Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Ilocos Times Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014

 Click the photo for the pdf file

Domestic violence: Is horseplay a defense?

Pssst: Do you know how a man can hit his girlfriend without being charged with domestic violence? Read this.

A Filipino police officer in Honolulu was recently shown in a videotape distributed to television stations apparently hitting with his fists his attractive Caucasian girlfriend in a restaurant kitchen. Police officers who responded to a 911 call did not file a police report.
The police department did not file charges against the Filipino thus raising an uproar in the community. The department referred the matter to the city prosecutor. He did not file charges and instead referred it to a grand jury for investigation. I do not agree with those who call it “punting” (an idiomatic expression for avoiding making a decision) since the prosecutor could defend his action that it was a way to issue grand jury subpoenas to reluctant or uncooperative witnesses so that he could compel them to testify under oath exactly what they saw and heard as the events on the videotape unfolded. The grand jury did not indict the officer. Some jokesters called it “Coddling C_ _ _ _ _ _” [that is the first letter of the officer’s surname] or “Cuddling C_ _ _ _ _ _”. That does not seem fair, does it, if you read further and learn all the facts.

Those who came to the defense of the Filipino officer said that he and his girlfriend (now ex) were merely engaged in “horseplay”. Don’t be naughty. That has nothing to do with “foreplay”. Or does it?  “Horseplay” means, among others, fooling around, clowning, horsing around, monkey business, tomfoolery, or rough and energetic playful activity.  Horseplay is as old as, well, horses. If you have seen horses engaged in horseplay, it can be very rough.

The girlfriend did not file any charges. She had herself medically examined and there were no bruises or other injuries.

It appears that the videotape clip shown on television did not portray the complete picture of what happened. The police department released the entire videotape. According to those who saw the “complete” videotape, the girlfriend seemed to have started the incident by apparently hitting the Filipino on the head. The Filipino’s punches did not cause injury.

Horseplay has been considered as a defense in some assault cases. Domestic violence is a form of assault. Consent is a defense to what would otherwise be considered an assault. Consent may be express or implied. Thus, horseplay is a defense where the alleged victim consented to the risk of harm, expressly or impliedly. Similarly, in a boxing bout, the boxers give their consent to be hit by the opponent. Consequently, if a boxer hits his opponent on any part of his body and plays by the rules, the one who hit the other will not be charged with assault. In other sporting activities, consent is expressly or impliedly given by a player to be hit by another player. In other words, players may waive any claim for injury arising from playing the sport provided the one causing the injury plays by the rules and does not intentionally cause injury. However, if a player does not abide by the rules or intentionally causes harm, the perpetrator cannot invoke consent as a defense. A timely example is in the game of baseball, since the World Series is on. (We are cheering for the San Francisco Giants of course). In a baseball game a batter is sometimes hit by a pitched ball unintentionally. The batter gets angry and intentionally attacks and hits the pitcher in the head and other parts of the body with a bat until the pitcher dies. The batter cannot successfully argue that the pitcher consented to be attacked if he hits a batter on the theory that it is part of the game. Hitting the pitcher with a bat is not part of the game. Players do not give their consent to an assault that is not part of the game.

OBSERVATION: Magaling magpalusot ang Pilipino. Agbiag

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He specializes in immigration law and criminal defense. Office: 900 Fort Street, Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: Websites: He is from Laoag City and Magsingal, Ilocos Sur. He served as an Immigration Officer. He is co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. This article is a general overview of the subject matter discussed and is not intended as legal advice. No warranty is made by the writer or publisher as to its completeness or correctness at the time of publication. No attorney-client relationship is established between the writer and readers relying upon and/or acting pursuant to the contents of this article.)

Laoag City dad shoots down ‘no helmet’ proposal

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—Laoag councilor Joseph H. Tamayo shot down a proposal to allow motorcycle riders not wear helmet when they are in the city’s poblacion area.

Laoag City police chief P/Supt. Jeffrey T. Gorospe earlier made the proposal to do away with the wearing of helmet in the poblacion area to prevent concealment of identities of motorcycle-riding criminals.

Mr. Gorospe said assassinations or shooting of civilians are usually carried out by riding-in-tandem criminals who take advantage of the helmet law to conceal their identities.

