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How to gauge Aquino’s third state of the nation address

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to gauge Aquino’s third state of the nation address

The reactions to President Benigno Aquino III’s third state of the nation address are very varied. Of course, the Aquino government and its allies from the Liberal and Nacionalista parties are expected to praise it to high heavens. But other political figures did so as well. Former president Joseph Estrada called it the best state of the nation address ever and son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada rated it at 9.9 percent. Well, the United Nationalist Alliance – the coalition of the PDP-Laban of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Vice-president Jejomar Binay, and presidential uncle Jose “Peping Cojuangco and the PMP of Estrada – has positioned itself neither as part of the ruling party coalition nor the opposition. Come to think of, there is no real opposition party, which has positioned itself as critical of the Aquino government, except perhaps the disgraced Lakas-Kampi of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Some groups lament the fact that Aquino let go of missed opportunities to push for significant reforms such as the Freedom of Information bill, the Reproductive Health bill, and the bill granting compensation to victims of the Marcos dictatorship. He is also being criticized by human rights groups Karapatan and the New York-based Human Rights Watch for not declaring a clear position against human rights violations, especially since no perpetrator from the military has been brought before the bar of justice and the abuses continue..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/26/how-to-gauge-aquino%E2%80%99s-third-state-of-the-nation-address/

69 nations have more US troops than Olympic athletes

69 nations have more US troops than Olympic athletes

By David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org | Report

Here is a link to a list of U.S. troops deployed to various nations around the world: US troops. These are permanent deployments openly admitted to by the U.S. military. When U.S. Special Forces drive off a bridge in Mali, as recently happened, we discover that U.S. troops are in Mali in greater numbers than we knew, but those troops aren’t listed here or considered in the calculation below. No secret forces are considered here, no allied forces funded or trained or armed by the United States, and of course no drones.
Here is a link to the number of athletes participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics from countries around the world: Athletes.

Many nations have sent very small delegations. Many nations have a very small U.S. troop presence. In many nations the U.S. troop presence falls just short of or exactly equals the size of the Olympic team..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/30/69-nations-have-more-us-troops-than-olympic-athletes/

Panetta and Israel to discuss war plans against Iran?

Panetta and Israel to discuss war plans against Iran?

Israeli officials are denying reports that the White House has provided them with a contingency plan in case of a showdown with Iran. Nevertheless, the head of America's Defense Department is gearing up for a week of talks in the Middle East.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is overseas now as he begins a busy week of meetings with Middle East leaders across the region. The Pentagon chief is expected to sit down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, despite a rumored contingency plan discussed between both allied nations becoming a heated issue of debate in recent days.

A senior US official speaking on condition of anonymity.... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/panetta-israel-iran-plan-417/

It's not just Homeland Security: US Army orders riot gear too

It's not just Homeland Security: US Army orders riot gear too

It’s more than just stockpiling surveillance drones to spy on US citizens: the United States Army is attempting to procure an arsenal of riot gear in case the military must go toe-to-toe with civilians on US soil.

A solicitation for weapons posted on the official government website for federal business opportunities reveals that the US Army has been in the market for nonlethal equipment that it very well might be used in the United States. In a Web posting made earlier this summer, the Army asked for bids regarding its request for riot shields, face masks, polycarbonate batons and body armor. On July 10, they awarded the contract to A2Z Supply Corp of Stevensville, Montana, who pledged to fulfill their request at the tune of $6,589.98..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-army-riot-gear-431/

Vicious solutions Written by Archbishop Oscar V.Cruz

Vicious solutions

Fact: There are many maternal conceptions in the country. Government response: Promote contraception.

Fact: Contraceptive means invite fidelity. Government response: Have more contraceptive means available especially to married people.

Fact: There are many children in the country. Government response: Make not only contraceptive but abortive pills available to all, young and old.

Fact: Pills for contraception and abortion are costly. Government response: Pass the RH bill. Have PPPs established. Welcome even foreign contraceptive manufacturers in the country.

Fact: There are a growing number of Filipino men with HIV-Aids. Government response: Make them use condoms.

