FILIPINO scientists are developing what could be the future of rice in Asia.
“Flood tolerant” rice varieties to solve global losses of the staple grain from seasonal floods are the new frontier, according to breeders in the region.The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with the International Society for Plant Anaerobiosis (ISPA) is working to develop rice that can withstand flooding. Working on similar genes that allow certain aquatic plants to survive submergence, the team is looking to come up with rice plants that can thrive in all types of flooding conditions.Food losses caused by floods serve as motivator. “We have more people in this planet. We need to produce more food,” said Voesenek Laurentius, ISPA President.The Philippines is a key player in rice technology. The country already grows submergence-tolerant rice such as NSIC 194 or ‘Submarino’ which was observed to have high tolerance to effects of La Niña and typhoons, according to the Philippine Department of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, post-harvest losses remain a different story with its own set of challenges.In its latest food loss report, the Food and Agriculture Organization stated that airtight storage technology from the Philippines helped cut the country’s rice losses by 15 percent.GrainPro Philippines, Inc. in Subic Bay is a global leader in airtight storage solutions. The company has been very active in helping government agencies and non-profit advocacies to solve post-harvest losses in the country.”Pre-harvest and post-harvest losses are major problems among rice-developing nations in Asia.
Each requires its own unique set of solutions,” says Tom De Bruin, President of GrainPro Philippines. GrainPro is also working closely with IRRI and the University of Hohenheim to develop modern innovations to solve problems in post-harvest losses. Some of their solutions allow rice to be safely stored for up to three years without loss in quality.Recently, Thailand’s Rice Pledging Program collapsed, resulting in harvested rice to be flooded and waste away in local warehouses. The program cost the country billions. Some experts agree that the right post-harvest storage solution could have helped the already debt-riddled country.De Bruin hopes that the government will continue to provide much-needed support to encourage companies such as his to come up with long-term solutions to the problem. So far, support has been sparse at best in promoting technology that fights post-harvest losses in Asia. This in itself is a major obstacle for developers and innovators in the region.
by Al Labita
HE has long shunned politics.
But like a ghost, his name haunts the political landscape now abuzz with rumors in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
From obscurity, Manuel V. Pangilinan, aka MVP, suddenly shot to prominence, being bruited about as a potential “dark horse” in the next presidential race. What props up MVP’s stock is his technocratic skill that transformed the once struggling Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd. into one of Asia’s profitable corporate titans. He may not have any political affiliation, but he has the money. The self-made billionaire sportsman has made it to the elite list of US-based Forbes Magazine as one of the Philippines’ richest men, joining the ranks of taipans Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and the Ayalas. He was listed as the Philippines’ 50th wealthiest with an estimated net worth of P4.5 billion as of July 2013.
Undoubtedly, MVP boasts impeccable credentials. As the top honcho of First Pacific, he steered its phenomenal growth over the past decades. From selling Indonesian noodles, the company diversified into banking, finance and property, mainly in Hong Kong and Jakarta, the headquarters of parent Salim Group. In mid ‘90s, MVP saw an opportunity to return to his country where he learned the ropes of the trade, so to speak, as an investment banker.
At the time, the telecom industry was liberalized, enabling him and his group to launch a bid to take over the then financially ailing Philippines Long Distance Telephone (PLDT). With PLDT as flagship, there was no stopping him from venturing into other profit centers — ranging from power to mining, toll roads, media, water and related utilities – all under a listed holding firm, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) chaired by MVP.
Today, the Philippines accounts for 70 percent of First Pacific’s offshore forays, a sign of his abiding faith and confidence in his country’s business potentials.
The Miracle Man
MVP has earned the trust of the very rich, with track record in making sure stakeholders in companies he runs get back their money’s worth. That kind of character is what the Philippines needs now. One who takes care of the trust given him by stockholders. One who has not and will not betray his bosses, the investors.
Our publication, OpinYon, is of the thought that the Philippines if run like a corporation could get out from the economic hole it is drowning in and bring real prosperity to this country. And who could run giant companies and turn around losses better than the proven miracle man himself – MVP.
Given the chance to run the Philippines like those giant companies he has turned around to make profits, MVP could serve his “bosses”, the Filipinos, like he is serving those who trust him with their money.
Given a change of heart in the people towards trapos, MVP has better than fair chance of earning the trust of the people and win the election for President.
After Pres. Benigno S. Aquino has been stripped of his mask and now earning public ridicule, most Filipinos are asking: who should lead this country?