The newly installed police chief cited an example where a traffic aide was accidentally dragged by a motorcycle whose rider was not identified because of the helmet as well as a hit and run victim who was hit by a motorcycle with no vehicle plate.

He added that the wearing of helmet for motorcycle riders is a national law but he singled out Batac City where the wearing of helmet in their poblacion area is prohibited to prevent crimes done by motorcycle riding elements.

He also stressed that Laoag’s CCTV surveillance system would become more successful in identifying possible suspects.

However, he also clarified that his proposal should still be studied and approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

ComPAC revitalized
Meanwhile, Mr. Tamayo delivered a privilege speech that disagreed with the police chief’s proposal.

Mr. Tamayo emphasized that the proposal contradicts a national law on wearing helmets for motorcycle riders and that his recently approved ordinance institutionalizing the rules, procedures and guidelines of Community Police Assistance Centers (ComPACs) should help the police in maintaining peace and order in the city.

The new ComPAC ordinance aims to provide quick response to calls for assistance in barangays within a ComPAC’s jurisdiction.

Mr. Tamayo added that the measure also provides clear rules, procedures and guidelines for all the eighth ComPACs in the city. He added that it also calls on each ComPAC to put up unannounced checkpoints from 6 pm to 6 am.

Mr. Tamayo explained further that the ordinance also includes the participation of barangay tanods and barangay peacekeeping action team (BPATs) as peacekeepers in their respective barangays.

The councilor stressed that the reactivation and revitalization of the ComPACs could prevent all crimes not only those of riding-in-tandem thugs.

Mr. Tamayo also disclosed that most deaths from motorcycle accidents are caused by riders not wearing the prescribed helmets.

However, he also admitted that his stand is his own and he does not speak for his fellow councilors.

Lack of personnel
Reacting to Mr. Tamayo’s speech, Mr. Gorospe said he commends the recent approval of the ComPAC ordinance saying regular checkpoints is one of their routine functions.

He also said that the biggest problem for the Laoag police right now is the lack of personnel in terms of population to a police officer ratio.

Mr. Gorospe explained that each police officer serve 12 hours a day and they only have 80 personnel including those in the operation and investigation sections.

He also stated that the police is trying its best with what they have and that all police personnel in the ComPACs have also reached out to barangay officials to assist them.

He added that the new ComPAC ordinance would be effective as long as the police has sufficient personnel to man all the centers.

He however disclosed that they do not have enough officers at present.

The perks of knowing philosophy as a student

Philosophy according to the Free Dictionary is said to be the love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline. It is also an art of investigating nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods. But because of its complicated principles, philosophy remains as a mystery to most of the students.

For the record, philosophy first surfaced when Thales of Miletus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher hypothesized about the nature of matter—that the originating principle of nature was a single material substance: water. Thales attempted to explain natural phenomena without reference to mythology and was tremendously influential in this respect and eventually lead to an essential idea of scientific revolution and because of his principles and hypotheses, he has been dubbed as the “Father of Science” though later on it has been argued that Democritus is more deserving of this title. Many philosophers have made use of Thales’ philosophy, among which is Aristotle. In his work in Metaphysics (and others), he usually use the phrase “According to the work Thales…” or “Thales said that…” which point toward that Aristotle have high regards to Thales as a philosopher and scientist as well. Most said that "Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history... every scientist is in his debt." Well I could say by this that behind Aristotle’s brilliancy is a man named Thales, and Aristotle is in debt to him.

And then philosophy branched itself to different disciplines, from the philosophy of nature to others, to name the few are logic, philosophy of education, phenomenology, existentialism, linguistics and all the whatnots. It became viral and so the people became aware of what it is like.

Yet as to these days, we, students may regard philosophy as a minor subject that we need to pass, something of less importance in that case, little do we know, we are in continuous journey with it each and every day of our lives, might it be within the four corners of our school, in the streets, in our houses, and even in our thoughts. And then the query “Does philosophy has something to do with our studies?” comes in. We might have not notice it, or we might have ignore it but obviously and most probably, the answer is “Yes”, philosophy has a great impact in our studies. But how? 