Fact: Condoms promotes promiscuity which in turn promotes even more HIV-AIDS cases..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2256-vicious-solutions

Bwakaw Written by Armida Siguion- Reyna


But first, an apology. I was here last weeks ago, “Loving Dolphy (July 13, 2012)” and no thanks to illness and grief combined, it’s taken me a while to get back.

I knew that Cinemalaya was opening, as I had a film there. Bwakaw, which was all of a day’s work on Good Friday of the last Holy Week.

At the Bwakaw story conference on March 17, Eddie Garcia and I chatted briefly about Luis Gonzales, who had just passed away. Eddie had directed Luis in the Pinagbuklod ng Langit, the sequel to the Ferdinand Marcos biopic, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, while I had also worked with Luis a number of times, and in a special musical-comedy operetta of sorts, in Aawitan Kita. From the story conference, I went straight to the Sanctuario de San Antonio Mortuary Chapel to bid farewell to Luis, and condole with his wife Vina.

Luis wasn’t my first death of the year. My 365 Club fellow member Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez went, in February. From the arts, Tony Espejo, in June, followed almost within the week by Mario O’Hara, whom I had fought with over the making of Mga Bilanggong Birhen, but had made up with sufficiently well to be able to act together in a comedy version of Nick Joaquin’s Larawan, directed by Nonon Padilla, in 1989. First week of July, Tony Floirendo. And then Dolphy bid us all goodbye..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2258-bwakaw

Cha-cha or development? Written by Ken Fuller

Cha-cha or development?

The debate over Cha-cha (constitutional change) has opened in the pages of the Inquirer.

The University of Asia and the Pacific’s Bernardo Villegas (“Let’s talk about economic patriotism,” June 15) feels that the provisions restricting foreign ownership since 1935 have “just worsened the feudal and monopolistic character or our society,” handing “control of the national economy to an elite in whose hands the wealth is concentrated.” There is, he says, no evidence that the restrictions have released the masses from poverty or that the Filipinos controlling the economy have a greater interest in the common good than have foreigners.

Well, he’s correct in that second assertion, because what concerns most investors, be they Filipino or foreign, is not the common good but the bottom line. Lamentably few have the breadth of vision or farsightedness to set their sights on a Philippines where the whole society is transformed by that little thing called “development.” The same can be said, unfortunately, of many university professors. Villegas has in earlier pieces dismissed the possibility of industrialization and, indeed, in his recent column he reverts to the long-discredited “trickle-down” theory. Even Robert McNamara when, decades ago, became World Bank president, he debunked this.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2259-cha-cha-or-development?

SC favors Malacañang in suit vs P21-B CCT

SC favors Malacañang in suit vs P21-B CCT

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday affirmed the legality of the P21 billion the Aquino administration appropriated under the 2011 budget to the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program thereby also validating the controversial dole out program of President Aquino in yet another likely show of pandering to Malacañang.

In a 12-page ruling by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the SC en banc denied the petition filed by former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and  two barangay officials seeking to remove the said provision in the 2011 General Appropriations Act for being violative of the Constitution and Local Government Code.   
“Petitioners have failed to discharge the burden of proving the invalidity of the provisions under the GAA of 2011,” the SC ruled.

A Commission on Audit (CoA) detailed several flaws in the CCT program mainly related to its weak implementation such as recipients who cannot be considered extremely poor based on the definition of the target households of the program, aside from unliquidated spendings..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2277-sc-favors-malaca%C3%B1ang-in-suit-vs-p21-b-cct

Minority withdraws RH bill support as CBCP takes protest to the streets

Minority withdraws RH bill support as CBCP takes protest to the streets

  • Written by 
  • Tuesday, 31 July 2012 

A week before the House of Representatives decides on the fate of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, members of the minority bloc in the lower chamber are withdrawing sponsorship from the controversial measure while the Catholic Church is calling on its followers to bring the campaign against a proposed birth control measure to the streets.

