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BusinessDaily CREDIBLE

Volume III, No. 286

Market Indicators As of 6:12 pm AUG. 30, 2013 (Friday)

FOREX

PHISIX

US$1 = P44.60

6,075.17 points

0.145 cents

X

130.96 points

X

Briefly More infra THE Philippines will increase spending on infrastructure projects crucial in attracting more investments. “Notwithstanding the challenges of implementing p u b l i c - p r i vate p ar t n e r s h i p projects or PPPs, both the government and private sectors continue to invest heavily in infrastructure, whi c h ha s bee n a c r it i c al constraint to development,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. Balisacan said the construction sector’s strong per formance as well as of manufacturing mainly boosted the industry sector to grow 10.3 percent in April to June this year. Construction for the past the past five quar ters grew double digits. In the second quarter this year alone, public and private construction grew by 31.1 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

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Growth corridors for M’nao goods pushed By IRENE DAYO, Reporter and DANIELLE VENZ, Contributor

E

XPORTERS of Mindanao products are pushing for the development of export gateways and growth corridors to enable them to penetrate foreign markets.

Rice sufficiency BUTUAN City -- Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Unit (DA-RFU) Caraga revealed that the region has a sufficient production of palay and positive rice sufficiency level. Caraga DA-RFU Operations and LGU Suppor t Regional Technical Director Edgardo Dahino during the Rise for Rice Support the National Year of Rice Legislators’ Congress on August 29 said the region has rice sufficiency level of 78.33 in 2011 and remarkably increased to 86.89 in 2012 and the subsequent years. “ Base d o n t he Carag a Rice Suf ficiency Level and Utilization data from 2011-216 with a population of 2,429,224 and growth rate of 1.5 percent based on 2010 NCSB Survey, the region will have 100.24 sufficiency level in 2013 and expected to increase on the following years under normal condition,” Dahino added.

P15.00

EXPORT GATEWAYS FOR LOCAL PRODUCTS. Elma Guiambangan shows some of their handicraft products made from buri leaves in Bai Matabay Plang Village, Kabacan, North Cotabato. Mindanao exporters are pushing for the creation of export gateways and growth corridors to enable them to market local products to foreign markets. mindanews photo by keith bacongco

The Mindanao chapter of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. said this will further promote products from Mindanao, the country’s premier food source and agribusiness producer. These five corridors are the Mindanao Food, Agribusiness and Logistics Corridor; the Mindanao Food Basket Corridor; the Mindanao Biodiversity and Ecotourism Corridor; the Mindanao Industrial Trade Corridor; and Mindanao Mariculture and Trade Corridor. These corridors can be clustered into three larger economic clusters according to their strategic role in the overall development of Mindanao. Within each corridor, an integrated development program will be implemented to jump-start and accelerate development. corridors/PAGE 11

Lasureco determined to the reform agenda Schemes for Agus Privatization proposed push MARAWI City -- After a month-long lull By Myrna M. Velasco, Contributor

STAKEHOLDERS in Mindanao have been propounding “hybrid privatization schemes” that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) may consider for the Agus hydropower complex. Instead of outright sa le of the hydro assets, the schemes reportedly lodged to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) include a privatization of just the kilowatt-hours that can be generated from the facilities. According to DOE sources, it was proposed that “the net present value of the generated Schemes/PAGE 11

Agus V hydropower plant

at the cooperative in deference to the Holy Month of Ramadhan, LASURECO is again on the campaign trail to improve collections and delivery of services. GM Sultan Ashar y P. Maongco has implemented an unpopular decision to disconnect delinquent member-consumers numbering twenty-seven municipalities and more than twenty thousand individual member-consumers to save the cooperative and to continue its rehabilitation program. It should be remembered that a week before the start of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, LASURECO has a gentleman’s agreement with Lasureco/PAGE 11

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Economy

PHL’s Q2 growth fastest in ASEAN anew Growth imbalance THE Philippines has outperformed its neighbors in the region anew, maintaining its billing as the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, with a growth of 7.5 percent in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2013.

In a news conference on the National Income Accounts (NIA),

Socioeconomic Planning Secretar y Arsenio M. Balisacan said the country’s

economic expansion in the second quarter of the year matched that of China. This put the Philippines in the lofty billing of being one of the two fastest-growing Asian economies. “We remain the fastestgrowing economy among emerg ing economies in

the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] region. The 7.5-percent growth, which is the same as that of China, surpasses the grow th rates of our Asian neighbors. Within the ASEAN region, Indonesia grew by 5.8 percent; Vietnam, by 5 percent; Malaysia, by

4.3 percent; Singapore, by 3.8 percent; and Thailand, by 2.8 percent. Our growth rate is significantly higher than that of Hong Kong, with 3.3 percent; Japan, with 2.6 percent, Chinese Taipei, with 2.5 percent; and South Korea, by 2.3 percent.” fastest/PAGE 9

Firms turn less bullish COMPANIES became less bullish on the economy in the third quarter, on expectations of lower seasonal demand, stiffer competition and volatility in the peso-dollar exchange rate, results of the Bangko Sentral’s business expectations survey showed. Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a news briefing the business confidence index declined to 42.8 percent in the third quarter from an all-time high of 54.9 percent recorded in the second quarter. “But the level of confidence could accelerate in the last quarter of 2013 due

to brisker business during the Christmas season, the continued increase in orders and projects leading to higher volume of production and expansion of businesses and new product lines,” Guinigundo said. Business outlook for the fourth quarter reached 60 percent, the highest since the nationwide survey started in the fourth quarter of 2006. The survey also found that the prevailing favorable macroeconomic conditions such as low interest rates, manageable inflation, steady grow t h of overseas Fi lipinos’ firms/PAGE 9

THE Philippines is defying a regional economic slowdown, after registering another solid growth in the second quarter of 2013. The economy as measured by the gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent in the Aprilto-June period, a strong follow-up to the 7.7-percent expansion in the first quarter. The robust economic expansion in the first six months has impressed local and foreign analysts, amid the f inancial turmoil in Europe and the US, and the f lagging performance of most of Asia. But doubts on the sustainability of the Philippine economic growth persist due to an economic imbalance. The Philippines is still not getting enough foreign i nve s t me nt s c omp a re d with those pouring into its Asian neighbors. Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan conceded in a press conference last week that it was vital for the economy “to keep investments growing to create more high-quality jobs and reduce poverty.” The government, he said, must diversify sources of growth, adding investments and industrialization were key to the economy. imbalance/PAGE 9

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Zest Air up for rebranding

BSP grants leniency to banks in areas hit by recent typhoons THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is cutting customers of banks in areas devastated by two recent typhoons some slack to enable them to recover from the disaster. In a statement, the BSP said it has extended regulatory relief to banks in the following areas that were in the path of Typhoon “Labuyo”: La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Albay, Sorsogon, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mt. Province. Also given regulatory relief are the following areas that sustained heavy rains and flooding due to the southwest monsoon brought in by Typhoon “Maring”: Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Zambales, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Abra, Benguet, Mt. Province, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Manila, San Juan, Makati, Quezon City, Pasay, Pasig, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Paranaque, Taguig, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Malabon and Pateros. For thrift, rural and cooperative banks, the BSP provided the following measures: - Excluding existing loans of borrowers in affected areas from the computation of past due ratios provided these are restructured or given relief; - Reducing the five percent general loan loss provision BSP/PAGE 10

