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Purisima’s peso sabotage DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 09/19/2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Purisima’s peso sabotage

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
09/19/2011
Just when the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has finally found its bearings, certain quarters are again dead set on pushing it off track. Misgivings aside, I have lately begun to appreciate certain BSP top officials’ burgeoning initiative to get the management of our currency and debt back along the lines of national welfare and interest. The BSP just recently recommended to Malacañang its preference for borrowing locally (instead of internationally) to accelerate the prepayment of debts and to “help temper the appreciation of the peso” vis-à-vis stimulating demand for the dollar.

The country’s Gross International Reserves (GIR) jumped 51 percent from $49.95 billion to $75.6 billion year-on-year, with our foreign debt standing at around $60 billion. The Philippines is thus awash with dollars as well as in loanable funds in the Special Deposit Account (SDA) maintained by the BSP, all waiting to be mobilized in lieu of more foreign borrowings in the rolling over of debts or in the funding of PeNoy’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure and others.

The BSP is picking up the wisdom of the way in which many in the private sector are handling their own dollar debts. While the PeNoy government’s prepayment of foreign loans slipped in the first half of the year, with prepayments of medium and long-term foreign loans summed up to $530.9 million or 3.19 percent lower than the $548.4 million recorded in the same period last year, newspapers report that “All prepayments were made by the private sector.”

We have been reading of different major private corporations prepaying foreign loans. And for anyone seeking to avoid the burden and volatility of interest payments amid the currency crisis, this is the only way to go.

Unfortunately, Cesar Purisima (PeNoy’s Finance secretary and also Gloria Arroyo’s), gave the already scheduled prepayment of debts his “thumbs down.” How are we then to perceive such stonewalling of the proposal that many concerned sectors of our economy, led by the BSP, push for?

OFWs, being the largest contributors to the survival and viability of the Philippine economy, have remitted up to $21 billion annually as of last count. Yet the dollars they send to their families, coursed through the BSP, are yielding fewer and fewer pesos; this, as the US currency is being propped up by Purisima’s policy of accumulating more dollars in our vaults.

The export sector, which has just lost another 10 percent in value in the latest reported data, has also been howling in pain over the massive weakening of exports due to the strengthening peso. The BPOs, including call centers and other service providers, have also lost half of their income due to the peso’s appreciation.
Purisima, in his defense, remarked, “Of course we are amenable to debt prepayments but it is a question of opportunity because bulk of our debts is publicly traded already and if their prices are very high it will not make sense for us to prepay… All of these are long-term and very low cost, so it does not make sense at this point to prepay also.”

In response, this was what our Wednesday radio co-host Liza Gaspar, a young UP finance graduate, had to say: “Purisima seems to be looking at the issue only in financial terms; he seems to forget the more positive and concrete impact of cutting the debt (is) in terms of savings on interest payments and principal that could be redirected toward productive enterprises.”

Gaspar clearly makes more sense than the one-time SGV and Hyatt 10 head. Still, we shouldn’t fault Purisima too much as he recognizes only the foreign financial interests as his bosses.

If PeNoy has any idea on the matter at all, which isn’t likely, the conflict from within his financial team seems to be erupting right under his nose. Well, it’s not like he has taken any interest in it at all, which is tragic, as the matter of finance has become the central component in the governance of nations.

Former President Joseph Estrada, who admits to being a novice on international finance, says he resolved such issues during his time by getting members of his financial team face each other off in serious debate while he listened. Then, if a consensus is not achieved, a vote is soon called. But for PeNoy, it seems that, like many other things under his governance, he has allowed Purisima to simply call the shots, even as the Finance secretary already seems to be sabotaging the Philippine peso in the course of propping up the US dollar.

Of course, there is another dimension to the financial and currency issue that is beyond the scope of this column — the restoration of “currency and capital controls” as well as the “nationalization” of the entire banking sector, which the country had in the time of President Carlos Garcia. It is the final solution to the perennial problem of peso volatility that perpetually rocks the economy. That will be the next stage of the debate.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8 on “WTC’s Building 7: The Key to Exposing the ‘Inside Job’”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com5.html

Warped reality EDITORIAL 09/19/2011

Warped reality

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
09/19/2011
The strike called by jeepney drivers and operators today is expected to be a mere preview of bigger protest movements expected as a result of high prices under the Noynoy presidency. Holding the protestors accountable for their responsibilities and their actions’ supposed effects on commuters is a wrong move that will backfire on Noynoy. It may even encourage more people to join the next scheduled protest rally.

High prices are not the problem of only jeepney drivers but every ordinary man on the street and threats on one group protesting the spiraling cost of basic commodities and services will be taken as Noynoy’s failure to connect with reality.

Representatives of public transport groups met with Noynoy last Friday and evidently Noynoy offered nothing to soothe the feelings of complaining drivers and operators. The immediate response from Noy was a reminder about the responsibilities attached to franchises, implying that these may be revoked for those who will join today’s protest actions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com1.html

Same time this year FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/19/2011

Same time this year

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
09/19/2011
Predictably, the House of Representatives passed on second reading the 2012 national budget as is, and the way Malacañang wants it — no cuts with everything remaining as Noynoy says it should be.

