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What really sucks EDITORIAL 11/01/2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

What really sucks

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The indecent tweeting incident about Vietnam’s wine is getting a lot of mileage because of the fact that nothing more substantial can be had from Noynoy’s state visit in that country.

It was a tweet and the lady was entitled to her opinion and that she writes the speech for the President doesn’t change the fact that she can pour out her heart on a social page in the Internet.

Apparently, the media for lack of anything going on in the trip pounced on the Palace underling.

Also, the problem with the Internet is that there are the more than too many opinionated people, mainly bloggers, who consider everything they write or think about on their armchair as news. Thus, a remark put out is fair game, what more if it comes from somebody in the Palace.

The Vietnam trip was supposed to be Noynoy’s first official engagement with the greater family of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and pretty much not a wine tasting event..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

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

Time for accountability FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/01/2010

Time for accountability

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It really is time for someone to sue the pants off Smartmatic, and definitely the Commission on Elections (Comelec) too, because it is very clear that they really screwed up the 2010 presidential polls, not to mention the village polls, even as they try to get away with the fraud by claiming that the nation had “clean and honest” automated polls.

They really have to be sued, and the Ombudsman really should look into this case very seriously, because if probes and cases are left to the Comelec, or even the Congress, nothing but nothing will come out of such allegations and investigations, despite the evidence of clear fraud that has been unfolding.

And the reason nothing comes out of it is the fact that the proclaimed winners, both in Malacañang and Congress, aren’t likely to get to the bottom of the cheating, as some of them may be found to have lost the elections.

Even the Supreme Court, in presidential poll protests, never once resolved such protests, always claiming that, as the protestants have chosen to run for the Senate, they are deemed to have abandoned their protests, which is much too unfair, considering that millions in pesos have been poured by the protestants to get their protests resolved, and for the people to know if the official seated is the true elected official that the people had voted for..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com2.html

Migrants wary as China launches census FEATURE 11/01/2010

Migrants wary as China launches census


BEIJING — Tan Jianguo and his wife are migrant workers who have lived in a dirty rundown alleyway in a Beijing suburb for the past 10 years, eking out a meagre living for themselves and their two small children.

Tan works as a handyman and locksmith, while his wife sells fried pancakes from a street stall outfitted on a three-wheeled bicycle. But neither is a legal resident of the capital, and they may have violated the one-child policy.

The 35-year-old native of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, fears that when China’s census takers come knocking from Monday, he and his family could face the heavy hand of the law in the world’s most populous nation.

“It will be hard to avoid the census takers when they come. I’m still not sure what I will do,” Tan, a short man with bushy hair and thick dirty hands, told AFP.

“I can either stay here and report my situation or I can take my family home and let the census takers count us there... or we can just hide.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com3.html

Your move, Mr. Chief Justice! COMMENT By Ronald Roy 11/01/2010

Your move, Mr. Chief Justice!


By Ronald Roy 11/01/2010
After laying down the newspaper, it was obvious my 15-year-old grandson who wants to be a lawyer was disturbed by what he called the Supreme Court (SC)’s “overreaction” to the petition of 37 UP law professors for the resignation of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo for 23 counts of alleged plagiarism in connection with his decision in the “comfort women” case. My grandson conjured up a hypothetical scenario to press his point: A friendly basketball game between five students and five officials of their school.

A flagrant and deliberate foul was called by a student referee on an official who tackled a student in the act of laying up. The referee and five students invoked the rule on automatic disqualification. After the officials interviewed the fouler, they told all six students their call was baseless because the foul was not deliberate and not malicious. The students were then given 10 days to show cause why they shouldn’t be disciplined.

Asked about the situation confounding the UP law professors, I told my grandson I didn’t really know all the facts so I couldn’t make a comment. Besides, the Justices were then still in a bad mood… hmm, and to think I’ve been convincing him to take an interest in Medicine!.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com4.html

Power pirates feeling the heat DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 11/01/2010

Power pirates feeling the heat

Herman Tiu Laurel
The power pirates from government and the private sector are beginning to feel the heat from the people’s rage over their electricity price-gouging. They know that they have already reached the limit of the people’s tolerance of their abuse. The recent notice from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) of its dropping the P471-billion “universal charge” (UC), consisting of debts and contract cost recoveries of the National Power Corp. (Napocor), is the first sure sign of this.

