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Of apples and oranges EDITORIAL 09/20/2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Of apples and oranges

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
09/20/2010
It is difficult to comprehend the logic behind the Palace’s insistence in digging up the past extravagant trips abroad of Gloria in announcing the composition of the delegations and the itinerary of Noynoy in his seven-day working visit to the United States, a trip which he and his boys are making sure of being portrayed as significant, being the new President’s maiden visit.

The US visit can be likened to a pilgrimage to Mecca among most of the country’s presidents and the supplication for divine intervention is almost strikingly similar in both occasions.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa came up with a rundown of the foreign trips last year of Gloria, including her valedictory visit to the land of milk and honey that became historic because of the $20,000 tab on a bacchanalia at the opulent Le Cirque that was so extravagant that it merited a space in the gossip column of the New York Post.

The Palace also lent Ochoa a hand in arguing for a P25-million budget for the US trip, ridiculously indicating that Noynoy would be eating out of a hotdog stand in New York to save on food expenses. It is, as expected, a great overkill in Palace PR, which falls flat on credibility..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com1.html

Filipino last policy FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/20/2010

Filipino last policy

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
09/20/2010
It will be China first, before the Filipinos — as far as getting the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report, which just shows that Noynoy Aquino and his government don’t bother to prioritize their citizens first.

If the IIRC had been a joint probe, with Chinese representatives in the panel, then it would have been right for the Philippines and China to give each other their respective analyses. Or, even if it had been a matter of separate inquiries conducted, then a simultaneous exchange of reports would have been in order.

But to first send the IIRC report to the Chinese Embassy in Manila before its contents are made public to the Filipinos shows just how little Noynoy regards the Filipino and their interest.

As things stand, there appeared to be hedging on the release of the report to the Filipinos by Malacañang. Since Friday, when the report was submitted to Noynoy by the Justice chief, Leila de Lima, the Palace propagandists claimed that Noynoy had not finished reading the 83-page report, since he was just doing this on his “vacant” time, as he is also preparing for his US trip and other matters.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino is poring carefully over the IIRC report which also has 10 volumes of annexes attached to it which he claimed was the reason Noynoy is taking a long time to finish reading..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com2.html

In hungry region, South African maize may feed Chinese chickens FEATURE 09/20/2010

In hungry region, South African maize may feed Chinese chickens

FEATURE

09/20/2010
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa produces too much maize (corn). Its neighbors not enough. But rather than feeding its neighbors, South Africa’s surplus maize may feed Chinese chickens, due to regional worries about genetically modified crops.

South African farmers grew 13 million tons of maize in the harvest that ended around May. That included a surplus of four million tons, an excess that has pushed down prizes and threatens to bankrupt 10,000 farmers.
“The industry was not prepared for what happened. The surplus was causing panic. Over-production is not a sustainable way of producing,” said Mariam Mayet of the African Center for Biosafety.

Most of South Africa’s neighbors had bumper harvests as well, driving down demand.

But even countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, which suffer chronic food shortages, refuse to accept South African maize because of worries about importing genetically modified organisms.

South Africa began planting genetically modified crops in the 1990s, and now they account for 57 percent of all maize planted in the country. Often the harvests are mixed together at mills, so that importers consider all maize as genetically modified (GM)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com3.html

BSP (Bunk-O Sentral ng Pilipinas) DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 09/20/2010

BSP (Bunk-O Sentral ng Pilipinas)

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
09/20/2010
Nowhere can a Filipino find more bunk in this bunk rich land than at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which again boasts of an expansion in the country’s gross international reserves when the value of the currency it keeps is in danger of imminent massive crash. That means Filipinos will be holding close to $50 billion of worthless bunk, or US T-bills, when the music stops. But do Tetangco, Guinigundo, Paderanga et al. give a hoot? Would they even bother with the thought of more Filipinos finding themselves in the poorhouse once the dollar crash descends upon the world, since they are paid tens of millions anyway to keep the farce alive? Quite simply, this kind of bunk, in tandem with the Department of Finance (DoF)’s peso bonds, will be our final ruin.

A whole spectrum of financial and currency analysts, as well as scholars — from renowned economists such as New York University Professor Noriel Roubini to similarly prestigious Mark Solomon — have already projected the dollar crash between now and the middle of 2011.

