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Business unimpressed EDITORIAL 03/14/2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Business unimpressed

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Overtaken by the devastation in Japan was a recent Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) study that showed how lowly the Philippines ranks on business plans among Japanese companies at the moment in contrast to Noynoy’s assertion in his recent Singapore visit that the overall climate in the country under his presidency is now more conducive to business and investments.

The survey undertaken in November and December last year among Japanese firms based overseas and the results released recently showed that the Philippines was pretty low in being seen as conducive to business investments, and Noynoy and his propagandists can hardly say that this was still the perception of businessmen under the Arroyo regime.

China and the United States remain favorites in setting up and expanding businesses, Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, is emerging as a new favored destination.

Jetro indicated that the existence of a free trade agreement with Thailand was a major factor in Japanese businesses decision to flock to that country outside the US and China..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com1.html

Empty ‘achievement’ FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/14/2011

Empty ‘achievement’

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Coming home from his visits from Indonesia and Singapore, there went Noynoy again, portraying his visits to our neighbors as a very successful one, with some many businessmen from Indonesia and Singapore expressing interest to invest in country.

Naturally he added these businessmen believe that he is on the right path, and has instituted the reforms needed.

He also added that they are closely watching the developments and policies of the government.

In other words, the investors Noynoy talks about are still on a “wait and see” mode, which can hardly be called a “success.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com2.html

Learning moments DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/14/2011

Learning moments

Herman Tiu Laurel
Global media enhance the learning moments from last Friday’s dramatic magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We have learned again from this latest earthquake and tsunami. First, that we have not seen the peak of the earthquake intensities our earth and Mother Nature are capable of: The 1995 Kobe 7.2-magnitude earthquake demonstrated the physical devastation to industrial infrastructure, the 2004 Indian Ocean undersea quake visually highlighted the trans-oceanic devastation in lives (240,000 killed) a tsunami can wreak on coastlines of continents thousands of miles apart, the Sichuan magnitude 8 earthquake in China in 2008 pictured for the world the impact of such seismic disasters in a mountain setting as landslides blocking rivers threaten inundations of already hard hit quake refugees. The Christchurch, New Zealand quake shows that no place on earth, even the idyllic, can be complacent. The current Sendai quake highlights the risk of mega-quakes to nuclear power plants.

The world, especially the Philippine proponents of the new nuclear power project, undoubtedly watched with great anxiety the events at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant. Commissioned 40 years ago and the oldest of the over 50 nuclear plants in Japan, the Light Water reactor Fukushima 1 power plant’s regular cooling system was disabled by the quake; its emergency power knocked out by the tsunami and back up battery-power cooling system didn’t suffice to cool down the reactor. While the Japanese military moved in emergency power the nuclear reactor continued overheating until explosions destroyed its concrete outer shell and broadcast all over the world. I followed the Fukushima events closely from the Japanese cable news NHK while following the analyses on RT (Russia Today, more comprehensive on Fukushima than CNN, BBC or Al Jazeera). Early evening the NHK put on screen the Japanese spokesman announcing that a total meltdown and major radiation leak had been averted.

For the past decade I have advocated the development of geothermal energy for the Philippines and crusaded against the proposal for a $1-billion new nuclear power plant. We are one of the richest in the world in geothermal energy, it makes no sense to indebt ourselves by another billion dollars and be dependent on uranium fuel monopolized by industrial countries. Our geothermal energy has proven to be one of the cheapest and most reliable for our energy needs. However, neither have I subscribed to the fear mongering of anti-nuke activists who caused our Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to be mothballed, which led to massive power shortages and billions wasted. The Fukushima power plant crisis should compel advocates of the new billion dollar nuclear power plant to pause; we hope they all join instead the campaign to push geothermal energy development to the maximum. The lesson of Fukushima for Filipinos: geothermal is the only alternative.

