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ADB warns of climate change impact on growth By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that catastrophic events brought about by climate change could stall economic growth in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines. ADB economist David Anthony Raitzer said a worst-case scenario under its integrated assessment model indicates that a natural catastrophic event could result in economic losses equivalent to 6.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Based on World Bank eastimates, the combined destruction brought by typhoons Yolanda, Ondoy, Pepeng, Sendong and Pablo resulted in economic damage at $18.6 billion (approximately P799.8 billion. In a media forum sponsored by the Philippine Agricultural Journalists Inc., Raitzer said the Philippines is in the top of the list of countries in Southeast Asia most affected by climate change. “Manila is the second most vulnerable city in the world, and the Philippines is sixth most vulnerable country globally,” Raitzer said. British risk consultancy Maplecroft, in its Change Vulnerability Index 2014, also ranked Manila among five cities worldwide facing “extreme” climate risk. The ADB economist said in a “mild” disaster caused by climate change in Southeast Asia, economic losses from damaged marketed goods and services would reach an equivalent of 2.2 percent of GDP every year until 2100. This could increase to 5.7 percent of GDP if it takes into account health and ecosystem service losses. The ADB economist also noted that climate change would also result in an increase in length of the dry season, and greater intensity of rainy seasons especially in Luzon and the Visayas. Key climate change impacts would be noticed from inundation and salinity intrusion, as well as coral bleaching and fisheries migration. There would be changes to ecological niches and greater typhoon risks. Noticable would be dramatic rise in cardiovascular stress and increased vector suitability. The hotter and longer dry season would likewise result in less agro-ecological productive activities, he added.

Gov't to roll out emergency measures to fight coconut pest ( | Updated June 6, 2014 - 8:00pm 0 2 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The government has said it will put in place emergency measures to combat the infestation of scale insect which threatens to cripple the local coconut industry. Executive Order No. 169 released today authorizes the establishment of emergency measures to control the spread of scale insects (Aspidiotus rigidus) in coconut plantations. The order was signed by President Benigno Aquino III on June 5.

"The massive infestation of scale insect poses a very serious threat to the coconut industry and to the livelihood of those who depend (on it)," said Aquino. State-run Philippine Coconut Authority will take the lead in crafting and implementing the emergency measures. Aquino said these emergency measures can include preventing the transport of unprocessed and untreated coconuts from infested areas that have been placed under quarantine. In the last three years, the Philippine government has been trying to eradicate scale insects - a pest attacking plant leaves - in the northern Philippine provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon. The government said the pest appeared to have spread in Mindanao and has been attacking other high-value crops like coffee and cacao that are cultivated under coconuts or near coconut plantations. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The Philippines is the top supplier of coconut products in the world. The local coconut industry contributes an estimated $2 billion in foreign exchange earnings and provides livelihood to 3.5 million farmers in 68 provinces.

Visayas farmers reap first harvest after typhoon By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Jun. 07, 2014 at 12:01am More than 56,500 rice farmers in Eastern Visayas harvested their first crop in May, seven months after typhoon Yolanda hit the region, the Agriculture Department said Friday. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said based on initial data provided by DA regional field unit 8, at least 96 percent of the 55,280 hectares of rice lands planted with certified seeds under the Yolanda rehabilitation program were already harvested as of May. “There are farmers which are seeing much higher yields than the usual, largely because of the timely provision production inputs, coupled with their hard work and can-do attitude,” Alcala said. Farmers under the rehabilitation program received certified rice seeds and urea fertilizer in time for the December-January planting season. “The task is daunting. But stories of hope are created every day in Tacloban and elsewhere in Yolanda-ravaged areas, and we at the DA family are buoyed by it to press forth with stronger determination, notably for the next 90 days,” said Alcala. The agency said clearing operations were able to cut and turn some 391,696 felled coconut trees into timbers between March and May.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez said three-fourths of their accomplishment, which covered 284,682 processed coconut trees, were mostly located in Tacloban and 13 other municipalities in Leyte. The rest were in Guian, Salcedo and Mercedes in Eastern Samar and Marabut in Samar. Perez, who oversees the rehabilitation initiative, said the super typhoon destroyed some 13 million coconut trees across the region, which rely heavily on coconut production and processing for livelihood and income.