According to Roubini, “If markets were to believe, and I’m not saying it’s likely, that inflation is going to be the route that the US is going to take to resolve this problem, then you could have a crash of the value of the dollar… The value of the dollar over time has to fall on a trade-weighted basis, but not necessarily relative to euro and yen.”
Solomon adds, “…a 20-percent drop in the value of either a stock or financial holding over a period of time is considered a crash. The US dollar already crashed from 120 on the USDX down to its current level of 75. This 45-point drop, or roughly 33-percent drop, over several years, meets the definition of a crash.”

A growing number of Filipinos who are becoming aware of this but still cannot do anything, as the Aquino government is simply clueless as can be, must therefore keep on educating fellow Filipinos on this.

Last week the Japanese Central Bank intervened by buying up dollars to support it. Take this news two days ago: “Japan props up dollar for first time since 2004… for the first time in six years, selling the yen to buy dollars. It follows a surge in the value of the Japanese currency to a 15-year peak which was spooking business leaders worried about its effects on exports…”

The BSP, in turn, is building up precarious US dollars while the DoF issues more debts in the $1-billion peso bonds, which are inevitably dollar debts because all of its transactions will still be in dollars. Despite the DoF’s Foolish-ima spin, the Philippine peso is not of reserve quality anywhere.

At the same time, Malacañang’s P15-billion public-private partnership (PPP) projects which are really taxpayer-driven, will give sovereign guarantee funds again to the plutocrats and US crony capitalists, who are now boosting the local stock market.

Foreign portfolio investors always smell easy, quick, and gargantuan profits whenever PPP-type projects in power, water, infrastructure (such as tollways), etc. are given special financial packages guaranteed with taxpayers’ and consumers’ money.

These inelastic or unavoidably necessary public utilities, which used to be a right of any citizen and provided free or for the most minimal of costs since the public funded them, were, under the Yellows’ political-economic philosophy beginning with Cory Aquino, converted into profiteering opportunities for private enterprises, with complete disregard for public welfare and development. For this reason, state revenues will continue to dwindle and public institutions will have to rely more and more on other means to survive.

These economic and financial policies are directly connected to such issues as the current “Juetengate” bedeviling the new Aquino. Jueteng is now the only source of funds for the Philippine National Police (PNP) top brass to maintain a lifestyle befitting of members of the ruling class. After all, what’s all the hardship for if not to give them the wherewithal to put their children into exclusives schools, travel on European junkets, and have the latest cars and the money to run for elections? Aren’t most members of the ruling class living it up, say, on the sinecure of a congressman’s “pork barrel,” which come from debts such as the Foolish-ima peso bonds, which in turn increase the state’s penury and inability to sustain itself?

PeNoy Aquino knows the realities of life in government; he has seen it all since childhood. Surely, he’s not about to start a rebellion in the police brass by really cracking down on that illegal numbers game.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s campaign against the “immoral” jueteng is also a bunk-load in the contradiction that he personally faces for not condemning all forms of gambling such as church bingos, raffles, sharing in horse racing proceeds, and legalized gambling that impoverish and break up families. And if he condemns jueteng because it is illegal, then it is another contradiction for him not to endorse its legalization.

Contradictions make for a lot of bunk; so does hypocrisy; even fraud. Although some priests can almost beat the Bunk-O Sentral ng Pilipinas in its amount of bunk, in the end, the financial sector still beats ‘em all. With the help of controlled mainstream media, many Filipinos still unconsciously swallow them in leaps and bounds. This space, however, will continue to try its darn best to expose the bunk to save our fellow citizens from it.
(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m. on Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com4.html

RP tourism ends Hong Kong push after hostage deaths focus 09/20/2010

RP tourism ends Hong Kong push after hostage deaths

focus

09/20/2010
The Philippines has announced that it will stop marketing its tourist attractions to Hong Kong as the key market is lost after a hostage-taking fiasco left eight persons from the southern Chinese territory dead.

Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said the government would instead focus its marketing efforts on other countries to hit the target of 3.3 million arrivals this year from just over three million in 2009.
“Going to Hong Kong at this time would be wrong. They would say we are only after their business. We should show sympathy instead,” he added.

The Chinese territory issued a an alert warning against all visits to the Philippines after a sacked police officer hijacked a tourist bus in Manila, killing eight Hong Kong visitors as police mounted a bungled rescue.

The Aug. 23 bloodbath outraged China and Hong Kong residents and prompted many prospective visitors to cancel. Some tourists already in the country left abruptly before their tours were completed.

