Sunday, September 25, 2011
BALER, Aurora, Setyembre 26, 2011-Napanatili ng bagyong Pedring ang lakas nito habang patuloy na umuusad papuntang lalawigan ng Isabela at Aurora.
Ayon sa Baler, Aurora-Pagasa, huling namataan ang bagyo sa layong 260 kilometro sa silangan hilagang silangan ng Virac, Catanduanes.
Taglay pa rin nito ang lakas ng hangin na umaabot sa 110 kilometro bawat oras at may pagbugsong hangin na umaabot ng 140 kilometro bawat oras.
Umuusad ito ng pakanluran hilagang kanluran sa bilis na 17 kilometro bawat oras.
Inaasahan na tatama ang mata ng bagyo sa kalupaan Aurora-Isabela bukas ng umaga araw ng Martes.
Nakataas ngayon ang signal number 2 sa lalawigan ng Isabela, Aurora, Catanduanes, Pilillo Island, Camarines Norte at Camarines Sur.
Signal number 1 naman sa Albay kabilang na ang Burias Island, Sorsogon, Quezon, Quirino, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Mt. Province, Kalinga at Cagayan.
Dahil dito inalerto ng Pagasa ang mga residente na nasa mga lugar na may storm signals na paghandaan ang mga pagbaha at pagguho ng lupa lalo't nasa 10-20 mm bawat oras ang dalang ulan ng bagyo habang may lawak na 600 kilometro. (Bagong Aurora Website ng Bayan)
MANILA, September 26, 2011-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food bats the Department of Agriculture and key players in the coconut industry to save the country’s dying coconut industry as he welcomes news from President Benigno Aquino III’s U.S. trip regarding potential foreign investments in the Philippine coconut industry.
“The President revealed that two U.S. companies, Pepsi Co. and Vita Coco, are looking to invest $15 million within the next four years, to meet the surging demand for coco water, saying that the country’s ‘buko’ juice is very rich in electrolytes and minerals and could therefore be a healthier alternative to sports drinks,” Pangilinan said, pointing out that these foreign investments will mean nothing if our coconut industry is dead.
Pangilinan said that earlier this month, he called on the Department of Agriculture to allow five billion pesos from the irrigation budget to help save the coconut industry, because no less than the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) had said that the country’s coconut trees are dying.
PCA revealed that over 44 million coconut trees are already classified as “old and senile” and can no longer bear any fruit, saying that about 27 percent of the total agricultural lands (in the Philippines) belong to coconut. “We have plenty of senile trees, those over 60 years old. Of the 230 million trees, 14 percent are old,” PCA Administrator Euclides Flores quoted.
Pangilinan said that the first order of business is to bring the coconut industry back to life. There is a pressing need to revive this dying industry, invest the necessary government funding to boost coconut production and to ensure the income of the farmers, and develop a roadmap for the sustainability of coconut production.
Pangilinan added that aside from the U.S., let’s also look at other markets for buko juice and other coconut products worldwide, especially now that demand is on an upswing again.
“The bottomline for these efforts would be to lift coconut farmers out of poverty. Vhile The Philippines is known for its coconut products, its coconut farmers earn only P30,000 a year,” Pangilinan pointed out.
“How can anyone live or raise a family on just P30.000 a year, or just P2,500 a month,” Pangilinan asked. “This is totally unacceptable and unjust. With these new investments, coconut industry should be resurgence and a better life for our coconut farmers. The Government and the private sector should make sure that we don’t lose out on this opportunity,” he said. (Jason de Asis)
MANILA, September 25, 2011-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada slammed the looming fire trucks controversy even as he chided Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo over what he described as his obvious lack of vision to prepare the country during emergency situations especially during fires and natural calamities.
He also took Robredo to task for the continued delay in the purchase of reliable fire trucks which he said are the local government units’ frontline of defense during critical times.
Estrada noted that in critical and emergency situations, fire trucks are our first line of defense and are called to respond and to provide assistance to those who are in need.
“So what’s taking him (Robredo) too long in purchasing fire trucks that are supposed to be distributed to our LGUs?” he asked, saying that the country lacks around 1,600 units of fire trucks to be distributed to LGUs nationwide for them to sufficiently and to efficiently respond during emergency situations records showed.
Estrada likewise questioned Robredo’s preference for imported, more expensive and possibly reconditioned fire trucks over locally manufactured ones.
He stressed that Robredo should explain why he is pushing hard to enter into deal that would pay for a more expensive imported fire trucks over locally manufactured units, adding that the importation was actually already rejected by the Arroyo administration for being erroneous, but the deal was suspiciously revived with the takeover of the Aquino administration.
Estrada was referring to the Rosenbauer fire trucks to be imported from Austria which based on records would cost more than P20 million each as compared to Philippine-made fire trucks worth only P9 million each.
The present deal will import 76 fire trucks for P1.3 billion but the actual plan is for BFP to purchase more than 1,000 units, after which every municipality will receive one fire truck each.
“The Austrian government will lend the money to buy the fire trucks, “in as much as it was a loan, therefore it would earn interests,” Estrada noted.
“Although the acquisition cost for each truck is listed at P17.5 million which is already very expensive when compared to local trucks, it would balloon to P20 million each excluding taxes and duties that will amount to around P185 million,” Estrada pointed out.
The BFP has been patronizing the tropicalized Filipino-made fire trucks that were specifically designed to suit the needs, terrain and fire conditions in the Philippines for many years.
Estrada also slammed Robredo for abandoning the Filipino First policy that seeks to protect the interest of local manufacturers and inventors which is specifically outlined in the Constitution.
“If the Rosenbauer deal pushes through, I believe that it would severely dislocate hundreds if not thousands of Filipino workers in the fire truck manufacturing industry, which is against the job generation efforts of the government,” the senator added.
The BFP has scheduled a public bidding for the supply of fire trucks on Sept. 30 but the specifications are clearly and specifically designed for imported fire trucks which many observers see as in preparation for the acquisition of the Austrian fire trucks thus depriving locally made fire trucks from participation.
Estrada averred that certainly he don’t see the logic behind Robredo’s insistence to purchase expensive and imported fire trucks when we can buy them at a much lower price from local manufacturers. (Jason de Asis)
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