Recent reports indicated that dynamite fishing is occurring in the waters of Siargao in Surigao del Norte. Senator Loren Legarda today called the attention of government agencies mandated to enforce the country’s Fisheries Code as she expressed alarm over the bannedfishing practice, which recently caused the killing of at least 22 dwarf sperm whales and dolphins.
“This is another unfortunate case of marine resource abuse. Dynamite fishing has long been banned and is punishable under the Fisheries Code along with illegal fishing methods. Authorities must strictly enforce the law because this is not only about a fisher’s catch or a community’s livelihood, but also about the state of marine biodiversity, which affects the nation as a whole,” said Legarda.
“Our law enforcement agencies should go after the perpetrators of this crime against nature and ensure that our seas and marine species are safe from such cruelty. We should be more vigilant because this could be happening in other parts of the country as well,” she added.
It has been reported that two dwarf sperm whales and at least 21 dolphins were badly injured from dynamite fishing and sustained stab wounds from fishermen in Siargao.
“Siargao is world-famous for being a surfer’s haven. It does not have to stop there. It would be more beneficial to the communities surrounding the area if they become a model for marine conservation through sustainable fishing methods and other marine protection practices. Fishing is not only a form of livelihood but also a way by which a fisherman can carry out his responsibility as a steward of our marine resources,” Legarda stressed.
Under the Fisheries Code of 1998, a ban is imposed on the use of fine mesh net and electricity, explosives, noxious or poisonous substance in our seas. It is also illegal to exploit and export corals as well as the fishing and taking of any rare, threatened and endangered species.
Mandated to enforce this Code are the law enforcement officers of the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police and including local government units.
A climate crisis that risks peace and security can still be avoided by accelerating the clean energy revolution, Greenpeace said on Tuesday.
Issuing an SOS emergency alert ahead of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Japan, Greenpeace warned that climate change is already devastating nations, destroying lives and costing billions of dollars in damage.
“This is a crisis that knows no boundaries. Our climate is on the precipice and every ton of oil, coal and gas we are digging up and burning pushes us closer to the brink,” said Kaisa Kosonen, Greenpeace International campaigner. “But there’s a way out of this mess. Renewable energy has made a breakthrough faster than thought and is ready to challenge our old hazardous energy system.”
Greenpeace activists yesterday displayed the message ‘Climate SOS – Go Renewables’ outside the J-POWER’s Isogo 1 & 2 coal power plant and Tepco’s Minami Yokohama gas power plant near where the IPCC meeting in Yokohama to highlight the cause of climate change and the solution to the unfolding crisis.
Meeting to finalize the Working Group II report on ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’, the IPCC will discuss climate action in the context of sustainable development. The Japanese government, which is hosting this week’s meeting, is failing to meet the IPCC’s challenge.
“With IPCC’s scheduled release of this timely report, the dire scenario is no longer a threat from a distant future. In fact, it is already happening in many countries- the Philippines in particular and across Southeast Asia which is among the most vulnerable yet least prepared to deal with climate change impacts,” said Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia and a delegate to the climate talks in Japan. “When super typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last November, it claimed thousands of lives and left trail of destruction that will take several years to rebuild. We urge world leaders to recognize what scientists all over the world have been saying: to act on genuine positive solutions to climate change.”
Greenpeace says coal burning is the biggest single driver of climate change. But coal has a massive water footprint too, making it one of the largest threats to water security, add to that the air pollution problem making it clear that a move away from coal is inevitable and in fact has already started.
“While the IPCC report will make grim reading, the key message here is choice. Will we continue drifting from one disaster to another, or will we take control of our future? We’re at a crossroads and the choices we make now will determine how history judges us. To make the shift away from coal and other fossil fuels fast enough though is a key fight that communities, decision-makers and investors have to unite on,” added Kosonen.
Japan has lowered its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and it is also emerging as the world’s biggest public investor of coal expansion overseas. Now it is planning a return to nuclear energy despite the ongoing Fukushima disaster. (Greenpeace Philippines)
By Dong Maraya
The Republic of the Philippines suffers from widespread corruption. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, and patronage.
According to a World Bank study in 2008, corruption in the Philippines is considered to be the worst among East Asia’s leading economies and the country has sunk even lower among those seen to be lagging in governance reforms. The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index published by global watchdog Transparency International, showed that the situation in the country had improved slightly but still remained serious.