ZEST Airways will soon be rebra nded a f ter t he Philippine unit of Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline completed its investment in the local carrier. “There will be rebranding because we want Zest to carry the Air Asia brand, the color as well. So, we are awaiting approval from CAB and CAAP,” Maan Hontiveros, chief executive of Air Asia Inc said, referring to the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. “We are standardizing our operations and our look, even the uniforms you will see a change in Zest moving towards the red color. We would like to be able to project belonging to one family,” Hontiveros said. Zest Air’s logo bears the colors green and orange. Hontiveros said it’s a

choice between Zest Air Asia or Air Asia Zest for the new brand name. “We made several studies for that,” she said. She expects regulatory approval of the rebranding

no later than October. Air Asia earlier rebranded its Japanese unit as Vanilla Air, a tie-up with Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA). Zest Air and Air Asia also sought CAB approval of

a plan to allow cross-selling of flights. Despite the rebranding, the operations of Zest Air and Air Asia would remain separate, Hontiveros said. up/PAGE 10

DOE blocks Palawan oil exploration deal THE Department of Energy (DOE) has blocked a group’s bid to explore for oil in offshore Palawan. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp said the DOE did not approve the farm-in proposed by Peak Oil & Gas Philippines Ltd, Blade

Petroleum Philippines Ltd and VenturOil Philippines Inc in Service Contract (SC) 6B. T h e d e p a r t m e n t ’s decision was “primarily due to the failure of the farminees to demonstrate t he re qu i re d f i n a nc i a l capacity.” S C 6 B c ont a i n s t he

Bonita f ield, one of t he marginal oil fields the three companies have been keen on re-developing in offshore Palawan. Under the agreement sig ned w it h t he SC 6B consortium, which includes Tr a n s A s i a s u b s id i a r y Tr a n s -A s i a Pe t r o l e u m Corp, the three firms would

have acquired 70 percent of t he cont rac t a rea i n exchange for shouldering the expenditures and work program of the contract. Trans-Asia’s partners in SC 6B are The Philodrill Corp, Oriental Petroleum & Minerals Corp, Forum Energy Philippines Corp and Cosco Capital Inc.


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‘PHL agri sector may not be ready for AEC’ WITH less than two years to go before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC) becomes a reality, the country’s agriculture sector may not be prepared to go head to head with other producers in Southeast Asia. Jollibee Food Corp. (JFC) Chief Fina ncia l Of f icer Ysmael Baysa sa id t hat compared to its neighbors, the Philippine farm sector may not be ready for the AEC. Because of this, Baysa said there may be a need to delay the reduction of tariffs for key commodities, such as rice and sugar, to ensure that farmers who plant these crops will become more competitive. “Personally, I think it’s more pr udent t hat way [to delay tariff reduction]. Change [under the AEC] has to be planned and is somet hing which t he Ph i l ip pi ne s s hou ld b e prepared for,” he said. Baysa said the country’s competitiveness in agriculture is “ low.” He said t he continued lack of i r r igat ion fac i l it ie s , fertilizers, and technology makes the sector vulnerable to changes to be made under the AEC. Should the Philippines go a head w it h its A EC commitments, Baysa said there may be some political backlash, especially if it turns out that the agriculture sector is unprepared for the AEC. Bay s a s a id i f dut ie s on “ high ly sensitive” agricultural commodities

like rice go down to zero, the impact could be significant. He added that unmilled rice, for one, is the country’s biggest agriculture produce. “Are we politically ready to suffer the consequences? We ta lk about bank ing, we ta lk about proper t y, my concern, personally, is agriculture because if you look at the competitiveness of our country, we’re not that bad, but our agriculture sector may be the one area that will get hit,” he said. Under the AEC, local palay farmers will have to compete against Thailand and Vietnam, two major rice exporters in the world. Also, sugarcane farmers will have to go head to head with Thailand and Indonesia, two major sugar producers in Asia. Baysa, however, admitted that local business such as JFC would benefit from the AEC since they could easily source raw materials from countries belonging to the ASEAN due to lower tariffs. With the removal of tariffs and duties, businesses like Jollibee will only need to think of transportation costs to bring raw materials from other countries to their stores in Manila. AEC/PAGE 9

Coco oil Aging Filipino farmers PCA: will remain to affect food security PHL’s top (Conclusion) While the government has yet to determine how many farmers are quitting because of old age, the preliminary results of the last Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed 624,000 workers losing their jobs during the period in review. “The drop in the [country’s overall] employment rate is due to the decline in employment in the agriculture sector, with the number of agricultural workers falling from an estimated 12.468 million in April 2012 to 11.844 million in April 2013, or by about 624,000 workers,” it said. The survey revealed that the number of

employed Filipinos went down to an estimated 37.819 million in April this year, lower than last year’s 37.840 million, a decrease of about 21,000 workers, showing that the agriculture sector lost the most number of workers. This is ironic considering that the Aquino administration has been pouring in billions of pesos for irrigation and farm mechanization projects over the past three years. If there is any consolation, it is that aging farmers are not unique to the Philippines. Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in Los Banos, Laguna, said farmers/PAGE 10

issued EO 304 designating Koronad a l Cit y a s t he administrative seat and center of the reconfigured region and mandated the transfer of regional offices, n at ion a l l i ne a ge nc ie s a nd ot her gover n ment instrumentalities to the area. But the NFA SarGen of f ic e s h ave rem a i ne d under the NFA Region 11 despite the new regional reconfiguration. “This situation is quite difficult for us operationally since we have to deal with

two (NFA) regional directors whenever we implement programs concerning the NFA in the region,” Datukan said in a press conference. The official said they are presently waiting for the DA’s executive committee to start the review and deliberations on the matter. But she admitted that the process could take some time since it involves a national policy. “But we’ve been working on this transfer, making the DA/PAGE 9

DESPITE the increasing volume of coconut water and other coconut-based products b ei ng s h ipp e d a bro a d , coconut oil will remain as the country’s top farm export in the years to come, officials of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said. “We cannot veer away from coconut-oil production because [its] potential and actual capacity to earn is very good,” said PCA Deputy Administrator Carlos Carpio. Exports from coconutbased products improved in May by 4.97 percent to $152.54 million, according to a repor t on mont hly shipments of coconut released by the PCA. PCA figures show that coconut oil was the top grosser as shipments in May went up by 63.3 percent to 121,859.32 metric tons (MT) valued at $101.97 million. C opra mea l wa s t he second top coconut product exported in May. Shipments of copra meal during the period more than doubled to 86,288.36 MT valued at $15 million. PCA/PAGE 9

A NON-GOVERNMENT organization (NGO) has claimed that operators of banana plantations in Davao have resumed the aerial spraying of pesticides in Davao City. D a g o h o y M a g a w a y, president of the Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS), said the absence of a ruling from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Davao City’s ordinance against aerial spraying has “emboldened” plantation

companies. “What we had for three years was a respite from the perils of toxic shower. But now, apparently, banana c omp a n ie s h ave a g a i n resumed aerial spraying in their plantations because they think the public has already forgotten the issue,” Magaway said in a statement. Leaders of the group who joined the Million People March against the porkbarrel fund took advantage of the opportunity to step

up t h e i r c a mp a i g n i n Manila, hoping to hold talks and convince concerned government officials to act on their demand to ban aerial spraying in Davao City’s banana plantations. Aerial spraying refers to the agricultural practice of spraying pesticides via a low-f lying airplane. The method is fast, convenient and cost-efficient as far as banana plantation operators are concerned. MAAS/PAGE 9

