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Fast buck culture EDITORIAL 04/01/2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fast buck culture

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Two distinct issues were prominent the other day, one of which was the execution of three Filipino drug mules in China and the other, a Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (Perc) survey showing the Philippines remaining among the most corrupt in Asia despite Noynoy’s bravado about the straight path and clean governance.

Both have a common denominator, which is the current culture of a fast buck among Filipinos that is a reinforcing trait from the penchant of corruption among those in the government and the poverty that it causes.

Easy money is associated with landing a job in government, the higher the better, since positions of power mean bigger and easier ways to obtain wealth..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com1.html

Into a cover up FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/01/2011

Into a cover up

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
With so many questions left unanswered following the easy return to the country of former fugitive Sen. Ping Lacson, what appears clear these days is the ongoing cover up of Noynoy officials — including the Malacañang tenant.

All indications point to a cover up of covert tracks from administration officials, nothwithstanding threats from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to conduct an investigation into the issues involving the claimed bogus travel document Lacson presented to the immigration official stationed in Cebu, who had not only met him but had given him VIP treatment, along with De Lima’s claim of a reinvestigation of the Dacer-Corbito double murder case for closure.

Still it must be asked: Have De Lima’s announced investigations — which are much too many — ever gotten anywhere?

One recalls the announced probe of the Department of Justice (DoJ) into the La Salle Bar bombing incident, shortly after the bombing occurred, and with full media play. Then De Lima said that they already know who the suspects are, but sought the help of Vice President Jojo Binay to bring in one of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) members for questioning. Binay agreed, presented the alleged suspect, who, from all accounts, had an air tight alibi..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com2.html

Libya’s rebels will need training, not just guns ANALYSIS 04/01/2011

Libya’s rebels will need training, not just guns


WASHINGTON — If the West decides to arm Libya’s disorganized rebel forces, they will have to deploy trainers on the ground and not merely deliver crates of weapons, former US officers and officials said.

With opposition forces in a panicky retreat in the face of tank and artillery fire from Moamer Kadhafi’s troops, the United States and its allies are weighing arming the rebels to back up an air campaign already under way.

The opposition lacks anti-tank weapons, radios and other basics, but above all the disjointed, chaotic force needs some rudimentary training, experts said Wednesday.

Just providing equipment without instruction would mean “a lot of money that would be wasted,” said Dakota Wood, a retired Marine officer and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com3.html

Grieving NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 04/01/2011


Armida Siguion-Reyna
Questions abound, such as from those who, while immeasurably saddened by the death through lethal injection of Elizabeth Batain, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Ramon Credo, react to news that the three were not officially OFWs, but had left the country in 2009 on tourist visas. Is it true that the government had promised to send their children to school? What about the children of the legitimate OFWs who died at work or had lost their jobs in Libya, would government take care of them, too?

Before the sentence was carried out, Girlie Rodis’ Facebook thread observed “There seems to be more outrage over the Willie Revillame/Jan-jan bad-on-TV behavior that what’s about to happen in China.” Posters came up varied reactions, with Rodis herself “personally more upset about the executions, although both incidents came about due to people’s desperation over poverty, and other people’s abuse of them.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com4.html

Belgian PM writes to P-Noy C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 04/01/2011

Belgian PM writes to P-Noy

Jonathan De la Cruz
I got hold of Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme’s letter to P-Noy dated March 16, 2011 whose import needs to be publicly advised considering that Belgium has been a firm and consistent partner in many of our development, peace and related initiatives for years. It also bears noting that it currently holds the rotating presidency of the powerful European Union (EU) whose members have been actively involved many fields of mutual endeavor, here and in the international arena.