Chances are high that the Senate will do the same, or at least, Noynoy allies will again resort to stating that the controversial items are to be resolved in the bicameral committee, which means that the budget will pass as is, because the Noynoy allies will be dominating the bicam and do nothing to resolve the controversial provisions, such as Noynoy’s control over the judiciary funds, as well as hiring funds of the other constitutional offices, despite its unconstitutional flavor.

But what if the majority of the senators, who are non-Liberal Party members, insist on questioning the budget and not moving to pass it?

If such becomes the scenario, the bill gets frozen in the Senate, which means that at a certain time, the old budget becomes operational, which may be just what Noynoy and his Butch Abad really want to happen, next year leading straight into an election year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com2.html

Singapore under pressure to abolish security law focus 09/19/2011

Singapore under pressure to abolish security law

focus

09/19/2011
SINGAPORE — Singapore is coming under mounting pressure to ease political restrictions after neighboring Malaysia unveiled steps to abolish tough security laws and ease media and protest regulations.

Human rights and opposition groups say Singapore needs to keep up with the times and abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial and is seen by critics as an instrument to stifle dissent.

In a surprise move, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said last week his government would scrap the ISA and ease other laws perceived as curbs on civil liberties, including protest rules and annual newspaper licensing.

But Singapore insists the ISA, which was used against leftists in the past and suspected Islamic extremists in recent years, remains relevant and maintains that media regulations are needed to preserve social cohesion..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com3.html

Yes, Almendras can C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/19/2011

Yes, Almendras can

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
09/19/2011
Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and his deputy, Jay Layug, should stop pretending they cannot do anything about the unabated increase in oil prices. They can. They should stop insisting that under a deregulated environment, government is so helpless in looking into possible malpractices of the Big Businesses they are supposed to monitor (manage or regulate may be too harsh or drastic for these guys to bear) to ensure that they do not engage in all kinds of price gouging or run roughshod over the interests of the public they are supposed to serve. The more reason they should. For if truth be told, even if the businesses in the energy sector, i.e., oil and power, to name just two of the more controversial and high profile, are so powerful and well entrenched, government can do something to moderate their profit taking. They can and in fact they should. That is if these guys tasked to do this are as dedicated and committed as P-Noy is in working for their real bosses — the Filipino people..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com4.html

P8B spent under GMA for ‘farm-to-pocket’ deal By Angie M. Rosales 09/19/2011

RELEASES MADE IN LAST 6 MONTHS OF TERM

P8B spent under GMA for ‘farm-to-pocket’ deal

By Angie M. Rosales 09/19/2011

In its last six months in power, the Arroyo administration spent almost P7.5 billion of taxpayers’ money for a “farm-to-market” road project that did not even have a work program, Sen. Franklin Drilon said yesterday.
Drilon added the oversight committee on public expend-itures uncovered these alleged fund releases to the Department of Agriculture (DA) following the submission of various agencies of their respective liquidation reports recently.

“We are deter-mining if the funds went to a ‘farm-to-pocket roads,’ ‘roads to my farm’ project or nothing has happened at all,” Drilon said.

Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, currently detained for his alleged involvement in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre, also had squealed about Arroyo receiving around P200 million in kickbacks from farm-to-market road projects in 2008 and 2009..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110919hed1.html

Sotto names group behind P25-M lobby funds to push RH bill okay By Angie M. Rosales 09/19/2011

Sotto names group behind P25-M lobby funds to push RH bill okay

By Angie M. Rosales 09/19/2011

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III yesterday revealed that the biggest manufacturer of contraceptives, including condoms, is the alleged sponsor of an international group that allegedly unleashed P25-million lobby funds to push Congress’ approval of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The upper chamber leader, during a radio interview, identified a company called DKT as one of the firms he is claiming to be funding the purported campaign for the approval of the measure.

“DKT is the biggest supporter of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which happens to have affiliates such as the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines FPOP), Likhaan organization...,” he told dzBB radio.

The said company is the local distributor of Trust condoms in the Philippines, the Senate leader said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110919hed3.html

OFWs warned against illegal recruiters for Iraq, Afghan jobs 09/19/2011

OFWs warned against illegal recruiters for Iraq, Afghan jobs

09/19/2011
Illegal recruitment firms continue to offer non-existent jobs to Filipinos in strife-torn Afghanistan and Iraq amid an existing government deployment ban in the two countries.

Recruitment firms have expanded their operations in some Philippine provinces and in the United Arab Emirates two weeks after Malacañang announced a partial lifting of the ban, said recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani.

Only those Filipinos currently employed in Afghanistan and Iraq will be allowed to work there until their contracts are terminated by their employers.