DA-12 asks harmonization of NFA operations in R11, R12 GENERAL SANTOS CITY— In a bid to harmonize their operations, the Department of Ag ricu lture (DA) i n Region 12 has sought for a review and reconfiguration of the provinces and cities under the National Food Authority (NFA) in Regions 11 and 12. Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said they have asked the DA executive committee to conduct the review to facilitate t he placement of t his cit y and nearby

Sarangani Province under the operational and administrative coverage of NFA Region 12. “ We r e q u e s t e d t h e committee to direct the NFA board to transfer the super v ision of t he NFA Sarangani-General Santos City (SarGen) provincial office from Region 11 to Region 12,” she said. Sarangani and this city, along with South Cotabato province, were formerly part of Region 11 or the then Southern Mindanao

region but all became part of Region 12 based on Executive Order (EO) 36 issued in 2001 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. EO 36 prov ided for the reorganization of the administrative regions of Mindanao, with Region 12 comprising the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, K o r o n a d a l , Ta c u r o n g , Kidapawan and Cotabato. Malacanang later

farm export

MAAS: Aerial spraying resumes in Davao City


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UCPB’s exit from rehab to take a while

RP fundamentals remain strong – DOF

(UCPB) could exit from a fouryear old financial rehabilitation program by next year or soon after. Valentin Araneta, president of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC), said while the exact timing of its exit is unclear at the moment, an exit plan is likely under way already. “It’s not just one agency. There are so many agencies that are involved. Well maybe there should be a plan by end of the year…but it’s hard to tell,” Araneta said of the lender whom the PDIC rescued from liquidity constraints and other far more prospectively serious ills in 2009 had the rescue failed to push through. He credited the bank for making sure the PDIC’s P12billion rescue package saved the bank from further ills, paving the way for a possibly earlier-than-anticipated exit from a financial-rehabilitation program. Araneta acknowledged the timeline for the lender’s exit is still being assessed but noted UCPB performed strongly just last year. Based on available data, UCPB reported an unaudited consolidated net income of P3.73 billion last year, up 22 percent from P3.06 billion income in 2011. Total operating income went up 10 percent to P8.67 billion. Likewise, the consolidated loan portfolio increased by 24 percent to P87.72 billion. Corporate accounts made up 45 percent of the loan portfolio, while the remaining was split almost evenly between trade and consumer loans. The loan expansion was supported by the 5-percent jump in total deposits to reach a record high of P173.04 billion by end-2012. Total assets increased by 9 percent to P218.72 from P200.47 billion, while operating expenses showed only a minimal 1.7- percent increase. Total capital has also increased by 15 percent from P17.62 billion to end the year 2012 with P20.27 billion. Last month the Supreme Court ruled with finality the government owns Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.’s shares in the bank. SC rejected an appeal filed by Cojuangco for the justices to reverse an earlier decision affirming a Sandiganbayan de c i sion aw a rd i ng h i s shareholdings at UCPB to the government. In its November 2012 decision, the high tribunal affirmed with modifications the July 11, 2003, ruling of the Sandiganbayan, as amended by a resolution issued on June 5, 2007, that declared the 7.2-percent shares of Cojuangco with the UCPB is owned by the government. (BM)

Finance Secretar y C esa r V. Pu r isi ma sa id that the Philippines’ 7.5 percent economic growth, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), in the second quarter is the “best evidence” the country is fundamentally strong. In the first semester, the country’s domestic output grew by 7.6 percent yearon-year, well above the 6 percent to 7 percent target

AMID current market uncertainty, the national government is confident that the Philippines will remain to be a strong contender for REGULATORS dropped broad hints that the universal lender investors on the back of the country’s strong United Coconut Planters Bank fundamentals.

for 2013. “ This per forma nce is t he best ev idence t hat f unda menta l ly, t he Ph i l ippi ne e c onomy i s moving from strength to greater strength despite the volatile global environment,” Purisima said in a statement. “ T h i s si x t h st r a ig ht quarter of growth above 6 percent makes a strong case to differentiate the Ph i l ippi nes f rom ot her

emerging market countries, which tend to be resourced r iven a nd ex por tdependent,” he added. T he Ph i l ippi ne s ha s managed to withstand a regional slowdown that has prompted policy makers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to cut grow th estimates for this year. While Philippine government’s spending and investment have shielded the local economy from easing export demand, the country has been swept along in the regional market turmoil as the prospect of reduced US monetary stimulus led to a

selloff in emerging-market stocks and currencies. “I a m conf ident t hat market players will recognize t he strong f u nda menta ls of t he country — including our strong external position and bank ing system, stable inf lation, and a well managed fiscal position. All of this is topped by a reform-oriented political le adersh ip w it h a ver y strong mandate,” Purisima said. The peso has weakened more than 8 percent against t he dol la r t his yea r on concern the US Federa l

Reserve will scale back its monetary stimulus, reducing the flow of funds to emerging markets. “G oi ng for wa rd , we will strive to sustain our econom ic st reng t hs by continuing to increase fiscal space to further accelerate infrastructure investments,” Purisima said. “We will also push for key reforms to improve the investment environment and continue the fight against corruption, revenue leakages, and vested interests that prevent the Philippines from reaching its full potential,” he added. (MB)

China Bank sells deposit product specific for OFWs

BIR to exceed excise collection THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is confident that the government will exceed its excise tax collection goal this year as cigarette manufacturers are expected to frontload production ahead of another round of rate hike effective January 2014. BIR Commissioner Kim S. JacintoHenares said that the decline in production volume of sin products in the first semester of the year was at 43 percent, while yearon-year tax collections increased by 46 percent. Jacinto-Henares said that the tax value of the decline in volume was equivalent to P9 billion. “As of June, if the volume did not go down, we should have collected P9 billion more. But we expect volume to increase in the latter part of the year, then it will drop again in the first-quarter of next year,” Jacinto-Henares told reporters. The BIR is tasked to collect P102.37 billion in excise taxes this year and bulk of it would come from tobacco as well as alcoholic products. The government expects that cigarette manufacturers will frontload again their product in the final quarter of this year to avoid paying a much higher excise tax effective January 1, 2014.

