Thursday, 29 November 2012

EXTRA: Paracale small-scale mining coming to a halt

PARACALE,  CamNorte:  Paracale municipal government is bent on stopping all small-scale mining operations in the gold-rich town and the eviction of all miners illegally operating in Palanas and the neighboring village of Malaguit, a top aide of Mayor Romeo Moreno said over the weekend.

“But the move would cripple the economy of Paracale, which has been heavily dependent on mining,” said Senen Inocalla, administrative aide of Moreno.

Inocalla quoted Moreno as saying that townsfolk could live without mining like in the past, when the gold rush in Paracale was inexistent.

But Inocalla said the municipal government had been requesting the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to determine where residents could mine safely to prevent a move that could be death sentence to thousands of townsfolk who subsist on mining.

Earlier, GoV Edgardo Tallado said the provincial government had been helpless in stopping illegal mining in Paracale because miners kept on returning to their guerilla operations despite cease and desist orders.

The move to stop small-scale ming in Paracale came after seawater rushed into at least seven mining pits in Palanas on Tuesday last week, killing at least three miners.

Authorities last Monday had recovered the bodies of all three miners, a report from the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

The PNP report said the body of Carlos Salen, 27, was surfaced Monday morning. 

On Sunday evening, the body of Luis Sayson, 33, was also fished out at about 9pm.

On Thursday, the body of Julian Cabaruvia, 22, was the first to be recovered.

With all three bodies recovered, the municipal government ended the retrieval operation jointly conducted with the PNP, Office of Civil Defense, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Coast Guard.

Adel Zamudio, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer of Paracale, said  they were not disregarding the possibility that there could be other miners trapped inside the watery pits. 

But proving there were more casualties, as some townsfolk claim, would be hard, according to him.

Involved in the accident were at least seven deep pits, which were just among the hundred of pits in the seaside mining community.

The operation had been difficult because the pits, some of which exceed 20m in depths and are interconnected by extensive lateral tunnels, were submerged in water with hazardous debris.

“We would need to clear up all of the pits to finalize the number of casualties,” Zamudio said. – Bicol Mail

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

EXTRA: Philippine economy grows 7.1% in Q3

                                          Philippine economy expands 
MANILA: The Philippines said Wednesday the economy grew 7.1% year on year in the three months to September, making it the best performer in Southeast Asia and putting it on track to beat its annual forecast.

Officials said reforms initiated by President Benigno Aquino had led to improved fiscal management, transparent public spending and a better overall business environment that all helped to fuel growth.

"This was made possible due to sustained confidence in the leadership of President Aquino and his administration, which has consistently equated good governance with good economics," Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Aquino, who was elected in 2010, has instituted anti-corruption reforms while seeking to boost revenues and improve government spending.

As a result, the Philippines, once an economic laggard, posted higher growth in the third quarter than Indonesia, the region's biggest economy, which grew 6.2%, Lacierda said.

It also beat Malaysia's 5.2 percent, Vietnam's 4.7%and Thailand's 3.0 percent growth, he told reporters.

The July-September performance also helped push growth in the first nine months of the year to 6.5%, Lacierda added. 
Government economists said full-year growth would likely surpass their original forecast of 5%-6% and could even hit near 7%.

HSBC Bank economist Trinh Nguyen credited "timely policy actions" of the central bank and the government to deal with falling demand from China and Europe as well as the "resilient" nature of the Philippine economy.

"There is no denying it, the Philippines is having a fantastic year despite strong global headwinds," she said in a report.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the latest indicators showed that the country faced "very fruitful times ahead" with low inflation and interest rates and increased confidence in government reforms.

He added that this would improve the country's credit rating further. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' credit ratings to within one rung of investment grade in recent months.

However Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said there were still external threats such as the "looming fiscal cliff" in the United States and the long-running eurozone debt crisis.

He also said the government was closely watching the strengthening peso, which could hurt exporters' competitiveness. - AFP

EXTRA: Peso breaks into 40-to-US$1 territory

The peso on Tuesday, rose further to break into the 40-to-a-dollar territory on the back of robust remittances and increased appetite among investors for peso-denominated securities. -- AFPpic

MANILA: The peso on Tuesday rose further to break into the 40-to-a-dollar territory on the back of robust remittances and increased appetite among investors for peso-denominated securities.