“The deployment of new workers to both countries is still banned,” Geslani stressed. “The public is hereby warned that recruitment agencies are not offering new jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan and be wary of illegal recruiters offering non-existent jobs in both countries.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110919hed6.html

Tamaraws to face Eagles for UAAP crown By Rocky Nazareno 09/19/2011

Tamaraws to face Eagles for UAAP crown

By Rocky Nazareno 09/19/2011

Far Eastern University averted a major endgame collapse with sheer tenacity off the boards in its last offensive to turn back a hard-fighting Adamson U, 78-74, yesterday and earn the right to face Ateneo de Manila in the Finals of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With the Falcons threatening to complete a splendid rally from 11 points down going into the last two minutes, the Tamaraws protected a 74-72 lead with three offensive rebounds, allowing them to waste the remaining 51.2 seconds and preserve the win fashioned out before a jampacked Cubao arena.

Thus, the less-seeded Tamaraws, who had to prevail over the Falcons twice, return to the Finals against the Blue Eagles on Saturday and will seek their first UAAP title since their Grand Slam run from 2003 to 2005 during the Arwind Santos era..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/sports/20110919spo3.html

Jinggoy bill seeks civil service eligibility on dads 09/19/2011

Jinggoy bill seeks civil service eligibility on dads

09/19/2011
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada sought the support to his colleagues in the upper chamber to approve Senate Bill 2946 which confers civil service eligibility upon members of municipal and city councilors and provincial board members.

“Ang mga miyembro ng mga Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlunsod at Sangguniang Panlalawigan ay marapat lamang na mapagkalooban ng Career Service Eligibility bilang pagkilala sa kanilang naging serbisyo sa ating lokal na pamahalaan at bilang insentibo na rin upang ipagpatuloy nila ang paglilingkod-bayan,” Estrada, principal author of the bill, said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110919nat6.html

Monster crocodile gets own park in Agusan del Sur 09/19/2011

Monster crocodile gets own park in Agusan del Sur

09/19/2011
BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur — A monster crocodile which is reputedly the world’s largest is the star attraction at its own nature park which opened in the Philippines this weekend, weeks after the beast’s capture.

People are already paying P20 (46 cents) to enter the compound in the town of Bunawan for a look at the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male saltwater crocodile which is believed to have killed two people.

Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde hopes to have another attraction soon: a reportedly even larger crocodile that was sighted by residents of this largely rural town on the southern island of Mindanao.

“They saw it with their own eyes, it was bigger. Our estimates are that it would be 25 to 30 feet long with body width of around four feet,” he told reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110919nat7.html

Experience a shower of roses and blessings at Talulot Festival 2011 M E T R O F I L E 09/19/2011

Experience a shower of roses and blessings at Talulot Festival 2011

M E T R O F I L E

09/19/2011
Before the Christmas season officially arrives, an equally grand and colorful celebration is slated to take place this October 1 and 2 at the booming Newport City in Villamor, Pasay City. Talulot Festival, which started in 2007, is a vibrant and wondrous spectacle of music, dance and local talents. Close to 2,500 people attend the Pontifical Mass and festivities every year. On its fifth year, the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines and Magnificat Ventures Corporation, partnered with the City of Pasay, Barangay 183, Resorts World Manila, and the Newport City Estate Association. Talulot is named after the Filipino word for petal, in honor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus who is also known as God’s Little Flower. Devotees of Saint Therese believe that she sends a flower or flowers as a sign of granted prayer..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110919met6.html

Yes, Almendras can C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/19/2011

Yes, Almendras can

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
09/19/2011
Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and his deputy, Jay Layug, should stop pretending they cannot do anything about the unabated increase in oil prices. They can. They should stop insisting that under a deregulated environment, government is so helpless in looking into possible malpractices of the Big Businesses they are supposed to monitor (manage or regulate may be too harsh or drastic for these guys to bear) to ensure that they do not engage in all kinds of price gouging or run roughshod over the interests of the public they are supposed to serve. The more reason they should. For if truth be told, even if the businesses in the energy sector, i.e., oil and power, to name just two of the more controversial and high profile, are so powerful and well entrenched, government can do something to moderate their profit taking. They can and in fact they should. That is if these guys tasked to do this are as dedicated and committed as P-Noy is in working for their real bosses — the Filipino people..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com4.html

Yes, Almendras can C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/19/2011

Yes, Almendras can

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
09/19/2011
Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and his deputy, Jay Layug, should stop pretending they cannot do anything about the unabated increase in oil prices. They can. They should stop insisting that under a deregulated environment, government is so helpless in looking into possible malpractices of the Big Businesses they are supposed to monitor (manage or regulate may be too harsh or drastic for these guys to bear) to ensure that they do not engage in all kinds of price gouging or run roughshod over the interests of the public they are supposed to serve. The more reason they should. For if truth be told, even if the businesses in the energy sector, i.e., oil and power, to name just two of the more controversial and high profile, are so powerful and well entrenched, government can do something to moderate their profit taking. They can and in fact they should. That is if these guys tasked to do this are as dedicated and committed as P-Noy is in working for their real bosses — the Filipino people..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110919com4.html

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