Archive | August 2009

What’s the status of Mindanao ‘super region’?

There was no mention of the super regions, including the “Mindanao agribusiness” super region, in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2009 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 but recent updates show that this year, Mindanao got the biggest chunk in infrastructure releases.

The updates were given during the 13th Agribusiness Mindanao Super Region Interagency meeting held here Wednesday. Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Bashir Rasuman, in his Powerpoint presentation, showed that the national government released the highest amount – P18.645 billion, for Mindanao’s nine of 23 SONA infrastructure projects under the DPWH.

The amount is higher than those released to Central Philippines (P18.322 B), and the combined total of P11 billion for North, Central, South Luzon and Metro Manila. The Mindanao super region is among the five super regions President Arroyo unveiled in her 2006 SONA to stimulate economic growth and development and “make the country in step with the rest of its Asian neighbors.” “It’s the first time Mindanao is highest (in infrastructure releases). GMA (President Arroyo) is good in infrastructure in Mindanao,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said, drawing applause.

By percentage, however, the Central Luzon-Metro Manila-Calabarzon area received 100 percent of its P3.898 billion budget allocation for the SONA projects while Mindanao received only 94.3% (P18.6 billion). The total cost of the 23 projects is P55.7 billion, of which the Mindanao projects account for 35.5%. Read more. This story was first published at MindaNews.com.

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EO 765: Good for bakers, bad for corn farmers

First published in MindaNews.com. President Arroyo signed Executive Order 765 in December 2008  claiming that  “reduction on tariff on food wheat would help stabilize the price of bread and other baked food products.” Unfortunately, former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor said in a report that the order did not only include the lifting of tariff on importation of food wheat or milling wheat, the ingredient used to produce bread, but also on feed wheat, which like corn, is used as animal feed.

Excess feed wheat supply brought by the zero tariff has competed with local corn supply, Roderico Bioco founding chair of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. told MindaNews.

The implementation of EO 765 has led to an estimated P6-billion losses in income for corn farmers and at least P1-billion loss in revenues for government, Montemayor, now a member of the House representing of the ABA-AKO party list, said.

The lowest price for yellow corn was P6.50 per kilo or P6, 500 per MT, lower than the production cost of P10.

The  Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported  last week that the price of corn had dropped from P 9 per kilo to P7.50 during a five-week period.

The executive order was effective until June 2009 but favoring sectors, including the livestock feed millers lobbied for the extension. The corn industry stakeholders such as the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. and ABA AKO party list lobbied against the extension. Read More…