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No hope for tourism EDITORIAL 11/23/2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No hope for tourism

Click to enlarge
It will take more than a new slogan to get tourists and businessmen to come to the Philippines.

According to a report, a Future Brands study showed the country dropping sharply in ranking, from number 36 in the previous survey to number 65.

The study, as quoted in the news report, stated that “The Philippines has been beset by high-profile violent incidents this year that might have overshadowed the election of a new president pledging to reform a country troubled by perceptions of corruption...Time will tell if the Philippines’ natural, historical and cultural assets, a relatively stable economy, and a new government will reverse this downward trend for the brand.”

The country, the newsreport said further, appears “to have become less attractive for visitors, both tourists and businessmen, with the country falling in terms of respect and admiration,” and that this being the perception, the country is less likely to be endorsed as a destination to others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com1.html

Coming soon: Baypass flip-flops FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/23/2010

Coming soon: Baypass flip-flops

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Bypasses — at least twice — by the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) on the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries will prove whether Noynoy Aquino sticks to his position or do a Gloria Arroyo.

Aquino had apparently filed a bill that sought the automatic rejection of an appointed official who would be bypassed by the CA twice. The bill was filed when Noynoy was still a senator.

Except for one time during the Arroyo presidency, the CA never rejected any Cabinet appointee, but kept on bypassing them.

However, the congressional bypasses made no difference, as Gloria always reappointed them on an ad-interim basis, after Congress went into a recess.

Chances are high that many of the Cabinet appointees of Noynoy will be undergoing bypasses, with some even given a heavy grilling by the CA, or that of a senator or congressman, using his veto power, invoking the powerful Section 20 where all CA proceedings on a Cabinet appointee is suspended — except during plenary..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com2.html

Locals live in fear of accused Maguindanao massacre clan focus 11/23/2010

Locals live in fear of accused Maguindanao massacre clan


SHARIFF AGUAK — Leaders of a Muslim clan accused of carrying out the Philippines’ worst political massacre remain a major security threat in their home province even from behind bars, locals say.

Residents in the southern province of Maguindanao still talk about the Ampatuan family in hushed voices, because saying anything bad about the clan could bring bloody reprisals from loyal militiamen who have eluded arrest.

“Their forces are still very much around. You may not see the family’s leaders anymore, but you can still feel their presence,” said Jun Dadula, a long-time government employee, whose name was changed to protect his identity.

Dadula has lived all his life literally under the shadows of the Ampatuans — his family’s modest bungalow is not far from the mansions owned by Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his sons in Shariff Aguak, the provincial capital.
He described Ampatuan Sr. as a benevolent godfather to those who were loyal to him, but a vengeful and violent man to those who went against his will.

“No one dares to go against them,” he said as a column of military tanks and armored personnel carriers patrolled the main highway amid heightened tensions just ahead of today’s first anniversary of the massacre..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com3.html

Televise the trial NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 11/23/2010

Televise the trial

Armida Siguion-Reyna
It was early this year under another presidency, when I had first heard that the live coverage of the Ampatuan trial was not going to take place. Very few wondered why so, for that president was known to be “soft” toward the clan charged with the most horrific slayings in recent memory, exactly a year ago today.

Fifty seven persons killed, 32 of them journalists, their bodies savaged, some beheaded, the women among them shot in the genitalia, others in the faces, causing their eyes to hideously pop out, then dumped into an open pit, for doing what? For accompanying family and supporters out to file in the Comelec office at the next town of Sharif Aquak the certificate of candidacy of one who had dared to buck the Ampatuan stronghold.

It does not get gentler in the re-telling, particularly as there appears to be hemming in hawing in ensuring that the guilty get punished.

Patricia Evangelista reminded us so well, in her last Sunday column in another broadsheet, that, “According to Human Rights Watch, in May of 2002, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received a letter from 12 community leaders in Maguindanao, alleging that the Ampatuans and their allies were responsible for at least 33 killings and a number of abuses. The leaders said that many of the witnesses were afraid or had been killed. In August of 2008, another group wrote to President Arroyo alleging that Andal Ampatuan Sr. and other members of his family had been committing serious human rights abuses. Those who were perceived to have offended members of the clan have been shot in broad daylight in the middle of village squares, or at home, along with their children..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com4.html

Philippines to fry in own fat — again AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 11/23/2010

Philippines to fry in own fat — again

Ken Fuller
In The Untold Philippine Story, published in 1967, Hernando J. Abaya remarked that “where before we were fried in American lard, we now fry in our own fat!” What he was referring to was the tendency of foreign investors to raise their capital on the local market instead of bringing it with them.