Still landless farmers seek officials’ ouster By Delfin T. Mallari Jr. Inquirer Southern Luzon 8:11 am | Friday, June 6th, 2014

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje (left) and Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes: Under pressure. FILE PHOTOS LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A farmers’ group in Quezon has urged President Aquino to fire the secretaries of the Departments of Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources, and replace them with officials “who could carry out a fair and equitable land distribution.” Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan)-Quezon spokesman Jansept Geronimo said Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje should be replaced as “both have failed to carry out the government land reform program.” “The replacement should not only adhere to the tenets of ‘tuwid na daan’ (straight path) but, more importantly, have the sincerity and courage to implement the true spirit of land reform —‘that every landless farmer should have a piece of land to call his own,’” Geronimo said in a phone interview on Thursday. Urgent measure Geronimo said Katarungan welcomed Aquino’s certification of House Bill No. 4296 as an urgent measure that had to be immediately passed by Congress to ensure the success of the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) program under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, President Aquino certified HB 4296 as an urgent measure, saying its passage would ensure the “fair and equitable”distribution of land to farmers. HB 4296, authored by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party, aims to extend the LAD program up to 2016 to give the DAR more time to issue notices of coverage for more than 600,000 hectares of CARP-covered lands. The CARP is set to expire on June 30. Geronimo said the true success of the government land reform program rested on the immediate distribution of land to the landless and the grant to the beneficiaries of all the support needed to make the lands productive. Hotbeds of conflict “If the LAD program will only remain in newspapers and self-serving press releases, this administration is only fooling the people,” he said. Quezon province’s Bondoc Peninsula continues to be one of the hotbeds of agrarian conflict in Southern Tagalog. Several killings of farmer leaders in the past had been attributed to the agrarian conflict. De los Reyes led in the distribution of certificate of land ownership awards covering 480 hectares in Mulanay town in February last year. The DAR promised more land distribution but none has place, according to Katarungan. Worse, big landowners in the area are fencing their properties to stop agrarian reform beneficiaries from taking possession of the lands that had been awarded to them under the government agrarian reform program. The land reform program was initiated by the President’s mother, President Corazon Aquino, in June 1988 as a 10-year program that was extended for another 10 years, or up to 2008. In August 2009, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo extended it another five years, or until June 2014. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Church to monitor land distribution under Carp By Tina G. Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:06 am | Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Quezon farmers march from Lucena City to Manila on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, to demand the completion of the government’s land reform program and the return of the coconut levy fund. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON As the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) expires on June 30, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the dioceses to help ensure that the social justice program launched by democracy icon Corazon Aquino 26 years ago would serve its purpose. In a statement titled “Moral Ethical Dimensions of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform,” CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the Church will do its share to monitor the distribution of lands and ensure that they go to their intended beneficiaries, who in turn should make them productive. “The Philippine Church must, with all haste and diligence, involve itself in the formation of our farmer-beneficiaries so that rather than devising ways of circumventing the law by alienating their holdings and contradicting the purposes of land distribution, they may be true stewards of this world’s goods,” said Villegas. According to him, the government’s task does not end in distributing the lands but, more importantly, ensuring that the farmer-beneficiaries will get to enjoy their newly acquired property. He stressed that distributing the expropriated land to beneficiaries and leaving them to their own resources does not serve the purpose of agrarian reform. “Consigned to a state of uncertainty, this acreage cannot be productive, nor can the supposed beneficiaries enjoy the rights that the law intends them to have, this is a matter to which the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) must turn, with urgency and resoluteness,” said Villegas. He noted how many of the farmer-beneficiaries have been forced to abandon or even resell their newly acquired lands so that they can earn money out of these. He said many of the recipients of the lands do not have the means or skills to, on their own, make their lands productive. “Some farmer-beneficiaries of agrarian reform have had to recourse to the subterfuge of alienating their newly acquired property in the underground market in an attempt to make quick money, frustrating the very purposes of land distribution,” said Villegas. He cited the Agrarian Reform Communities’ Level of Development Assessment in 2011 which showed that 54 percent of households among agrarian reform beneficiaries fell below the poverty line. “Due to this, we now have a class of newly landed Filipinos, the majority of which live below the poverty line. This is what prompts observers to recognize a new class of farmers: ‘the landed poor,’” he said.

According to the DAR, as of Jan. 1, they still need to distribute about 550,192 hectares out of the CARP balance of 1.2 million ha. To address this problem, Villegas said a more responsible system of allocating, distributing and applying government funds and resources toward farm productivity must be set in place by DAR. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Emergency state declared in Calabarzon over coconut infestation By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino issued yesterday an executive order (EO) declaring a state of emergency in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in an attempt to contain widespread infestation of coconut trees in the region. EO 169 gives food security czar Francis Pangilinan the power to carry out emergency measures to control and manage the spread and damage of aspidiotus rigidus, with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) designated as the lead agency. “If the spread of this invasive pest is not contained, it may wipe out the coconut industry not just in Calabarzon but eventually in the rest of the country,” read a portion of the three-page EO. According to Pangilinan, who Aquino appointed as presidential assistant on food security and agricultural modernization, there has been widespread infestation by the coconut scale insect (CSI) and coconut leaf beetle. The CSI (aspidiotus destructor) and coconut leaf beetle (brontispa logissima) reportedly now threaten the Bicol region that has 650,000 hectares planted to coconuts. Aspidiotus rigidus is an invasive species of the coconut scale inset that attacks the plant leaves and vascular system. Under the EO, only the PCA shall have the “exclusive authority to grant permits to transport for the shipment or movement of coconut planting materials from and to any points of the country.” Transport of coconut leaves and fronds, young coconut and other raw or unprocessed or untreated coconut products, coco seedlings, and seedlings of other scale insect host plants shall be prohibited, according to the order.