It was a huge loss, with Hong Kong and China accounting for nine percent of tourist arrivals in the Philippines, according to the Tourism department..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com5.html

How do you stop jueteng? HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 09/20/2010

How do you stop jueteng?

HE SAYS
Aldrin Cardon
09/20/2010
’Twas a simple query, but only a few of the less than 10 active and former government and police officials to whom I threw this question had the balls to answer that it can’t be stopped. Not here, not now.
One former official of the Ramos administration even shared his experience when he backed out of an offer to lead the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) shortly after meeting with suspected and known illegal gambling operators at that time — most of them gun-wielding and uncompromising.

They have a language of their own. They move in many circles — including politics, and could fund candidates on his way to Malacañang. Their money could have made past presidents, too; and it is now being brazenly claimed that money from illegal gambling had crept into Noynoy’s campaign kitty, although there is no proof to these claims yet.

A couple of top officials in Noynoy’s Cabinet and police force, however, have been already linked to receiving blood money from jueteng.

And Interior and Local Goverment Undersecretary Rico Puno and recently retired Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Versoza were named as recipients of jueteng payola, money ranging from P2 to 5 million and delivered weekly (on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of the month) by another ranking police officer with relations to one of the named officials..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com6.html

Good luck with that SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 09/20/2010

Good luck with that

SHE SAYS
Dinah S. Ventura
09/20/2010
How tempting it must be to stop all efforts of stamping out the illegal numbers game called jueteng. If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em! After all, some local officials have revealed that they are using jueteng payoffs to fund local disbursements like funerals, baptisms, hospitalization and the like.

Erap, or former President Joseph Estrada, has said as much. He believes jueteng should be legalized so that government can use earnings from it to fund key projects. Where the Small Town Lottery (STL) has failed, a legalized jueteng can work. But can it really?

Now that jueteng has crept into the picture to darken President Noynoy’s door, people are wondering if something as insidious and entrenched can ever be conquered even by someone whose candidacy rode on a squeaky clean image.

It all began when Retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz said a couple of officials in the Aquino administration were receiving monthly payoffs from the jueteng operators. Asked about this by media, the President’s remark — to the effect that the rumored P2 million a month payoff per official was too cheap — was taken in different ways.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100920com7.html

Tampered report to please China, HK possible — Joker By Angie M. Rosales 09/20/2010

NOYNOY TO MAKE STATEMENT BEFORE LEAVING FOR U.S. 

Tampered report to please China, HK possible — Joker

By Angie M. Rosales
09/20/2010

It is possible Malacanang may have tampered with the findings and recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) to suit the concerns of the Chinese government, the reason for the long time it took them to make public the report scheduled today, three days after President Aquino received the report last Friday from the fact-finding body on the bloody hostage incident, an opposition senator said yesterday

While he was cautious to be misinterpreted as throwing accusations at the Palace, Sen. Joker Arroyo said the possibility is not remote 

as he himself raised questioned as to why the Executive opted to have China get a first crack of the anticipated report of the fact-finding panel on the Aug. 23 hostage incident.

“The problem there is, when they (Malacanang) keep on talking about Hong Kong and China, what do they intend to do? Will they make corrections? We don’t know if they will make corrections to please Hong Kong,” Arroyo said.

Aquino may make a brief statement regarding the IIRC report before leaving for his seven-day working visit to the United States today, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma. 

Coloma declined to give details, saying the public should just await for the President’s statement regarding the report. The IIRC report has been in President Aquino’s hands since Friday afternoon and he is reviewing it thoroughly, Coloma said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed1.html

Noy’s 2011 budget lopsided, favors doleouts — solons By Angie M. Rosales 09/20/2010

Noy’s 2011 budget lopsided, favors doleouts — solons
By Angie M. Rosales
09/20/2010

The spending priorities under the proposed P1.6-trillion national budget for next year appear skewed and not directed in solving the nation’s prime problems, senators said yesterday.

Senators Edgardo Angara and Joker Arroyo, in separate radio interviews, gave similar observations as they both scored the indiscriminate cuts in the appropriations of some vital line agencies and instead providing huge amounts for so-called dole-out programs.

“This measure was not carefully studied as far as priorities are concerned. It does not address the nation’s concerns on poverty and unemployment. Instead of promoting productivity, increases in agriculture and research and development, they slashed the funds intended for these items and predominant increase is given to the dole-out program,” said Angara.