This tendency, which had existed earlier, was intensified in the 1960s by the USA’s balance of payments problems occasioned by the war in Vietnam, and US companies were now under “explicit instructions from no less than the US government” to borrow locally and to “remit to the US as much of their earnings as possible.” (Alejandro Lichauco, “The International Economic Order and the Philippine Experience.”)

Bancom stated quite bluntly: “(W)e continue to advise local borrowings as much as possible, as long as possible and at the earliest possible time.” As one example, the Ford body-stamping plant in the Bataan export processing zone was established at a cost of $22 million, every cent of which was raised locally. The Manila Times published a study demonstrating that foreign companies were remitting $2.50 for every dollar invested; by 1969 this ratio had widened to $7.08 for every dollar invested. In 1966, while US companies invested $9.2 million abroad, the capital outflow from the USA was only $2.7 million. In the Philippines, the net outflow of capital reached $1 billion a year in 1966.

In 1977, when the Central Bank attempted to impose debt-to-equity ratios on foreign companies seeking peso loans, US Ambassador William H. Sullivan gave the game away by protesting with remarkable frankness that such a scheme “would work against multinationals who come to the Philippines with nothing but a company name and a logo.”

Why this history lesson? Well, because it seems to be repeating itself..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com5.html

Aid agencies told to talk to Taliban as attacks decrease FEATURE 11/23/2010

Aid agencies told to talk to Taliban as attacks decrease


KABUL — Political leaders are divided about talking to the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan yet engagement with militants is seen as a necessity for aid agencies trying to improve life in the war-torn country.

Local and foreign charities say they often have no option but to seek the consent of militant fighters to carry out their work, as the violent insurgency rages against foreign forces.

There are now calls for that contact to be stepped up, amid signs of a shift in attitudes towards aid agencies’ presence in Afghanistan and hints at a role for some insurgents in the country’s political future.

The Afghanistan Non-Governmental Organisation Safety Office (ANSO), an advisory body for aid agencies, has said the Taliban look “certain to play a permanent, and increasingly political, role” in the coming years.

“We recommend that NGOs start developing strategies for engaging with them rather than avoiding them,” director Nic Lee wrote in the group’s recent quarterly report..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com6.html

In Mexico’s drug war, she is one town’s lone ranger focus 11/23/2010

In Mexico’s drug war, she is one town’s lone ranger


CIUDAD JUAREZ — In the bloodstained chaos that is Mexico’s drug war raging on the doorstep of the United States, Erika Gandara, 28, is standing tall, and alone. As her town’s only police officer “I am the law,” she says.

Gandara’s town of Guadalupe, population 9,000, is near Ciudad Juarez, Ground Zero in Mexico’s endless bloodletting between rival drug cartels battling for control of distribution routes to the lucrative US markets. Juarez sits across the border from the US city of El Paso, Texas.

And the toll the sustained violence has taken even on little Guadalupe is big: All of her fellow cops either have fled or been killed.
“Yes, I am a police officer,” the fresh-faced Gandara, who might be mistaken for a high (secondary) school student in her purple hoodie if she were not packing an R-15 rifle, told AFP in an interview in her sparsely furnished office.

“I am this town’s only cop. I am the law,” she said.

And she meant it.

It has been months that Gandara has been going it alone on her quixotic drive to keep her town safe..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101123com7.html

Noy blinks, to amend Amnesty proclamation By Angie M. Rosales 11/23/2010


Noy blinks, to amend Amnesty proclamation

By Angie M. Rosales 11/23/2010

Malacañang’s move to “recall” and amend Presidential Proclamation No. 50, which grants amnesty to mutineers, including detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who, during the Arroyo administration engaged in mutiny, highlighted once again the lack of legal craftsmanship of President Aquino’s aides.

An Aquino’s strong ally in the upper chamber, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona, who is all set to sponsor
on the floor the said presidential issuance for concurrence of senators, took note of this yesterday, even as he was clearly ready to sponsor a flawed amnesty proclamation, Guingona, in announcing to reporters his decision to hold off the sponsorship of the amnesty resolution amid the announced amendment, admitted that such changes are becoming “quite frustrating.”

The senator was obviously referring to incidents where presidential issuances were found to have some technical or legal flaw, as the apparent case in proclamation No. 50 and the most notable of which was Memorandum Order No. 1 directing appointees of the previous administration booted out or declaring all non-career executive service positions in government vacant..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101123hed1.html

Envoy, rights group press gov’t for resolute action on massacre By Michaela P. del Callar 11/23/2010

Envoy, rights group press gov’t for resolute action on massacre

By Michaela P. del Callar 11/23/2010

President Aquino needs to ensure a speedy and credible trial of all the suspects in last year’s gruesome massacre of 57 persons in Maguindanao province to assure the country and international community of his administration’s commitment to human rights and rule of law, Britain’s top diplomat to the Philippines yesterday said, adding the trial has so far been alarmingly slow.

