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maharlikangpilipino
I got this idea from another online forum. I think we have to distance ourselves from too much negativity, so I created this thread.
You can post articles that say something positive(of course it should be about the PHL)
Post away folks! beerchug.gif

ASEAN neighbors eyed as comm'l market for Filipino-made dengue-preventive device
By MELODY M. AGUIBA
April 23, 2011, 8:03pm

MANILA, Philippines – The government may open up commercial release of its dengue-preventive mosquito trap to nearby South East Asian neighbors, as this has regional market potential owing to its “organic” nature.

Programmed to already mass produce the ovicidal and larvicidal (OL) mosquito trap locally, a multi-governmental group expressed possibility of exploiting the intellectual property (IP) asset for the Filipino-developed device.

“We have an organic substance that can be used (for dengue control). So it has the greatest potential for global consumption. We are proud to say that because other countries have attempted using synthetic products. But the Philippines embarked on something friendly and non-toxic,” said Dr. Lilian A. De Las Llagas, board of regents member of technology-developer University of the Philippines System, in a press briefing.

The OL trap has tremendous potential for commercialization not only among private companies domestically, but within South East Asia where countries have been plagued by dengue. This is a disease tagged by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the fastest-emerging infections and one for which no drug or vaccine has yet been developed.

The Philippines can then come in through this technology to explore its IP assets and somehow also establish commercial opportunities in the health sector.

Business entities are already interested in commercializing the technology.

We will earn from royalties here because it’s a result of our R&D (research and development) budget, said Industrial Technology and Development Institute (ITDI) Director Nuna Almanzor. “There are already people that inquired from us on how they can become adopters. They need to invest on the equipment to produce the OL traps since we’re just producing it from our laboratory now.”

The OL trap is highly marketable for its low cost of less than P10 per piece. The entire package consists of a strip of “lawanit” board that has the wet organic black paint that attracts the female, dengue-carrying female mosquito. The solution on the board has the pellets made from organic compounds derived from plants that are toxic to the mosquitoes, but not to human.

An advantage of the OL trap is its ability to prevent the disease, a move recognized by many countries to be a primary solution to this global disease.


http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/315297/asean...eventive-device
juansuing
Wow. Great idea to create this thread! Drive away all the negativity! biggrin.gif
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (juansuing @ Apr 24 2011, 06:30 AM) *
Wow. Great idea to create this thread! Drive away all the negativity! biggrin.gif


Indeed. you can post your good news articles here and when it seems that the news deserves its own thread, we can create a thread for it.

____________________________

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/house-passes-bill...-043604182.html

House passes bill granting athlete benefits

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – House Bill 4352, which grants pension, health and medical assistance, and death benefits to professional athletes, has passed third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

Known as the Professional Filipino Athletes Retirement, Health Care, and Death Benefits Act of 2011, beneficiaries will be athletes identified by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and must already be 50 years old.

Athletes who have won in individual competitions will receive monthly pensions worth P15,000 while those who have won in team events will get P10,000.

The amount will be sourced out as part of the General Appropriations Act, which is released annually.

Aside from the pension, beneficiary athletes who have won international competitions will be covered by the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

If a beneficiary athlete is hospitalized, all medical expenses will be paid for by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), under its Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).

Upon death of a professional athlete, the primary and secondary beneficiaries will get P30,000 to cover funeral expenses. The bill also states that the benefits will be retroactive to all living professional athletes who are licensed by GAB.

According to the bill’s author, Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato), the goal is to encourage young athletes to become more determined to win in both local and international competitions.

Only recently, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had also pushed for providing benefits to professional athletes. It also provided similar pension amounts of P10,000 and P15,000 for athletes who have won in team competitions or as individuals.
juansuing
PHL current account to end 2011 in surplus
04/25/2011 | 08:34 PM

Despite a recent analysis by a financial services giant, the country’s current account balance still stands to be in a state of surplus.

The Manila unit of Dutch financial services giant ING Group computed a current account surplus of only $5.1 billion this year, in contrast to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) announcement that the year would end with a surplus of at least $5.6 billion, indicating a capacity to export capital.

The BSP had said that the size of its foreign exchange reserves or the gross international reserves recently surpassed the level of its foreign debt, offering foreign creditors room to breathe.

Overall growth is still pegged between 7 percent and 8 percent this year for the gross domestic product, despite the earthquake in Japan and the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, Deputy BSP governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said.

The belief, he said, was that the events abroad were unlikely to be sustained events and will prove to be local rather than regional or global concerns.
Joey Cuyegkeng, chief economist at ING Bank in Manila, however, noted that exports account for about a third of the country’s local output, with 15 percent coming from Japan.

According to a paper released by Swiss-owned financial services firm UBS, this could be where the Philippine will feel the impact of the disaster now plaguing Japan.

“The impact of the disaster in Japan through the disruption of the supply chain and a more modest remittance level could be temporary," said Cuyegkeng.

While these would normally hinder overall growth, the improvements in the agricultural section and the government’s “frontloading" of fund releases could neutralize these factors, he explained.

Downplaying the NSO report

Cuyegkeng also downplayed the National Statistics Office (NSO) report last week that exports were at its slowest growth since November 2009. According to the economist, the sluggish growth only reflects the “normalization of economic activity after the rebound from the 2009 recession."

Dollar inflows from overseas Filipino workers’ remittances and the business process outsourcing sector would “more than cover the large trade deficit," he said. “We are not too worried about the recent export performance of the Philippines," he added.

These “offsetting" factors are why ING Bank Manila retained its forecast of a 5.2 percent GDP growth for the year, with the peso expected to appreciate mildly to P42:$1-P42.50:$1.

“The downside risk to the forecast is the extent of success and timing of the public-private partnership programs of the government and the inflows," Cuyegkeng said. — BC/VS, GMA News

-----------------------------------------------------

Philippines to ramp up oil exploration
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 20:31:00 04/25/2011

MANILA--The Philippines said Monday it would ramp up oil and gas exploration to diversify its energy sources, with up to 15 contracts to be auctioned off by July.

Manila expects to coax hundreds of millions of dollars from prospective investors in the projects, Energy Minister Jose Rene Almendras said, adding that the government will contribute to security at the exploration areas.

"We have a situation where the Philippines has not found oil but we have found gas. We have a situation wherein more than ever, in the history of exploration in the Philippines, there is so much interest," he said.

He told reporters the ministry would take bids for 15 service contracts in July, without giving details.

In March the Philippines complained to China over the alleged harassment by Chinese gunboats of a Philippine oil survey vessel in disputed seawaters near the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

Almendras said the survey for that project had been completed but it would take two years to process the seismic data gathered. "The potential is there," he added.

"Just two weeks ago, one of the exploration companies came to me and was complaining -- they were running out of equipment and men with exploration experience because projects are going on all at the same time," Almendras said.

"We need security because there's going to be hundreds of millions of dollars, and even billions of dollars, of new equipment in new exploration areas."

Almendras said part of royalties owed the government from the Malampaya offshore natural gas field run by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Group would be used to buy security equipment for the new projects.


beerchug.gif
benteunerz36
anti-negativity! biggrin.gif
batangbaylan
QUOTE (benteunerz36 @ Apr 26 2011, 04:13 AM) *
anti-negativity! biggrin.gif


can we ban ocrap from this threads he makes me negative... waaah icon_sad.gif
jonathanrhino
Sali akong sampu sa thread na to...icon_smile.gif
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (batangbaylan @ Apr 26 2011, 08:08 AM) *
can we ban ocrap from this threads he makes me negative... waaah icon_sad.gif


embarassedlaugh.gif huwag na natin pag-usapan yan. Bawal dito ang negative topics hahaha

QUOTE (jonathanrhino @ Apr 26 2011, 09:36 AM) *
Sali akong sampu sa thread na to...icon_smile.gif


magpaskil lang kayo nang magpaskil ng mga mabubuting balita at mga paksang maaliwalas sa paningin at pandinig biggthumpup.gif

QUOTE (benteunerz36 @ Apr 26 2011, 04:13 AM) *
anti-negativity! biggrin.gif


post away beerchug.gif

__________________________________

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/philippine-nation...-044007831.html

Philippine National Games gets P26M in funding
By Anna Valmero

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA - Some P26.5 million is allocated for the revival of the Philippine National Games on May 22- 29 this year, according to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

PSC Commissioner Jose Luis Gomez said the national event will be jointly hosted by the cities of Silay, Talisay, Bacolod and Bago in the province of Negros Occidental.

PSC expects that 7,800 athletes with about 1,000 officials, and experts will join the event.

“This will serve as a venue to scout new talents to don the national colors, particularly for the Asian Games and the Olympics,” Gomez said.

The number of attendees is forecast to boost the local economy. To date, 400 hotel rooms for a total of 850 guests are already booked in the different hotels in Bacolod City in time for the event.

“We will implement a daily payment scheme because we want the Manila people to spend their money here, for the local economy to grow,” Gomez said.

Organizers expect 10,000 people to witness the opening ceremonies in the morning of May 22. On the same day, there will be 3K, 5K, and 10K marathons to be held simultaneously around Bacolod.

Aside from the venues, tourists and local can also witness events such as the 120 kilometers cycling event from Kabankalan and the marathon set to start from Manapla town.

Also to be held in Bacolod City are the games of badminton, beach volleyball, billiards, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, judo, karate do, lawn tennis, motorcycle sports, sailing, soft tennis, swimming, taekwondo, volleyball, wall climbing, weightlifting, wind surfing, and wrestling.

Events at Bago City will include kayak, dragon boat, muay thai, and wushu. Road cycling, futsal, football, penkak silat, softball and table tennis will be held in Talisay. At Silay City, players will compete for archery, arnis, sepak takraw and triathlon.

Basketball, boxing, dancesports, chess, golf and shooting were not included in the roster of games since the National Sports Associations (NSA) already set their respective calendars for this year.

Gomez also discussed the events vis-à-vis their playing venues and the billeting schools involved as well as the security and traffic concerns during the conduct of the games.

There will also be free sports seminars to be conducted by nutritionists, psychologists and other experts on the field.

Meanwhile, PSC will get over P50 million this year to fund athletes’ training and international exposures as well as providing them the needed nutrition, equipment and facility to train well for events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and even the Olympics.

The amount is ten percent of the P519 million earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), which finances the sports agency by virtue of Republic Act 6847.

*****

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/philippine-ex-pre...-080944445.html

Philippine ex-president accused of $12.8M plunder
By OLIVER TEVES - Associated Press | AP – Tue, Apr 26, 2011 9:39 PM PHT


A complaint filed Tuesday alleges former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo plundered an overseas workers' fund to boost her 2004 election campaign.

The complaint claims Arroyo ordered about 530 million pesos ($12.3 million) diverted from the fund to pay for health cards with her image on them distributed during the campaign.

About 9 million Filipinos work abroad due to a lack of employment at home, and their contributions to the trust fund pay for repatriation during emergencies, medical care and other needs unique to overseas workers.

The complaint alleges their money was misused when part of the trust fund was allegedly diverted to pay for health cards, which are available to all Filipinos to pay for hospital care.

Arroyo has long denied wrongdoing but continues to be dogged by allegations of corruption and misrule in her nine-year presidency. She stepped down last June and now serves in the House of Representatives.

The complaint filed by lawyer Frank Chavez, a former solicitor general, was received by the Justice Department, which will determine if there is enough evidence for an indictment.

Chavez's complaint also alleges three government officials conspired with Arroyo to divert the money. He also claimed she diverted 21.5 million pesos ($494,000) to pay for diplomatic vehicles in the Middle East in support of the US-led war in Iraq and "humanitarian assistance" to Filipinos in Iraq in 2003.

The Justice Department is still reviewing a previous plunder complaint that Arroyo ordered the sale of prime government property to a private developer but did not remit 72 million ($1.7 million) in capital gains tax.