These materials should not be transported outside of barangays, towns and provinces duly declared under quarantine, “except when supported by a permit to transport duly issued by the PCA.” The PCA is tasked to cooperate with Pangilinan, along with other agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of the Interior and Local Government, UP Los Baños and National Crop Protection Center. Along with concerned local government units, these agencies shall “formulate and prescribe the necessary and appropriate emergency measures and methodologies in the treatment of infested coconut trees and other host plants.” Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, earlier filed a resolution to prod the government to immediately provide solutions to combat the coconut scale insect infestation and prevent the total collapse of the coconut industry in Southern Luzon and some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao. – With Paolo Romero

DepEd to subsidize private education of 400,000 HS students By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am

5 109 googleplus0 3 MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) plans to subsidize the private school education of some 400,000 incoming senior high school students in 2016 to help ease the worsening congestion in public schools. “We are looking at offering 400,000 vouchers for Grade 11 in 2016. Grade 10 ESC (Education Service Contracting) grantees will automatically qualify for the vouchers,” DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Francisco Varela said yesterday. The ESC is a major program of the Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education Act or GASTPE. At present, the DepEd is providing subsidy to 850,000 to 900,000 high school students, including 350,000 Grade 7 students, under the GASTPE. The government subsidizes students in private high schools because these students can no longer be accommodated in public high schools. There will be about 2.2 million incoming Grade 11 and Grade 12 students in public schools in 2016 and 2017, according to Varela. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 He said that by 2016, they expect between 750,000 to 800,000 students to take up Grade 11 and 12 in private schools because of the vouchers program, including some 350,000 to 400,000 GASTPE beneficiaries. “The GASTPE scholars will automatically qualify for the vouchers in senior high school,” said Varela. Under the voucher system, the DepEd issues a coupon directly to students to enable them to enroll in eligible private educational institutions or non-DepEd public schools under a full or partial tuition subsidy. To be eligible for vouchers, a student has to be at least a public high school graduate. Varela said for the senior high school vouchers, DepEd eyes P22,500 per year for Metro Manila and P16,000 per year elsewhere. This school year, the DepEd has increased the GASTPE subsidy for students (Grades 7 to 10) outside Metro Manila from P6,500 to P7,500 a year. GASTPE subsidy in Metro Manila, however, remained at P10,000 per year. “We are increasing the subsidy because we want to make it more equitable. But we will also look at the NCR (National Capital Region) subsidy,” Varela said. Under the K to 12 Law, two years are added in the country’s basic education system. The two additional years, or senior high school (Grades 11 and 12), will serve as specialization period for students whether in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports. The law also gives high school graduates the option to pursue jobs with a basic education diploma or proceed to college. The DepEd pilot tested senior high school in 30 schools nationwide in school year 2012-2013. The first batch of Grade 12 students under the K to 12 program will graduate in 2018. New armchairs Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the DepEd have turned over almost 53,000 new armchairs made from confiscated logs to public schools in Metro Manila and the Caraga region.

As of May, a total of 53,876 armchairs have been produced, of which 52,956 have been distributed to various schools in Metro Manila and Caraga region, TESDA director general Joel Villanueva said. Yesterday, a total of 200 new units were given for use of students of the New Era Elementary School in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. “We hope that this initiative will help in giving students in public schools the learning environment they deserve,” Villanueva said. Launched in 2012, the PNoy Bayanihan Project put to good use the logs confiscated in the provinces by turning them into armchairs. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources processed the logs into materials ready for manufacture, while TESDA established production sites in Metro Manila and Caraga. TESDA also trains the youth in carpentry and cabinet making to produce the chairs. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. provided the funds to purchase equipment to be used in the project, while the DepEd takes charge of distributing the armchairs to school beneficiaries. In Metro Manila, various schools in Taguig City have received a total of 2,500 armchairs so far; Pasig City, 2,000; Parañaque City and Pasay City, 1,200 units each; and, Quezon City, 500 units. In Caraga region, Agusan del Sur got 13,212 units; Agusan del Norte, 13,315 units; Surigao del Sur, 10,564 units; and Surigao del Norte, 8,465 units. Jollibee Foods Corp. also donated P1 million as seed fund for the target production of 1,785 units of chairs, TESDA said. – With Mayen Jaymalin