On Aug. 7, members of the House will vote on whether to terminate or extend the period of interpellation and debate on RH bill. Around eight lawmakers, led by Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, yesterday revealed that they are withdrawing their support for House Bill (HB) 4244 or the proposed “Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development,” after having felt being abandoned by their “spiritual leader,” former Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

The decision was reached after a closed-door meeting of the minority bloc..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2276-minority-withdraws-rh-bill-support-as-cbcp-takes-protest-to-the-streets

‘Gener’ leaves three dead, millions powerless

‘Gener’ leaves three dead, millions powerless

  • Written by 
  • Tuesday, 31 July 2012 

At least three persons were killed and millions were left without power yesterday as Tropical Storm “Gener” turned into a typhoon, bringing heavy rains to large parts of the country, the government said.

Metro Manila was one of the worst hit areas and schools across the sprawling capital were suspended, largely due to flooding, the National Disaster Risk Re-duction and Manage-ment Council (NDRRMC) said.
Nearly 13,000 persons were evacuated in Manila, other parts of Luzon and the central Visayas region, as rainfall reached 20 millimeters an hour, it added.

“The worst ap-pears to be over, though... there will be more rains forecast today,” NDRRMC executive director Under-secretary Benito Ramos said.

Gener did not strike the country directly but exa-cerbated rains from a low pressure area in the vicinity, the Philippine Atmo-spheric Geo-physical and Astronomical Service Administra-tion (Pagasa) said.
The storm was upgraded into a typhoon yesterday as it continued to bring heavy rains and strong winds to the northernmost areas of the Philippines, it added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2278-%E2%80%98gener%E2%80%99-leaves-three-dead-millions-powerless

Reyeses seek new judge for media-slay case

Reyeses seek new judge for media-slay case

Former Palawan Gov. Mario Joel Reyes and his brother, incumbent Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., have asked Judge Angelo Arizala, the presiding judge of the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court who handles the murder case filed against them, to recuse from the case for prejudice, partiality and bias in favor of the prosecution.

The Reyes brothers are facing murder charges for the killing of environmentalist-broadcaster Gerry Ortega in January last year. Warrants have been issued for their arrest and of three others, but arresting officers have not located the Reyeses.

The brothers said that after they were charged in court last March 16, they filed separate motions to defer proceedings as well as oppositions to the issuance of a hold-departure order (HDO) sought by the private prosecutor.

However, even before the court actually received copies of their respective replies with respect to their motions as they were filed by registered mail allowed by the rules, the Judge proceeded to deny their motions, decided that there was probable cause against the Reyes brothers and issued the warrants for their arrest..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2283-reyeses-seek-new-judge-for-media-slay-case

War vets, troops protest eviction from BCDA Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Tuesday, 31 July 2012 00:00

War vets, troops protest eviction from BCDA

War veterans and active military personnel living in a portion of the Diplomatic and Consular Area in Bonifacio South, Taguig City have denounccd Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Arnel Casanova after he ordered their eviction even when the land in question was not part of the BCDA’s jurisdiction.

In a separate letter, lawyer Howard Calleja, counsel for the residents of the Consular Area, warned Casanova that they would take appropriate legal actions against him if he proceeded with the demolition.
In a July 25 letter to Casanova, the Consular Area Residents Association Inc. led by retired Col. Benjamin Zabat warned the BCDA chief of legal consequences should he proceed with the demolition and stressed that the land on which the doomed structures stand was not a portion of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group property, but of the Diplomatic and Consular Area.

A notice furnished by BCDA dated July 20 entitled “Sapilitang Pagbabaklas ng Istruktura at Huling Abiso ng Paglikas” had threatened the immediate demolition of the structures in the area..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2249-war-vets-troops-protest-eviction-from-bcda

