Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senate Pushes Sugar Cane Industry Development Bill In Preparation For ASEAN Integration

Senate Pushes Sugar Cane Industry 
Development Bill In Preparation For 
ASEAN Integration

The Senate this week passed on third and final reading a bill which seeks to help sugar industry players become more competitive. Sugar from abroad will start flooding the local market with the integration of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community in 2015.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food sponsors Senate Bill No. 2400, otherwise known as the Sugar Cane Industry Development Act of 2014. The proposed legislation would put in place programs to promote and support the competitiveness of the Philippine sugar industry.

 “The fear among sugar farmers is their inability to compete with cheaper and government-subsidized sugar from abroad and this will directly impact their livelihood,” Villar said.

 “As it stands, we are self-sufficient in sugar but we are anticipating stiffer competition with cheaper sugar from abroad, particularly Thailand, which is the largest sugar producer among ASEAN countries with the Philippines coming in second,” she added.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon agreed that the agricultural measure will greatly complement “the set of economic reform measures currently being pushed in the Senate to secure the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals and fiscal sustainability, in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) launch next year.”

 Once the bill is passed into law, Villar said the sugar workers will be granted more assistance to boost their competitiveness through the Block Farm Program, Farm Support Program and scholarship program.

The Block Farm Program is a consolidation of small farms, around five hectares or less, into a large farm.

“Admittedly, small players will have difficulties competing with bigger players. This practice will take advantage of the economies of scale in the production of sugar cane. This will result in operational advantages because activities in the small farms are aligned and the efficient use of farm machineries and equipment, deployment of workers, volume purchase of inputs, and financing, are ensured,” Villar explained.

Owners of farms with around nine hectares or less can avail of the Farm Support Program wherein they will be granted access to socialized credit through the Land Bank of the Philippines for the acquisition of production inputs, farm machineries, and implements necessary for the continuous production of sugar cane.

Another provision of the bill is the availability of a Scholarship Program for the underprivileged college and post graduate students who are taking up courses in agriculture, agricultural engineering and mechanics, chemical engineering/sugar technology in state colleges and universities as well as vocational courses for farmers and farm technicians and skilled workers in sugar mills, sugar refineries, distilleries and biomass power plants.

The capability trainings will be conducted as well as attendance to local or international trainings including seminars by farmers and workers on the latest technologies related to sugar cane farming, manufacture or production and other products derived from sugar cane, according to Villar.

 She said the program would be sourced from the Sugar Cane Industry Development Fund, which would receive 15 percent of the Value Added Tax on local and imported sugar and tariff collected from the importation of sugar.

 “The bill aims to generate funds to strengthen the competitiveness and boost diversification efforts of the sugarcane industry, especially when tariff on imported sugar drops to a mere five percent by 2015 under the AEC,” Villar said.

 Currently, the Philippines sugarcane industry provides employment to at least 600,000 workers and contributes P76 billion annually to the country’s economy.

 “The biggest opportunity is that it has turned our region and our market into a very promising and viable market. We need to equip Filipino businesses and industries, including the sugarcane industry, with adequate support to get a sizable chunk of that market or to seize those opportunities. The key is preparedness and enhanced competitiveness,” Villar said. /MP



One of GMA Network’s award-winning documentary programs, Front Row is this year’s Winner of the prestigious UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for Television.

Its winning documentary, “Ulilang Lubos” (Orphaned) follows the daily life of 10-year-old Princess, who has had to take care of three younger siblings since their mother abandoned them. Princess washes produce at a wet market to earn money. She receives five to 20 pesos for this.
After working the entire morning, Princess then proceeds to her second job: scavenging. She does this every day to feed herself and her siblings.

“I haven’t seen my mom since she left us three years ago,” Princess said. “We started scaven-ging to get some money and asking around for food. Sometimes we don’t have anything to eat and our stomachs hurt. We sleep on cardboard boxes on the floor. I envy my friends because they go to school but I don’t.”

The jurors praised “Front Row: Ulilang Lubos” for reflecting the vulnerable children’s world in their own eyes. “It was very effective,” they said. “There are many heartbreaking moments in this film. The interviews were handled with sensitivity and the three children came across as everyday kids. Their interaction during bath and meal times was very naturalistic, as if the cameras weren’t there. This is a powerful story that really captured the plight of these children.”

The UNICEF further said, “Front Row: Orphaned is a powerful piece of television. It shows the importance of protecting and nurturing children, and the strength and resilience they possess, through the eyes of four abandoned children trying desperately to make the most of their lives,” said Christopher de Bono, Chief of Communications, UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific.

“It is also a testimony to the value of powerful television storytelling, by motivating all of us to meet our responsibilities and address the suffering of children in need.”   Dr Javad Mottaghi, ABU Secretary-General, said: “To know there are documentary makers of this quality working in our region, chronicling the lives of our most vulnerable children and celebrating the triumph of their young spirits over great adversity, must spur us all to be the best media messengers we possibly can.

‘Front Row: Orphaned’ shows how great documentary-making not only exposes inequality and exploitation but journeys deeper into the human spirit and reminds us that each human being, however young, poor and disadvantaged, carries the light of hope in their soul.” Christopher Slaughter, CEO of CASBAA, said: “CASBAA congratulates GMA Network for their unflinching look at childhood poverty in ‘Front Row: Orphaned’. Our industry reaches hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. It is heartening to see our medium being used as a platform not just for entertainment, but in the service of such a worthy cause as alleviating the plight of children in need.”

Managing Producer Joseph Israel Laban accepted the prestigious UNICEF prize at the Asia Broadcasting Union awards ceremony held in Macau. He shared the viewers’ positive response to the program. “Since the documentary aired, one of the children’s relatives has reached out to them. Viewers are now sending two of the children to school and more help is still coming in. But we are hoping for a more permanent and comprehensive solution to address the plight of Filipino orphans, perhaps with better Government facilities to take care of them and their basic needs.”

The UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award was established by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), CASBAA and UNICEF in 2001. It recognizes the efforts of broadcasters and producers in pursuing high quality children’s television and better coverage of children’s issues, and is given each year to the best programme on children’s rights produced in the Asia-Pacific region.
Front Row’s “Ulilang Lubos” also previously won a Silver Screen Award at the 2014 United States International Film and Video Festival and received a Finalist citation at the 2014 URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary in Monaco, the sole Philippine program to be honoured this year. /MP

Read and Have Fun

It’s clean & funny....
A girl asked her boyfriend to come over Friday night to meet, and have dinner with her parents.  
Since this is such a big event, the girl announced to her boyfriend that after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time.

The boy was ecstatic, but he has never had sex before, so he took a trip to the pharmacist to get some condoms. He told the pharmacist it’s his first time and the pharmacist helped the boy for about an hour. He told the boy every-thing there is to know about condoms and sex.

At the register, the pharmacist asked the boy how many condoms he’d like to buy, a 3-pack, 10-pack, or family pack. The boy insisted on the family pack because he thought he will be rather busy, it being his first time and all.

That night, the boy showed up at the girl’s parents house and met his girlfriend at the door.  “Oh, I’m so excited for you to meet my parents, come on in!”