In reiterating his country’s keen interest in further enhancing relations and bilateral cooperation between our two countries, Leterme sounds a call to find ways to work closely together in addressing practical challenges in the development of such mutually beneficial arrangements. He was particularly interested in the execution of the Belgian government funded multibillion-peso Laguna Bay Rehabilitation Project which is a duly signed and perfected contract as determined by three Justice secretaries, including Secretary Leila de Lima, but whose standing and implementation remains in limbo no thanks to the seeming disdain and indifference accorded it by P-Noy’s economic managers. If left unattended, this is liable not only to be another irritant in the otherwise good relations between the EU and the Philippines but may spin out of control and cost us billions of pesos in taxpayer’s money in terms of litigation expenses and potential damages..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com5.html

A mother’s search in post-tsunami Japan focus 04/01/2011

A mother’s search in post-tsunami Japan


SHINOMAKI — Thousands of families are missing loved ones almost three weeks after a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated towns and lives along Japan’s northeast coast.

One of them is the family of this AFP reporter.

This is the story of Takako Suzuki, 67, who is still searching for a sign of life from her daughter, this reporter’s sister, amid the ruins of the small fishing port she has called home all her life.

Every evening Suzuki slips under the quilt of her futon shortly after sunset around 7 p.m. because there is nothing to do in the pitch darkness. This district of Ishinomaki still has no electricity, tap water or gas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com7.html

Hydro-electric swindle, again DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/01/2011

Hydro-electric swindle, again

Herman Tiu Laurel
Can anyone help me make heads or tails of statements made two weeks ago by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. president and chief executive officer? Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. said that when the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) was enacted in 2001, state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor)’s accumulated financial obligations stood at $16.39 billion. Then, in the same breath, he revealed that for the period of 2001 to 2010, his agency had already paid $11 billion in Napocor debts, including principal and interest, plus $7 billion in independent power producers (IPPs) obligations, all totaling $18 billion, but that the state power generating firm still had outstanding debts of $15.821 billion.

How in heaven or hell’s name could Napocor have started with a $16.39-billion debt and still end up with $15.821 billion, after supposedly paying out $18 billion over 10 years, amid massive privatization (at 70 percent as of 2008) of its fossil fuel, geothermal, and hydro-power generating as well as transmission assets?
Where did all that money go? And, despite hundreds of billions in additional charges to almost 12 million electricity consuming households and establishments, the debt practically remains the same after 10 years. Only the docility and credulity of the Filipino people, as induced by local media and the conspiracy of the political and economic ruling class, could have allowed this swindle to pass without any major revolt.
And a grand, stupendous swindle it is, committed with the dexterity of magicians right before the eyes of millions, over the forewarnings and protestations of consumer advocates such as the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore), the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Sulo ng Pilipino, EmPower, Kaakbay, and countless others.

Today, Psalm and its benefactors are aiming to raise the privatization level to 80 percent. The immediate target is, of course, Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, which serves the water needs of 12 million Metro Manila denizens plus those of surrounding provinces such as Pampanga, Bulacan, etc., not to mention irrigation for 35,000 hectares of farmlands, while producing 246 megawatts of electricity for the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) franchise area of at least five million connections.

Psalm actually declared a privatization winner already in 2010. But when the FDC sought complete and accurate information on the bidding for said project, it was flat-out denied, as Psalm claimed that the latter is not a party of interest, all the while requiring $2,500 for any requested document. The deal was only stopped when the Supreme Court (SC) declared a status quo ante until the agency can sufficiently provide such information.

Every Filipino today must really stop to think about these strange turn of events. Whether it is in toll ways, water concessions, or power projects, bid documents are no longer open to the public under the pretext of “confidentiality.” When did this come to be the rule in a “democracy,” more so in public projects imbued with public interest, where it has always been expected that the public has the basic right to know?

It’s good the current SC did right and stopped the Angat privatization on its track. But there are other very serious questions that must be raised, such as Psalm’s awarding of Angat to K-water (or Korea Water Resources Corp.), a 100-percent Korean firm, which violates the very fundamental constitutional rule of dominant corporate ownership of Filipinos in public works projects. In this case, it’s even worse, as K-water, which is not only foreign but also state-owned, will now be tasked to handle a strategic Philippine national utility!