These so-called “debts” are actually profits that the independent power producers (IPP) raked in from the onerous purchased power agreements (PPA), along with the currency and fuel supply guarantees given out to them by Cory, FVR and Gloria, as well as from the fire sale of low cost Napocor generation assets, such as the privatized hydro and geothermal plants — which could have serviced all the debts and then some if government had retained them.

Of course, we want to bring fair electricity prices to our people that are comparable to other Asian countries, where rates are only one-fourth of what Meralco charges and half of what people in our other provinces pay for. But the universal charge, if imposed, will not only add over one peso more to our already highest power rates in Asia; it will nudge us even closer to the very top worldwide.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) has long called for Psalm to drop its bid before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of laying that P471-billion UC on our backs. It even called on government to conduct a fresh round of review (and renegotiation) of IPP contracts in order for it to rescind the onerous ones. But even as we’re all for FDC’s plea, calling for another review is really redundant and inane.

As the FDC itself is reminded, another government review some years ago already found 35 IPP contracts to be severely disadvantageous to government, which hasn’t been acted upon up to now. The issue therefore isn’t whether these should be reviewed again; but whether Aquino III will act on the conclusions of that first review by renegotiating those PPAs, and sue for damages or compensation for losses incurred by government and power consumers over the decades, including opportunity and interest costs.

The amounts which these IPPs have plundered are so staggering that an honest-to-goodness assessment would compel them to surrender their contracts and return to the state those generating assets, which they got for a song, just to save their necks. But this will require an absolutely heroic political will that is simply not forthcoming from the present dispensation.

All of us should realize that the only source of political will is the same sector that these pirates have apparently been holding by the nose — the people.

Only the power pirates’ fear of a seismic backlash from the people has made them desist (so far) from pushing through with the UC; and only that kind of a backlash to the prevailing set-up of privatized power generation, transmission, and distribution can end the continuing exponential growth of Psalm and the public’s debt.

The idea of floating a “bond” by Psalm, for instance, which is really just issuing new debt papers and creating more utang as government proposed, should be rejected vehemently as it will only worsen the debt problem even more.

The FDC, meanwhile, continues to urge government to “enforce provisions in the IPP contracts” that call for the IPPs to maintain an operational level of readiness at all times in order to prevent unplanned outages that give way to more rate increases at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market while IPPs that break down still get paid for power that they don’t produce.

One can indeed see the convoluted system, and it’s one that can’t be corrected unless the basic privatized set-up is overturned, i.e. brought back to the system before privatization.

Unfortunately, the present government cannot be expected to even imagine this as it hasn’t shown a heart for real radical change. How can it be in favor of the people when it cannot even temper rate increases in other public services, such as mass transport and toll ways?

Our only recourse then is to go back to the people and help galvanize their raging sentiments into national action.

Last Saturday morning, the anti-ERC, anti-Meralco action alliance held its first consultation. Despite only a day’s notice, a dozen attended; Pete Ilagan of Nasecore and former Mayor Jun Simon said they will attend the next meet. Of significance is the attendance of Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) with Jimmie Regalario and businessman Ricky Angeles. It is a group that represents at least four progressive bishops who I am told also believe in the socialization of the energy sector.

We will be inviting FDC and EmPower for the next meet, as well as others interested to help. (We’ll announce the next venue in our Friday column.)

REMEMBER: Tonight, Monday, Nov. 1, is the start of our “10 Minutes vs Power Pirates” lights out protest that will be held every Monday henceforth, from 7 to 7:10 p.m.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch “ERC-Meralco Victims: Gising Na!” with FDC, Jimmie Regalario, and Atty. Alan Paguia on Politics Today with HTL, Tuesday, 8 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).... MORE
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com5.html

In life and death HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 11/01/2010

In life and death

Aldrin Cardon
There were at least three shootouts between police and our daily life’s villains before last week ended. They struck me because my interest was piqued by one incident which involved a certain group allegedly responsible for a string of carnapping cases, which would have included a recent case which involved a friend, Malaya sports editor Jimmy Cantor, who lost his Nissan XTrail to thieves about a couple of weeks ago.