Corruption exists in all levels of the government, especially among high-level civil servants. Companies generally have little confidence in the Philippine judicial system, and this is due to the allegedly incompetent court personnel, corruption and long delays of court cases.
Transparency International-Philippines said some of the factors that contributed to the Philippines’ slight jump are the improvement in government service, and cutting red tape.
Red tape refers to the rules that government personnel must follow to accomplish a task. Sometimes the governmental process seems cumbersome to us, especially when we want a quick answer. Many feel that the government establishes far too many rules or procedures with their numerous departments particularly their frontline personnel, which are closer to and more quickly responsive to the public.
The battle against red tape and inefficiency in our bureaucracy is never an easy task. Red tape has long been embedded in our culture with Filipinos having to deal with voluminous requirements and seemingly endless processes with government agencies.
Eliminating red tape and averting graft and corruption has far-reaching benefits for our economy, such as cutting costs of doing business in the country which will in turn improve investor confidence and heighten our global competitiveness.
In the past numerous efforts were undertaken to curb red tape but these did not cause dramatic changes in public service. In some cases, red tape even intensified.
Delays in official transactions are breeding grounds and provide opportunities for corruption. Delays alienate people from their government aside from hiking transaction costs. Corruption makes the country poor and living in it is oppressive.
The Anti-Red Tape Act or RA 9475 of 2007 aims to promote efficiency and transparency in government with regard to the manner of transacting with the public by requiring each agency to simplify frontline service procedures, to formulate service standards to be observed in every transaction and make known these standards to the public.
The Anti-Red Tape Act required all government agencies to adopt and formulate a Citizen’s Charter. This refers to an official document, a service standard or a pledge, that communicates, in simple terms, information on the services provided by the government to its citizen’s. It describes the step by step procedures for availing a particular service and the guaranteed performance level that they may expect for that service.
Although the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has formulated a Citizen’s Charter of its own, Commissioner Siegfred B. Mison has moved anew to cut red tape in the agency’s processing of various alien documentations.Mison, in a recent operations order, directed concerned Bureau offices to strictly observe timelines in the processing of applications for visa conversion/extension and ACR I-Card issuance/renewal designed to expedite and facilitate the processing of said applications.Under the order, all concerned offices are directed to review, evaluate and indicate recommended action within a specific number of working days upon receipt, depending on the type of transaction.The BI Chief said his order to set timelines is aimed to improve, facilitate and expedite the processing of the applications.
All applications received by the Central Receiving Unit (CRU), upon making sure that all documents are complete and in accordance with existing checklists, must be transmitted to the concerned offices within the same working day of receipt.“There is a need to enhance the existing procedures and guidelines in the processing of these applications to eliminate bureaucratic red tape,“ he pointed out.Mison said there is also need some key reforms for the issuance and renewal of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) to avert graft and corrupt practices and improve the efficiency of delivery of such front-line services.He explained that, under the BI’s “Good guys in, Bad guys out” program, foreigners with bona-fide intention to apply for appropriate visa are presumed to be “good guys” which should be extended tourist and/or investment-friendly immigration services.
WITH various controversies and anomalies, Philippines agricultural forecast seems to follow a bright rainbow in the sky.
No less than the government’s Department of Agriculture under its chief honcho –Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, has been in the limelight lately, due to several controversies hounding the country’s precious prime staple food –rice.
In fact, just before the ‘forced’ resignation of former Custom’s chief Biazon, rice smuggling was among those that hugged newspaper headlines from Aparri to Jolo, and whereby top accused rice smugglers rocked the confines of our anti-crime agencies via several high-point Senate-led inquiries.
The Philippine Agricultural Journalists Inc. (PAJ), one of the country’s pioneering news associations (now led by the dynamic Philippine Star business editor and my close friend –Roman ‘Sir Manong’ Floresca,) has been at the frontlines of the nation’s agricultural dimensions since the mid-seventies, dwelling on in-depth articles, research, plus innovations and insights on the latest developments of our society’s prime economic-mover in the 21st century.
And while we are dwelling on our favorite subject –rice, did you know that Ilocos Norte has just received its deserving award for being one of the top 12 rice-producing provinces of the country. No less than Ilocos Norte’s hard-working Governor –Imee Marcos received the “2013 National Rice Achievers”(NRA) trophy from DA Sec Alcala, and national rice production coordinator and the DA’s Undersecretary Dante S. Delima. As per media release which appeared in the PS: “other winning provinces includeNueva Ecija, North Cotobato, Nueva Viscaya, Isabela, Pangasinan, Bukidnon, Bulacan , Kalinga, Mindoro Occidental, Laguna and Lanao del Norte. A total of P117.42 million worth of project grants and cash prizes were given out to the awardees which consisted of 12 provinces, 48 municipalities, 10 irrigator associations (IA’s), three small water impounding system associations (SWISAs) and agricultural extension workers (AEWs).
