Thursday, October 18, 2012


MANILA, October 18, 2012-During the budget deliberations for the Department of Agriculture (DA) , Senator Edgardo J. Angara recommended that the agency allot more of its P74.987 B proposed budget for 2013 towards agri-based research projects, to initiate the much-needed modernization of the sector.

This is necessary, he says, to increase the industry's productivity and guarantee food supply in the country.

"In recent years, global food supply and production has been going down. Several global studies have predicted that food will become more scarce in the next few years," said Angara, "Therefore we must focus on increasing our country's production and continuous supply of our staple crops."

"To do this we must boost our investment in research and development, particularly in the field of agriculture," explained Angara.

"R&D in agriculture pays the highest dividends in terms of profit and returns, not to mention its huge contribution to improving productivity. In the Philippines, however, investment in this sector has declined precipitously--something I believe we should rectify as soon as possible," stressed the former Agriculture secretary.

He also explained that developments through R&D would help lessen another major problem in Philippine agriculture -- high post-harvest losses. As much as 50 percent of fruit harvests and up to 15 percent of grain harvests are wasted due to inadequate machinery and equipment.

According to Angara, modern post-harvest facilities, improved logistics and infrastructure would greatly boost the efficiency of our supply chains and minimize losses.

Officials from the DA confirmed that their proposed budget for the coming fiscal year had a considerable allocation for research and development initiatives. The Philippine Rice Research Institute is requesting for P532.2M in 2013 for their R&D efforts, 56.12 percent higher than last year.

Angara, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, suggested that they farm out the agriculture research projects to the different SUCs (state universities and colleges) which have their own areas of specialization.

"Better technology equals higher yield.  We must seize this opportunity to step up production from agriculture industry, not just to ensure food supply but also to move closer to our country's goal of self-sufficiency," said Angara. (Rikka Sotto w/ Anna Amores)


STA. ISABEL, Jones, Isabela, October 18, 2012-­­Army troops belonging to the 51st Division Reconnaissance Company  of the 5th Infantry Division led by 2LT DALIT encountered more or less fifteen (15) communist terrorists while conducting security operations at sitio Kidogkidog, Sta Isabel, Jones, Isabela last Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

            The report disclosed that the firefight between the terrorists group who belong to the Sandatahang Platoon Propaganda (SPP) GANI under the leadership of Romeo Cudal, Aka Mon/Rito, and the operating troops lasted for about 30 minutes afterwhich the rebel group scampered towards different directions.

            Recovered by the operating troops at the encounter site were: five (5) backpacks containing three (3) claymore mines, medical kit, personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

             The successful security operations conducted by the Army troops in the area pre-empted the violent activities to be inflected as a result of unnecessary loss of lives and properties of innocent civilians who are the primary victims of the communist terrorists.     


MANILA, October 18, 2012-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada will join the official Philippine delegation and the Filipino community in Rome to attend the canonization rites of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on October 21.
Blessed Calungsod, young Visayan catechist and the second Filipino saint following San Lorenzo Ruiz, will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The Philippine contingent is headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay.
According to a news report from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), around 5,000 pilgrims from the Philippines are headed to Rome to attend the canonization rites.
Records from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Philippine Embassy in Rome also show that Italy is home to an estimated 114,000 Filipino migrant workers.
“I am privileged to be part of the delegation and to personally witness this momentous event when the Catholic Church honors the life, martyrdom and faithful devotion of a fellow Filipino. For me, the occasion symbolizes the unyielding faith of the Filipino people despite the difficulties,” Sen. Estrada shares.
Sen. Estrada recalls that it is during the term of his father, former President Joseph Estrada, when Blessed Pedro Calungsod was beatified by Pope John Paul II on March 2000. Former First Lady Loi Estrada was then the head of the Philippine delegation to Rome and hosted a beatification dinner for the bishops and members of the delegation.
Sen. Estrada will be joined by his mother, former Senator Loi Estrada, wife Precy Ejercito and their children, and sister Jacqueline Lopez.
They are also set to attend the Votive Mass of St. Pedro Calungsod in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thanksgiving Day on October 22, to be presided by Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

No undue price increase for more goods during calamities-- Villar

MANILA, October 18, 2012-Sen. Manny Villar today said the expansion of the list of basic necessities under the law will ensure that more goods will be saved from price gouging during calamities.  
Villar, in his capacity as chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce, sponsored yesterday the committee report on the bill amending RA 7581 or the Price Act.
Committee Report 444 recommended the inclusion of locally-manufactured noodles and bottled water in the list of basic necessities to protect consumers against undue price increases during calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation and other similar situations.
“Based on available data, the consumption of instant noodles in the country has risen steadily and in fact, has become a new staple of many poor Filipino families.  The increase in popularity of instant noodles can be due to the fact that it is cheaper and easier to prepare than rice,” Villar said in his sponsorship speech.
Villar also added that in the aftermath of the last five most disastrous storms and natural calamities(Ondoy, Pepeng, Milenyo, Pedring and habagat),  instant noodles and bottled water have become two of the most in-demand and have the biggest tendency to be overpriced to the detriment of the citizens.
He said the prevalent public consumption of instant noodles and bottled water has placed it in the ranks of basic necessities such as rice, corn, bread, fish, pork, poultry, beef, etc.  And even during relief operations in times of calamities and emergencies, these goods are the first ones to be distributed.
Villar noted that prices of goods tend to rise during periods of disasters but reminded businessmen and parties within the chain of distribution of consumer goods to “consider the interest of the public and heed the call to treat customers fairly during times of need.”


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