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A vulnerable spot EDITORIAL 09/19/2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A vulnerable spot

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
09/19/2010
Jueteng is proving to be the Achilles’ heel of the Aquino administration which is not even in its 100 days in power.
The persistent crusader against the illegal numbers game, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz blew the lid off the Aquino administration officials who he alleged were partaking of the millions of pesos of bribes from illegal gambling lords.

Noynoy, who, as part of his propaganda spiel and to portray himself as Mr. Clean, committed to bring back government to the straight path, but was shoved into the Cruz’s firing line since it would be hard to countenance his government being ran by officials benefiting from activities the eradication of which was the reason for being of his administration.

Illegal gambling has been a bane of the society for ages and the eradication of jueteng is possible only with utmost commitment in the political leadership, something that Noynoy has already shown he does not have.
Cruz has been asking out loud what had happened to Noynoy’s commitment for clean government as it appeared that he had made a startling turn after some of the officials he had chosen have been linked to the jueteng payola..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com1.html

All about money? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/19/2010

All about money?

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
09/19/2010
It certainly looks like the Dacer daughters, or their lawyers, want to make a pile of money by filing a civil suit against former President Joseph Estrada to the tune of $20 million, plus $100 million in punitive damages.
The charge? Torture and extra-judicial killing of their father, publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer.
The Dacer sisters filed the complaint with the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco last Sept. 16, citing the defendants’ violation of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

Monetary damages are sought for the alleged “cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, torture and extra-judicial killing” of their father.

First off, why do it in the US? Why not the Philippines?

Second, it’s really all about money that they want to have through this suit, as they even included Erap, who certainly was never into extra-judicial killing or even torture, as his administration’s record shows. Besides, there is no motive that can be established.

Third, even in the murder charges they filed in the Philippines, the Dacer daughters did not include Erap, and even Cesar Mancao, whose testimony they relied on in filing the murder complaint against Ping Lacson, did not implicate Erap..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com2.html

Brazil’s beat seduces jazz greats FEATURE 09/19/2010

Brazil’s beat seduces jazz greats

FEATURE

09/19/2010
OLINDA — Brazil’s unique tropical blend of samba-rock-guitar known as MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) has exerted an irrepressible influence on modern jazz, masters of the genre say.

“Since I played with John Coltrane in 1961, I started using open intervals on the chords, distributing the notes of each chord broadly on the piano so the other musicians could play their solos,” McCoy Tyner, a US pianist considered one of jazz’s all-time greats, told AFP.

That technique mirrored one also used in MPB, a trademark, urban Brazilian style that emerged in the 1960s as an evolution and a reaction to the smooth, languorous Bossa Nova wave.

Tyner and fellow musicians Mike Stern, a Jazz-fusion guitarist who played with Miles Davis, Mario Canonge, a French pianist championing Latin Jazz, and an irreverent French group known as Selmer 607 were visiting the Muestra Internacional de Musica, an international music fest in the northeastern Brazilian town of Olinda held last week.

There, they delved deeper into Brazilian rhythms whose warm beats and African-derived tunes have seeped into theirs and various other styles..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com3.html

GOCCs gone wild BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 09/19/2010

GOCCs gone wild

BLURBAL THRUSTS
Louie Logarta
09/19/2010
Malacañang and the Department of Finance (DoF) are now closely monitoring the performances of several government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) that are deemed to be lemons with the end of either reorganizing them to make operations more profitable or abolishing them altogether if they are proved to be basket cases with no hope of salvation.

This move dovetails with the drastic House Bill 2867 filed by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez that seeks to pull the plug on at least 36 of these non-performing government assets that had been exposed to be needlessly draining the resources of the government to the tune of several billions each year.

Rodriguez, who was joined by brother Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez in the filing of the measure, disclosed that the government had already forked out some P7.3 billion in subsidies to state-owned firms in H1 of 2010, or P2.25 billion more than the P5 billion for the same period last year, as per data from the DoF.

“In line with President Aquino’s call for austerity measures, it is high time that the excess fat is removed… so as to cap the yawning budget deficit that is expected to hit the P300-billion level by the yearend and increase investment to boost economic growth,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com4.html

Mercy for Merci? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/19/2010

Mercy for Merci?

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
09/19/2010
No, Sir. It is called obeying the orders of the high court. This was the advice of the leaders of Congress, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who reminded House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada and House committee on justice chairman Niel Tupas Jr. to take pause and suspend the hearings on the impeachment complaints filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Tañada and Tupas had been leading the posse against Gutierrez managing to gather enough votes to push the two impeachment complaints against the Ombudsman at committee level as “sufficient in form and substance” thence scheduling the “evidentiary hearings” — the first ever in recent memory — on Sept. 28 and 29. Up until the high tribunal issued that status quo order Tupas’ committee had vowed to work on this case as expeditiously as possible, hinting that they have the numbers to get the same on the floor in a jiffy. Well, the court said wait a minute and ordered the parties to submit their respective memorandum on the issues at hand within a non-extendible period of 10 days which prompted the duo to raise hell vowing to “defy the high court after claiming that the order was an encroachment on the exclusive authority of Congress to hear impeachment cases,” which in their view no body, not even the highest court, can stop. Well, they got some lessons in the law not to mention humility from the seasoned leaders.

