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Ugly Americans EDITORIAL 11/17/2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ugly Americans

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It has happened once before — American security officers insulting Philippine vice presidents — while their officials, be they current American presidents or former US presidents are on a brief visit to this country.

Very recently, on a paid lecture session in Manila, former US President Bill Clinton’s security aides were said to have dealt insultingly with Vice President Jojo Binay, actually shouting at him, and telling him to leave the holding room, while two other former Philippine presidents weren’t treated shabbily at all by these same US secret service officers guarding Clinton.

Binay, who is always as cool as a cucumber but knows how to use sarcasm to make his point, left the room, but not before telling the Clinton’s security that he is the Vice President of the country and that there was no need for the Clinton aide to shout at him.

It was later reported that the female secret service agent apologized to Binay for her rude behavior, and that the apology was graciously accepted by the Vice President..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com1.html

Useless peace talks FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/17/2010

Useless peace talks

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Reports are out that the Philippine government wants the Malaysian mediator Datuk Othman Bin Abdul Razak out of the peace talks with the Islamic secessionist group for his “obvious display of bias” toward the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MILF is apparently not budging, as it insists on retaining the same Malaysian mediator, claiming that Razak has not shown any bias in favor of the MILF — and this demand of the government is being seen as yet another delay in resuming peace talks.

Quite frankly, in these talks with the MILF, it is this separatist group that has been enjoying great advantage, instead of the other way around.

All that time during the Gloria Arroyo regime, the MILF was formally granted certain territories under their armed control, which is a virtual ceding of parts of the Republic to this armed Islamic group.

It had even come to a point where a Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain ceding big portions of Mindanao and even Palawan, most of which are dominated by the Christian settlers, was forged between the Arroyo peace panel and the MILF peace panel. And this would have pushed through, had the contents of the MoA-AD not been publicized. Because the accord was, there was great opposition to it from the Filipinos and the case was brought before the high court, which ruled this MoA-AD as unconstitutional..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com2.html

US signals more optimism at reviving Mideast talks focus 11/17/2010

US signals more optimism at reviving Mideast talks


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is sounding optimistic that it can restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that stalled only weeks after their US launch in September.

But analysts fear that the administration — even if it manages to revive the talks — lacks a strategy to guide the two sides to a settlement of the core issues by its stated goal of September next year.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a “serious effort” by considering a new settlement freeze aimed at reviving the talks.

“This is a very promising development,” Clinton told reporters Monday, a day after the Israeli leader briefed his Cabinet about a fresh moratorium on settlements in the West Bank.

Clinton declined to provide details but noted that US diplomats were “working intensively to create the conditions for the resumption of the negotiations.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com3.html

Rude and arrogant HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 11/17/2010

Rude and arrogant

Aldrin Cardon
It was rude and it smacked on arrogance that a female aide of Bill Clinton had to shout at and lead Vice President Jejomar Binay away at from the holding room of the VIP visitor at the Manila Hotel when he dropped by for a “paid speaking engagement” here last week.

But it was total disrespect of the country’s heritage and culture, which the Americans themselves tried to kill by bullets and assimilation in the past, that a teener, who paid for his chance to hear Clinton speak, was denied entry into the hall where Clinton was to speak about “our common humanity” because he was wearing a G-string, a traditional Igorot costume which the teener was very proud to wear.

It was a complete faux pas committed by Clinton’s close security detail, whose officials did not seem to have bothered to look at the profiles of the local VIPs to meet the former US officers, so much so that one of them had to raise her voice to get Binay’s attention and shooed him away from Clinton’s holding room, where Binay had access to mingle with the other VIPs as the vice president of Clinton’s host country.

Binay was cool about the incident, but not after reminding Clinton’s aide that she does not have to raise her voice at him, and that he would leave the room if told civilly. And yes, he told the aide that he “happens to be the vice president of the Philippines.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com4.html

Irony SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 11/17/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
Some stories make you glad; others make you cringe or throw things, like the paper you are reading, or the monitor of your computer.

Former US President Bill Clinton’s safe arrival and short stay in the country certainly accounts for both feelings arising in our midst – while it was good that nothing untoward happened in terms of security, it was just too bad that something else occurred to make us revisit our insecurities in terms of our relationship with Uncle Sam.

Perhaps thinking of those terror warnings of late, Clinton’s security aides behaved a tad too paranoid. One of them committed a huge faux pas that set the mild-mannered vice president of the Philippines off, and another set of them made sure a local lad was denied admission to Clinton’s talk because he was not dressed appropriately. According to them, apparently.