House OKs PhilHealth coverage for seniors By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill providing for mandatory PhilHealth coverage of all senior citizens that will expand the scope of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. The House committee on population and family relations, chaired by Biliran Rep. Rogelio Espina, has endorsed, sponsored and defended in plenary earlier this week House Bill 4593, a consolidation of bills authored by Reps. Angelina Tan of Quezon, Alfredo Vargas III of Quezon City and Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City. The measure is expected to be approved on third and final reading next week. RA 9994 limits PhilHealth coverage to indigent senior citizens only. The bill “aims to remedy this oversight by deleting the qualification of being an indigent in the concerned section of the law and by sourcing the funds to implement this program from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth,” Treñas said. Tan noted that the national policies contained in both the Constitution and the Senior Citizens Act clearly provide that all of the elderly shall be given preferential care and protection by the state. “Being an indigent should not be a requisite for the senior citizens to avail of the mandatory free PhilHealth coverage,” she said. “The measure will enable all our senior citizens to feel more secure during the remaining years of their lives because of the guarantee that they will have the access to medical and health services when need arises,” she added. Coauthors of the bill are Reps. Lani Mercado-Revilla of Cavite, Mar-Len Abigail Binay of Makati City, Elisa Kho of Masbate, Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Leah Paquiz of Ang Nars party-list, Isidro Ungab of Davao City, Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava of Guimaras, Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City, Mariano Piamonte Jr. of A Teacher party-list, Romeo Acop of Antipolo City, Nicasio Aliping Jr. of Baguio City. Other coauthors are Reps. Cheryl Deloso Montalla of Zambales, Evelina Escudero of Sorsogon, Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu, Edcel Lagman of Albay, Edgardo Masongsong of 1-Care party-list, Pablo Nava III of Append partylist, Marie Anne Pernes of Siquijor, Eric Singson of Ilocos Sur, Estrellita Suansing of Nueva Ecija, Jose Tejada of North Cotabato, Pryde Henry Teves of Negros Oriental, Randolph Ting of Cagayan, Antonio Tinio of Act Teachers party-list and Susan Yap of Tarlac.

Whistle-blowing system for GOCCs launched (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG) yesterday launched a whistle-blowing system for illegal and unethical conduct of officials and employees of GOCCs. The GCG said the whistle-blowing system provides an ideal avenue for reporting either openly or anonymously any perceived wrongdoing within a state agency. The system gives potential whistle-blowers easy access to GCG communication lines and other reporting channels like the agency’s website, confidential meetings with authorized GCG officers, email, mail, short messaging system, telephone and fax. The system also allows the GCG to assist whistle-blowers in dealing with retaliatory actions as a consequence of their disclosure. A committee comprised of GCG officers and lawyers will be set up to thoroughly investigate the information provided by whistle-blowers. Several countries have recognized whistle-blowing as an increasingly effective tool for fighting corruption, fraud and mismanagement.

Gathering reliable statistics will greatly help decision-makers and the public to measure progress in uncovering corruption. – Zinnia Dela Peña

SSS members get 5% pension hike By Zinnia Dela Pea (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 7, 2014 - 12:00am 6 1292 googleplus1 16

MANILA, Philippines - The Social Security System (SSS) yesterday announced a five percent across-the-board pension increase for its 1.9 million retired members effective this month. To provide time for the implementation of necessary adjustments, the increase would be paid out starting August, including the additional amounts for June and July, according to Agnes San Jose, SSS vice president for Benefits Administration. Qualified to receive bigger benefits are all active pensioners for retirement, death and disability as of May 31. With the increase, a person who receives a monthly pension of P3,000 for instance, will get an additional P150 for a total of P3,150. The minimum retirement pension varies depending on the person’s contribution period and monthly salary credit on which their contributions are based. The longer the contribution period and the bigger the contribution made when the person retired, the higher the pension. Under the SSS charter, the minimum guaranteed pension is P1,200 if the credited years of service are more than 10 years but fewer than 20 years or P2,400 if the credited years of service are at least 20 years. Currently, the maximum monthly salary credit is P16,000. The SSS, however, said that Employees Compensation (EC) pensions, which are granted on top of regular SSS pensions for members with work-related contingencies, are excluded from the five-percent increase since they were already granted a 10-percent hike in funeral, disability and death benefits. President Aquino earlier issued Executive Order 167, doubling the workers’ funeral benefits to P20,000 as provided by the Employees Compensation Commission. The benefits would be given provided that the stability of the insurance funds is not affected and there is no corresponding increase in the EC contribution from the employers. The expansion of the agency’s membership base and rationalization of financial activities boosted the SSS’s collections by 9.4 percent to P103 billion from P94 billion.

