Prices of Philippine canned tuna down but export volume up

Despite a drop in price of canned tuna exports, total receipts for the first 8 months (January to August) still went up due to increase in export volume, according to PhilExport in central Mindanao 12.

Average price per ton for Philippine canned tuna for this year is down to US$3,127.48 per ton from US$3,474.68 last year bringing the total 8-month export receipts to US$113,513,764 with still 4 months to go.

Also falling down in price are frozen whole tuna (down by US$648,65 per ton) and pouched tuna (US$1,036.50 per ton).

The drop in prices of these tuna products was however offset by a huge spike in the prices of frozen tuna exports.

Frozen tuna exports according to PhilExport in Central Mindanao, registered a receipt of US$22,081,963.57 over the increase of US$3,087.35 per ton.

Total monthly receipts from tuna exports this year is also slightly better with a average value of US$22,921,172,91 up by US$1,152,938.46 from an average of  US$21,768,234.45 last year or an increase of 5.3 percent.

Bingo! Sashimi!-2
Despite the continuing decline in the volume of local tuna catch, Philippine tuna export receipts continue to grow.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Total export revenues of tuna products coming from this city from January to August has already reached US$183,369,383.26.

In 2014, the overall value of tuna exports from General Santos was pegged at US$261,218,813.35, according to the records of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) here.

PhilExport Central Mindanao regional director Ismael Salih Jr said based on data supplied by the BoC in General Santos City, total volume of tuna exports for the first 8 months has already reached 60,125.38 metric tons for a monthly average of 7,515.67.

Average monthly tuna export volume in 2014 was only at 6,784.18 metric tons or an increase of 731.49 every month.

Tuna industry sources in the city said despite a 24 percent drop in local tuna catch, local tuna producers were still able to increase the volume of tuna exports largely due to the increase in frozen tuna imports.

Frozen tuna imports for the first 6 months of 2015 already reached 72,875.01 metric tons, up from just 48,464.62 MT over the same period last year for an increase of 50 percent.

The figure for frozen tuna imports this year already represents 63 percent of tuna landings in General Santos City, a new record high since the Philippine fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) office at the  General Santos City Fishing Port Complex began releasing data on local tuna landings.

Local catch however has been on a steady decline over the last couple of years with the first 6-month figure this year dropping by 24 percent over the same period in 2014.

Industry sources said the recurring El Niño phenomenon, fishing ground restrictions and overall decline of tuna stocks have contributed to the decrease in local tuna catch.

General Santos City is widely acknowledged as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines with 6 of the country’s 8 canning plants located in the city.



Davao’s Duterte continues to baffle

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to be in the mix in the 2016 presidential derby despite failing to file his certificate of candidacy at the October 16 deadline last month.

At the birthday of Senator Allan Peter Cayetano who is running for vice-president over the weekend, Duterte reiterated his non-interest in the presidency citing again the same reasons why he is not interested in the presidency.

But he also spent more than 30 minutes laying down what he would do if he becomes president.

To make it more complicated, he said he still has until December 10 to appear before the Commission on Election office to file his certificate of candidacy as a substitute for Martin Diño, a member of the political party PDP-Laban.

Under Philippine election rules, a candidate nominated by a political party may substitute for another if the latter withdraws or is disqualified or incapacitated.

Duterte is a member of the PDP-Laban.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

The PDP-Laban is set to nominate Duterte as its substitute presidential candidate.

Duterte’s three children by his first wife last week also come out to support their father who earlier claimed that daughter and former Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was against his presidential bid.

A close family source also hinted that the delicate medical condition of his estranged wife and mother of her grown up children is keeping Duterte from pursuing the presidency.

With several surveys pointing to a tight chase, Duterte’s joining the race will ensure a minority president will again be elected as the 16th president of the Republic.

The maverick Davao City mayor however said running and winning the presidency will be a ‘gamble for his freedom.’

“You are asking me to gamble for my freedom,” he told guests at the birthday party of Cayetano.

Duterte has vowed to go after criminals and has repeatedly said he will go to the extent of killing drug pushers himself.

He also swore to abolish Congress and declare a revolutionary government if lawmakers will stand on his way towards drastic reforms.

At the height of the laglag bala controversy (bullet-in-the-bag scam) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Duterte said if corruption and criminality persist, he announced that might be tempted to run.

