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Not much of an upgrade EDITORIAL 11/15/2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not much of an upgrade

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Standard and Poor’s gave the Philippines an upgrade, the first in 13 years that the country got from the three major international credit watchdogs, which will make a slight difference in the view of investors on the country since officially, the Philippines is still on a junk grade based on the system employed by these agencies.

A day after the S&P upgrade, Noynoy and his economic officials immediately lapped it up saying the ratings hike is evidence of improved confidence on the country as a result of the supposed commitment of the Arroyo administration on reforms and measures undertaken to improve the economic situation had taken hold.

So much to say for the S&P action which, going by the wording of the upgrade statement, appears temporary merely to encourage Noynoy to keep on the fiscal reform track.

The budget is expected to exceed a P300 billion deficit this year that would be the highest for the country after a P298 billion shortfall last year.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com1.html

Not a dead issue FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/15/2010

Not a dead issue

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Malacañang propagandists want to make it appear that everything is alright between Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang and Noynoy Aquino, to the point of implying that the Aug. 23 botched hostage rescue operation is no longer an issue, here and in Hong Kong and perhaps even in mainland China.

Yet it was clear from Hong Kong reports that this issue, which left eight HK tourists dead is far from over.

Tsang was reported to have told Noynoy at the Apec meeting that he was disappointed at the manner by which the Philippine government investigated the Aug. 23 hostage fiasco in Manila.

Radio Television Hong Kong in its report, quoted Tsang as telling Noynoy that the Hong Kong people wanted to see justice done and that there should be the corresponding accountability stemming from that probe..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com2.html

Night owls and early birds: Paris’ nightlife dilemma FEATURE 11/15/2010

Night owls and early birds: Paris’ nightlife dilemma


PARIS — When Paris banned smoking in bars and clubs three years ago, no one planned on a sneaky side-effect: legions of party-goers spilling onto the streets to smoke, chat — and keep the neighbors awake.

Bad blood between revellers and residents already grouchy at noise levels in the capital’s trendy quarters has curdled since the smoking ban took effect in nightlife spots in January 2008, a year after other public places.
Last year a group of DJs and club promoters launched a petition warning that nightlife was dying out in the City of Lights, after a rash of lawsuits against bar owners and steps by city authorities to shut down noisy clubs.

Since then rows have simmered on, and this week Paris city hall hosted a big-tent conference to try to get the warring factions — club owners, police, residents’ groups, local authorities — to see eye to eye.
“Paris is a city full of contradictions. Every Parisian is both an early bird and a night owl — we all work, we need our sleep and from time to time we like to party too,” Mayor Bertrand Delanoe told the gathering on Friday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com3.html

Pointless investigation C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 11/15/2010

Pointless investigation

Jonathan De la Cruz
It is well that Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto “TG” Guingona has decided to call off an earlier plan to investigate the Laguna de Bay Rehabilitation Project, LLRP for short, noting that P-Noy has put the project on hold pending reaffirmation of a number of commitments which certain sectors and government agencies had advised in the course of discussions about the project during the budget hearings. DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, for example, agreed with Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito and the people’s organization Kilusang

Lawa Kalikasan (KLK) which represents a cross section of the millions of lakeshore residents that the dredging and rehabilitation of the lakeshore communities is long overdue. He just emphasized the need to attach to the project a comprehensive reforestation and watershed management component to ensure that erosion and siltation in the upland communities will be abated.

Said the KLK: “Dredging the lake now is our assurance that the 15 towns and cities around Laguna de Bay would not be swamped by floods during the rainy season and a repeat of the deluge and massive damages caused by Typhoon “Ondoy” would not happen again. Additionally, dredging would open up the navigational channels to encourage the growth of a ferry system that would enhance trade between the lakeshore communities and Metro Manila and ease traffic and transport woes in and around the lakeshore and its influenced areas.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com4.html

A growing movement DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 11/15/2010

A growing movement

Herman Tiu Laurel
Even as those photo ops between Clinton and PeNoy hit the newsstands, in aid of the massive PR spin on the US ’ support for its little puppet amid its dwindling influence in this part of the world, the conditions for creating an explosion of awareness on the true crisis in Filipinos’ lives are multiplying.

