Abaca production improves in first 9 months

ABACA fiber production increased by 4.5% to 49,803 metric tons (MT) in the first nine months of 2018 from the 47,644 MT in the same period last year. According to data released by the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA) on Monday, Bicol emerged as the top producing region with 15,584 MT from Jan. to Sept. this year, although this is a 13.2% drop from the 17,962 MT in the first three quarters of 2017. The second top producing region was Davao at 9,921 MT, up by 18.5% from 8,371.5 MT. Third was Eastern Visayas at 6,189 MT, up 4.8% from 5,906 MT. “We are very pleased to report that production of the Philippine Abaca Fiber Industry continue its uphill climb and now at 4.5% or equivalent to 2,158.2 metric tons or 2.1582 (million) kilos or additional 95.92 40-footer container vans compared in 2017,” Kennedy T. Costales, Executive Director of PhilFIDA, said on a Facebook post. “Though it is still a far cry to where we want to be (25,000 metric tons), it is a fact that you cannot plant abaca today and harvest tomorrow. It takes an abaca plant to mature between 18 months to 24 months depending on the variety,” Mr. Costales added. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

Arroyo daughter appointed to National Museum

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed Evangelina Lourdes “Luli” Arroyo-Bernas, daughter House Speaker Gloria M. Arroyo, as chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum. The President also appointed Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Director Retired Col. Yusop A. Jimlani as Presidential Adviser on Local Extremist Groups Concerns, with the rank of Undersecretary. Another appointee, Ramon Ike V. Señeres, brother of the late 2016 presidential candidate Roy V. Señeres, Sr., is now a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The President signed the appointment papers of the said officials last Dec. 6. — Arjay L. Balinbin

Pichay shrugs off disqualification case

REPRESENTATIVE Prospero A. Pichay, Jr. of the 1st District of Surigao del Sur yesterday expressed confidence that the disqualification case filed against him before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be dismissed. “I’m very confident that will be dismissed,” he said in a phone interview with BusinessWorld Monday. Mr. Pichay, who is running for reelection in the 2019 midterm elections, noted that the same case was filed against him in 2016, but the Comelec allowed him to run for office. Last month, a Petition to Deny Due Course and to Cancel Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) was filed by Mary Elizabeth O. Ty, citing a 2011 Ombudsman decision declaring Mr. Pichay guilty of grave misconduct for unlawful use of state funds. The Ombudsman decision imposed a penalty of dismissal from his position as Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Board of Trustees chairman and “forfeiture of all benefits, except leave credits, and disqualification to hold any public office.” — Gillian M. Cortez