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Playing dumb? EDITORIAL 11/30/2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Playing dumb?

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Malacañang is either dumb or playing dumb, not being able to read the underlying message as it welcomed France’s “modification” of its travel advisory against the Philippines to its citizens on account of the rising criminal activities in the country, but still citing terrorist risk in the Mindanao area.

Warning foreigners — or at least French citizens and Japanese nationals, both of whom have been issued travel advisories against heightened criminal activities in the country — was welcomed by Noynoy and his government when these travel advisories still cast a negative picture of the country, besides which, there is still that warning of terrorist activity in Mindanao.

The deputy presidential spokesman, Abigail Valte, came up with the claim that the French advisory spoke only of the threat of a terrorist activity now just situated in Mindanao, and not in the entire Philippines.
Is the Palace now saying that there is basis for France and the rest of the foreign countries that issued a travel advisory for their citizens?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com1.html

No hope for an independent Congress FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/30/2010

No hope for an independent Congress

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
One of the major reasons both chambers of Congress can never hope to shed off their image of being an extension of Malacañang is its allies’ eagerness to approve, even without too much study and review — if at all — of anything that the Palace occupant wants.

A case in point is the amended amnesty proclamation issued by Noynoy Aquino, to correct the many glaring legal errors found in the first amnesty proclamation.

Even before the amended copy reached the Senate, presidential ally Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona, who is succeeding in portraying himself as a pure-bred Palace lackey, was ready to defend the legally-flawed amnesty proclamation of Noynoy Aquino, even stating that they have enough numbers for the Senate to concur in this resolution.

The same was done in the House of Representatives, where it was certain to have the House concurrence, despite the legal flaws.

And even with the amended amnesty proclamation, there went Guingona, saying that there will no longer be any need for plenary debates, as the majority will simply take this up in a caucus and quickly give their concurrence to the amnesty..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com2.html

Hamas woos hearts and minds of Gazans focus 11/30/2010

Hamas woos hearts and minds of Gazans


GAZA CITY — Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip three years ago but is now worried that the Islamist movement has been losing the hearts and minds of the Palestinian territory’s 1.5 million residents.

Seeking to regain the popularity lost through political repression and the often heavy hand of its police, Hamas has embarked on a door-to-door public relations campaign called “Communication and Affection.”

The charm offensive, due to wrap up at year end, is the second time Hamas has gone courting public opinion since it ousted forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ secular Fatah party in deadly street fighting in 2007.

By mobilizing party officials and even government members to visit homes and sit down with people, Hamas aims to “restore its popularity and clarify some of its policies,” spokesman Taher al-Nunu told AFP.

“We have taken notice of the excesses of the security services and police, and of rumors about that within Palestinian public opinion,” said Nunu, whose party scored a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in 2006.
“That is why this campaign was necessary to strengthen relations with citizens and to remind them of services provided.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com3.html

Who’s the oxymoron? NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 11/30/2010

Who’s the oxymoron?

Armida Siguion-Reyna
You must have heard about the video now making the rounds in the Internet, explicitly showing how the morally upright Pro-Life Philippines bullied supporters of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill at the Manila Cathedral last Nov. 20.

Explicit as adjective refers to what is “stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.” Explicit as noun means “the closing words of a text, manuscript, early printed book, or chanted liturgical text,” derived from Middle English: late Latin: “Here ends.” At mukhang dito na nga ang simula ng wakas ng pagpa-power trip ng Simbahang Katoliko dito sa Pilipinas.

It’s a short video, running only up to 6:54 minutes, but still could shock the daylights out of you, as it did me. I never thought people could be this rude, especially those who purport to walk in God’s path. This can’t be justified as an example of righteous indignation, either. What’s clearly bullying cannot be compared to Jesus driving the money lenders out of the temple that Sabbath Day..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com4.html

Elegy for liberalism? AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 11/30/2010

Elegy for liberalism?

Ken Fuller
A few more second-hand or remain-dered book bargains, three of which will be mentioned here, have recently come this outsider’s way. Each overlaid by a somewhat elgiac air, all three are, coincidentally, by British authors.

Cider with Rosie has an international reputation, being the 1959 memoir of author Laurie Lee’s childhood in a Gloucestershire countryside which, like its millennium-old lifestyle, was beginning to disappear as the horse gave way to the internal combustion engine. While it’s true that you can still find expanses of English countryside today, it is the slow life, its pace dictated by the seasons, that has gone.

Lee was born in 1914, and when the book closes he is in his teens, but patches of England’s rural past which he so poetically describes maintained an obstinate if precarious existence for several decades after this period. Indeed, the first five years of my own life, commencing in 1946, were not dissimilar to Lee’s. Like him, I was born into a fatherless family (although my own lacked the small army of siblings that distinguished his) in an impoverished rural setting..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com5.html

Copenhagen plans super highways ... for bikes FEATURE 11/30/2010

Copenhagen plans super highways ... for bikes


COPENHAGEN — Copenhagen, one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, has begun turning its extensive network of cycle paths into bike highways in an effort to push more commuters to leave their cars at home.