The boy went inside and was taken to the dinner table where the girl’s parents were seated. The boy quickly offered to say grace and bows his head. A minute passed, and the boy was still deep in prayer, with his head down. Some 10 minutes passed, and still no movement from the boy.
Finally, after 20 minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leaned over and whispered to her boyfriend, “I had no idea you are this religious.”

The boy turned, and whispers back,  “I had no idea your father is THE pharmacist.”

If you DON’T forward this to at least 1 person you have no sense of humour !!!!!! 
from Dr. Raphy Tayco /MP


By: Megs S. Lunn

 “A teacher who accepts a position assumes a contractual obligation to live up to his contract assuming full knowledge of the employment terms and conditions.” (Code of Ethics Art VI, Sec. 6)
The Diocesan Commission on Catholic Education, in collaboration with the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, led by Regional Vice President Rev. Fr. Gualberto “Joebert” Villasis, Jr. and Rex Bookstore, held a learning session on Legal Updates on Laws Affecting Private Education last October 28, 2014, held at the ACC Gym, Kalibo, Aklan.

Rev. Fr. Joebert believes, “our schools are vulnerable to legal challenges. It is then necessary for our administrators, faculty and personnel to be informed and updated with the legal issues and concerns affecting us and our school operations.”

The speaker is one of the few active legal minds in the field of Educational Law. A very sought after school lawyer, Atty. Ulpiano “Ulan” P. Sarmiento III completed AB LLB LLM degrees. He is a Law Professor and Dean of the College of Law, San Beda College, Manila. 

Atty. Sarmiento presented two topics/updates to the delegates from the different private parochial schools and colleges in Aklan. He discussed basic constitutional objectives of a Teacher, and Duties and Responsibilities of the Teachers touching the DepEd issuances on Child Protection Policy and Anti-Bullying Act.

He particularly mentioned the two basic constitutional objectives the Teachers must abide as it is their obligation to do so. These are: 1)  Art. XIV, Sec 5 (Protect and promote the right of all to quality education) and 2) Art. XIV, Sec 3(3) (the formation of character on ethical, spiritual, moral and personal discipline of the student).

Through these basic objectives, the Teachers need to understand their contractual and statutory duties. 

Poor education comes from a poor teaching and negligence of duty by the Teacher. It is poor education when a student is promoted to the next level without sufficient knowledge and competence. On the other hand, a good solid education comes from a good solid foundation of teaching by a good Teacher. Teachers are duty bound to deliver a good solid education according to the constitution. 

The Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers Article IV, Section 2 states that, “A Teacher must be competent and efficient, must uphold the highest possible standards of quality education, make the best preparation for the career of teaching and shall be at his best at all times in the practice of his profession.  Likewise, Education Act of 1982 Sec. 18 (2) provides, “The Teacher shall be accountable for efficient and effective attainment of specified learning objectives.”

“Teacher shall participate in the continuing education program of the Professional Regulatory Commission and shall pursue such other studies as well as improve efficiency, enhance prestige of the profession, and strengthen competencies, virtue and productivity in order to be nationally and internationally competitive. A Teacher ensures the conditions contributive to the maximum development of learners, and shall extend assistance in preventing or solving learner’s problems and difficulties.” (Article IV, Sec. 3)

In order to become more competent and effective, Teachers must give a fair and just evaluation of learners through giving correct scholarly and academic grades, never accept favors or gifts.

The second objective deals with the formation of character. According to Atty. Sarmiento, 1) Teacher should lead by example (Code of Ethics Article 3, Sec. 3), 2) To act with honor (Article 6, Sec 6) and 3) Impose discipline and right to parental care (Family Code Article 218). 

The three reasons why discipline must be imposed to students are 1) To establish and maintain proper order in school; 2) For character formation, (discipline, morality, conduct), and 3) To protect the good name and reputation of the school.

On DepEd Memorandum Order No. 40, Series of 2012, the duties and responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching staff of a school, it must adopt the law and explain it to their stakeholders for better understanding. Atty. Sarmiento stressed, that “the need to prevent bullying is a necessity.”

He shared simple techniques on how to prevent like the Adoption of Anti-Bullying Policy, and Train student to become ally’s not just bystanders as allies prevent bullying from happening.

Atty. Sarmiento also reminded the delegates that no other laws shall be mandated by the school authority except those from the Secretary of the DepEd. Regional and Provincial memoranda must conform with the law. The school has the right to refuse obedience on such memorandum if not in accordance with the law. He stressed that we need to follow the rule of contractual and statutory duty. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Daeayawon Nga Umagad

Bulahan ka kon makakita ka it mabuot ag daeayawon nga umagad. May mga owa it paghilibaut sa pamilya bangod sa mga maldita o maldito nga umagad. May isaeang ka estorya sa bibliya hanungod sa relasyon kong magpanugangan ag mag-umagad nga makapamukeat katong mga umagad ag panugangan.

Ro mag-asawang si Elimelid ag Naomi hay nagpadueong sa Moab agod likawan rong tag-gutom sa andang lugar. Daea nanda ro andang daywang ka onga nga ea-eaki nga sanday Mah-lon ag Chilion. Nagtener sanda it mga napueong dag-on sa Moab hasta naka asawa ro andang daywang ka onga. Namatay si Elimelid. Owa mabuhayi, namatay man ro andang daywang ka unga.

Ko isaeang agahon ngaron, guintawag ni Naomi ro anang daywang ka umagad. Anang guinhambae nga mauli sanda sa lugar ni Naomi. Nabalitaan abi ni Naomi nga nagtaliwan eon rong tag gutom sa andang lugar sa Bethlehem. Owa man nagbalibad sanda. Nagmunot ro daywang ka umagad nga si Orpah ag Ruth. 

Nag-uli eon sanda. Pag-abot nanda sa guin sanghan it daean, binalikid ni Naomi ro daywang ka babaye. Guinhambae nana nga mag uli sa andang mga pamilya, tungod patay eon man ro andang asawa. Mahimo pa sanda nga makapag-asawa it uman. 

Nagpasugot si Orpah. Nagea-ong imaw nga eoha-an kay Naomi ag nagpanaw. Samtang si Ruth hay nagpabilin maskin anong pilit ni Naomi. Ro anang hambae, “Ayaw ako pagpilita nga aywan ko. Kon siin ka maadto, mamunot ako kimo. Ro imong Diyos mangin akon nga Diyos. Kon siin ka mamatay idto man ako ieubong.” Rondaya rong tumaeagsahong hambae kong mabuot nga umagad. Pag-abot nanda sa lugar nanday Naomi, guin abi-abi sanda ag guin dayaw nanda rong mabuot nga umagad. Guinhinyo ni Naomi nga tawgon imaw nga Mara, nagakahueugan nga mapait, tungod abo nga kapait ro anang haagyan idto sa Moab.