Two previous presidents had been charged for plunder and corruption with President Joseph Estrada impeached and was ousted from office by a popular revolt.

Estrada was later convicted by a Philippine graft court for plunder.

His successor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, however pardoned him a few years later.

Arroyo was herself also indicted by the same graft court that convicted Estrada.

She is now under house arrest while on undergoing trial.

Duterte is said to be wary that he may not be able to institute genuine reform during his presidency without violent reactions from the elite politicians and government officials that are well-entrenched in Congress and the bureaucracy.

In an interview with Philippine online news website Rappler, Duterte was quoted as saying, “The presidency, it is not without limits, that’s the Constitution. (The present structure) doesn’t want me to have so many doors, so many windows.”

Despite his radical views on governance under his watch, the clamor for him to run has not subsided.

His former close-in aides and advisers are still meeting and moving around the country like he is already a shoo-in candidate.

Cheap, steady power supply for General Santos in 2016

Cost of electricity is expected to go down in General Santos City and nearby towns of Sarangani and South Cotabato next year when the first of two 105-MW coal-fired power plants of Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) begins commercial operation in the 1st quarter of 2016.

Acting manager Crisanto Sotelo of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO II) said power rate will go down by a conservative estimate of Php0.60 per kilowatt hour (kwh) when energy from SEC is bundled into the power supply mix of the cooperative.

SEC is committed to supply 70MW of its power output to Socoteco II at a contract price starting at P4.20 per kwh.

Construction at the 105-MW coal fired power plant of Sarangani Energy Corporation is nearing completion as the company races to meet the March 1, 2016 target for full commercial operation.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Construction at the 105-MW coal fired power plant of Sarangani Energy Corporation is nearing completion as the company races to meet the March 1, 2016 target for full commercial operation.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

The average cost of electricity of Soceteco II is now more than P8 per kwh, up by more than P3 per kwh when negotiations between the cooperative and SEC began in 2010.

Socoteco II has a peak demand of 130MW, 25 MW more when SEC and the cooperative signed a power sales agreement in 2012.

The PSA is for the supply of 70MW of base load capacity.

In 2010, Socoteco II was forced to implement as much as 12 hours of rotating brownouts when supply from the National Power Corporation (NPC) dropped to as low as 55 MW.

The power distributor eventually contracted power supply from the diesel-fired power plants of Sol Energy, Peak Power, Therma South and Mapalad Power Corporation to fill the deficiency in supply as power coming from NPC further dropped to between 35-40 MW on the average.

Sotelo said they are contracting the supply from these power plants by as much as P12 per kwh ($0.35).

He added that they will terminate the contracts of some of these power plants once SEC is already energized.

On Wednesday, November 4, SEC fired the boiler engines as a calibrated step towards the full operation of the power plant when the main furnace is already fired to generate combustion for the turbines of the plant.

Marino Gamutin Jr said they have targeted a March 1 commercial operation date for regular supply from the power pant to be fully connected to the power lines of Socoteco II.

Synchronization however will begin as early as December.

The SEC also announced that it has already secured a notice to proceed construction for the next phase of its multi-billion peso project.

Construction of the 2nd 105-MW power plant could begin in the second half of next year.

SEC officials said they expect to finish the next plant in 30 months.

The twin power plants of SEC had an initial price tag of P19 billion ($569 million), the single biggest investment in Region 12 since it was separated from Region 11 (Davao region).

Region 12 is comprised of the provinces and cities of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and General Santos City.


Rivera faces personal challenge

Incumbent City Mayor Ronnel Rivera is not taking his opponents lightly but he has more serious business to address.

His eldest brother Ryan is running for congress in the First District of South Cotabato where the re-electionist is Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr.

Not only did Ryan break the unspoken commitment that there will only be one in the Rivera family to be involved in local politics.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera (middle) is endorsing party mate Dominador Lagare III against his brother Ryan who will be contesting the 1st congressional seat against re-electionist Rep. Pedro Acharon.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera (middle) is endorsing party mate Dominador Lagare III against his brother Ryan who will be contesting the 1st congressional seat against re-electionist Rep. Pedro Acharon. Also in photo is Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles.

Ryan is running against the official bet of the People’s Champ Movement of which mayor Rivera is the standard bearer.

“Yes, it has put me in the awkward position.  I cannot turn my back on Domdom (outgoing councilor Dominador Lagare III) who is the party nominee,” Rivera said Friday after it was confirmed that his brother filed a certificate of candidacy under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan ticket.