Under the law, currently serving or former state employees who amass at least 50 million pesos ($1.15 million) in ill-gotten wealth through criminal acts could be charged with plunder.

*****
juansuing
House passes bill granting athlete benefits
loQal – Sat, Apr 23, 2011 4:44 PM PHT
By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – House Bill 4352, which grants pension, health and medical assistance, and death benefits to professional athletes, has passed third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

Known as the Professional Filipino Athletes Retirement, Health Care, and Death Benefits Act of 2011, beneficiaries will be athletes identified by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and must already be 50 years old.

Athletes who have won in individual competitions will receive monthly pensions worth P15,000 while those who have won in team events will get P10,000.

The amount will be sourced out as part of the General Appropriations Act, which is released annually.

Aside from the pension, beneficiary athletes who have won international competitions will be covered by the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

If a beneficiary athlete is hospitalized, all medical expenses will be paid for by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), under its Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).

Upon death of a professional athlete, the primary and secondary beneficiaries will get P30,000 to cover funeral expenses. The bill also states that the benefits will be retroactive to all living professional athletes who are licensed by GAB.

According to the bill’s author, Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato), the goal is to encourage young athletes to become more determined to win in both local and international competitions.

Only recently, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had also pushed for providing benefits to professional athletes. It also provided similar pension amounts of P10,000 and P15,000 for athletes who have won in team competitions or as individuals.

juansuing
Q1 budget deficit at P26-B, much smaller than goal
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Posted at 04/27/2011 11:51 AM | Updated as of 04/27/2011 4:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The government announced Wednesday it had a budget deficit of P18.131 billion in March, bringing the fiscal gap for the first 3 months of the year to P26.197 billion, lower than targeted.

The first-quarter shortfall was less than a quarter of the government's projected shortfall of P112 billion and 80% lower than last year's actual deficit of P134.2 billion.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said improved collections by the 2 main revenue agencies as well as judicious spending focused mostly on priority programs trimmed the deficit.

Total revenue collections in the first quarter increased by 21.5% year on year to P323.1 billion, exceeding the P319.3 billion revenue program.

Expenditures, on the other hand, declined to P349.3 billion or 12.7% lower than what was recorded in the first quarter last year due to a significant drop in interest expense.

Tax collections

Purisima said collections by both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) went up from last year.

The BIR generated P199.5 billion, exceeding its P197 billion quarterly revenue target and its P173.89 billion collections last year.

The BoC, on the other hand, collected P62.6 billion, 3.4% higher than last year but P770 million short of its first-quarter goal. “Revenue collections of Customs were affected by the peso appreciation and reduction in tariff rates under our foreign trade agreements,” said Purisima.

Nonetheless, he said: "the government expects continuous improvement in the revenue path on better economic prospects complimented with our serious campaign against tax evaders and smugglers and fight against corruption."

Deficit targets

The government's deficit target of P112 billion in the first quarter was the biggest quarterly figure for 2011, based on official data.

The deficit goals are P40 billion for the second quarter, P82 billion for the third, and P65.7 billion for the last 3 months of the year.

The Philippines wants to narrow its fiscal shortfall to 3.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from 3.7% of GDP, or the record P314 billion last year.

It plans to cut the deficit ratio further to 2.6% in 2012 and to 2% by 2013, keeping it at that level until 2016, the year President Benigno Aquino's term ends.

The government is targeting gross borrowing of P773 billion for 2011, of which 73%, or P563.3 billion, will be raised from the local bond market. - With a report from Reuters
filipinoy
Magandang Balita Bayan
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (filipinoy @ Apr 28 2011, 06:11 AM) *
Magandang Balita Bayan


Kabayan ikaw ba yan? embarassedlaugh.gif


________________________________________

Noy allies to face criminal charge on fertilizer scam. ABAD, ACOSTA, SALCEDA, MITRA I

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo
04/27/2011
the daily tribune


Allies of former President Gloria Arroyo, now turned allies of President Aquino are not spared from the fertilizer funds scam.

This new development arose as the Office of the Ombudsman, in its resolution, disclosed that it is planning to file criminal charges against government officials who may have misused the fertilizer funds weeks before the 2004 national elections.

Among those listed in the Ombudsman’s resolution as recipients of the fertilizer funds is the congressional district of former Bukidnon Rep. Nereus Acosta, who is also facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged diversion of his “pork barrel” to a foundation headed by members of his family.

In its 134-page resolution released last April 15, the anti-graft body said the First District of Bukidnon of then Rep. Nereus Acosta Jr. was one of five legislative districts that received a share from the Farm Input/Farm Implements Fund (FIFIF) even if none of them was included in the list submitted to the Department of Budget and Management in 2004 for issuance of Special Allotment Release Order (SARO).

Acosta lost his bid for a Senate seat in the 2010 elections but is reportedly expecting to be appointed to a Cabinet post after the one year ban on May 9, 2011 expires.


Also among the non-listed recipients were the Second District of Lanao del Sur of then Rep. Benasing Marambon Jr, 2nd District of Surigao del Sur of former Rep. Jesnar Falcon, Lone District of Basilan of then Rep. Gerry Salapuddin and the Lone District of Cagayan De Oro of former Rep. Constantino Jaraula.

The Ombudsman resolution did not say how much each of the five districts received out of the Fertilizer Funds but said they were included only in the Supplemental Complaint filed on July 9, 2010.

Other political partymates of Aquino included in the ongoing investigation are Albay Provincial Gov. Jose “Joey” Salceda and Palawan Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra.

Salceda was former congressman of the Third District of Albay that reportedly received P5 million while Mitra represented the Second District of Palawan which was a recipient of P3 million from the FIFIF.

Among the incumbent lawmakers who were alleged to have received the fertilizer funds were: Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. ( 2nd District, Iloilo); Syjuco receibed P5-million; Rep. Renato Unico, (1st District, Camarines Norte); Unico received P3-million; Rep. Napoleon Dy (3rd District, Isabela), then a mayor of Alicia toen in Isabela received P2-million; Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona (Lone District, Romblom); Madrona received P5-million; Rep.George Arnais (2nd District, Negros Oriental); Arnais received P5-million, he was then governor of Negros Oriental; Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol); He was then the governor. He received P5-million; and Rep. Rogelio Espina (1st District, Biliran) he was then Biliran governor when he received P5-million.

Quezon (3rd District) Rep. Danilo Suarez, whose wife former Rep. Aleta Suarez was occupying his current post when it received P5 million in 2004, said the money probably went to irrigation projects for their district including the purchase of water pumps and the digging of shallow wells and irrigation ditches.

He explained that he could not recall of any participation in the distribution of fertilizer funds.

“It is possible that we received it. I can assure that it was used for shallow tube well for irrigation canal. I am not aware that it was from the fertilizer fund. The funds were probably used and this is recorded with the DA. They have the complete records. We did not receive any fertilizer fund, (I’m)100 percent sure,” Suarez said.

On the other hand, Davao del Sur (1st District) Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas, whose district was said to have received P3 million during the time of his father, then Rep. Douglas Cagas, said all funds received from the Department of Agriculture went to farmer beneficiaries.

“Our place has very productive and successful farmer cooperatives and it is just fitting to assist our farmers, as what we have been doing for a long time. Hence, there is no scam as far as we are concerned. It is our farmer-constituents who benefited from any program intiated via the Department of Agriculture,” the younger Cagas said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said that he is surprised at how long it took the Ombudsman to resolve the issue of the fertilizer funds.

“If it is true, I am just surprised that it has taken the Ombudsman all this time to resolve this thing,” Belmonte said in an interview yesterday at the speaker’s office.

“I look at it as a move to try to correct to defang one of the charges which is the fertilizer charge… that’s more like it, rather than scaring off individual congressman,” he said.

In pages 9 and 10 of its resolution, the anti-graft body said it is still completing its investigation into the extent of participation by politicians from legislative districts, provinces and towns named as recipients of the FIFIF when it was distributed in early 2004.

“These (initial) cases picture the story of the scam only insofar as some regions are concerned. While most regional directors of the DA are already included…,FIO-Task Force Abono noted that focus was made only on the liability of the respondents DA senior officials. A separate investigation is still being conducted against named proponents in the SARO,” the Ombudsman said in its 134-page resolution.

Graft investigators noted that the SARO (Special Allotment and Release Order) issued by the Budget Department on Feb. 3, 2004 had an Annex ‘A’ containing a list of allocations per congressional district, provinces and municipalities.

“These proponents are the elected public officials who were congressmen, governors or mayors…181 proponents are enumerated under the said list,” they said.

Of the said number, the Ombudsman said it found 76 that did not receive any money from the FIFIF although they were included in the original list of recipients submitted by then Aggie Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante to the DBM.

The list included 43 congressmen, 21 governors, one vice governor and 11 mayors.

Also in the list were former Western Samar Rep. (now Supreme Court Associate Justice) Antonio Nachura, then Batanes Rep. (now DBM Secretary) Florencio Abad and then Bukidnon Rep. (now Senator) Juan Miguel Zubiri.

As investigation progresses and additional information surface when the trial begins, the Ombudsman said new defendants may be named in place of John and Jane Does in the criminal information that it is expected to file this week.

“Despite the fact that the preliminary investigation insofar as these cases are concerned has been completed, there may still be other individuals who acts contributed to the success of herein respondents but their identities have remained unknown. Consequently, while their identities are not yet unmasked, they shall be included in the charges herein as John and Jane Does,” the Ombudsman said.

Meanwhile, Sen, Panfilo Lacson, who eluded the law for over a year, living the life of a fugitive, yesterday said that the ax should fall where it may. even to those known strong Palace allies who had benefited in the past from the controversial P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

The senator said no one should be spared from the filing of charges by the Office of the Ombudsman, especially if there is evidence to prove those who stood as “recipients” from the program alleged to have been engineered by Bolante.

“Let the axe fall on whoever is found accountable. Whoever indeed benefited from it, whether they’re (political) allies or participated in juggling of funds, they too, should be made to liable under the law,” the senator said, when asked on reports naming current DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad as among those supposed to have received a portion of the fund.

The Office of the Ombudsman announced last week that plunder charges will be filed against Bolante, former Department of Agriculture Sec. Luis “Cito” Lorenzo and even to one of the whistleblowers, Jose Barredo.

Lacson, who was among those who exposed in a privilege speech the misuse and abuse of the farmers’ funds in 2004 and believed to have been diverted to the campaign kitty of former president Gloria Arroyo, maintained that case should be resolved by the courts, not the Senate.

The issue on the fertilizer fund scam is among those included in the so-called articles of impeachment against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and now pending before the Senate, due for impeachment trial soon.

“Hopefully this time around, those who dipped their fingers and took advantaged not only of the P728 million, because if we would sum up all the transactions it could amount to more than P2 billion, should suffer the appropriate consequences,” he said.

*****

Not so new, but it's still GOOD NEWS

NATIONAL MUSEUM RECEIVES P178 MILLION IN ENDOWMENT FROM PAGCOR

MANILA, Philippines – On March 25, 2011, an historic agreement between the National Museum of the Philippines and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was executed to provide for the endowment by PAGCOR of 178 million pesos to the Museum. To be paid between April and December this year, this finally implements the provisions of the National Museum Act of 1998 (Republic Act No. 8492) which appropriated 250 million pesos from the earnings of PAGCOR for the Museum’s Endowment Fund. Though partial remittances had been made in the past, payment of the balance of 178 million pesos had not been made for many years until it was brought to the attention of the present management of PAGCOR.

