously possible in order to stave off predicted mass food shortages across the continent. IR8 is the first offspring of these efforts. It is a semidwarf rice and was the result of a cross between Peta, a tall vigorous variety from Indonesia, and Dee-geo-woo-gen, a dwarf variety from Taiwan. In the 1960s, average yield in the Philippines was at about a ton per hectare. In initial tests at the IRRI fields in Los Baños, IR8 produced an average of 9.4 tons per hectare. In the business of growing food, this breakthrough is no small deal. The Philippine press dubbed the grain a befitting “Miracle Rice.” In the late 1960s, IR8 was introduced in India at about the same time another variety, ‘Jaya,’ was released. Quick field evaluations and rapid promotion of the two varieties by the Indian government, with the help of some pioneering Indian farmers, started the country’s own Green Revolution in rice.
Jaya, bred from an IRRI-introduced variety and an indica variety, is a high-yielding semidwarf rice that produces long, bold grains—preferred qualities of the Indian palate. It was a product of intensive breeding under the All-India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project (AICRIP), a collaboration between India and IRRI launched by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1965.
IR8 rice variety / Photo courtesy of IRRI /Manila Bulletin http://newsbits.mb.com.ph/2016/11/29/ph‐developed‐ir8‐worlds‐first‐high‐yielding‐rice‐turns‐50/
Japan orders major poultry cull after first bird flu outbreak in nearly two years Published November 29, 2016, 11:55 AM
By Reuters Japan has started culling more than 300,000 chickens and ducks after the discovery of a highly contagious form of bird flu on farms in the north of the country, local officials said. The bird flu outbreaks are the first in nearly two years in Japan and news of the cullings boosted shares in some infection-control product makers.
Workers wearing protective suits cull ducks after some tested positive for H5 bird flu at a poultry farm in Aomori, northern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 29, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN In Niigata prefecture north of Tokyo, authorities on Tuesday started culling about 310,000 chickens at a farm in the village of Sekikawa after 40 birds were found dead from H5 bird flu, a prefectural official told Reuters by telephone. The cull will continue until Dec. 2, the official said.
Further north in the prefecture of Aomori, about 16,500 ducks were being culled in the city of the same name after some tested positive for bird flu, according to a statement on the prefecture’s website. This is the first time that highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in Aomori prefecture, it said. The agriculture ministry said the outbreaks are the first for nearly two years in poultry farms in Japan. Taiko Pharmaceutical Co, which makes infection-control products, surged 3.2 percent, and mask maker Daiwabo Holdings, jumped 5.1 percent. Protective clothing maker Azearth Corp, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s second section, soared 17 percent to its daily limit of 681 yen. Meanwhile, grilled-chicken restaurant operator Torikizoku Co dropped 2.8 percent. “The news about bird flu is affecting these shares, but these moves tend to be short-lived,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management. South Korea last Friday announced a temporary nationwide standstill order for poultry farms and related transport over the weekend in a bid to contain a spread of H5N6 bird flu, a severe strain of the disease. Another severe strain of bird flu, H5N8, has hit several countries in Europe and led to the culling of thousands of poultry after being detected in wild ducks in Northern France. In recent weeks there have also been outbreaks in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania and Germany. Dutch authorities destroyed about 190,000 ducks on Saturday at six farms following an avian flu outbreak. Farmers located in humid regions, where the risk of transmission is higher, are advised by health authorities to keep poultry flocks indoors or apply safety nets preventing contact with wild birds. The H5N8 virus has never been detected in humans but it led to the culling of millions of farm birds in Asia, mainly South Korea, in 2014 before spreading to Europe. The World Organization for Animal Health had warned in an interview with Reuters midNovember that more outbreaks of H5N8 were likely in Europe as wild birds believed to transmit the virus migrate southward. Tags: bird flu, chickens, culling, Japan, Japan orders major poultry cull after first bird flu outbreak in nearly two years, Manila Bulletin, outbreak, poultry http://newsbits.mb.com.ph/2016/11/29/japan‐orders‐major‐poultry‐cull‐after‐first‐bird‐flu‐outbreak‐ in‐nearly‐two‐years/
Shakey’s pegs final IPO price at P11.26 posted November 29, 2016 at 09:17 pm by Jenniffer B. Austria Restaurant chain operator Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures Inc. set the final offer price for its planned initial public offering at P11.26 per share. The final offer price is at the high-end of the reported indicative price range of P10.20 to P11.26, which the conpany set prior to the book building process. At P11.26 per share, SPAVI will raise up to P3.96 billion in proceeds from the sale of 351.9 million common shares. Under the plan, SPAVI will sell 104 million primary shares and 202 million secondary shares held by Arran Investments Private Limited, a unit of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. Another 45.9 million shares will cover over allotment option. Offer period will be from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8 while listing date was tentatively set on Dec 15. Deutsche Bank AG was appointed sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the deal, with BDO Capital and Investment Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp. as joint lead managers and underwriters. At least 70 percent of the offer shares will be sold to overseas investors while the remaining 30 percent will be set aside for local investors. SPAVI said it planned to use the proceeds from the sale of primary shares to partially repay its loan from BDO Unibank Inc. and to fund the capital expenditures of its new commissary and the relocation of its headquarters. Over the next five years, the company plans to open 10 to 15 Shakey’s stores annually over the next few years. http://thestandard.com.ph/business/222748/shakey‐s‐pegs‐final‐ipo‐price‐at‐p11‐26.html