The local currency closed at a new 56-month high of 40.87 against the greenback, gaining 13 centavos from the previous day’s finish of 41:$1.
The intraday high hit 40.85:$1 while the intraday low was 41:$1. Volume of trade amounted to $899.52 million, up from US$655.09 million on Monday.

The peso’s movement on Tuesday brought the local currency’s appreciation since the start of the year to about 7%, making it one of the strongest currencies in the region.

Despite Tuesday’s gain, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has maintained that the peso remained competitive. The BSP said that although the appreciation since January was significant, the intraday fluctuations of the peso were still less than those of other currencies in the region.

“The peso has indeed appreciated faster than regional currencies have, but the volatility of the peso has been maintained at the middle of the range (of volatilities of key currencies in the region),” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. told reporters.

According to the BSP, having moderate day-to-day fluctuations of the peso-dollar rate helped temper disruptions caused by the year-to-date appreciation of the local currency to operations of businesses.

The rate of volatility, which indicated how wide or narrow the exchange rate moved around the average for a given period, stood at 1.79% for the peso so far this year, Tetangco said. This was more tempered compared with 2.14% for the Japanese yen, 2.29% for the Australian dollar, 2.33% for the Indonesia rupiah and 4.38% for the Indian rupee.

The peso’s volatility, however, was faster than the 1.72% for the Malaysian ringgit and 1.33% for the Thai baht.

Tetangco noted, though, that the BSP would strictly monitor the foreign exchange market to see if there was a pressing need for a more substantial intervention.

“We remain watchful of market conduct,” Tetangco said.

Foreign exchange traders said the BSP had been intervening in the market, arguing that were it not for the dollar-buying of monetary authorities, the peso could have been much stronger that its current level. - Inquirer

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Latebreakers, by PERCY A OSTONAL

Taxation target ... A truck hauling earth from Pudado, Labo, for PanCentury, a petrochemical plant at Baranggay Osmenia in Jose Panganiban, CamNorte. This company is the first target of a newly-passed municipal ordinance in Mambulao. Mayor Ricarte Padilla is worried that the 24/7 hauling operations of Pan Century would one day start destroying his newly-cemented roads within the poblacion that lead to the compound of the Indian-owned chemical plant. - Facebookpicture

Road to Baranggay Osmena … this is a portion of the road at Purok 5 in Baranggay Bagong-bayan that ends at the compound gate of Pan Century in Baranggay Osmena. If the 24/7 operations of heavy dump trucks hauling mineral-rich earth from a quarry at Pundado, Labo, CamNorte, and destined for Pan Century, go on, chances are this road would crumble one day, giving new headaches to the local government of Jose Panganiban. A toll for the use of this road will soon be imposed on these trucks as a measure to raise funds for the eventual repair of this road. – MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ

Local taxation. The Jose Panganiban municipal council recently passed a tax (levy) ordinance under Section 154 (Public Utility Charges) of The local Government Code of the Philippines book II, Local Taxation and Fiscal Matters - Title One, Local Government Taxation , Chapter I- General Provisions. The tax move is aimed at a private trucking organization that currently hauls earth believed to have rich ore minerals from Baranggay Pundado, Labo, CamNorte and loaded onto an stand-by Chinese cargo vessel anchored at a seaport at a Baranggay Osmena seaport in Jose Panganiban. From our sources, it has been said that "such hauling activities" could not take place 24/7 without authorization/sanction from the office of the provincial governor.

Section 138 of the above provisions that states: Tax on sand, gravel and other quarry resources - the province may levy and collect not more than 10% of the fair market value in the locality per cubic meter of ordinary stones, sand, gravel, earth and other quarry resources as defined under the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, extracted from public lands or from the beds of seas, lakes, rivers. streams, creeks and other public waters within its territorial jurisdiction. The permit to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be issued exclusively by the provincial governor, pursuant to the ordinance of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan. The proceeds of the tax on sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be distributed as follows:

*Province - 30 %
*Component  city or municipality where sand, gravel and quarry resources are extracted -30 %
*Baranggay where sand, gravel and other quarry resources are extracted - 40 %

The provincial government of CamNorte is being alleged as the direct contracting party to the trucking organization that uses JP's municipal roads, pier or wharf, waterway, bridge or telecommunication system funded and constructed by the local government unit, according to our local reporter. The provincial government has been silent about it and has never bothered to send any communication to JP-LGU as of this time whatsoever concerning the trucking activities. The ordinance has been officially transmitted to the office of Governor Edgar Tallado for response. It is worth knowing what Section 154 is all about which states:

The Sanggunian concerned may prescribe the terms and conditions and fix the rates for the imposition of TOLL FEES or CHARGES for the use of any public road, pier or wharf, waterway, bridge, ferry or telecommunication system funded and constructed by the local government unit concerned.