Present at the signing ceremony were PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cristino L. Naguiat Jr., National Museum Director and Assistant Director Jeremy Barns and Cecilio Salcedo, and Senator Edgardo J. Angara, representing the Board of Trustees of the National Museum, of which he is an ex-officio member as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

At the ceremony, PAGCOR Chairman Naguiat highlighted the need to help preserve the Philippines’ greatest collection of important treasures. PAGCOR is continually raising funds for the governments’ socio-civic and national developmental efforts, including boosting the country’s tourism industry. Senator Angara, for his part, stated that the occasion was “a huge milestone for our country. It will foster cultural and artistic literacy. The National Museum has not acquired any large collection in the last few years, and now it finally can. This is the largest amount that any government agency has given so far, and the National Museum can use every penny of it.”

According to its charter, the National Museum may use interest generated from its Endowment Fund for special projects, of which the most important currently is the restoration and refurbishment of its main building, the Old Legislative Building, and the improvement of public galleries and facilities. Director Barns of the National Museum stressed that this boost to the endowment fund could not have come at a better time. “We are in the process of creating a new and improved National Museum that every Filipino can be proud of. We have been working hard to modernize, expand and upgrade our facilities for the general public as well as enhance the general appeal of the Museum. We have not had the resources that we need to make any big moves, but that has changed significantly now. We are extremely happy to forge a strong relationship with PAGCOR through this landmark agreement.”

yay beerchug.gif
maharlikangpilipino
Int’l private-public partnership health center to be put up in Manila


The Philippines will soon host the International public-private partnership (PPP) Specialist Centre on Health after the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe PPP (UNECE PPP) Centre of Excellence recently approved the putting up of the said centre in Manila, the Department of Health said.

In a letter report to President Benigno S. Aquino dated April 25, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the decision to choose Manila as the Centre’s future site was done during the holding of the High Level Meeting to the 3rd Session of the Team of Specialists (TOS) on PPP held at the United Nations Offfice in Geneva, Switzerland from April 18 to 19, 2011.

Ona, who joined other Ministers and government officials from Europe as one of the guest speakers to the High Level Meeting, said the Philippines was chosen as the future site of the IPPPSCH to align the country’s overall involvement in the UNECE PPP Initiative with the current thrust of the President’s social contract with the Filipino people, particularly the PPP agenda.

The IPPPSCH, which will operate under a Memorandum of Understanding between the UNECE and the Philippines, will have the following function: Fund the establishment and operations of the UNECE PPP Specialist Centre; Fund the development and updating of the specific best practice guides under the direction by the UN PPP Secretariat; Manage the sector specific PPP Research Program; Establish and manage the Specialist Centre Membership; Establish an international database within the sector; and Provide support for other countries.

The UNECE PPP Initiative aims to globally improve the quality of life for citizens through the improved quality to and access to public utilities and services.


http://www.president.gov.ph/news/default.aspx?n=1054

*****

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL TOURISM "THE HEART OF ASIA"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1r4BKduUf4...player_embedded
trismegistos
QUOTE
ADB to fund production of electric trikes

THE Asian Development Bank on Thursday committed to help finance the government’s program to produce up to 100,000 battery-run tricycles at a cost of up to $500 million.

“We have not finalized the detailed amount. It can go up to $400 million to $500 million; it will depend on [the Energy Department],” said Sohail Hasnie, the bank’s principal energy specialist.

“We’re still doing feasibility studies for the project.”

Hasnie said the bank was open to financing the purchase of 20,000 to 100,000 e-tricycles over three to four years at a cost of P200,000 each. The project would include putting up charging stations.

These ADB loansharks are no angel. The tricycle driver and/or the government has to pay the loan of 200,000 pesos plus interest for each unit.

On topic, a good news...

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/...G-exec-confirms

... sparing our country from several weeks of political rigodon to the detriment of the taxpayer's money and more pressing issues such as rising oil and food prices, wage hike, etc.
martin_nuke
Why loan an E Trike at ADB if you can have one fabricated locally with solar panels and dependence on charging stations will be eliminated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxYH0afx6bM
juansuing
Philippines optimistic on winning cigarette case against Thailand
By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
May 1, 2011, 1:21am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is optimistic the Appellate Body (AB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will rule in favor of the Philippines on a cigarette case versus Thailand.

“We are optimistic the Appellate body will uphold a WTO panel ruling on the Philippine cigarette case with Thailand,” said Trade and Industry undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr.

Cristobal himself went to Geneva last week to respond to an appeal filed by Thailand before the AB. Thailand’s move stemmed from the WTO Panel Report released last November. The WTO ruled in favor of the Philippines saying that Thailand acted inconsistently with the WTO rules in valuing Philippine cigarette exports for customs purposes and failing to treat imported cigarettes the same way as locally manufactured cigarettes.

Cristobal led the Philippine delegation including officials from the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the WTO, DTI’s Bureau of International Trade Relations, and Philippine government counsel Sidley Austin LLP.

“We will continue to ensure that our exports are competitive. This is why we are strongly defending the WTO Panel’s ruling in favor of the Philippines. The hearing of the tobacco case with Thailand provided an effective opportunity to address both parties’ rights for due process and we are confident that the case will be resolved soon,” said Cristobal.

During the hearing, the Philippines countered the arguments used by the Thais seeking to reverse the Panel ruling.

In 2008, the Philippines requested the WTO to examine Thailand’s customs, fiscal, and health measures imposed on imported cigarettes. Following the substantive meetings, the WTO panel issued a report last year declaring that Thailand acted inconsistently with its WTO obligations.

Tobacco is among the fast growing resource-based exports of the Philippines. Data from the National Tobacco Authority showed that the country’s tobacco exports amounted to US148 million in 2010. Tobacco-growing in the Philippines began in the 16th century during the galleon trade.



Philippine craftsmanship lauded
By ROY C. MABASA
April 30, 2011, 7:32pm
MANILA, Philippines — The head of a company in Australia has revealed that he will be leading a big Australian buying mission in the Philippines for this year as he noted his observations of the superior design talent and creative craftsmanship of Philippine designers and manufacturers.

Newly appointed Gifts and Homeware Australia (GHA) Chief Executive Officer David Leek made the disclosure during his recent courtesy call on Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Antonio V. Rodrigue. He repeated his announcement in the 53rd Manila Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers’ Exchange (FAME) International at the SMX Convention Center recently.

Leek said he was impressed by the quality and creative design of Philippine products pushing him to commit and lead an association-wide delegation in the October edition of Manila FAME this year.

GHA is the association representing the gifts and homewares industry in Australia.

Manila FAME International is a biannual trade show of CITEM. This year, it debuted under the theme, “New directions, Contemporary lifestyle, Artisanal touch”, which featured indigenous materials such as those made from fabric and shell, putting emphasis on design concepts and products from leading Filipino designers and artisans.

Underecretary Rodriguez expressed appreciation for Leek’s assurances this as vowed that the DFA will support the move of the businessman and his association and industry for mutual benefit of Australian buyers and Philippine exporters.

Leek shared the positive impression he obtained from his discussion with Center for International Trade Exposition and Missions (CITEM) and Manila FAME exhibitors, where he said that the buyers market in Australia promises to be a compelling opportunity for the Philippine merchandise exporters.

maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (trismegistos @ Apr 29 2011, 08:18 PM) *
These ADB loansharks are no angel. The tricycle driver and/or the government has to pay the loan of 200,000 pesos plus interest for each unit.


okay, removed it from my post. beerchug.gif
maharlikangpilipino
Japanese agency upgrades RP credit rating

By CHINO S. LEYCO
April 30, 2011, 12:53am
Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DoF) said the change by Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCRA) in the outlook of the Philippines to positive from stable is another testament to the country’s macroeconomic and fiscal stability.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said that the recent upgrade from the Japanese credit rating firm encourages the government to persevere in its goal to accelerate economic growth in an environment of better governance and transparency.

“There is an outpouring of vote of confidence in our economy from various credit rating agencies starting from the one-notch upgrade from Standard & Poor’s in November last year, the positive outlook from Moody's in January this year,” Purisima said.

The finance chief also said that the government will continue to invest more to build up infrastructure with the help from both the public and private institutions.

“I am confident that the Philippine economy will be able to sustain its growth momentum, attract more investments, and create more jobs. Things are definitely looking up for the Philippines in the medium term,” Purisima said.

JCRA upgraded the country due to its strong performance of the economy in both the monetary and fiscal sectors in 2010.

Should the Philippines warrant another upgrade, the next classification would be in the single A of the ‘A’ range, with the triple A, or ‘AAA,’ classification being the topmost sought-after credit grade.

The JCRA, however, is the only one of the three sovereign credit watchers to have rated the Philippines an investment-grade borrower.

JCRA chief analyst Yoshikiko Tamura noted the budget deficit improved from 3.9 percent of local output, or the gross domestic product (GDP), in 2009 to 3.7 percent of GDP last year and is seen to improve again to only 3.2 percent of GDP this year.

The medium-term goal was to lower this further to just 2 percent of GDP by 2013.

“How the government will achieve it is to be watched,” Tamura said of the deficit-reduction plan involving the widening of the tax base and optimizing revenues through faster economic growth.
maharlikangpilipino
Coconut shells used to purify water
By ROY C. MABASA
April 27, 2011, 4:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — A professor from the De La Salle University (DLSU), in partnership with the Manhattan College in New York City, has helped develop a sustainable water purification system which uses indigenous biodegradable materials such as coconut shells to be introduced in Nagcarlan, Laguna in June.

DLSU Professor Susan Gallardo, together with Manhattan College Professor and Filipino-American James Patrick Abulencia, presented the water purification system at the just concluded National Sustainable Design Expo at the National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets, Washington DC which was organized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its Earth Day event.

This endeavor by students from the Manhattan College, under the tutelage of Gallardo and Abulencia, was made possible by a $9,990 grant from the EPA under its P3 Program (People, Prosperity and the Planet).

Through this EPA program, college students can benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by designing solutions that move people towards a sustainable future.

The EPA considers projects that address challenges from a wide range of categories: agriculture, built environment, materials and chemicals, energy, and water. These can be challenges found in the developed or developing world.

The P3 Award competition is a two-phase team contest. For the first phase, interdisciplinary student teams compete for $15,000 grants. Recipients use the money to research and develop their design projects during the academic year. The final projects include a Phase I project report and a Phase II proposal.

This year's Expo showcased 55 teams of more than 400 college students from across the United States who presented their innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Gallardo teaches Chemical Engineering at the DLSU while Abulencia recently participated in the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).

Their team designed and developed a cost-effective and bio-degradable water filter using materials that are locally available and cost-effective for the local population.

The water system will be launched in June when Professor Abulencia travels back to the Philippines.

*****

juansuing
Industry earnings increase in Q4
By Daniel Anne N. Rodriguez, BusinessWorld
Posted at 05/03/2011 8:25 AM | Updated as of 05/03/2011 8:25 AM


MANILA, Philippines- An index tracking revenues generated by Philippine industries rose anew in fourth quarter of 2010, driven by recovery of the property sector from the global financial crisis, data released yesterday by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed.

The NSCB’s total gross revenue index of industries grew 12.7% in that period.

This was faster than the 8% recorded the previous year, but slower than the 14.8% rise recorded in third quarter of 2010.

The index, which measures revenues derived by domestic industries from their core businesses, has been going up since the third quarter of 2009. With 1978 as the base year, the index stood at 8,507.8 in the fourth quarter, up from 7,580.9 in the third quarter of 2010.

The key driver for growth during the last quarter of 2010 was the real estate sector, which climbed by 24.1%.

The NSCB said the uptick was due to increased revenues from real estate projects, renting and leasing operations.

Claro G. Cordero, head of research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle Lee Chiu Philippines, said higher revenues from the real estate sector was mainly due to a significant increase in project completion.

"There were more projects completed in fourth quarter 2010, as compared from fourth quarter 2009 when many projects were put on hold because of the financial crisis," Mr. Cordero said. "The pipeline was very narrow at that time; but now we are back at a comfortable level."