Family members have failed to prevent Ryan from filing his certificate of candidacy.  Ryan is reportedly estranged from the vast family business of the Riveras who own the largest tuna fishing company in the city.

Ryan once ran for congress but lost to Darlene Antonino-Custodio in 2001.

Outgoing Councilor Richard Atendido
Outgoing Councilor Richard Atendido

Mayor Rivera is facing challenge from outgoing City Councilor Richard Atendido and unknown independent Panfilo Alvarez.

Seeking a second term, Rivera is again running in tandem with party mate Shrilyn Bañas-Nograles who is facing lawyer Loreto Acharon, younger brother of re-electionist Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr.

Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr
Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr

The Acharons have kept the local party Achievers with Integrity Movement aligned with the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Liberal Party coalition in the city after the Antoninos decided not to contest any electoral seat in city.

Rivera upset Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the 2013 mayoral race.

AIM is fielding re-electionists and incumbent city councilors Beth Bagonoc, Eduardo Leyson IV and Dr. Marius Oco.  It is likewise fielding former city councilors Jose Orlando Acharon, Jose Mariano Gonzales, Lourdes Casabuena, Nepthalie Natividad and Minardo Avila.  In addition, AIM is fielding Eliseo Rock Garay, Arvin John Tiongson, Jose Dinopol and Jacinto Omila.

On the other hand, PCM is again fielding all incumbent city councilors under the party which include Ramon Milleza, Franklin Gacal Jr, Rosalita Nuñez, Brix Tan, Arturo Cloma and Shandee Llido Pestaño.  Rounding up PCM’s candidates for the 12-seat city council are Alberto Pacquiao, Jose Edmar Yumang, Vandyke Congson, Jonathan Blando, Love Ladrera Jr and Dominador Lagare Jr who is replacing his elder brother Domdom.

Rounding up the candidates for city councilors are independents Cristeto Dinopol, Benjamin Rivera, Harris Diamad, Edilberto Jamora, Ernesto Quisay and Norberto Andres.

The Kilusang Bagong Lipunan is also fielding candidates for city councilor.  They are Maria Isabel San Mateo, Ramon Fredeluces, Ruel Sibal, Francis Martinez, Rommel Catolico and Bonifacio Doria.

“I will let you eat bullets” – Davao mayor warns airport employees

A day after an engineer was held for possession of bullets inside his bag while checking in at the Davao International Airport, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte blew his top and warned syndicates preying on unsuspecting passengers he will let them eat ammunition which he believed are planted by airport employees.

“It has been going on for the past 2 or 3 years. Many have been arrested but amicably settled (their cases). I won’t believe it anymore,” Duterte said referring yo alleged passengers putting bullets in their baggage.

He suspects there is a syndicate operating at the airport.

“My suspicions are that the bullets were planted inside the cargo hold. The only people allowed inside the cargo hold are airline employees,” the tough talking mayor explained.

Tough talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will let them eat bullets
Tough talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will let them eat bullets

He said the extortion syndicate is operating in connivance with airline employees and the police.

“I just hope that you (police and airport employees) here that you are not involved in the syndicate. You better stop it,” Duterte said in a veiled warning.

“I will let you swallow the bullets. If they got stuck in your anus, I will have you operated and have your ass widened,” Duterte exclaimed in his patented colorful language.

Augusto D. Dagan was to fly to Manila Friday, October 30, after a visit to a bulk-water project in Davao City when he was stopped after images of two 9mm bullets were found in his travelling bag through the X-ray machine at the departure are of the airport.

He was brought by airport to the prosecution office for inquest procedure.

The engineer has denied owning the bullets.

Duterte however told city prosecutors to thoroughly look into the incident.

“You better study the matter carefully because I was once a prosecutor,” Duterte said in his weekly television program ‘Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ (From the Masses, For the Masses).

The city mayor who was widely expected to run for president but has repeatedly declined pressures to give the presidency a try, also called on President Benigno Aquino to put a stop to the airport mess.

The series of incidents involving the discovery of bullets inside the travelling bags of airline passengers have caught the attention of the international press.

The incidents, which included a young American who was detained for 5 days after he declined alleged try to settle the matter for P30,000 in exchange for dropping charges against him, have gone viral and have led to the proliferation of embarrassing memes in the internet.

This led President Aquino to order a probe into the matter.