The leaders’ point. Said Enrile: “Don’t be emotional, follow the Supreme Court and give it enough time to mull over the impeachment cases against Gutierrez... That is normal. In any court if they are presented with complex issues they want time to study the problem. It does not necessarily mean that they have made up their mind. It’s simply that they want more time to consider the issues involved and so they will tell the parties to wait a minute, stay put, give us time to study.” Both he and Belmonte reminded their congressional colleagues to “abide by the high tribunal’s order as a courtesy to the co-equal branch of the government...” warning in the process that any defiance of the ruling could result in “chaos in the administration of public affairs.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com5.html

‘Anak ng jueteng’ Part 2 TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 09/19/2010

‘Anak ng jueteng’ Part 2

TABLETS OF STONE
Larry Faraon, OP
09/19/2010
What really is the problem of jueteng in this country is the take, of course — and more to the point, the “undertakers” from the government personnel who act as protectors and coddlers of the said illegal numbers game. But President Noynoy averred that P2 million is cheap, even casting doubt on the good Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s allegations. Ah, coming from a president, it confuses me about the kind of mental framework that comment was coming from. Could it be the same frame of mind that his Undersecretary Rico Puno dismissed the hostage-taking event as an “isolated case” or a “local problem” since the death toll may not be that many compared to the Ampatuan’s?

P2 million or P2, it does not matter actually, it is still classified as an illegal and corrupt take and immoral at that.

The only solution to the jueteng problem is to legalize it, pure and simple, after which we have to stop talking about it either as diversionary tactic or trivialization efforts in order to relegate the substantial and more pressing problems of this country. Jueteng rakes in endless cash for the assigned “beneficiaries” because precisely it thrives illegally and the “Lords of the Jueteng Ring” are singing their way to the banks with laundered money, depriving the government and the people with much needed sources of funds. Legalizing jueteng would channel the otherwise splintered cash into the one single coffers and not to individual pockets.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com6.html

‘There are 100 million of us now’ VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 09/19/2010

‘There are 100 million of us now’

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
09/19/2010
So did someone of supposed knowledgeable stance and critical judgment recently exclaimed — waiting for the people to tremble on their knees, expecting the general public to wallow in sorrow and repentance. But the presumably one big bad news proved to be simply but one big dud. It is not wise and prudent to say however that the said proclamation, exclamation or whatever, should not merit even but a brief and candid consideration — no matter how vacuous or fatuous it is in the realm of facts. It is highly possible that the source of the supposedly heart-stopping news is a minion of organizations and/or companies that are ex-professo anti-population, pro-birth control and abortion as their corporate sequential world mission.

There are now 100 million Filipinos all over the land! There are 100 million mouths demanding to have something to eat two if not three times a day, 24/7! Hence, there are also 100 million bodies expecting to be clothed and housed! This is big catastrophe in the waiting, a horrible socio-economic debacle just around the corner! But how about certain simple questions — in wait for also simple answers: Who did the counting? How and when was it made? Is there a reasonable methodology used for the counting, are there tenable records to show a rational count made? Is there something much more than mere words to buttress up such a declaration which precisely is about concrete numbers? Or, are people bound to believe such a daring announcement as an article of faith?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100919com7.html

BIR cancels elderly’s VAT-free utility bills 09/19/2010

BIR cancels elderly’s VAT-free utility bills
09/19/2010
The government has started penalizing senior citizens for its inability to raise revenues.

A few days after Malacañang said it would not give priority to a proposal to remove the 12 percent value added tax (VAT) exemption enjoyed by the elderly, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had stricken off such privilege on water and electricity bills.

The BIR had issued Revenue Regulation (RR) 8-2010 canceling the VAT exemption privilege on utility bills for senior citizens provided under RR 7-2010. 

Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said the privilege was withdrawn to reduce government tax losses as a result of the implementation of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. 

Under the law, the elderly are not only granted 20 percent discount on purchases of wide range of goods and services, but are also exempted from paying the 12 percent VAT, thus bringing total discounts to 32 percent, according to Henares. 

Under Section 5 of the Senior Citizens Law, the elderly are granted special five percent discounts in their electric and water bills provided consumptions do not exceed 100 kilowatthours (kwh) for electricity and 30 cubic meters of water per month..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed3.html

Coloma unveils dream to copy BBC thru NBN By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/19/2010

Coloma unveils dream to copy BBC thru NBN
By Aytch S. de la Cruz
09/19/2010

A Palace official unveiled yesterday an ambitious plan to turn the lackluster state-owned network National Broadcasting Network (NBN) Channel 4 into an international giant similar to the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) without saying how it will raise fund for it. 

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma said the plan is part of efforts to revitalize the government station.

He added the plan includes revamping the programming of NBN-4 to be patterned after that of the BBC that will initially showcase critically-acclaimed Philippine independent films and original Filipino music to “hopefully make it less propagandist.”

The proposed revamp will allow the state television network to attract commercial support to generate revenues for the government.

