Monday, 9 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, June 9, 2014

Government receives 32.31 billion pesos worth of dividends from GOCCs

President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the turnover of dividends worth P32.31 billion from 50 Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang Palace on Monday.

In his speech during the 2014 GOCC Dividends Day, President Aquino attributed to good governance the increase in GOCC remittances since the enactment of R.A. 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011.

“Bawat taon, naisasabuhay ninyo (GOCCs) ang inyong tunay na layunin: Ang maging tagapagtaguyod ng makabuluhang serbisyo at malawakang pag-unlad,” President Aquino said.

“Tapos na ang panahon kung kailan ang mga GOCC ay ginamit ng iilan para pakapalin ang sariling bulsa; kung saan ang mga GOCC ay ginawang tambayan at parking space ng mga kabarkada at alipores ng iilang makapangyarihan. Nagpatupad tayo ng reporma, at habang umuusad ang panahon, lalo nating pinagtitibay ito; lalo nating ginagawang masigasig ang pagtatrabaho tungo sa pagbabago; at lalong nagiging imposible na bumalik pa sa dating sistema,” he said.

The Chief Executive recalled that his administration’s detractors were pessimistic that reform could be made, considering the corruption in the GOCCs.

“Sa araw na ito, malinaw na malinaw: Hindi tayo katulad nila. Tingnan na lamang po natin ang kabuuang halaga ng dibidendong nailagak natin sa kaban ng bayan mula nang maisabatas ang ating GOCC Governance Act of 2011,” he said.

The GOCC Dividends Day is an annual ceremony, during which GOCCs declare and remit their earnings to the government, to be used for the betterment of the nation.

This year, 50 GOCCs contributed a total of P32.31 billion worth of dividends and other remittances for 2013, compared to 38 GOCCs remitting a total of P29 billion in 2012.

Land Bank of the Philippines had the highest dividends remitted with P6.298 billion, while the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) had the highest total remittances with P9.791 billion.

Seven other GOCCs contributed more than P1 billion in dividends, among them the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Philippine National Oil Company – Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

The entire amount will be remitted to the National Treasury. PND (ag)

Secretary Pangilinan calls for support in dealing with coconut infestation

Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan said he needs the support of the national and local governments to contain the infestation in the country’s coconut plantations.

“Until May of this year, we have had P65 million spent for this effort, and this is precisely why we felt the need to augment and provide greater support—budgetary and personnel support—for the effort,” Pangilinan said during a press briefing on Monday.

As of this month, 1.2 million trees in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, and Basilan have been affected by the pest Aspidiotus Rigidus, he said, noting that Batangas is the hardest hit with more than half a million trees.

“The pest can reach the Bicol region and Zamboanga Peninsula by the end of the year. That is why failure is not an option,” he said, adding that if left without intervention, the coconut farmers’ losses could reach up to 60 percent of their annual yield.

Asked about the origin of the pest, Pangilinan said similar pests could be found in Indonesia but they could not pinpoint the source as yet.

“We do not have the data and the evidence as to how it got into the country, but there is the possibility that this could have been brought in through Batangas ports, and by way of bringing in ornamental plants,” he said.

He said that to address the problem, the Scale Insect Emergency Action Program will be implemented.

“This is a six-month program beginning June, where we will do all these: pruning and burning of drying leaves, then we will do trunk injection. After which, there will be spraying using organic pesticide. After spraying, we will do release of biocontrol agents, which is the friendly kulisap, and then we will do fertilization, and strengthening or providing more sustenance and nutrients to the trees so that they will recover faster,” he said.

Checkpoints will also be set up to prevent the spread of the infestation by way of infested coconuts, trunks and leaves, he said, adding that there will be livelihood interventions to address the damage and the farmers’ loss of income.

He estimated the budget at P765 million and projected the coconut industry’s economic recovery at two years.

According to Pangilinan, 3.5 million hectares, or 27 percent, of the country’s total agricultural land are planted with coconut.

There are 3.5 million coconut farmers and 25 million Filipinos are directly or indirectly dependent on the coconut industry, he said, adding that 60 percent of the world’s coconut exports come from the Philippines, earning the country about $1 billion per annum.

He thus called on the local governments, the community and the farmers to support the efforts to control the infestation.

“We need the cooperation of the communities that are affected so we can defeat this pest,” he said.

On June 5, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Executive Order 169 on Establishing Emergency Measures to Control and Manage the Spread and Damage of Aspidiotus Rigidus in the Philippines and designating the Philippine Coconut Authority as the lead agency for the purpose. PND (ag)