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They don’t count EDITORIAL 09/06/2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

They don’t count

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Noticeable in the ongoing testimonies to the fact-finding body formed to make heads or tails of the botched hostage rescue that took away the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage taker, are the many should haves and could haves coming from the police officials, all of which are usually given through the coaxing of the members of the probe body.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Leocadio Santiago said had it had been his decision, the police assault on the bus where dismissed Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza held the hostages would have been carried out by the elite Special Action Force (SAF) instead of the ill-equipped Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) force of the Manila Police District. Also negotiator Chief Insp. Romeo Salvador said had he been allowed, he could have grabbed Mendoza and ended the crisis with likely less trouble.

The members of the fact-finding body were obviously taking the path of getting a crystal-clear view on who really was to blame for the ugly turnout of the incident. And from testimonies given thus far, it seems that the group supposedly managing the crisis unfortunately was a mixed bag of spineless police officials, a politician who seems to believe that the crisis was a movie production and a former police general who can’t get past the temptation of taking over ground command during crisis situations.

Santiago’s and Salvador’s statements were giveaway proof that most of the police involved in ground operations on the hostage-taking incident were either not consulted or largely ignored by the so-called crisis management committee (CMC) that appeared to have disintegrated when it was most needed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

Biggest ‘porker’ ever FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/06/2010

Biggest ‘porker’ ever

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Guess who is the biggest “porker” in the government?

It’s Noynoy Aquino, President of the Republic, who spoke of the need for reforms and austerity, and slammed away at those officials in government-owned and controlled corporations, and government financial institutions for giving themselves tens of millions in allowances, fat pays and bonuses.

But hey, what’s a few hundred millions when compared to Noynoy’s increased pork barrel — amounting to a staggering P1 billion, just for himself — and unaccountable too, as these are confidential funds.

And this is apart from his presidential social fund, which also amounts in the billions yearly.

It has been pointed out by congressmen that the 2011 budget Congress is now reviewing, shows that not only has Noynoy bloated his pork barrel to P1 billion but also did not provide a single centavo to the National Food Authority (NFA) for rice subsidy in the proposed P1.64-trillion budget submitted to the House.

All for him and nothing for the poor people who have to buy cheap rice?

But not only did Noynoy give himself P1 billion for his pork barrel. He even retained his P500-million intelligence funds!.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com2.html

Into the Atlantic — Liberian homes destroyed by sea erosion focus 09/06/2010

Into the Atlantic — Liberian homes destroyed by sea erosion


BUCHANAN — A home right on the beach has proved anything but a dream for Frances Kwessi, 35, who has watched sea erosion destroy her house room by room, as the Atlantic washed up on her doorstep.

“As you can see only one room has not yet been touched by the sea,” said Kwessi, who lives in Liberia’s port town of Buchanan.

Dressed in a dirty blue dress with a baby strapped to her back, she now sleeps there with her three children, after rising tides claimed three quarters of the brick house, with its cement floor and zinc roof.

Coastal erosion in the west African nation has eaten up many beaches, but more seriously has endangered the many unplanned and densely populated communities who built their houses too close to the shore.
“I don’t really know what to do now,” she said.

“This was the only shelter I had. I sleep here with my children because I have no choice.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com3.html

The buck stops where? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/06/2010

The buck stops where?

Jonathan De la Cruz
So, who decided against giving in to hostage taker Rolando Mendoza’s demand that he be reinstated even temporarily in exchange for the release of the hostages that fateful Monday two weeks ago?

This question is being asked after the deputy negotiator, Chief Insp. Romeo Salvador, revealed on the second day of the clarificatory hearings of the five man investigating panel headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that Mendoza confided to him as much. On questioning by panel member IBP Governor Roan Libarios, Salvador narrated that as early as lunchtime that Monday Mendoza told him he just needed a temporary reinstatement order to release the hostages since he also realized that he would be charged and detained anyway for the hostage taking. Unfortunately, as Salvador sadly narrated, the “higher ups” failed to act on the information at that time only to find out that a reinstatement order was issued later on when the crisis has turned into a carnage.

So, why did the crisis committee not take the offer right there and then and resolved the crisis pronto? That is the sixty four dollar question which the panel is now obligated to prove to spare us all the wailing and self flagellation which have been attending this tragedy for sometime now. P-Noy need not own up to the mistakes of his bumbling and finger pointing subordinates and lesser officials who should know better than hide behind his back propping him up as their apologist instead of the other way around. 