This allowed the agency to give out more benefits to members last year, from P84 billion to P91.4 billion. “The SSS will continue to pursue more reforms to improve its long-term financial health as well as enhance its benefit levels,� San Jose said in statement.

Campaign vs tree cutting reaches court By Gabriel Cardinoza Inquirer Northern Luzon 12:12 am | Saturday, June 7th, 2014

URDANETA CITY—Environmental advocates have petitioned a court here to stop the cutting of trees along MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road) traversing five towns and this city to save the remaining trees that are to be displaced by a road-widening project. In a June 5 petition for injunction, Virginia Pasalo and Julia Senga also asked the court to issue a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo) for the trees along the national road. Pasalo is director of the Women in Development Foundation and commissioner of the Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission, while Senga is a trustee of the International Visitors’ Leadership Program Philippines. The petition was supported by the Save the Trees National Coalition, which was launched on Thursday, World Environment Day. Named respondents were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Director Samuel Peñafiel, and Department of Public Works and Highways District Engineer Emmanuel Diaz. Patria Gwen Borcena, development and environmental sociologist of Green Research, an environmental research group chaired by running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes, said her group hoped the court would immediately decide on the petition to save 770 trees from the road-widening project. The project, which spans the towns of Rosales, Villasis, Binalonan, Pozorrubio and Sison and this city, required the cutting of 1,829 trees along the 42-kilometer stretch of the highway. The government work crew managed to clear 1,059 trees when the tree-cutting permit issued to the DPWH by the DENR regional office expired in February. The DPWH district office in Rosales town has asked for an extension of the permit. Borcena said Ochoa was included in the petition because of a memorandum he issued to Paje in July 2012 that granted tree-cutting exemptions in eight regions where there are DPWH projects. She said the memorandum appeared to contradict President Aquino’s environmental policy, which said that the environment should not be sacrificed for short-term economic gains and profits. In opposing the granting of a new tree-cutting permit to the DPWH, Borcena said DPWH contractors had violated the expired 90-day tree-cutting permit earlier granted to them. “They girdled the trees, in the process preventing nutrients from reaching the treetop. This was not in the permit,” Borcena said. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Cebu water firm says supply to fall soon 12:11 am | Saturday, June 7th, 2014 2 27 2 CEBU CITY—This city is projected to lose water supply equivalent to 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day starting June 30 as a result of the El Niño phenomenon which weather scientists said would be worse than that of 2010. Lasaro Salvacion, manager for environment and water resources of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), said MCWD was now preparing for a reduction of the city’s water supply from 204,000 cubic meters to 164,000 cubic meters. Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

PHL takes measures to control coconut pest Category: Agri-Commodities 06 Jun 2014 Written by PNA THE Philippines government will implement quarantine and other emergency measures to effectively eradicate the massive scale insect infestation plaguing the coconut trees in some provinces. President Aquino issued on Friday Executive Order (EO) 169 signed on June 5 establishing emergency measures to control the spread of the insect pest aspidiotus rigidus in the country’s coconut farms. The President ordered the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and other appropriate agencies to formulate necessary emergency measures in the treatment of infested coconut trees. These measures may include declaration of infested areas to be under quarantine and the establishment of checkpoints and quarantine stations to prevent the transportation of untreated parts of coconuts.

The EO also provides that the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement offices will investigate and apprehend those caught violating the emergency and quarantine measures. It prohibited the transport of untreated coconut products outside of barangays, municipalities or provinces duly declared under quarantine due to scale insect infestation, except when supported by a permit to transport duly issued by the PCA. “If the spread of this invasive pest is not contained, it may wipe out the coconut industry not just in Calabarzon [Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon] but, eventually, in the rest of the country,” the EO said. It said the massive infestation of scale insect also poses a serious threat to livelihood of some 3.5 million coconut farmers. The EO stipulated administrative penalty of confiscation of illegally transported materials and payment of fine of P1,000 or P5,000.

DA: Construction of ‘Triple A’ bird slaughterhouse in Tarlac slated to begin immediately Category: Agri-Commodities 06 Jun 2014 Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent THE construction of the export-oriented, state-of-the-art dressing poultry facility in Bamban, Tarlac, is set to begin this week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Friday. Livestock Development Council Executive Director Manuel Jarmin said “the contract for the construction of the P120-million “AAA”-rated abattoir was awarded by the local government of Tarlac during the first quarter of the year.” Jarmin said the construction of the facility will commence this week “and is expected to be finished between the last quarter of the year and the first quarter of 2015.” The construction of the facility will take a little less than a year, said Jarmin, who added that the agency and the local government can accelerate the implementation of the project to be finished the soonest, possibly in time for the Christmas season. The complex was originally targeted by the DA for construction early this year.