MVP has the campaign infrastructure to win in a political contest. He has good grip of respected media in, print and broadcast. His business interests are almost everywhere in communications and utilities. He has an army of loyal workers, satisfied in their pay like at PLDT, Meralco and other MVP firms which are among blue chips traded on the Philippine bourse and are the usual top picks by both foreign and local investors.
Credit also goes to MVP for laying the foundation – in terms of infrastructure –of what is now known as “Global City,” a former Army Camp, in Taguig City after winning its public bidding. Amid public outrage over the “pork barrel” scandal, the tycoon appears to be a logical choice as an alternative to dyed-in-the-wool trapos in a rapidly shifting political milieu.
Should he throw his hat in the political arena, it’s likely the media outfits – TV 5, Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star and the Business World – under his corporate umbrella would come in handy in a political campaign.
But in his media comments, MVP has thumbed down any ambition to seek a public office.
‘There is no political blood that runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way.”
He reacted to rumors that, on the prodding of friends and business associates, he would seek an elective position in the 2016 elections. Pundits believe he would make a great president, given his “technocratic skills.” At a recent forum on the 2016 presidential elections, organized by the Center for Philippine Futuristics Studies and Management Inc., political analyst Antonio Gatmaitan said Pangilinan “could bring his technocratic skills to address the complicated economic issues that will confront the nation and help address a few selective social issues.”
Gatmaitan knows whereof he speaks as he is the executive director of the Political Economic Applied Research Foundation. In case Pangilinan decides to run for the country’s top post in May 2016, Gatmaitan said: “Imagine the excitement it can create.” Ramon Casiple, the executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, said it is clear that Pangilinan has a political agenda in buying stakes in a diversified mix of financially distressed companies and turning them around as money spinners. He also believes Pangilinan would be the dark horse candidate in the 2016 presidential elections. “I agree there is a dark horse. And that’s MVP,” Casiple said.
Apolitical he may be, MVP’s thoughts – often expressed in media interviews – betray what could be his hidden political agenda. In not a few instances that he articulated his own vision for the country favoring investments in such critical businesses as tourism, mining, utilities and information and communications technology.
To him, investments in infrastructure such as power plants, toll roads, seaports and airports are vital to lower the cost of domestic production – ideas that would serve as dividends or profit-sharing with Filipinos should the government turn corporate-oriented and business-like under the banner of what would become the Philippines, Inc and with him as a prospective CEO.
Pangilinan believed that the country’s leaders should be more involved in coming up with long-term solutions and move beyond short-term crisis management if they aspire for the country to grow and move forward.
On election, his view is that it should provide a rare opportunity to define the country’s long-term economic and social priorities, and form a broad consensus around them.
He noted that the private sector should take the lead in mobilizing and directing infrastructure spending, adding the government’s assistance is needed as well.
“The private sector cannot operate on its own. It must seek government help and assistance. In infrastructure, public-private-sector partnership will be critical—the private sector being the moving force and the government providing the relevant incentives, support and enabling regulatory framework.” In more ways than one, MVP is also a philanthropist through his Kapatid Foundation.
In Bacolod city, the City Council approved a resolution declaring MVP an adopted son, noting that his life’s success story is an inspiration that is worth emulating by all Filipinos.
During his years in Hong Kong, he founded and chaired the Bayanihan Center that provided cultural and vocational activities for Filipino domestic workers there. In December 2012, he mobilized his telecommunication companies in a national telethon that raised millions of pesos to aid the victims of typhoon Pablo.
“This simple and hearty resolution is a manifestation that the city government of Bacolod truly recognizes the services and contributions of Pangilinan in the different sectors or our community,” the resolution reads.
Talk about MVP running for president is not new. In 2010, media placements launching the “Ako Mismo” advocacy movement fueled speculations that he was keen in the country’s plum post. Public perception then was that the movement was meant to be MVP’s platform had he decided to throw his hat in the political arena.
“If given the chance and if there is a possibility of winning, MVP will run for president,” a businessman said.
But, in a statement, MVP clarified that the movement was intended to awaken and spread the Filipinos’ sense of responsibility as an individual. “Our legacy is that reliance on community, government and family must be balanced by strong personal accountability,” he says.
“As for myself, I am not running for any political office. I am truly at home running a business,” a statement viewed with skepticism by doubting Thomases among eagle-eyed political watchers.
- A Worm’s-Eye View of the Current State of the Philippines (grbusinessonline.wordpress.com)
- Claim letter (innieyyyy.wordpress.com)
- Estrada: Why single us out? (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Savills Expands in Asia with New Philippines Associate (savills.co.uk)
- Candy Pangilinan not jealous over Eugene Domingo (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Top PH firms help quake victims (rappler.com)
- From Pastor Leovin Pangilinan (happybirthdaypastorronald.wordpress.com)
- Nearly 100 Philippine rebels killed or captured (bigstory.ap.org)
- San Miguel to Raise $2 Billion Selling Stake in Manila Electric (bloomberg.com)
- Adjustment letter (innieyyyy.wordpress.com)
By Al Labita
NOT A FEW are alarmed over the danger signs of a creeping political upheaval threatening to cut short President Aquino’s six-year-term in office.