Reports say that VP Jejomar Binay was ordered out of the VIP holding area where he was waiting with former Philippine presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo for the Clinton program to begin. His media officer Joey Salgado said it happened at the Manila Hotel lobby before Clinton’s lecture on “Embracing Our Common Humanity.” The two former leaders were allowed to stay, while Binay quietly walked away. Dignified in his suit and outwardly calm, he told the American lady that there was no need to shout, Binay later told reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com5.html

Piracy hot spot Bangladesh bootlegged to bankruptcy FEATURE 11/17/2010

Piracy hot spot Bangladesh bootlegged to bankruptcy


DHAKA — Bangladeshi pop icon Azam Khan has amassed legions of fans and dozens of hits over a 40-year career — but he’s always flat broke because of rampant music piracy.
When the 61-year-old star, revered for modernizing the staid Bangla music scene in the 1970s, was diagnosed with mouth cancer this year he had to beg fans, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to fund life-saving treatment.

“I’ve recorded 17 best-selling albums over my career but I have made less than 700,000 taka ($10,000) in royalties,” Khan told AFP from his sickbed in his modest two-bedroom house in the capital Dhaka.
“If I’d had this many hit albums in Europe, I’d own a private jet. In Bangladesh, rickshaw drivers will sometimes give me a free ride out of pity,” he added.

Khan’s experience is an extreme example of a broader global trend: Demand for music is rising, but street piracy through counterfeit CDs and online piracy means profits for record companies and artists are being hit..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com6.html

Guide pony helps blind Muslim woman go to US college focus 11/17/2010

Guide pony helps blind Muslim woman go to US college


LANSING — Mona Ramouni was taking notes with a Braille device when her guide pony Cali joined the class discussion with a sudden snort.

“What do you think Cali?” professor Shelley Smithson said with a laugh, and then steered the conversation back to theories of counseling and psychotherapy.

Cali is just one of a handful of miniature horses in the United States known to be used as guide animals for the blind and is likely the first pony to attend college.

The click of her hooves in the halls of Michigan State University is still turning heads three months after Ramouni and Cali moved to Lansing for graduate school.

Shocked students stare, shake their heads, pull out their cell phone cameras and some can’t help asking “is that a horse?”

“Usually I’m good about it because you have to educate people,” Ramouni said. “Sometimes I’ll say, no, it’s a really cool toy.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101117com7.html

Groups ask Noy: Where’s justice over Luisita row? By Charlie V. Manalo 11/17/2010


Groups ask Noy: Where’s justice over Luisita row?

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/17/2010

Six years after the November 16 Hacienda Luisita massacre in which seven farm workers were slain by a combined police and military force, not even one official has been made accountable or convicted over the incident, civil rights and religious groups said yesterday.

A 40-vehicle protest-caravan from Quezon City to Hacienda Luisita marked the sixth year of the massacre of farmers in the sprawling sugar estate in Tarlac owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family of President Aquino and highlighted alleged continuing injustice and denial of farmers’ rights to the land.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said that “six years after the massacre, justice remains elusive to the victims of the massacre” and that “demands for genuine agrarian reform continue to fell on deaf ears,” especially under the Aquino administration.

The farm workers decided to hold a picket to bring their plight to the attention of the public and the government and, hopefully, move the conscience of the Cojuangco family. The response was the
was the massacre of Nov. 16, 2004, the Religious Discernment Group Convenors said in a statement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed1.html

Rights groups blame GMA for Ampatuans’ reign of terror By Michaela P. del Callar 11/17/2010

Rights groups blame GMA for Ampatuans’ reign of terror

By Michaela P. del Callar 11/17/2010

A prominent human rights watchdog yesterday blamed what it called a two-decade reign of terror of the Ampatuan warlord clan on former President Arroyo’s political patronage of the Ampatuans, saying this allowed them to amass great wealth and unchecked power, strengthen various militia forces, increase the sale of military weaponry and ensure impunity for rights abuses in Maguindanao.

The clan was charged over the country’s worst political massacre that killed dozens of other people during a two-decade reign of terror, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published yesterday.

The New York-based group, in its 96-page report released ahead of the first anniversary of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, entitled “They Own the People,” denounced the culture of impunity in the province.
HRW said it had spoken to witnesses, including ex-members of the Ampatuan militia, about the murders of at least 56 other people stretching back to 2001, many of them tortured and killed with chainsaws.

The report said AmpatuanSr., an ex-leader of a paramilitary force trained by the state to fight Muslim rebels, and his relatives engaged in targeted killings, abductions, torture, and sexual assault in and around Maguindanao.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed2.html

Noynoy allies unfazed by drop in ratings By Angie M. Rosales 11/17/2010

Noynoy allies unfazed by drop in ratings

By Angie M. Rosales 11/17/2010

Malacañang allies in the Senate yesterday dismissed any significance in the reported dip in the trust ratings of President Aquino, saying the latest figures show that he continues to enjoy strong support of the public.