Oras guid it tig-aeani sa andang pag-abot. Nagpanagpot it mga nabilin nga paeay si Ruth, ag tungod sa anang daeayawon nga batasan, abo kanang nagbulig sa pag-ani. Bulahan guid si Naomi bangod maskin, naduea ro anang asawa ag daywang ka onga, may kabueos man nga umagad nga naga-unong kana. /MP

Reason and Concern

Mar Roxas’ Sentimental 
Quest For The Presidency
by Ronquillo C. Tolentino

Secretary Butch Abad has declared that DILG secretary Mar Roxas is the Liberal Party’s sentimental choice for the presidential candidacy (in the 2016 presidential election).

It would now be Mar Roxas’ sentimental journey in his presidential quest.

Sec.Abad had occasion to mention Mar’s oblation giving way to President Benigno Aquino III’s presidenial bid in the last elections.
The Binay-Trillanes scheduled debate bears watching. Since this is a form of a Lincoln-Douglas debate (the two men debate), the rules should now be had, inclusive of the proposition to be debated.
A few months ago, I chanced to read an article on the factors resulting in an increase of the crime rate.  In an article written by Daniel Francis, How Contributor, titled  “The FBI keeps data on crime rates”. He cited that many factors are involved in the crime rate from the overall economic conditions to the psychological state of the criminal, some factors clearly result in increased crime rate. And although the Francis article is about the government, schools and social scientists studies of the rising and falling rates of crime  in the United States for more than a century,  certain factors on the increase in crime rate are also happening in other counties, inclusive  of the Philippines.

The factors resulting in an increase of crimes are due to: First: Density, business and transportation; second, police and justice; third, living conditions; and fourth, the economy.

I would like to quote here the observation on police and justice as one of the factors that can result in an increase of the crime rate, thus: “ One factor in seeing an increase or decrease in a crime rate is the effectiveness of law enforcement in the area. An increase in crime could be linked to an ineffective, understaffed or under-funded local police department. A lack of prosecution  of crimes  from a local jurisdiction could also contribute to an increased crime rate. The policies of judicial, correctional and probational arms of an area can also contribute to an increase or decrease in crime rate.”
I am tempted oftentimes to look for some anecdotes about funny senior moments. Just where the term ‘senior moment’ came is provided in Will and Guy’s collection of funny senior moments, humour, and amusing stories,  thus: “senior moment was apparently coined in America in the mid nineties, but became more widely used in the United Kingdom during the past couple of years. Originating with specific reference to senior or senior citizens -people aged 60 or over- it has now entered general use and be applied in any situation where someone experiences momentary lapse of memory regardless of age.

“The term highlights the idea that our brain  simply were’nt built to cope with the information overload and stress generated by life in the 21st century.”

A story is told about an 80 year old man who has problem with his house. It has two storeys. It has stairs. When he uses the stairs, he stops midway to catch his breath. His main problem is that, when he is ready to start again, he is unable to remember whether he was going upstairs or downstairs.

“An absent-minded activity, like putting your furniture polish in the fridge or your prepared casserole in the cupboard, can also be referred as a senior moment.” /MP

Entrepreneurial by Ambrocio R. Villorente

Are You A CAVE? A Wall?

What is the difference between a cave and a wall? This question is answered in the handbook “Moments” of Father Jerry M. Orbos, SVD.

According to Father Orbos, “a cave is open. It welcomes people to whom it provides warmth and shelter”. He compared a cave to a person who is “someone who takes in and shelters people.”
“On the other hand, a wall  obstructs and even divides. It is also closed and cold. A wall is likened to a person, someone who shuts out people. One has to put up a wall.”

What are You? A wall or a cave?
Many families, countless of them are Filipino, construct walls around their houses. What for? High walls built around a house portray insecurity. They have no trust with their neighbors.
Further, in his handbook, Moments, Father Orbos asked: “What kind of heart do you have? Do you have a stony heart, a wooden heart, or perhaps a plastic heart?”
Please check your answers.

According to Father Orbos, “there is no peace in (our) heart as long as (we) had in it the sins of the heart.  Which are: 

The Senate Committee on Finance will scrutinize the multibillion pesos proposed allocation for monitoring and evaluation of government spending, which eats up a big chunk of the proposed spending package of the government.  

Sen. Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance panel, said he finds most of the monitoring budgets and cost of services of many agencies too steep, like in the case of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which allocated P4.2 billion to implement, monitor and evaluate its project under the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

The welfare department is seeking a P108-billion spending package for 2015, of which P64.7 billion is for CCT. Of this amount, P57.1 billion will go to actual cash transfer, P3.3 billion to personnel services and P4.2 billion to implement and monitor the DSWD’s cash dole out program.
The amount of money set aside for “monitoring and evaluation” is too expensive.  

Escudero agrees there is implementation cost needed to actuate a program, to monitor implementation of programs and projects to ensure accountability and judicious use of public funds. But it should be at reasonable amount. There is existing machinery and mechanism to monitor and evaluate project accomplishment like the Commission on Audit. 

The P4 billion proposed allocation for monitoring budget can be used for other serviceable purposes that have actual and direct benefits. This amount can be put to better use. Better reduce it and add the amount to major programs, suggested Escudero.

Escudero also questioned the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the P840 million it plans to spend for monitoring and evaluation of its program under grassroots participatory budgeting process (GPBP) amounting to P5.7 billion. The DILG must give the detailed breakdown of these projects and programs in all 1,600 LGUs across the Philippines.

Concerned agencies must seriously look into these items in the budget with the view to introduce sensible spending at all levels and allocate the scarce resources equitably and fairly utilize for significant purposes.

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay chose to bring the issues being thrown at him by his detractors directly to the public. He discussed the allegations against him with the people in Pagadian City last week.

Binay was in Pagadian to attend the 11th Rovers Moot of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

The Vice President joined local officials at the Pagadian Public Market in a boodle fight for breakfast, during which he gamely answered the accusations of his detractors in the Senate.

The Vice President again discussed the latest allegations in the on-going Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee investigation on the supposed overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 during a live studio interview with local radio station DXCA.

He thanked the public for their continued support for him and his family. He urged people from listening to baseless accusations.  /MP


Are Aklanons Progressing 
With “Todo Asenso”?
by Ernesto T. Solidum

Cong. Teodorico Haresco of Aklan has aptly adopted the slogan, “Todo Asenso” in his campaign sorties. Until this time, Todo Asenso is becoming a familiar sight in all government projects. Judging by the fusion of words and actions the light of dawn has figuratively come to lives of Aklanons.

Visible evidence are big ticket projects associated with tourism infra development such as road widening and concreting from Kalibo to Caticlan, Kalibo circumferential road and expansion of Kalibo International Airport. Actually, these are all funded by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) plan several years ago. Even the current Caticlan and Cagban Jetty Port Expansion is sponsored by DOTC.

Provincial Capital investments secured through government borrowings are renovation of Capitol building complex, Nursing building, Aklan Sports Center, Renovation of Caticlan Jetty Port and Rafael S. Tumbokun Memorial Hospital. A billionaire province can afford to spend these ostensibly for the people’s welfare but based on Provincial Economic Enterprise and Development Office, only Caticlan Jetty Port has annual income of almost P300 million. The rest are operating in the red.