The addendum report stated that “each province received P4-million worth of project grant, while municipalities received P1-million worth of project grants. The IA’s and SWISAs each received P1-million and P500,000 respectively, while AEWs were given P20,000 cash prize each.” Well folks, that says a lot about the ‘strength’ of our rice-producing provinces.
Just wondering how this ‘good news’ would affect the cash registers of some rice-supporting fast-food establishments like Inasal for example, which is by the way, now under the stewardship of globally-strong Filipino-owned firm –Jollibee Group.
And by the way, what have we here on the latest developments concerning the hotly-controversial National Food Authority (NFA) which was at the receiving end of countless accusations vis-a-vis “anomalies and corruption” that required Senate and Congressional inquiry for that matter? In fact, a number of people’s organizations have called for its abolition “citing billions of pesos in debt the government has incurred over the years.”
Latest media reports however has it that no less than the Palace “has stood pat on its position not to abolish the grains procurement agency, saying this will affect millions of Filipino farmers dependent on NFA support price for palay.”
Now we wonder why this present administration is still open to import rice from our neighboring ASEAN brothers, when it has been revealed (as per documented media reportage) that our beloved Philippines has enough rice production to feed our growing millions of Filipinos nationwide. Let us remember, what the Word states: “…and the truth shall set you free.”
And to think that “to date, NFA’s debts are placed at around P150 billion.” Where do we go from here?
Buoyed by surging remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), consumer sentiment improved moderately in this year’s first quarter, raising prospects of better times ahead.
Based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP survey, overall confidence index (CI) showed an upbeat trend because of some positive indicators spawned by a resilient economy.
These range from availability of more jobs to increase in the number of employed family members and the emergence of more investment prospects.
Consumer confidence is measured using three indicators–economic conditions of the country, family financial situation and family income.
By income group, consumer sentiment was mixed with respect to their views on family finances and income.
The low-income group showed a consistently more favorable outlook, but the middle-income group’s outlook weakened, but turned more bullish for the next quarter and the year ahead.
In the same BSP survey, the high-income group had a less upbeat outlook but anticipated financial conditions to improve in the next twelve months. Across income groups, confidence on the economic condition of the country improved.
The survey results also showed that the number of households with savings continued to pick up at 28.9 percent in Q1 2014 compared to 26.2 percent in the previous quarter.
Consistent with the higher spending outlook on basic goods and services in Q1 2014, consumers anticipated higher inflation in the year ahead. They expected the inflation rate to settle at 8.4 percent compared to 7 percent in Q4 2013. This indicates that inflationary expectations could be stronger in the next 12 months.
Respondents are also of the view that the peso would depreciate against the US dollar in the next 12 months. Their perception could have been influenced in part by the recent weakening of the peso against the dollar.
Of the 560 households included in the BSP survey that received OFW remittances in Q1 2014, 97 percent used the remittances that they received to purchase food.
More than two-thirds (68.9 percent) of the OFW households allocated part of their remittances for education, 62.9 percent for medical payments and 45.9 percent for debt payments.
Stung by the erosion of its competitiveness as an investment haven, the state-run Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA is stepping up its infrastructure spending in what could be a reawakening from years of complacency.
This year, the SBMA’s capital expenditure (capex budget amounts to P617 million, an unprecedented 6,740 percent increase over last year’s P9 million.
A big departure from past allocations, the SBMA plans to embark on more projects to improve infrastructure and facilities, as well as to further promote the Subic Bay Freeport view of rise of new rival Freeport zones in Vietnam, China and Myanmar.
Approved by the SBMA board of directors, this year’s outlay came on the strength of the agency’s record-breaking financial performance for 2013.
The SBMA booked last year an all-time net profit of P1.079 billion, its highest in its entire 21-year history. The SBMA’s 2013 gross revenue of P2.09 billion and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of P992 million likewise became the highest in the agency’s history. The money will bankroll the acquisition of new dump trucks, service vehicles, and beautification of the Freeport, roads, and repair of infrastructure, airport, and other projects to make the Freeport more attractive to foreign investors.
