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Filipinos working abroad fuel real estate boom at home 12/16/2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Filipinos working abroad fuel real estate boom at home

12/16/2010
MANILA — The Philippines’ famous diaspora of overseas workers is fuelling a boom in the real estate market back home as they snap up houses and apartments to safeguard their futures.

Property prices have recovered strongly since the global financial crisis of 2008, with investments from the nine million Filipinos toiling away in foreign lands a significant factor, industry figures say.

“Overseas workers are moving the market. Properties now are selling and when there is demand, prices go up,” Emily Duterte, head of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, told AFP.

Industry sales nationwide this year are estimated to hit P300 billion ($6.9 billion) compared with about P100 billion each in 2009 and 2008, according to Claro Cordero from Jones Lang La Salle, a global real estate consultancy firm..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101216com6.html

Reason and the heart By Ronald Roy 12/16/2010

Reason and the heart

By Ronald Roy 12/16/2010
Smart kid, this grandson of mine. I just found out that Jack, who wants to be a lawyer a la Perry Mason, occasionally browses over my 50-year-old law textbooks with marginal scribbles. He stunned me when he said, “Gramps, I don’t see how the (Gloria) Arroyo people can claim Executive Order No.1 is an act of vindictiveness and discrimination. The President simply wants to know if they committed serious crimes, so what’s so wrong with that?”

Then he dropped a bomb: “Maybe the Supreme Court is the one being vindictive because the President clipped its budget — well, it is not quite like that, Jack — for austerity reasons.” Hmm, a little ahead of his age, this kid, who manages to keep abreast of current news. Well, I’d like to share the following insights drawn from my conversations with Jack regarding the constitutional guarantee of the equal protection clause (EPC).

Shorn of suspected ill motives shrouded in highfalutin legalese and specious reasoning, the EPC is an uncomplicated common-sense principle that nobody should be discriminated against for such reasons as relate to gender (e.g. homosexuals and lesbians being denied employment opportunities), color (e.g. Ilocanos being segregated at a restaurant section away from fair-skinned Visayans), religion (e.g. public transport facilities banning members of a particular non-Christian church), and physical disability or defect (e.g. denial by public amusement places of entrance for the handicapped)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101216com7.html

Webb, et al. lawyers to sue Alfaro, RTC judge By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/16/2010

AS DOJ EYES NEW VIZCONDE PROBE

Webb, et al. lawyers to sue Alfaro, RTC judge

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/16/2010

Defense counsel Jose Flaminiano says their camp is eyeing the possibility of filing criminal charges against Jessica Alfaro, the prosecution’s “star” witness in the Vizconde massacre case, for perjury. The defense lawyers are also looking at filing a serious administrative coomplaint based on plagiarism against the Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Amelita Tolentino who had convicted Hubert Jeffrey Webb and six others in connection with the Vizconde massacre case.

Flaminiano stressed that Tolentino’s decision, when compared with the memorandum submitted by the prosecution, doubts are also raised over her evaluation of the evidence presented since she merely copied the prosecutor’s opinion.

“We cannot let this pass. She does not deserve to be a Court of Appeals Justice,” Flaminiano said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed1.html

US, China praise Gloria — WikiLeaks By Michaela P. del Callar 12/16/2010

US, China praise Gloria — WikiLeaks

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/16/2010

American and Chinese officials were impressed with former President Arroyo’s leadership but were bothered by a lack of transparency and the corruption that hounded her administration, according to classified documents released this week by WikiLeaks.

Beijing was impressed with Arroyo’s firm leadership, calling her “a good leader,” while American officials appreciated her economic reforms and “extremely successful” US-backed counter-terrorism campaign in Mindanao, WikiLeaks quoted Hu Zhengyue, former director general for Asian Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying.

“Beijing sees Arroyo as a good leader because she has shown that ‘she is in control.’ DAS John agreed Arroyo has stabilized Philippine leadership and enacted strong fiscal and economic policy,” the March 5, 2007 cable, which originated from the US Embassy in Beijing, said, citing a meeting between Hu and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric John.

But John “stressed that Beijing and Washington must encourage Manila to continue working hard to promote transparency and good governance,” according to WikiLeaks.

China has recognized that corruption was the second most significant problem under Arroyo after poverty, John cited Hu as saying, according to the leaked cable that mentioned the Philippines..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed2.html

Senate drops safeguard provision on CCT savings By Gerry Baldo 12/16/2010

Senate drops safeguard provision on CCT savings

By Gerry Baldo 12/16/2010

The House minority bared yesterday the removal of a provision in next year’s budget that would prevent the unused portion of the massive P21 billion budget for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from turning into savings the use of which would be under the discretion of the Office of the President the following year.

Without the provision, savings from the CCT could easily become part of the President’s own “pork barrel,” Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay told reporters.

