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Parting shots EDITORIAL 06/27/2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Parting shots

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Gloria delivered what can be said as one of her shortest speeches delivered to write finish to her nine years of a presidency that most Filipinos never supported nor wanted.

It was safe and dull, and relatively modest, compared to her other previous speeches which seemed to take her to a different land and which the listeners are left dumbfounded on her supposed achievement on what country she is talking about.

The speech was more of trying not to rile her successors while and at the same time spell out what can pass off as extolling during her unusually long stay in Malacañang.

And of course, all of it was not believable because it was all lies or at best, half-truths.

The entire speech was a half truth even, because the most memorable periods during Gloria’s nine-year reign were the scandals and corruption issues but not a word of it was said in her five-minute attempt at face-saving.

It was also a futile attempt at statesmanship and extending a hand of peace to the incoming Aquino administration: “We must always set our sights on the future and keep an eye on improving our economy, investing in people, and building bridges. Not just bridges of iron and steel, but bridges between people, generations and governments.”
Her record in economic management, however, betrays the fact Gloria did not practice what she is now preaching. Invest in people she never did since the basic policy on Filipinos during the nine years she was in power was to have them exported and repatriate their earnings to keep the economy afloat. It was a policy to escape economic responsibility since the more Filipinos are sent abroad to work, the less problems Gloria had in the local employment front and, of course, at the same time she expects money to flow since most Filipinos work abroad not as a career option but to temporarily sustain a family.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com1.html

Promises, promises FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/27/2010

Promises, promises

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Every incoming president pledges to become accessible to media and even promise to give frequent press conferences.

And they do become accessible to media and even hold weekly press conferences, until such time that sensitive issues cropped up, and the new president finds himself in an embarrassing situation, gives a wrong answer or a silly remark, or commits a big blooper that is moreover blown up by the media.

And then comes Malacañang’s way to control the media — and this goes for all Malacañang tenants, past and present.

Malacañang media start getting “orders” from the spokesmen to first submit their questions, which may be answered “officially.” Then comes the screening of the reporters and their questions, during “controlled” press conferences.

As a rule, in such media conferences, reporters who are called upon to ask questions are the usually the friendly types, who would generally ask innocuous questions — and even inane ones.

As things stand today, even before President-elect Noynoy Aquino takes on Malacañang, the yellow media, which are so enamored with him and the Aquinos, come up with inane front page stories on Noynoy — including his new “iconic” eyeglasses. The yellow broadcast media are even more inane, coming up with such silly reports of a rumored break-up with Noynoy’s girlfriend, who frankly, as I see it, is a doormat who is moreover not even being given any kind of attention by Sisters Inc. Why she allows this is beyond me.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com2.html

Land of ‘Female Eunuch’ welcomes first woman prime minister FEATURE 06/27/2010

Land of ‘Female Eunuch’ welcomes first woman prime minister


SYDNEY — Australian women welcomed their first woman prime minister this week, but warned that the unmarried, childless Julia Gillard could face a gender backlash in a land known for its macho culture.

Forty years after Australia’s Germaine Greer penned “The Female Eunuch” which unpicked the traditional role of women, Gillard was appointed Thursday in an historic moment seen as the realization of a feminist fantasy.

The fact that Gillard was sworn in by another woman — Governor General Quentin Bryce, the first woman to hold the post as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in the country, appeared the icing on the cake.

“It’s precisely what our mothers — and Germaine! — hoped would one day happen, as they argued, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, for fundamental changes to the fabric of the nation,” The Australian’s Caroline Overington wrote.

“Imagine that, 30 years ago: an unmarried woman, living in sin with a man. Who is a hairdresser. And aspiring to high office. Forget about it. That’s how far we’ve come.”

The change which brings Welsh-born Gillard, 48, to the top job will shake up the land of “cold beer and untrammeled misogyny,” according to expatriate writer Kathy Lette.

“Let me say Australian men are quaking in their Ugg boots because even though we’re one of the first countries in the world to give women the vote, it’s a very sexist country,” she told Britain’s Sky News.

Veteran feminist campaigner Eva Cox said she delighted in the moment, but acknowledged that the brutal cut and thrust of Australian politics was “still very much a brotherhood..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com3.html

Smokey Mountain mess BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 06/27/2010

Smokey Mountain mess

Louie Logarta
Vice President Noli de Castro, who is about to step down from office this coming Wednesday, June 30th, together with President Arroyo when both their terms officially expire, has just been slapped serious graft raps — alongside such outgoing Arroyo government functionaries as Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, National Housing Authority general manager Federico Laxa, Home Guaranty Corp. president Gonzalo Bongolan and controversial businessman Reghis Romero II of R-II Builders — before the Ombudsman in connection with the multi-billion Smokey Mountain low-cost housing project in Tondo, Manila whose intended beneficiaries are thousands of squatters who are long-time residents of one of the most depressed areas in the country.