“Is this the start of a dole-out society? A welfare-oriented society? This is not sustainable. We cannot sustain and afford a system of dole out,” he added.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed2.html

No caretaker during Noy’s US trip — Palace 09/20/2010

No caretaker during Noy’s US trip — Palace
09/20/2010
President Aquino will continue to run the government himself while on his week-long visit to the United States, a Palace official yesterday said.

According to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Aquino had issued a memorandum to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and members of his Cabinet detailing his instructions while he is away.

The memorandum states that first, the President shall continue to exercise all the functions of his office as stated in the Constitution and the law; and second, the Executive Secretary shall sign all papers that are ordinarily signed by him or under the authority of the President, Lacierda told a press conference aired over dzRB.

“The President will continue to have authority over the Executive branch even in his absence during his trip to the United States,” he added.

Lacierda said the memorandum also contained instructions for the members of his Cabinet which include “attending to and deciding on matters that pertain to their respective departments.”

“On those matters that require approval of the President, in case urgent action is needed, approval shall be obtained by the fastest and most convenient means of communication,” Lacierda said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed3.html

Abu leader who kidnapped Americans gunned down 09/20/2010

Abu leader who kidnapped Americans gunned down
09/20/2010
Government security forces yesterday killed an elusive sub-leader of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group involved in the kidnap of three Americans nine years ago which led to the death of two of them, a ranking military official said.

Abdukarim Sali, alias Benjamin Sali, was killed by soldiers and police in the southern island of Basilan before dawn, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said.

He added the firefight lasted for about 10 minutes after which the Abu Sayyaf bandits fled to different directions, leaving behind Sali’s body.

The troops are scouring the remote areas of Lantawan town in pursuit of the fleeing bandits, Dolorfino said.
“He was involved in the Dos Palmas kidnapping of the Americans and the Filipinos,” he added.

An Abu Sayyaf band raided the island resort of Dos Palmas in 2001, seizing Christian missionary couple Gracia and Martin Burnham and fellow American Guillermo Sobero and a number of Filipinos..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed4.html

Asistio attests to Erap, Dacer cordial meeting 09/20/2010

Asistio attests to Erap, Dacer cordial meeting
09/20/2010
A close friend of former President Joseph Estrada, former Caloocan Rep. Luis Asistio, attested through an affidavit the cordial relationship between Estrada and publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer two days prior to Dacer’s disappearance on Nov. 24 as a US district court gave Estrada, fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and five other accused 21 days to respond to the $120-million civil suit filed against them by Dacer’s daughters in relation to the slaying of Dacer 10 years ago.

The Northern District Court in San Francisco, through its clerk of court, issued summons against the accused to answer the charges.

Asistio in an affidavit obtained by The Tribune stated that on Nov. 22, 2000, or two days before Dacer disappeared, he was with Dacer in a dinner who then asked if he can join Asistio who had a scheduled meeting with Estrada, then the President, at 10 p.m.

“So, I called President Estrada by phone and told him that I was on my way to Malacañang and asked if I could bring a friend. He inquired who the friend I was bringing was, and I told him ‘Bubby Dacer, my kumpadre.’ He immediately answered, ‘Of course, I’ve not seen him for a long time and he is also my kumpadre.’ So at 10 pm, Dacer and I proceeded to Malacañang,” Asistio related.

Asistio said that when they arrived at Malacañang, Estrada himself greeted him and Dacer in front of his residence at the Palace. “I distinctly recall that the atmosphere was very cordial and intimate. Bubby Dacer and President Estrada were laughing and hugging each other, and one can notice that they were both relaxed an it seemed they haven’t seen each other ‘for ages,’ in a manner of speaking,” Asistio added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed5.html

‘JV’ pushes journalists’ protection bill 09/20/2010

‘JV’ pushes journalists’ protection bill
09/20/2010
Filipino journalists

found an ally in a lawmaker when San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito took the cause of newsmen against abuses and in getting better pay and working conditions.

Ejercito filed House Bill (HB) 3160 which seeks to protect the welfare of journalists by instituting a comprehensive benefits and compensation package for them, including exemption from travel tax, terminal fees and payment of hazard allowances. 

The bill also provides the formulation of a Code of Profes-sional Conduct for Journalists. 

Filed recently, the legislative measure also seeks to extend to journalists the freedom against interference and coercion. 

HB 3160 imposes a five- to 10-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of P100,000 on persons found guilty of wilfully interfering to restrain or coerce a newsman from exercising his duties..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100920hed6.html

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