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All talk, no progress EDITORIAL 05/21/2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

All talk, no progress

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
05/21/2011
Improving the economy and bringing back investor confidence were among the sales pitches of Noynoy Aquino when he sought the presidency during last year’s elections.

He claimed then that, with the old regime out, and with him as president, investors would flock to the country, as the country would then be opened for business.

The result: Almost a year after assuming power, the competitiveness of the country in the world had slipped and it had remained the doormat in the Asia-Pacific.

The assessment was unanimous, Noynoy is all talk thus far and he has failed to translate lofty promises he made during the campaigns, and afterwards, into action..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110521com1.html

Blaming the columnists FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/21/2011

Blaming the columnists

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
05/21/2011
Blame is now being placed on the columnist-critics of Noynoy, for his plunging ratings.

His mouthpieces said the “good news” of the Aquino administration is, in effect, being drowned out by these columnists who bring out the negative, instead of the positive aspects under the Noynoy presidency.

Looks like he and his propagandists are still into denial, because columnists critical of his government wouldn’t have any negatives to write about if, in the first place, Noynoy and his administration really have something to show for the claimed gains and reforms achieved by them.

It is not the columnists who come out with say, the global surveys that certainly show a very poor picture of the country and the government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110521com2.html

Armed with stones, petrol bombs: Kurdish youth claim mission FEATURE 05/21/2011

Armed with stones, petrol bombs: Kurdish youth claim mission

FEATURE

05/21/2011
DIYARBAKIR — At the age of 15, Adem knows how to make a petrol bomb and can quickly turn a scarf into a balaclava — that’s the equipment he needs for his own warfare in Turkey’s 26-year Kurdish conflict.

The eighth-grader is one of thousands of Kurdish youths whose violent street protests have become a serious challenge to police, turning urban areas into a battlefield where banks are torched, public property is vandalized and many are injured, and sometimes killed.

“If the police have pepper gas, we have stones and Molotov cocktails,” Adem, clad in school uniform, said confidently in Diyarbakir, the largest city of the mainly Kurdish southeast and a hotbed of ethnic militancy.

“Sometimes you would make your own Molotov and sometimes someone would bring many and distribute them... We would dismantle the pavements, breaking them with a sledgehammer,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110521com3.html

Amnesty International hits Aquino government for lack of justice, continuing violations

 Amnesty International hits Aquino government for lack of justice, continuing violations

“Civilians continued to be killed as the military’s counter-insurgency plan failed to differentiate between civilians and members of the NPA [New People’s Army]. In some cases, the police or the military claimed that the deaths occurred during ‘legitimate encounters.’” Amnesty International.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – An international human rights organization lamented the unresolved cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings under the new Aquino administration.

In its world human rights report released May 13, Amnesty International (AI) stated: “More than 200 cases of enforced disappearances recorded in the last decade remained unresolved, as did at least 305 cases of extrajudicial execution (with some estimates ranging as high as 1,200). Almost no perpetrators of these crimes have been brought to justice.”

The group cited a report commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development and NGO the Asia Foundation that recorded 305 cases of extrajudicial executions with 390 victims from 2001 to 2010. “The same report stated that only one percent of reported cases resulted in a conviction, and that members of the armed forces were implicated in 20 percent of cases.”

AI also cited a report from the Commission on Human Rights in February 2010 saying it has recorded 777 cases of extrajudicial executions and 251 cases of enforced disappearance since 2001. AI noted that in September of the same year, human rights group Karapatan recorded 1,206 extrajudicial executions and 206 victims of enforced disappearance during the same period.

AI also noted that almost none of the victims’ families received reparations.

Civilian deaths

AI said there are at least 38 alleged political killings reported in 2010.

“Civilians continued to be killed as the military’s counter-insurgency plan failed to differentiate between civilians and members of the NPA [New People’s Army]. In some cases, the police or the military claimed that the deaths occurred during ‘legitimate encounters,’” AI said, citing the case of botanist Leonardo Co and two others..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/20/amnesty-international-hit-aquino-government-for-lack-of-justice-continuing-violations/

Bank employees also suffer from meager wages despite industry’s profitability

Bank employees also suffer from meager wages despite industry’s profitability
“We, bank employees, are victims of meager wages despite the fact that the banking industry is one of the most profitable in the country,” Raymund Acenia, president of the Hongkong Bank Independent Labor Union
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com
 
MANILA — For banking employees, their airconditioned working areas, nice uniforms and, perhaps, the mere fact that they are working in a lucrative industry, do not mean that they do not share the same plight as any other rank and file employee or Filipino worker.