Section -129 (Power to create sources of revenue) has its  relation to section-154 which states:

Each local government unit shall exercise its power to create its own resources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to the provisions herein, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government units.

(Reference/information are sourced from the Website of: The local Government Code Of the Philippines book II, Local Taxation and Fiscal Matters-Title One, Local Government Taxation, Chapter I- general Provisions )

Rejoice, rejoice, Rejoice. Baranggay Nakalaya "farm-to-market-road" has been completed!!! Hindi pa po ipinanga-nganak ang mga ninuno namin dito sa Baryo NAKALAYA noon pero talagang ganyan na po ang daan dito …  totoong pahihirapan kayo. Ni sa pangarap ay walang mag-aakalang magiging "modern" ang daan naming mga taga-rito, sobra-sobra po ang katuwaan naming lahat dahil hindi na po kami masyadong mag po-poblema lalong-lalong na kung bagyo at tag-ulan. Sa wakas makakapunta na kami sa bayan para dalhin ang mga inanin namin dito sa bundok, ebenta at madagdagan ang kunting ikinabubuhay namin at kahit anong oras lalong lalo na po kung may itatakbo sa bayan dahil sa malubhang sakit ay hindi na kami mag dadalawang isip pa,” ang wika ng  isang taga baryo ng ito'y makausap ng ating lokal reporter.

It’s fun in Panganiban!!!! Creativity of introducing oneself to the political arena which rides on 2012 national tourism slogan "It’s Fun in the Philippines" is something "catchy" that the residents of JP have noticed lately. A youthful University of the Philippines-Los Banos, Laguna graduate-scholar Tres Panganiban who is running for Sanggunian-Bayan under the Liberal Party has printed posters of himself, which say: "It’s fun in Panganiban". Sixto Brillantes, the Comelec chairman said that as long as candidates for 2013 local elections are simply introducing themselves in order for voters to know them (candidates), then, that's OK. Otherwise, if they started to do real "house-to-house campaigning" before the designated campaign day schedules, it becomes a violation of the election law. Meanwhile, someone close to the political camp of re-electionists Mayor Dong Padilla and Vice-Mayor Ariel Non told our correspondent that none of the eight administration Sanggunian-bayan candidates (six re-electionists, two newcomers), will have an individual or separate political and campaign poster/paraphernalia. Instead as a showcase and trade-mark of the PERFORMANCE TEAM and UNITY, they'll have only a single election advertisement headlined by Padilla and Non.

Parannial station 'advanced team' in town. MWBuzz recently received news from our local reporter that about two platoons (about 50 soldiers and officers in one platoon) of listed/unlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force started arriving to the old military installation to begin the process of rehabilitation and help in clearing up the place that was abandoned in the 70s. Said group of military men is headed by a lieutenant. Our local reporter has gathered that soon these men will be joined-in by some few technical personnel and engineering experts from Philippine Air Force Headquarters base. The general re-clearing of the area falls into the hands of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Bureau of Lands thru their respective heavy equipment motor pools.

Boardwalk back to its old glory. The wood hand-railings have been upgraded to stainless steel by JP Engineering and Construction Office. The entire facility has been cleared of graffiti writings and is NOW sporting brand-new coat of paints, courtesy of parents/guardians of the kids who did the vandalism. Under the watchful eyes of the parents/guardians and supervision/guidance from JP construction office representative, these kids did the painting themselves, thus learning for the first time what it meant to do a "community service". Our local reporter said that a big signboard greets everyone coming in to the boardwalk requesting for their full cooperation in maintaining the beauty, cleanliness and maintenance of the place. The ordinance prohibiting vandalism has now been fully implemented by JP-LGU.

New bus terminal construction starts early next year.
According to MWBuzz informants, construction of the JP main bus terminal (above) starts during the first quarter of 2013. It has been said that all funding requisites have been taken care of for the project. A new bus terminal will cater to the growing number of travelers from the community to Bicol region and northern Luzon, particularly Metro Manila.