LANDBANK gives P15-M cash assistance to North, Central Luzon LGUs affected by typhoon Lawin posted November 29, 2016 at 11:32 am LANDBANK distributed a total of P15 million cash assistance to local government units in North and Central Luzon affected by Typhoon Lawin (international name: Haima) that battered the northern part of the country last month. Record from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed that the typhoon left 14 dead and P2.7 billion damage in infrastructure and P1 billion in agriculture. Led by Branch Banking Sector Head/Senior Vice President Liduvino Geron and North Luzon Branches Group Head/Vice President Nomerlito Juatchon, LANDBANK turned over the cash assistance in ceremonies held in Ilagan, Isabela and Tuguegarao City on November 16 and 17, respectively. Isabela, which was placed under state of calamity, received a total of P2.2 million divided among its 34 cities and municipalities, where 20,825 families were affected by the typhoon. Among the local chief executives who attended the turn-over ceremony in Isabela was Palanan Mayor Rodolfo Bernardo Jr. whose town suffered severe damage from the typhoon. "Ang damage po sa Palanan ay halos 70% po sa kabahayan at almost 100% sa mga pananim. At sa infrastructure, 70% din ang nasira. Kaya labis po ang pasasalamat namin sa LANDBANK sa financial assistance na ito na ipamimigay rin namin sa mga nasalanta naming kababayan,” Bernado said. LANDBANK also conducted a turn-over ceremony at the Provincial Capitol of Cagayan in Tuguegarao City to hand over the P3.125 million cash assistance to the province, which was directly hit by the typhoon and suffered the heaviest damage from Lawin. “Lawin ang worst na bagyo na dumating dito sa Solana, Cagayan kasi almost 80% ng infrastructures at agricultural land namin ay totally or partially damaged,” said Solana Mayor Jennalyn Carag who personally received the financial assistance for her municipality. Cagayan, where Tyhoon Lawin made landfall and damaged a total of 28,429 houses, was also declared under state of calamity. “We are grateful to LANDBANK for the financial assistance. Right now, every peso counts,” Office of the Governor Chief-of-Staff Atty. Ma. Rosario Villaflor said.
LANDBANK allocated P4.025 million for the Cordillera Administrative Region; P3.725 million for Region I; P6.25 million for Region II; and P1 million for Region III. The cash assistance for other provinces, which was divided among affected towns and cities based on the reports submitted by the regional Office of the Civil Defense, was distributed through LANDBANK branches in the region. “This is part of LANDBANK’s commitment to be there not only for our clients but most importantly to our fellow Filipinos, especially in times of calamities,” Geron said. LANDBANK CARES Aside from relief operations and financial assistance for affected communities, LANDBANK also has an existing program specifically designed to help calamity-affected areas. LANDBANK Calamity Rehabilitation Support (CARES) is the Bank’s umbrella financial assistance program to help victims recover from destruction brought about by natural calamities. Under the program, both existing and new clients may avail of rehabilitation credit programs for acquisition or repair of new facilities or equipment, additional working capital or for livelihood financing. Existing customers may also avail of loan restructuring wherein short terms loans may be extended up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a maximum of one-year grace period on principal payment. For term loans, tenor can be extended for additional three years over the remaining term of the loan at the time of calamity, with a maximum grace period of three years on principal payment. http://thestandard.com.ph/business/222709/landbank‐gives‐p15‐m‐cash‐assistance‐to‐ north‐central‐luzon‐lgus‐affected‐by‐typhoon‐lawin.html
All Filipinos should fight violence vs women – DSWD By The Manila Times on November 30, 2016 The Latest News, Today's Breaking News
THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday said fighting violence against women (VAW) should be a struggle of all Filipinos. “Violence isn’t only experienced by women. It is not just a few individual’s personal struggle, it is the struggle that the entire Filipino society must take on. Let us remember that ending violence against women starts with each of us, and we’ll only achieve victory if we work together to end not just violence against women, but also all forms of abuse against our nation,” Director Marita Pimentel, field program manager at the office of the DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, said. Pimentel, also a member of the National Gender and Development Resource Program of the Philippine Commission on Women, added, “It is our responsibility to be quick in providing help to abused women. They will continue to experience violence if we do not extend help as soon as possible, and if we are insensitive to the situation they are in.” VAW remains one of the big problems of the country despite having a law that punishes who anyone who does it. Pimentel said VAW is prevalent in different areas of society such as in schools, workplaces and cyberspace. DSWD Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera agreed with Pimentel, saying, “We must be vigilant in reporting to the authorities the cases of abuse and violence against women.” In a statement, Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Mayor Oscar Malapitan urged city residents to actively join the DSWD in putting an end to VAW by being completely aware in displaying respect, care and love for women at all times. Malapitan said fighting VAW should not be limited to an 18-day observance [beginning November 25]but at all times. NELSON S. BADILLA http://www.manilatimes.net/filipinos‐fight‐violence‐vs‐women‐dswd/299210/