For the Veep, as with the others presumably, the case was quite a bummer. Totally unexpected, because it had materialized literally during the “last two minutes” of the Arroyo administration, for they (except for Romero) were all expecting to leave the government service peaceably and retire gracefully into the sunset.

Characterizing it as one of those midnight deals meant to line the pockets of departing Arroyo government officials as their pabaon or going away gifts, former Cavite newsman Ligorio Naval, who claimed to be merely acting as a concerned taxpayer, had filed a suit before the Ombudsman saying he wanted to thwart the designs of De Castro, Laxa, Bongolan and Teves to have the government release at some P6 billion for the Smokey Mountain Development Project (SMDP) which was allegedly grossly overpriced, not to mention the fact that it remains unfinished after more than a decade of construction work.

In the suit, Naval said De Castro et al. had violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for conspiring to enter into a spurious memorandum of agreement and compromise agreement with R-II that in actuality were “cover-ups intricately woven, devised and meticulously designed to conceal a grand scam, which have caused substantial and undue injury to the government.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com4.html

‘Politically disruptive’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 06/27/2010

‘Politically disruptive’

Jonathan De la Cruz
In his June 21, 2010 letter, Vice President-elect and Makati Mayor Jojo Binay said his decision not to accept any Cabinet position for now (emphasis supplied) in the incoming Aquino administration was meant to “lighten its burdens” especially in the crucial early stages of its term. In its totality, the letter was as much an expression of regret for a botched opportunity to heal and unite the nation behind the top two elected leaders of the land as well as an indictment of the highly personalistic and the mindless power-at-all-cost political culture, which has been our lot for as long as one can remember.

Said Binay: “...I respectfully ask you to remove my name from the list (of nominees for DILG Secretary) and, if ever, from any other list of nominees for the Cabinet. I do not wish to be an additional burden to you — especially as it has become more and more apparent that my being appointed to any Cabinet post has become a politically contentious issue within your party and group of supporters, however improper and petty that seems to many people...

“May I reiterate my previous statement that I fully respect your prerogative to name the members of your Cabinet. Your official family must not only enjoy your trust and confidence. They should also be able to work as a team. This early, it is clear that I would not be treated as a member of the team owing to the fact that I am not a member of the Liberal Party or of any of the groups that supported you and your running mate. My presence would at best be seen as politically disruptive to the already existing relations among members of your incoming official family and could only add to your difficulties that I believe are unnecessary especially during the crucial stages of your administration...”

Indeed, given the highly politicized and partisan manner which have attended the relations of the two leaders since their proclamation (they only got to have a face-to-face meeting a little more than two weeks after the event) this development was bound to happen. It is well that Binay has decided to simply fade away from the scene — for now — and leave President Aquino whom he described as a “good friend” to lead the nation in the manner he knows best. And that includes choosing the people he will work with him at the highest levels of government.
But it is regrettable that this had to happen so early in the game. After all, the nation had expected the two — even if belonging to different parties — to come around under one program of action and bring about the change both of them had promised during the campaign. Both of them were considered part of the broad opposition to the outgoing Arroyo administration and had almost similar advocacies as far as solutions to the long standing problems — say, on corruption, poverty alleviation, governance and the like — are concerned. At this point, we can only hope that the Vice President will stick to his word (and I have no doubt he will) that he will extend all possible assistance to President Aquino and his administration, speak out on issues of national concern and, more importantly, that he will give due respect and treat him as a true friend and as family. Simply put, our people will not abide by and the country cannot tolerate “disruptive relations” between and among our leaders especially if seen as unprincipled and simply a question of political one upmanship and nothing else this early in their terms.
I will not hazard any unsolicited advice to the both of them but certainly they cannot afford to have this kind of cooling off, in a sense, prolonged beyond necessary. Otherwise, both may not be able to stand the pressures and the currents which will surely come their way as the country girds for problematic times ahead. Already, they are giving cross signals on the issue of the Slex toll rates and the oil price hike, among others, which to be sure are not the most difficult of those which they and our people will have to face as we get ourselves out of the lingering economic crisis and move into a more sustainable and equitable development path.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com5.html

Once more with feeling: Presenting Pagcor VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 06/27/2010

Once more with feeling: Presenting Pagcor

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Gambling is corruption. It is ridiculous to equate it with integrity, honesty, nobility. Gambling is a vice. It is mockery to identify it with virtue, probity, honor. Gambling is indolence. It is a shame to claim that it is industrious, hardworking and productive people who indulge therein. This is precisely why gamblers are individuals who do not look straight at people, who hate well-lighted lobbies on their way to gambling and wherefore simply love dark and shadowy casino entrances.
Furthermore, gambling makes addicts to the point of making gamblers bet not only the money in their pockets but also that which is not yet theirs at all. 