Most importantly, the middle class is now getting more and more energized in our fight against the blatant (and unprecedented) political and economic abuses in the privatized electricity, water, and infrastructure utilities of this nation.

One indication of this growing involvement is the flurry of Internet exchanges on power issues. An example is Edna’s (surname withheld) e-mail to Pete Ilagan of Nasecore (National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, an anti-power plunder consumer group):

“Pete, you might want to check if ERC is actually adjusting the economic indices used in the calculation of the ARR of Meralco and other DUs under the PBR. These are the (a) Peso-US$ exchange rate, (b) Philippine CPI, and (c) US CPI. ERC is supposed to adjust them yearly.

“I am attaching a table that I made showing the forecast indices vs the actual. Note that for the Peso-US$ exchange rate, the forecasts are higher than the actual. For the US CPI, except for one year where actual was higher, the ERC forecasts were also higher than actual. If they’re not corrected, they will increase Meralco’s profit because these indices, especially the exchange rate and US CPI, are used to calculate the capex and depreciation costs, the major components of the rate base and ARR.”

If the indices used by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) are regularly higher than the actual, then it is to be expected that it will always grant its approval to higher rates for the power generation, transmission and distribution firms that petition without fail for rate increases.

Since the ERC is invariably either derelict or in collusion with those petitioners, the public will never see the light on these outrageous distortions. Citizens and consumer groups hardly have any funds, but are fueled by their indignation over this naked manipulation, abuse, and exploitation by the utility regulatory agencies in the power sector, aside from the MWSS, LWUA and the Toll Regulatory Commission in others.
Citizens themselves are funding the necessary expenses, such as lawyers’ appearances at the ERC and in the courts. One donor is a former city mayor in Metro Manila who does not want to be named.

The latest initiative is beginning to bring together a renewed focus for the different crusaders, such as EmPower, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), and Kaakbay, which have been at it since the start of the decade. FDC and EmPower have signified agreement to revive their own “lights out” call (switching off lights at some appointed time of the week), which were highly successful in select communities that involved hundreds of thousands of families. Even as other issues have sidetracked their campaigns, they are more than ready to reconnect with the broader effort this time around.

In December, the FDC is spearheading a nationwide summit on this crusade to be held in Baguio, as I was told by Job Bordamonte of FDC during our discussion on my TV program. I’m very excited about this and this column aims to start disseminating the information. There have been ebbs and flows in the struggle but a crescendo is building again.

Still, I got an indication of the attitude of the masses to this problem of exorbitant electricity costs. One of my former media staff, Glecy, whom I was with when she was asked about her community’s take on this issue, said, “Wala naman kaming magagawa.” (We can’t do anything about it.)

This sense of helplessness and hopelessness is what the oligarchs and their media are banking on as they continue to instill this into the masses’ subconscious through progressive impoverishment, fascist suppression of past protests (joined in by the masa), media blackout of power news through entertainment distraction, plus ERC connivance to frustrate every legitimate effort to thwart the abuse by the power oligarchs.

The critical situation prevails from RP’s north to south, and this column has tried to reflect it all. As of this writing, news of four-hour blackouts in the Visayas.

I was informed that in the Negros islands and towns such as Sipalay, four-hour power outages have become prevalent. In Mindanao, our decade-long crusader there is under threat of assassination. Yes, he fears for his life there for the exposés he has made on the IPPs’ (independent power producers) many abuses; and for this reason he has been reluctant to take a high profile in media on the issue.

I have been telling his friends that his security can only be assured when he comes out fighting a total war — including becoming an anti-power plunder celebrity. I hope he takes my advice as we are ready to help him all the way. The good thing is that he has been linking with us in the Metro Manila networks. As I said, the movement is growing again — so the masa need not feel helpless anymore. Remember: “Lights Out Mondays,” 7 to 7:10 p.m.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on “Power Consumers’ Legislative Champions: Reps. Bernadette Herrera and Toby Tiangco,” 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/20101115com5.html

Tsardyer HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 11/15/2010


Aldrin Cardon
What infuses life, or power, in beliefs and ideologies when most have failed in their past incarnations?