The “answer”, is “the question itself” and the process of how we come up with the answer which is “thinking” because philosophy is a lifetime of questioning, discussing, and thinking. When we stop raising questions, we aren’t embracing philosophy. When we deny justifying our answers, we are not practicing philosophy.

If you still wonder what philosophy is doing in your life as a student, then you might as well want to start asking yourself because as I have said earlier, philosophy is just a mere ask-think-answer-justify your answer cycle. Begin with the question “What am I doing in this school?” and then the networks of neurons inside your brain will start to formulate for an answer (that is thinking) which will later end up with the answer “To learn and to be learned.” And you tend to justify your answer by studying well and doing what is appropriate as a student, and that’s that. Question answered, philosophy earned.      

Philosophy provides us with the idea that all human are rational beings, which connotes that we are being bequeathed with the gift of reasoning, it’s up to us to augment it or hold it back.

Now what is philosophy to you as a student?

The answer lies, only within you. Remember that your philosophy today will mold you to what you will become tomorrow. (Daryl Resurreccion, Mark Joshua Villa, Richard Antonio, Christian Tualla, James Cavin Mabini)

Ph doing well in biodiversity conservation

Surprise, surprise. Forests now cover over half of the Philippines. 

It actually increased from 23.9 percent in 2003 to 52.6 percent of the total land area in 2006, according to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

This is among the country's major achievements toward achieving international biodiversity targets by 2020, says a CBD country profile citing the Philippine Millennium Development Goal report of 2007.

Protected areas increased from 8.5 percent in 1992 to 12.8 percent of total land area in 2008, including 1,169 marine protected areas (in the form of reserves, sanctuaries and parks). Improvements in the management effectiveness of these sites rose from 15 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2007. 

The number of confiscations of illegally traded wildlife species regulated increased from 513 heads in 2005 to 11,124 heads in 2011; measures such as fish farming and eco-tourism in protected areas are being implemented.

The Philippines started formulating its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in 1994. 

By 2006, 228 key biodiversity areas covering an estimated 10.56 million hectares were identified. 

Indigenous knowledge and the practices of 16 tribes were documented by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples between 2005 and 2008. Access and benefit-sharing have been institutionalized through the process of free and prior informed consent from indigenous and local communities.

The Philippines is one of 18 mega-biodiverse countries of the world. These countries contain two-thirds of the earth’s biodiversity and up to 80 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. The Philippines ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains 5 percent of the world’s flora. 

Species endemism is very high, covering at least 25 genera of plants and 49 percent of terrestrial wildlife. The country ranks fourth in bird endemism. 

The Philippines is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with at least 700 threatened species, thus making it one of the top global conservation areas. 

The national list of threatened fauna species was established in 2004 and includes 42 species of land mammals, 127 species of birds, 24 species of reptiles and 14 species of amphibians. The Philippines counts at least 3,214 fish species, of which about 121 are endemic and 76 threatened.  In 2007, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources established a national list of threatened plant species, indicating that 99 species were critically endangered, 187 were endangered, 176 vulnerable as well as 64 other threatened species. 

The country’s agricultural ecosystem is remarkable. It is part of the center of diversity of rice, coconut, mungbean, taro and yam, as well as the center of origin and diversity of bananas in Southeast Asia. 

The Philippines derives large benefits from ecosystems, supporting fisheries, recreation and tourism. A watershed with adequate forest cover provides water that supports lowland agriculture, prevents soil erosion and siltation of coasts and water bodies, and sustains the supply of surface and groundwater for domestic use. Forests provide benefit agriculture, industries, water and power needs; tree plantations and agroforestry provide jobs and revenues, with agriculture representing 18.4 percent of the country’s GDP in 2007. (SciencePhilippines)

Ti Kinabirhen ti Sabong

Ti Kinabirhen ti Sabong

Amado I. Yoro
Ewa Historic Villages
Hawaii USA 96706

Adda kinabirhen dagiti sabong
Ti nabara a sang-aw ti parbangon

Napusaksak latta ti pingping ti langit
Ti nasudi a pammasungad ti init

Siputak ti rayos init iti lamolamo a tangatang
Itag-ayna ti parmata saribiag iti law-ang

Umang-anges ti pagorasan iti sibibiag a namnama
ti panagbariw-as ken salukag a pussuak ti wayawaya

