Monday, April 9, 2012

Brand Name of Philippine Products

Taking off from its recent national forum to develop a geographical
indication (GI) scheme branding products based on their geographical
origin, the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) will work on the
crafting of a bill to provide protection of GIs, developing
complementary codes of practice, and pursuing interagency cooperation.

"We expect a lot of things after the forum. One of these is the
development or crafting of a bill that will give ample protection to
GI," said Atty. Jesus Antonio Z. Ros of IPOPHL.

"As of now, we have the intellectual property (IP) code, which gives
little protection to GIs. We cannot register GI per se. It may be
registered as a collective mark but it is very weak," Ros explained.

"In the sense, we cannot register a geographical name under the
present law or the IP code. Because geographical names are
descriptive, it cannot be registered as collective marks. We want a
law that will accord protection to GIs by means of registration. That
is what we are going to do in the next few weeks," Ros added.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) defines GIs as "indications
that identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a
region or locality in that territory, where a given quality,
reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially
attributable to its geographic origin."

A GI has to show the link between some characteristic of the good and
the particular region where it was produced. It serves as goods and
services quality indicator, which is used by producers, distributors,
and retailers for promotion purposes.

"Actually, we are already studying some models. During the workshops
of the forum, we were presented with the European, US and Thailand
model. We are also studying models from the ASEAN countries like
Malaysia, and Indonesia," Ros said.

"We have eight congressmen to support us since we have eight potential
GI coming from different congressional districts. In the upper house,
we hope that we can get the support of the committee head of
agriculture, trade and industry," Ros added.

The eight pilot GIs are Dagupan bangus (milkfish), Batangas barako
coffee, Lumban barong, Bicol pili nuts, Guimaras fresh mangos, Aklan
piña cloth, Cebu dried mangos, and Lake Sebu tinalak. With these GIs,
IPOPHL has stepped up its efforts in developing them.

"The next step is to develop the codes of practice or the book of
specifications. This code lists down the standards that will be
followed for each particular GI," Ros said.

The elaboration of the code is a very important step establishing the
specifications with which local producers who want to use the GI have
to conform.

"Another effort that we are going to pursue after the national forum
is the interagency linkages. The GI is not an effort of the IPOPHL
alone. There are technical matters to be discussed in the GI," Ros

Filinvest Buys Land in SRP Lot Cebu

Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) is willing to pay its P845.2 million
amortization this year for the purchase of a lot at the South Road
Properties (SRP) to the Cebu City Government but has set some
conditions, an official said.

Cebu City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said FLI vice president for
Visayas and Mindanao Tristan Las Marias attended a meeting with Cebu
City officials Monday and signified the firm's "willingness to pay"
but only after the City Government does something.

Poblete refused to mention what the deal was, in deference to Las
Marias and the FLI.

FLI earlier informed the Cebu City Government that it will hold its
annual amortization for the year, amounting to P845.2 million because
of encumbrances in the title.

The titles have been annotated "lis pendens," or under litigation,
because they are among the lots that the heirs of Fr. Vicente Rallos
want to take if they city fails to pay the P133 million ordered by the

The Cebu City Legal Office will be working on the solution tackled
during Monday's meeting.

Poblete said aside from him and Las Marias, City Attorney Joseph
Bernaldez and City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva also attended the meeting at
City Hall.

Poblete said it was Las Marias who called for the meeting.

The lots where titles have been levied are part of the joint venture
of FLI and the City government.

But Las Marias clarified these have not been developed.

While there was no definite commitment for payment yet, Poblete said
the fact that both parties are talking about it is already a good

Second Terminal for Mactan-Cebu Airport

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) can build a
second passenger terminal that will cost US$ 155 million to improve
its services, according to the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC).

MCIAA general manager Nigel Paul Villarete has presented the proposal
to members of the infrastructure development committee (IDC) of the
Regional Development Council (RDC) 7.

But Villarete said the new terminal does not have the endorsement of
the Lapu-Lapu City Government, as Mayor Paz Radaza wants to study the

As for solving the traffic problems in Cebu City, DOTC Secretary
Manuel "Mar" Roxas II informed Mayor Michael Rama, the RDC
chairperson, that Cebu City can implement a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT)
system, that will cost US$ 195 million for the first phase.

"The DOTC has received many complaints and requests for action from
various stakeholders regarding two major transportation systems in
Central Visayas, particularly Cebu Province and Cebu City," read
Roxas's letter to Rama.

Rene Limcaoco, DOTC undersecretary for planning, also wrote Rama, in
the latter's capacity as mayor and chairperson of the Cebu City
Development Council, to endorse the BRT project.

The project was endorsed last March 16.

Villarete said the leading suggestion for the name of the Cebu City
BRT is "Cebus," a portmanteau of "Cebu" and "bus".

Villarete was the original point person for the Cebu City BRT before
he became airport manager.

Nego-kart or Business Cart in Philippines Distributed by DOLE

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has distributed Negosyo
sa Kariton or Nego Karts to 10 sidewalk vendors in the municipality of
San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur.

