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Items filtered by date: Sunday, 12 March 2017

DFA puts on hold renewal of Yasay’s Philippine passport

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs has put on hold the application of former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. for renewal of his Philippine passport pending resolution of questions surrounding his citizenship by “competent authorities.”

Yasay filed the application on March 9, a day after the 15-member Commission on Appointments rejected his appointment as head of the country’s foreign service for lying about his American citizenship.

“At this writing, we have received instructions from Acting Secretary (Enrique) Manalo to suspend or hold in abeyance the issuance of the passport to former Sec. Yasay pending resolution of the legal question by competent authorities,” Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs Frank R. Cimafranca said.

Asked about the DFA’s move, Yasay said, “I don’t know about that. They did not inform me.” He declined further comment.

Sources close to Yasay said the former secretary’s Philippine passport issued in 2013 is valid up to mid-2018. He applied for Express Processing (seven working days) and paid P1,200.

The DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs said the only requirement for renewal of an e-passport is the current passport.

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Phl to China: Explain ship in Benham Rise

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines – through its ambassador to Beijing Jose Santiago Santa Romana – has officially asked China to explain the reported presence of one of its vessels in Benham Rise in the Pacific, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

“The Philippines has expressed its concern about the reported presence of a Chinese ship in Benham Rise, which has been recognized by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as Philippine waters,” the DFA said in a statement.

“The Philippines has sent a note to the Chinese embassy seeking clarification on this,” it added.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said that they are still awaiting the Chinese response through official channels, but cited the media statement of the Chinese foreign ministry regarding the matter.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed the reported presence of its ship in eastern Philippines last year but maintained that it was simply exercising its freedom of navigation.

“But this is purely carrying out normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage, and there were no so-called other activities or operations,” he told a regular news briefing. “Comments from individuals in the Philippines on this do not accord with the facts.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday expressed concern over the latest incursion of China on Philippine territory and ordered the Navy to accost or drive away Chinese ships if these are seen again in the area.

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Concerns raised on impacts of decreasing copra prices

TACLOBAN CITY -- Global copra price has decreased steadily in the past two months, raising concerns that downward trading value may lose farmers' interest to seriously cultivate coconut in Eastern Visayas region.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said United States' production of soybeans, one of the leading competitors of coconut oil in the international market, has soared since last month, prompting some buyers to shift to alternative oil.
The situation forced Philippine coconut oil producers to adjust prices, according to PCA.
From an average copra farm gate price of PHP39.06 per kilogram, it went down to PHP36.44 in February. In the first week of March, its value further dipped to only PHP30.96.
PCA Eastern Visayas Regional Manager Joel Pilapil is anxious that if prices of copra will continue to drop in the next months, farmers may lose their interest to join in the coconut replanting program and process less productive trees into logs.

The government embarked on massive replanting activities after supertyphoon Yolanda that either uprooted or sheared 16.1 million coconut trees when it struck on Nov. 8, 2013.
“If prices are high, farmers are more motivated to replant, make existing trees more productive,” Pilapil said.
The official, however, noted that this year’s prices is higher than the pre-Yolanda years where it dropped to as low as PHP10 to PHP15 per kilogram.
Copra is the dried meat, or dried kernel, of the coconut used to extract coconut oil. The oil is extracted from it and this has made copra an important commodity for the coconut-producing Eastern Visayas region.
Other competitors of copra in terms of oil extraction in the global market are soya, palm, rapeseed, and sunflower.
A third of the region's farming communities are dependent in coconut production, hence, copra price adjustments have huge impacts to the local economy, according to Pilapil.
Before the 2013 monster typhoon struck, the region has been producing two billion nuts, the second highest in the country. In 2016, the projected coconut production is at 1.6 billion nuts.
The goal is to restore the output to pre-Yolanda level within two years.(PNA)

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