Pag-IBIG gets highER satisfaction rating in Visayas By CATHERINE TALAVERA, TMT on November 30, 2016 Regions The Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG received a greater net satisfaction rating in the Visayas region, mainly driven by the expansion of its branches in the area, according to its Vice President for Member Services Operations in the Visayas and Mindanao Victoria dela Pena. In a statement, Pag-IBIG said it scored a net satisfaction of +75 or excellent in the Visayas for its services, in a national survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations from September 24 to 27, 2016. It was a 34-point increase from the +41 in a similar survey done in December 2015. De la Pena said more branches were opened in Regions 6 to 8 (Western, Central and Eastern Visayas). From five branches in 2010, it now has 19 branches and three service offices all over the Visayas. At present, the Fund has a total of 117 branches across the country, more than triple the size of the 38 branches it had in 2010. Pag-IBIG noted that availment of services by members also increased by 8 to 24 percent in September 2016 from 16 percent in December 2015. “The biggest jump in services was noted for membership and employer registration, showing a 65 percent in September 2016,” it said. http://www.manilatimes.net/pag‐ibig‐gets‐higher‐satisfaction‐rating‐visayas/299219/
Atienza backs dismantling of Laguna Lake fishpens By The Manila Times on November 29, 2016 Regions BUHAY Partylist Representative and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza welcomed and expressed full support for President Duterte’s directive to dismantle the fishpens and illegal structures in Laguna de Bay. He said President Rodrigo Duterte must have fully accepted the fact that these fishpens not only deprive the small fisherfolk of their livelihood but cause massive flooding in Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog, preventing the bay from serving as a catch basin of rain water. Atienza, as former Environment Secretary, has started clearing not only Laguna de Bay, but also other waterbodies such as Manila Bay. But his limited tenure failed him to finish the job. As congressman since 2013, Atienza continued to call attention to the problem but apparently ignored by the previous administration. “The country is blessed with more than 200 lakes spread all over the islands which are home to some of the rarest species of fish and some of which are endemic only to the Philippines. If properly managed, our water and aquatic resources could even feed the whole world with quality sealife, according to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) studies. It is ironic, therefore, that these natural gifts have not benefited our people even making the fisherfolk the poorest sector in society,” Atienza said during his privilege speech. Atienza also pointed out that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Laguna Lake Development Authority are not giving an accurate picture of the problem. According to their records, only 12,000 hectares of Laguna de Bay are occupied by fishpens – which is about 12 percent of the Lake’s total area of 99,000 hectares. “The truth is, one quick pass over the Lake will give a clear picture – over 60 percent is occupied by fishpens, leaving only a fraction of open water for thousands of fisherfolk,” Atienza added. http://www.manilatimes.net/atienza‐backs‐dismantling‐laguna‐lake‐fishpens/299062/
Coconut industry looks to expand China, Russia markets as ties improve Posted on November 30, 2016 THE Philippine Coconut Authority is looking to tap markets in Russia and China after these countries recently expressed their intention to strengthen trade ties with the Philippines.
The Philippine Coconut Authority is looking to tap markets in Russia and China after these countries expressed their intention to strengthen trade ties with the Philippines. ‐‐ AFP “Russia and China have been expressing interest and showing their willingness to accept more products from the country. We would like to be as responsive as possible to address the production,” said PCA Administrator Avelino D. Andal in a briefing on Monday. The Philippines has been moving to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties with China and Russia in key areas particularly the agriculture sector, among others. Earlier, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez revealed that Russia, during bilateral talks in Peru last week, has agreed to import some $2.5 billion worth of agricultural products such as fruits, grains, and vegetables from the Philippines in the next few months. Mr. Andal said that the agency’s goal apart from expanding foreign markets is to encourage the development of value‐added coconut products to “resurrect the industry and make it the prime industry of the agriculture sector.” The agency also wants to promote intercropping in land planted to coconut to increase farmer output and ensure food security. At present, 3.5 million hectares are planted to coconut, according to PCA Deputy Administrator Roel M. Rosales.The industry has been generating an average of $900 million worth of output in the past five years. ‐‐ Janina C. Lim http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=coconut‐industry‐ looks‐to‐expand‐china‐‐russia‐markets‐as‐ties‐improve&id=137102