Who disregarded the Mendoza offer and why? This is the one question which needs to be answered now before the De Lima panel and, yes, the eager beaver Palace subordinates lead the public through another round of psycho-babbling and self flagellation. Was it Colonel Yebra, the chief negotiator? As a trained negotiator, did he think Mendoza’s offer a ploy to buy time and gain advantage? Or, did he keep the information to himself hoping that he can spring it and gain clearance for its implementation at a more appropriate time?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com4.html

PeNoy: P8B for the poor, P35B for bankers DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 09/06/2010

PeNoy: P8B for the poor, P35B for bankers

Herman Tiu Laurel
Dinky Soliman, PeNoy Aquino’s Social Welfare secretary, trumpets her P8-billion cash dole-out for the poor. That’s measly compared to the P35 billion Soliman’s CodeNGO is handing out to the bankers this year through the payback to her group’s so-called PeaceBonds.

Just think: The bankers are going to get four times more than the poor. And we don’t even know if all of this P8-billion dole-out will really go to the intended recipients, given the notoriety of the PeNoy administration’s utter lack of control. Stated simply, this is my way of telling Soliman to cut the crap about her and her government’s fictitious “pro-poor” claims. Her NGO work had always been masked subversion projects of the Western funding agencies — thus, explaining why her NGO comrades are so well taken care of by such bodies as the Kennedy School of Government and the Cory Aquino foundations of the oligarchs.

As we speak, PeNoy is already increasing the number of financial rip-offs to benefit Big Business through new projects such as the MRT and the new South Expressway extensions, water privatization, power privatization (which has given us the highest power rates in Asia), plus giving tollway operators more leeway to exact exorbitant fees. All these are being contracted under PeNoy’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, which will have P15 billion in funding cum dole-out for the big, favored corporations — again outstripping the dole-out for the poor.

Already, under this PPP arrangement, three new tollways are being planned, as well as, tourism infrastructure to be mapped out by Ayala man and Tourism Secretary Bertie Lim. In all, the P35-billion CodeNGO pay-off and the P15-billion PPP projects total to an astounding P50-billion “social welfare” for Big Business!

But even as PeNoy gives this P50-billion subsidy to the bankers and Big Business, his government’s pencil-pushers under Butch Abad, such as the Treasury boss, did not allocate a single centavo for the National Food Authority (NFA), under the Department of Agriculture’s budget. Without this, the NFA will not be able to purchase rice from our millions of farmers. In short, there will be no subsidy at all, which will place them at the mercy of unscrupulous traders and middle men, thus, drowning us in the deluge of imports from countries such as Vietnam, India, and China that subsidize their own farmers. I really wonder if NFA chief Lito Banayo will be able to stomach this as he claims to be pro-poor and a nationalist ever since his college and activist days.
In the meantime, behind the veneer of brooking “no corruption” is this reality: PeNoy now bloats the President’s pork barrel from P800 million to P1 billion and keeps his P500-million intelligence fund, which he earlier vowed to forego. PeNoy also did not reduce his travel budget as he said he would.

Following his lead, Malacañang has now increased its contingent fund under the new budget and listed this under the Special Purpose Fund which only the President can draw from. In turn, budgets for Environment and Health were reduced. Funds such as the P18.5 billion for water resources development and flood control and P40 billion for health services were slashed to P14.5 billion and P38.6 billion respectively.

Yet the palakasan in favor of the Ateneo-UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) club, nurtured by the Jesuits Delaney and Intengan, is ever present. Why, the Atenean Butch Abad has already allocated P34.3 billion (up from the previous year’s P15.4 billion) to UPSCAn Dinky Soliman.

All this should be lessons to the wide-eyed believers of PeNoy and the Yellow movement to snap out of their trance. This call is made to such Yellow supporters as Reyn Barnido, who has issued an open letter to PeNoy on the Internet that takes off from the hostage fiasco, saying in part: “This is not anymore about failing to handle the hostage-taking as much as this is about fulfilling the promises of your oath-taking… This is not about a singular madman shooting bullets up and down; this is about an orgy of fools shooting lies left and right... not anymore about the negotiators’ inefficiency to convince a police officer to surrender, but the government’s incapacity to comfort a nation… We don’t deserve this, Sir. This is not the covenant we entered into during your oath-taking… I grew up in the shadows of the Abads, Soliman, Deles… Do not take their analysis of society at face value for theirs is a construct designed to fuel a protest movement, not manage a large bureaucracy… Believe it or not, your cheerers may have become cynics, but they are still your companions in this journey. I, for one, will not abandon you Mr. President.”