Makakayaw ti buya ti nakaparsuaan
Tumukno ti langit ti nalayog a parmata

Sibogan ti nalamiis a linnaaw ti barukong
Ti umang-anges a daga a pagbukaran ti ayat

Ti alikaka ken dungngo ti dakulap ti panawen
Tapayaenna ti kinabirtud ti sumingising a namnama

Dumtengto ti pakauna ken paripirip dagiti umuna
nga isem a panagbingngi sumangpetto kas nadayaw a sangaili
Ti umuna a panagbukar ti umuna a panagtinnag
Ti linnaaw ken ti arbis iti parbangon
Iti umuna a panagbettak…….

Sarabuen ti kulibangbang ti damo a pul-oy
Umuna nga agek a saranuen ti nasneban a panagunnoy
Umayto ti perreng ti init
Denggem pay ti kanta ti alimbubuyog
Imetmo a Gupit
Gameng ti sudi;  ti daeg

Ti pakabuklam sika a diosa ti kinatarnaw

DENR urges Ilocos Norte LGUs to comply with Solid Waste Management Act

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City—Over the past 12 years, the level of compliance of local government units to the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act is low, said provincial environment and natural resources officer Juan delos Reyes.

In view of this, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in cooperation with the National Solid Waste Management Commission has sent letters to all concerned local government units here to comply with the law.

To promote voluntary compliance to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, otherwise known as Republic Act 9003, the DENR initiated a three-day seminar workshop, inviting all local chief executive of the province to improve their local governance through observing discipline and cleanliness.

Of the 21 municipalities and two cities here, Mr. Delos Reyes said that about 50 percent has complied with the 10-year solid waste management law.

For now, he said majority of the cities and municipalities in Ilocos Norte have open dump sites.

Considering the amount of investment needed for the establishment of a sanitary landfill, Mr. Delos Reyes said the department is encouraging all LGUs to establish at least a controlled dump site equipped with Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to promote proper waste segregation and composting.

As to the barangays, Mr. Delos Reyes urged local barangay officials to set up their own composting facility to reduce waste generation and turn them into useful organic fertilizer.

Similar to other provinces in the country, the compliance of LGUs in terms of submitting solid waste management plan is still quite low since 2012.

It is in this regard that the concerned government agency has reiterated again its call among local chief executives to prioritize the implementation of the solid waste management plan and institutionalize effective and efficient local governance.

Child poverty in PH on the rise—study

The number of children living in poverty in the Philippines continues to climb despite the country's recent economic gains.

According to a study titled “Child Poverty in the Philippines” by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), there were already about 13.4 million Filipino children living in poverty in 2009.

“This number represents 36 percent or more than one-third of all Filipino children aged below 18. Being poor, they suffer from deprivations of food, shelter, health, and education," said Dr. Celia Reyes, PIDS senior research fellow and lead author of the study.

Using data collected from national surveys and administrative records of various government agencies, the key findings of the study demonstrate that both the number and severity of poverty among Filipino children have been increasing through the years.

Around 10 million of these children face at least two overlapping types of severe deprivation in basic amenities while an estimated .75 million face at least five kinds of deprivation simultaneously.

During the same year, there were around 4 million children who did not have access to sanitary toilet facilities while 4 million did not have access to safe water. Another 260,000 kids did not have decent shelter.

“There were 1.4 million children living in informal settlements, 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes, and 3.4 million did not have means to access information,” Ms. Reyes said.

In terms of education, the key issues are low cohort survival and poor level of achievement. In the last ten years, the percentage of students who were able to complete elementary and secondary levels have hardly improved.

“Largely because of poverty, 5.5 million children are forced to work in 2011 to augment family income. These children are unable to pursue their education and this affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future,” the study noted.

Poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon. The study estimates that three out of four children from income poor families are living in the rural areas. At the same time, eight of 10 who are severely deprived of safe water and sanitary toilet are found in the rural areas.

Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were identified by the study as the regions where the condition of children is dismal in many aspects and therefore should be prioritized in interventions.

“The updated Philippine Development Plan recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces and has identified priority provinces. A more targeted approach will hopefully address the varying needs of children across the provinces,” Ms. Reyes stated.