Fuentes squares off with Miguel

Incumbent South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Vance-Fuentes is seeking re-election but will miss her vice governor who decided to slide down to running for board member due to health reasons.

Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is seeking re-election.
Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is seeking re-election.

She will face former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel who is fighting off a Sandiganybayan conviction for hiring his private lawyer to notarize the lot where the city hall now stands.

Fuentes instead tapped Liberal Party’s and former Koronadal mayor Vic de Jesus as her running mate to replace lawyer Cecil Diel who will go back as provincial board member.

De Jesus, a member of the provincial board, will face fellow incumbent provincial board member and Philippine Councilors League chapter president Bernie Palencia who is vice to Miguel.

The other candidates vying for the top post in the province are independents Lino Saig for governor and Teresito Betita.

In the congressional race for the 2nd District of South Cotabato, it will be a one-on-one race between re-electionist Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez and comebacking former congressman Arthur Pingoy.

Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez
Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez is seeking a second term.

Pingoy lost to Fuentes in his re-election bid in 2013 after Miguel also joined gubernatorial race.

Pingoy and Miguel have joined forces in their bid to topple Fuentes who has not lost in an election since 1992.

In Koronadal City, re-electionist Peter Miguel will have as opponents former vice mayor Jose Lleda from the Nationalist People’s Coalition and independent candidate Efren Biclar.

Miguel’s vice mayor Eliordo Ogena is also seeking re-election and will face Oscar Pagunsan.

In the congressional race in the 1st District of South Cotabato which includes General Santos City, Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr (AIM-LP) is seeking a third and last term as congressman.

He will be up against outgoing General Santos City Councilor Dominador Lagare III (PCM-PDP-Laban) and Ryan Rivera (KBL).

Rivera is elder brother of General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

Pacquiao allies slug it out in Sarangani

Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon no longer will enjoy the luxury of running unopposed like he did in 2013.

He will face former allies of party mate Manny Pacquiao who is leaving as representative of the lone district of Sarangani to run for a seat in the Philippine Senate.

Solon who is seeking a second term, will face Juan Domino who also ran but was defeated in the 2010 elections then also under the ticket of People’ Champ Movement, a party founded by Pacquiao.

Incumbent Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon


Also challenging the incumbent governor is Mohammad Aquia, a friend of Pacquiao who is the official bet of the ruling administration party headed by the Liberal Party.

Solon still listed the PCM as his party and took former Provincial Board member Elmer de Peralta as running mate as Vice Governor Jinkee Pacquiao has decided to quit politics to concentrate on raising their children and helping her husband win a senate seat.

The PCM has allied with Vice President’s United Nationalist Alliance after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte decided not to run for president.

The PCM earlier stated it will support Duterte who si a member of the PDP-Laban.

Domino was once a political rival of the Chiongbians from whose family Solon belonged.

Juan Domino
Juan Domino

In 1998, Domino defeated Solon’s mother Lucille Chiongbian-Solon for the lone congressional district of Sarangani but was disqualified by the Commission on Election for failing to establish his residency in the province.

He again ran for governor in 2001 but was defeated by Chiongbian ally and then re-electionist Gov. Miguel Escobar.

In 2010, he lost again to Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez who dislodged Escobar in the 2004 election s amid report of widespread corruption in the province.

Escobar was already convicted twice for separate accounts of malversation of public funds, the latest of which came out only last week.

Mohammad Aquia

Aquia, on the other hand, also ran as for vice governor as an independent in 2007.  He used to hang around Pacquiao’s mansion and was once implicated in a carnapping incident.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s younger brother Rogelio (Roel) Pacquiao also filed his certificate of candidacy for the seat vacated by the former world boxing champion.

Roel, who could face disqualification for reportedly failing to meet the one-year residency requirement, will be challenged by 3 relatively unknown opponents.

Brothers Pacquiao (from left Bobby, Roel and Manny)
Roel Pacquiao (middle) is flanked by brothers Bobby (left) and Manny (right)

They are Elson Formoso who is running as an independent, Megie Orig of the Nationalists People’s Coalition and Victor Mejia of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

Roel transferred residence in Alabel, Sarangani and has already filed a petition to transfer his voting precinct.  The Commission on Election however has to act on his petition.

Pacquiao is a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod f General Santos City by virtue of being the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen of the city which he won via a toss coin over former ABC head Lourdes Casabuena.