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Earning it, to have it EDITORIAL 09/07/2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Earning it, to have it

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Malacañang propagandists are scrambling to portray the Aquino government as having gone through the crisis hump, still intact, with President Aquino still enjoying the trust and confidence of the international community.

Communications group chief for operations Sonny Coloma said what really counts is Aquino’s policy of “good governance” and “transparency” that make the country attractive to super power economies.

What good governance was displayed when clearly there was, as the hostage crisis showed, and continues to show, through the Justice Department’s probe of the botched rescue operations, that there was a huge crisis in leadership where both the local and national officials were clearly bereft of any and all direction from their leaders — especially from the Philippine President.

As for transparency, with all the blame game going on, and the cover-up they have been resorting to, to get the heat off them, where’s all that claimed transparency?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com1.html

Apple polishing ways FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/07/2010

Apple polishing ways

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
State prosecutors have announced that they will be calling former President now Rep. Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike as their first witnesses against former Social Security System (SSS) president Romulo Neri, the accused in the case of the alleged rigging of the ZTE-NBN deal.

But why should prosecutors want Gloria as their witness, when it is clear that she would say nothing against him? Her testimony, in fact, will tend to exonerate Neri.

As for Big Mike, what on earth can they get from him? Officially, he has no say in government business, or the presidential business, and unless the prosecutors have some kind of document with his signature or initials on it that would prove he had a hand in the ZTE-NBN deal, there is little, if at all, that the prosecutors can get from him.

As for the photographs of their playing golf with the Chinese ZTE officials, that is hardly incriminating — as far as proving he was involved in that deal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com2.html

Miraculous survival tales from New Zealand quake FEATURE 09/07/2010

Miraculous survival tales from New Zealand quake


CHRISTCHURCH — Miraculous tales of survival emerged on Monday after New Zealand’s most damaging earthquake in 80 years hurled sleeping residents into their gardens and left others cowering inside collapsing homes.

Xavier Trousselot-Rhodes, 16, was asleep when the quake hit at about 4:35 a.m. on Saturday. He was tossed out of bed, through a disintegrating wall and into a pile of rubble on the ground outside, several meters (feet) below.

Despite his ordeal, the teenager suffered nothing more serious than cuts and bruises.

“I pretty much rolled (off the bed) and, as I rolled to the right, the wall gave way,” he told The Press newspaper.

“I was just in my boxers, so I had nothing to protect me really, and yet the car I landed next to was written off. It looked like it had been through a war zone.”

Xavier, who went to church on Sunday after his lucky escape, said it was fortunate his brother had decided to stay elsewhere on Saturday night because his bed was buried under rubble..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com3.html

Clearly, now NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 09/07/2010

Clearly, now

Armida Siguion-Reyna
This lola had wanted to move on and get into other things soon after the last piece in this corner flew out for printing, via e-mail. But the ink hadn’t dried yet, as it used to be said in the days of literally ink and paper news, when came the leak about the mislabeled coffins of three out of eight who died in the hostage crisis of two weeks ago. I suddenly heard myself go, “Uh-oh.”

The mix-up apparently took place in the morgue here in Manila, but was discovered in Hong Kong when family members discovered someone else in the coffins, after they’d all laid wreaths and wept over their dead in brief ceremonies held at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Ano ba ito, I asked myself, how are we ever going to get past this, will we ever? The sick of mind have made tasteless jokes warning Filipino travelers not to go to HK for the meantime, because nasty body fluids are supposedly put by Chinese cooks in bowls of congee and steamers of dim sum that we order. Titingnan n’yong biro ito, not quite, for the authors of the wisecracks have become so paranoid, they’ve started to believe the lie.

It’s just as well that out now on Facebook is a five-minute plus video of young Hong Kong people initiating hugs with Hong Kong-based Filipinos whom they also give friendship notes on stick-on paper, while carrying makeshift placards proclaiming variations of “I love Filipinos!” out on HK Central.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com4.html

What is the middle class? AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 09/07/2010

What is the middle class?

Ken Fuller
The term “middle class” appears to be losing its meaning.

For some time, this outsider has been irritated by the American use of the term to describe people who in most other developed societies would be described as “working-class.” At first I thought it might have come about because in the privatized, downsized, deregulated and outsourced land of the free anyone fortunate enough to be able to live a decent life with the earnings from just one job would be considered somewhat privileged, and therefore deserving of an appellation reflective of their status. But while the numbers in decent employment may indeed be shrinking, and the status of those working in as many “McJobs” as they can handle approaches that of the informal sector of countries like the Philippines, that’s not the real reason.

