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Always the student EDITORIAL 10/31/2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Always the student

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The stock market and the peso are again in the limelight as Noynoy Aquino refers to the strengthening of both as indicators of an improving economy, or alternatively, confidence in his new administration -- claims that are both empty.

The improvement in both are related but not necessarily the product of those in government at the moment. The peso has been appreciating and is now around 43 per dollar, largely as a result of the still robust remittances of Filipinos working abroad and the influx of money from investments funds that are placed short term either in the money markets or the stock market.

Global funds, which are managed investments whose main target is maximum profit, are looking at the emerging markets mainly in Southeast Asia for high returns and the Philippines happens to be among these markets..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com1.html

Diplomatic gaffe FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/31/2010

Diplomatic gaffe

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
If the wine sucks in Vietnam, as tweeted by Noynoy Aquino’s speechwriter, what Noynoy said to Myanmar Prime Minister Thien Sein must have also sucked.

According to a news report, quoting Noynoy’s one of three communications chiefs, Ricky Carandang, the Myanmar leader rejected the request of Noynoy to free Aung San Suu Kyi in time for the Nov. 7 elections in the junta-led country.

Thien Sein was said to have told Noynoy that election procedures are already in place, with the creation of a Comelec of sorts, and the legal processes will have to take its course.

Throughout the years, Philippine leaders, such as Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo and now Noynoy, have called for the release of Suu Kyi, but this has always been turned down by the junta general..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com2.html

Saudi businesswomen seek to shrug off male guardians focus 10/31/2010

Saudi businesswomen seek to shrug off male guardians


JEDDAH — Banned from driving and denied the right to travel without permission, Saudi women are taking bold steps in business and trying to do away with the male guardian system that hobbles them.

“What we need today is the right to take decisions by ourselves without having to get the consent of the male guardian,” said Rania al-Sulaimani, 33, who owns a beauty center in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Like all women in the ultra-conservative kingdom, businesswomen need male permission for virtually everything, so even those who own companies are forced by law to appoint a male director, if just in name.
But two women managed to avoid the required appointment for their business, after knocking on the minister of commerce’s door demanding an exemption, which they surprisingly got.

“We have managed to break the taboo by convincing the minister of commerce and industry not (to insist on) appointing a male director for our private company,” said Dania Nassif, 35, who established with Dania al-Hamrani, 36, a production company for television documentaries..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune
URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com3.html

Midnight decree BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 10/31/2010

Midnight decree

Louie Logarta
Indeed, why have Quezon City authorities continued to withhold official action regarding the illicit activities of a big massage parlor located along busy E. Rodriguez Ave., near the Cubao business district, despite numerous exposes indicating that it doubles as a prostitution den where sex can be had any ol’ time for a modest price?

Their continued refusal to even a lift a finger to look into the serious allegations that have been aired twice already during a segment of the weekly public affairs forum “Meet the Press” aired on the government-owned TV station Channel 4 and published on quite a few occasions in some hard-hitting tabloid newspapers merely lends credence to suspicions that the owners of the joint, the Happy Sauna establishment, are “well-connected.”

What’s really telling is the fact that Happy Sauna has been open to the public for close to two decades, meaning QC authorities have been condoning the illicit activities going on inside where sex-for-pay is par for the course, without as much as a pip from concerned barangay dicks as well as the serve-and-protect dodos of the QC police department.

They have no excuse, considering that the alleged prostitution joint is literally a stone’s throw away from the residence of Speaker (and former QC Mayor) Sonny Belmonte, whose family owns a big nationally-circulated newspaper; while further down the road, on New York Street, is the house of incumbent QC Mayor Herbert Bautista.

There is this saying that goes this way: When elephants collide, it is the teeny, weeny ants that get trampled on. Or something to this effect..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com4.html

Trouble at Customs C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 10/31/2010

Trouble at Customs

Jonathan De la Cruz
Calling Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez and his boss, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. Sirs, are we expecting a solution to the current impasse between personnel of the Bureau of Customs at the NAIA and the Board of Airline Representatives (BoAR) anytime soon? I certainly hope so. Otherwise, all the talk about increasing tourist arrivals and inviting more investors into the country, among others, will simply be that — talk. For how can we claim that things are on the up and up and the Philippines is now “ready for business” when delays and long lines of disgruntled passengers are the daily fare at the NAIA, the country’s premier airport, ever since Customs personnel refused to render overtime work after the Court of Appeals upheld an earlier RTC ruling that the airlines need not pay for that service anymore. Apparently, the Customs bureau does not have any funding for this overtime work which, in the words of Tourism Secretary Bertie Lim, should be a 24/7 job considering the times allocated for the use of the already congested NAIA complex.