“We, bank employees, are victims of meager wages despite the fact that the banking industry is one of the most profitable in the country,” Raymund Acenia, president of the Hongkong Bank Independent Labor Union, a rank and file union at the Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation, said.
Acenia, in an interview with Bulatlat.com, said that their meager income as rank and file employees does not keep pace with the increasing prices of staple food, transportation costs, among others.

Mark Gonzales, president of the Planters Development Bank Employees Association, a rank and file union at the Planters Development Bank where he is a credit investigator for 15 years, half wishes he could file and approve his own loan. He added that most of their members are deeply in debt, which is “ironic because we are working where the money is concentrated.”

“Our salaries do not reflect the state of our company’s earnings, considering that the banking industry is one of the most profitable industries today,” Gonzales said.

For one, a national daily reported that last year (2010) was considered as the “banner year” for the Philippine banking industry as “universal and commercial banks yielded a significant rise in profits” with a combined net income amounting to $1.94 million last year, 31 percent higher than in 2009. One of the largest banks in the country, the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metro Bank) raked in a 39 percent growth in their net profit, which is equivalent to about $195 million. Other banks such as Union Bank and Philippine Savings Bank also declared an increase in their net income by 24 percent, or about $12.4 million, and 46 percent, or about $40.54 million, respectively.

There seems to be no end in sight yet for the continuing increasing profits of the banking industry as Nestor Espenilla Jr., deputy governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said in a report.

Yet, banking employees such as Acenia and Gonzales could not help but wonder what the future holds for them as outsourcing and contractualization threats continue to loom, especially with the BSP Circular No. 268 and its succeeding circulars.

Outsourcing
 
The BSP Circular No. 268 lists the positions and functions that can be outsourced, as approved by the Monetary Board.

“No bank or any director, officer, employee, or agent thereof shall outsource inherent banking functions,” Section 2.1 of the said circular read. Subject to prior approval of the Monetary Board, however, “banks may outsource all information technology systems and processes.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/20/bank-employees-also-suffer-from-meager-wages-despite-industrys-profitability/

Working people remember Ka Bel and his struggle for a P125 legislated wage hike

Working people remember Ka Bel and his struggle for a P125 legislated wage hike

Given the growing number of lawmakers supporting the legislation of a substantial wage hike, workers remembering Ka Bel today are hoping that finally, the bill which he first authored and filed may be enacted at last.

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Today marks the third death anniversary of Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran, a staunch labor leader whose death called attention to his remaining as poor and pang-masa, despite having been a barong-clad party-list congressman for more than two terms.

His family and members of labor organizations announced they will hold a short program today at his commemorative bust at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila. After that they will hold a rally from Plaza Miranda to Mendiola Bridge (now Chino Roces) with other sectors to press their demand for the passage of the P125 ($2.90) wage hike bill. In the evening they will hold a film showing about the life of Ka Bel as well as a program giving him tribute at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

Roger Soluta, secretary-general of labor center KMU which Ka Bel chaired for years since the late 80s, said their vow to advance the people’s struggle for their basic rights and for a significant wage hike is, in their belief, the highest tribute they can give Ka Bel.

The P125 wage hike bill was first filed by Ka Bel in 2001 when he was a Bayan Muna party-list representative. He subsequently refiled the bill in the succeeding reopening of Congress since then. Today, ten years after its first filing and three years after Ka Bel’s death, it still remains a bill.

KMU’s Roger Soluta seen as “removing” the hindrances to substantial wage hike. (Photos by Randy Evangelista / bulatlat.com)



















Removing barriers to legislating a wage hike

More than a week after the Aquino government through the regional wage boards started granting emergency cost-of-living allowances in lieu of a wage hike, the demand for a legislated substantial wage hike remains firm on the workers’ agenda. This week, the progressive labor center KMU picketed the offices of the labor department in Manila to condemn what they call as the department’s acting as “spokesperson” of the big capitalists. The KMU said DOLE demonstrated that when it defended the widely condemned P22 ($0.51) emergency COLA..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/20/working-people-remember-ka-bel-and-his-struggle-for-a-p125-legislated-wage-hike/

Satur C. Ocampo | Palparan’s comeuppance

Satur C. Ocampo | Palparan’s comeuppance

By Satur C. Ocampo


Remember Jovito Palparan Jr., the notorious Philippine Army officer tagged by militant political activists as “The Butcher”?

In 2007 the Melo Commission recommended Palparan’s investigation for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations. Instead, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo personally presented him as a special guest and commended his exploits during her 2008 state-of-the-nation address, thus abetting his continued terror campaign till he retired as major general in 2009.

Now Palparan may soon be hailed to court to face criminal charges. Comeuppance at last!

Last Wednesday the mothers of the two former UP students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, who were abducted and “disappeared” in 2006, filed a complaint at the Department of Justice against Palparan, two Army colonels and several others. The charges: rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, grave coercion, and violation of RA 7438 (on the rights of detained persons).