There are, possibly, two explanations for the misuse of the term. For one, it would be in the interest of the economic and political rulers to persuade working people that they have a stake in the system that periodically plays havoc with their lives, and the appellation “middle class” is more likely to convey such an impression. Secondly, many workers fall for it, fooling themselves into believing that as members of this ill-defined “middle class” they’re better off and more secure than mere “working-class” people.

That may not work much longer, because increasingly there is talk of a “middle-class crisis.” A piece in the Financial Times (“The crisis of middle-class America”) by Edward Luce on July 30 tells the story of a married couple who, despite their joint earnings of $70,000 a year, are “never more than a pay check or two from the streets.” Their dilemma, says Luce, is partially due to the fact that the earnings of 90 percent of US families have been flat since 1973..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com5.html

Political crisis leaves Nepal’s Maoist fighters in limbo focus 09/07/2010

Political crisis leaves Nepal’s Maoist fighters in limbo


DAHABAN — As a commander in Nepal’s Maoist army, Ram Lal Roka Magar led his soldiers in more than 50 battles against the state security forces.

But for the past four years, the 38-year-old father of two has been biding his time in a military cantonment in a remote part of western Nepal as he waits for the country’s warring politicians to decide his fate.

Magar is one of thousands of former fighters in the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) still living in UN-monitored cantonments set up across the country after the war ended in 2006.

The arrangement was intended as a temporary solution pending a merger of the PLA and the national army.
But it has dragged on because the Maoists, now the main opposition party, and their political rivals have been unable to reach agreement on the issue.

The former fighters are free to leave whenever they want, and thousands have drifted away in the intervening years, ditching their PLA uniforms to return home to their families.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com6.html

Bahrain presses terror charges against opposition leaders focus 09/07/2010

Bahrain presses terror charges against opposition leaders


MANAMA — Prosecutors have pressed terrorism charges against Shiite opposition activists in Bahrain, raising tension in the run-up to an Oct. 23 election in the Gulf state where a Sunni royal family rules a mainly Shiite population.

The charge sheet released on Saturday accused the 23 activists — 10 of them prominent opposition figures — of “undermining national security.”

It alleged that the “leaders of the terror network” held secret meetings in Bahrain and abroad in a bid “to change the political regime through illegal means.”

Most of the suspects are members of Haq — the Movement of Liberties and Democracy — a Shiite group which rejected as inadequate reforms intended to put an end to Shiite-led unrest that rocked the 35-island archipelago through the 1990s.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100907com7.html

No PNP nego team, no intel, no manual —Yebra By Benjamin B. Pulta 09/07/2010

No PNP nego team, no intel, no manual —Yebra
By Benjamin B. Pulta

To each his own thing, in negotiating releases of hostages, Philippine style.
Police hostage negotiator Supt. Orlando Yebra appeared before the inter-agency body investigating the Quirino Grandstand botched hostage rescue last Aug. 23 which resulted in the deaths of eight Chinese HongKong tourists along with the hostage taker, sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza.

Yebra admitted before the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), that the Aug. 23 hostage-taking negotiation was a failure since lives were lost as he cited that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has no hostage-taking situation manual to guide hostage negotiators in dealing with this kind of serious scenario.
The country’s image is getting worse internationally, however. Some 1,000 package tours to the Philippines after eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bus hijacking in Manila, have been canceled, China’s state media said Monday 

During the resumption of clarificatory hearings, Yebra, who was designated chief negotiator, also said the PNP has no official negotiating team to deal with hostage-taking situations.

At the same time, two IICR teams composed of prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DoJ) and officials from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) team left yesterday for Hong Kong to interview survivors as well as to possibly retrieve evidence that was inadvertently turned over to Hong Kong authorities.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed1.html

DILG chief won’t quit, didn’t ask Noy to own up By Charlie V. Manalo 09/07/2010

DILG chief won’t quit, didn’t ask Noy to own up
By Charlie V. Manalo

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo yesterday remained steadfast and refused to quit his post, even virtually blaming President Aquino for owning up to the responsibility over the hostage fiasco, beating him and other government officials who were involved in the botched rescue opera-tion to the draw.