We note that since 1974, BoAR members have been paying for the overtime work done by Customs in accordance with the Tariff and Customs Code mandating all international airlines using the then Manila International Airport to shoulder overtime pay and other allowances of these personnel. I understand the practice has been extended to other personnel such as immigration officers as well. That pay was pegged to the US dollar and has been adjusted a number of times as a result. When the last increase ordered by then Finance Secretary Gary Teves in 2008 was about to be implemented the BoAR members comprised of all the international airlines using the NAIA complex balked and brought this case to court. Since then, Customs personnel have been on a kind of boycott mode which has now blossomed into almost a full blown one requiring the intervention of the highest finance officials..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com5.html

Extended Halloween TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 10/31/2010

Extended Halloween

Larry Faraon, OP
There is depth and relevance in the next two days celebration of the Catholic Church’s dogma on the “communion of saints” — namely, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Evening news about real ghosts is overturning the tables of media ratings away from the regular horror movies and TV shows so characteristic of media and entertainment fare these days of cemeteries and memorial parks.

Top rated is the “ghost family beneficiaries” or the fake beneficiaries of Malacañang’s multibillion-peso cash doleout under the P21 billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, to be managed and disbursed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), under the scam-laden Code-NGO Arroyo handed over to Secretary Dinky Soliman.

It is too ghostly and ghastly for such a noble department that caters to the poor and underprivileged in our society, that requires a “heart,” especially that of a woman and mother, one that has always been a valedictorian compared to other executive departments in corruption rankings, or one that has alway been wracked with so minimal a budget compared to education and the military, to be at the center of much negative focus.

Secretary Dinky Soliman should be made to realize that she is unnecessarily dragging the whole department down the drain, and therefore, should take a leave..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com6.html

Typhoon ‘Juan’: Humanizing. Uniting. Defining VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 10/31/2010


Typhoon ‘Juan’: Humanizing. Uniting. Defining

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Lives were lost. Properties were destroyed. Nature was hurt. Such are but some of the more signal liabilities brought about by the super-typhoon “Juan.” This is not to mention the wide and big havoc it brought to travel and communications, to business and industry. On second thought however, Juan — just like any serious calamity adversely affecting day to day living plus its many assumptions — delivered certain very positive and laudable results.
Juan humanized people who could have forgotten that they remain vulnerable, irrespective of their intelligence and potentials, notwithstanding their power and wealth. They were reminded that there were realities beyond their control; there were factors out of their dominion. Juan showed them how really futile were their posturing and pretenses when confronted by a destructive natural phenomenon. More in some places and instances, many of them remembered God, even said fervent prayers and asked for deliverance. They remain human after all.

Juan unified people. They were after all one in facing the same fate, in helping one another. Those who were helpless precisely got help from others who were able. Those who were strong came to the aid of the weak. Those in tenure authority and/or in command of possibilities went to seek the lost, assisted the disabled, and extended a helping hand to those in need. They have different beliefs, harbor different value system, subscribe to different political persuasions. Yet Juan made them one — even if only for some time.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101031com7.html

Smartmatic-TIM sued for auto polls fraud 10/31/2010


Smartmatic-TIM sued for auto polls fraud

Former Bulacan representative and losing candidate for San Jose del Monte city mayor Angelito Sarmiento had sued officials of 2010 automated poll supplier Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) consortium for what he claimed as massive disenfranchisement of voters in the past elections.

Sarmiento said he is claiming P30 million in damages in the case filed with the Bulacan regional trial court against Juan Villa Jr., chairman of Smartmatic-TIM Corp.; Salvador Aque, senior vice president of TIM Corp.; Armando Yanes,  chief financial officer of Smartmatic Intenational Corp.; and Cesar Flores country president in the Philippines of Smartmatic-TIM Corp.

Sarmiento said his foremost intention in filing the case was his desire to put the electoral process in order by suing the obviously negligent and fault-laden Samrtmatic-TIM and its officials.

Findings of several groups that conducted probes into the conduct of the automated elections had found numerous irregularities in the use of the precinct count optical machines (PCOS) machines that was supplied by the consortium..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101031hed1.html

Stranded IPP debts pile up to P471B — FDC 10/31/2010

Stranded IPP debts pile up to P471B — FDC

The so-called stranded electricity costs which were the result mostly of onerous contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) during the term of former President Fidel Ramos had ballooned to P471 billion and the government is now at a loss on how to pay off the huge amount.

State power assets holding firm Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) had sought authority with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to spread out the collection of the amount for 17 years to be tagged on monthly electricity bills but the current Psalm officials appointed by President Aquino now wanted to withdraw the petition that would have translated to more than 30 centavos per kilowatthour increase in power rates.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) asked Psalm to totally withdraw the stranded debts and contract costs recovery petitions before the ERC to protect the welfare of electricity consumers and challenged the Aquino administration to renegotiate the terms of the IPP contracts. The culprit for the ballooning debt of state power firm National Power Corp. (Napocor) with the IPPs is the so-called take or pay provision in the power contracts which required the government to pay a fixed amount to IPPs even if the power plants do not actually supply electricity.