In the last quarter of last year, the South Korean Quarantine Inspection Agency gave the go-signal for the Philippines to send its fresh chicken to South Korea, which paved for the initial exports of the meat, and eventually for the Philippines-poultry industry to get a share of the $300-million South Korean fresh frozen-chicken market. The facility which targets to serve mainly the needs of small poultry raisers in the province, has a processing capacity of 3,000 heads of birds per hour. This will improve immensely the capacity of small livestock farmers of the province to take advantage of the demand for chicken in South Korea, the agency chief said. “After the facility is established, we will request the South Korean government to accredit it for export,” said Jarmin, adding that the funding for the state-of-the-art facility was sourced from the livestock development program of the DA, with the local government hosting the project. Concurrently, the DA is also laying down the ground works for the establishment of a P150-million “AAA” slaughterhouse for hogs in Tanauan, Batangas. “The plan for the project has been sent to [Agriculture] Secretary [Proceso] Alcala for approval,” Jarmin said. The proposed facility would have a minimum processing capacity of 250 hogs and a maximum of 500 hogs per day.

DAR turns over P2.7-million communal irrigation Category: Agri-Commodities 06 Jun 2014 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently turned over P2.7 million worth of communal irrigation project to farmers in Manobo, Masbate. Around 100 hectares of rain-fed farms are expected to become more productive because of the project. DAR Bicol Regional Director Luis Bueno Jr. said Barangay Sagawsawan of this town will benefit from the project. The area is highly susceptible to drought and the El Niño phenomenon. The Sagawsawan Communal Irrigation System (CIS) was completed after a year since its groundbreaking on April 10, 2013. The Sagawsawan-Mobo Irrigators Association through a tripartite agreement and effort of the DAR, Mobo municipal government and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), will now manage the irrigation system. Bueno said 40 percent of the P2.7 million was funded through DAR’s Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase III and 60 percent through equity provided by the local government units of Mobo. NIA provided technical assistance and acts as the project’s implementing agency. Bueno said the project will bring a positive impact to the food-security program of the government and will help boost the economic development of the country. “The project gave us a flow of life but we must conserve water so that more residents and farmers will benefit from it,” Mobo Mayor Percival Castillo said during the turnover ceremony. NIA Irrigation Engineer Helsy Bermudez said the completed CIS is expected to improve the crop productivity of the farmer-residents in the area where it could supply water, particularly to agrarian reform communities in Barangays Lalaguna, Umabay Interior and Exterior, and Pinamalatican.

The irrigation system will also serve as an avenue for strengthening people’s organizations (POs) and improving connectivity between and among POs, cooperatives, resource institutions and business partners in the locality, Bueno said.

BSWM upgrades soil laboratory to bolster organic farming Category: Agri-Commodities 06 Jun 2014 Written by Alladin S. Diega

THE Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has completed 34 small-scale irrigation projects (SSIPs) generating water for 184 hectares, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Friday. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the BSWM also rehabilitated “41 SSIPs which restored additional 1,754 hectares projected to provide incremental production of 6,753 metric tons benefiting 1,482 farmers and generating 1,269 jobs.” The DA chief also reported on the upgrading of BSWM’s main soils laboratory and its regional counterparts under the National Organic Agriculture Program, which has been approved for funding. Organic farming, which uses time-tested seeds and crop varieties, are seen as a more sustainable method in times of extreme-weather disturbances. “Long-term organic agriculture research and technology demonstration areas in the three National Soil and Water Resources Research Centers of the bureau in Tanay, Rizal; San Ildefonso, Bulacan; and Malaybalay, Bukidnon were also established,” Alcala said. Under the program for sustainable agriculture, “the BSWM also established techno demo farms in all regions in the country to increase rice and corn production,” the statement said, citing the Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas and the Expanded Modified Rapid Composting sites. Earlier, the DA had started preparing for the possible occurrence of El Niño, and begun cloud-seeding operations and released rice varieties tolerant to drought and “is putting in place policy initiatives, water management and conservation measures, with modern farming and fishery technologies being utilized to cushion the effects of El Niño.” Two BSWM employees, field workers Leilani Naga and Melvin Simangan, perished while conducting cloud-seeding operations in Cagayan Valley in April, Alcala said. The efforts of the two employees were responsible for up to 86,000 hectares of corn farms actually saved by cloud-seeding operations in the region before the tragedy, he said.

In Photo: A student of the Benguet State University (BSU) in La Trinidad, Benguet, harvests fresh organic lettuce. BSU is one university in the Cordillera Autonomous Region offering agriculture courses and giving students actual training on organic farming. (Mau Victa)

New platform for agri investors by Zac Sarian June 6, 2014

A new international expo where local and foreign investors can take a look at the opportunities in agriculture and other sectors will be held on June 11-13 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. This is the SIAL ASEAN 2014 Manila which is the inaugural edition of SIAL ASEAN, dubbed as a unique platform for connecting with buyers and investors from all over Southeast Asia.

