Archive for January, 2011

Delegates from Northern Luzon



Hog raisers from Northern Luzon led by Abono Party-list chairman Eng. Rosendo So (5th from left, backrow) posed for posterity in a dinner in Mandarin Restaurant in Cebu recently. After this they proceeded at the Pig Summit that was held at the convention hall of Water Front Hotel in the Queen’s City of the South (Photo and text by Mortz Ortigoza).

January 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

Hog industry players: Save local pork industry


By Mortz Ortigoza

CEBU CITY–The unabated influx of cheap imported pork to the country is the worst blow that hit Filipino hog raisers.

This is according to National Federation of Hog Farmers chair Zosimo de Leon, whose sentiments were shared by more than 200 delegates from different provinces who attended the National Pig Summit held at the Water Front Hotel & Casino last January 25-26.

The summit aimed to save the beleaguered P216 billion hog industry which is threatened by cheap pork imported from the United States and Canada.

In attendance during the summit were Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Congressman Llandro Mendoza, Party-List Representative Robert Raymund Estrella, and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala..

Estrella said it is the backyard hog raisers which composed 70 percent of the country’s hog industry, which are the most affected by the unabated importation.

Abono Party-list chairman Rosendo So, who organized the summit, said that there are 40 million swine in hog farms in the country worth P216 billion, which could go to waste if the pork importation is not stopped.

“The pork importation would also undermine the corn industry that covers 120 million hectares all over the country,” he stressed. Corn is the main ingredient of feeds for pigs.

Saying the unabated importation was “alarming,” he revealed that as of December 21, 2010, there were already 178,905,146 kilograms that entered the country between 2005 to 2010.

This is an increase of 355 percent of pork importation during the five-year period, he said,

In Pangasinan, the price of a kilo of a choice cut of imported pork is P120 a kilo, while its local counterpart is P180 a kilo.

Lito Hison of COR Farm in Bulacan doubted the present campaign of the government to stop the surge of the importation, saying there were already two summits conducted on the issue, but he has yet to see any effort to protect the local farmers.

“Bakit nandito pa rin ito. Hindi ma-hit, Diyan ang batas, ACMA . Produkto ba natin ay napababa? FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease), Technical smuggling sa Philippines, chicharon sa Korea na dala nito ay sakit (FMD),” he lamented.

He said the Philippines has been left behind by neighbouring Vietnam three times in terms of hog production.
AGAP Party List Rep. Nick Briones is amenable to the suggestion of Engr. So that in case the government dilly-dallies in acting on the plight of the local hog raisers, the stakeholders will use the tri-media to ventilate their plight.

Rep. Briones assailed the officials at the Bureau of Customs whom he accused of not seeing the mammoth volumes of pork entering the country.

Secretary Alcala admitted that the government was defenseless from the unabated influx of pork because importers use the tariff rules that governs importation outside of the World Trade Organization’s Minimum Access Volume (MAV) that has been given a duty of 5% for offal (parts of butchered animals like chopped ears, snout, brain, and others, which are major ingredient of a popular delicacy sisig).

He said the volume of pork importation has not exceeded the MAV, but it is the offal importation that is threatening the industry. “Offal is too cheap and there are containers declared as offal but contains choice cuts,” he said.

Alcala said to curb the pork smuggling that use offal as cover up for the more expensive pork cuts, he would work out for the increase of tariff for offal.

“We will increase the tariff and level it with MAV,” he said.

He said he will create a technical working group that will include members of the hog industry players, to firm up actions to curb the pork importation.

In case there would be delay in the increase of tariff, he would call Senator Pangilinan to intercede in a government bureau that delays it.
Rep. Mendoza, who like Senator Pangilinan chaired the committee on agriculture, said that what has been discussed in the summit would be an aid for legislation by his committee.”

Eng. So of the Abono suggested that the country should have her own laboratory to collaborate the findings of the laboratory of other countries.

“Why can’t we export? Because we don’t have a laboratory. If the US government says our pork is not safe, we can’t check,” he said.

Mendoza suggested that to discourage the proliferation of pork, congress should pass a law that would give a heavy prison term of more than six years and one day for those who are caught selling botcha (meat from a dead animal).

Other government officials who attended the two-day seminar were Representatives Jeslie Lapuz of Tarlac, Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan, Angelo Palmones of Agham Party-list, and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.

Those from the private sectors were Durian Tan of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Nonong Tambago, head of the Hog Raisers in Central Visayas, Ms Sharon Tan, daughter of taipan Lucio, who owned a huge hog farm in Rizal province, and other big and small time investors in the swine industry.