If life is fair, those who stole Jimmy’s car — and hit him thrice in the head with the butt of a gun — would make good ornamental pieces for a garden’s Halloween showcase, or maybe some compost for somebody else’s farm. But because life is real fair, Jimmy will just wait for justice to grind, either to reclaim his car or let his insurance pay him for whatever it deems the lost vehicle is worth.

Justice seemed to have caught up with some bad guys as police were said to have engaged them in a shootout, killing some members of the carjacking group while one escaped. But their death is still subject to a debate, if not a probe, as their guilt is yet to be proven as they are silently led to their graves in Hallow week.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com6.html

Living and dying SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 11/01/2010

Living and dying

Dinah S. Ventura
Afan of horror movies (the gorier, the better), my husband tells me that there is nothing to be scared of in those films. What should scare me more, he says, is the evil in real people, for this can really harm you.

I must admit, he has a point. A week ago, I realized how such evil seems to be drawing too near for my peace of mind. A shootout took place between members of police and three car thieves, who lost their lives in the process in our neighborhood in Quezon City, which used to be safe and quiet, albeit constantly abuzz with the sounds, sights and smells of daily life in Metro Manila. Similar carnapping cases and succeeding car chases and shootouts, my research reveals, have taken place in and around the same neighborhood.

In the last few years, I have heard of cases like a young woman, on her way home from work in a nearby mall, getting robbed of her hard-earned money and cell phone by an out-of-work man whom she was used to seeing sitting around a neighborhood convenience store. She never thought she would fall victim to such a crime — after all, this was a place she had walked around in since she was in diapers; this was familiar ground, a place she thought she had nothing to fear..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101101com7.html

Senate to ax body managing road tax By Angie M. Rosales 11/01/2010


Senate to ax body managing road tax

By Angie M. Rosales 11/01/2010

The Senate is moving for the abolition of the Road Board, a seven-man body that oversees the billions of pesos of collections from the road user’s tax, which was earlier exposed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago as being responsible for alleged anomalous disbursements of up to P1 billion of the funds.

Sen. Franklin Drilon yesterday said he will seek the abolition of the board in view of continuing charges that the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC) or road user’s tax’s use is prone to corruption.

The Road Board is composed of the Public Works Secretary who serves as the ex-officio head and the finance, budget and transportation secretaries. The remaining three members come from transport and motorist organizations.

In the 2004 presidential elections, the Tribune first exposed the misuse of the road tax for the presidential.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed1.html

Yemen hunts suspects behind air parcel bombs 11/01/2010

Yemen hunts suspects behind air parcel bombs

SANAA — Yemeni security forces were on Sunday searching for suspects who posted parcel bombs on two US-bound flights after arresting a woman over an alleged al-Qaeda plot that sparked a global air cargo alert.

The woman was detained on Saturday after being tracked down through a mobile number on a receipt for the explosives-filled packages, which were found on freighter jets in Britain and Dubai the day before, officials said.

But Abdul Rahman Barman of the Yemeni rights group Hood said he doubted the woman who he identified as 22-year-old Hanan al-Samawi was behind the plot as she had no known Islamist links and because al-Qaeda was unlikely to have left an incriminating phone number on the packages.

Speaking to AFP on the telephone, he added his group had received information that “all employees” from the Sanaa offices of the FedEx and UPS used to post the parcels had been detained for questioning on Saturday.

Security forces had closed the offices of the US firms on Saturday, while setting up barricades in most areas of the Yemeni capital, checking the identification of passengers of cars..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed2.html

Noy may struggle to keep investment pledge 11/01/2010

Noy may struggle to keep investment pledge

President Aquino may struggle to keep his promise to give his country a modern infrastructure, including water and electricity supplies, if its history is anything to go by.

Aquino aims to build roads, railway lines, airports, seaports, power plants and water supply systems to attract more investment and bring jobs and economic growth to his struggling country.

He aims to make all this happen by following his late mother, ex-leader Corazon Aquino, who signed a “build-operate-transfer” (BOT) law in 1990 that helped the country emerge from a crippling energy crisis.