During a House interpellation before the ratification of the budget, Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya, House appropriations committee chairman, indicated that Sen.Franklin Drilon, a staunch ally of President Aquino, insisted on removing the provision, saying it is unconstitutional.

Drilon, who is Senate finance committee chairman, supposedly said removing the provision would “limit the constitutional power of the President to declare savings and likewise realign them.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed3.html

Noy to announce alternatives to truth body By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/16/2010

Noy to announce alternatives to truth body

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/16/2010

President Aquino is set to announce his decision next week on the legal recourse Malacañang is going to take in saving the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) following the Supreme Court’s (SC) nullification of his Executive Order 1 (EO 1) which created that body.

Speaking to reporters in Occidental Mindoro yesterday, Aquino said meetings are being held daily by the members of his legal team to arrive at the best solution to resolve this matter.

“There are many ways (to defend PTC). We are going to announce (our decision) by next week. The legal panel has been meeting everyday to determine what the next step will be. The evidence is already coming in and the method or process is the only aspect being discussed (right now),” Aquino said, stressing that debates are being conducted among his counsels who are assessing the available options, including the amendment of EO 1, the creation of another body, or that which was suggested by his adviser for special concerns, Magdangal Elma, to just have the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) handle the PTC’s job..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed4.html

Gov’t to resolve massacre; Jinggoy wants compensation law By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 12/16/2010

 Gov’t to resolve massacre; Jinggoy wants compensation law
By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 12/16/2010
Malacañang yesterday acknowledged the Aquino government’s responsibility in resolving the Vizconde killings, with the authorities back to square one after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted the primary suspect and the six others in the Vizconde massacre case which spanned 15 years.

Following Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Raul Bacalzo’s announcement that the Vizconde massacre case will be reinvestigated, deputy presidential spokeman Abigail Valte said it goes without saying that the national government has to support this move to bring the real perpetrators to justice.

“That is the duty of the government — to close these cases and to make sure that the accused are brought to justice,” Valte told reporters at a press briefing yesterday.

Valte said President Aquino has not as yet given any official directive to the government’s law enforcement agencies on this, after issuing a statement the other day, asking his officials to prepare a briefer on this issue
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed5.html

Military beefs up intel ops on terror threats reports 12/16/2010

Military beefs up intel ops on terror threats reports

12/16/2010
The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (East-mincom) has intensified intelligence operations to thwart any possible attacks by terrorist groups following the spread of text messages regarding bomb-making training of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants in Liguasan Marsh.

Eastmincom chief Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero said he is not taking any chances on this as he ordered his troops to validate the information that the group of JI militant Abdulbasset Usman are now conducting training on bomb-making, apparently for a future plot.

Tabaquero said that text messages regarding Usman’s activities circulated through text messages all over Mindanao, particularly in Maguindanao and General Santos City, starting Sunday.

“We cannot outrightly dismiss this kind of information so as part of pre-cautionary measures I have ordered intensified intelligence operations to validate the report,” said Tabaquero..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101216hed6.html

House scraps P20-million budget to buy condoms, contraceptives By Gerry Baldo 12/16/2010

House scraps P20-million budget to buy condoms, contraceptives

By Gerry Baldo 12/16/2010

Advocates of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill in the House of Representatives yesterday suffered a big setback even as the P200-million budget for the purchase of condoms and contraceptives was removed from the budget.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said that the pro-RH groups suffered a devastating defeat following the decision of the bicameral conference committee to scrap the budget for contraceptives.

“The pro-RH group was defeated in the first encounter on contraceptives and condoms. The House ratified yesterday the bicam report on the budget where theP200-million budget for condoms and contraceptives was removed on the initiative of the pro-Life group in Congress and the ‘noisy’ pro-RH group could not do anything about it,” Golez said yesterday.

Golez said that the removal of the budget for contraceptives shows that the bill does not have the support of a majority of the members of the panel which is composed of members of both Houses of Congress..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101216nat1.html

Pag-IBIG execs liable for Globe Asiatique’s billion-peso scams By Angie M. Rosales 12/16/2010

Pag-IBIG execs liable for Globe Asiatique’s billion-peso scams

By Angie M. Rosales 12/16/2010

Senate probers hinted at possible liability of top officials of Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG) in the multibillion-peso housing mess with Globe Asiatique Realty Corp.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, said axe will likely fall on the board of trustees of Pag-IBIG at the time of the supposed transaction and former Vice President Noli de Castro will not be spared, if proven that he was at the helm of the project then.

As the panel wrapped up its inquiry into the case and take up remaining matters in a series of technical working group (TWG) before the committee prepares its report, Osmeña said those to be held accountable are those “at the policy and operational level” of Pag-IBIG.

“At the policy level, the board of trustees (will likely be held responsible) because they opened a new lending window for GA and this information was held from the other interested parties..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101216nat3.html

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