In yesterday’s hearing for the DILG’s P86.9 billion budget, Robredo was grilled by lawmakers from opposing camps on the hostage rescue at the Luneta grandstand, where eight Hong Kong travelers were killed and several others seriously wounded.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas told Robredo it was rather ironic it was Aquino who had to be the first to own up the responsibility on the hostage fiasco when hisagency was supposedly calling the shots on the crisis.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed2.html

AFP raises alert status 09/07/2010

AFP raises alert status
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday raised the red alert status to all military units in Mindanao to thwart any retaliatory attacks from the Abu Sayyaf group following the killing of three terrorists, including a sub-commander, midnight of Saturday in Sulu.

At a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said that military units all over Mindanao have started intensifying intelligence operations after the killing of Gafur Jumdail, younger brother of Abu Sayyaf top leader Gumbahali Jumdail, alias Doctor Abu.

“We are actually on red alert in the whole of Mindanao,” said Mabanta.

“The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces are on alert because of the possibility that the brother may seek revenge,” added Mabanta.

This, as at least two explosions were reported in Mindanao areas — one in Sultan Kudarat and another at the heart of Cotabato City..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100907nat6.html

Aquino justifies US trip, hints big gains 09/07/2010

Aquino justifies US trip, hints big gains
President Aquino has said he has all the right reasons to proceed with his scheduled trip to the United States by the end of the month notwithstanding the fact that the country is still nursing the negative effects of the raecent hostage tragedy.

In a speech he delivered at the wake of his friend, lawyer Teodoro Macapagal, in Olongapo City the other day, Aquino said he is convinced that his US visit will bear fruit, hinting that it could possibly bring about “good news” for the country.

“Trust me. I even said that I’m not very fond of traveling especially in a time where our funds are limited and we cannot afford to good reason. I was convinced that there is a reason. We have a lot of good reasons to go to the US and when I come back, I look forward to announcing things that we can look forward to,” Aquino said in his statement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed3.html

Sandigan to summon Arroyos as prosecution witnesses vs Neri By Charlie V. Manalo 09/07/2010

Sandigan to summon Arroyos as prosecution witnesses vs Neri
By Charlie V. Manalo

The prosecution is set to call former president, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and her husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo as its first witnesses against former Neda secretary and former Social System Security administrator (SSS) Romulo Neri in the alleged rigging of the government’s National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

Assistant Special Prosecutor III John Toralba bared that the former president would be called on to testify regarding the extent of Neri’s authority as to the project.

Turalba stressed Arroyo cannot refuse to testify or comply with the order of the court under the law.
Neri was the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) from 2006 to 2007 when the proposal for a national broadband network was submitted to his office for approval..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed4.html

Senate gives way anew to IIRC, defers probe By Angie Rosales 09/07/2010

Senate gives way anew to IIRC, defers probe
By Angie Rosales

The Senate decided to give way again to the fact finding body on the bloody hostage crisis as it deferred yesterday a parallel investigation into the incident after the Department of Justice (DoJ) requested its postponement to allow smooth proceedings of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).

Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the public order and public information Senate committees, said the separate inquiry on the incident, focusing on the broadcast media’s role in covering hostage situations, originally scheduled to take place today, has been canceled. Today would be the second time that the Senate is postponing its inquiry into the Aug. 23 

bloodletting that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong residents in deference to the IIRC.

“The DoJ requested that we postpone the hearing because they will also be calling in (members of the) media. We will be having the same set of resource persons. They’re the priority, we could wait,” he said in an interview with reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed5.html

SC fears brain drain as Palace cuts judiciary’s budget 09/07/2010

SC fears brain drain as Palace cuts judiciary’s budget
The judiciary is on the brink of losing its justices and judges if the Aquino government continues to squeeze its meager budget.

According to Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesman and court administrator, the budget of the judiciary now is less than its budget last year which was less than one percent of the proposed P1.65-trillion national budget for 2011.

Marquez warned that the disposition of cases nationwide could be adversely affected with the inadequate budget given the judiciary.

“The judiciary has not been given even one percent of the national budget in the last four years and worse, there is a high probability in 2011 of a decreased budget,” Marquez yesterday noted during the hearing of the House appropriations committee on the national budget for 2011.

The SC official lamented that Malacañang only gave the judiciary P14.3 billion instead of granting the proposed P27.1 billion.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100907hed6.html

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