One of the unexpected snags in this deal came from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) regulatory office, in tandem with Manila Water and Maynilad, all of whom raised objections to ensure their water supply commitments (as well as profit targets). But since the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) — a consortium led by China State Grid with the Sy group now at the helm — also hankers for Angat to provide the transmission firm’s “power stability and reliability needs,” in case of a shortage of supply, which sector gets served first and for which purpose?

It’s timely to point out that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the private company that runs the Fukushima nuclear reactors, is now rightly or wrongly under fire from many quarters for delaying radical measures to safeguard public safety. The Japanese government, otherwise known for its integrity and efficiency, was practically put in a bind as it could only play second fiddle to the private operator of the crippled nuclear reactors.

As told by war correspondent and former UN investigator Keith Harmon Snow to Russia Today: “What we would like to see is for the government to take control of these nuclear reactors from private corporations, because private corporations’ main purpose for existence is to maximize profits, and by maximizing profits in the nuclear sector, we are talking about minimizing concerns for public health and safety.”
We thus recall “Ondoy,” where the private water concessionaires’ alleged interest to fill the water reservoirs to the brim contributed to the over-accumulation and, consequently, the unmitigated release of water at the critical level. If such a calamity were to occur again, will the private concessionaires act to preserve public welfare or risk it for their bottom lines? Billions of tons of water can be just as devastating as a nuclear holocaust.

Likewise, if Angat were to be swindled from the people, then the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Complexes in Mindanao, the Caliraya-Botokan-Kalayaan Hydro Plants, the Sucat Thermal Plant, as well as Power Barges 101 and 104 will follow until nothing — repeat, NOTHING — is left. And no proceeds from these will ever redound to a reduction of Napocor’s debts, now representing 20 percent of our total P5-trillion national debt. This is but one of the many perils of privatization for the public welfare… and a swindle too tragic to bear.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM dwAD; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “NFA castration: Disaster in the making;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus select radio and GNN shows)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110401com6.html

Noynoy ally calls for impeach rules change By Angie M. Rosales 04/01/2011

Noynoy ally calls for impeach rules change

By Angie M. Rosales 04/01/2011
Fearing that the impeachment trial at the Senate against accused Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez won’t be finished by the time Congress is scheduled to adjourn sine die in June, and convening again on the third week of July, for the second State of the Nation Address of President Aquino, the presidential staunch ally in the Senate, Sen. Francis Pangilinan yesterday called for a change of rules covering the impeachment trial.

With the call, the Senate is likely to debate anew on its rules of procedure on impeachment trials after Pangilinan yesterday sought an amendment to these rules, a week after the senators adopted it in the plenary.

What Pangilinan wants is for the senators to vote immediately after the first case has been presented and argued, before proceeding to the next article of impeachment, the idea of which is that if the Ombudsman is convicted on the first charge, there would then no longer be a need for the Senate as an impeachment court to continue with the rest of the charges, since as long as a conviction is obtained, the rest of the charges no longer count..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110401hed1.html

Noynoy: Probe on Ping not a priority 04/01/2011

Noynoy: Probe on Ping not a priority

There he went again.
President Aquino has made clear the second time around his position that pursuing any investigation against his ally and former fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is not in the list of priorities for his administration.

The first time he insisted on a case concerning Lacson, of not being a priority, by way of a police manhunt, was when Aquino also stated publicly that ensuring the arrest of Lacson was not his priority, giving rise even then to the specualation that he was protecting his ally, Lacson.

Members of the media were also caught by surprise with Aquino’s nonchalant admission that he and Lacson already met in his office at Malacañang last Tuesday or three days after the senator surfaced and returned to the country following a 14-month hibernation to evade arrest..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110401hed2.html

Only 1 Pinoy remains on death row in China — DFA By Michaela P. del Callar 04/01/2011

Only 1 Pinoy remains on death row in China — DFA

By Michaela P. del Callar 04/01/2011

Another Filipino meted the death penalty without reprieve by lower Chinese courts for drug trafficking is awaiting the final verdict of China’s Supreme Court, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday said.