Coloma added he wants to introduce a radio-television tie up between NBN-4 and Radyo ng Bayan similar to that of the media giant, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.’s teleradyo format which is currently being aired in one of its cable channels..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed4.html

Noy prunes down list of delegation for US trip to 57 By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/19/2010

Noy prunes down list of delegation for US trip to 57
By Aytch S. de la Cruz
09/19/2010

President Benigno Aquino has further narrowed down to 57 the number of individuals whom he has allowed to join him in his week-long working visit to the United States in keeping with his desire to have a leaner delegation, Malacañang yesterday said.

Around 80 individuals were initially listed down by Malacañang to escort Aquino in his first international tour since his inauguration as President but decided to gradually reduce this number given the financial constraints his office was strictly observing.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. earlier had announced that only P25 million was apportioned to fund Aquino’s six-day working visit to the US which, he claimed, covers only one-third of what former President Arroyo used to spend during her travels there that grossed at around P76 million.

Ochoa conveyed that, with this relatively smaller budget, the public is rest assured of getting beyond issues of controversial trips and lavish dinners,citing Aquino’s preference to stay at cheaper hotels and take his meals at hotdog stands..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed2.html

China gets first crack at hostage crisis report By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/19/2010

China gets first crack at hostage crisis report
By Aytch S. de la Cruz
09/19/2010

The Chinese government will likely have the first crack at the much-anticipated report of the fact-finding body headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the bloody outcome of the Aug. 23 hostage crisis that cost the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists as the Palace indicated yesterday that relaying the report to China ahead of the whole country proves that the Aquino administration will not be resorting to a whitewash.

Speculations that a “whitewash” on the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report on the Manila bus siege tragedy at Quirino Grandstand last Aug. 23 is afoot have been floated since Friday or as soon as the President was handed a copy of the report by De Lima when Malacañang refused to give a preview on the content of the report.

De Lima said the contents of the IIRC report will definitely be made public tomorrow.

She added that the report is 83 pages long and that 12 government officials will be charged for the bungled rescue operations on the bus of Hong Kong tourists commandeered by disgruntled policeman Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza. Mendoza was later slain by a sniper’s bullet after an 11-hour standoff. 

De Lima refused to cite additional specifics of the report, saying “I don’t want to pre-empt the President.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed1.html

Reduce poverty via ‘pork barrel,’ solons told By Charlie V. Manalo 09/19/2010

Reduce poverty via ‘pork barrel,’ solons told
By Charlie V. Manalo
09/19/2010

Members of the House of Representatives are being urged to contribute to the achievement of the country’s international commitments to reduce poverty through the use of their pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for projects geared toward achieving so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) until 2015.

House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman yesterday said sourcing expenditures for the MDG of promoting maternal health from the pork barrel would raise a total of P6.75 billion for the remaining five years for the targets to be achieved.

He added the lower chamber should contribute in boosting the country’s chances of achieving MDG goals primarily fifth goal on improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality.

The opposition stalwart proposed to earmark and utilize annually at least P5 million from the PDAF of each congressman or a total of P1.350 billion yearly for related programs and activities to help achieve the MDG goal in their respective districts and constituencies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed5.html

Binay to entrepreneurs: Invest in agriculture, green technology 09/19/2010

Binay to entrepreneurs: Invest in agriculture, green technology
09/19/2010
Vice President Jejomar Binay urged entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture and green technology, calling it “two great opportunities” to “start building an export economy.”

Speaking before the 19th Mindanao Business Conference in Cagayan de Oro, Binay said that agriculture and green technology could be a “cure” to the import-dependent Philippine economy.

“I have had the opportunity to discuss two great opportunities for us to start building an export economy and eventually cure ourselves of what some economists have described as our addiction to imports,” Binay said.
The vice president exhorted business people to focus on agriculture particularly food production and green technology as the Philippines especially Mindanao has the necessary resources for it.

“This fires up my conviction that we can become an export economy,” Binay said. “We have the resources, especially here in Mindanao. We have the opportunities,” he added. 

The vice president specifically mentioned the land and labor resources and market demands as key aspects.
He noted that the Philippines has 12 million hectares of farmland and 87 million people. “We have the market right here in our East Asian neighborhood; China, of course, is the most promising,” the vice president added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100919nat4.html

Florida couple accused of abusing Pinoy workers plead guilty 09/19/2010

Florida couple accused of abusing Pinoy workers plead guilty
09/19/2010
WASHINGTON — A Florida couple pleaded guilty to conspiring to hold 39 Filipino employees against their will working in country clubs and hotels, the US Justice Department yesterday said.

Sophia Manuel, 41, and Alfonso Baldonado Jr., 45, were owners of a labor contracting service based in the Florida city of Boca Raton.

Manuel and Baldonado “conspired to obtain a cheap, compliant and readily available labor pool, by making false promises to entice the victims to incur debts,” read a Departmentof Justice statement, quoting court documents.

The co-conspirators promised the workers high wages and two to three years of steady work in the United States, then had the workers pay “substantial recruitment fees, including their airfare,” which put them in debt to their US-based employers, according to an indictment earlier this year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100919hed6.html

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