January 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Hearty Moment



Abono Chairman Rosendo So and Senator Kiko Pangilinan (5th from left) and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (extreme left) have hearty moment as the former escorted the senator and the secretary to the convention hall of the hotel. Both graced the Pig Summit.

January 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Tax cheats?


After 15 years, this lowly columnist who is used to see the lowly edifices of Dagupan City for decades, has visited Cebu City once again recently.

Susmariosep, I was overwhelmed by the progress “Ceboom” has been reaping. Skyscrapers that are mostly high ends, and three to five stars hotels are everywhere.

I thought I was either in Seoul in South Korea or Guangdong in Mainland China– what with those chinky-eyed tourists who walked in the streets and hotel lobby by batches.

To those who just learned how to read economics, Cebu is eight times bigger than our city in terms of yearly appropriation if we base it on our still-stalled and politicized P568 million annual budget against that Visayan City’s P4.4 billion.

I drooled more as “Ceboom” jeans and boots sporting mayor Mike Rama has concluded on his speech in English (Cebuanos are not good in Tagalog, they are a disaster. They pronounced “pig” as “peg” “shit” as “shet”) to us mostly Filipino-speaking delegates of the National Hog Summit at the convention hall of the swanky Water Front Hotel & Casino:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, after this summit, I have some appointments to attend.

I asked your indulgence to go early because this is not an ordinary city. This is a highly urbanized city. This is the queen city of the Philippines. To all and sundry, daghang salamat (many thanks)”.

***

After I arrived from the Queen’s City, I waved my Cebu’s Sun- Star and Freeman daily papers for media men in a press conference in Dagupan to see.

“Look here, each of these tabloids average 32 pages that, holly-molly, are being circulated everyday against Pangasinan’s pathetic newspapers that average eight pages only!”

Manila Bulletin scribe Orly Guirao told me that the thickness of Cebu’s tabloids is the result of the city being highly urbanized. Northern Times publisher Lelia Sy, who crisscrossed the archipelago as PAPI ‘s (Publishers Association Of The Philippines, Inc.) hot shot, quipped that the thickness of the Cebuano papers happened because national broadsheets arrived late in that city from imperial Manila.

“Sun-Star and Freeman are the substitute of Philippine Daily Inquirer and other national dailies there,” she stressed.

***

Mayor Ernie Balolong of Urbiztondo, a big time hog and poultry raisers himself, could only shake his head on the spate of unabated smuggling of bargain-priced pork from the US and Canada in Cebu that threatens the local hog raisers there.

He told me there that swine businessmen in Pangasinan are smiling these days.

He said that after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the supply of hogs in the market were depleted thus the increased gate price of live pigs for meat vendors.

***

Abono Party- list boss Rosendo So said pork is ubiquitously peddled by vendors in bicycle that roam the villages and boondocks.

Somebody told me that the proliferation of P80 a kilo pork there happened because their local officials are bribed by smugglers.

“Son of a gun, parang jueteng sa amin sa Luzon. Mi tong ang mga opisyales to buy their silence,” I exclaimed.

****

Pangasinan politicians who attended the pig summit were Abono Partylist Robert Raymund Estrella, mayors Balolong, and Leoncio Saldivar of San Nicolas. Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta and his lovely wife who is the vice mayor of Balungao were there, too.

National officials who graced the event were Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The event was steered by Abono Big boss Rosendo So whose knowledge in data about importation mesmerized the participants all over the country.

***

Somebody told me that a P700 M budget for 2011 (instead of the present P560 million) is possible in Dagupan. But because of “tax cheats” businessmen, Dagupan City reels with lethargic tax collection effort as compared to neighbouring cities Urdaneta and Baguio.

My source at city hall told me that corporations registered at the Security Exchange Commission like Phinma -run University of Pangasinan religiously pays P2.1 million a year business tax compared to family-owned universities and colleges that paid an incredible P40,000 average a year only.

Hardwares’ like Handyman and DIY that are located at the malls paid an averaged annual tax of P150, 000 a year, higher than the traditional hard wares that do business at the city’s peripheries.

My source at Urdaneta City told me that the city government billed Magic Mall there by P1.360 million.

He could not believe that Nepo Mall in Dagupan- that is two times bigger than Magic Mall in Urdaneta- pays only P600, 000 to Dagupan.

Susmariosep, Is Nepo playing around with its book?

Are the Perezes (Amadito and son Bobom) who run Urdaneta are better than the leaders of Dagupan?

Take for instance a lowly Bank of Makati in Dagupan that pays P400 thousand annually. Its bigger renowned counterpart with an initial of “B” pays only P22 thousand a year.