Population growth, the lack of inclusivity of economic growth, and the exposure of the country to natural calamities, are expected to worsen child poverty within the next few years.

“In the Philippines, despite the country's recent economic progress, poverty continues to affect millions of families with young children. This is visible in the number of young ones who wander the streets in urban areas, scavenge for resources, or those who, at an early age, are forced to drop out of school to work to supplement their family income,” Reyes explained.

According to the study, the problem goes beyond mere lack of income or assets for these children's families. Their situation speaks of a roster of factors that range from lack of appropriate skills to inability to control fertility intertwined with lack of job opportunities and other economic problems. (PIDS)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Agmulatayo iti bukbukel

Agmulatayo iti bukbukel

Amado I. Yoro
Ewa 9/25/0214

Daytoy ti bukel ti ayat
Bay-annak a mangitukit
dita barukong ken iti imeng
dayta pusom iti namnama
nga agrusing ken agtubo
iti kaunggam: semilia ti biag !

Daytoy ti bukel ti isem
Bay-am nga isangbay dagiti
mailandayag a panagbukar
dagiti agsapa kas met iti sabong
iti muyong iti ayat ken pateg
ti nakaparsuaan: ibabangon ti init!

Daytoy ti bukel panagserbi
Bay-am dagiti ima, takiag
ken dakulap ti panawen a mangsakruy
dagiti kaasi ken ayat ta itdenna
ti pannakaagas dagiti babassit a sugat
nga imbati ti duadua ken naglumen
a pammati:  nakaukrad a takiag!

Daytoy ti bukel pannakaawat
pammakawan met daytoy
a mamaglunit ti rikki ti susik
dagiti saan a naannadan a rikna
ken diktar ti panawen: rekonsilasion!

Daytoy ti bukel ti katawa
ti ragsak, ti namnama
ti panagrangpaya ken panagsantak

talinaay talna, kappia ken talged.

Ilocano gays speak up

I am glad, dear karikna, that Ilocano gays, through the Sunflowers Organization, have finally made their voices heard on pressing issues faced by the LGBT community, particularly today on the case of Jennifer Laude, a transgender who was allegedly murdered by an American serviceman.

It was actually your karikna who prodded Benly Academia (Pasuquin Sunflowers president, organizer of Asia's oldest pride march) and Kristina Cassandra (Miss Ilocoslovaklush 2014) to issue a joint statement on the case. They immediately obliged with a well-crafted and insightful statement.

Here it is:

“We join the whole LGBT community in condemning the brutal killing of Miss Jennifer Laude, and we urge our law enforcement agencies to do everything within their means and power, and with neither fear nor favor, to bring justice to the victim—she who lived a life of courage but who died at the hands of a bigoted coward.

“We further request the media to report on the unfortunate case always with prudence and sensitivity while rejecting the pitfalls of stereotypes and sensationalism.

“Even as we go through this dark episode, our humble work in rejecting hate, prejudice, discrimination, and violence against LGBTs continues, and with even greater resolve and vigor, until we see the day when the hope, respect, compassion, and love radiated by the rainbow are joyfully absorbed by all of humanity.”

Good work, Benly and Kristina. Continue to live and breathe by the philosophy of Beauty with a purpose.

MMSU tourism students top regional tilt
“What is restaurant in Mandarin?” “What flag is raised when the vessel departs or leaves the port?” “What is the tallest building in the Philippines?”

The questions were tough but MMSU tourism students proved to be tougher as they bested 17 other participating schools in the Regional Tourism Quiz held Sept. 27 at the Plaza del Norte in Laoag City.

Organized by the Department of Tourism-Region I, the event was held in celebration of World Tourism Day.

Composed of Jeceline Abad and John Marc Reyes, both BSBA Tourism IV, and Gene Centeno, BSBA Tourism III, the MMSU champion team was coached by Rona Leigh Cheng, a tourism instructor. The P20,000 cash prize the team won went mainly to their organization, the Association of Tourism Management Students, which is based at the CBEA.

Divine Word College of Laoag won over the Pangasinan State University-Alaminos in the tie breaker round for the second and third spots. The board of judges was composed of Modesto Baloloy, chief tourism operations officer of DOT-I; Tina Tan, a lifestyle blogger and ecotourism advocate; and Ena Domingo, a tour guide.