I ask this as I try to relate to the life of Shihab, main character in movie director Sigfried Barros-Sanchez’s latest film, Tsardyer (Charger), about a 10-year-old boy who does errands for his uncle, who is the top leader of a local terrorist group, which held hostage a top television reporter and two members of her crew — a story based on the kidnapping of Ces Drilon, with some cinematic twists which only became necessary in the end, unless the movie becomes a documentary of the case, which had become a closed book for both Drilon and ABS-CBN, her mother network.

The screening of Sanchez’s movie came rather timely as government is reeling from the effects of a travel ban by six countries, led by the United States and Great Britain, advising their nationals against traveling to the Philippines in anticipation of a possible terror attack, which was hardly felt at the Shang

Complex on Saturday night, when Sanchez premiered Tsardyer as an entry in the Cinema One Originals independent film competition..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com6.html

Charges SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 11/15/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
On cable in recent weeks was a special documentary on survivors of the 9/11 terror attack in New York. The few who were able to live through the trauma and anguish brought on by that cruel attack against the Western world still bear the emotional scars, their physical wounds long healed.

For us, in this side of the world, who watched slack-jawed as it was happening real-time as flashed worldwide by CNN, the agony felt real, even though we were thousands of miles away. Some of us immediately thought of relatives or friends who may have been in the World Trade towers that day, frantically going through the names in our minds and then trying hard to discover their whereabouts at the time.

Today, years later, similar feelings of shock and concern arise whenever the memory is retraced. Such is the effect of that humongous act — a permanent scar in the form of fear that whenever “jihad,” “rebels,” or “terror alert” is mentioned, governments react — and fast!

That real-life drama is certainly more powerful than films based on real life situations. Although the latter presents events and issues in such a way that those that cannot bear to watch the news are forced to be aware of the truths out there couched in a more palatable form, one inescapable fact remains: Truth is truth no matter how much fiction you infuse into it.

We have come to know this firsthand as a country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101115com7.html

Mandatory insurance threatens Taiwan hiring of 50,000 Pinoys By Michaela P. del Callar 11/15/2010

Mandatory insurance threatens Taiwan hiring of 50,000 Pinoys

By Michaela P. del Callar 11/15/2010

More than 50,000 job orders for Filipino workers in Taiwan for 2011 are at risk after Taipei rejected the Philippines’ mandatory double insurance coverage for Filipinos.

A new policy by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said labor receiving states like Taiwan must provide adequate insurance coverage that includes local insurance package for Filipino workers.
The POEA has refused to exempt Taiwan and Hong Kong from this policy even as they grant insurance benefits higher than what is being offered by Philippine insurance providers.

Under Taiwan’s labor law, every contract worker is covered by two types of insurance, one for personal and the other is the group insurance.

Each worker is given a mandatory personal insurance coverage worth NT$800,000 or about P1.2 million and a group insurance that covers all workers at the factory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101115hed3.html

RP celebrates historic Pacman victory 11/15/2010

RP celebrates historic Pacman victory

The Philippines yesterday united to celebrate boxing hero Manny Pacquiao as he won an historic eighth world title, with lawmakers, soldiers, slum dwellers and farmers hailing him as the greatest ever.

Pacquiao’s pummelling of Antonio Margarito in Texas to capture the World boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title caused a familiar upsurge in pride for the nation’s 94 million people.

President Aquino, who is now in Japan for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting, was able to talk and congratulate Pacquiao shortly after the fight, a Malacañang statement said.
It added the President would meet with Pacquiao once the boxing hero returns to the country.

Senators Manuel Villar and Loren Legarda also congratulated the Filipino champion.

“Once again, the country stands proud of displaying to the world the undying Filipino spirit as shown by the winning punches of world boxing sensation and our very own, Rep. Manny Pacquiao,” Villar in a statement said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101115hed2.html

Noy ally backs alerts, cites widespread chaos By Mario J. Mallari and Angie M. Rosales 11/15/2010

Noy ally backs alerts, cites widespread chaos

By Mario J. Mallari and Angie M. Rosales 11/15/2010

A strong Palace ally yesterday practically validated the travel advisories issued by at least six countries against the Philippines, admitting the poor peace and order situation existing in the country long before Japan and other western nations took note of the alleged imminent attack from terrorist groups.