Around 500 exhibitors from 20 countries will showcase their products and services during this event. On the part of the Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) has lined up activities to promote agri-fishery investments to local and foreign investors.

INDIAN MALUNGGAY WITH YARDLONG FRUITS — If you are looking for a variety of malunggay that will yield a lot of yard-long fruits, go for the Indian variety that was introduced several years back from India by Mrs. Beatriz Dar. This has been disseminated to a number of places in the Philippines, including Teresa, Rizal where the tree in photo is grown. The fruit is a prized vegetable for cooking the authentic Ilocano pinakbet together with other veggies including ampalaya, eggplant, sitao, patani, tomato, alokon, okra, young garlic, sweet pepper and others. Producing fruits for sale can be a profitable project, especially where people cook it into their favorite dish. Seedlings of this variety will bear fruit in less than two years.

There are a number of possible ventures that could be profitable in the fisheries sector. For one, cage culture of high-value fish species is a winning candidate. These include lapu-lapu or grouper, seabass or apahap, pompano, and others. There are also new developments in crab culture. Researchers of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center and the UP Visayas-Miagao have developed improved techniques of producing crablets of king crab in the laboratories which could assure year-round supplies for growout operations. One possibility is to commercially produce soft-shell crabs for special niche markets. Full grown king crab could also be produced in big volume throughout the year, thanks to the latest improvements in breeding, hatchery and nursery techniques in mudcrab. In light of the increasing demand for organically produced food, another possible field of investment is in the production of organic bangus, organic tilapia and other species. The DA was provided with a 216-square meter area that will accommodate 24 booths which will showcase and promote priority commodities and investment areas in the different regions. The booth will also highlight the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) which is being implemented by the DA in partnership with the provincial government units. The PRDP is a 6-year program funded by the World Bank that aims to benefit even the smallest fisherfolk, anchored on commodity value chain and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector. Together with the trade and investment expo is the conduct of the “Philippine Agribusiness Investment Forum” where local chief executives from the featured provinces, cities or municipalities will be given the chance to present and promote their respective investment

portfolios. A one-on-one business matching with local and foreign investors is also expected to happen during the event. The Philippine Calamansi Association, Inc. (PCAI) and the DA are sponsoring a special lunch prepared by Café Ysabel which will highlight the gourmet applications of calamansi products. The fresh calamansi and calamansi-based products produced by PCAI members will be introduced to the trade buyers. **** **** **** INDIAN MALUNGGAY — In the July issue of Agriculture Magazine, you will read a story by Reynaldo Andres that the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City and the Department of Education division in Ilocos Sur are collaborating to propagate and disseminate the yardlong malunggay. This is a variety from India that produces fruits that measure as long as a yard, which is about two times the length of the fruit of the ordinary variety. The malunggay fruit is an important vegetable for Ilocanos, hence the wisdom of popularizing the planting of the yardlong variety in the Ilocos. Nurseries for the production of seeds and seedlings will be put up so that those interested to plant the same can be given free seedlings. Speaking of this malunggay, we have been growing this variety in our farm in Teresa, Rizal for about six years now. It is a fast growing tree and when planted close to other trees, it will shoot up faster than most other trees. Trouble is that this variety produces a lot of fruits that could be too heavy for the slender branches to bear. Best thing is to plant in a place where it is far from other trees. The fruit really makes very good pinakbet. Best time to harvest is when the seeds have attained almost full size as can be indicated by the bulge around the seed. Immature fruits will not be as tasty as the near-mature ones. The seeds readily germinate when planted immediately from harvesting. While some say that it is difficult to propagate by cuttings, we don’t have any problem. We plant stems or branches that have a diameter of about three inches. AANI FARM TOUR — The AANI Farm Tour will visit three interesting farms in Laguna on June 29, 2014 which is a Sunday. Participants will be able to see the operation of the Alaminos Goat Farm of the Almeda family, the Mapecon plant also in Alaminos, Laguna, and the Ato Belen Farm in San Pablo City. Those interested may reserve at the AANI Store at the Quezon Memorial Circle or at the AANI Weekend Market at the FTI in Taguig City. **** **** **** Log on to: for practical farming tips, ideas, money-making opportunities and interesting agri-people. You may also contact us at 0917-841-5477.