MMSU will represent the region in an interregional competition to be held in Clark, Pampanga in November.

CBEA dean Lorna Olivia F. Salmasan, who was also present during the event, expressed happiness over the victory. “We have proven that we are among the region’s best schools offering tourism,” she said.

“What is the universal language of the hospitality industry?” was another question asked in the quiz. The answer: smile. Dean Salmasan and the champion team spoke that language well that day.
All about beer
Benjamin Franklin posited that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” I argue that beer is better than religion, and here are a dozen reasons why.

1. Beer is a friend to all and does not discriminate against anyone, not even transgenders. No matter your sexual orientation, you can be a good beer drinker. Sexually active homosexuals, considered by natural law as an anomaly, are considered by the Roman Catholic Church as lost souls.

2. Beer companies pay their taxes. The Church is tax exempt.

3. Beer has not abused women and altar boys.

4. Beer is not under the pull strings of the Vatican. Filipinos have proven that they can make excellent beer right here, and that the same is worth sharing to the world. Long live, SanMig Light!

5. Nobody’s ever been burned at the stake, hanged, or tortured over their brand of beer.

6. Religion, not beer, is the reason why our country was named after a cruel Spanish King who, as a big fan of the Inquisition, made sure church dissidents were either tortured or executed.

7. Beer has never caused a major war or wholesale acts of terrorism.

8. You don’t have to wait more than 2,000 years for a second coming of Beer.

9. Only the priest drinks during the mass, no one has the callousness to do that in a drinking session.

10. Beer brings out good conversations, most priests deliver long and shallow sermons.

12. Beer does not prohibit revolutionary insights and crazy ideas, unlike the church which, for centuries, silenced artists and scientists for “heresies” that the world would later recognize as truths. Remember Galileo Galilee.

Kaya sa lahat ng nakainuman, nakakainuman, at makakainuman pa lang... sa mga kakuwentuhan at katawanan. Sa mga umiiyak ‘pag nalalasing at pati na rin sa mga gumagaling sa Ingles. Sa bawat taong lumalakas ang loob na gawin ang tama kapag nakalaklak ng alak. Sa lahat ng hindi nagda-drive kapag nakainom at sa marunong mag-drink moderately. Sa lahat ng gumagawa ng beer, nagseserve ng alcohol, at nagluluto ng pulutan. Sa mga may malulusog pang atay. Sa lahat ng may ipinagdiriwang, sa mga may pinagdaraanan, at sa mga basta umiinom lang, here’s a toast to a long and happy life for all of you.
Happy Oktoberfest, dear folks.

Good harvests and ample stockpiles continue to drive international food prices down

Biannual FAO Food Outlook report and new Food Price Index released

Rome—Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest edition of FAO's biannual Food Outlook report and a new update to the Organization's monthly Food Price Index, both out today.

Bumper harvests and abundant stockpiles are key factors helping drive down international cereal prices, according to the report.

World wheat production in 2014 is forecast to reach a new record, it says.

For coarse grains, prospects for near-record production levels, combined with already-high inventories point to a very comfortable world supply and demand balance in 2014/15, especially for maize.

While rice outputs could decline slightly this year, stockpiles remain "huge" and are sufficient to cover over one-third of projected consumption during the 2015-16 period.

All told, world cereal production in 2014 is anticipated to reach 2 523 million tons (2.5 billion tons) — an upward revision of 65 million tons from FAO's initial forecast in May. World cereal stocks should hit their highest level in 15 years by the end of the cropping season in 2015.

Global output of oilseeds is also forecast to exceed last season's record due to further expansion of soybean production.

Meanwhile, world production of cassava looks to be on track to achieving another record high, driven by sustained growth in Africa, where the tuber is a strategic crop for food security and poverty alleviation.

Today's Food Outlook anticipates that world sugar production will increase in 2015-16, as well.

Meat production is set to grow moderately in 2014, but not enough to ease prices from their current high levels, while milk production continues to grow steadily in many countries.

Production of fish is also on the rise, driven largely by aquaculture and less-than-expected El NiƱo impacts.

Price drops across the board – almost
The FAO Food Price Index (FPI), also released today, has registered its sixth consecutive monthly drop — the longest period of continuous decline in the value of the index since the late 1990s — averaging 191.5 points in September 2014.