Aside from the real estate sector, trade and finance supported the rise in revenues of Philippine industries. The trade sector grew by 13.9%, while finance went up 12.7%.

The NSCB data also provided a glimpse of the jobs sector. The total employment index and total compensation index went up by 2.3% and 5%, respectively in fourth quarter last year, still supported by the robust performance of the real estate sector.

Property firms reported hiring 5.3% more workers during the period and a 26.2% rise in compensation for their workers. Hiring in mining and quarrying, private services, as well as transportation and communication, however, declined by 7.6%, 1.2%, and 0.6%, respectively.

On a per employee basis, growth in compensation slowed to 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010 from 5.4% the previous year. Real estate reported the fastest growth at 19.9%, followed by private services at 8.8%, as well as mining and quarrying at 8.7%.
juansuing
Wage hike in NCR set on May 9
By Estrella Torres, Business Mirror
Posted at 05/03/2011 7:56 AM | Updated as of 05/03/2011 11:14 AM


MANILA, Philippines - The regional wage board in the National Capital Region (NCR) said it would announce its decision on wage increase—whether to be integrated in the basic wage or in the form of allowance—on May 9 even as employers maintained that any amount of wage increase would result in disruption of operations and even closure.

This came as Malacañang on Monday defended the nonwage benefits it had announced on Labor Day, amid complaints from militant labor groups that these are not enough.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration decided to pursue the measures, which include the earlier implementation of the third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL3), not to score brownie points with the public but because they are “doable.”

Raymundo Agravante, chairman of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-NCR, said the board has fulfilled the “full process of public hearings for the petition for P75 across-the-board increase.”

He said the National Wages and Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment confirmed there is a “supervening condition to address petitions for increase in minimum wages.”

Asked if there will be a wage-increase announcement on May 9, Agravante said: “As directed by President Aquino, there will be an issuance of a wage-increase decision. But as to its form and amount, whether it [wage increase] will be integrated in the basic wage or in the form of allowance, we have to decide on them on May 9.”

The wage board head, meanwhile, said wage-increase petitions might be based on the outcome of the possible amounts raised by groups during the hearing. These range from Trade Union Congress of the Philippines’ P75 petition to the amounts raised by some groups from P25 to P13.35 across-the-board increase.

Lacierda made the statement in response to the insistence of militant labor groups that the Labor Day package that President Aquino announced are inadequate.

“The advance implementation of SSL3 is a big help [to state workers], for tuition fee expenses. And we are set to receive our bonus. These are the measures that are doable.... We are not implementing measures only meant to make us look good. These are things that are doable and what we can afford to do,” he said.

As for demands for a P125-legislated wage increase, Lacierda said the President has already urged the wage boards to immediately act on the wage- rise petitions pending before them.

In a Labor Day breakfast forum with moderate labor groups, the President had urged wage boards to expedite their deliberations on wage hike petitions—within the week for Metro Manila and within the month for other areas.

He had also announced a P168.1 million fund for the hiring of 52,000 more students this summer under the Special Program for Employment of Students, which seeks to help augment the tuition fee needs of poor students.

The regional wage board hosted on Monday the public hearings for the petition for P75 across-the-board increase filed by the TUCP. The close to four hours hearing between employers and workers’ groups highlighted the pressing need of wage increase for workers, and the employers’ hard pressed condition to maintain regular operations amid the skyrocketing oil-price increases.

“We need to consider all their sides [of workers and employers] and study the result of this hearing,” said Agravante in an interview after the hearing held at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.

No to nonmonetary benefits

TUCP legal counsel German Pascua Jr. said wage increase is very much needed due to the continuing prices of commodities, transportation and basic services.

He said despite the group’s petition for P75 across-the-board increase, the group is amenable to a P40-P45 across-the board increase.

“We will not accept nonmonetary benefits for minimum wage earners. We need concrete wage increase to cope with the rising prices of commodities,” said Pascua in an interview at the sidelines of the hearing. “If we cannot have a concrete salary adjustment then we will join the campaign to abolish regional wage boards and to go straight to Congress for P125 across-the-board increase.”

The employers’ groups, including the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers and Commerce Industry (FFCCCI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), meanwhile, maintained their opposition to any wage increase.

Philexport, in a letter to the regional wage board, said any wage increase would gravely impact the 1,000 exporters in the country, 96 percent of which are micro, small and medium-scale enterprises. The group said minimum wage adjustment will cause job losses and may force some firms to go underground and be absorbed by the informal sector.

The group said the Philippines has the highest minimum wage in Southeast Asia compared to neighboring countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Thailand.

A representative of the FFCCCI, meanwhile, said the petition to increase minimum wage to P75 would be too much for employers. He said once the minimum wage becomes P479, it would become 19 percent of the entire labor cost.

Manny Arias, president of the National Federation of Labor Unions, said the government needs to go after erring employers who do not declare the real condition of their companies through books submitted to government agencies.

Slowdown in hike in incomes

Even if the fourth quarter is usually the strongest period for the Philippine economy, many Filipinos did not feel any improvement in their incomes as the Total Compensation Per Employee Index in the fourth quarter of 2010 slowed to only 2.6 percent.

The latest data included in the Quarterly Economic Index (QEI) released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) on Monday, showed that compensation per employee slowed from a growth of 5.4 percent in the same period in 2009.

However, NSCB Secretary General Romulo Virola said the deceleration was largely due to the increase in the number of employees in the last quarter of the year. “It is more because of the increase in employment. Inflation in the fourth quarter of 2010 was slightly lower than the fourth quarter of 2009,” Virola said.

The NSCB said the slowdown was largely caused by the 3.2-percent contraction in the compensation per employee in the transportation and communication sector. This, the NSCB noted, was the only sector that posted negative growth during the period. -- With M. Gonzalez and C. Ordinario
maharlikangpilipino
Davao City eyed as Phl's culinary center

DAVAO CITY, May 3 (PNA) -- Two concerned private sectors in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) Davao are working together to establish Davao City as culinary center in the Philippines.

At a simple rites held on Monday, JIB Foundation/ICHEF chairperson Joji Ilagan Bian and Adolf Aran, Jr. of Food and Hospitality Events Specialist, Inc. (F&H), before the presence of Susan Palad, vice president of Mindanao Tourism Congress, signed a memorandum of understanding on their partnership for the holding of “Dine Philippines 2011: Young Restaurateurs’ Summit” to be held on July 8 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.

The event, according to both Bian and Aran aims to position Davao City as culinary center in the country.

Prior to the event, a kick-off launch will be held on May 31 at the same venue, also the third day of the Davao Food Expo scheduled on May 28-31. The forum will specifically highlight the issue on “what makes a restaurant business works,” Aran said.

“You don’t just teach students to follow concepts, but also create concepts,” he said. The forum is one way of getting started towards developing a Davao Cuisine, he said.

He also clarified that the summit is not exclusive for literally young people but will also include entrepreneurs who are still neophytes in the food business.

Bian said the main challenge in achieving their aim is the creation of an association of restaurateurs in the city.

As venue for a number of conventions, it’s high time for Davao City’s restaurants to specialize in a so-called “Davao Cuisine". As suggested, the promotion of indigenous cuisine and its preparation will be discussed in the summit, Aran for his part said.

Palad, for her part, said Davao City is highly potential to become a culinary center having a number of restaurants with affordable prices.

“Where in the Philippines you can find a cheap ‘eat all you can’ concept, it’s in Davao City,” she said.
The summit will also admit students in the food and hotel courses being the future restaurateurs and hoteliers, she added. (PNA)

*****

Davao Norte mayors back CoCoPal project

LOCAL chief executives of four recipient municipalities of Davao del Norte expressed their gratitude and all-out support to the Acdi-Voca CoCoPal project during its recent launch in the province.

The project is named after cocoa, coconut and the palayamanan system of farming rice (palay) alongside high-value crops.

Four towns of Davao del Norte, namely Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro and Talaingod, were among the beneficiaries of the $5.4 million project, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (Usda).

The project aims to increase the incomes and food security of 25,000 farmers in select Mindanao provinces who work smaller farm plots and often struggle to earn a basic living.

San Isidro Mayor Rosebella Abelita-Nana expressed her heartfelt gratitude, as well as her hundred percent support to the project.

"Through this project we hope that our cocoa farmers will become competitive and be able to produce and sell premium black chocolate around the world," she said.

Her town has identified cacao as its main one-town, one-product (Otop) commodity.

The other local chief executives also extended their thanks to the Acdi-Voca CoCoPal project through their respective representatives. Noel Baguio

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 02, 2011.

*****

old news

http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/

Winners for the 2011 edition of the “Water for Life” Best Practices Award:


The United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) organize the “Water for Life” Best Practices Award. The purpose of the Award is to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015 through recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

The prize is awarded yearly in two categories. Every year, special emphasis is being put on the theme selected for next World Water Day. In 2011, special focus is given to the topic "Urban Water Management".

The Secretariat has received a total of 74 applications for its 2011 edition: 39 for category 1 ‘Best water management practices’, 35 for category 2 ‘Best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices’. Geographical distribution of applications is as follows: Africa 15%, Asia 22%, Europe 24%, Latin America and the Caribbean 35%, Northern America 4%.

The 2011 Prize has been awarded to the following programmes:

* Category 1,‘Las Pinas-Zapote River System Rehabilitation Programme, Philippines’ [PDF – 933 KB], for its outstanding contribution towards improving the living environment and its demonstrable and tangible impact on improving people’s quality of life within a metropolitan river basin;
* Category 2, ‘A Participatory and Learning Based Approach to Raising Awareness on Water and Sanitation, Durban, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa’ [PDF – 691 KB], for its innovative approach to communication and awareness raising in poor areas and its outstanding contribution to addressing key challenges related to water and sanitation in an urban area.

>> Members of the Technical Advisory Committee and of the Jury [PDF - 557 KB]
>> Programmes/projects participating in 2011 edition [PDF - 110 KB]
>> 2011 edition by numbers [PDF - 85 KB]
>> Video on finalist candidates

http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92255

In Brief: A cleaner, greener river runs through the Philippines
Photo: David Swanson/IRIN
Manila slums are growing fast and access to clean water is a problem
MANILA, 22 March 2011 (IRIN) - The Philippines’ capital Manila has seen one of the developing world’s highest rates of urban growth, straining water and sanitation resources, but one river community has managed to clean and green its local river, earning it a UN best practice award.

Since 2002, local government officials in southern metro Manila, have been rehabilitating the Las Pinas-Zapote river system by training “river watch” volunteers in ecological solid waste and river management. Under a re-greening process known locally as `bambusetum’, residents have planted bamboo and mangroves to prevent soil erosion, installed rubbish traps and carry out daily rubbish collection along a 56km stretch of the river.

The municipal project is backed by former presidential candidate Senator Manuel Villar, whose family is from the area and whose wife represents the district in parliament.

Read more
Water and sanitation situation in Mindanao "critical"
Water supply warnings
"Communities play an important role in monitoring, protecting and cleaning the rivers when they have enough information, knowledge and are given rights to participate. Their participation is very valuable," said Nguy Thi Khanh, deputy director of Vietnamese NGO Centre for Water Resources Conservation and Development.

This year's World Water Day, observed annually on 22 March, is focused on cities and the challenge of keeping up with population growth and industrialization.
maharlikangpilipino
P-Noy restores P150 daily combat pay for soldiers

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated May 05, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0)


MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has restored the P150 daily “combat incentive pay” for soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on top of their P500 monthly “combat pay,” both retroactive to Jan. 1 this year.

Aquino signed Executive Order 38 on April 28 setting the amount of combat pay that would be drawn from the personal services savings of the AFP for the years 2010 and 2011, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said yesterday.

In December 2010, during the AFP’s 75th anniversary, the President announced that he has (more than) doubled the P240 monthly combat pay for soldiers in the field by adding P260.