METROFILE: Buddhist leader on a visit for charity

  • Written by 
  • Tuesday, 31 July 201

Buddhist leader on a visit for charity
Tribune image

The Supreme Head of the Sakya lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness Sakya Trizin (right), who arrived  at the NAIA Terminal 2 on Philippine Airlines PR-897 from Taipei at 12:45 p.m. yesterday to conduct a series of religious activities and charity work, was met by his loyal followers that included Manila third district Councilor Bernie Ang (shown at H.H. Trizin’s left), whom he blessed upon arrival at the airport. H.H. Trizin, whose rank in the Buddhist religion is equivalent to the Pope among catholics, said it was a great joy for him to meet his brothers and sisters in the country, as he expressed hope that all different traditions and major religions of the world would come together with united efforts to make the world a peaceful and harmonious place to live in.  He will be in the country until Aug. 9 and is set to pay a courtesy visit to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim today..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2248-metrofile

2 barges ram 42 houses in Port Area

2 barges ram 42 houses in Port Area

Some 42 houses in the Port Area of Manila were rammed by two huge barges, causing 30 houses to  be washed away at the height of tropical storm “Gener.”

The City of Manila was forced to transfer some 137 families residing in Happy land, Port Area in Tondo,  Jay de la Fuente of the Manila Social Welfare Department (MSWD) said.

At midnight of Sunday during the rampage of typhoon “Gener,” the two barges were swept ashore by big waves.

De la Fuente said Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim immediately ordered the feeding of victims and the distribution of medicines to the affected residents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2246-2-barges-ram-42-houses-in-port-area

‘Filipinos, environment in greater peril under Aquino’s neoliberal policies’ — green groups

Monday, July 30, 2012

‘Filipinos, environment in greater peril under Aquino’s neoliberal policies’ — green groups

“It is high time to call a spade a spade: the Aquino government has demonstrated that it can no longer meet even the minimum demands of the Filipino people for environmental protection and the wise utilization of natural resources towards people-oriented development and industrialization.” – Kalikasan Partylist

MANILA – Nowadays, a mere low-pressure area can already submerge villages and even cause a landslide. In some towns in Bataan, Pangasinan and Bulacan, and in Metro Manila’s Valenzuela and Parañaque, for example, there are villages still flooded by rains brought about by a low-pressure area. “How much more if we had super-typhoons?” residents wading through flooded streets asked in fear.

Early this year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that an unprecedented 1,257 Filipinos died from Typhoon Sendong in late 2011, while nearly 5,000 were injured. “Typhoon Sendong exposed the Aquino government’s lack of disaster plans,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino.

In President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, just six months after Sendong, Aquino boasted of supposed improvements in his government’s handling of disasters. He praised what he described as his administration’s improved capability at disaster response.

But in a forum led by Kalikasan Partylist held shortly before Aquino delivered his address, green groups found little to no trace of Aquino’s touted disaster response capability in his administration’s track record.
In fact, Filipinos are in greater danger today from environmental catastrophes than two years ago when Aquino started to rule. According to the Kalikasan Partylist, the Aquino administration has not addressed but worsened the environmental crisis with its policies and programs.

Environmentally-destructive policies 

After two years as president, Aquino has shown a track record of “pursuing environmentally destructive policies,” said Clemente Bautista Jr., president of Kalikasan Partylist. These policies, he said, include the continued liberalization of mining industry under Aquino’s Executive Order 79, and the limited log ban in 2011.

Mining-related sinking in Benguet (Photo courtesy of Amianan Salakniban / bulatlat.com)
Kalikasan Partylist suspects that Aquino’s recently signed Executive Order 79 which further liberalizes mining operations in the country is issued partly as payoff for his presidential campaign financiers from the mining sector. “The signing of the said executive order had been delayed because Aquino held consultations first with mining companies,” Palatino said in this forum.

Under Aquino, the increase in large-scale mining is such that its gross production value rose in 2011 by P18.9-billion (US$448-m), while the contribution of metals to exports have increased from 3.8-percent to 5.6-percent, Bautista of Kalikasan Partylist said. But all these brought only “minimal contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (0.9-percent of almost P200-billion), and employment (0.6-percent),” added Bautista..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/27/%E2%80%98filipinos-environment-in-greater-peril-under-aquino%E2%80%99s-neoliberal-policies%E2%80%99-green-groups/

If it’s not yellow Written by Tribune Editorial

If it’s not yellow

Noynoy should keep at it, the way he has been pounding on media about highlighting the good news, because he would not convince any legitimate journalist to see things the way he does, which is with blinders.