My source at the city hall told me that they will publish the top 300 taxpayers in the Dagupan for 2010 so the people can see who pays how much, and who pays less.

Does paying less means manipulating their books to escape paying the correct taxes?

This incredibility of taxes my dear readers is reminiscent of that unknown contractor Elaine Gardiola of Batangas who landed as the top 500 taxpayer in 2009 of the country, while billionaire-boxer Manny Pacquiao landed at number 13. Gardiola tax was P 59.54 million, while the Filipino superman – but who does not have superman’s handsome face – was paying only P 7.41 million.

Oh my Gaaad, Nora Aunor was wrong when she cried “Walang Himala!”.

My gay neighbor Swarding was correct when he quipped: “Gaga, merong himala!”. At ang himala ay nasa Dagupan lang.

Geez man, cheaters are bane. They gnaw at the economic fibres of our development.

(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

January 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

Development causes traffic in Bayambang


Bayambang Mayor Ric Camacho (4th from left) instruct his municipal officials

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
BAYAMBANG- The volume of vehicular traffic in this first class town has doubled in the past year because of the influx of investors.
Mayor Ricardo Camacho said the Royale Mall and the national computer hub of the Land Registration Administration were the linchpins for the “mob rush” in this town known for “buro” (fermented rice-and-fish mix) and onion.
“Because there are investors, people are coming by droves,” he said
He also cited the preference of private vehicle owners to use this town in going to and coming from Metro Manila.
Camacho said a new traffic ordinance was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan, and the municipal government plans to widen the major public roads to decongest traffic which affects the main thoroughfares only..

He said that construction of overpass is not yet advisable.
“So far wala pa. Kaya hindi pa naman advisable ang overpass dito. Kaunting ayos lang kasi sa dami ng sasakyan ang pumapasok dito,” he explained.
He added that someday, a Public Order & Safety like the one in Dagupan City would oversee the traffic flow. But for the meantime, he relies on the police to regulate the traffic.
Camacho further said that because of the influx of investors, the projected local income for the Internal Revenue Allotment and local revenue for this year would be P107 million and P33 million, respectively.
Last year, this town earned P102 million and P30 million for the IRA and local tax.

January 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

Boys and toys



by Archbishop Oscar Cruz

By way of a foreword, let it be expressly said from the very start that the matter herein thought of, the concern hereby taken up, is general in content and common in intent.

While it may readily arouse certain assumptions and easily lead to some conclusions, the subject matter of “Boys and Toys” has reference to but on the ground reality without the need of psychological profundities nor expert interventions. In substances, it merely says that toys are for boys in the same way that boys need and want toys. It is that plain. It is that simple.

Hence: it is great to be a boy. It is challenging to be a young man. It is defining to be an adult. What is disastrous is being an adult yet thinking like a boy. Thus it is that toys are meant for boys, not for adults. This is why it is not merely unbecoming but also demeaning when adults behave like boys and thereby get toys.

This has special relevance the moment “boy-adults” hold tenure of influential officers, have authority and power – in a family, in a community, in a Country. Their victims are always the same, viz., their subordinates, their followers, their dependents.

What is really difficult about adults thinking and behaving like boys with their toys, finds its basis on the standard truth and pursuant fact that they are the last ones to know and accept such a self-contradiction. No, there is no hypocrisy in the case but an incapacity of some kind, an incompetence of a certain degree. In either case or for whatever reason, it is a lesser evil to be a boy but act like an adult, than to be an adult and act like a boy.

The key question in this particular issue and predicament is how come an adult feel like a boy, think like a boy and behave like a boy? A common a and tenable answer thereto is found in one or more of the following unfortunate circumstances: A boyhood that is disturbed by painful or lamentable domestic situation, that is bothered and hurt by a long angering family condition, that is mostly by itself usually without peers and friends around. In short, a dysfunctional boyhood.

Thus it is that the “boy” remains in the “man” , the “man” becomes a “boy’ in feelings, thoughts and actuations. There is no objective culpability in the case. Neither is there total responsibility in the matter, on the part of the subject party concerned.

But sure, there is liability for all others relating, dealing and/or working with the individual concerned. In such a situation wherefore, all ultimately emerge as losers – except the “boy-man” himself. This is merely acting and behaving according to his psycho-emotional boy constitutional personality structure. But what a pity – just the same!

January 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm 1 comment

Pangasinan Mayors at the Pig Summit in Cebu



At the lobby of Water Front Hotel & Restaurant: Pangasinan Mayors who attended the Pig Summit in Cebu. From left Urbiztondo Mayor Ernie Balolong, San Nicolas Mayor Leoncio Saldivar, and Balungao Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta (extreme right).

January 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

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