Considered one of Europe’s two “bicycle capitals” along with Amsterdam, Copenhagen counts more bicycles than people and cycling is so popular that its numerous bike paths can become congested.

Two-wheeler traffic jams are especially regular on the main Noerrebrogade thoroughfare used by around 36,000 cyclists a day.

“You have to elbow your way in to go forward and some cyclists aren’t always thoughtful,” complains 22-year-old university student Lea Bresell.

The creation of bike highways “comes right on time,” says Danish Cyclist Federation spokesman Frits Bredal.
“Copenhagen’s roads are overloaded with people who want to ride their bicycles in all kinds of weather,” he says..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com6.html

War with N. Korea poses nightmare scenarios focus 11/30/2010

War with N. Korea poses nightmare scenarios


WASHINGTON — A full-blown war on the Korean peninsula offers up a nightmare scenario that would cause appalling casualties and potentially trigger a nuclear exchange, experts and former officials say.

The crisis provoked by North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island this week makes the prospect of an all-out conflict look less remote, and US officials — mindful of the high-stakes — have carefully avoided talk of military action.

With an array of artillery trained on Seoul, North Korea could easily blast the glass towers of the South’s booming capital for days and kill huge numbers of civilians before US and South Korean forces prevailed, experts said.

“Official Pentagon models assume it would take months to win the war at a cost approaching one million casualties or more, all told, including dead and wounded,” Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told AFP.

“And that’s without nuclear weapons being used,” said O’Hanlon, who wrote a book looking at the effects of a potential war..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101130com7.html

Delay in amnesty concurrence seen By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 11/30/2010


Delay in amnesty concurrence seen

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 11/30/2010

The long sought amnesty by rebel soldiers who figured in several incidents of mutiny against the former Arroyo administration is expected to be indefinitely delayed due to the insistence of a ranking member of the Liberal party to create a special committee that would study the legal implications of the presidential amnesty proclamation.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House committee on national defense, said the presidential proclamation should first go through the special committee before his panel would agree to the presidential prerogative.

The move doused hopes that the rebel soldiers, including then Navy Lt Sr. Grade now Sen. Antonio Tirllanes who led the Magdalo soldiers in taking over the Oakwood Suites in Makati, would spend Christmas with their families.

Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas of the Liberal party, who heads that House committee on justice, also shared Biazon’s view that a panel should be created before concurring with the presidential amnesty.

The subject of the panel’s study would be those involved in the Oakwood Munity in 2003, Marine Headquarters Standoff in Fort Bonifacio in 2006 and the siege as the Mania Peninsula in 2007 where members of the media were arrested for allegedly obstructing police operations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed1.html

Sotto flays Palace on ploy to make him budget villain By Angie M. Rosales 11/30/2010

Sotto flays Palace on ploy to make him budget villain

By Angie M. Rosales 11/30/2010

Instead of depicting him as an obstructionist, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III yesterday said Malacañang should instead justify P880 million in the Department of Health ‘s (DoH) budget that would would be solely spent on the purchase of contraceptives.

Sotto took issue with President Aquino’s spokesmen who he said are making him appear as an “obstructionist” in the approval of the P1.6 trillion national budget.

The senator issued the statement after an “assurance” made by Palace deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte that the entire P32.7 budget proposed next year for the Department of Health (DoH) will be used for the government’s population control program.

Valte said only a portion of it will actually be used to fund the purchase of contraceptives.

Sotto has been open in questioning the appropriation of some P880 million for acquisition of condoms, pills and other forms of contraceptives in the DoH’s 2011 budget, supposedly for distribution to the poor..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed2.html

UN condemns killing of aid worker in Philippines By Michaela P. del Callar 11/30/2010

UN condemns killing of aid worker in Philippines

By Michaela P. del Callar 11/30/2010

The United Nations yesterday condemned the killing of a Filipino aid worker in the restive southern Philippines, but said the attack would not affect its food distribution efforts there.

The worker was helping the UN’s World Food Program deliver rations on Friday when a gunman attacked the agency’s truck outside Marawi city on Mindanao island, where many armed groups including Islamic militants operate.

The UN asked the Philippine government to continuously ensure the security of all its staff members in its areas of operation after the Filipino aid worker was killed while distributing relief food to residents in conflict-stricken Mindanao.

UN World Food Program country director Stephen Anderson condemned the attack but assured that it will not suspend its operations in Mindanao. The UN worker, whose name he did not divulge, is a local-hired worker and is not a full-time staff of the WFP.

“WFP strongly deplores this act of wanton violence that has led to the tragic and senseless loss of life of an individual who was assisting in the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” Anderson said in a statement.

The shooting incident occurred while a WFP contracted truck was off-loading rice and mung beans for the organization’s food-for-work distribution on Nov. 26, in Barangay Maul, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, which resulted in the death of the truck driver’s assistant..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed3.html

RP willing to send non-military assets as Seoul bolsters troops By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/30/2010

RP willing to send non-military assets as Seoul bolsters troops

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/30/2010

Sending Filipino soldiers to the Korean Peninsula is not the primary concern of the Philippines even as it welcomes the prospect of the United States invoking the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to help defend South Korea against North Korea in the event they go into a full-blown war.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday said security officials have not discussed about that scenario presented by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile the other day because the repatriation of Filipinos remains their top priority in case the tensions between the estranged Korean nations escalate.