For more than a decade, our government leaders have championed the cause of agri-tourism development in Aklan as a way to improve our socio-economic life. Please take note that agriculture must be first developed before tourism. Unfortunately, in the desire for instant fame and fortune, agriculture is relegated to the background and allocated a measly P8.8 million in 2013. By all standards, this is unacceptable and reprehensible in a provincial budget of P1.2 billion.

It is not surprising therefore to know that agricultural products being produced in Aklan pail behind those imported from Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. A DAR Researcher bared that the vegetables sold in Boracay only 4 percent comes from Aklan, 7 percent of fruits and 39 percent of meat and fish. A big slap is that other commodities like rice comes from Mindoro and fish from Capiz.

Now going to the slogan of Cong. Teodorico Haresco, how can we make “Todo Asenso” work for us Aklanons? Obviously, this is only air if nothing is done to beat the odds.

To my mind, asenso is to progress in mind, body, spirit and possessions. What is wealth anyway when one is strapped to a wheelchair or character maligned by corruption? King Solomon wisely called the excesses and pleasures in life as vanity.

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man said that “no one is blamed for being born poor but when you die poor you are only to blame yourself”. Indeed, we must use our mental and physical capacities to overcome the many trials and not to rely on outside support.

One psychological reason that the Philippines does not progress at its usual pace because the 12 million OWF’s who remit money to their families, the latter no longer work and squander the hard earned bucks on non-essentials and luxuries. Regrettably, the Philippines is one big consumer market of finished goods rather than a manufacturing hub.

Todo Asenso is a vain attempt to replicate the slogan of P-noy’s “Daang Matuwid”. With the way it is raised near public work projects is decidedly misplaced and unwarranted. Snail pace of government projects, not to mention execution of structural integrity and design is dependent upon the capacity of private contractors to produce necessary heavy equipment and personnel. There is no doubt the 100 construction days (Date started: June 23, 2014) in the widening of Marianos Bridge contract undertaken by Clifford Construction Corp. can extend to another 100 days and even until 2016. It seems that no effort is done by DPWH to penalize its contractor for a sloppy job. The same holds true for the contractor of Bulwang and Kalibo bridges. Meanwhile, accidents and inconveniences occur in traffic bottle neck especially during rush hours.

Presently, 27 percent of Aklanons live in abject poverty. With agriculture left in shambles farmers have not felt the impact of local tourism that reportedly earns P18 billion in 2013. Is Todo Asenso only for the big capitalists? Or is it for everybody to share?

Our farmers are rapidly declining and aging 57 years old on the average, while young generation is not interested in farming. It is sad to imagine hunger knocking in our doorsteps while our Asean neighbors eat to their hearts’ content. /MP


INDIGENOUS CRAFT: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and Senator Loren Legarda are shown, right photo, examining the “kinnutiyan”, a funeral blanket from the Cordillera region,  one of the local pieces featured at the exhibit “Tugade, Philippine Indigenous Patterns and Forms.” The exhibit is launched at the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, October 22, 2014. It presents several weaving techniques used by traditional Filipino weavers in the modern setting. The cultural exhibit is supported by the Office of Senator Legarda, along with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the House of Representatives and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. (Joseph Vidal photo) /MP

Senate Approves Bill Amending Fisheries Code

Senate Approves Bill Amending Fisheries Code

The Senate this week approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to strengthen Philippine laws against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to impose penalties against violators for a more effective conservation and protection of the country’s marine resources.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and author of Senate Bill 2414 otherwise known as Amending the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, said the passage of the measure will develop the Philippines’ fisheries sector, which provided direct and indirect employment to over one million people or about 12 percent of the agricultural, fishery and forestry sector of the labor force.

The bill was co-authored by Senators Loren Legarda, Ramon Revilla Jr., Manuel Lapid, Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada, Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Sotto, who introduced the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Code during the 9th Congress, congratulated Villar for a well-crafted new and updated version of the Code.

For his part, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the bill’s approval stresses the “need to strengthen our laws in order to preserve our marine and aquatic resources and protect the livelihood of the members of our local fishing industry, which represents 2.1 percent of the nation’s entire gross domestic product (GDP).”   

Data show that the Philippines ranks sixth in fish production and ninth in aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans and mollusks, making it among the top three largest producers of aquatic plants, including seaweeds. The same data show that the country’s aqua-culture production amounts to over $1.58 billion.

“The bill aims to level the fishing legislation at par with other countries, especially with regard to conservation measures regarding threatened aquatic species, straddling and highly migratory species and other marine resources,” Villar said in her sponsorship speech.

“The proposed amendments in the Fisheries Code would address the requirements set by the European Union (EU) for countries exporting fisheries and other marine products to its markets. The EU had been conducting regular audits on the country’s fisheries sector, specifically on the compliance to international food and safety and fishery regulations,” said Villar. 

In its 2012 audit report on the Philippines, the EU said the country’s present laws and regulations did not have enough sanctions and disincentives against IUU fishing and gave it a yellow tag warning. Failure to act on the yellow tag may result in the blacklisting of all Philippine marine products in the European Union market.

Villar said the measure also called for the creation of a Fisheries Management Fund to be administered by the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).The Fisheries Management Fund will provide scholarship grants for children of fisher folks and fish workers in fish catch, aquaculture, fishing, and fish processing. It will also provide programs for production enhancement and poverty alleviation and assistance to fishermen in the form of shared facilities. The fund would be sourced from the increased penalties for illegal, unauthorized and unreported fishing.

“Twenty five percent of the funds will be allocated to BFAR for fishery law enforcement while 75 percent of the collection will be allotted to provide assistance to poor fisherfolk,” Villar said. /MP

ASU Students Sweep Statistics Quiz Top Prizes

ASU Students Sweep  Statistics Quiz Top Prizes

Three students of Aklan State University-College of Industrial Technology (ASU-CIT) took home top prizes for this year’s 23rd Philippine Statistics Quiz (PSQ) provincial championship held at ASU-CIT campus, Kalibo, Aklan on October 23, 2014.

These civil engineering students are Mr. John Paul Dominic A. Baylosis who got first place, Ms. Nicel R. Reontoy - second place, and Ms. Mean S. Ebon - third place. They bested 14 other contestants coming from five colleges and a university in Aklan.

The winners each received a trophy, special gift and cash prizes awarded by Provincial Statistics Officer Blas M. Solidum. They will represent Aklan in the regional competition on November 13, 2014.

According to Mr. Solidum, the PSQ is an annual contest designed to assess the competency and skills of students in statistics as acquired from the secondary education curriculum. It is also geared to promote and instill awareness on the importance of statistics in all developmental-planning activities of the government.

“This competition is relevant as it contributes to the advocacy in the use of statistics for evidence-based decision making,” Mr. Solidum added.

The PSQ is a joint undertaking of PSA-Aklan and the Aklan Provincial Government as one of the activities of the province in the observance of 25th National Statistics Month. /MP



The Committee on Tourism in the House of Representatives approved on October 22 the bill to institutionalize the promotion of select farms in the Philippines as viable tourist spots.

“Local and foreign tourists interested in experiencing life on farms first hand can add farm visits to their travel itinerary after House Bill 3745 becomes the Farm Tourism Act,” said AAMBIS-Owa Party list Representative Sharon Garin, principal author of the measure.