Sen. Ralph Recto said the “country was already in a brink of terror frenzy even before the actual threat of a terrorist attack became the new national distraction.”

The lawmaker was referring to the high incidence of crime in the country long before the travel advisories of the six nations came out.

“While the threat of global terror should not be ignored, equally important is to attend to the more realistic threats of petty and organized crimes and man-made chaos,” Recto said over radio station DZRH.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101115hed4.html

Pacquiao’s mom suffers panic attack 11/15/2010

Pacquiao’s mom suffers panic attack

DALLAS — Dionesia Pacquiao, mother of Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao, suffered an apparent panic attack during her son’s title fight against Antonio Margarito yesterday, promoter Bob Arum said.

The mother was among Pacquiao’s supporters sitting at ringside for the world title fight at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

World champion

Pacquiao said at the post-fight news conference that he had been told his mom is feeling better..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101115hed6.html

‘Witch hunt’ likely in PTC’s limited goal By Benjamin B. Pulta 11/15/2010


‘Witch hunt’ likely in PTC’s limited goal

By Benjamin B. Pulta 11/15/2010

For the purpose of the recently formed Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) to be considered just, it must encompass all previous administrations and not just that of former President Arroyo’s, otherwise it might be accused of conducting a “witch-hunt,” a concensus arrived at during a recent workshop held at the Ateneo School of Law on transition governments stated.

Whether the PTC’s investigations will receive acceptance in the international community or will it just be a witch-hunt on the past administration was the focus of deliberations during the forum.

Among those that attended the workshop were Ateneo Law School dean Cesar L. Villanueva, former presidential adviser on the Peace Process in the Arroyo government Annabelle Abaya, Task Force Detainees deputy executive director Sr. Crescencia Lucero, Susan Granada of the Ecumenical Council and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yniguez.

The workshop was held in conjunction with American think-tank and support group Project on Justice in Times of Transition (PJTT) at the Ateneo School of Law Rockwell campus..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101115hed1.html

DoLE approves OFWs’ mandatory insurance coverage By Mina Diaz 11/15/2010

DoLE approves OFWs’ mandatory insurance coverage

By Mina Diaz 11/15/2010

The compulsory insurance coverage for agency-hired overseas workers, as mandated by Section 23 of the Republic Act 10022 (Amending RA 8042, The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995), was effected recently by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

Among the insurance companies that have qualified under very stringent standards to undertake this coverage are Philippine Charter Insurance Corp. (PhilCharter) and United Cocolife Assurance Corp. (Cocolife).

Enacted early this year, the law provides that the OFW’s insurance coverage should include a minimum of $15,000 for accidental death, $10,000 for natural death, $7,500 for permanent total disablement, $100 subsistence allowance benefit per month for a maximum of six months for a migrant worker who is involved in litigation proceedings in the receiving country, at least three months salary for every year of the migrant worker’s contract for money claims arising from the employer’s liability, free transportation cost for the compassionate visit of a member of the family or requested individual when a migrant worker is hospitalized or confined for seven consecutive days or more, medical evacuation and medical repatriation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101115nat1.html

KMU mourns death of labor leader in Calamba By Pat C. Santos 11/15/2010

KMU mourns death of labor leader in Calamba

By Pat C. Santos 11/15/2010

The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) has condemned the killing of Caloy Rodriguez who was shot dead last Friday afternoon by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calamba, Laguna.

Rodriguez was the president of Nagkakaisang lakas ng Manggagawa ng Calamba Water District (NLM-CWD), which is an affiliate of the confederation for Unity, Recognition amd advancement of Government Employees (Courage) and a fellow member of the KMU.

Courage has been indefatigable for fighting corruption in the government and in advancing its members right and interest, thereby earning the wrath of successive regime, KMU statement said.

“We point our fingers at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the regime of President Aquino as the culprits behind this killing.

The death of Rodriguez is the consequence of Aquino’s decision to continue of implementing the Oplan Bantay Laya, counter-insurgency program of his predecessor and to adhere to the US Counter-insurgency Guide. It is also a failure of the Aquino regime to prosecute then President Arroyo and her staunched ally former Gen. Jovito Palparan who was allegedly responsible for human rights violations during her administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101115nat5.html

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