Although the total expenditure for the project in San Miguel was
pegged at only P150,000, this is already helpful for far flung towns
in the peninsula.

DOLE Assistant Regional Director Virginia L. Bonbon said that the
Nego-Kart project will provide beneficiaries with assistance like
vending carts, provision of working capital for the procurement of raw
materials and other inputs, training on production, entrepreneurship
and business management.

She said the Nego Karts were distributed to the recipients in a simple
turnover ceremony held at the municipal hall last Sunday.

In response, San Miguel town Vice Mayor Angelito "Dodong" Martinez II
urged the beneficiaries to take good care of the Nego-Karts because
this is a great help in their livelihood undertaking.

He said that if the beneficiaries will learn to be good stewards of
the project, it will soon become a profitable and sustainable business
enabling them to increase their income level.

Mr. Camilo Encila, focal person of the DOLE Nego-Kart project said
each beneficiary was allotted P15,000; that is P12,000 for the cart
and P3,000 as seed capital.

What used to be a pushcart is now modified with a bicycle attached for
easy transport of the vendors to where many people are gathered like
public markets and schools, where business is at its best.

Encila said San Miguel is the 4th municipality to receive the
Pangkabuhayan Nego-Karts.

Pres Noynoy Aquino Fights Illegal Drugs

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined his fellow leaders in the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in their fight against
illegal narcotics agreeing to get rid of the drug menace by 2015.

In his message during the Plenary Session of the 20th Asean Summit at
this Cambodian capital, the President expressed his support for the
Asean's, as well as the international community's, fight against
substance abuse.

"We strongly support regional and multilateral efforts against the
production, distribution, trafficking and smuggling of narcotic drugs
which threatens the health and well-being of our peoples," he said
during the session.

"The Philippines believes that enhanced regional cooperation and
information-sharing, drug profiling and the provision of more capacity
building programs in areas of law enforcement, as investigation of
drug-related cases is critical to achieving a drug-free Asean by

The President also said he hopes that his statement for a drug-free
Asean will further promote and create more cooperation between Asean
member countries for sharing best practices, strengthening
capabilities and increased coordination in identifying and
neutralizing international trafficking syndicates.

"All of these are crucial to achieve a drug-free Asean by 2015," the
Chief Executive said.

Also joining the President in his stance against illegal drugs are the
leaders of Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and

While supporting the fight against illegal drugs, Malaysia's leader
expressed reservations in completely eliminating the problem in three
years, noting the time is short for the regional organization to
achieve its goal.

For instance, he said that although his country imposes the harshest
punishment for drug dealers and producers, Malaysia hasn't totally
solved its drug problem.

Also during the Plenary Session, the Asean leaders adopted the
declaration for a drug-free Asean in the next three years. They also
supported several declarations and documents such as the Phnom Penh
declaration, the Phnom Penh agenda, and the concept on international
movement of moderates.

Demand for Philippine Tobacco Increases

The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) expects tobacco production
to be stable this year at par with the total growth rates in 2011.

NTA administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, in a meeting with agriculture
reporters on Monday, said the projected five percent increase in
tobacco crop production may not be realized this year due to the
frequent rains affecting tobacco producing provinces, particularly
Ilocos Norte.

Zaragoza, however, said production level may reach almost 80 million
kilos this year since other areas, like Cagayan Valley, was not
heavily affected by rains.

NTA Regulation Department data show total crop production rose to
79.33 million kilos in 2011, up 7.54 percent from 78.4 million kilos
in 2010. Virginia tobacco contributed 44.93 million kilos; Burley
tobacco, 18.67 million kilos; and native tobacco, 15.73 million kilos.

Virginia tobacco output is expected to reach 45.73 million kilos this
year; Burley tobacco, 17,63 million kilos; and native tobacco, 15.75
million kilos.

Zaragoza also said that world market demand for Philippine tobacco had

TESDA Scholars Get Jobs at Singapore Airlines

Job was no longer elusive to three young men, who have started to work
for Singapore Airlines as aircraft mechanics after undergoing training
under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

Roland Allan Nicolas, Christian Paul Fulmaran and Mark Gerald Galarce
recently began their career with the Singapore Air Engineering
Philippines (SIAEP) based in Clark, Pampanga. They will start as
maintenance trainees for SIAEP's Maintenance Training Program for one
year as prelude to their regularization at the prestigious airlines

The job opportunity came just after four months of intensive training
that started in November last year with Aerotechnik Services Inc.,
TESDA's partner in providing free technical vocational education to
Nicolas, Fulmaran and Galarce through the Training for Work
Scholarship Program (TWSP).

"The opportunity that TESDA has given us has led us to work at this
very prestigious company which we know will greatly change our lives
and open doors for more employment in the future," the three said in a
letter to Secretary Joel Villanueva, TESDA Director General.

Villanueva said he considered the achievement of the three graduates
as another feat for technical vocational education in the country.

"They just finished training, and here comes a job opportunity at
hand. This shows that high-quality vocational education could be a
path as well to great jobs," Villanueva said.

Nicolas, 21, said waiting for the opportunity to avail of the TESDA
and ASI training was worth it because he really wanted to become an
aircraft mechanic.