The bill enumerates the exciting and educational activities that any tourist can enjoy while visiting farm tourist spots. These are milking cows, fruit-picking, harvesting vegetables, fishing, horseback riding, watching butterflies, tending bees, tasting wines or juices, and sight-seeing.

HB 3745 enjoys the support of many lawmakers. Albay Representative Fernando Gonzalez is excited about the passage of the measure saying that the fusion of tourism and agriculture will benefit both sectors. It will boost the country’s economy by improving the income and economic potentials of small farms and rural communities.
Once the bill becomes a law, there shall be at least one (1) tourism farm in each of the 81 provinces in the country.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the local government units, will identify the feasible farm tourism sites.

In crafting the measure, farm owners, tourism officers, agriculture experts, other stakeholders, and government officials were consulted for months by the Tourism Committee chaired by Bohol 1st District Representative Rene Relampagos.

Street food vendor turned millionaire-farm owner Desiree Duran said she is a living proof that farm tourism is a viable economic venture.

It was 2001 when Duran first embark on planting off-season vegetables. Over the years, her backyard farm grew into a 3.6 hectare farm land now known as the Duran Farm.

The bill seeks to create a Philippine Farm Tourism Industry Development Coordinating Council under the DOT to ensure the development and promotion of farm tourism in the Philippines.

Farm tourism is already a thriving industry in many parts of the world with each country having their unique selling points. An example is the sweet potato-based, tea-based, and pomelo-based farm tourism industry in Taiwan. /MP

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kalibo’s Pauper

Kalibo’s Pauper

Picture above shows one of Kalibo’s paupers. This picture was taken by the side of the fence of Kalibo Pilot Elementary School at the corner of Roxas Ave. and A. Mabini St., Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan. 

A picture speaks a thousand words and you can discribe this picture as you view it. The man is in a very deplorable situation. His relatives and/or friends  must take good care of this man. Give him a necessary care a human being deserves. If he has no relatives, the Municipality of the Ati-atihan Town of Kalibo must provide the necessary care.

Allowing him to remain in his present state of living portrays the kind and quality of life the people of Kalibo and Aklan. We say that Aklan province is a billionaire province which annual budget is more than one billion pesos.

If Aklan is billionaire,  its people must be living in abundance, clean, happy and contented. People must live according to human norm.

However, this man, by all means must be given the basic needs of life and allow him to live a dicent life. /MP
 The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice should immediately and without delay get in touch with their counterparts and demand the attendance of the four witnesses.

Such demand is covered by the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which calls not only for Respect for Law but the obligation to make available the US personnel for investigative or judicial proceedings. As worded in Article V, “US military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings.”

The VFA clearly states that the Philippines has criminal jurisdiction over US soldiers involved in a crime in the country, and it is a matter of invoking it with speed and conviction. The VFA, undoubtedly, is one sided and as such we must always insist and be vigilant with what is accorded us as a matter of sovereign right in that treaty.

 This is incident calls for the Philippine authorities’ and the Filipinos’ righteous indignation to fight for custody of the suspect and demand for the physical availability of the four American witnesses. We cannot just sit idly by and watch while our laws are being subverted. If we cannot defend, protect nor assist our fellow Filipino right here in our own soil, what chilling message do we get out there to our people and especially to those who are outside Philippine soils?

We cannot begrudge the US for acting to protect the interests of its nationals and its interests. Our own officials should also, with the same fervor, do the same.

This is why I continue my call for the review of the VFA for clearer, stronger and stricter stipulations which are mutually beneficial to both parties in every step of the way. /MP

Reason and Concern

Bar Exams 
Revamp Proposed
by Ronquillo C. Tolentino
October 26,2014 shall be the fourth Sunday of this year’s bar examinations.

Of the 6,344 bar examination applicants, 350 decided not to take the bar exams after the first Sunday, October 5, 2014 leaving 5,994.

 As I write this, my attention  was invited  to a Philippine Daily Inquirer  October 12,2014 news item titled: “Sereno seeks  revamp of bar exams to ‘define kind of  lawyer PH needs’ “Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno requested law schools to take and lead in the study on the ideal Filipino lawyer. Sereno admitted that the high court had no time to make the study considering its work-load. The chief justice said that “ the Supreme Court does not have the time to make the paper or the study that is necessary  for us  to define the kind of Filipino lawyer that must be produced by the legal profession, under the  supervision of the Supreme Court. In addendum, she stressed that  the study should identify competencies and basic skills that the ideal Filipino lawyer should possess considering the legal problems Filipinos usually  face, including the 10-million strong diaspora.”

Lawyers, to my mind have never forgotten the fact that a lawyer in the Philippines is an officer of the court and a person in authority. And if he is a notary public, he is a public officer. This is  explained in Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61  Phil.724 (1935) when it emphasized : “An attorney  is a public officer....He occupies a quasi-judicial office because he is in fact an officer of the court whose close and intimate relationship with the bench described  by that phrase. He is figuratively speaking, a priest of justice.

“While an attorney has many rights and privileges, he has equally a number of duties and responsibilities. It is his duty to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey the laws; to observe  and maintain the respect due the courts of justice and judicial officers; to counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as he believes to be debatable under the law; to employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes  confided to him, such means only as consistent with truth and honor, and never to mislead the judge or any  judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law.

“He is to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept compensation in connection with his client’s business except from him  or with  his knowledge and approval; to abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation  of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which  he is charged; not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an action or proceeding or delay any man’s cause for any corrupt motive or interest; never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed; and in the defense of a person  accused of a crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be deprived of  life or liberty, but by due process of law.”(Rule 138,Sec.20 (e) to (i) Rules of Court.

It is asserted that the bar exam revamp is part of the Chief Justice’s reform program for the judiciary.

If I may give my two cents worth of opinion to the issue, it must be continuously stressed to lawyers and law students alike the constant inculcation on the rules and ethics of the profession.
Of this year’ bar candidates, the oldest is an 88 year old man from Bulacan.

A joke is still told by some bar reviewers. Bar candidates are forewarned not to mark the notebooks given them in every subject of the bar examinations where they write their  answers in their own handwriting using a fountain pen.

A bar candidate failed the bar examinations eight times. As he was close to 80 years old when he took  his last bar examinations, he had written on  the last page of every notebook   this note :”Sir, let me pass the bar. I would like to die a lawyer. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Kamandag It Kobra

Ro mag-asawang Berto ag Saning hay naga estar sa maisot nga baeay sa tunga it kagueangan. Ro eogta nga andang guina estahan hay guin tao kanda it gobiyerno pagkatapos nga andang guinlimpyuhan. Abo ag maeangbo ro andang pananum. May mga hayupan man sanda. Kada Domingo, naga adto sanda sa banwa agod daehon ro andang tubas agod ibaligya. Ro kabakeanan hay anda dayon nga gina bakae it igdaeapat ag pagkaon sa sueod it sang domingo.