Sherlyn and Karen were abducted by armed men on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Witnesses have identified their abductors as soldiers of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion in Norzagaray, Bulacan. They were detained and tortured in a camp in Limay, Bataan under the 24th IB. The 56th and 24th IBs were both under the 7th Infantry Division, then headed by Palparan.

Their mothers, Erlinda T. Cadapan and Concepcion E. Empeno, filed a petition for habeas corpus at the Supreme Court. The SC directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petitions. Initially the CA denied the petition in 2007, but on appeal in 2008 it reversed the ruling and ordered the military to release the two women.

Yet to this day they remain in limbo.

At least two factors can be credited for the recent positive turn of events.

1. The courageous and credible detailed testimony at the 2008 CA hearing of a young Bulacan farmer, Raymond Manalo. His testimony — which convinced the CA to reverse its 2007 ruling on the habeas corpus petition cited above — is the linchpin of the criminal case, backed up by the testimonies of seven other witnesses.

In that testimony Raymond cited the direct involvement of Palparan in the abduction, detention and torture of Sherlyn and Karen. In a separate testimony earlier in his own petition for the writ of amparo related to his abduction, he detailed Palparan’s direct role and those of his two trusted aides since the 1980s, MSgt. Donald Caigas and MSgt. Rizal Hilario..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/14/satur-c-ocampo-palparans-comeuppance/

Union of Government employees raise issue of discontinuance of housing loans with new GSIS leadership

Union of Government employees raise issue of discontinuance of housing loans with new GSIS leadership

“The GSIS and the rest of the government’s agencies concerned with providing socialized housing should look at this issue not in terms of profitability and return on investments, but as a service to the Filipino people.” – Gaite
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

In 2009, leaders and members of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE ) and its affiliate unions were attacked with teargas and strong blasts from water cannons when they staged a protest in front of the Pasay main office of the Government Social Insurance Service (GSIS). The GSIS then was headed by Winston Garcia. On May 18 this year, they were welcomed with open arms by the new GSIS General Manager Robert Vergara in a dialogue inside the GSIS building itself.
COURAGE initially went to the GSIS to picket the said agency for what it alleged to be the agency’s “continuing failure to provide members with basic benefits such as housing and educational loans.” Ten minutes after the program started in front of the GSIS main gate, Vergara issued the invitation to a dialogue and the government employees accepted with alacrity.

The group led by its president Ferdinand Gaite is against the announcement the agency made recently that it will stop accepting housing loan applications after April 28. According to the GSIS, a growing number of borrowers failed to pay their dues and the GSIS is rethinking its policies when it comes to housing loans.


Government employees led by the Confederation for Unity,Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE ) hold a protest in front of the main office of the Government Social Insurance Service (GSIS) against what they said was the mismanagement of the pension fund and the agency’s failure to provide members with efficient service and substantial benefits.”(Photos by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)




























Gaite said the GSIS should reconsider its decision to stop the housing loan program because it is against the interest of low-income earning government employees .

“The right to own secure and decent housing continues to be denied majority of state workers. The issue of social housing is something the Aquino presidency continued to neglect, but now we hear that the GSIS is washing its hands of its responsibility to help us fulfill our humble dreams to own houses of our own,” he said.

Housing loans needed by small income earners

During the dialogue with Vergara, Gaite said that the GSIS should consider the societal and humanitarian implications of its decision to stop issuing housing loans. “The GSIS and the rest of the government’s agencies concerned with providing socialized housing should look at this issue not in terms of profitability and return on investments, but as a service to the Filipino people,” he said.

According to reports, some 1.4 million government employees are active GSIS members and the agency has around P11 billion (US$ 255.8 million) unpaid housing loans for 17,000 properties.

“The alleged P 11 billion the GSIS lost because of unpaid housing loans is, without doubt, small when compared to the money lost because of the various anomalous deals and questionable investments the previous GSIS Board of Trustees made,” he said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/19/union-of-government-employees-raise-issue-of-discontinuance-of-housing-loans-with-new-gsis-leadership/

China defense exec, Oban, Gazmin to meet in private By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 05/21/2011

AFTER CHINESE JET BUZZING INCIDENT

China defense exec, Oban, Gazmin to meet in private

By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 05/21/2011

Amid fresh tensions between China and the Philippines after two recent close calls near a disputed group of islands, China’s top defense official is arriving in the country today for a five-day visit that includes a closed-door meeting with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. and a separate dialog with President Aquino.

The visit of Gen. Liang Guanglie, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China, “is expected to further advance China-Philippines friendly relations,” a Chinese Embassy statement said.