Under the Republic Act No. 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012, the tax on cigarettes packed by hand, which comprise the bulk of tobacco products sold in the country, will increase to 17 per pack for those with a net retail price of P11.5 and below, while for those with a higher retail price, the tax is at P27. Currently, excise tax on cigarettes is pegged at P12 per pack for low-grade brands, and P25 for premium brands. Data from the Department of Finance showed that revenues from the recently enacted reformed excise tax law reached P12.1 billion in the first-semester of the year, less than half of the government’s incremental collection target of P33.96 billion for 2013. Of the amount, revenues generated by the new excise tax law from tobacco products reached P7.8 billion, while the alcoholic drinks amounted to P4.4 billion at end-June this year. The government’s realized revenues from increased taxes on tobacco as of June this year were well below the P23.4 billion target for the full-year 2013, while additional taxes generated from fermented liquor and distilled spirits were also below half of this bir/PAGE 9

MIDSIZE lender China Banking Corp. looks to attract the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) crowd with an interest-bearing deposit product for as little as P1,000 or only around $23 at the current rate of exchange. The account also stays live even if the balance is zero pesos and the account holder is not obligated to maintain a given balance to keep the privilege open. These features, China Bank officials said, were deliberately crafted to entice overseas Filipinos to open accounts with the lender. China Bank Remittance Business Division Head Jose Cifra said the Overseas Kababayan Savings (OKS) account is a zero-initial deposit and maintaining balance account. Deposits of at least P1, 000 in the OKS account earn interest, which serves to encourage OFWs to leave a portion of the remittances in their account. This account comes with an ATM card and it may be enrolled in China Bank Online for free for easier monitoring anywhere in the world. “Through the Overseas Kababayan Services, we are making it easier and more affordable for OFW families to save and invest to expand their earnings, and to help them acquire their very own home or vehicle,” Cifra said. China Bank On-Time Remittance, OKS Account, OKS WealthPlus OKS HomePlus and OKS AutoPlus, make up the menu of Overseas Kababayan Services which attest to the Bank’s commitment to the welfare of OFWs. He said a regular savings account is a good way to build a nest egg. But for potentially higher returns than regular savings, China Bank offers the OKS WealthPlus and a range of Unit Investment Trust Fund options that suit various risk profiles and investment horizons. Through UITFs professionally managed by China Bank Trust Group, overseas Filipinos get to invest in assets normally be inaccessible to them, like expensive stocks or high-yielding corporate bonds typically offered only to institutional investors. China Bank’s OKS HomePlus home loan and OKS AutoPlus car loan programs help them own a home and a vehicle for the family’s use or for business. The OKS HomePlus loan is for the purchase of a lot, a house and lot, a townhouse, or a condominium unit. It is also available for house construction, renovation or to refinance an existing loan with another bank. China Bank offers very low interest rates at 6 percent per annum fixed for the first year. The OKS AutoPlus loan is for the purchase of brandnew and second-hand vehicles, or to reimburse the cost sells/PAGE 9

BSP now receiving foreign capital infusion in rural banks THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is now ready to receive applications for foreign equity infusions in rural banks after the Mone t a r y B oa rd (M B) approved on August 22, 2013 the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the copy of the IRR of Republic Act No. 10574 or “an Act Allowing the Infusion of

Foreign Equity in the Capital of Rural Banks” was published on a national daily starting August 29 and will take effect 15 days after. “In fact we can already start receiving applications even now,” he told PNA in an SMS message. Under the amended Rural Bank Act of 1992, which President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on May 24, 2013, foreign investors can now

have as much as 60 percent stake in a rural bank’s voting stocks. BSP, in a statement, said the IRR, which was formulated after consultations with stakeholders, is “aimed at revitalizing the rural banking industry and improving the access to banking services in the country’s rural areas.” It explained that “aside from foreign ownership of RBs, Circular 809 also sets

the rules for the number of independent directors for RBs, the membership of elective or appointive official in the RB Board, the foreclosure of lands used as RB loan collateral, the valuation of government-held shares in RBs and the computation of dividend rates on RB shares held by government–owned or -controlled f inancial institutions.” It said the central bank

“is keen on strengthening the RB industry as part of its efforts to promote financial stability.” “RBs are also essential to enhancing financial inclusion by boosting access to financial services in the countryside. Fi na ncia l stabi l it y a nd inclusion are supportive of sustained and balanced economic growth, which is a key objective of the BSP,” the BSP added. (PNA)


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Supplements: Friend or Foe (First of Two Parts)

Doing the damage THINK

hink a Minute…This is a true story about a young A Minute Jewish boy named Karl who By Jhan Tiafau Hurst grew up in Germany. Karl ’s fat her was ver y religious and made sure his family went to the Jewish synagogue and studied the Torah or Jewish bible every day. When Karl was a teenager his family moved to another G er ma n tow n where a l l the important people were Christians not Jews. Suddenly, Karl’s father changed religions—not because he learned the truth that Jesus Christ is the only true God, but because he wanted to be popular and liked by the important people in the community. Karl’s family was so surprised and confused. Young Karl especially became deeply disappointed and angry at his father for being such a hypocrite. A few years later, Karl went to England to study and there he decided not to believe in God anymore. You see, that young teenage boy who was deeply disappointed and embittered by his hypocrite father was Karl Marx—the father of atheistic socialism. It was Karl Marx who wrote the Communist Manifesto. So now for almost a hundred years, over a billion people have suffered under the hopeless rule of atheistic socialism which was started by that hurt and bitter young man, Karl Marx. That’s the terrible damage and influence which resulted from Karl’s hypocrite father. Our children are watching the way you and I live every day! Our character and attitudes speak much louder than our words. Our kids aren’t stupid. They see the act we put on to look religious and good in front of other people. Then they see how we really are at home. They see when we’re not honest. They see when we’re two-faced and gossip about others. They see us when we lose our temper and self-control. They see when we won’t forgive someone who hurt and hurst/PAGE 10

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ust recently, a patient was referred to me for a fine needle aspiration biopsy: 67 year old female, single, admitted for breast mass. As I gathered the history of the patient, she related to me that the mass has been there since February of this year. When I asked how come she never sought consultation at that time, and why wait for the mass to have reached its present size, with the mass occupying now the entire breast , affecting the skin and the axillary area, she admitted that she applied herbal products and took supplements thinking that the mass would heal by itself. This isn’t the only patient that I have come across who does self medication and who believes in the healing power of supplements. About a month ago, a young lady came into my clinic bringing with her the CT Scan , X Ray and other laboratory results. She noticed pain at the hip area, and result showed a mass on the hip bone. She was advised surgery but she wanted my opinion on the procedure. But, first, she told me, that, after taking in so called “ supplements “ she felt better and thinks that there is no need for the surgery. In both instances, I felt that something could have

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been done, and the diseases treated, should they have not I n Focus stopped seeing their doctors By Dr. Mary Jean Loreche and following the needed treatment modalities. Supplements a re i n abundance these days. Advertising and marketing strategies include testimonials of success stories. There is nothing wrong really if one were to take these supplements , provided that, one can ba lance between traditional medicine and that of supplements. Supplements are defined as something added to complete, or make up for a deficiency, or strengthen to make whole, with the ultimate goal of improving the human body attain a healthy form. A classic example of supplements are vitamins. These are prescribed or recommended when the patient lacks certain nutrients in his/her dietary intake. Problem arises when, in the manufacture of these supplements, that, it is marketed as a replacement or as a loreche/PAGE 10

HEALTH

Before surrender, Napoles already arrested?

IFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Jesus said, `If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in John 8:31-32, the Holy Bible). -ooo DOUBTS RAISED ON NAPOLES SURRENDER TO PNOY: Scripted? Staged-managed? Or plain and simple deception? These are the questions going around in the Philippines hours after Janet Lim Napoles was reported to have surrendered to President Aquino and turned over to the Philippine National Police and then to the Makati City Regional Trial Court, and then detained in an airconditioned room at the Makati City Jail. The doubt as to whether Napoles surrendered or not, or has actually been in detention or government custody even before President Aquino announced he was giving a P10 million reward for the arrest of Napoles at about 9 a.m. on August 28, 2013, is now being triggered by a Facebook posting of Filipino-American broadcaster Lino Celle or Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) Radio Pinoy in New York, USA which disclosed that Napoles, as of “0200 hours (2:00 a.m.) Manila time”, was already under detention. By mathematical computation, it would appear that Celle’s August 28, 2013 2.a.m. post preceded the announcement by President Aquino of a P10 million reward for Napoles’ arrest by seven (7) hours, and by about 19 hours Malacanang’s

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announcement of the supposed akampi su r render of Napoles to Mo A ng Batas President Aquino. By Atty. Batas Mauricio -ooo BEFORE SURRENDER, NA P OL E S A L R E A DY ARRESTED? If Lino Celle’s Facebook posting on August 28, 2013, 2 a.m. Manila time, was correct, it would mean that when the President announced the P10 million reward as of 9 a.m. also on August 28, 2013, Napoles was already under arrest and detention by the Aquino government. And if that Facebook posting of Lino Celle was correct, it would further mean that when Napoles and her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, and husband Jimmy, allegedly surrendered to the President in Malacanang at about 9:37 p.m. on August 28, 2013, she was in fact already under arrest and detention at that time. Certainly, the President and his entire government owe the Filipino nation an explanation about all these things, right away. I mean, if Lino Celle’s Facebook posting cannot be explained satisfactorily, then, we cannot blame our countrymen for thinking that not only Napoles’ surrender

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batas/PAGE 10

From lego to reality

any children come to me and talk very fondly about their lego toys. I must say that I had to do a little research on lego, since in my kidhoodyears, there were no such toys. Thus, I discovered why they like lego so much. It’s a child’s plastic construction set to make mechanical models. It stirs their imagination and creativity, and stimulates their liking for building things and making believe. It challenges their ability to put into concrete form what they have in their mind. They can choose either to be very faithful to the models they want to copy, or they can introduce innovations and even combinations. But still, lego is just a toy. It’s more for fun and making fantasies or science fictions. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. Nowadays, though, lego has acquired another meaning, a figurative reference to a make-believe world that we seem to be making in many aspects of our life. Thus, we can hear people talking about the lego world in the global economy that is supposed to be a far cry from what is really happening in that area of the world’s life. It seems that what was not supposed to be taken seriously is now taken seriously. Fiction is now made true-to-life. Fantasy is now considered real. Which brings us to a much deeper issue. And that is how do we correctly define reality? What is reality, in the first place? Would things in one’s imagination and dreams not qualify as part of reality?

Would reality be simply def ined as any thing that and Traces has physical and material By Fr. Roy Cimagala existence, anything that can be measured, seen, weighed, smelled, felt, etc.? How about ideas, judgments, reasonings, values, and other abstract or non-tangible things? Would they not be considered real? We need to tackle these questions to resolve the issue of what reality is. We are supposed to live in reality, we are supposed to be realistic, we are supposed to be and to act real, but what is reality? With the distinction between objective and subjective, we can wonder whether one of them is real and the other not. But it would seem unfair that what is subjective would be considered wholesale as not real, just because it is subjective. For sure, reality has infinite aspects and possibilities, because it simply does not only include material and tangible things. It also covers non-tangible things that can lend themselves to an infinity of levels, aspects, possibilities, etc. If we just consider our ideas and what consequences, cimagala/PAGE 11

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PHL most improved in ASEAN, US survey says THE US-based ASEAN Business Outlook Survey has seen that the Philippines is the most improved country among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as 14 over 16 business factors increased scores in the last five years. The poll was released by the American Chamber of C om merc e i n t he Philippines (AmCham Phi lippines) a nd U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was conducted among 475 US business executives in order to know their position on businesses in ASEAN region. The sur vey showed that US businesses are highly satisfied with the availability of trained personnel in the country with a score of 87 percent. This is followed by sentiment towards the US with 79 percent. The first two business f ac tor s were h i g he s t a mong ot her ASE A N members. US business executives a re a ssu red w it h t he availability of lower labor cost at 74 percent. Fu r t he r, w it h t he new leadership in the ad ministration, t he country gained 62 percent

in the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey in terms of stability of government and political system. The score went up 50 percent compared to the last five years. Likewise, Philippines also increased its score in personal security at 56 percent; housing costs also at 56 percent; office lease costs at 51 percent; new business incentives offered by government at 44 percent; free movement of go o d s w it h i n t he reg ion at 41 percent; and availability of raw materials at 38 percent. On the other hand, US bu si ne s s le ader s’ main concerns in t he Philippines are corruption being said by 59 percent o f t h e r e s p o n d e nt s ; ta x structure at 56 percent; infrastructure at 54 percent, laws and reg ulation (46%), and ease of moving products through customs (44%).

It wa s noted by A mCha m Phi l ippi nes that these factors, except corruption, have been consistent concerns by US businesses. However, t he loca l office of the organization said, “Corruption, insufficient infrastructure and t he ta x structure remain challenges in the country, but it is clear business leaders have seen significant progress in the recent years.” T hus, t he Prof it Outlook in the Philippines of the latest poll said 64 percent of the respondents expect profits to increase in 2013 while 84 percent expect profits to surge in 2014. Also, 67 percent of respondents expect their workforce to increase in the country within this year. Meanwhile, AmCham Philippines is the oldest American Chamber outside US. The orga nization ser ves interests of US and Philippine businesses by civic and economic development. (PNA)

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Off-Grid Electrification in Agusan Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez turns over solar paraphernalia and lights set costing P750,000 that will be used for the 25 families at Sitio Kilibay, Barangay Agusan living in areas not reached by CEPALCO. The electrification of 25 off-grid households using Photovoltaic Solar Home System has been provided by the Department of Energy through the efforts of Cong. Rodriguez. With the congressman are Engr. Jimmy Planas of DOE and Cepalco President Consuelo Tion and the 25 beneficiaries of the program represented by Ms. Jenelyn Alega.

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“Gods” Art Show is On at the Limketkai Mall CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY Misamis Oriental, August 25, 2013 –The LimketKai Mall is hosting an art exhibition of the three prolific painters in the arts industry in this city on August 29 to September 06, 2013. The exhibit is entitled “Gods” amplifying the presence of the supreme being as the Master Artist in the lives of the artists. The oeuvres on display depict into their canvas the power of creativity and imagination that are endowed by the Creator. “Gods” opened August 29, 2013 with the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc. (COCCI) Executive Director Ms. Lordelie Enjambre who graced the show’s opening program. The exhibit is supported by the NCCA Visual Arts Committee as part of their offshoot

activities in supporting the city fest celebration. Mr. Rhyan Casino, Mr. Christoper “Bo” Daclan and Ms. Marigold Cherie Ramos-Garrido showcase the “then and now” masterpieces acknowledging the omnipotence and omniscience of the Master Artist in their lives. On top of the display of our very own artists’ “obras”, an on-thespot painting demonstration and art workshop will be shared by the fellow artists in the industry during the show.

THE ARTISTS. Christoper “Bo” Daclan, Marigold Cherie Ramos-Garrido and Rhyan Casino

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COOP STRENGTHENING: Members of the San Roque Handmade Paper Products MultiPurpose Cooperative undergo a series of cooperative strengthening seminar –workshops sponsored by energy-firm STEAG State Power Inc. (SPI). Mindanao-wide coop federation MASS-SPECC , through its Cooperative Development Center, provided the technical support. The San Roque MPC manufactures handmade paper products and novelty items which are sold to both the domestic and the export markets. Aside from realizing a net worth of more than P1.6 million for its members, the coop provides additional income to about 37 workers and women entrepreneurs in the area. The San Roque MPC is one of the recipients of Steag’s Livelihood and Economic Enterprise Development (LEED) Program designed to help uplift the quality of lives of the people in its host communities in Misamis Oriental.