Posted on June 06, 2014 08:16:34 PM

DA reports near-full rice harvest from E. Visayas THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) said that in typhoon-hit Eastern Visayas, farmers have already harvested most of the rice from fields under a state rehabilitation program and that the salvaging of damaged coconut trees is still underway. In a brief statement yesterday, DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala cited internal data when he said that "at least" 96% of rice from seeds under a post-typhoon-Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) rehabilitation program were harvested last month from some 55,280 hectares. He added that this was the first crop since the disaster for 56,500 farmers, some of whom saw "much higher yields than the usual, largely because of the timely provision production inputs" and had received the seeds and urea fertilizer under the rehabilitation for the December-January planting season. Some 284,682 trees, or 75% of the 391,696 felled tress that the DA cut and turned between March and May, were in Tacloban and 13 other towns in Leyte, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis G. Perez was quoted saying in the statement. The DA added that at least 70% of the 1.16 million coconut seedlings that subagency Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) distributed in the same three months had already been planted, half of which were in Eastern Samar. The PCA estimated that typhoon Yolanda caused some P16.6-million worth of damages to 33.82-million trees in Eastern Visayas -- 15.04 million of which were classified as totally damaged.

The super storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 315 kilometers per hour, tore through the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, causing tsunami-like storm surges that devastated coastal settlements. The government placed the official death toll at approximately 6,200, with damage to farms and properties pegged at some P39 billion. -- Anton Joshua M. Santos

Farmers demanding extension of modified land reform June 6, 2014 10:02 pm

by Ruffie Nyhl Cru Hundreds of landless farmers from Negros Occidental, Batangas and Quezon hold a die-in rally at Buendia corner Ayala Avenue in Makati City on Friday after a long walk from Batangas City. Photo By Ruy L. Martinez Farmer groups are converging in Metro Manila to ask for an extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms (Carper) that expires on June 30.

More than 700 farmers from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and its regional organizations began marching to Malacanang early this week to seek a dialogue with President Benigno Aquino 3rd to protest the government’s “delaying tactics” in land distribution. Task Force Mapalad (TFM), a non-government organization helping the farmers, said more than 271,000 hectares of land are not yet covered by agrarian reform and asked the Department of Agrararian Reform (DAR) to speed up their distribution. These lands are in at least 22 provinces, including Quezon, Negros Occidental, Samar and Leyte, according to TFM. The issuance of notices of coverage (NOC) jumpstarts the process of land acquisition and distribution to the farmers. Section 30 of Republic Act 9700 or the Carper Law allows the acquisition and distribution of land to small farmers as long as these NOCs are issued “before June 30.” But the DAR has admitted that it could not meet the June 30 deadline. According to the department, a major source of delay is that many documents required for the issuance of NOCs such as land titles are missing or damaged by calamities. Thus, it hopes that Congress can pass an amendment to the Carper Law and allow it to issue NOCs after it expires. The DAR’s request was relayed to the agrarian reform committee in the House of Representatives last March 3. The department clarified that the line “no need for Congress to extend Carper” in their paper was misinterpreted by agrarian reform advocates as a “delaying tactic” in land distribution to farmers. Maribel Luzara, president of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Bundok Peninsula in Quezon noted President Aquino’s promise “that land distribution will be completed by the end of his term.” “He [the President] will end his term in 2016, so how come the Carper is about to end?” she asked. According to Luzara, in their fight, “the fittest will survive” and she vowed that they will not go home empty-handed this time. “Instead of ending the Carper, they should complete land reform,” she said. A protester, 73-year-old Francisco Luzara, said, “I have been waiting for 15 years [for the land]. I will not go home until I get what I was promised.” Records show that from January to May 20, 2014, the DAR was able to issue 11,178 NOCs for 108,216 hectares of land. There are only 14,085 NOCs left to be prepared or served covering 88,962 hectares.

Charcoal briquette making gets funding June 6, 2014 9:58 pm The Eco-Uling project that produces charcoal briquette from water lilies, coconut husk and shells gives livelihood to persons with disability and protects the environment. The project marks the 10th year of the Pondo ng Pinoy movement that was began by Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales in the Archdiocese of Manila. The movement’s anniversary on June 12, 2014 will be celebrated in the host community of the Eco-Uling project in Taguig City. About 1,000 delegates from 21 Pondo ng Pinoy member dioceses are expected to attend the celebration. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will lead visitors to the project site. There will be a demonstration of how the unique charcoal briquettes are produced, followed by a program at the Ed Carlos Property, C6 Road, Barangay Calsada, Taguig City. Tagle will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. Some 20 persons with disability and their young Muslim friends run the project that has helped the disabled persons to earn a living by utilizing water lily that clog the waterways and lead to flooding especially during the rainy season. Pondo ng Pinoy initially granted the project P300,000 and gave an additional P280,000 for its expansion.

Pondo ng Pinoy has spent P200 million on more than 300 health, livelihood and development, alternative learning and housing projects as well as the Hapag-Asa feeding program. The movement operates through the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation whose members are the Archdiocese of Manila, 18 dioceses, two apostolic vicariates and the Military Ordinariate.

News monitor june 7, 2014  
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