Among the FPI sub-indices, sugar and dairy fell most sharply, followed by cereals and oils, while meat remained firm.

Although meat prices remain high they could be stabilizing: the September Meat Price index remains 22 points up versus the same time last year, a historic high, but registered only a slight increase over August (0.3 of a point) after months of steady hikes.

High meat prices and large trade volumes for products in the animal protein category, including meat, dairy and fish, mean that the global food import bill — that is, the aggregate amount that all countries spend on imported foodstuffs — will surpass $1 trillion again this year, for the fifth year in a row.

The FAO FPI is a trade-weighted index that measures prices of five major food commodities on international markets.

While price trends for these commodities at the macro level are a useful indicator of global trends and can signal when consumer food prices might be at risk, they are not always directly mirrored in national, regional and local markets.

Regional differences highlighted in second report
To help spot food price spikes affecting consumers in the developing world, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), FAO recently launched a new website that reports abnormally high prices of staple foods in markets in 85 different countries.

Additionally, the Organization produces a quarterly report, Crop Prospects and Food Situation that focuses on developments affecting food security in developing countries and LIFDCs.

The latest edition, published today alongside Food Outlook and the October FPI, highlights a number of hot-spots of particular concern.

The Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has disrupted markets, farming activities and livelihoods, seriously affecting the food security of large numbers of people, it says. And irregular rains in several areas of the Sahelian belt will result in mixed production prospects.

Food crop production in the Central African Republic is up from 2013's sharply reduced output, but still remains well below average due to the impact of widespread civil insecurity, the report adds.

In Eastern Africa, the overall food security situation is improving as harvesting has started in several countries. But while food prices in the region are generally stable or declining, they are at record high levels in Somalia and the Sudan.

Meanwhile, drought conditions in Central America have significantly reduced the 2014 main first season harvest in key producing countries. 

Drought conditions have also been a problem in the Near East, leading to a below-average cereal harvest for the region, while the conflicts in Syria and Iraq continue to significantly degrade food security.


Global wheat production in 2014 is projected to reach a new record.

Filipino futures thinking

It’s been a busy month for me and I would like to share some of the insights I got from the meetings, conversations, workshops and research presentations I had recently to advance futures literacy, futures research and strategic foresight in government reforms, city futures, social innovation, learning and leading in an Asian century.
The task in these conversations was to unpack the Filipinos ways of imagining and knowing the future and to develop new tools and techniques or to modify some of the most impressive foresight tools to suit local nuances, knowledge, worldviews, languages and creativities.

To facilitate these conversations I used the futures triangle method and scenarios, a deceptively simple tool, to explore the Filipinos futures landscape and map the drivers of change (how the present is understood), their visions (futures – their hopes, fears and aspirations) and the structures and thinking habits that prohibits people and institutions (the weights of history) from realizing their alternative and preferred future.

I was able to get a bigger and clearer picture on how Filipinos perceives and re-perceives their future.

Filipinos imagines their future in different ways and are informed by these drivers, insights, assumptions and questions. Some were personal and some were even systemic driven that is the environment, nature and culture drives our collective future.

Family. The Filipino thinks that the family is the essence or the diwa (heart and soul) of human existence. Like the Chinese, the family is a non-negotiable unit of society. While it is the core of the Filipino way of life, they also recognized the dangers of a “family only” personal and social outlook. A family-centered worldview or way of knowing could endanger the future of a community or a civilization. A family only driven political or economic enterprise is a weight of history. These families tend to restrict or prohibit wealth creation to occur. The interests (political, social, cultural, economic) of these families have shaped the current contexts and inner stories of our cities and may likely drive our collective future in a used, default and disowned future scenarios.   

One prominent participant argued that the “second and third generations political and corporate families could make or break the future of this country.” In 20 years and if the trend continues, it could lead to a worst case scenario that is a fragmented republic in 2030.

A student leader at the Ateneo De Manila University said “as in nakakainis na talaga at kailangan ng magalit” and a former congressman and governor argued that “we really need to get angry and get even” to change the trajectory of this country. “If Thailand could do it, why can’t we.”