A year after the massacre, British Ambassador Stephen Lillie noted that there have been no convictions despite some high-profile arrests or members of the powerful Ampatuan clan and its armed goons, who were blamed for the Nov. 23 carnage, and many other suspects remain at large.

“Justice has yet to be done,” Lillie wrote in his blog.

He said the ongoing debates on whether the trial should be televised is only a minor issue, noting that he is more concerned with the slow-paced movement of the trial.

“I can hardly take exception to the Supreme Court’s opposition to this: British court proceedings are not televised either. What is alarming, however, given the importance of this case, is the glacial pace of the trial, with the court sitting only once a week,” Lillie said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101123hed2.html

Terror report exists but ‘unofficial,’ say execs By Mario J. Mallari 11/23/2010

Terror report exists but ‘unofficial,’ say execs

By Mario J. Mallari 11/23/2010

A slew of denials and devaluing of the leaked report on the alleged operations of four extremist groups operating in Metro Manila was issued by authorities yesterday including its supposed author who confirmed the report exists but said it was unofficial.

While belittling the report, Malacañang, nevertheless, unveiled to reporters the setting up of a P5.5 million National Security Assessment Center (NASC) right in Mala-cañang Park where a supposed presidential situation room would be set up to monitor crisis situations.

Defense and military officials yesterday dismissed as “unofficial” the report confirming the presence and activities of terrorist groups in Metro Manila.

Outgoing National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero disowned the after-tour-of-duty report (ATDR) attributed to him as he ordered a thorough investigation of the incident to establish whether the 12-page document came from his office or not..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101123hed3.html

Malacañang: Pope is strong ally of RH bill By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/23/2010

Malacañang: Pope is strong ally of RH bill

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/23/2010

Malacañang yesterday believes it has found a strong ally in the Holy Father himself, Pope Benedict XVI, in generating more public support for the Reproductive Health (RH) bill as wire reports said the pope has had a change of stance in the matter of the use of condoms, which Vatican had been known to be against.

With the reported Catholic Church’s easing of a condom ban, this also sparked fierce debate in the
country Monday, with family planning advocates saying it would help to finally pass a law promoting contraceptives.

Benedict XVI’s comments that using condoms could be justified to stop the spread of AIDS dominated the front pages of newspapers in Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, which also has one of the world’s fastest growing populations.

President Aquino and other contraceptive advocates said the pope’s remarks would help overcome church resistance to a bill that would compel the government to supply the poor with condoms..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101123hed4.html

Solon questions P18.5-B PPP in Noy’s home province By Charlie V. Manalo 11/23/2010

Solon questions P18.5-B PPP in Noy’s home province

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/23/2010

The Aquino administra-tion’s straight path appears to be taking a crooked curve, as glaring irregularities are already showing up in the so-called Public-Private Partner-ship (PPP) programs, with the biggest program pointing to a project in President Aquino’s hometown, that moreover has been funded for at least 10 years.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano yesterday questioned the inclusion of the an irrigation project in President Aquino’s home province in the PPP program which the lawmaker said has been already funded by the government for almost a decade now.

Reports said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) included the Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose Project in Tarlac worth P18.5 billion, the biggest among the 17 projects, submitted to the National Economic Development Administration (Neda) for the administration’s PPP program.

The Balog-Balog multipurpose project will supply irrigation water to 21,935 hectares of rice field, and supplemental water to 12,475 hectares and will also generate an estimated 43.5 megawatts (MW) of hydroelectric power..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101123hed6.html

Mangudadatu, others to file disbarment complaint vs Fortun 11/23/2010

Mangudadatu, others to file disbarment complaint vs Fortun

A disbarment complaint is set to be filed against the lawyer of the Ampatuan clan by Maguindanao Gov. Datu Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and relatives of the victims of last year’s Maguindanao massacre.

Aside from Mangudadatu, other signatories in the complaint against defense counsel Philip Fortun which was originally scheduled to be filed yesterday were Nenita Oquendo, Engineer Denis Ayos, lawyer Ma. Gemma Oquendo — and the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists.

The petitioners accused Fortun, who represents Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., and Ampatuan Sr. of breach of professional conduct “ by using and abusing legal remedies available and allowed under the rules” to unduly delay the proceedings.

“Respondent Atty. Fortun had astutely embarked in an untiring quest to obstruct, impede and degrade the administration of justice by filing countless causes of action, all in the hope of burying the principal issue of his client’s participation or guilt in the murder of 57 persons that ill-fated day of Nov. 23, 2009,” the petitioners added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101123nat2.html

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