Under BOT the private sector puts up the capital, builds and runs the systems, and collects charges until they recoup their investments, at which time ownership passes to the government.

Next month Aquino is expected to invite bids for 10 projects worth nearly P128 billion, and businesses say that as long as they are given a level playing field he should be able to raise the money..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed3.html

Crash courses on diplomacy and tact, a must for government officials — solons By Gerry Baldo 11/01/2010

Crash courses on diplomacy and tact, a must for government officials — solons

By Gerry Baldo 11/01/2010

Government officials, particularly those under the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office led by Secretary Ricky Carandang should undergo a crash course on “tact and diplomacy” as an immediate measure to prevent another diplomatic faux pas.

Lawmakers, crossing party lines yesterday, were one in saying that the recent diplomatic blunder by an official member of the Aquino delegation to Vietnam should serve as a stern warning to the Aquino government that it should be more careful in choosing its appointees.

“That was another blunder from Aquino’s staff, this time with diplomatic implications. Haven’t Aquino’s people been briefed on protocol or even on basic courtesy and good manners?” Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said.

Ilagan, referring to presidential speechwriter Assistant Secretary Carmen Mislang who complained about the wine served in a banquet

hosted by the Vietnam government for President Aquino last week, said presidential personnel should not have been arrogant and condescending and have the guts to tweet her biases..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed4.html

Marines pulled out of Basilan, deployed in Cotabato By Mario J. Mallari 11/01/2010

Marines pulled out of Basilan, deployed in Cotabato

By Mario J. Mallari 11/01/2010

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is pulling out Marine forces in Basilan province for redeployment in Central Mindanao, particularly in Cotabato, supposedly as part of “reshuffling of forces” but concerns were raised that the move would pave the way for the appointment of an Army general in Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. confirmed that the 1st Marine Brigade, under Brig. Gen. Eugenio Clement, will be pulled out of the Abu Sayyaf-infested Basilan province to be replaced by an Army task force, which is part of the military’s leadership “strategic movement.”

“As we talk, the whole brigade is moving to Central Mindanao,” said Mabanta, adding “this is in line with the strategic movement of the Armed Forces to concentrate Marines in Central Mindanao.”

Mabanta said the 1st Marine Brigade will be relieved by the Special Operations Task Force under Army Col. Nicanor Dolojan, concurrent deputy commander of the Army’s Special Operations Command (Socom).
The AFP spokesman said Dolojan’s task force is brigade-sized, composed of elements of the Army’s Special Forces, Scout Rangers and an infantry battalion (IB)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed5.html

Communist rebels kill 3 soldiers in ambush 11/01/2010

Communist rebels kill 3 soldiers in ambush

Heavily armed communist rebels killed three soldiers when they ambushed a troop patrol securing a government road project in the northern Philippines, the military said yesterday.

Three other soldiers were also wounded in Saturday’s attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Abra province, the military added.

“Pursuit operations against the rebels are ongoing,” said regional army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Loreto Mangundayao.

He said about 20 NPA rebels took part in the attack, and engaged army reinforcements in a clash before being forced to retreat.

The troops were patrolling the area after reports by the local project contractor that the NPA rebels were demanding “revolutionary taxes” for them to complete the highway..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101101hed6.html

Bill in Senate to adopt global jurisprudence on rape urged By Angie M. Rosales 11/01/2010

Bill in Senate to adopt global jurisprudence on rape urged

By Angie M. Rosales 11/01/2010

Senate will take into consideration the recommendations of a United Nations committee, holding the government accountable in the lower court’s dismissal five years ago of a rape case by a Filipina by her businessman-employer, said to be from a prominent family in Davao.

Sen. Pia Cayetano said the Senate will heed the landmark ruling of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which asked, among its other recommendations, the Philippines to make its legislation in conformity to the prevailing international jurisprudence on rape.
The committee, in coming up with its decision on the Karen Vertido rape case, recommended that the government provide the victim appropriate compensation commensurate with the gravity of the violations of her rights.

It also asked the Philippines to undertake measures to address problems in related laws, rape prosecution and court practices that discriminate against women..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101101nat2.html

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