This was initially pursuant to EO 15 that he previously issued, but with EO 38 now, it consolidates all presidential directives relating to combat duty pay and incentive pay of AFP officers and enlisted personnel, superseding EOs 1017, 15 and 658.

The P150 daily combat pay had been removed from the previous EO for lack of funds.

This was why EO 38 was issued to clarify the various executive issuances related to compensation of men in uniform, Ochoa explained.

“President Aquino approved EO 38 to put in effect the intention of his administration to improve the conveyed allotment of benefits and entitlements to the members of the AFP, especially those engaged in combat operations and recognizing the vital role they play in nation building,” Ochoa said.

In a statement, Ochoa also explained the directive was issued to “consolidate, clarify and integrate all executive issuances” in order to “realize the objective of providing maximum benefits allowable for qualified members of the AFP.”

The military welcomed the executive order increasing the combat duty and incentive pay of soldiers.

“This (executive order) is a big morale booster especially for those in the field and engaged in actual combat,” AFP public affairs chief Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said.

Burgos said the order is the fulfillment of the President’s promise to uplift the welfare of military personnel.

“We thank the President for the increase. This would mean a lot to the Armed Forces,” Burgos said.

Under EO 38, officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP performing combat duties/activities are entitled to receive a combat duty pay of P500 per month.

An additional combat incentive pay of P150 per day will be given to AFP members who are actually in the front line, engaged in combat operation against armed rebel groups.

The EO, however, stipulates the total additional combat incentive pay would not exceed P1,500 per Operations Order (OPORD) or Fragmentary Order (FRAG-O).

The directive states the combat operation must be for a specific mission duly covered by an OPORD or FRAG-O and that the personnel involved in combat must be in the published task organization of the combat operation.

“This combat incentive pay shall be supplementary to the P500 per month combat duty pay that AFP members assigned in the field units are entitled to receive,” Ochoa said. – With Alexis Romero


*****

buti naman. kawawa na yung mga sundalo natin ehh
maharlikangpilipino
Travel to BIMP through RORO will soon be possible
By Edith R. Regalado (The Philippine Star) Updated May 05, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (6) View comments

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Travel to and from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines via the roll on-roll off (RORO) ferry will soon be possible.

President Aquino is expected to push for further connectivity in the sub-region through the establishment of the RORO transportation system when he attends the 7th Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Leaders‘ Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia over the weekend.

The 7th BIMP-EAGA Leaders Summit will be held on the sidelines of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit being held from May 4 to 8 at the Jakarta Convention Center.

This year’s BIMP-EAGA Leaders‘ Summit will highlight issues on improving interconnectivity within the sub-region in line with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.

The development of RORO system has been identified as a key strategy to expand trade and reduce the cost of inter-island transportation across the sub-region.

There are six potential RORO routes identified for BIMP-EAGA, particularly connecting Mindanao and its neighboring areas in the sub-region.

These are the Zamboanga-Sandakan (Sabah), Zamboanga-Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Zamboanga-Muara (Brunei), Glan, Sarangani-Tahuna or Bitung (Indonesia), Brooke’s Point (Palawan) Kudat (Sabah), and Gensan-Muara (Brunei) routes.

The EAGA leaders are also expected to provide key directives on fast-tracking the implementation of priority infrastructure projects in the sub-region, particularly in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation and information communication technology (ICT).

The meeting is also expected to come up with key directives on ensuring food security, promoting eco-tourism, developing strategies for conservation and sustainable management of EAGA’s natural resources and biodiversity.

Strengthening the BIMP-EAGA Business Council will also be discussed in recognition of the private sector’s critical role in accelerating the growth of the sub-region.

“President Aquino takes cognizance of BIMP-EAGA as a key strategy towards a more integrated economy that generates business opportunities for growth,” Mindanao Development Authority chair Luwalhati Antonino said.

She said this year’s summit will be an opportunity for the four member-countries to take stock of what has been achieved so far and pursue more strategic and concrete programs and projects that would ensure the attainment of development goals and targets set forth in the EAGA roadmap.

****

ayan mukhang isa na namang magandang balita para sa mga kapatid natin sa ASEAN beerchug.gif
strongbad
PHL, Vietnam reaffirm deal to resolve Spratly claims peacefully

QUOTE
The Philippines and Vietnam agreed to start resolving the overlapping claims on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, following a meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last April 5.

Del Rosario and Dung reached the agreement during Del Rosario’s visit to Vietnam last Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement issued Thursday.

“Both sides reaffirmed their commitments to resolve overlapping claims in the South China Sea… in a peaceful manner without resorting to the use of force," the DFA said.

The department said the two countries expressed hope for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a basic fundamental pillar of cooperation signed between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China.

The Spratly Islands are a group reefs and islands in the South China Sea between the Philippines, China, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The Philippines and Vietnam also agreed to implement cooperation projects that will boost mutual confidence among claimant states, the DFA said.

Both sides likewise agreed to enhance cooperation on education, the DFA said. “Among the cooperation areas highlighted is education, which the two countries expect to implement after the Memorandum of Agreement on Academic Cooperation was signed in October 2010 in Hanoi, during the state visit there of President Benigno Aquino III."

During the visit, Del Rosario and Dung agreed to hold the 6th Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) on the third quarter of the year to discuss the Philippines-Vietnam Action Plan 2011-2014. Vietnam will host the JCBC this year.

The DFA said the action plan identifies priority areas of cooperation to propel the relations forward.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem cited the high quality of education and training — particularly in the English language, economics and agriculture, and the relatively affordable cost of education in the Philippines — as advantages for Vietnamese students to study in the Philippines.

“Education cooperation also provides a way to establish people-to-people linkages, which further boosts awareness and appreciation of each nation’s culture and thus forging even closer relations between the two nations," the DFA said.

Maritime cooperation

There are also plans to reinvigorate maritime cooperation, another strong pillar of Philippine-Vietnam bilateral relations, the department said.

Defense and security relations are vibrant with high-level visits and exchanges, it added.

“With the goal of a two-way trade of US$2 billion already achieved, the two sides look towards a more active trade and investment promotion," the DFA said.

Agreements signed in October 2011, which are now in the implementation phase, are the MOA on Defense Cooperation, MOA on Cooperation in Search and Rescue at Sea, and the MOA on Cooperation in Oil Spill Preparedness and Response.

Del Rosario’s visit coincided with the Philippines and Vietnam commemorating the 35th year anniversary of their bilateral relations.

Vietnam plans to hold a “Vietnam Day" in Manila, while the Philippines intends to launch cultural activities in Vietnam in celebration of the anniversary. — JE, GMA News
strongbad
SM Prime looks to Vietnam as next expansion area

QUOTE
BY KRISTA ANGEL A. MONTEALEGRE REPORTER

THE Philippines’ biggest mall developer and operator is considering the possibility of expanding into other countries such as Vietnam after gaining a foothold in China.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. has its hands full with its expansion in the world’s second biggest economy with plans to open four new malls, including its biggest to date, until 2013.

“We don’t want to overstretch ourselves too much. Just in China alone, there’s tremendous opportunity for us to really grow,” Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime executive vice president and chief finance officer, told reporters.

“Although we’re open to options with other countries also like Vietnam, but we will have to evaluate and look at the proposal for opportunities,” Lim said.

SM Prime will spend P18 billion for its capital expenditure this year spread evenly between its domestic and China expansion.

“We are very cautious in entering the market. I believe in China very much,” said Hans Sy, SM Prime president.

SM Prime has malls in Xiamen, Jinjiang and Chengdu with a combined gross floor area of 405,777 square meters. It will open SM Suzhou in the third quarter, SM Chongqiing in 2012, and SM Zibo as well as SM Tianjin, which has a gross floor area of 530,000 square meters, in 2013.

Sy said the company is beginning to gain recognition in the mainland, having been approached by various multinational tenants to bring their brands such as Zara, Starbucks, H&M, Toys R Us into the Chinese market.

From the current 5 percent, SM Prime’s China operations are expected to account for more than 7 to 10 percent of the business beyond 2013 when the company has seven operating malls having a combined gross floor area of 1.27 million square meters.

SM Prime plans to raise $500 million by spinning off its China development into a real estate investment trust or through listing at the Hong Kong or Singapore bourses by 2013.

Its shares added P0.22 to close at P11.92 each last week.
maharlikangpilipino
Thanks strongbad. beerchug.gif
juansuing
THIS IS REALLY GOOD NEWS! You're not only cleaning Manila, you're also boosting the country's agriculture and food output plus you're like helping so many poor families!

Aquino bares land distribution plan to relocate squatter-families
By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:03:00 05/08/2011

Filed Under: Government, Housing (New Products), Agriculture, Arable Farming, Poverty, Housing & Urban Planning
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Imagine relocating your family from a 20-square meter shanty in the congested city to a two-hectare farm where you can earn a decent living in your home province?

President Aquino on Saturday night told the media about a government plan that could solve Metro Manila's problem of squatting while shoring up the population in the countryside's agricultural communities to boost the country's drive for food self-sufficiency.

According to Aquino during an informal talk with reporters covering his visit here, more than 560,000 squatter families are in Metro Manila and it is estimated that one out of four residents in Metro Manila squats.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, the number of farmers is going down to the detriment of the government's food security drive.

“There is a problem on one side. There is also an opportunity. So what is the opportunity? The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources have made an inventory. We can give each of those 560,000 families two hectares each,” President Aquino said.

Aquino said providing the land could be covered by a lease agreement. He pointed at 1.5 million hectares that the two departments have identified for distribution to resettlers in the provinces.

“The terms are that a house would be provided for you, you'd have to plant crops, you'd take care of them, and the earnings would all be yours. If you abandon the property or you didn't meet (the conditions), it would be taken away,” Aquino said.

Aquino added that the program would ensure that the family would return to its home province.

“The Department of Agriculture said that to a large degree, they can be matched,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the residents who would avail of the program would also be provided with farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and implements.

“It's a complete package,” the President said.

Aquino would not go through the terms of the provisions—whether they would be a grant or a loan.

Aquino said the agencies involved in the plan, including the National Anti-Poverty Commission, has been drawing the programs to help squatter families.

He said it would be completed in a month's time and presented to the urban poor groups that in turn would present them in their concerned communities.
maharlikangpilipino
That is good news! beerchug.gif
I hope this is not just one of those "PAPOGI" again.. If he can start it this year and end his term with good results in this program, I swear I'll forget his sablay periods.

I hope they restore our Philippines to her agricultural powerhouse status.
juansuing
BOI investments surge 262% in January-April
By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Investments approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) surged by 262 percent to P148 billion during the first four months of this year from only P41 billion a year ago.

“This is a good start for us because investors are coming back. There was a slow growth in 2010 but now we have already recovered,” BOI officer in charge Efren V. Leano told reporters.

The BOI approved 97 projects during the four-month period, up 67 percent from 58 a year ago. These projects are also expected to create employment for 18,916 workers, up 162 percent from only 7,222 in 2010. “This would help cover jobs lost in the Middle East. This could allevaite some fo the overflow as a result of the displacement of some overseas Filipino workers.”

Likewise, Leano noted that there are more investments from domestic firms. Investments from local investors amounted to P139 billion while foreign investments stood at P8 billion.

Leano said that it is good to note that domestic firms are now investing in the country. “This shows that the Filipino is confident in his own country because they are putting their money here now as opposed to four or five years ago.”

On the other hand, the biggest foreign investor noted by BOI was the Netherlands followed by the United States and Singapore. Investments from Singapore soared by 6,000 percent for the first four months. Leano said that among ASEAN countries, Singapore emerged as the country’s largest investors.

Investments from Japan dropped 72 percent but Leano said they are hopeful that the figures will recover by June. “Based on the projections, car companies in Japan will be back on their feet by June and come November and December they will go full blast.”