This is precisely why gamblers are suspect characters in terms of their must-have money to gamble, irrespective of the ways and means to lay their hands on it. 

The truth is that they are driven to bet even the means to lay their hands on it. The truth is that they are driven to bet even the future of their families — to the point of even destroying them in favor of gambling. Addiction to drugs or to alcohol, to carnal drives toward men, women and/or children — gambling has addictive features even much worst than said accursed vices.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com6.html

Today’s Chinese workers wise up — and rise up focus 06/27/2010

Today’s Chinese workers wise up — and rise up


FOSHAN — Sporting trendy clothes and flashy hairstyles, today’s Chinese factory workers are a different breed from the ragtag peasants who helped launch the nation’s spectacular economic boom.

Young workers involved in a rash of recent strikes in southern China for better pay and conditions bristle at the term “cheap labor” and insist today’s workforce will not accept what their forebears endured.

“The demands of the generation before us were based on survival and staying warm and fed,” said a worker surnamed Chen, 25, who is employed at a factory producing exhaust systems for Honda in the southern city of Foshan.

“Our demands are higher because we have higher material and spiritual needs. Our strike demands are based on the need to maintain our living standards,” he told AFP, asking that his full name not be used out of fear of being fired..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100627com7.html

Budget blowout factor in GDP growth — Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 06/27/2010


Budget blowout factor in GDP growth — Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

The spokesmen for departing President Arroyo yesterday ganged up on Sen. Francis Escudero, who seems to have touched a raw nerve when he said the other day that Arroyo is leaving not a legacy but a land mine for her successor President-elect Benigno Aquino III in the estimated P349-billion record budget blowout this year. Arroyo’s mouthpieces claimed the huge budget shortfall was the result of necessary spending to keep the economy strong, citing the supposed 37 quarters of uninterrupted growth rate that Arroyo mentioned in her farewell speech last Thursday.

Escudero likened the projected huge deficit to a land mine that may impair the Aquino administration’s initial years.
Two of Malacañang’s outgoing spokesmen, Ricardo Saludo and Gary Olivar, both claimed that the record deficit is still manageable given the 7.3 percent gross domestic product (GDP) posted by the country during the first quarter let alone the supposed 37 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth.

Saludo said the reported P349-billion deficit should not become an issue since it is equivalent to only three percent of the country’s GDP based on the data given by the Department of Finance (DoF) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“In the coming years, this particular deficit would gradually be trimmed down while reassuring a continuous growth in the economy. So the data (presented by Escudero) is incomplete. Just like an ordinary critic, he is just identifying one part without providing a full undertsanding on the issue they are making,” Saludo said on radio.

Saludo blamed the ballooning deficit on unexpected crises that hit the world economy since he said the government needed to spend more than its expected revenues.

“If we did not push through with this [stimulus spending], we would have been one of those countries in the world that suffered from a shrinking economy last year. But if you will recall, our economy stayed strong while the rest of the economies in the world are going down. In fact, we were able to achieve 37 going on 38 years of uninterrupted economic growth,” he stressed.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed1.html

Many ifs in jail possibility for Gloria, says Saludo 06/27/2010 By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Many ifs in jail possibility for Gloria, says Saludo

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Malacañang yesterday twitted former President Joseph Estrada yesterday for his remark that outgoing President Arroyo should be sent to jail if judged guilty by the courts should the plunder charges that will be filed against her prosper once she steps down from the presidency.
Estrada reportedly expressed in a television interview that Arroyo might as well traverse the rough roads he was forced to take after being charged with plunder following his unconstitutional ouster in 2001 that made her rise to presidency.
“No one is above the law, they did it to me why not to GMA,” he said in the interview.
Estrada was accused and sent to jail for more than six years on a plunder case based on flimsy charges. He was convicted in 2007 but was subsequently granted a presidential pardon.
Arroyo spokesman Ricardo Saludo, in his final news briefing aired live on Radyo ng Bayan yesterday, placed great emphasis on the word “if” in Estrada’s statement while implying that Arroyo certainly would let herself go under the process should the evidence presented against her become sufficient.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed2.html

Lopez locks out workers from ABS-CBN compound 06/27/2010

Lopez locks out workers from ABS-CBN compound


Dismissed employees of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. accused the company’s chairman, Eugenio Lopez III, of unfair labor practices, including union busting.

At a recent press conference, the 25 ABS-CBN workers under the ABS-CBN internal job market (IJM) said they were even barred from entering the company premises after a deadline Lopez issued for the workers to accept the so-called regularization scheme lapsed.