The Sendai, Japan earthquake and tsunami shifted the world’s focus away from Libyan crisis. Gadhafi started to turn the tide after the surprise of the armed insurrection that started in the eastern city of Benghazi. Today, it is clear that the turmoil in Libya is not the “people power” as it was in Tunisia or Egypt. The turmoil was a very well planned and deliberate attempt at a coup d’etat with armed insurrection. Western allegations of Gaddafi’s air force firing on civilian protestors were debunked by Russian satellite monitoring which showed no such flights. RT (Russia Today) also debunks alleged bombings as its resource persons said that no proof has been shown by the West that these have occurred, only CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera footage of jets flying overhead. Billowing plumes shown by Western media may really be artillery explosions. Rebel forces in expensive SUVs highlighted the “rich rebels,” as Argee Guevara noted; giving him the impression that the issue in Libya is not poverty, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt; the issue in Libyan is control of oil.

Two important developments in the Libyan situation are: 1) Hillary Clinton’s admission that Benghazi, stronghold of the rebels is the origin of many Afghan and Iraq al-Qaedas; 2) the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab League’s call for instituting a “No fly zone” over Libyan. Hillary report strengthened Gadhafi’s claims. The GCC and AL states are practically ruled by Western installed feudalistic clans where the more authentic “people power” are even today being suppressed violently. Amr Mousa, secretary general of the AL, is one of the two Western candidates to replace Mubarak. Gadhafi has criticized these Arab groupings repeatedly for their failure to oppose Western invasion of Iraq, inaction on the Palestine-Israel issues and subservience to the West. The only real independent, sovereign leader in this question of the “No fly zone” is Muammar Gadhafi, and if he survives this conspiracy against the socialism of Libya Gadhafi may just become the Arab people’s new Nasser.

In the Philippines, the people missed one learning moment when the mainstream media downplayed the P6-billion illegal tax write off Aquino III gave to Mirant and “Team Energy,” the past and present owners of the Pagbilao power plants, by Executive Order 27 of the President which does not have any legal cover for such as act. Taxation is the exclusive province of Congress. PeNoy cannot afford P 5.4-billion subsidy for millions of MRT-LRT commuters but he can afford it for one foreign power company?

(Tune to Sulo ng Pilipino, M-W-F, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8 : “ARMM Hocus PCOS?”; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and listen to our select radio and GNN shows)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com5.html

P-Noy ratifies GMA? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 03/14/2011

P-Noy ratifies GMA?

Jonathan De la Cruz
With apologies to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Asia. In the midst of heated, if not vicious public debate, over the state of our governance and as we enter a month of deep reflection beginning with Ash Wednesday, we are lifting the paper’s editorial of Wednesday, March 9, 2011, entitled “Obama ratifies Bush” to initiate discussions on how well P-Noy and his advisers have kept up with their major campaign promises after almost a year in office. The WSJ editorial notes, not without a tinge of irony, if not derision, that US President Barack Obama has openly discarded his campaign rhetoric on the Guantanamo (Gitmo) trials and, necessarily, the Bush methods on the “war on terror,” as realities on the ground sank in. In a somewhat gleeful “We-told-you-so” moment, the editorial advised that Obama had to swallow his words about these ongoing trials notwithstanding his having ridiculed and denounced the same on the campaign trail as “undemocratic and totalitarian” and unrepresentative of America’s core values. It took him two years to grudgingly realize he was wrong and Bush was right after all. But at least he is changing course despite loud protests from his supporters on the left. Whether P-Noy and his advisers admit it, they are and have been doing an Obama and how! Here’s what the WSJ said:.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com4.html

Saudis crave change but wary of revolt ANALYSIS 03/14/2011

.Saudis crave change but wary of revolt


RIYADH — The Saudi people hunger for deep political and economic reform but the failure of a “Day of Rage” called by cyber activists on Friday showed they are not ready to revolt, analysts said.

There were no reports of unrest in the kingdom on Friday as security forces launched a massive clampdown to deter demonstrators from answering a Facebook call to take to the streets.

“I think the Saudi people are prepared for change but not ready to revolt. This explains why calls for protests miserably failed,” human rights activist Fuad al-Farhan told AFP.

Rallies to press for democratic reform in the oil-rich absolute monarchy were supposed to start after Muslim weekly prayers on Friday but the mosques emptied with no signs of unrest, only a menacing security presence.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com3.html

Are we prepared? SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 03/14/2011

Are we prepared?