The man, whose identity is being withheld by the DFA upon the request of the family, will be the fourth Filipino to be executed in China if the high court affirms the death sentence.

The DFA clari-fied that there are no “73 Filipinos on death row” in China.

“With five criminal convictions resolved, only one case, which also concerns trafficking of illegal drugs, remains, pending review before China’s highest court,” the DFA said in a statement, adding that high level representations for clemency on his behalf have also been made by Philippine officials at various levels and on numerous occasions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110401hed3.html

CA lifts Euro general’s suspension 04/01/2011

CA lifts Euro general’s suspension

A ruling by the Court of Appeals (CA) has set aside the preventive suspension of one of the so-called “Euro-Generals” who went on a state subsidized junket to Russia two years ago.

In a 14-page decision the CA’s Fourth Division through Associate Justice Josefina Guevarra-Salonga overturned the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman placing P/ C Supt. Tomas Rentoy III under preventive suspension.

The appellate court reversed and set aside the order of Ombudsman Mercedtitas Gutierrez suspending Rentoy for his alleged involvement in the unlawful disbursement of PNP funds amounting toP2, 314, 096.
On Sept. 8, 2010, Rentoy along with Special Disbursing Officer Samuel Rodriguez, Finance Service Director Orlando Pestano, P/ Supt. Elmer Pellobello, Directorate for Human Resources and Doctrine.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110401hed4.html

RP cracks down on Chinese poachers 04/01/2011

RP cracks down on Chinese poachers

Government security forces have vowed to seek long jail terms for six Chinese caught poaching fish and sea turtles, as part of a crackdown against foreigners stealing marine wildlife.

The head of a multi-agency taskforce against illegal entrants, Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban, yesterday said he plans to take a hardline stance against all foreign poachers, unlike previous officials who allowed them to be released.

“We will be pursuing the harshest penalty as demanded by law. We will be fighting for the conviction of these apprehended poachers,” Sabbantold Agence France Presse..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110401hed6.html

82 Pinoy nurses off to Japan despite nuclear danger 04/01/2011

82 Pinoy nurses off to Japan despite nuclear danger

The third batch of 82 Filipino nurses will leave for Japan on May 30 to undergo intensive Japanese language training to further boost their chances of passing the country’s tough licensure examinations.

Before departing for Japan, the nurses would have to undergo a two-month preparatory language course in Manila to be conducted by Japanese instructors.

“This demonstrates the perseverance and dedication of both countries to take initiatives in improving the standing of Filipino candidate nurses in particular, especially in successfully integrating them, through language, not just to the Japanese community but to their professions as well once they pass the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examination,” Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110401nat2.html

Arrest order out vs ‘bigamous’ female Muslim Customs officer 04/01/2011

Arrest order out vs ‘bigamous’ female Muslim Customs officer

Only Muslim men and not women can marry more than once, the Department of Justice and Court of Appeals (CA) determined as it backed a warrant of arrest issued by a local court against a high-ranking official of the Bureau Customs (BoC) accused of bigamy.

In a one-page order dated March 25, 2011, Presiding Judge Concordo Baguio of the Regional Trial Court of Iligan City ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest Subic Customs Collector Marietta Zamoranos.

Baguio also recommended a fixed P24,000 bail for the temporary liberty of Zamoranos..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110401nat4.html

‘JV’ wants OFWs legal fund cuts realigned 04/01/2011

‘JV’ wants OFWs legal fund cuts realigned

While the nation still grieves over the execution of three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in China yesterday, San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday asked the Aquino administration to realign its position in cutting 50 percent of its Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) to OFWs worldwide.

“It is in our best interest that the Aquino government reconsider its position as there are still 227 OFWs jailed in China for drug offenses and 36 more in the Middle East on death row. We do not want a repeat of what happened yesterday,” Ejercito said.

The solon added as much as possible, the government should grant enough legal aid to the bereaved OFWs so as to release them immediately from their grim situation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110401met2.html

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