The regularization scheme, however, was a misnomer since it provided that the salaries of the workers would be slashed to a third of what they used to get.

Johnny, not his real name, has been working as a cameraman for ABS-CBN’s current affairs program for 22 years. On June 18, he was told by security guards that he is among those who have been banned from entering the company premises, according to online publication Bulatlat.com.

On June 16, Johnny, like many of his colleagues, was summoned to the human resources (HR) department. He was being offered a new contract, stating, among other things, that he has to work for eight hours a day for a salary of P25,000 and that he would be on probationary status for six months. He told the HR staff that he would think about the offer.

“It (the offer) is insulting,” Johnny told Bulatlat in an interview, adding that another cameraman who is his junior has been offered P45,000 as salary. “I did not do anything wrong against the company. Why don’t they give me some respect?”

“Those who would not sign the contract will lose their jobs,” Lopez told the workers on June 15. “(You) either resign or find another job. That’s the only choice you have,” Lopez said. A video of Lopez’s speech was shown to the media by the ABS-CBN IJM workers’ union in a press conference on June 24.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed3.html

Incoming DepEd chief asked to resign from priesthood 06/27/2010

Incoming DepEd chief asked to resign from priesthood


Employees of the Department of Education (DepEd) have called on incoming Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro to resign from priesthood before he assumes his post on July 1 “to avoid legal and other complications.”
Lawyer Domingo Alidon, president of the DepEd National Employees Union (DepEd-NEU), in a statement, yesterday said Luistro could choose instead to go on leave from priesthood during his stint as DepEd secretary, taking the cue from former Pampanga Gov. Eduardo “Among Ed” Panlilio who, along with two other priests, was suspended from his pastoral duties for running for elected office in 2007.

He added Bishop Leonardo Medroso, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, cited a conflict between a priest’s role in political or government undertakings and in the church.

“How can Secretary Luistro serve two masters at the same time — the government and the church. As DepEd secretary, he will be expected to make difficult decisions for the good of the people — including Muslims and non-Catholic Christians — that could contravene teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Alidon, who heads the country’s biggest registered rank-and-file employees’ union in the government sector.

Earlier, Alidon had said DepEd employees would welcome Luistro and work with him based on five parameters that would maintain harmony with the department’s 600,000 employees. These include no politicking, professional management of the department, respect for the rights of public sector unionism, management transparency and continuation of educational reforms.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed4.html

Arroyo Cabinet won’t stick around for Aquino inauguration 06/27/2010

Arroyo Cabinet won’t stick around for Aquino inauguration


The existing members of outgoing President Arroyo’s official family will be escorting her when she takes her oath of office as congress-woman at the Bren Guiao Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on June 30, thus leaving President-elect Benigno Aquino III’s inauguration ceremony ahead of time as well.

Outgoing Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Maria Elena Bautista-Horn disclosed in her last on-air briefing to Palace reporters that they will be staying by Arroyo’s side all day on June 30 as agreed upon by all the remaining Cabinet secretaries. 

“We’ve been talking about it at the sidelines during our recent Cabinet meeting and we thought it would be better for us to send President Arroyo off by ourselves to her place where she will be serving (as congresswoman) for the next few years,” Bautista-Horn said over radio dzRB.

Arroyo will be taking her oath of office as representative of the second district of Pampanga along with the other local officials there.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Eduardo Antonio Nachura will administer the oath on Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Bautista-Horn was delightful knowing that the public and the general media are noticing that the outgoing Arroyo administration is somehow living up to its promise of a smooth turnover of government so far.
Proof of it was the meeting that transpired between the incoming presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and the outgoing Malacañang spokesmen headed by Ricardo Saludo with his deputies, Gary Olivar and Charito Planas, at the Office of the Press Undersecretary last Friday.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed5.html

Expanded schooling raises opposing views among solons 06/27/2010

Expanded schooling raises opposing views among solons


Members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed differing views on the proposal adding two more years in basic education.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the proposed two additional years for the elementary and secondary levels will not improve the quality of education in the country.

Ilagan, a retired college professor, said erroneous textbooks, crowded classrooms, inadequate facilities, the patronage system of appointing teachers and low salaries of teaching personnel are the existing problems plaguing the country’s educational system today. 

“There cannot be a dramatic and qualitative change with the addition of one year in the elementary and another one year in the secondary,” she stressed.

Ilagan said the problems will even be compounded because there will be a need for more teachers, classrooms, books, chairs and other materials to support the curriculum. 

“Worse, the parents will have to spend for two or more years which will make it more difficult for those who can barely send their children through high school. Job opportunities or employment will be set back by two years as students aim to acquire a high school diploma for employment,” Ilagan said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100627hed6.html

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