According to figures released by the SBMA Finance Group, of the agency’s budget, P2.6 million will be spent on buildings and structures; P90 million on land and land improvements; P391 million on equipment outlay; and P134 million on information technology equipment, which received a budget of only P13,000 in 2013.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia appealed to SBMA officials and employees to continue looking for new sources of revenue to further improve the agency’s financial performance.
“We are already here at this level where we can provide for what we need. We are committed to spend not only for equipment and facilities, but for our people most especially,” Garcia assured. “But we must help each other to take SBMA up to an even higher level,” he added.
The SBMA is also strengthening its law enforcement capacity to make the Subic Bay Freeport more attractive to investors and more conducive to trade and tourism.
“Let us all practice Kaizen. Let us not be contended with what we have achieved. Let us always aim to surpass our achievement,” Garcia said.
Kaizen, Garcia explained, is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement.
Garcia said that even as the SBMA posted an impressive performance in 2013, it should aspire for even greater accomplishments in order to remain competitive as a trade and tourism hub.
He pointed out that in 2013, the SBMA board of directors approved a total of P27 billion in terms of investment pledges, which was 800 percent more than the P3 billion recorded in the previous year.
Topping all other investment pledges in 2013 was the Korean firm Resom Resort, which committed P21.4 billion out of the total P27 billion pledges.
Garcia also said that the SBMA will be developing more areas for investment this year following the turnover by the municipal council of San Antonio, Zambales of the 10,000-hectare San Antonio Economic Development Area for conversion into an additional secured area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Aside from this, the SBMA has also worked out with the local government of Subic, Zambales for the free port expansion into a 650-hectare coastal land in the municipality that will be ideal for shipbuilding and ship repair.
Both territorial expansion projects will be utilized to accommodate the growing investment proposals being received by the agency, Garcia said in a statement.
IT is very natural for people to disagree with one another. Each human is created unique and distinct or, in a real sense: without equal. E.g., take an event, like a basketball game witnessed by a thousand spectators, and you can expect from them a thousand accounts with variances in perception, understanding, enjoyment and what have you.
Differences should never spawn ill feelings. They are like rains that come in cycles alternating with sunshine. Let us welcome them as opportunities for building healthier relationships, resting assured that the laws of God and of Man are precisely the infrastructure of just and orderly societies. Significantly, as there is a “carrot and stick” discipline for homes and schools, so also is there a system of “crime and punishment” in the wider environment beyond their fences.
Let us therefore acknowledge and accept life’s greatest challenge: to doggedly temper irreconcilable differences, to generously give or give in, or otherwise make sacrifices in order to strengthen or preserve the whole of which we are each expendable parts. Given the cited infrastructure, there’s no reason why peace is not attainable in our blighted land.
Last March 29, the Nationalist People’s Army (NPA), the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), somberly observed its 45th Anniversary barely a week after the capture in Cebu of the two highest officials of the CPP-NPA network, along with 10 others. Apart from being a blow to the morale of the commies, the arrests are certain to set back their calendar of armed operations against government buildings and military installations, not to mention populated civilian areas.
In dealing with communist rebels, not to mention their Moro counterparts down south, civilian and military authorities have demonstrated eternal patience. Indeed, legislating, listening, negotiating, giving carrots and bending backwards to spinal discomforts have long become the norms of official policy. But what happens if carrots do not work any longer? Dialog after dialog has not worked. Ceasefire after ceasefire has not worked. Amnesty after amnesty has not worked. Of late, the peace process has ground to a halt…no thanks to the Reds!
Time for the sticks
My personal reaction to the recent arrest of twelve communists in Cebu, including the CPP-NPA Chair, his wife and five others who reportedly comprise the highest Maoist ruling body in the country today, is: “Good. Charge them all immediately with Rebellion. With respect to leader Benito Tiamson and his wife Wilma, Secretary General and Finance Chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, against whom warrants of arrest for Murder and Frustrated Murder had long been issued, their criminal prosecution should commence without delay, unless of course the said crimes were committed in furtherance of rebellion, in which case they should be tried only for Rebellion”.
Ringing hollow is their claim that their arrest would only set back the on-off series of peace talks started over 25 years ago, since it is a documented fact that they have cavalierly derailed the peace talks with constant absences from scheduled meetings, not to mention their programmed forays into traditional targets anytime they choose. Should they be treated any differently from a widowed labandera who got 14 years for robbing and killing a businessman so she could feed her six children?