Recently-appointed Psalm president Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. had announced in a press conference about the firm’s plan to withdraw its P471-billion stranded debts recovery bid and three other applications which had been initially intended for pass-on to consumers under the universal charge (UC) component of the electric bills..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101031hed3.html

‘Ghost families’ exorcised from CCT —Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/31/2010

‘Ghost families’ exorcised from CCT —Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/31/2010

The Palace claimed yesterday that the Aquino administration had exorcised the controversial P21-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of so-called ghost-family recipients and that beneficiaries in the program are guaranteed to be among the poorest of the Filipino poor while expressing confidence yesterday Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, who will implement the program, will hurdle the confirmation process in the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).

Soliman has lately been under siege from critics who are questioning her ability to undertake the expensive program effectively and are accusing her of involvement in the P10-billion Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificate (PEACe) bonds scam.

Members of the House of Representatives expressed fears that the huge CCT funds will not go to target beneficiaries because of the reported lack of safeguards from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in effectively implementing the program.

Legislators had said a similar program under the previous administration, which introduced the cash transfer concept, was found to be packed with ghost beneficiaries and they expressed worries that it will recur in the CCT especially with Soliman at the DSWD’s helm..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101031hed4.html

No timetable set for Morong 43’s release, says Malacañang By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/31/2010

No timetable set for Morong 43’s release, says Malacañang

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/31/2010

As President Aquino went active in joining other world leaders in their campaign to release detained Burmese politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, hopes continue to stay bleak for the state of 43 health workers who were arrested in Morong, Rizal province, that they would be accorded similar attention.

It was implied yesterday by deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte that while Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has already submitted her recom-mendations on the case of the so-called “Morong 43” to the President, he is yet to act on them.

Aquino has earlier stated his position on this matter, signifying his intention to leave their cases to the court first out of respect to its jurisdiction even as he recognized the fact that the pieces of evidence against them by the military were obtained illegally.

Valte conveyed to reporters, in an interview over the state-run dzRB, to just wait for further developments as the President pores over the recommendations presented by De Lima where he would base whatever decisions he has to make regarding the matter.

“DoJ (Department of Justice) Secretary Leila de Lima has already made recommendations on this matter and from what I remember; the last statement of the President on this matter was to leave it to the courts because there is what we call evidence that is the fruit of the poisonous tree which is ill-gotten. So let’s just wait for developments there,” Valte said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101031hed5.html

Noy speech writer apologizes for slur against Vietnam 10/31/2010

Noy speech writer apologizes for slur against Vietnam

Malacañang yesterday aired apologies concerning the reported undiplomatic comments once posted by a presidential speech writer in a popular social networking site against Vietnam where she was hosted as part of President Benigno’s official delegation who was on a state visit there.

Assistant Secretary Maria Carmen “Mai” Mislang who heads the speech writing group under the office of Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) Secretary Ricky Carandang recently created a fuss in the Internet after complaining about the wine served by Vietnam in one of the state banquet she attended with the President.

“The wine sucks,” Mislang reportedly tweeted in her official Twitter account (www.twitter.com/maimislang).

Apart from insulting the Vietnam wine, Mislang also reportedly ranted about the streets of Vietnam, saying: “Crossing the speedy motorcycle-laden streets of Hanoi is the easiest ways to die. You think you’re safe on the sidewalk? Think again!”

Apart from insulting the Vietnam wine, Mislang also reportedly ranted about the streets of Vietnam, saying: “Crossing the speedy motorcycle-laden streets of Hanoi is the easiest ways to die. You think you’re safe on the sidewalk? Think again!” .... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101031hed6.html

Bishop calls for SK abolition 10/31/2010


Bishop calls for SK abolition


The head of the Catholic hierarchy’s youth apostolate has joined clamors for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) following incidents of vote buying and vote selling in the recent Barangay and SK polls.

In a pastoral statement entitled “Corrupting our Minors, Corrupting the Future” issued last Saturday, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon affirmed the large scope and magnitude of “corruption and cheating” during the elections in his diocese alone.

“We, the bishops and the clergies of the Diocese of Legazpi, condemn in the strongest terms this culture of vote buying and cheating that has corrupted our people, especially our youth,” Baylon said.

“We are calling for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan. This institution may have lofty goals and some positive contributions but has been found generally wanting.”

Baylon chairs the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101031nat2.html

Solons: Be wary on peso’s runaway trend 10/31/2010

Solons: Be wary on peso’s runaway trend

Two solons yesterday called on President Aquino and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to closely pay attention to the present monetary trend and immediately draw up “creative solutions” to arrest a runaway currency problem without resorting to currency control.

“A stronger currency should not be equated with good economy because it can be the opposite depending the prevailing economic trend. A runaway currency especially in a country that is largely dependent on the remittances of its migrant workers can be devastating,” said Ang Kasangga party-list Rep. Teodorico Haresco who was an economic analyst and a micro-entrepreneur before joining politics.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles shared the same observation as he noted that the families of the estimated 11 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the estimated $4.7 a year export sector might fall into ruin if the peso’s ascent against the dollar becomes out of control.

He added that the country’s $7 billion a-year business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, also known as call centers, are also affected by the strengthening of the Philippine peso because they dollar-dependent just like the export sector..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101031nat4.html

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