Beyond the family is the community, the nation, the region and the planet. Ibn Khaldun’s concept of the asabiya (the sinews that bind) and Sarkar’s sama-sama tattva or the samaj (Indian and Malay concepts of coordinated cooperation) and Neo-humanism (expanding the concept of family to include the others like plants and animals) could be used as alternative discourses of leadership, community and governance.

Learning and leading should be values-driven. Indigenous values and concepts like buddhi (the awakened intellect), bodhi (conscience as the voice of God at kailangan itong pakinggan), karma (kung ano ang ginawa ay ito din ang balik ng tadhana), hanap-buhay in a positive context (the search for joy and life) and damdamin (the heart could guide us to the right path; the future is felt at the heart level and radical optimism is needed to create the preferred future today) should be the context of Filipino leadership, learning and governance.

A professor of public administration at Miriam College suggested that values must inform our ways of leadership and decision-making. We need to create a system that enables people to experience and express these values.  Learning and leading is all about creating new meanings and stories that inspires.  “We can change our stories if we let our inner spirit guide us. Changing ourselves is crucial here.” Another one said that “magaling lang tayo sa pag-aanalisa ng sistema at pagpapanday ng batas ngunit mukhang mahina naman tayo sa literatura, sa arts at polisipiya na siyang nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob sa bawat tao”.

The insight was that content creation is imperative to governance futures.  A seminar and action learning workshops on “Karma, Konsensya at Kinabukasan” should happen at the local government level and this could change the habits of the heart and priorities of elected and appointed government officials. 

Focus on social innovation and global perspectives. We must re-focus and invest more on social impact investing and global integration. The world is getting flatter and social investment is crucial to the future of poverty, wealth generation and local prosperity.

Methods work and action-learning must be our pedagogy. Concrete experimentation and participation of all stakeholders is a must if we are to make the long-term the foundation of the present. Strategies should be forward looking and futures methods are crucial to creating future-proof development plans (otherwise the future is merely used as a political propaganda; all words but no content).

As Inayatullah notes the future is an asset, a resource and a narrative waiting to be employed. Thus, the future should be the arena for our actions today. Methods could help Filipinos gradually shift from being a short-term oriented society to a forward looking one.

Long-term orientation. Traditions, conventions, power hierarchy, emphasis on quick results, leisure time, spending and the belief in the absolutes, a strong past-orientation (the past drives their imaginings about the future) are drivers of learning and governance in the Philippines today. Geert Hoffstede’s notes these values as short-term oriented values. Long-term oriented societies like China, South Korea, Singapore and Japan considers perseverance, personal adaptability, being thrift, savings and pragmatism as long-term oriented values.

In a nutshell, the Filipino perceives the future with different images, myths and metaphors.

The family, bayanihan, values, sustainability, wealth creation, creativity and the arts, health, karma, kapwa and conscience as crucial drivers or “pushers” to creating alternative futures or to borrow the late President Ferdinand Marcos words “pamalit na kinabukasan”. Political dynasties, corruption, propaganda, diseases, “groceries” (the Filipino style of consumerism), climate change and short-term oriented values could lead, again, to used (gamit na kinabukasan), default (status quo) and disowned futures.   

The Center for Engaged Foresight (CEF) in the last three years, which I co-founded with some folks and professors at the National University of Singapore, Tamkang University of Taiwan and the Universiti of Sains Malaysia, had so far engaged and introduced futures thinking to around 5,500 participants in the Philippines. CEF have provided workshops and futures thinking courses to around 125 organizations in the public and private sectors here and abroad.   

Recently, I have been collaborating with some folks at the National University of Singapore, the University of Hawaii, the Finland Futures Research Academy and the World Futures Studies Federation to design some creative and imagination driven foresight tools to spur creativity and imagination in the government, private and non-government sector. So far we’ve got a number of local government, national government agencies, governance and research institutes, higher education institutions, corporations and philanthropists funding and supporting our two-year futures literacy and foresight program for learning, leadership and local government reforms.

Some of our output was presented at the 2014 Philippine Society for Public Administration on Governance Reforms and Innovations in the Philippines International Conference organized by the UP-NCPAG and the UNDP and supported by the Korea, Thailand and Japan Public Administration organizations held in Davao City.