Dinah S. Ventura
The world has been shaken with both political and natural forces even before we could bid the first quarter of 2011 goodbye. First, the unfortunate events that sensitized our country’s relations with Hong Kong, Taiwan and China; then the Korean tension, upheavals in Egypt and Libya, and now the Middle East have not only sorely affected the prospects of our “modern-day heroes,” the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), but also our future as a nation.

The natural disasters that affected Australia, then New Zealand and now Japan have also left us reeling with shock and apprehension. What’s next? Are we next?

Amid all the images of massive destruction that hit northeastern Japan, some of us have wondered if those dire predictions will come true, and that we should be preparing for “the big one.” But if a more organized and richer country like Japan can be rendered helpless, what chance do we have, knowing that we have been warned countless time for so long, and yet nothing really has been done to prepare us for anything?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com7.html

Disasters and more HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 03/14/2011

Disasters and more

Aldrin Cardon
Disasters come in many forms.

Mine came last Saturday, when what was usually a three-km drive to the Mall of Asia became a three-hour ordeal when traffic came to a virtual standstill due to a pyrotechnics show.

While I think the SM management did what it could to help ease traffic flow by providing hundreds of security personnel within the mall’s vicinity, the local government of Pasay and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) did not make their presence felt.

Their absence made the day worse than the evacuation of people living in coastal areas in anticipation of a tsunami imported from the sea beds of Japan the day before.

A simple human stupidity contributed to my nightmare. He comes in the form of a driver who had too much alcohol to drive but still did..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110314com6.html

Leaked report shows Merci impeach in bag By Gerry Baldo 03/14/2011


Leaked report shows Merci impeach in bag

By Gerry Baldo 03/14/2011

The House committee on justice headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas will impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez based on a copy of the committee report, still unnumbered, “setting forth the articles of impeachment” against Gutierrez purposely leaked to media yesterday.

The unnumbered committee report and unnumbered House Resolution on the Articles of Impeachment reach the House reporters yesterday, a day before the justice panel would have submitted them to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

“The Committee on Justice respectfully recommends the approval of this Committee Report finding probable cause to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez for Betrayal of Public Trust and the attached House Resolution No. _______ setting forth the Articles of Impeachment on the matter of the Verified Impeachment Complaint dated 22 July 2010 and the second Verified Impeachment Complaint dated 3 August 2010,” the unnumbered committee report said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110314hed1.html

Convene experts to assess Japan fallout, Aquino told By Angie M. Rosales and Pat Santos 03/14/2011

Convene experts to assess Japan fallout, Aquino told

By Angie M. Rosales and Pat Santos 03/14/2011

President Aquino was asked yesterday to move in convening a group to assess the possible fallout of the current tragedy that is happening in Japan, on the economy and the possibility that a nuclear crisis in that country would affect the Philippines.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday urged President Aquino to immediately convene the country’s top scientists and economists to address the concerns that the administration will have to deal with in the wake of the simultaneous crisis abroad.

Enrile joined those who raised alarm over a radiation fallout due to a nuclear meltdown in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Japan, if and when it reaches the country’s shores.

“The President, I think, should convene the scientists and study the situation carefully, all those things that happened in Japan. The President should put up a group of experts, especially scientists, to determine whatever will be the effects on us..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110314hed2.html

Quake death toll ‘to exceed 10,000’ as Japan fights nuclear accident 03/14/2011

Quake death toll ‘to exceed 10,000’ as Japan fights nuclear accident

Japan battled a feared meltdown of two reactors at a quake-hit nuclear plant yesterday, as the full horror of the disaster emerged on the ravaged northeast coast where more than 10,000 were feared dead.

An explosion at the aging Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant blew apart the building housing one of its reactors last Saturday, a day after the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan unleashed a monster 10-meter tsunami.