Lacierda implied that if South Korea indeed asks for help with or without the US bringing the MDT into play then the Philippines would be willing to deploy doctors and nurses for humanitarian assistance only and not members of the military, given the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) limited capability and resources.

“What is definite is we can provide humanitarian assistance to the South Korean government if and when we are asked to provide assistance... What we are more concerned really is the repatriation or evacuation of our Filipino nationals. We have not discussed anything with regard to military assistance,” Lacierda said in a chance interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed4.html

WikiLeaks unleashes flood of damaging US cables; RP gets 1.8 K 11/30/2010

WikiLeaks unleashes flood of damaging US cables; RP gets 1.8 K

WASHINGTON — Whistle-blower Web Site WikiLeaks has unleashed a flood of US cables detailing shocking diplomatic episodes, from a nuclear standoff with Pakistan to Arab leaders urging a strike on Iran.
The US cables on the Philippines are said to number close to 1,800 but they are yet to be posted on the WikiLeaks Web Site.

The leaked memos describe a Chinese government bid to hack into Google; plans to reunite the Korean peninsula after the North’s eventual collapse; Saudi Arabia’s king call to the US to bomb Iran to halt its nuclear drive.

The confidential cables, most of which date from 2007 to last February, also reveal how the State Department has ordered diplomats to spy on foreign officials and even to obtain their credit card and frequent flier numbers.

The memos, released on Sunday, recount closed-door remarks such as Yemen’s president telling a top US general: “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours” when discussing secretive US strikes on al-Qaeda.

A description of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said he required the near-constant assistance of a “voluptuous blond” Ukrainian nurse..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed5.html

Malacañang takes credit for record-high lotto jackpot 11/30/2010

Malacañang takes credit for record-high lotto jackpot

Malacañang has found a fresh way to skirt rising suspicions with respect to the recent recovery of the Office of the President (OP) on the supervision and control of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the ballooning jackpot prize in the 6/55 Grand Lotto draw it operates which soared to a record-high P730 million by citing so-called “anecdotal” stories of commonplace citizens.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in an interview, yesterday shared a story about a taxi driver who reportedly considers the biggest ever lotto prize as a reflection of a clean and honest management of the PCSO under the new administration.

“This is really the first time that the prize reached that high in this administration so he (taxi driver) is of the belief that the PCSO is being managed well. According to the taxi driver, it is a reflection of honesty and integrity of the Aquino administration,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda even implied that the way people have been queuing outside lotto outlets to be able to bet and get a fair chance at winning the biggest jackpot prize ever may have reduced the output of those who are operating the illegal numbers game..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101130hed6.html

Claims linking Lacson over Dacer-Corbito case scrutinized 11/30/2010

Claims linking Lacson over Dacer-Corbito case scrutinized

Citing additional evidence, the camp of Sen. Panfilo Lacson urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima anew to take a closer look at claims linking the senator to the Dacer-Corbito case.

Lacson’s lawyers said the new evidence included the Aug. 2, 2010 affidavit of former SPO4 Reynaldo Oximoso Jr. and the Aug. 9, 2010 affidavit of former Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino.

In their five-page letter, lawyers Alexander Poblador and Joseph Joemer Perez said they were forced to write De Lima because of former police colonel Cezar Mancao’s request to demand that former police colonel Glenn Dumlao act as a state witness in the case or have charges against him re-filed.

They disputed Mancao’s insinuation that Dumlao’s exoneration of Lacson was a turnaround from his previous testimony allegedly implicating Lacson, and that this exoneration was contrary to the terms of Dumlao’s exclusion from charges.

“We are constrained to write to you directly to set the record straight and refute Mancao’s allegations, which are obviously targeted not only at Dumlao but also at our client. The truth is that while Dumlao has implicated others, he has never implicated Sen. Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito case,” they said, adding nowhere in Dumlao’s affidavits contained any statement implicating Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101130nat6.html

NPA top leader Gregorio ‘Ka Roger’ Rosal is dead? By Mario J. Mallari 11/30/2010

NPA top leader Gregorio ‘Ka Roger’ Rosal is dead?

By Mario J. Mallari 11/30/2010

The military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) yesterday expressed belief that communist New People’s Army (NPA) top leader Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal is already dead.

Citing intelligence reports which cropped up two years ago and the continuing silence of the NPA spokesman, Solcom chief Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali said the military is inclined to believe Rosal is gone.

Detabali, however, admitted there is no confirmation of such report.

“There was intelligence report that he (Rosal) expired while being transported out of the hospital…about two years ago and all NPA surrenderees, including top ranking ones, they never mentioned about Ka Roger,” said Detabali. “…but we cannot confirm, validate that,” said Detabali, noting the absence of the body.

Asked if he believes that Rosal is really gone, the Solcom chief replied “he is gone.”

Detabali, however, admitted the information the military has is third hand..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101130nat3.html

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