"There were challenges I encountered while taking my course. I
experienced getting a failing grade on my major subject, but that
experience motivated me more to finish my course and continue to
fulfill and achieve my dream to become an aircraft mechanic," he said.

"I call on the youth, particularly the newly graduates from high
school to take tech-voc courses as well, more so, if they really have
the talent. And also, the important thing is they love what they are
doing," Nicolas added.

Fulmaran, 21, said the training from TESDA and ASI was an enhancement
to the earlier course he took in college.

During the training, Fulmaran recalled the difficulties he had to
hurdle, such as his daily two-hour travel to the training site.

"I think the prospects of this course are big as they open up
opportunities for jobs at big airlines," he said.

Fulmaran added that the training would give the students the
opportunity to specialize in the field of aviation and give them a
shot at better employment opportunities.

Galarce finished a college course but found it hard to land in a job he wanted.

"Most companies look for applicants with job experience," he said.

Because of the need to earn a living, he said he worked as passenger
service agent, but realized that he was still looking for a technical

"That's why when this training opportunity came, I immediately grabbed
it, and I am so thankful I did," Galarce said.

SIAEP is one of the maintenance repair and overhaul stations in the
country located in Clark in Pampanga.

Blast Rocks Palawan Beach Resort

Explosive ordnance units from the Palawan Provincial Police Office
(PPPO) have recovered what appeared to be fragments of improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) at the blast site in El Nido, Palawan, the
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)
reported on Saturday.

Items recovered included positive and negative terminals, nine-volt
battery case, mobile phone metal case, leg wire and pink and yellow
plastic containers which investigators believed were used at the
packing case of the IED.

The NDRRMC said the items were recovered in front of the Entalula
Beach Resort at Zone 3 in El Nido, Palawan which was rocked by the
first blast at around 5:20 p.m. Thursday.

Wounded in the incident was Aiza Gay Martinez Mallari, 23, a cook at
the resort. Mallari was taken to the Dr. Reyes Clinic in
Corong-Corong, El Nido for treatment.

She was throwing garbage outside the resort when an explosive went off
near her.

Ten minutes later, another explosion took place in Puerto Royal
Express bus station behind the Petron gasoline station in Barangay San
Jose, Puerto Princesa City.

Red Tide in Bataan, Philippines

A local official here and his wife prepared tahong on Good Friday and
joined their visitors in eating the green mussels to show that the sea
products are already safe to eat.

Town vice mayor Manny Cortez and wife, Geralphine, president of the
big community organization Sabayba, invited some guests to their
residence in barangay Calaguiman here for lunch where tahong was the
main dish.

The couple said they chose Good Friday to show that the fishermen have
suffered and were deprived of their only means of livelihood.

"Through this, our fishermen would like to show that they continuously
eating tahong and talaba, which are their only source of income. We
hope that they would lift the red tide," Cortez said.

He urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to
release regular weekly laboratory tests on the toxin level of
shellfish in the area.

Shellfish bulletin issued by BFAR on March 14, 2012 indicated that
Bataan coastal waters in the towns of Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay,
Pilar, Orion, Limay and Mariveles and the City of Balanga are still
positive of paralytic shellfish poison.

Fisherfolk and officials in Abucay town last March 30 also ate tahong
in public and asked BFAR to lift the ban on the gathering, selling and
eating of tahong.

School for Philippine Gifted Childen

The Department of Education has increased the budget allocation for
Special Education (SPED) centers in the elementary level all over the
country by more than 50 percent to enable public schools to properly
respond to the needs of gifted children and those with learning

Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro said that from P115 million last
year, the government has increased the budget subsidy to P180 million,
up by 56 percent. The number of SPED centers operated by DepEd also
increased from 276 in School Year 2011-2012 to 345 in School Year

"We believe that special learners deserve special attention and
specialized learning tools, thus the increase in funding support,"
Luistro explained.

The financial subsidy amounting to P500,000 per SPED center will
sustain the implementation of SPED programs, projects, and activities.

DepEd has also allocated P42,000 per division and P40,000 per region
to monitor the implementation of programs for children with special
needs as well as keep track of the efficient utilization of SPED

The grant subsidy is intended for pupil development activities such as
training, educational visits, camp activities, sports and pupil
participation in SPED-related events.

It is also allotted to procure instructional and reference material,
psychological and other assessment tools, early intervention
materials, supplies for the transition program, manipulative materials
for the gifted/talented and those with disabilities.

Certain amount is also earmarked for the professional upgrading of
teachers, school heads, and supervisors, including travel expenses
relative to their participation and attendance in activities relevant
to the implementation of the program.

Luistro also said the instructional materials to be procured for
gifted children should be over and above those already included in the
regular program.

The instructional materials should likewise be able to develop the
gifted child's intellectual abilities and talents in the arts and
sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and communications.

The instructional materials shall also be technology-based, requiring
the use of electronic equipment which include but is not limited to
software programs, video discs, optical discs, video and audio tapes.

Luistro said that DepEd shall closely monitor the optimum utilization
of funds at all levels.