For one, the “anti-pork “protest movement—the so-called “Million People March”—has snowballed, setting the stage for what could be a prelude to another “people power.”
From Aparri to Jolo, more and more are joining the crusade, the biggest challenge so far to the 53-year-old bachelor president, now in his third year as president of a country known for ousting a leader linked to corruption.
For those in the business sector, they are wary that the current political brouhaha over the pork scam may deteriorate to an Edsa-type revolt.
Though the economy is doing well, history shows that it usually turns ugly whenever the going gets rough in the political scene. #OpinYon #business
read cont | http://bit.ly/15SBve7
- Where do we go from here? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Bishop Iñiguez: More rallies, media exposés to end pork barrel system (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- The Anti-Pork Barrel Movement’s Protest in Makati City (ireport.cnn.com)
- Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop (ericpgranada.wordpress.com)
- Thousands gather in Manila to protest pork barrel funds (channelnewsasia.com)
- Signs of a maturing democracy (rappler.com)
- WORM’S EYEVIEW: How about a quiet revolution? (mindanews.com)
- What’s next for the ‘porkbusters’? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Aquino slammed before father’s monument (rappler.com)
by: Ike Señeres
THE bottom line of the pork barrel issue is local governance. In theory, the purpose of the pork barrel is to fund local development needs that could not be “seen” by Congress as it approves the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for each fiscal year. Pursuing that theory, the Congress apparently came up with the legal fiction that whatever could not be “seen” by them as a whole assembly could be seen by the district Congressmen from their own local vantage point.
According to newspaper reports, the Lower House of the Congress has already decided to “scrap” the old pork barrel system, apparently replacing it with a new system that would focus more on line item budgeting, although it seems that the Congressmen could still “recommend” their own local projects subject to the approval of the appropriate House Committee and the corresponding implementing line agencies, i.e. the National Government Agencies (NGAs). #OpinYon #business
read cont | http://bit.ly/15HOA4F
- Abolition of congressional pork a sham (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Palace shows Joker Arroyo’s letter requesting P47M (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Burial assistance among Leyte solons items on their pork barrel (leytesamardaily.net)
- Professor Emeriti Briones and Monsod “grill the pork” in UP PDAF Forum (socialwatchphilippines.wordpress.com)
- Who is guiltier, JLN the fixer or the senator who hired the fixer? (leytesamardaily.net)
- An open letter to President Noy: Abolish pork, seriously. (rappler.com)
- Aquino, Abad, solons: Are you listening? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- The future of the barrels of pork (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Ayala anti-pork march to focus on alternatives, concrete actions (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- ‘Scrap pork barrel, buy pork chicharon,’ vendors say (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
by: Erick San Juan
A LITTLE over a year now, Russia hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in its Pacific port of Vladivostok. Back then. Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that Moscow’s interest in Asia was rising as the traditional market for its energy and raw materials—the euro zone–wallowed in crisis and stagnation. And After America’s much-ballyhooed “pivot to Asia,” it is now Russia’s turn. (Source: Russia’s Pivot to Asia? by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.)
Why not, given the following statistics, can Russia rebalance the two ‘superpowers’ in the Asia-Pacific region–United States and China. To wit: Russia produces more oil and natural gas than anyone else on the planet and because of this Russia is the number two oil exporter in the world and supplies 34 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs.
read cont | http://bit.ly/1dNlkyF
- 100 million dollar trip to Africa is not enough. The Obama’s head to Asia for Vacation. (gopthedailydose.com)
- TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call: Monday The 30th Of September. (theobamacrat.com)
- $100 Million Octoberfest — Obama’s planning week-long trip to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines… (redflagnews.com)
- PM to attend APEC and the East Asia Summit (pacific.scoop.co.nz)
- Putin to participate in APEC summit (indrus.in)
- China calls on APEC to promote FTA integration (nzweek.com)
- PM to attend APEC and the East Asia Summit (national.org.nz)
- LET US EAT CAKE?? – Obama Vacation to Asia covered in political spin ‘to increase U.S. political engagement’ (newsninja2012.com)
- Russia’s Strategic Choices In The Asia Pacific – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
- Xi to address APEC summit on China’s reform (sierraexpressmedia.com)