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Fastest... from page 2

The Philippines’s firstquarter growth of 7.7 percent was also the fastest in ASEAN for the period. Balisacan said this is t he fou r t h consec ut ive quarter that the country posted a growth of above 7 percent under the Aquino administration. He said this confirms that the Philippine economy is “on a higher growth trajectory.” “ T h e r e i s s o mu c h potential that the Philippine economy can realize, with vast opportunities and room for growth ahead of us. We are only at the early stages of our growth momentum, and it is encouraging to know that signs are pointing toward attaining sustained and inclusive growth for all,” Balisacan said. The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said t he second-quarter growth was boosted by the services sector, which grew by 7.4 percent. But the growth of the services sector was eclipsed by industry, which expanded by 10.3 percent. T h i s w a s t h e t h i rd consecutive quarter that industry grew faster than services. The main drivers of i ndust r y g row t h a re construction, which posted a growth of 17.4 percent, and manufacturing, 10.3 percent. Balisacan, who is also the National Economic and Development Aut horit y (Neda) director general, said the composition of t he cou ntr y’s economic growth showed signs that the Philippine economy is rebalancing “in the sense that investment is growing faster than consumption.” On the demand side of the country’s GDP, Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) grew 5.2 percent, while Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) posted a growth of 17 percent. “ The composition of our grow th shows signs of an economy that is in the process of rebalancing, moving from being largely consu mpt ion-d r iven to becoming investment-led and industrialized, with the ability to provide higher quality jobs for Filipinos,” Balisacan said. “For t he pa s t t h re e quarters, capital formation has been grow ing more rapid ly t ha n household consu mpt ion a nd t he growth of industry has so far outpaced that of the services sector. Notable are the double-digit grow th rates in fixed capital and the manufacturing subsector in the last quarter,” he added. The Philippine economy has now posted a growth of 7.6 percent in the January-toJune period in 2013 from 6.4 percent in the same period last year. Balisacan said with this, it is likely that the economy will be able to overshoot the

growth targets of 6 percent to 7 percent for the whole year. To attain the low-end of the growth, Balisacan said the economy only needs to grow by about 4 percent for the second half. (BM)

Firms... from page 2

remittances, increase in investment inflows as well as the investment-grade rating from Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Japan Credit R at i ng Agenc y boosted business confidence for the next quarter. I mp or ter s were le s s opt i m ist ic i n t he t hi rd quarter as a result of lower seasonal demand and the volatility of the peso but they turned more bullish in the fourth quarter on account of the expected increase in consumer demand during the Christmas season and the forthcoming barangay elec t ions, cont i nuous business expansion and new product launches. Meanwhile, exporters and dual-facility firms were less confident in third and fourth quarter, largely as a result of concerns over the global economy, decrease in demand with the sluggish recovery of exports markets, tighter competition, lower farm production and volatile metal prices. (MST)

Imbalance... from page 2

T he gover n ment of President Aqu i no ha s started spending on infrastructure projects like roads, ports, airports and bridges to create jobs and get the economy going. The government, however, must speed up work on major infrastructure projects like rail networks and storage facilities to improve the lot of those in the countryside. Construction and infrastructure alone will not sustain economic growth. People employed by construction and infrastructure spending will soon find themselves jobless once t he work is done, un li ke in a n i nve s t ment-gener at e d growth. A manufacturing plant opening up in one prov i nc e , for i n s t a nc e , will employ the jobless and sustain the local economy. The employed keeps their jobs for a longer period, as long the factory remains viable. It i s a l so e s sent ia l for t h e gove r n m e nt t o keep a friendly business env i ron ment to at t r ac t foreign investors. Ma ny foreign businessmen have long complained of policy f lipf lops, uncooperative local government units and a Judiciary that decides on economic issues. The Philippine economy will continue to expand to benef it a chosen few. But g row t h w i l l not be inclusive if majority of the population remains below the poverty line. (MST)

AEC... from page 4

“Now a lot of t he differences in prices are determined by tariff. But once the duties go to zero, the difference is now in transportation, basically in ocean freight. Even if we don’t do it, our competitors will do it. The market will dictate; businesses will source raw materials where it is most competitive,” he said. Currently, Baysa said poultry meat for Jollibee’s “Chickenjoy ” is ma i n ly sourced from local producers, except during Christmas, when t here is usua lly a shortage of poultry products. He said the company imports chicken from the United States during this time. The JFC official added that apart from importing chicken, Jollibee also sources beef from other countries since the Philippines does not have a cattle industry. (BM)

DA...

from page 4

necessary follow ups to make it happen,” Datukan said. E a rly t h i s ye a r, t he R e g ion a l D e ve lopme nt Council (RDC) of Region 12 supported the DA-12’s initiative by issuing another resolution on the matter. The move was based on a recommendation issued by the council’s economic development committee. In 2008, the R DC-12 passed a resolution requesting the NFA Administrator to place the provincial office of NFA Region 11 in this city under the supervision of NFA Region 12. DA 1 2 , t h r o u g h a letter dated Dec. 17, 2012, recommended to DA central office to favorably consider t he R DC-12 resolut ion. (MindaNews)

PCA... from page 4

Because of the contribution of coconut products to the country’s overall merchandise exports, Carpio said improving the productiv it y of existing coconut plantations in every province is “very urgent.” Rex Buac, reg iona l manager of PCA-Davao, noted that “the coconut industry was left on its own for many years.” Because of this, PCA Administrator Euclides G. Forbes said in an earlier interview that the Aquino administration has decided to increase its allocation for the local coconut industry to undertake fertilization and replanting programs. Forbes noted that coco-oil exports allow the Philippines to earn P60 billion annually, while shipments of copra and other coconut products like virgin coconut oil and cocowater rake in an additional $200 million every year. He noted that coconut water, one of the newest coconut-export products, is enjoying a high demand abroad.

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PCA, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, said coconut water is exported to the United States, Australia and European countries. (BM)

MAAS... from page 4

But, MAAS noted t hat t he prac t ice poses health hazards not only to plantation workers, but also to people living near banana plantations. It will be recalled that the Department of Health in 2009 released a study documenting the effects of aer ia l spray i ng i n a community in Camocaan, Davao del Sur. One of its recommendations was the banning of the aerial spraying practice due to the harmful effects of the chemicals used. To date, the recommendation has yet to be acted upon by concerned government agencies. BM)

BIR...

from page 5

year’s P10.56 billion goal. Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima has already blamed the manufacturers, mainly tobacco companies, for having front-loaded their production in the last quarter of 2012 that resulted in a declined output in the first few months of 2013. Purisima, however, was conf ident t hat cigarette manufacturers will begin producing volumes t hat ref lect the actual market consumption in the second semester, resulting in an increase in excise taxes. (MB)

Sales... from page 5

brand- new vehicle purchased within 30 days. O F Ws c a n a v a i l themselves of the loan for as low as 20-percent down payment and terms of up to 60 months. China Bank has a remittance network of over 4,000 branches and partnercash payout outlets in the Philippines, complementing the over 1,200 locations worldwide. The bank is capitalizing on its vast distribution network of over 300 branches and more than 500 automated teller machines nationwide, and is continuously entering into new remittance tie-ups and building more synergies with the SM Group and other partners. (BM)

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BSP...

from page 3

to one percent for restructure loans of borrowers in affected areas; - Non-i mposit ion of penalties on legal reserve deficiencies with head office or branches in affected areas; - Moratorium on monthly payments due BSP for banks with ongoing rehabilitation programs; - Subject to BSP approval, staggered book ing of allowance for probable losses over a five-year period for all types of credit extended to individuals and businesses in affected areas; and - Non-i mposit ion of penalties for delays in the submission of reports. The BSP also allowed all banks in affected areas to provide financial assistance to officers and employees beyond what is included in their fringe benefit programs. Last ly, rediscounting banks have been allowed a 60-day grace period to settle outstanding obligations with the BSP as of August 21, and in some cases, to restructure such loans.