Noynoy attended last Friday the anniversary of a television news program and used the occasion to complain about what he called as out of place remarks of the program’s anchor, Noli de Castro, the former Vice President.

Talking of out of place comments, Noynoy was not exactly in the appropriate place to gripe about the bad rap he is getting from media and at the same time alluding to political color on De Castro’s commentaries since, according to Noynoy, “he was part of the administration” which Noynoy claims to have inherited problems from but which in turn he has been using for two years as scapegoat for what should be clearly his fault after two years in the presidency.

De Castro was the Vice President of Gloria, ergo, he was part of what he calls the crooked past that needs to be eradicated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/2194-if-it%E2%80%99s-not-yellow

Syria: Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians: No Place to Hide

Syria: Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians: No Place to Hide

by Felicity Arbuthnot

"A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere:  in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by occupation and oppression into a nightmare."

 (2004 Acceptance speech for the Prince Klaus Fund Award, Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008)

Syria's citizens are now another nation reduced to tragic turmoil resultant from being targeted in the post September 11th 2001 Pentagon plan to "take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off with Iran," as described by General Wesley Clark. (i)

US planned carnage in sovereign Syria was a bit behind schedule, but now back on track, if out of predicted sequence, with another wannabe Crusader in the White House, this one with a Nobel Peace Prize. Fact mirrors fiction's wildest darknesses, and from the "Nile to the Euphrates" the regions's residents increasingly have only the most uncertain and tenuous places to hide.

Syria, with a population of under twenty-three million, is also host to nearly half a million Palestinian refugees and the largest influx of Iraqi refugees in the world, a minimum of 1.2 million, who fled the US-UK's liberating bombs, bullets, kidnappings, rapes, murders, ethnic cleansing, looting and mayhem.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) record, "Syria has been a generous host to Iraqi refugees."

Now the horrors they fled after the invasion are again stalking those who thought they were now safe:

"Iraqis with old vendettas have taken advantage of the chaos and instability in Syria to pursue Iraqi refugees there, with a string of kidnappings in recent months," records UNHCR.(ii).... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/27-07-2012/121761-syrians_iraquis_no_place-0/

‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

Radical Islamists with “British accents” are among the coalition forces looking to topple Bashar Assad, says Jeroen Oerlemans, a photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week. The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation.

Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.

"One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: 'These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.'" Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/british-jihadists-fighting-syria-360/

Olympics: Fantastic Day One

Olympics: Fantastic Day One

Olympics: Fantastic Day One. 47647.jpeg
Pravda photo
Russia is off the mark with the first medal - Gold - in the Men's Judo, -60 kg. category but the first Gold of the Games went to China's Yi Siling in the Women's Shooting, 10 m. air rifle. On day one 13 records fell and the youngest medal winner was China's 16-year-old Ye Shiwen.

Aleksandr Vinokurov, from Kazakhstan, stunned the home crowds in the Surrey countryside sprinting up Box Hill and finishing the Men's Cycling Road race with the Gold. At 38 years of age, he is to date the oldest medal winner, over twice the age of the PR China's Ye Shiwen, 16 - Women's Swimming 400 metres individual medley - Gold, World Record.

The first Gold went to the PR China's Yi Siling, 23, who won the Women's Shooting 10m. air rifle over Poland's Sylwia Bogacka, whose mistake after the eighth shot saw her lose the lead, which she was never to regain.

13 records fell on Day One, 3 World Records and 10 Olympic Records in Swimming, rowing and archery, where the Men's team from the Republic of Korea shone through, Im Dong-hyun breaking his own 78-arrow record by three points and he, Kim Bibmin and Oh Jin-hyek broke the World Record by 18 points..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/news/sports/championships/29-07-2012/121775-olympics_day_one-0/

Break Written by Dinah S. Ventura


A big smile, a wave, and she was off.