The Valley of Death
Sure, their alleged love of country is aflame with revolutionary fervor — dig those slogans screamed out with clenched fists! — but hey, non-commies like me are also country-lovers, and they need no strident slogans and clenched fists to assemble, debate and make meaningful headways in the quest for social change! And this they can do as a guaranteed right to use what is known as “democratic free space” — an expanse that includes the polling places, the halls of Congress, the courtrooms, the streets and other open spaces allowed for marches and the airing of grievances.
Revolutionary catchphrases like “Tuloy ang laban!” and “Patay kung patay!” are so scorchingly emotional they set ablaze the valor to “march into the valley of death”; ignominious death, that is, because the struggle of the Tiamsons and their fellow Maoists can never succeed, there having never been a time, ever, when their mindless and unreasonable methods appealed to the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of citizens.
So how can they proclaim themselves “patriots,” when they knowingly and openly oppose the peaceful and democratic ways of the vast number of Filipinos? By doing so, these handful of fully armed commies think they can impose their will upon a hundred million sovereign people. And to think that CPP-NPA Supremo Benito Tiamson is a UP-bred sociologist! One wonders how such anti-people sentiments could be hailed by him and his followers as patriotism.
By Dong Maraya
Recently a Filipino citizen living in Manila has laid claim—as sultan of Sulu—to the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo. Jamalul Kiram III’s claim is based on a token rent which Malaysia pays the royal house of Sulu for the use of Sabah. Calling themselves the Royal Army of Sulu, the clan members said they were descendants of the Sultanate of Sulu in the southern Philippines, which ruled parts of northern Borneo for centuries.
The February 2013 invasion by more than 200 Filipinos seemed to take both the Philippines and Malaysia by surprise. At least 60 have been killed in the ongoing conflict. The Malaysian government has been forced to take the worsening situation seriously, and launched an offensive on March 5, which included fighter jet air support.
However, the Sabah intrusion did not damage ties between Malaysia and the Philippines. Nevertheless, both sides should increase their mutual engagement in the business, economic and cultural spheres. The Philippines is maintaining close ties with Malaysia despite the siege.
“There has been no strain with our relationship in Malaysia. We recognize that this was an attempt by a few that should not affect the relationship of the whole,” a Philippine government official said in a news briefing.
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy in Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometers (127,350 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. Land borders are shared with Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei, and maritime borders exist with Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. In 2010 the population was 28.33 million, with 22.6 million living on the Peninsula.
The independent state of Malaysia came into existence on Sept. 16, 1963, as a federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah (North Borneo), and Sarawak. In 1965, Singapore withdrew from the federation to become a separate nation. Since 1966, the 11 states of former Malaya have been known as West Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak as East Malaysia.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. The government system is closely modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister.
By the late 1960s, Malaysia was torn by rioting directed against Chinese and Indians, who controlled a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth. Beginning in 1968, it was the government’s goal to achieve greater economic balance through a national economic policy.
Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5% for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fueled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrializedmarket economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world.
Malaysia’s foreign policy is officially based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their political system. The government attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and seeks to further develop relations with other countries in the region.
Malaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrializedmarket economy. The state plays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. In the 1970s, the predominantly mining and agricultural-based economy began a transition towards a more multi-sector economy.
International trade and manufacturing are the key sectors. Malaysia is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, and petroleum is a major export. Malaysia has once been the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world.
In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on export goods, the government has pushed to increase tourism to Malaysia. As a result, tourism has become Malaysia’s third largest source of foreign exchange, although it is threatened by the negative effects of the growing industrial economy, with large amounts of air and water pollution along with deforestation affecting tourism. In the 1980s, Dr. Mohamad Mahathir succeeded Datuk Hussein as prime minister. Mahathir instituted economic reforms that would transform Malaysia into one of the so-called Asian Tigers.
Beginning in 1997 and continuing through the next year, Malaysia suffered from the Asian currency crisis. Instead of following the economic prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the prime minister opted for fixed exchange rates and capital controls. In late 1999, Malaysia was on the road to economic recovery, and it appeared Mahathir’s measures were working.
The Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Ibrahim Saad is from the northern state of Penang, a highly developed city also known as the Silicon City of Malaysia. Industrialized as it may be now, Penang is also a recognized UNESCO Heritage Site. Dr. Saad stressed that he has one wife with whom he has two sons and three daughters and he is currently doting on his four grandchildren. Though the family members are based in Malaysia, they make it a point to come once in a while as they love the surfing and diving in the country. In fact, he says, they just love the Philippines.