The atomic emergency widened yeterday as the cooling systems vital for preventing overheating failed at a second reactor, and the government warned there was a risk it too could be hit with a blast.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the situation at the stricken power plant remainedgrave, and that Japan was facing its worst crisis since the end of World War II — which left the beaten country in ruins..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110314hed3.html

Envoys finally start search for Pinoys in disaster zones By Michaela P. del Callar 03/14/2011

Envoys finally start search for Pinoys in disaster zones

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/14/2011

Philippine Embassy officials in Tokyo finally decided to head out by land to check on the status of Filipinos residing in devastated areas of Japan after Ambassador Manuel Lopez said the condition of 4,500 Filipinos in northern Japan affected by the twin disasters of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a resulting tsunami remains unknown.

Lopez said Filipinos in Tokyo, Osaka and the western regions of Japan, far from the epicenter of the earthquake, are relatively safe.

An embassy team from Tokyo traveled by land to the north yesterday to check on the condition of Filipinos there and to extend them assistance following the 8.9 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunamis that hit Japan Friday. Hundreds were feared dead while scores remain missing.

“We are sending a team there to contact local authorities and our own community leaders and to inquire if there are Filipino casualties,” Lopez said. “The embassy’s attention is focused on the 4,500 Filipinos in the northeast region, including Sendai City.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110314hed4.html

Third Pinoy fatality in New Zealand quake identified 03/14/2011

Third Pinoy fatality in New Zealand quake identified

The third Filipina fatality in the magnitude-6.3 quake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand last month has been identified.

Erica Avir Reyes Nora, 20, was one of four persons whose names were released by New Zealand Police yesterday.

Also confirmed dead last week were Ivy Jane Cabunilas, 33, and Jewel Jose Francisco, 26.

The remains of eight other Filipinos who perished in the quake have yet to be identified. They are: Jessie Lloyd Redoble, John Kristoffer Chua, Ezra Mae Medalle, Emmabel Anoba, Mary Louise
Anne Amantillo, Valquin Bensurto, Rhea Mae Sumalpong, Lalaine Collado Agatep.

Christchurch, New Zealand’s second biggest city, was rocked by a destructive quake last February 22, killing 159.

Of this figure, about 100 were foreign citizens from Japan, China, the Philippines enrolled in a language school housed in the CTV building..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110314hed5.html

CPP scores Aquino for refusing to repeal Oil Deregulation Law 03/14/2011

CPP scores Aquino for refusing to repeal Oil Deregulation Law

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday scored the Aquino administration for its refusal to review and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law and undertake substantial measures to impose regulations amid continuing increases in prices of petroleum products.

In a statement, the CPP said that the Aquino administration’s inaction over the spiraling oil prices in the country only “shows that it is more interested in ensuring super-profit earnings of big foreign oil companies than protecting the socio-economic welfare of the people.”

“The Filipino people have been clamoring for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law,” said the CPP, adding “the Aquino government, however, has shown no interest in heeding the people’s cries.”

According to the CPP, big foreign oil companies have fully exploited the Oil Deregulation Law by relentlessly for more than a decade now, raising the retail prices of diesel and other petroleum products to rake in super-profits in complete disregard of its grave impact on the people’s daily lives..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110314nat4.html

Alfonso wins by landslide as congresswomanin Cagayan polls By Ted Boehnert 03/14/2011

Alfonso wins by landslide as congresswomanin Cagayan polls

By Ted Boehnert 03/14/2011

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — The last remaining vacant district seat in the Lower House was finally filled after the Commission on Elections proclaimed Abulug town Vice Mayor Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso yesterday as the duly elected representative in the second district of this province.

Alfonso, daughter of the late Rep. Florencio Vargas whose death last June caused the vacancy, earlier had beaten her opponent former Gov. Edgar Lara during the special congressional district election by a landslide win of about 43,000 votes.

Alfonso, a Lakas-Kampi-CMD candidate supported by the Team Cagayan coalition of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Gov. Alvaro Antonio, was proclaimed as the duly elected representative of the district covering northwestern Cagayan at 11 a.m. by lawyer Catherine Allas, provincial election officer.

According to Allas, she proclaimed Alfonso as the winner after the latter posted an insurmountable lead over Lara, which uncanvassed returns consisting of some 20,000 votes from the two remaining towns of Rizal and Calayan located at the extreme southern and northern parts of the district, can no longer substantially affect her victory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110314nat5.html

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