The day former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left the portals of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), which had been her “prison” for many months on charges of electoral sabotage, seemed like déjà vu.

On the one hand, we have seen high officials leaving places of confinement and perhaps we reacted with feeling. On the other, we have seen power at work and may have rebelled against its misuse, but seeing it again in this case only drew a puff of air.

For some reason, watching the faces of our former president, her spokesman and her more publicly appealing family members caused some of us to swiftly recall our less than inspiring history — how much more of the same faces, the same places, spinning us in the same storyline over and over again are we supposed to endure?

We thought the nation had gotten a break when two decades of dictatorial leadership ended in one sweeping, unified movement from the people. We thought the same again when another uprising occurred and installed one Gloria in Malacañang..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2189-break

A cycle Written by Aldrin Cardona

A cycle

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a superhuman.
I cannot recall any great athlete, who had been injured or has suffered from a career-threatening or a career-ending disease, to have gone on a roadshow like Gloria did right on the day of her release on bail.

GMA could be the only person said to be suffering from hypoparathyroid and bone diseases, her neck in a brace, to have jumped out of bed and dive into her waiting SUV the second her petition for bail was granted by the Pasay Regional Trial Court.

Gloria was everywhere since then.

She was spotted in Tagaytay. She was seen in Taguig. Live television news feed followed her convoy to Lubao.

GMA beat Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of our time. Ali had to be cared for before he was able to light the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta in 1996.

He was relatively still young then but was already slowed down by Parkinson’s disease. He shook as he fed the torch to the flame. Many had felt the moment when Ali stood there, others were reduced to tears by the sight..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2188-a-cycle

Palace mum on US-China spat over Spratly garrison

Palace mum on US-China spat over Spratly garrison

The Aquino administration has refused to be dragged in a brewing conflict between the United States and China over the latter’s plan to put up a “garrison” similar to a military base off the disputed Spratly Islands.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said “the Philippines has its own position on the matter and will not enter the picture. We do not know how our friends in China will face that, we will not comment on the statements of the US in reference to China’s plans,” she explained.

Valte expressed high optimism about the “diplomacy” between the Philippines and China, adding that positive results appeared to suggest that it was working.

The Palace mouthpiece even cited the Philippines-China dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands in the Spratlys as among the proofs of an enhanced relationship..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2213-palace-mum-on-us-china-spat-over-spratly-garrison

Top Abu Sayyaf leader captured in Tawi-Tawi

Top Abu Sayyaf leader captured in Tawi-Tawi

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 30 July 2012

Government forces have arrested a founding member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group blamed for some of the worst terror attacks in the region, security officials yesterday said.

Quoting reports from the field, Police Community Relations Group director Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said Ammad Ustadz Hamad Idris was nabbed around 8:50 a.m. Saturday in the vicinity of Rachel’s Place Hotel in Barangay Lamion, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi province.

Cruz said Idris was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant for a string of kidnapping and serious illegal-detention cases.

Idris was captured by combined elements of the 84th Special Action Company, the Marine Battalion Landing Team-5, the Naval Intelligence and Security Group-Western Mindanao, the Tawi-Tawi police and the Regional Intelligence Unit-15..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2231-top-abu-sayyaf-leader-captured-in-tawi-tawi

SC drops Greggy from graft case

SC drops Greggy from graft case

The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld  with finality its  ruling earlier this year removing businessman Gregorio “Greggy” Ma. Araneta III as a respondent in the government’s recovery suits pending with the Sandiganbayan to recover P200 billion in alleged ill-gotten wealth during the term of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The SC’s Second Division through Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered the reinstatement of Araneta’s wife, Irene Marcos-Araneta, her siblings — Ilocos Norte Gov. Imelda Marcos-Manotoc and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — as defendants in Civil Case No. 0002.

Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Portugal Perez and Bienvenido Reyes concurred with the ruling.

The tribunal denied for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a reversal of the Court’s Feb. 8 decision..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2217-sc-drops-greggy-from-graft-case

4 dams near spilling levels — Pagasa

4 dams near spilling levels — Pagasa

Authorities raised flood alerts yesterday after two dams neared their spilling levels with water in two other dams also rising swiftly.