The manufacturing sector accounted for the bull of the investments pie with 63 percent followed by the in electricity and gas sector and the real estate sector.


Investments in real estate activities grew by 320 percent in the first four months to P23 billion. The BOI has touted this year as the year of mass housing because many mass housing projects were approved during the 2010 Investment Priorities Plan.

The biggest investor for the period was Petron Corp. for its P75 billion project followed by the Energy Development Corp. with P14 billion and New Carcar Manufacturing with P11 billion.
maharlikangpilipino
Megaworld starts building P2.5-B business park
posted on May 06, 2011 06:37:05 PM

PROPERTY FIRM Megaworld Corp. has started the P2.5-billion construction of a business complex in Western Visayas which will feature office buildings and a hotel, it said in a statement on Friday.
The so-called Iloilo Business Park will rise on the 54.5-hectare lot that had been the old Iloilo Airport, Megaworld added.

"With our groundbreaking rites today, we affirm the strong business prospects of Iloilo City and the Western Visayas region in particular," Megaworld Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew L. Tan said in the statement.

"The Iloilo Business Park marks the second leg of our BPO triangle after our two cyberparks in Metro Manila, with the final leg to be launched in the next few years," Mr. Tan added.

The Iloilo Business Park was granted a certification by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as an IT park in January 2010. BPO locators will be entitled to perks such as income tax holidays, duty-free importation of office equipment and repatriation of earnings, among others.

The project cost includes that for the construction of Richmonde Hotel Iloilo plus two business process outsourcing (BPO) office towers as well as the road network for the area.

The 12-story hotel will have 90 guest rooms, ranging from superior rooms to junior suites. Amenities include the seventh level like the lap pool, childrenís pool and fitness center.

The Richmonde Tower will occupy the second to sixth floors of the hotel, offering more than 9,000 sq. m. of prime office space for BPO locators.

"Both projects are slated for completion within the next two years," Megaworld said.

The retail component on the project, meanwhile, should be completed in late 2012 with more development to continue until 2020, Megaworld said.

As of end-December 2010, the company boasted of 384,000 square meters (sq. m.) of office space in its portfolio. It is expected to complete another 78,000 sq. m. of space this year, earlier reports show.

Shares in Megaworld, whose profits jumped to P5.085 billion last year from P4.07 billion in 2009 amid brisk sales, fell by 11 centavos to P2.11 each on Friday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

*****

Philippine press freedom improves ‘marginally’
By Manolo B.Jara May 04, 2011


MANILA: Press freedom improved “marginally” in the Philippines as it tries to recover from the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in Mindanao in late 2009, according to a report of the US-based Freedom House.

Freedom House released the report entitled “Freedom of the Press 2011: A Global Survey of Media Independence,” on the eve of the observation of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

The report said that of the 196 countries examined, the Philippines ranked 93rd, or four notches higher than the 97th position it was accorded in 2010 as it pointed out: “The score for the Philippines recovered somewhat having dropped in 2009 due to that year’s massacre which claimed the lives of 32 journalists and media workers.”

The massacre, considered the worst election-related violence in Philippine history, was blamed on members of the powerful and influential clan headed by their patriarch former governor Andal Ampatuan of Maguindanao province in Mindanao.

The killing of the 32 Mindanao-based journalists was also regarded as the biggest casualty in just one day of violence when compared to other media workers covering dangerous and war-torn areas like Afghanistan and Iraq.

Freedom House is a Washington-based independent watchdog that supports democratic change, monitors the status of print, broadcast and Internet freedom around the world and advocates democracy and human rights.

Despite the marginal improvement, the report noted that the Philippines was still troubled in 2010 by the murder and intimidation of journalists and “impunity for such crimes remained the norm.”

But the same situation prevails in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) which is also hounded by the killing of journalists, the report said.

Aside from the Philippines, the Asean is composed of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma).


In the Freedom House reckoning, media in the Philippines and Indonesia were “partly free” while those of their counterparts in the other Asean members such as Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia were deemed as “not free.”

*****

PH eyeing investments in Cambodia, Laos

MANILA, Philippines - Cambodia is willing to sell rice at a lower price in exchange for investments from the Philippines.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang told Malacanang reporters late Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia that Cambodia is tapping the country for investments in their agriculture and tourism sectors.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen held a bilateral meeting there on the sidelines of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

“Cambodia said some of the rice we are buying from Vietnam also comes from them. Their problem is they do not have enough storage facilities and we do not have direct flights between our countries,” he said.

“We will be studying their proposal. This will certainly result in lower rice prices because we remove the middleman, so to speak,” Carandang added.

Hun Sen also wants direct flights to and from Cambodia and Manila.

Laos also engaged Aquino in a bilateral talk, as it also asked the Philippines to pour in investments there.

Carandang said Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has invited Aquino for a state visit.

Aquino’s next foreign trips will be to Thailand and Brunei by the end of the month.
juansuing
Q1 farm growth fastest in 7 years
Reuters
Posted at 05/10/2011 5:18 PM | Updated as of 05/10/2011 5:18 PM


MANILA, Philippines - Farm output grew 4.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the fastest first-quarter growth since 2004, as rains boosted corn harvests, and growth was set to pick up further, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.

Unmilled rice output rose 15.6% in the March quarter from a year earlier to 4.037 million tons, more than half the first-half crop forecast, and corn production jumped 19.5% to 1.914 million tons.

With improved rice output, the Southeast Asian country, the world's largest rice buyer in recent years, has slashed imports this year to just about a third of last year's record volume of 2.45 million tons.

Alcala said farm output this year should grow between 4.5% and 5.5% after contracting 0.12% last year.

"We project even higher growth for the next two quarters that will put us on target," he told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Farm output accounts for a fifth of the Southeast Asian country's GDP. rowth data for the March quarter is set to be announced on May 30.

The government has forecast output of rice, the national staple, at 7.6 million tons in January to June. The full-year forecast is for a record rice crop of 17.46 million tons, more than 10% higher than last year's harvest.

Alcala said the crops sub sector, which accounted for 53% of farm output, grew 8.2% from a year earlier. Besides rice and corn, sugarcane output grew 26.7%.

"We expect these crops to continue to drive still higher double-digit growth in the next three quarters, with peaks in the second and third quarters," he said.

Livestock production grew 0.6%, and poultry output was up 3.9%. Fisheries output declined by 3.5%.

Alcala expected minimal crop damage from Tropical Storm Aere, which dumped rains in the coconut-producing central Bicol region and in some rice-producing provinces in the northern Philippines over the past three days.
maharlikangpilipino
^ Please bring back PHL to her agricultural powerhouse status please.
juansuing
QUOTE (maharlikangpilipino @ May 10 2011, 05:51 PM) *
^ Please bring back PHL to her agricultural powerhouse status please.


Yung tipong magmamakaawa sila sa 'tin para sa bigas. Hahahaha.
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (juansuing @ May 10 2011, 06:24 AM) *
Yung tipong magmamakaawa sila sa 'tin para sa bigas. Hahahaha.

LOL oo nga

yung tipong hindi lang sa LIMPAK-LIMPAK NA GINTO NATIN sila maglalaway. hahahahah
kasi mas marami ayaw na sa bukid. ewan ko ba sa pamahalaan bakit hindi nila mapalakas ang domestic economy kaya sa remittances tayo umaasa. bakit hindi asikasuhin ang agrikultura(na dati rati pa'y kalakasan natin)
juansuing
QUOTE (maharlikangpilipino @ May 10 2011, 06:28 PM) *
LOL oo nga

yung tipong hindi lang sa LIMPAK-LIMPAK NA GINTO NATIN sila maglalaway. hahahahah
kasi mas marami ayaw na sa bukid. ewan ko ba sa pamahalaan bakit hindi nila mapalakas ang domestic economy kaya sa remittances tayo umaasa. bakit hindi asikasuhin ang agrikultura(na dati rati pa'y kalakasan natin)


oo nga masama ang umasa sa remittances e. may nabasa ako dati. may dutch disease ang pinas dahil dito. ibig sabihin may risk tayong magstagnate bilang isang middle income economy. wag naman sana. kaya dapat iimprove ang ibang sector lalo na agriculture at industry. LALO NA INDUSTRY. ang weird nga daw ng Pinas e. mas nauna pang lumago sa services kesa industry kasi usually ung mga mauunlad na bansa talaga industry muna bago services.
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (juansuing @ May 10 2011, 07:05 AM) *
oo nga masama ang umasa sa remittances e. may nabasa ako dati. may dutch disease ang pinas dahil dito. ibig sabihin may risk tayong magstagnate bilang isang middle income economy. wag naman sana. kaya dapat iimprove ang ibang sector lalo na agriculture at industry. LALO NA INDUSTRY. ang weird nga daw ng Pinas e. mas nauna pang lumago sa services kesa industry kasi usually ung mga mauunlad na bansa talaga industry muna bago services.


hahahah.

oo talagang agriculture at industry
maraming magaling sa Pilipinas, kulang lang ng konting aksyon.
juansuing
Phl ripe for credit rating upgrade
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated May 12, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (7)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is ripe for a credit rating upgrade, according to the latest market research report by First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) and the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Capital Markets Research.

In its Market Call for April, the two institutions said that because of prudent portfolio management and huge dollar reserves, the Philippines may soon get an upgrade.

“We believe that the country is ripe for an upgrade, reason being that the Philippines’ economic fundamentals have remained strong with huge dollar reserves that can enable it to weather adverse external events,” the two institutions said in its latest Market Call report.

The report noted that the country’s dollar reserves are nearly enough to cover 11 months of imports.

According to the latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s gross international reserves rose to $67.8 billion in April, which is roughly $2 million higher than the $66 billion posted in March.

The country’s dollar reserves consist of BSP’s gross foreign currency holdings, gold reserves, special drawing rights from multilateral institutions and foreign investments. It is an indicator of the country’s ability to service the economy’s need for foreign currencies.

The BSP said the April GIR level is enough to cover 10.4 months of imports and goods and payments of services and income and is equivalent to 10.8 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 6.1 times based on residual maturity.

FMIC and UA&P said that the country’s economic fundamentals are in “better shape” now that when it previously enjoyed a BB+ rating in 1997.

The Philippines has a rating that is three notches below investment grade by Moody’s and two notches below investment grade by Fitch and S&P.

However, the two institutions noted greater inflation risk ahead.

“While the perception of inflation risk may be greater than our forecast suggests (April inflation forecast is 4.2 percent), we maintain our bullish view on the market,” they said in the Market Call.

In April, inflation in the Philippines reached a 12-month high of 4.5 percent, according to the latest report from the National Statistics Office (NSO).

The Market Call also said that there’s reason to be bullish on the market with investor confidence up.

----------------------

HIGHER GROWTH FOR THE PHILIPPINES!
maharlikangpilipino
Johnson & Johnson sets up $13.5-M finance center here to serve Asia-Pacific
By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
May 10, 2011, 7:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Johnson & Johnson, the world’s leading consumer, healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturer, has expanded its Philippine operation with $13.5-million investments, approximately P540 million, to put up its biggest Global Finance Services Center servicing initially its Asia Pacific operations.

Dominic Caruso, Johnson & Johnson’s vice-president for finance and chief financial officer, said at Tuesday’s inauguration of the new facility in Parañaque City that the GFS center currently employs 120 people and hope to increase it to 150 by end of the year. The facility has a capacity of 700, which the company intends to fill in the future making it the biggest GFS Center in the entire J & J operation globally.

The inauguration of the new four-storey GFS building coincided with the company’s 55th anniversary in the Philippines and 125th year globally.

“The establishment of the GFS center is a milestone in Johnson & Johnson’s international community,” Caruso said.

The center will provide high-quality and cost-effective transactional processing and financial reporting services under global governance, executed at a global, regional, and country level as required, he said.