Apparently, Barnido still thinks that the crisis bedeviling his former mentors and PeNoy himself is just a crisis of incompetence, where one is sentimentally loyal even to the failed and foolish, hoping they will learn. Well, he and his youngish ilk are the ones who have a lot to learn!

PeNoy’s budget and programs, foisted unto us by the evil powers that Barnido has been taught in the Ateneo not to see, are the best eye openers. These evil powers, the money masters to whom the Jesuits genuflect, are anti-poor and anti-human, on top of being pro-Big Business. Only when he awakens to how he was inveigled to help install a puppet that has brought us to the deepest nadir which the Yellow movement is capable of can he truly help this nation as a “Man for Others,” and not as a “Man for the Money Masters.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com5.html

A tired soul HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 09/06/2010

A tired soul

Aldrin Cardon
I’m a good two decades away from being called a senior citizen, if 60 years is the yardstick for age and possession of a senior’s citizen’s card’s confirmation. But at 40, I can already feel that I have lost my youthful immortality. I’m no longer invincible that I once thought I was.

It’s only rock and roll which keep me alive, but my songs, like those of my father’s, have grown old, too. Yet I learned to step back, catching up with the music of my pre-teen daughter, the eldest of three, who introduced me to B.O.B and Train and Jay Sean and Jay-Z.

If I stay away from radio quite a bit longer, I could take Justin Bieber for a time, but repetition has its cost, and the young singing sensation of good, ol’ America drives me back to New Wave, Blues and good, ol’ rock and roll.

Recently, my friends and I celebrated the 15th year of Back to the Edge, it’s the monthly series of gigs I’ve helped found with Sazi Cozino, owner of Sazi’s Bar, the former Mayric’s in front of UST where tired souls converged to refresh for the new day ahead. But our numbers have been overtaken by the younger souls, those who were once us, until gray hair and arthritis caught up with many of us.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com6.html

Honoring the elderly SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 09/06/2010

Honoring the elderly

Dinah S. Ventura
There may have been a time you thought 40 was ancient, but if you have reached this age “category” yourself, you would probably love to bandy the thought that it is “the new 20.”
Regardless of how you feel about age, aging and the so-called elderly, there is no denying that we will reach “that certain age” sometime in our lives — if we’re lucky.

Looking at the elderly in your family, are you filled with wonder at how they manage to remain so strong and healthy even after all these years? Are you proud of their active minds and dependable wisdom, or amused by their propensity to learn new things, such as the Internet and those gadgets that even you have yet to master? Do they inspire you to live as fully as they are living, or do you worry about them?

In the world, according to the United Nations (UN), “one of every 10 persons is now 60 years or older. By the year 2050, one of five will be 60 years or older; by 2150, it will be one of three persons.” 

Recognizing the needs of the elderly in the world, the UN General Assembly in 1990 designated Oct. 1 as the International Day for the Elderly. This holiday encourages everyone to pay their respects to the older people in their families and communities and tend to their special needs..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100906com7.html

Verzosa admits low morale in PNP By DEXTER SEE September 5, 2010, 5:00pm

Verzosa admits low morale in PNP

September 5, 2010, 5:00pm
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – No less than Director General Jesus A. Verzosa admitted over the weekend that a low morale pervades in the 120,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP) organization, following the monumental blunders of the police in the Manila hostage-taking incident last August 23.

Speaking before Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets on Saturday afternoon, Verzosa acknowledged that the lapses of the police, which failed to avert a bloody end to the hostage drama, earned the ire of the international community.

The death of eight tourists from Hong Kong and hostage-taker, dismissed police Senior Inspector Rolando R. Mendoza, consequently portrayed a weak ability of the police to handle such sensitive incidents.

While Verzosa offered no concrete evidence of demoralization in the country’s police force, he said he can feel the low morale of the men and women in uniform..... MORE


URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/275719/verzosa-admits-low-morale-pnp

Joker: Palace moves ‘cheapen’ presidency By Angie M. Rosales 09/06/2010


Joker: Palace moves ‘cheapen’ presidency

By Angie M. Rosales

President Aquino’s taking full responsibility for the botched hostage rescue operations amounts to nothing and the Palace efforts to drum it up cheapened the presidency, Sen. Joker Arroyo, a former executive secretary of Aquino’s mother former President Corazon Aquino, said yesterday.