As of 6 a.m. Of Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said water at the Ipo Dam had reached 100.80 meters.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) announced that the dam’s management may start opening the spillway gates once the water level reaches 101 meters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2214-4-dams-near-spilling-levels-%E2%80%94-pagasa

Nabbed pilot gets back at PDEA agents, accuses them of planting evidence, extortion

Nabbed pilot gets back at PDEA agents, accuses them of planting evidence, extortion

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are now in hot water after a pilot, whom they “arrested” for alleged possession of illegal drugs, has accused them of planting evidence, robbery and trying to extort P500,000 from his family.

Commercial pilot Capt. Rioklyn Toledo, in a letter to PDEA chief Undersecretary Jose Gutierrez Jr., called for an in-depth investigation of PDEA Intelligence Officer 2 Joseph Samson for allegedly planting evidence when he (Toledo) was arrested last July 14 in a supposed buy-bust operation in Taguig City.

Aside from allegedly planting evidence against Toledo, Samson and his companions even robbed Toledo of various valuables, including licensed .45 caliber pistol, a .22 caliber pistol, P116,000 cash, an Apple laptop, a Samsonite bag, an ATM card and Rayban and Oakley sunglasses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2205-nabbed-pilot-gets-back-at-pdea-agents-accuses-them-of-planting-evidence-extortion

House panel to investigate DFA for issuing guidelines unfair to small travel agencies

House panel to investigate DFA for issuing guidelines unfair to small travel agencies

The House committee on foreign affairs is set to investigate the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)in connection with the alleged unfair guidelines  that would affect small travel agencies.

According to Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of Alagad party-list, the move to bar small travel agencies from providing passport services is unfair.

Marcoleta said he has been receiving more complaints from small travel agencies about the unfairness of the policy, especially after the DFA formalized and issued the new guidelines for travel agency accreditation last month without any consultation.

The new DFA guidelines gave travel agencies only up to the end of the year to offer passport assistance services to the public.

Marcoleta filed House Resolution 2456 on May 20 directing the committee on foreign affairs to conduct the inquiry to get into the bottom of the DFA directive following the complaints from small travel agencies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2203-house-panel-to-investigate-dfa-for-issuing-guidelines-unfair-to-small-travel-agencies

Progressive groups protest Arroyo release, blame Aquino for filing weak case

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Progressive groups protest Arroyo release, blame Aquino for filing weak case

“It was so easy for the Aquino administration to let Arroyo get away with her crimes while political prisoners continue to languish in jail.” – KMU

MANILA – Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been granted bail. Set at P1 million ($23,255), the Pasay City Regional Trial Court has allowed Arroyo to post bail on the electoral sabotage case filed against her. Various groups condemned the court’s decision blaming the weak case filed against Arroyo.

“We condemn the granting of bail to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, criminal mastermind of election fraud in 2007, as well as the election prior to that. While we are definitely upset at this development, we are not surprised. This may well have been the result of the rushed case filed in November last year to prevent Arroyo from leaving the country as the Supreme Court upheld its restraining order on the DOJ (Department of Justice) travel ban,” said Renato M. Reyes, Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Arroyo has been under hospital arrest since November 2011 for alleged electoral sabotage.
The case of election sabotage brought before the Pasay court was the result of a joint probe by the Commission on Elections and the Department of Justice. The case was filed to pre-empt the Supreme Court’s decision upholding its temporary restraining order against a travel ban imposed by the DOJ on Arroyo. At the time, with Aquino already 500 days in office, no case against GMA had yet been filed in court to justify a travel ban..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/26/progressive-groups-protest-against-arroyo-release-blames-aquino-for-filing-weak-case/

Rights activists slam ‘impunity’

Rights activists slam ‘impunity’

“And so this is justice under Aquino – torturers are given plum positions in the military, and the rich, powerful and notorious human rights violators like Palparan and Arroyo are mockingly free as preying vultures.” – Karapatan
MANILA – Human rights advocates do not see President Benigno Aquino III’s avowed “righteous path” but rather “a crooked path of impunity.”