“The financial skills of Filipinos are recognized globally, and I have no doubt that these professionals will be able to contribute to the growth of the entire Johnson & Johnson operations in Asia Pacific,” Caruso said.

In choosing the Philippines as a GFS center, Caruso said they were driven by its rich heritage in the country where the J & J shares common values, transparency and integrity.

“The Philippine government and Filipinos embraced this shared values,” he said.

Caruso further cited the well-educated Filipinos who can efficiently work in this kind of shared services operation.

J & J has GFS centers in other countries such as China, Prague, Sao Paolo in Brazil, India and the U.S.

“Manila will be the biggest GFS center in the future,” he said.

*****

PH posts highest ever palay harvest in first quarter

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:55:00 05/11/2011

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine agriculture grew 4.10 percent in the first quarter of the year on the back of strong crop output, including an “unprecedented” palay (unmilled rice) harvest, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

The rice sector expanded 15.63 percent to 4.03 million metric tons (MT) in the first quarter, “the highest rice volume we have seen since Filipinos started planting rice,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told the media. “This was unprecedented.”

Agriculture’s expansion, although lower than the target of 4.5 to 5.5 percent, was a turnaround from last year’s negative growth and was the fastest first-quarter growth since 2004, as rains boosted corn and rice production, the agriculture department said.

Palay production was only 3.49 million MT in the first quarter of 2010 because of drought, data from the agriculture department showed.

Self-sufficiency by 2013

Alcala said the palay sector’s performance was a step toward rice self-sufficiency by 2013, a key midterm goal of the Aquino administration.

The increase in the production of the Philippine staple made it unlikely for the country to increase its rice imports to 860,000 MT, [just about a third of last year’s record volume of 2.45 million MT], the agriculture secretary said.

The country has become the world’s largest rice importer in recent years.

At current prices, agriculture output in the first quarter amounted to P347.2 billion, 12.72 percent higher than that recorded in the same period last year, the agriculture department said.

“We project even higher growth for the next two quarters that will put us on target as the programs and interventions show results in terms of still higher output and production,” Alcala said.

Crops, which expanded 8.19 percent, contributed heavily to the expansion of agriculture output, according to the agriculture department.

He said palay production accounted for 52.99 percent of the total farm output in the first quarter.

Despite the specter of stronger storms in the second part of the year, the agriculture department still expects palay production to hit about 17.46 million MT in 2011, more than 10 percent higher than last year’s harvest.

“We won’t be able to project how intense these storms will be, but we have factored them in the projections,” Alcala said.

Corn yield up

Corn yield grew 19.50 percent to 1.9 million MT, while sugarcane expanded 26.73 percent.

“Improved production performances were also reported for banana, cassava, cabbage and rubber. [Crops] grossed P206.1 billion at current prices and recorded a 26.69-percent increase from the 2010 level,” the agriculture department said.

Alcala said he expected crops to continue to post higher double-digit growth in the next three quarters, with peaks in the second and third quarters.

Bigger trading posts

The government will continue to help vegetable and rice farmers so they can sustain the growth, he said.

“We will increase the trading posts in the country,” the agriculture secretary said.


He said the government would build a bigger trading center in Benguet province, the country’s main vegetable grower.

“This trading center is four times bigger than the current one. It will be on a 4-hectare property behind the strawberry fields. We will also put up a processing plant,” he said.

Livestock, poultry, fishery

The livestock and the poultry sectors registered minimal growth and their values went down.

The livestock sector barely moved in 2011, posting a 0.59 percent growth. Its value declined 3.04 percent to P49.70 billion at current prices.

The poultry sector expanded 3.92 percent but its value went down 4.35 percent to P39 billion.

Of the four subsectors, only the fisheries industry declined. Output fell 3.49 percent. The subsector grossed P52.40 billion at current prices, 1.67 lower than last year’s.

Alcala said the decline in fisheries output was due to the damage sustained by the industry from the typhoons last year. Some fishermen also slowed down after years of overfishing, he said. With a report from Reuters

___________________________


that's nice... but i think self-sufficiency by 2013 is pretty bold... 2015/2016 is a much better prediction.
and AGAIN, I hope these are not mere promises.. Do it.
maharlikangpilipino
Philippine Navy bent on buying submarine
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Posted at 05/12/2011 3:48 PM | Updated as of 05/12/2011 3:48 PM


MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy is planning to purchase its first ever submarine.

In a phone patch, Navy Philippine Fleet spokesman Lt. Rommel Rodriguez told reporters that experts are now meeting with international counterparts to assess the plan’s feasibility.

He said the Navy may acquire the submarine not later than 2020, depending on the political and administrative atmosphere.

"Right now, there are studies that are being undertaken. There are researches right now that involves submarine," Rodriguez said. He noted the study, conducted by the fleet’s office of plans and programs under Lt. Cmdr. Merlito Martinez, is upon orders from Rear Admiral Jose Luis Alano.

Rodriguez, however, noted that purchasing one would require billions of dollars.

"But since the Navy is geared towards Vision 2020, he wants to come up with a team, there is already a team that is conducting this studies and this studies will determine what capabilities do we need, where can we get this vessel or this submarine, what are the alternatives we have to be able to fund it, or how long will it take," he added.

He said the Navy needs to patrol the country’s territorial waters undetected, thus the need for a submarine.

"The amount may seem impossible for now but definitely we are taking a step forward because the President is (bent on) improving our naval capability. That is why, we are undertaking this study…We are taking a step forward, we are taking a step further," he said.

"It will be better (if we have a submarine) in patrolling our seas because when you have a submarine, it is physically invisible…We will be able to track those violating our maritime laws without them noticing us," said Rodriguez.

The assessment will first be presented to Navy officials before being submitted to the Armed Forces of the Philippine General Headquarters and the Department of National Defense.

Meanwhile, Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. is due to receive tomorrow a Hamilton class ship that the country had purchased from the US Coast Guard. The military spent P1.2 billion for it.

Rodriguez said a team from the Navy is now in California to undergo training to operate the ship. They will set sail in July and will probably arrive in August.

The ship may be deployed to Palawan, which should be patrolled because of oil interest in the area.

*****

Great. the time to wait for it is too long... but at least steps are being undertaken.
silangan
QUOTE (juansuing @ May 8 2011, 05:43 AM) *
THIS IS REALLY GOOD NEWS! You're not only cleaning Manila, you're also boosting the country's agriculture and food output plus you're like helping so many poor families!

Aquino bares land distribution plan to relocate squatter-families
By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:03:00 05/08/2011

Filed Under: Government, Housing (New Products), Agriculture, Arable Farming, Poverty, Housing & Urban Planning
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Imagine relocating your family from a 20-square meter shanty in the congested city to a two-hectare farm where you can earn a decent living in your home province?

President Aquino on Saturday night told the media about a government plan that could solve Metro Manila's problem of squatting while shoring up the population in the countryside's agricultural communities to boost the country's drive for food self-sufficiency.

According to Aquino during an informal talk with reporters covering his visit here, more than 560,000 squatter families are in Metro Manila and it is estimated that one out of four residents in Metro Manila squats.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, the number of farmers is going down to the detriment of the government's food security drive.

“There is a problem on one side. There is also an opportunity. So what is the opportunity? The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources have made an inventory. We can give each of those 560,000 families two hectares each,” President Aquino said.

Aquino said providing the land could be covered by a lease agreement. He pointed at 1.5 million hectares that the two departments have identified for distribution to resettlers in the provinces.

“The terms are that a house would be provided for you, you'd have to plant crops, you'd take care of them, and the earnings would all be yours. If you abandon the property or you didn't meet (the conditions), it would be taken away,” Aquino said.

Aquino added that the program would ensure that the family would return to its home province.

“The Department of Agriculture said that to a large degree, they can be matched,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the residents who would avail of the program would also be provided with farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and implements.

“It's a complete package,” the President said.

Aquino would not go through the terms of the provisions—whether they would be a grant or a loan.

Aquino said the agencies involved in the plan, including the National Anti-Poverty Commission, has been drawing the programs to help squatter families.

He said it would be completed in a month's time and presented to the urban poor groups that in turn would present them in their concerned communities.




I am against this. These squatters know it's illegal to squat public land from the beginning. They are not innocent. Why baby them. They can mend for themselves. Just give them dead line say 5 years to vacate. That should be enough time for them to be able to paddle their own.

Upcoming and repeat squatters must go to jail far away from family for visits.

The government is promoting a handicap mentality among its people.




maharlikangpilipino
Lawmakers push high school for Filipino athletes

By Alexander Villafania

DAPITAN CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE- Lawmakers are pushing for the establishment of a Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) to provide a more enhanced education for budding athletes.

Under Senate Bill 2620 or the “Philippine High School for Sports Act of 2011,” the PHSS will provide scholarships for secondary education to exceptional students in sports.

Training programs will be offered to develop students to compete in national, regional and Olympic levels.

The bill’s author Senator Pia Cayetano said the PHSS is modeled after the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) and the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), two groups of secondary education institutions that have very specific teaching programs that develop scientists and artists, respectively.

Cayetano, who skipped the opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2011 weekend, said she had pushed for the passage of the SB 2620 last Tuesday during the Senate plenary session.

She stressed that the recent win of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, as well as the growing popularity of the football team Azkals, have proven that sports help raise the passion of Filipinos and cultivate national pride.

“The creation of the PHSS is long overdue. We need to breed new generations of homegrown sports heroes to elevate the country's performance in regional and international sports competitions in the long-term, and at the same time, serve as an inspiration for our people, especially the youth.”

Senator Edgardo Angara also stated that the PHSS should bring back the luster of Filipino champions to a global audience. He stressed that Filipino athletes have won medals in international competitions.

However, the country has yet to bag a gold medal at the Olympics.

Angara added that countries that win Olympic gold medals often have institutionalized training.

“Olympic heavyweights such as Russia, Australia, Germany, China and Canada all have sport schools which mold all of their world-class athletes. Even our neighbors in Southeast Asia have followed suit, including Singapore, Malaysia, India and Thailand,” he said.
maharlikangpilipino
QUOTE (silangan @ May 12 2011, 06:23 PM) *
I am against this. These squatters know it's illegal to squat public land from the beginning. They are not innocent. Why baby them. They can mend for themselves. Just give them dead line say 5 years to vacate. That should be enough time for them to be able to paddle their own.

Upcoming and repeat squatters must go to jail far away from family for visits.

The government is promoting a handicap mentality among its people.


Yes squatting in public land is illegal and I believe these people know it. That's why the government is trying and will continue to try to provide them the land/house that they need.

In this particular plan, the government will not only provide land(which after all is a law and thus, an obligation of the government to the citizen) and perhaps house for these squatters but also ensures that these squatters will have their source of income once they move. at the same time, this might increase food production and stabilize and improve the state of agriculture.

At first, it may sound that the government babies them...but in fact the government is trying to teach them how to live.
instead of staying here in Metro Manila as squatters who live on salaries below the minimum wage(and sometimes even on criminal acts), the government will send them home and teach them to toil and to till the soil for them to live.

But of course the government should have a set of rules regarding this particular project. remedies for problems that may arise and punishment or penalties for either of the two parties(government or squatter) should ever one fails to comply with the rules of the contract must be made.
yonip
if we are the most charming, beautiful and talented asians then why cant we be the richest asian's hopefully soon when we get our gold back icon_twisted.gif .
silangan
QUOTE (maharlikangpilipino @ May 15 2011, 10:23 AM) *
Yes squatting in public land is illegal and I believe these people know it. That's why the government is trying and will continue to try to provide them the land/house that they need.

In this particular plan, the government will not only provide land(which after all is a law and thus, an obligation of the government to the citizen) and perhaps house for these squatters but also ensures that these squatters will have their source of income once they move. at the same time, this might increase food production and stabilize and improve the state of agriculture.