Isaeang adlaw, samtang naga pangtapas it taeahib si Berto ag Saning, may tumuklaw sa bati-is ni Saning. Isaeang ka mabahoe nga kobra rong hakita ni Berto. Dali-dali nana nga tinigpas rong ueo it kobra. Dayon guin suyop man nana rong kamandag it sawa sa batiis ni Saning. Sa kaeu-oy it Diyos, owa man it maea-ing hatabo kay Saning. 

Tumaliwan ro mga binuean. Nagnabdos si Saning. Makataliwan rong siyam nga buean, nag unga si Saning it isaeang ka matimsog nga eaeaki. Guin pangaeanan imaw kay Onyok. Nagbahoe si Onyok sa tunga it kagueangan nga may ka-ila maghayupan it sawa. 

Ko isaeang adlaw, may isaeang ka babaye nga hasubeang si Onyok. Naga-usoy it bueong sa naangkit it sawa nga anang onga nga babaye.

Guin daea imaw sa mga alila nga sawa ni Onyok. Guin turo ko babaye nga isaeang ka kobra ro nakaangkit kana. Dayon nagmunot si Onyok sa baeay it babaye. Daea ni Onyok ro anang alilang kobra. Guinpa suyop sa sawa ro anang kamandag sa batiis it daeaga. Nag balik rong kolor sa oyahon it daeaga, si Lolita ra ngaean. 

Halin kato, permeng nagabisita si Onyok kay Lolita. Owa mabuhaye, nag-asawa sanda ag una man guihapon naga estar sa kagueangan. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer by Ambrosio R. Villorente


Patogsiling is an Aklanon term which means empathy in English. In his Five Language Dictionary, Roman Dela Cruz translated empathy to Aklanon as “Baeatyagon ag huna-huna it iba.”

In the book of Alan Axelbrod, he pointed out that “emphathy is the foundation of etiquette. It is also a source of great power.” This is a matter of relating with people; and how can we make our time with other people as pleasant and productive as possible?

There are three simple ways to observe to make our time pleasant and productive which are: a. show other how much we value them, b. show others how competent they are, and c. create a work environment in which everyone can excel. 

Building Relationship
To establish a good rapport with other people, you may start with a body language. For one thing, begin with a smile which is a standing invitation. It shows one’s openness to contact and cooperation. 

A friendly wave combine with smile makes meaningful contact. It acknowledges a friend with a display of respect and affection.

A firm handshake makes a colleague feels good. Handshake delivers a message of warmth, openness and willingness to communicate.

Hold the palm of a person, not just the fingers. Otherwise handshake maybe likened to an insincere politicians campaigning for votes.

Look in the eye and maintain eye contact to show your confidence, friendship and transparency.
Say something nice to set the other person at ease such as, “you are handsome with your new haircut.”

A courteous act is necessary like holding the door open so a friend can pass. People will appreciate when a person goes out of his way to help others.

Conducting Meeting
In both public and private businesses, meetings are one important function to fulfill mission and vision. And to make a more productive meeting, the exercise of good meeting manners is necessary.

Effective leaders of meetings practice effective etiquette before the meeting begins. These leaders, such as chairman of the Board, president of organization, presiding officer prepare list of participants, invite them, and communicate to them the time, venue, agenda, and objectives of the meeting. This will create a climate in which participants can agree or disagree without being disagreeable.

One good thing a participant does in attending a meeting or other similar function is to arrive on time. The Northwestern Visayan Colleges is developing a culture of arriving on time in all and any function in the NVC Community. “The NVCians on Time”.

As participant in a meeting, please arrive on time, stay awake and listen, ask questions to develop ideas, stick to the agenda, no personal attack, and thank the leader of the meeting and may praise him for holding a more productive meeting after the meeting is adjourned.

How do we dress for success? Styles change, fashions are fickle and reality is no magic formula for appearance and grooming.

Dress is non-verbal communication. It reveals a great deal about us and attitude toward the world around us.

However, the most important is our clothes, must be impeccably clean, well maintained, and appropriate to what we do. An ideal way of dressing is to observe around your place, how others dress, identity people with cloth in the locality, but never imitate; you may emulate. Aim for the middle, and dress just a notch above it.

Dress for yourself at home. Outside, dress in a manner what makes us and others comfortable. Etiquette requires us to dress unselfishly for others as well as for us.

Shine Our Shoes
Clothing experts agree that the first article of clothing most people notice on men and women is shoes which must be kept in top shape, shined, and well maintained like replacing worn heels.
People of Banga, Aklan or the Banganhons are known to look at their visitors from “foot to head”. /MP

Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

Need For Philippine Comprehensive 
Sports Development Program

The Weekly Kapihan on October 18, 2014 discussed the topic, “Batang Pinoy 2014” at NVC Carmen Hotel. Guests are Atty. Jay Alano, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Franklin Quimpo, Sports Dev. Officer IV and Fred R. Neri, Sports Dev. Officer III.

Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente noted the enthusiasm and dedication of Filipino youths in sports in whatever state they are in life. The Greeks who originated the Olympics in the 9th century are interested in fulfilling life time goal of a “sound mind in a sound body.” Majority of the sports programs is undertaken by former Department of Education Culture and Sports, but later dropped it after its re-organization to Department of Education (DepEd). This development may be positive for over burdened teachers. But for no sensible reason, sports is still managed by DepEd.

Presently, the schools especially in urban areas are crammed with buildings with no more vacant space for outdoor sports activities. Big concern is obesity, a serious health risk affecting children. This problem must be resolved once and for all by Agencies concerned.

Atty. Jay Alano said that Batang Pinoy is a grassroots, laderized program open to youths 15 years old and below. Philippine Sports Commission targets both in-school and out-of-school population. This is the first time Aklan will host Batang Pinoy Visayas to be held on October 20-24, 2014. There will be 28 delegations from Eastern, Central and Western Visayas who will compete in 21 sports events.

Hotly contested are archery, badminton, billiards, dance sports, sepak takraw, swimming and volleyball. Sport competition will be held on October 21-25 in selected venues in Kalibo, Banga, Numancia, Tangalan, Malinao, and Makato. The winners in these events will represent the whole Visayas block in the forthcoming National Batang Pinoy competition on December 13-19, 2014 to be held in Bacolod City.

“We want to insure that all players sponsored by their respective LGU’s be given equal opportunities to compete and excel in various disciplines. A total of P7.2 million from PSC and counterpart of P250,000 from the Office of the Provincial Governor have been released”, the PSC representative revealed.

Mr. Franklin Quimpo expressed confidence over the state of Aklan’s preparedness in hosting Batang Pinoy. Our registration date is October 19-20 and delegation will comprise the athletes, technical officials, LGU representatives and members of Tri-media. At least PSC has 3,000 foam mattresses available on first serve basis. Provincial preparations include lodging accommodation and food, medical team, ambulance and PNP security.

“Sports development is a total commitment of mind and body to excellence”, said Mr. Fred Neri who is National Chess Master. Windfall, aside from cash prizes and recognition are pursuit of education and employment. It is very important that this goal be set early in life, Neri added.

While the grassroots development program targets both in and out of school youth, about 90 percent will be students. Children coming from poor families do not have the luxury of engaging in sports since the 8-15 year old bracket are mostly breadwinners or employed as child laborers.
About 30 percent of Filipino children, aged 1-12, are suffering from malnutrition and that 1 out of 5 has acute malnutrition and in danger of brain damage according to research study of Food and Nutrition Research Institute.