“It cheapens the presidency,” Arroyo said in criticizing what he described as the apparent publicity stunt executed by Aquino’s advisers to defuse public outrage over the authorities’ mishandling of the Aug. 23 hostage incident.

Arroyo said Palace officials’ pronouncements that Aquino “is not resigning because he received a clear mandate” made matters worse.

“It’s a good sound bite. It’s good to the image of the President but it amounts to nothing,” Arroyo said adding that such statement made by Presidential Communications Sec. Herminio Coloma, was unnecessary.

“When he said that he’s accepting full responsibility, it doesn’t mean that those subject to investigation are already exonerated. The probe continues. So what’s the effect of that statement?” he asked.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100906hed1.html

Retiring Verzosa mimics Aquino in taking crisis rap By Mario J. Mallari and Marie A. Surbano 09/06/2010

Retiring Verzosa mimics Aquino in taking crisis rap
By Mario J. Mallari and Marie A. Surbano

Taking cue from his commander in chief, President Aquino who earlier had said he is assuming responsibility on the botched rescue operation during the Aug. 23 hostage-taking of more than 20 Hong Kongers at the Quirino Grandstand, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa, who is scheduled for retirement, also said he is taking responsibility for the tragic incident.

Verzosa, however, said his decision to retire ahead of schedule has nothing to do with the bungled police assault on Hong Thai bus, which was held by former Manila Police District (MPD) member Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza, that ended in the killing of eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker.

“My decision to render an early retirement has been announced more than a month ago. More than ever, it is imperative to take responsibility especially with regards to what has transpired in the past week,” Verzosa said.

It was gathered that Verzosa has already informed his superiors as early as July about his plan to retire on Sept. 14, or three months earlier than his scheduled retirement on Dec. 25 this year upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100906hed2.html

afp takes new tack on leftists By Mario J. Mallari 09/06/2010

AFP takes new tack on leftists
By Mario J. Mallari

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has opened its doors to militant organizations such as Bayan Muna and Karapatan that were previously linked by the military to the communist movement, in crafting a new anti-insurgency campaign plan to come up with one that is acceptable to all stakeholders.

During a recent forum in Fort Bonifacio, Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade said all major stakeholders — from the religious groups to the academe and even some militant groups – were invited by the military in crafting a new anti-insurgency campaign plan.

“We had a three-day symposium with other stakeholders in this insurgency campaign, from the interfaith, from the academe, the Commission on Human Rights and there were people also invited from Karapatan and even Bayan Muna, even these left organizations were invited to participate in the symposium in order to craft a campaign plan that’s really responsible, acceptable to all sectors,” he added.

With this move, Parlade said the military expects a new campaignplan that’s really responsible, acceptable to all sectors,” he added.

With this move, Parlade said the military expects a new campaign plan that is “non-traditional.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100906hed3.html

Abu sub-leader, 2 others killed in Sulu clash 09/06/2010

Abu sub-leader, 2 others killed in Sulu clash
Government security forces clashed with al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu province yesterday, killing at least three and wounding several others, a ranking police official said.

Acording to Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., Special Action Force (SAF) commandos caught up with an Abu Sayyaf unit believed to be aiding foreign militants from the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) group in Maimbung town on Jolo Island, triggering the fighting.

He said intelligence reports suggested that the Abu Sayyaf gunmen were protecting Marwan, a Malaysian-born member of the JI believed to be responsible for honing the Abu Sayyaf’s bombing techniques.

“They were able to neutralize (kill) Gafur and two other unidentified (Abu Sayyaf) members,” Cruz said, referring to Gafur Jumdail..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100906hed5.html

US trip to proceed; Noy plans to meet China execs 09/06/2010

US trip to proceed; Noy plans to meet China execs
While President Aquino is bidding for a more “propitious time” to visit two Asean neighbors after the inter-national outrage from the botched hostage rescue attempt that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists, the Palace said yesterday Aquino’s US trip will proceed this month.

Aquino has started preparing for his working visit to the United States, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma said.

Aquino has been scheduled to visit Indonesia and Vietnam which are both its co-members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN ) group, in mid-September. 

Coloma added Aquino is hoping to meet with Chinese leaders during the official visit where the President will join other world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Sept. 20..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100906hed6.html

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