The Executive and the military, meanwhile, opted to keep their lips sealed over the recent
incident where two Chinese jet fighters reportedly buzzed two Philippine Air Force OV-10 bombers that are on a reconnaisance flight over the Philippine-occupied Reed Bank off Palawan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110521hed1.html

Accommodate Roxas but let him pass thru CA — Angara By Angie M. Rosales 05/21/2011

Accommodate Roxas but let him pass thru CA — Angara

By Angie M. Rosales 05/21/2011

If President Aquino is intent on giving a Cabinet position to his defeated running mate, former Sen. Manuel Roxas II, it should be a post that will have to pass through the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), Sen. Edgardo Angara said yesterday.

Angara, incidentally, was the first to warn of the possibility of further divisiveness in the Aquino administration if Roxas is appointed chief of staff, an appointment that the Palace said does not need to go through the confirmation process of the powerful CA.

“I think he should be given a position. But if he was to be given a position with a vast authority, then, let it be a position that’s to be a subject for confirmation by the Senate and by the CA so that his authority and responsibility will be subjected to scrutiny and the position can be examined. That’s my point, really,” Angara said.

Earlier, Angara noted that the plan of Aquino to issue an administrative order creating the Office of the Chief of Staff for Roxas may only complicate the affairs of the administration rather than contribute to its output, paricularly with the level of “factionalism” among supporters of Aquino..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110521hed3.html

BSP execs deny Banco Filipino graft raps By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/21/2011

BSP execs deny Banco Filipino graft raps

By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/21/2011

Monetary regulators have formally denied the graft charges filed against them by officials of the
Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank in connection with the bank’s closure.

Officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) led by governor Amado Tetangco Jr., deputy governor Nestor Espenilla Jr., deputy governor and general counsel Juan de Zuniga Jr., and Monetary Board members Juanita Amatong, Alfredo Antonio, Ignacio Bunye and Peter Favila submitted their counter-affidavit to the DoJ panel chaired by Senior State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag during hearing.

The seven officials said they did not violate Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) in ordering Banco Filipino’s closure after denying the grant of emergency loans needed by the bank under an emergency situation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110521nat2.html

Use airport income, travel tax for NAIA makeover – solon By Charlie V. Manalo 05/21/2011

Use airport income, travel tax for NAIA makeover – solon

By Charlie V. Manalo 05/21/2011
A member of the House of Representatives yesterday asked that authorities running the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has been ranked by travelers as Asia’s worst airport, to utilize part of its P7.5 billion gross profit in 2009 and the P1.4 billion income in travel tax collection to finance an “emergency makeover” of the airport.

“Poverty can never be an excuse on why the NAIA continues to be beset by poor facilities because year in and year out it is turning in a tidy profit,” Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said.

Angara made the comment after the Web site, “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” ranked the NAIA, particularly Terminal 1, which it described as a “bombed-out ruin” and a “cattle yard,” not only Asia’s worst but also the fifth worst in the world.

Angara said the Manila International Airport Authority, which operates the three NAIA terminals and the old domestic terminal, posted a before-tax net profit of P1.17 billion out of a gross income of P7.5 billion in 2009..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110521met1.html

Gang leader wanted for slay of Caloocan student nabbed, jailed By Arlie O. Calalo 05/21/2011

Gang leader wanted for slay of Caloocan student nabbed, jailed

By Arlie O. Calalo 05/21/2011

A dreaded gang leader who has been wanted for murdering a student more than a year ago was finally arrested last Thursday after a month-long surveillance of his hiding place in Caloocan City.

Behind bars is Paolo Terraza, 20, of Binangonan Street, Maypajo, Caloocan City.

The other alleged gang member, Reynard Simbillo, was the first to be arrested while their cohort, Robert Jay Trinidad, remains scot-free, Chief Insp. Cris Lleva, head of the district intelligence unit (DIU) of the Northern Police District (NPD), said.

This as NPD director Chief Supt. Antonio Decano praised Lleva and his men whose surveillance that lasted for over a month resulted in the arrest of Terraza who has been described in the police report as the dreaded gang leader in the community..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110521met4.html

Aquino urged to stop ‘special treatment’ afforded VIP prisoners By Gerry Baldo 05/21/2011

Aquino urged to stop ‘special treatment’ afforded VIP prisoners

By Gerry Baldo 05/21/2011

A lawmaker from Navotas yesterday called on the Aquino government to institute a thorough review of the country’s penal system in the light of the recent revelations that some prisoners are getting special treatment from officials of the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor).

According to Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, the review should focus on how to stop the practice of allowing prisoners out without a court order.

“We have to find a way to stop this practice,” Tiangco said yesterday.

Tiangco also stressed officials of Bucor should be held accountable for their actions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110521met2.html

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