This is corroborated by Philippine Development Studies that 1 out of 3 Filipino children is living in abject poverty with their families. The per capita threshold level for fisherfolks is 13.4 million hungry mouths who are concurrently given intervention by DepEd and non-government organizations like supplemental feeding program and basic nutrition education.

Dr. Vicente Belizario added that some 6 million or 72 percent of Filipino children have intestinal worms despite vigorous government drive through deworming program. The World Health Organization wants it reduced to 20 percent.

Given the bad economic and health background of our local athletes, there is nothing to expect from them but mediocrity. Even at the ASIAN games, the Philippines is at the lowest rung of the ladder with few harvest of gold, silver and bronze. Come to think of it. We are beaten by Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore by a wide margin. Do you know the basic reason? We don’t have a consistent sports development program. Band aid legislation does not hold water in this digital age.

It would be highly appreciated if congress enacts a law reorganizing the PSC into an Authority that would develop and implement a comprehensive sports program for all ages and covering amateur and professional athletes. At least by this scheme, the Philippines could start in the right direction. /MP



Reforms in the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) have ensured there will not be a repeat of the housing scam discovered in 2010 and members will enjoy more benefits, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said last week. 

The Vice President was referring to developer Globe Asiatique, which Pag-IBIG found to be allegedly using fake documents and ghost borrowers to secure P6.6 billion in loan from the Fund.

Among the reforms that Pag-IBIG instituted include the centralization of the approval of housing loan applications. The Fund will now have the final nod on all applications, taking the task from the developers. 

Pag-IBIG is also piloting the use of fixed loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the amount of the loan divided by the appraised value of the property. This allows borrowers to avail of a bigger loanable amount compared to what they could get using the old system.

The Fund is also seeking to improve the documentation of loan applications. To be implemented next year, the process will enable developers to do away with Contracts-to-Sell and Deeds of Assignment, and issue only the Deed of Absolute Sale.

The enhanced method will expedite the processing of housing loan applications, eliminate foreclosure proceedings, and save time and effort usually spent on such proceedings.

Under the Pag-IBIG reforms, new members may now apply for loans provided they were able to pay 24 months of lumpsum contribution.

Co-borrowers need not also be blood-related to the principal borrowers. Borrowers may also avail of “tacked loans,” which means that at most three borrowers may combine their gross monthly incomes to qualify for a bigger loanable amount.

The Vice President also mentioned that should a member die, his/her family will get P20,000 death benefit from insurance aside from the P6,000 death benefit from Pag-IBIG and the insurance equivalent to the value of his/her housing loan.

Aside from being the head of the government housing sector, Binay also serves as Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns.

The reforms enabled Pag-IBIG to provide homes to close to half a million members since Binay and Atty. Darlene Berberabe took office as chairman and chief executive officer, respectively. 

The Vice President also noted that Pag-IBIG released P138 billion worth of loans for around 167,000 low-cost/economic housing units, and P19 billion for almost 60,000 socialized housing units. /MP

Senate Passes Bill TO Prohibit Chemical Weapons

Senate Passes Bill TO Prohibit
 Chemical Weapons

The Senate last week passed on third and final reading a bill which seeks to prohibit the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and at the same time establish a Philippine National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention (PNA-CWC). 

“In our modern society, the use of chemical weapons, especially by non-state actors such as terrorists, poses a grave threat to international security,” said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2042, otherwise known as the Chemical Weapons Prohibition Act.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993, the first disarmament agreement that provides for the elimination and prohibition of the development of chemical weapons. As of October 2013, 190 nations have already signed to be part of the treaty.

Trillanes, chair of the Committee on National Defence and Security, said the measure aimed to provide a legislative framework for the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the country.

Furthermore, SBN 2042 aimed to establish a separate and permanent bureau that “will serve as the national coordinating body for effective liaison with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body of the Convention. The PNA-CWC will be the lead agency in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.”

“Despite our efforts, we cannot fully implement its provisions in the country due to lack of a legislative framework that will give teeth to its implementation,” Trillanes added.

Under the proposed legislation, PNA-CWC will be composed of the executive secretary as the chairperson and the secretary of national defence as the vice chairperson. The members are the National Security Advisor and the secretaries of foreign affairs, justice, interior and local government, finance, health, environment and natural resources, agriculture, transportation and communications, trade and industry, science and technology and energy. 

Once passed into law, any person found guilty of the prohibited act faces penalties of imprisonment of 12 years and one day to life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million, according to Trillanes.

“As a signatory to the Convention, the immediate passage of this bill is necessary to maintain our country’s commitment to international peace and security. It would be a vital step towards maintaining the peaceful and meaningful utilization of chemicals and the creation of a treaty regime which will ensure that governments from different states will fulfill their national obligation of implementing chemical disarmament and non-proliferation,” Trillanes said. /MP 



Filipinos will find more native chicken in the market and be assured of ample supply and affordable prices of poultry products should Congress enact House Bill Number 3880.

Filed by AAMBIS-Owa Party list Representative Sharon Garin, HB 3880 provides for the promotion of scientific propagation of native animals in the country by introducing effective animal breeding system. 

Pending before the Committee on Agriculture and Food, HB 3880 is the proposed Philippine Native Animal Act of 2014. 

The proposed measure seeks to create a Philippine Native Animal Development Center (PNADC) under the Department of Agriculture (DA). “This will develop and promote native animals as a reliable source of food for Filipinos and potential niche product of the Philippines. This will also generate additional income for small-scale farmers and other rural dwellers,” Rep. Garin said.

The DA Technical Working Group which included University of the Philippines Los BaƱos Associate Professor Veneranda Magpantay said native animals are “animals found in one geographical location that developed unique physical characteristics, behavior, product attributes, adapted to the local environment and are products of selection with no infusion of exotic breed for at least five (5) generations.”

Examples of native animals include, but are not limited to, native chicken, goats, pigs, ducks, cattle, sheep, and horses, Prof. Magpantay added.

“Since native animals are well adapted to their natural environments with minimum human intervention, it is no surprise that majority of the animals which survived Typhoon Yolanda were native animals,” Bureau of Animal Industry Director Rubina Cresencio said.

“Despite native animals’ valuable contribution in the economic status of farming communities, lack of adequate research facilities and appropriate technology in propagating local breeds hindered the development of native farming sector for years,” Director Cresencio lamented.

When the bill becomes a law, the DA shall link existing small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs who would want to venture into native animal farming to the Landbank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and financial cooperatives for loans, grants, and incentives.

The Department of Science and Technology, Bureau of Animal Industry and some State Colleges and Universities will provide farmers training and latest technology to ensure high yield.

The National Meat Inspection Service meanwhile shall enforce standards on propagating, processing, and transporting native animals.