Up...

from page 3

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“Zest continues to operate out of Manila, Kalibo and Cebu. Air Asia continues to operate at Clark,” she said. In a report, the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said the outlook for Air Asia Philippines is likely to improve once its operation is consolidated with Zest Air. “Zest changes the outlook for Phi lippines A irAsia considerably, particularly if the two carriers are able to f u l ly i nteg rate t hei r operations,” CAPA said. A ir Asia Phi lippines forged a partnership with Zest Air last March. Philippines AirAsia holds an 85 percent economic stake and a 49 percent voting stake in Zest Air while the latter owns a 15 percent stake in the former. A irAsia Group ow ns 40 percent of Philippines AirAsia. The remaining 60-percent is held by Maan Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and former ambassador Alfredo Yao.

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that attracting new blood into the agriculture sector of a number of Asian countries has become a human resource (HR) problem. “The Philippines, with a modernizing farming sector, is a lready ex periencing the problem of the youth preferring to look for jobs in the urban areas or abroad, leaving the country’s farms wanting for young blood. That is only one of several human resource development problems being experienced by the Philippine farming sector,” he said. The cha llenges to agricultural human resources development were examined

during the international symposium Human Resource Development in Agricultural Science: Towards Fostering Japanese Researchers to Play a n Ac t ive Role i n International Agricultural Research organized by the International Cooperation Center for Agricu ltura l Education based in Nagoya University, Japan. Representatives from various agencies like SEARCA attended the symposium, which was held late last year. During the forum, it was revealed that developing c ou nt r ie s i n A si a l i k e Myanmar and developed ones like Japan are experiencing similar problems of aging farmers. An article in the website of The Economist (With fewer, bigger plots and fewer part-time farmers, agriculture could compete) placed the average of Japanese farmers in 2010 at 70 years old. Japa n, howe ver, ha s the highest level of farm mechanization in Asia or 7 horsepower per hectare (hp/ ha). The Philippines’ level is 1.23 hp/ha. Some of the challenges related to agriculture HR issues discussed during the forum include: agriculture as a profession is not attractive to students; aging agriculture re s e a rch /s c ient i f ic a nd academic staff; low budget for research and training activities; outdated curricula not addressing agricultural HR development need s of t he times; outmoded re sea rch a nd ac adem ic facilities; and agriculture graduates not well-equipped with knowledge, skills and attitudes to compete globally. “If these problems are not addressed through the cooperation of government agencies and international institutions, Asia’s food security situation will be threatened, especially if we take into account the fact that climate change poses another serious challenge to farmers in the region,” Saguiguit said. Possible solutions: While Soliven believes that pushing farm mechanization and agribusiness can help at t r a c t more yout h to farming, she also echoes the need to improve agricultural courses in the Philippines. “The Philippine government should also invest in equipping the agricultural colleges and universities in the country with better a nd a d v a nc e f a c i l it i e s for advance agricultural f ield s l i ke a g r ic u lt u ra l biotechnology, plant and animal breeding, precision agriculture, crop genetic resources conservation, and more,” she said. Soliven added t hat even the best universities in the Philippines are way behind in the enhancement of theoretical and applied agricultural sciences. “Degree programs on agriculture can become more attractive if we develop and we educate the public that these are scientif ic, and

agriculture is def initely highly scientific,” she further said. There may also be a need to change the perception t hat students ta k ing up agriculture are inferior. “It is somehow a common perception among students t h a t o t h e r d i s c ip l i n e s [e.g. Ar ts and Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine] look down on students who take BS Agriculture, as if they are second class citizens in colleges or universities,” Soliven added. Perhaps that perception may be responsible for the attitude of some teachers telling their students to plant kamote when they do poorly in their studies. But the consequence of perpetrating that wrong p e rc e p t ion a mon g t he youth of today can lead to grave consequences for the Philippines, which also has to deal with other factors that can affect food production like loss of farm lands to rapid urbanization, smuggling of agricultural products, and climate change. Then there is the country’s rapidly growing population, which is expected to put pressure on rice supplies in the next few years. While the government is confident of the country achieving 100-percent selfsuff iciency in rice, it is currently encouraging “smart eating,” or for Filipinos to consume other staples like white corn, banana and root crops to help reduce pressure on rice supply. This means that more fa r mers a re a lso bei ng encouraged to plant root crops like cassava, taro and kamote. “If Fi lipinos become smart eaters and do not only largely depend on rice for carbohydrates, t hen technically, there could be less food crisis in the country because we have many other sources of carbohydrates like banana, cassava, potato, taro, and many other crops,” Soliven said. But with not much of the youth interested in farming, who would be the ones to plant kamote, among other crops? (TMT)

Hurst... from page 6

wronged us. Our kids know whether or not we’re real Christians who live Jesus’ way every day. But if we are hypocrites, it not on ly mea ns we ourselves are in danger, it also does great damage to our children’s relationship with God and the kind of pe ople t he y become a s adults. So won’t you ask Jesus to forgive you? Then ask Him to take charge of your heart so He can start helping you change. That’s the only way your kids canlearn from you how to follow and become like Christ in their character and lifestyle. Just Think a Minute…

Loreche... from page 6

curative agent. Thus, it is not uncommon to hear stories of patients who refuse medical interventions because t hey a re lu l led into a false belief that the supplements that they are taking in, will bring healing. In the Philippines, BFAD ( Bureau of Food and Drugs ) is the agency responsible for monitoring, licensing , regulation and making sure that the health of the general public is protected. It makes sure that quality assurance is complied with. It is the BFAD also that approves if the supplement ca n be marketed a nd registered as food, drug or cosmetic. Ideally, anything related to these should register and get a BFAD approval before it is even brought out into the market. But t hen again, even with the seal of approval, the public should be well informed on what these products can do to their bodies. To be continued.....

Batas... from page 6

was scripted, but that there is something very big going on behind the scenes as far as the P10 billion pork barrel controversy is concerned, right? -ooo FIL-AM BROADCASTER FACEBOOK POST LEAKS NAPOLES ARREST: Here is a portion of Lino Celle’s p o s t i n g w h ic h i s now circulating in social media, Facebook among others: “An anonymous source in the Philippine Department of Justice said `Napoles is (being) detained in an undisclosed in approximately 200 kilometers north of Manila. She has offered to become a whistleblower for the state prosecutors. “Secretary Leila De Lima confirmed that “under the Rules of Court, anyone who would stand as witness for the State is qualified to be under our protective custody.” De Lima was silent about Napoles’ whereabouts, at press time. This development came to light hours after the 8 InterAgency Task Force was formed on August 27, 2013, Tuesday Manila time, at press time. “Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace remains tight lipped on Napoles’ whereabouts but a source said they are confident Napoles is still inside the country… Developing.” -ooo REACTIONS? Please call me at 0917 984 24 68, 0918 574 0913, 0922 833 43 96. Email: batasmauricio@yahoo.com, mmauriciojr111@gmail.com.