Dr. Ibrahim Saad is not a career diplomat. He started out in the academe, graduating with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Wisconsin in America. He later on joined the government as a member of the State Assembly, became a deputy chief minister of and vice governor of Penang before he moved to a higher post in the Prime Minister’s department. Perhaps the call of the academe proved stronger then, because he left politics again and went back to the world of academe, becoming vice chancellor and president of a prestigious university in his beloved city until the government recalled him into active service and he accepted the post of Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines in 2010.
Malaysia is essentially a highly industrialized and developed country, and many tourists come to their shores to shop at high-end stores. They recently launched Luxury Malaysia in the country which extols their relatively cheap shopping because only gas, glasses, drinks, cigarettes and chocolates are taxed.
With a population of 25 million people and an economy that is steadfastly registering a double-digit growth (they have a per capita income of US$8,000) Malaysia needs a lot of manpower which the Philippines can provide. Currently, they have one million foreigners with work permits in Malaysia, and they are in the process of regularizing another one million workers.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently launched the construction of a warehouse facility worth P5.9 million for the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of Rizal, Cagayan.
The post-harvest facility will consist of a 60-square meter warehouse with a 2,000-cavan capacity, a 48-square meter office, and a 450-square meter solar dryer. DAR Regional Director Marjorie Ayson led the groundbreaking rites of the Malasatco Post-harvest facility project along with Rizal Mayor Joel Ruma, in the agrarian reform community (ARC) of Malaueg, in Rizal town, Cagayan. Ayson said the farmers suffer spoilage of harvested crops due to lack of proper storage facilities. “Our farmers experience losses because most farm family houses don’t have enough space in their lots to properly store their harvested crops. Another major reason is the very long distance of Malaueg ARC to the market center,” said Ayson. According to Ayson, because of the remoteness of Malaueg ARC to the town proper “very few public vehicles ply the long stretch of rocky road. Delivery vehicles for farmers’ produce are also very few and are put on a schedule basis by the farmers to accommodate their transportation needs.” Ayson added that during summer, it takes at least two days for the farmers to traverse the rough roads to bring their produce to the market. It takes them longer days during the rainy season when the roads are deep with thick mud. “By the time they get to the market center the crops are wilted and some are already spoiled. The wilted produce don’t sell as much as fresh ones,” said Ayson. Ayson thanked Mayor Ruma for his support for his farmer-constituents in donating the lot where the storage facility is being constructed. Apart from the storage facility which will be finished by May 23, 2014, the municipality of Rizal was also provided by the DAR with a communal irrigation project in Bgy. Mauanan and a potable water supply in Bgy. Illuru. Malasatco is a farmers’ cooperative where most members are agrarian reform beneficiaries.
Gas2Grid Ltd. reported Thursday that it has just received written approval from the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) to commence the Malolos-1 extended oil production in the Philippines.
The operations will commence as soon as the crew and equipment have been mobilized to the site with likely initial oil production commencing in April. This testing is being carried out in order to confirm the commerciality of the Malolos Oil Field. The DOE had previously extended Service Contract 44 (SC 44) for a 12 month period starting Jan. 29 in order to conduct the tests.
The extended oil production testing program aims to gather sufficient technical information to confirm commerciality of the Malolos Oil Field to justify the Department of Energy awarding a 25 year production period leading to full field appraisal and development. Proving commercial production at Malolos Oil Field will have a very significant impact on the value of the Company and will benefit the Philippine economy.
On Jan. 29 the Company reported a “Contingent Resource” of oil in the two productive sandstones for the Malolos Oil Field between a “Low Estimate” (1C) of 6.8 million barrels and a “High Estimate” (3C) of 68.1 million barrels, with a “Best Estimate” (2C) of 20.4 million barrels of “Total Oil Initially in Place”. This Contingent Resource is in addition to the Unrisked Prospective Resources released to the ASX on Jan. 29. The large size of contingent and prospective resources justifies further exploration within SC 44.
In that respect, the Company is continuing discussions with interested parties for funding the complete appraisal and development work (seismic acquisition, production well drilling and production facilities) at the Malolos Oil Field and additional exploration prospects by a farmout of part of its 100 percent interest in Service Contract 44. In view of the time frame available to the Company for SC 44, it will also consider sole funding some of the work early should farmin terms and agreements take undue time to finalize. The Company is funding the extended oil production testing from existing cash reserves which were raised last year.