Halal food processing

Mindanao can kiss its hope for a Brunei-funded halal food processing venture here goodbye. This after our ASEAN neighbor has decided to develop a new deep water port with export processing facilities for halal food.

Brunei has just awarded the development of Pulau Muara Besar, an island off the coast of the eastern tip of the oil-rich sultanate, to companies from Singapore and the Philippines.

The plans of the Department of Agriculture to attract funds from Brunei for the development of halal food processing plants in Mindanao have therefore been overtaken by Brunei’s own development initiative.

The DA has offered Mindanao as the site for a regional halal food processing facility which could supply halal food to Muslims in southeast Asia as well as to the Middle East.

I also wrote a letter two years ago to Brunei offering Davao City as possible site for the halal food processing center.

This would no longer be possible with the development of Pulau Muara Besar, a 995-hectare island in Brunei Bay, into a new container port with export processing zone for halal food and other manufacturing facilities. Brunei is undertaking this project to help diversify its industrial growth and lessen its dependence on oil and gas.

The project would be developed by the Surbana Consortium from Singapore and its port operations to be managed by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. of the Philippines. Both won in the international tender or bidding.

The Manila-based ICTSI operates 16 international ports in 11 countries.

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Radical reform

Five bishops appeared at a forum Tuesday to denounce ills in our society and called for “radical reforms” and “change of government.”

Speaker Boy Nogie described the bishops’ move as “dangerous.”

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said it borders on “sedition.”

On the other hand, Chief Justice Reynaldo Puno threw his support to the bishops.

It’s not really hard where to place our bets on this new game in town.

I wonder, however, what blinded the bishops from seeing the truth during the past seven years when most Filipinos were already denouncing graft and corruption and clamoring for change.

That is the whole trouble with these new “liberators.”

Their credibility seems suspect because they have been a part and parcel of all the mess we are in. Bishops supported the ouster of Erap in the so-called People Power 2 that placed Gloria at Malacanang; they have a massive vote-watch machinery that witnessed massive cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections and yet did not raise any howl; during the impeachments against Gloria for abuse of power, corruption, etc., they chose the convenient path not to take side and thereby signaled tolerance for the patent abuses of the administration.

Well, now, they are parroting all what most people have been cursing all these years.

I am sorry that I am pessimistic about their crusade. The bishops are not only late. Their indecision in the past has taken its toll on the nation. And I have not heard of any repentance from them. Radical reforms in our society should not be limited to government but must also include the church and other sectors and institutions.

Oct 28 City Council Agenda

Calendar of Business of the City Council Session today:

Invocation – Councilor Conrado C. Baluran (3rd District)

National Anthem; City March

Roll Call

Reading & Approval of the Minutes of the Oct 21 Session

Privilege Hour

First Reading – 24 Items (Item Nos. 1501-1524), e.g. Item No. 1519 – Proposed 2009 Annual Implementing Plan (AIP); Item No. 1520 – Proposed 2009 Annual Budget

3rd & Final Reading – Item No. 1018 – Reclassification of 28.6 hectares from agricultural to residential zone at Barangay Catalunan Grande; Item No. 1455 – Supplemental Budget No. 2 in the amount of P262.3 Million;

Committee as a Whole – Item No. 1025 – PALC for Palm Grove Subdivision at Barangay Matina Pangi with an area fo 13.6 hectares; Item No. 1207 – PALC for Positano Subdivision at Barangay Matina Pangi with an area of 19.2 hectares;

Unfinished Business – Item No. 875-B – Request for tax exemption by the Samahan ng mga Musikeros sa Davao, Inc. (SAMADHI)

2nd Reading (New Committee Reports) – 12 Items, e.g. Item No. 1216 – Establishment of the Organic Center of Davao City as proposed by the Consumer Action for Sustainable & Healthy Lifestyle Network; Item Nos. 1137, 1244, 1245, 1246, Application for Accreditation by the Tagbuan sa Nagkahiusang Katawhan, Inc., Tagakpan Water Service Cooperative, United Peoples Organization of Davao, and Tugbok Small Coconut Farmers Cooperative, respectively;

A convert

This former strongman who shunned free press in the past is not only a press freedom convert.

He has turned to blogging to write his thoughts and present his opinions. And he is willing to go to jail for it!

I’m free today and so I’m spending this lazy Sunday listening to concerts.

I just started with Santana’s live concert at Palladium, New York on Feburary 9, 1978 via Wolfgang’s Vault.

Next I will tune in to Neil Young and Led Zep.

Come, join the fun!

2nd Mindanao bloggers summit

Best wishes to all Mindanao bloggers who are attending the 2nd summit at General Santos City starting today.

I would not be able to make it to the Tuna Capital of the Philippines to attend the conference. I am confident though of its success following last year’s inaugural summit held here in Davao City.

With the likes of Avel of Bariles Republic at the helm and supported by the The Usual Suspects who were involved the 1st summit, things are indeed looking bright for the relevance of bloggers in this part of the virtual world.

I am truly happy that our ranks are expanding although I feel frustrated that not many public officials answered our own calls for them to use this new tool to promote government-to-citizen and citizen-to-government (G2C-C2G) communication.

Maybe by the 3rd summit more public officials, by the proximity of the 2010 elections, would embrace blogging.

Cheers!

Four way test for Jocjoc

The truth will set him free.

Yup, only by spilling the beans would former agriculture undersecretary Jocjoc Bolante be able to free himself from all the troubles he has created for himself. Tagged as the brains behind the P700 million fertilizer scam, Jocjoc fled to the US in 2006 to escape a Senate inquiry on the misuse and plunder of the public money meant for our farmers but ended up reportedly to fund the election of you-know-who in 2004.

His efforts to seek political asylum in the land of milk and honey failed. He languished instead in immigration cells in the US and would soon be deported back here to face the music.

A top Rotary International official, Jocjoc should tell all about the scam.

The Rotary four way test, which have been translated to 100 languages, might help him recollect how the devious scheme worked.

This is not the official Tagalog version:

Is it the Truth? Totoo bang may scam na naman tayo?

Is it Fair to all concerned? Lahat ba tayo kasali diyan?

Will it build Goodwill and better Friendships? Wala bang masasagasa-an diyan?

Will it be Beneficial to all concerned? Magkano akin diyan?