Infrastructure like post-harvest, storage, distribution and facilities, and transport services will be provided to qualified farmers or cooperatives using the existing facilities of the NMIS and attached bureaus under the DA. /MP

PIA & DENR Fete Essay Writing Contest Winners At Kapihan Forum
by Ernesto T. Solidum
Photo shows Albert T. Rapista, champion in the Essay Writing Contest sponsored by PIA and DENR is shown with his prizes 3rd from right. Others in the picture are (L to R) Ms. Venus Villanueva-PIA, Ms. Marlene B. Aborka-DENR, Mr. Odon Bandiola-Aklan SP Secretary, Atty. Allen S. Quimpo-Northwestern Visayan Colleges, and Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente-Madyaas Pen.

Kapihan Sa Aklan on October 11, 2014 gave way to the Award Ceremonies to the winners of the Essay Writing Contest, to recognize and honor the cream of the crop of budding journalists in the college level for the spot Essay Writing Contest. Some 25 contestants from all tertiary schools in Aklan vied for the coveted prize but only three (3) won on the topic, “Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.”

Mr. John Albert T. Rapista of Garcia College of Technology got first place with a trophy and cash prize of P10,000. Second place is Ms. Marry Claire Gellang of Aklan Catholic College with P7,000 cash and certificate and Ms Dalyn R. Oliveros of ASU Teachers’ Education College, Makato got 3rd place with P5,000 cash and certificate. 

Their respective schools were also awarded certificate of recognition which are Garcia College of Technology, Kalibo; Aklan Catholic College, Kalibo; and Aklan State University, Makato Campus.
The sponsors of this year’s event are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources headed by Ms. Ivene Reyes, PENRO Aklan and Philippine Information Agency – Ms. Venus G. Villanueva. The essay writing contest aimed to create public awareness and disseminate vital information on climate aberration such as El Nino and La Nina, super typhoons and Noachan floods or seismic upheavals like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes may prove invaluable in our quest to mitigate the ill effects of climate change.

According to Ms. Villanueva, the three provincial winners will represent Aklan at the regional level contest on October 17, 2014 in Iloilo City. This excludes Antique because they failed to meet the required number of 25 contestants. OIC CENRO Aklan Ms. Marlene B. Aborka along with the Aklan SP Secretariat headed by Mr. Odon S. Bandiola pledged all out support to the delegates.

In the open forum that followed, Ms. Aborka discussed “global warming is about temperature rising as carbon emissions from cars, factories and power plants trapped in the stratosphere creating the greenhouse phenomenon. Climate change is the direct effect of global warming. This is characterized by rising sea levels as polar ice caps melt and inundate low lying islands and atolls. A significant occurrence could be super typhoons, droughts, storm surge and tsunamis that could impact food security, health, water resources and political stability.”

Mitigating the effects of climate change is currently undertaken both at domestic and international levels. This includes re-greening program of DENR (planting of 1.5 billion indigenous trees in 6 years), preference of clean or renewable energy, solid waste management and disaster risk reduction and management. The data from the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security and German Alliance Development Works rank the Philippines third on climate change vulnerability test after the first two countries: Vanuato and Tonga. Super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 affected directly and indirectly 0.6 to 1.5 million Filipinos who became poor and another four million to fall deeper into poverty according to Asian Development Bank.

It is not surprising that essay contest winners are active members of their school’s official publication. Ms. Dalyn R. Oliveros is News Editor, ASU Makato, Ms. Marry Claire Gellang – Editor in-Chief ACC and Mr. Albert T. Rapista – Managing Editor GCT. Our contestants have the best chance given their talents, literary skills and preparation to romp away with the coveted prizes.
Gracing the award ceremonies are school paper advisers namely: Ms. Dareen N. Naelgas, ACC, Mr. Lyndon T. Custodio, GCT, and Dr. Marivel S. Villorente, ASU Makato. Mr. Odon S. Bandiola, SP Secretary served as Chairman, contest Board of Judges. /MP

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ricefields Are Burning

Ricefields Are Burning

Photo above shows a newly harvested ricefield in Brgy. Mataphaw, New Washington, Aklan which rice straw is being burned. Inspite of the provincial ordinance prohibiting the burning of rice straw, the farmers are still burning it. 

The Anti-Burning Ordinance was approved 10 years ago but the agency concerned has not implemented the ordinance.  One hectare rice straw is equivalent to one bag commercial fertilizer valued at P1,200. Moreover, the fire will kill the beneficial insects like earthworms in the soil and destroys humus rendering the field unproductive. Burning will also hastened soil infertility. /MP



Vice President Jejomar C. Binay welcomes the results of the Pulse Asia survey while remaining focused on his work. Vice President Binay is set to meet housing beneficiaries and is pressing his appeal for the restoration of the budget allocation for overseas absentee voting which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has removed from the 2015 budget. He encourages our OFWs to join his appeal for Congress to restore the budget.

He expects his political detractors to continue their campaign of lies. But the ratings drop for personalities involved in the on-going Senate sub-committee probe shows that people do not appreciate abuse of senatorial privilege to launch a witch hunt in aid of ambition. 

Unfortunately, these personalities will probably ignore this lesson and just redouble their vicious attacks. This will be of no importance to me as I continue to lead despite their grandstanding and the baseless attacks, and amid a widening field of contenders.

Again, if the detractors feel strongly about the allegations made by discredited local politicians, they should bring it before a court of law.  This would afford us the opportunity to cross-examine the accusers and scrutinize their so-called evidence, unlike in the Senate sub-committee probe where such rights are not allowed.

Meanwhile, Binay announced his Tagaytay property was sold in December 2012 to Constant Builders. The change in the title of ownership is being processed now by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The property is listed in his SALN according to its lawyer, attoney Martin Subido. /MP

Korean Gov’t, PhilRice Prepare Quality Seeds For WV Rice Farmers

Korean Gov’t, PhilRice Prepare Quality 
Seeds For WV Rice Farmers

In support to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) goal of improving food security in the Philippines, the Korea Project for International Agriculture (KOPIA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) developed seed varieties to be distributed to farmers in the rainfed and irrigated lowland conditions in Western Visayas.

The KOPIA funded P254,666 for the seed production of PSB Rc 14 and NSIC Rc 214 during the wet season this year in the 2.5 ha. demo farm at Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC), Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Managed by the Rural Development Administration of Korea, the KOPIA was launched in 2009 and it has centers in Vietnam, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Brazil, Paraguay, Congo, Algeria, Cambodia and in the Philippines.

On October 6, 31 Korean delegates are expected to grace the KOPIA Seed Production Project Farmers Field Day at WESVIARC. There will be a field demonstration of rice combine harvester and thresher in the said seed production area.

KOPIA Project Leader in the Philippines Dr. Norvie L. Manigbas, Center Director, Dr. Jeong Taek Lee, PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr., Dr. Yeo Un Sang of International Rice Research Institute and Dr. Jeong Eung Gi of the Rice Research Division in South Korea will discuss to farmers various seed production technologies. DA Regional Executive Director Larry P. Nacionales, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will also attend the said activity.

Around 130 participants from the towns of Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Passi City, Cabatuan and San Miguel are expected to attend the field day. These six municipalities are also beneficiaries of the Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) Project of the DA.
Meanwhile, the KOPIA will turn over one unit of soil analyzer and rice transplanter to one farmers’ organization of the Municipality of Dingle. /MP