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Corridors... from page 1

“...The development of Mindanao Export Gateways and Growth Corridors hopes to accelerate econom ic development and inclusive g row t h i n M i nda nao, whi le being mindf u l of the ecological impact of development,” according to the Resolutions during the Mindanao Export Congress in Davao. To i mp l e m e nt s u c h program, the island’s local supply chain management shall be strengthened and con nec ted to potent ia l international export gateways and growth corridors. This is through convergence of inter-province and inter-city road networks and ports improvements specifically logistics support including roll-on roll-off (RoRo) facilities. In the same Congress, Secretary Luwalhati Antonino of the Mindanao Development Aut horit y (MinDA) cited the current widening of the TagumDavao-General Santos road link that is aimed to convert these road networks into high standard highways in support of the Davao and General Santos export gateways. A ntoni no sa id t he same road network system improvement shall be done in Northern Mindanao, Caraga a nd Western Minda nao export gateways. She cited as examples Mindanao’s top exports such as coconut oil and bananas which a re st i l l sourced from rural areas and are processed and marketed in urban centers. “Improving these roads in Mindanao would facilitate lower cost production and marketing, reduce internal transport costs and therefore will increase transaction efficiencies in the marketing chains,” she stressed. A nton i no s a id t he Laguindingan airport was opened for business in June this year, “a crucial step towards the attainment of the Mindanao Industrial Trade Corridor.” This particular growth corridor is desig ned to intensify economic activities in Surigao Norte, Butuan, Pagadian, Dipolog, Iligan, Cagaya n de Oro a nd other Northern Mindanao provinces, she added. More over, A nton i no said MinDA is supporting the setting-up of integrated agribusiness infrastructure a nd ot her va lue-adding support facilities in strategic locations nearer the export gateways. I n 2 012 , M i n d a n a o generated more than $4 billion worth of agricultural exports accounting for 60 percent of the country’s total agricultural export revenues.

Schemes... from page 1

energy can be calculated and paid for by the bidders on payment terms to be dictated by government.”

It was further explained t hat “a p or t ion of t he proceeds can be set aside for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the plants.” The other option will be for PSALM to contract out the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the plants to a third party. In bot h modes of privatization, it was noted that “PSALM will continue owning the plants.” A future outright divestment of the assets may also be planned. In a previous briefing with reporters, Philippine Independent Power Producers A s s o c i a t i o n ( P I P PA ) president Luis Miguel Aboitiz opined that the Agus case is not a matter of privatizing, “but putting it into private entrepreneurial hands so it will produce power and yet satisfy politics and the people of Mindanao, and at the same time, PSALM.” But t he crucia l step, he stressed, w i l l be for PSA L M a nd concer ned executive agencies, like the Departments of Energy and Finance as well as the local government units (LGUs), to resolve their preferred privatization option for the Agus facilities. T h e A g u s f a c i l it i e s have been spa red f rom privatization for 10 years from the passage of the Electric Power Industr y Reform Act (EPIRA). That timeframe should have lapsed in 2011, but PSALM still had its hands tied when it comes to the hydro assets’ disposal because of stern opposition lodged by various sectors in Mindanao. T he M i nd a n ao g r id primarily, was also detached f rom t he pr iv at i z at ion processes largely undertaken in Luzon and Visayas grids in the past few years, hence, the lack of private sector capital flows in the area led to its severe supply crisis. Without fully comprehending such outcome though, Mindanao stakeholders have been taking the frontlines grumbling about the supposed failure of EPIRA because of their crisis-gripped power grid. Severa l privat izat ion plans were already presented for M i nd a nao, but t he government through MinDA and the DOE, might need to do more in terms of apprising ‘cost averse’ consumers in the area as to the available options toward their longer term energy security.

Lasureco... from page 1

local government units to pay their current and outstanding power bills based on the so-called “pakyaw system” on condit ion t hat a f ter the Month of Ramadhan, LASURECO will have to adopt a power-rationing method for those who will opt for the “pakyaw system”. The amount they will pay will be prorated on the number of hours they will have to have power supply. However, t hose who will opt to pay the entire

consu mpt ion of t heir municipa lities based on transformer metering, they will have round-the-clock power supply. LASUR ECO’s present management is aware of t he s a d e x p e r i e nc e of Albay Electric Cooperative (A L E C O) w he n it w a s disconnected for its failure to settle its accounts with its power suppliers. BASELCO and SUELCO have also been disconnected. There is no sacred cow in the electricity industry. The debt problem cannot be resolved without the cooperation of the individual memberconsumers. LASURECO has installed individual meters, whether clustered or not, and transformer metering for those who agreed with the arrangement. It is ironic that member-consumers now resist paying their power consumptions when they have been properly billed. L A SU R ECO ha s t he lowest rates in the entire Mindanao area, and yet member-consumers still refuse to pay their bills. The cooperative has the ma nd ate a nd aut hor it y to disconnect delinquent member-consumers. This is not being deliberately done. It is for the survival of the cooperative. In spite of the resistance of memb er- c on su mer s , LASURECO continues to implement the rehabilitation program. There is no stopping the management and staff of the cooperative from doing what is best for the people of Lanao. L A S U R E C O ’ s ma na gement is able to turn-around the cooperative except the collections. Now they are moving to educate the member-consumers to become good customers of LASUR ECO t hrough social marketing and social mobilization. (PNA)

Cimagala... from page 6

implications and possibilities they can spawn, then we would somehow be convinced that reality is indeed a very

complicated thing. I imagine that to simplify the need to effectively grapple with reality, we need to go to the very author of reality, which in the end is definitely not us, nor somebody or something else that is merely sensible or even intelligible, but a supreme, eternal being whom we consider to be God. He is the creator and therefore is the very author of the whole of creation. In short, he is the very author of reality in all its levels, aspects and possibilities. In short, if we have to effectively deal with reality, then we need to engage ourselves with the Creator, who is God. This would require some faith, which again should be part of reality, since this God as the creator of all things simply cannot be fully grasped by us, and yet he is real. In fact, he is the very foundation of reality, and all reality must revolve around him. But he is beyond t he world of the sensible and the intelligible. Not that he is not in the sensible and the intelligible. He is right there as he is everywhere, but he also transcends them. That’s why, we can somehow sense and understand him, but we cannot fully comprehend him. In ot her words, to ef fectively grapple w it h reality involves developing in us a certain piety, a certain intimacy in our relation with God the Creator. It cannot be any other way, since ignoring him can only at best let us touch reality by mere coincidence. Ignoring God the Creator would lead us to the great danger of having a shallow, narrow, rigid if not distorted and even wrong grasp of reality. Though these latter situations would still be part of reality, they are that part that is not supposed to be. Vitally engaging with God our Creator, through prayer and study of his doctrine, brings us to the dynamism of reality that God himself maintains and directs both in time and eternity.

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