“What’s alarming there? Eighty percent is 80 percent. It’s still high, the trust and confidence of the people for P-Noy (President Aquino) are still there. So I don’t see any reason it will slide down,” Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III said.

The same assessment was given by some of his colleagues in the upper chamber on the latest Pulse Asia survey showing the performance rating of the Chief Executive sliding nine percentage points and trust rating going down by five percentage points in a span of 17 weeks since his election.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said a slight drop in the approval rating of the President should have been anticipated given the circumstances he had to deal with the last couple of months..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed3.html

RP gets failed mark in 2 MCC criteria 11/17/2010

RP gets failed mark in 2 MCC criteria

The Philippines continues to fall behind two indicators, on health and primary education expenditures, in the yearly score card of the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) that tracks country’s compliance with the global goal of eliminating poverty by 2015.

The country, nevertheless, scored “above median” on the 17 indicators in the scorecard and was considered eligible for MCC grant this year.

MCC, however, reminded that the Philippines must maintain and improve the country’s performance on the indicators to remain eligible for MCC assistance.

In the Ruling Justly and Economic Freedom category the Philippines scored above median (50 percent) in all of the six indicators: 58 percent for political rights, 74 percent for civil liberties, 60 percent for control of corruption, 97 percent for government effectiveness, 74 percent for rule of law, and 81 percent for voice and accountability.

It was in the Investing in People category that the country got a failing mark for two of the five indicators: 18 percent for health expenditures and 32 percent for primary education expenditures..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed4.html

Don’t compare ‘Morong 43’ to Suu Kyi — Palace 11/17/2010

Don’t compare ‘Morong 43’ to Suu Kyi — Palace

Malacañang yesterday branded as “invalid” and “unfair” the statements issued by some militant groups that criticized President Aquino for ironically being vocal in calling for the release of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi while maintaining his apparent reluctance in according the same treatment to the 43 health workers who were arrested in Morong, Rizal province last February.

“It’s not a valid com-parison. There are certain details that which we are not at liberty to tell, disclose right now. But there are measures being done right now to review the ‘Morong 43.’ Like the President said, the legal team has already reviewed the findings of the secretary of Justice and a prompt resolution would be forthcoming,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda stressed.

He further explained that his statement does not indicate that the Morong 43 would also have to suffer seven years in detention before they can avail of their freedom once again just like what happened to Suu Kyi.
But Malacañang admitted that Aquino is still undecided on what to do with the case of the Morong 43 who remain in detention for being wrongly accused as rebels by the military since he is yet to receive another set of recommendations to be provided this time by his ever trusted legal team..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed5.html

Up to 100 transport firms may face sanctions over bus strike — government 11/17/2010

Up to 100 transport firms may face sanctions over bus strike — government

Erring bus operators who participated in Monday’s strike that stranded thousands of commuters will have to face the music soon.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued the assurance after President Aquino yesterday ordered the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC),  the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to prosecute erring bus operators involved in the strike.

“Let me stress that the government is pro-active in this issue. We will not allow the riding public to be prejudiced in this kind of activity,” Lacierda stressed.

According to the LTFRB, up to 100 bus companies may face sanctions for taking part in Monday’s strike to protest the implementation of the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or the “number-coding” scheme of the MMDA..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101117hed6.html

AFP shifts tactic to defeat NPA rebels By Mario J. Mallari 11/17/2010

AFP shifts tactic to defeat NPA rebels

By Mario J. Mallari 11/17/2010

The military will be shifting its tactic in countering the decades-long insurgency problem in the country by going heavy on civil military and other humanitarian missions instead of the traditional combat operations against enemies of the state, particularly the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the new campaign plan will be implemented January next year.

Compared to the previous campaign plan dubbed Bantay Laya, which was tagged in extra judicial killings by militant groups, the new military plan will have lesser combat operations against the enemies.

“Winning the peace, meaning to say getting the people on our side, getting those who advocate armed struggle realize the futility of their efforts in as much as what they are fighting for are all being addressed like all the issues,” said Mabanta..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101117nat3.html

Psalm asked to account for $12.1 billion By Gerry Baldo 11/17/2010

Psalm asked to account for $12.1 billion

By Gerry Baldo 11/17/2010

Some members of the House of Representatives yesterday sought an accounting of the funds of the Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) amid fresh petitions for additional power rates increase intended allegedly to recover debts.

According to Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone the petitions would have been unnecessary had Psalm used the earnings from the privatization of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

Evardone maintained that Psalm has generated $10.6 billion from the privatization and incurred $2.8 billion new loans for a total of $13.4 billion but only paid $1.3 billion of NPC’s outstanding debts.

“Psalm should explain to the public where the $12.1 billion from the sale of the 91.8 percent of the NPC asset went,” Evardone said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101117nat1.html

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