At first, it may sound that the government babies them...but in fact the government is trying to teach them how to live.
instead of staying here in Metro Manila as squatters who live on salaries below the minimum wage(and sometimes even on criminal acts), the government will send them home and teach them to toil and to till the soil for them to live.

But of course the government should have a set of rules regarding this particular project. remedies for problems that may arise and punishment or penalties for either of the two parties(government or squatter) should ever one fails to comply with the rules of the contract must be made.




Ang gobyerno kasi, tira lang nang tira. Hindi muna pinapag-aralang mabuti kung ano talaga ang pinagmumulan ng problema, para malaman kung ano ang mga hakbang na gagawin. At dapat yang mga may ari ng malalaking mga malls sa Metro, dapat kasali sila sa paglutas sa problema ng squatting. Karamihan sa mga saleslady at mga workers sa mga malalaking mga mall na yan eh nakatira sa mga barung barong sa squatter area. Dapat pag nagtayo sila ng mall, gumawa rin sila ng high rise quarters para sa mga employees nila na dahil sa liit ng sweldo eh hindi kaya ng mga ito ang umupa ng mga apartments.

Ang mga well established businesses sa Manila na nagpapasahod ng sweldo na hindi sapat para mabuhay ng maayos sa Manila, ay dapat na sagutin nila ang tirahan ng mga empleyado nila para hindi maging problema ng gobyerno ang mg ito.

Dumarami ang mga minimum wage earners sa Manila dahil sa mga businesses na nagsusulputan. Dadami din ang mga squatters, pustahan tayo.





maharlikangpilipino
Polarmarine plans to build production facilities at Subic
By EDU LOPEZ
May 16, 2011, 12:15am

MANILA, Philippines — Polarmarine, Inc., a household name in ship parts industry, is planning to set up production facilities at the Subic Freeport under an expansion program designed to capture the growing shipbuilding industry in Asia.

Carolina Agoo, Polarmarine administration and financial manager, said that the expansion will be undertaken because of the strategic location of the Subic Bay Freeport, which is closer to the firm’s Asian customers and suppliers and the English-speaking skilled workers.

Currently, Polarmarine has 86 workers, most of whom were former workers at the Subic Naval Base, who have been highly trained by the US Navy.

“With this expansion plan, we aim to lower the cost of our products and save more from freight costs as we will be importing from our Asian suppliers and export our products to Asia,” Agoo added.

Outgoing Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Feliciano Salonga, who was an executive of a maritime company, expressed elation over Polarmarine’s long-term plan during a tour of the firm’s assembly plant in Subic.

“The SBMA welcomes this expansion project, and the agency is here to help in any way it can.

That’s our role to assist,” Salonga said.

Polarmarine, a Swedish firm which started operations here in 1996, is among the pioneer locators in the Subic Freeport.

Initially, Polarmarine will produce ‘Polar Jet,’ a programmable multi-nozzle tank cleaning equipment designed to clean difficult-to-reach parts of slop tanks, wing tanks and under-stringer platforms in conventional tankers.

Polarmarine ventured into the assembly of sonic horns used in shipyards, for which it acquired recently a 484-sq.m. building for additional assembly facility.

“This is in preparation for our plan to transfer the production facility in Malmo, Sweden to Subic,” Agoo said, adding that the company sees a 20 per cent increase in production and employment in the first year, and an additional 50

per cent in the succeeding years.

Agoo added that in 2010, the Polarmarine unit in Subic generated about $7 million in revenue. The company plans to increase its revenue to $8.5 million and augment its workforce to a total of 103 in the first year.

The company also planning to transfer to Subic the production of loadmaster, a loading computer that calculates and balances the load of ship, as well as shipmaster, which takes care of cargo and ballast automation in any type of

ship.

It would also strengthen its technical team, which includes naval architects, marine engineers, and data encoders, before it could undertake the assembly of loadmasters and shipmasters.

Agoo said that shipbuilding-related industries are now being concentrated in the Asian region, and more shipbuilding component assembly operations are now being transferred to Asia.

Polarmarine started to closely coordinate with Subic-based Korean shipbuilding firm Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Phils. for an arrangement to directly supply sonic horns.

The company is a member of the Kockumation Group based in Malmo, Sweden. Aside from Polarmarine, the Kockumation Group also has Kockum Sonics and Texon Automation under its umbrella.

The Kockumation Group also has production facilities in Sweden, Russia, Shanghai and Dalian in China, and Great Britain


juansuing
PH to offer 18 sites for oil exploration
By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:56:00 05/17/2011

MANILA, Philippines—To boost the country's energy security, the Department of Energy is set mount road show in Asia, the United States and Europe within the third quarter, offering prospective investors 18 potential oil and gas areas for exploration and development.

“It looks very exciting," Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras told reporters Monday night on the sidelines of an oil company marketing event. "Even in the international scene, there's so much interest in the Philippines' oil exploration... all the large exploration companies, some of which have yet to come here, are now coming.”

Almendras did not disclose the interested parties but noted that some of them were the “usual suspects” including BHP Billiton and Exxon.

According to Almendras, the road show will kick off in July, after the government has announced the areas to be offered under the Philippine Exploration Contracting Round (PECR) for 2011.

Energy officials are eyeing to begin the PECR offering by the end of June, in a bid to speed up the development of the country's indigenous resources and help shore up power supply over the next several years, in light of an impending power crisis that continues to threaten the Philippine economy.

“I'm off to Texas and London for a road show by July or August. In the spirit of transparency, we don't want to be accused of being restrictive in the way we share the information. We will do the road show to answer investors' concerns. Singapore and Australia will also be included in the road show,” Almendras said.

“We will launch to inform potential investors of the sites to be bid out and at the same time address their concerns. We're finalizing the schedule. By the end of the third quarter or early fourth, we should be able to award service contracts,” Almendras added.

Almendras expressed optimism that contracts will be awarded within the year, despite the outstanding taxation issues raised by the Commission on Audit last year regarding service contract in the $4.5-billion Malampaya natural gas power project off Palawan. He was confident these issues would be resolved soon in favor of boosting the country's energy security.

Almendras said the Philippine government would be offering 15 new prospective oil and gas areas involving a total of 7.92 million hectares in Cagayan, Central Luzon, Northwest Palawan, Mindoro-Cuyo basin, East Palawan and Cotabato. A number of these areas have already been pre-tested, while some have undergone seismic evaluations.

He added that three canceled petroleum exploration contracts would also be offered to investors. The canceling of contracts was an offshoot of the stringent reviews conducted by the Department of Energy last year to ensure that all contracts awarded were above board and that the contract holders were fulfilling their commitments.

Almendras has since warned all contract holders to fulfill their commitments or face contract cancellations.

“The bidders need to prove their competency. We would like to reiterate that PECR is not just about money, but also competency and quality work program. Our job is to accelerate the development. A bidder may give a very high proposal but it would take 20 years to develop. I'd rather give it to somebody who can do it for three years, as we need the energy as soon as possible,” Almendras said.
juansuing
PNoy: Economy grew by 7.6% last year, not 7.3%
AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News
05/17/2011 | 11:30 AM


President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on Tuesday said the country’s economy grew by 7.6 percent last year and not 7.3 percent as earlier announced.

In a speech during the inauguration of additional floors of Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila, the President admitted they made a mistake when they pegged the gross domestic product growth at 7.3 percent.

"Kahapon ibinalita ng ating Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima na natapos na po ang computation ng ikinalaki ng ating ekonomiya last year. Nagkamali daw po kami ng sinabi naming 7.3% increase in GDP. Ang tama ho pala ay 7.6% ang increase ng GDP," he said.

GDP is the amount of goods and services produced by a country in a given period.

The recalibration of the Philippine System of National Accounts involved making Year 2000 as the new base year, affecting the end results of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Using 2000 as base year, the country’s GDP last year was 7.6 percent, but with the old base year of 1985, GDP was 7.3 percent.

PNoy not doing anything?

President Aquino’s term started noon of June 30, 2010 after he won the May 10 presidential elections that year.

He chided his critics for saying that he is doing nothing for the country.

"Sabi po ng ating mga kritiko, wala po tayong ginagawa, siguro hinulog na lang ng langit ang nangyayaring pagbabago na ito (Our critics keep on saying that we are not doing anything. Maybe this development fell like manna from heaven)," he said.

"Dito pa lang po ang umpisa, sabi nga ni Mayor (Alfredo) Lim, mayron pa tayong limang taon, isama na rin ang isang buwan, marami pa rin tayong magagawa kung magsama-sama," he said.

Also in his speech, the President said his government is working doubly hard to address the concerns of the health sector by providing easier access to hospitals and medical facilities.

He reiterated that the government allocated P3.5 billion for the Health Insurance Premiums of indigent families and some 10,000 nurses have been sent to poor provinces.

Around 500 doctors have been sent to 400 remote areas to serve there for two years under the Doctors to the Barrios Program. — RSJ, GMA News
juansuing
Sorry Noy, pero kay GMA ang 2010. Tignan naten ang pagtatrabaho mo ngayong 2011.
maharlikangpilipino
Indonesia's PT Pal discusses Landing Platform Dock sale to Philippines

Jon Grevatt Jane's Asia-Pacific Industry Reporter

Indonesian shipbuilder PT Pal is in discussion with the Philippine Navy (PN) over a potential deal to supply the service with Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships, Jane's has learnt.

An official with PT Pal said on 16 May that the group hopes to supply the PN with up to three LPD platforms, which will be based on an indigenous Indonesian design.

The official stressed that this design has no resemblance to the LPDs that PT Pal previously constructed for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut - TNI-AL), which were based on a design by Dae Sun Shipbuilding in South Korea. He added that the Indonesian LPD design was being adapted further to meet Philippine Navy requirements.

The Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) had earlier announced that Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, Commander of the PN, toured the shipbuilding facilities of PT Pal on 14 May. The MoD added that Admiral Pama also visited the two 11,400-ton LPDs previously produced under licence by PT Pal. These boats, named KRI Banda Aceh and KRI Banjarmasin , were delivered to the TNI-AL in October 2009 and March 2011 respectively.

Admiral Pama's visit to Indonesia occurred one day after the Philippine Navy took delivery of the US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton during a ceremony in California. The cutter will replace the BRP Raja Humabon , a US-built Cannon-class destroyer escort launched in May 1943 and one of the world's oldest operational warships, as the PN's flagship. The PN has also issued a tender to procure two utility helicopters, although this programme has stalled due to a continuing government evaluation of procurement processes.

The potential cost of procuring the three LPDs from PT Pal was not disclosed, although it could be expected to reach at least USD100 million. The TNI-AL purchased its five LPDs (the initial three constructed by Dae Sun and the latter two by PT Pal) for USD180 million. Should the deal be finalised during the next few months, the sale would represent PT Pal's first major export. It would also represent one of only a few major deals where Southeast Asian countries have exported goods to each another.

*****

Philippines eye submarines to boost navy

Submarines for the Philippine fleet will help the navy protect the country’s territorial waters a lot better, a military spokesman said days after a study advised that new vessels be bought.

According to Navy spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez, submarines are the vessels of choice of many countries, including our Asian neighbors.

“A submarine is a very good naval platform to monitor what’s happening in your maritime environment,” Rodriguez explained.

Submarines are equipped with sensors and radars that can monitor movement on the surface, and even identify nearby ships using propeller signatures.

He added that purchasing a submarine will help even out the playing field, especially now that some of the Philippines’ Asian neighbors have purchased their own submersibles to beef up their fleet.

“What is important is that we really have to leverage on the things that we need,” Rodriguez said. “As other nations acquire submarines, we need to even up our capability. It becomes a very good deterrent against future potential conflicts.”

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakin...-to-boost-navy



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