Human rights group Karapatan issued the statement following the granting of bail to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the promotion of another military officer implicated in the arrest, detention and torture of 43 health workers, popularly known as the Morong 43.

Then colonel, now Brigadier General Aurelio Baladad, will replace Major General Josue Gaverza as commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division.

“And so this is justice under Aquino – torturers are given plum positions in the military, and the rich, powerful and notorious human rights violators like Palparan and Arroyo are mockingly free as preying vultures. No wonder, Noynoy [Aquino] deliberately omitted saying anything on human rights and peace in his SONA, a tacit and dangerous signal for state security forces to continue to prowl, with terror and violence against the people,” Karapatan spokeswoman Cristina Palabay said.

Arroyo, now representative of Pampanga’s second district, is respondent to two separate damage suits filed by Morong 43 and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) for human right violations. In their complaints, both groups asserted that Arroyo, as then commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is accountable to thousands of cases of human rights violations. She is also respondent to the torture charges filed by Morong 43 before the Department of Justice..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/26/rights-activists-slam-%E2%80%98impunity%E2%80%99/

Tit for tat? Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Tit for tat?

Judicial and Bar Council representatives of Congress, Sen. Francis Escudero and Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., have been ordered pulled out of the JBC by their respective leaders, owing to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that said only one representative from Congress is mandated by the Constitution to sit in the JBC.

The Senate and House leaders no doubt want a representative from their chambers to represent them in the JBC, and as a result, they have questioned the ruling the SC made in the matter of, one, the so-called acting Chief Justice (CJ) convening the JBC for the selection of candidates for the top post in the judiciary when the Constitution clearly states that it is the CJ who is the ex-officio head of the JBC; and two, the same ruling also saying that, by way of line of succession, according to a 1948 Judiciary Act, even a junior SC justice can preside over the JBC proceedings, which certainly goes against the Charter, apart from being illogical.

There is too that question of the President of the Republic substituting for the Justice chief, Leila de Lima, ex-officio member who had inhibited herself, an undersecretary to replace her at the JBC, when the Constitution clearly states that it is the Justice Secretary who is the ex-officio member..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2151-tit-for-tat?

USA: Large, profitable companies employ most minimum-wage earners

[USA]: Large, profitable companies employ most minimum-wage earners

By GEORGE ZORNICK, The Nation | Report
If you’ve ever had a conversation about the minimum wage with friends and family, you invariably hear an argument about how raising it would hurt small businesses.

There is compelling academic research that increasing the minimum wage doesn’t dramatically impact employment levels, but a new study underscores another important point—most people earning minimum wage work for large, profitable corporations.

The National Employment Law Project looked at Census data from 2009–11 and found that 66 percent of low-wage workers are employed by large businesses with over 100 employees. Moreover, it found that the fifty largest employers of low-wage workers have all recovered from the recession and are in strong financial positions:

• 92 percent were profitable last year.
• 78 percent have been profitable for the last three years.
• 75 percent have higher revenues now than before the recession,
and 73 percent have higher cash holdings.
• 63 percent have higher operating margins than before the recession.

Also, the study found that at these fifty firms, executive compensation averaged $9.4 million, and they have returned $174.8 billion to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks in the past five years..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/27/large-profitable-companies-employ-most-minimum-wage-earners/

Replacing government 101: Syrian rebels learn democracy in Germany

Replacing government 101: Syrian rebels learn democracy in Germany

A group of top Syrian opposition figures took courses in governing a country in Berlin. The training, partially sponsored by the US State Department, is meant to come in handy after the Bashar al-Assad regime falls.

­The group consisted of over 40 individuals, including Syrian defector generals and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They learned economics, law, security practices and other areas of governance, which would be needed in the transition period..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/government-rebels-training-us-301/

DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections

DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered masses of riot gear equipment to prepare for potential significant domestic riots at the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and next year’s presidential inauguration.

The DHS submitted a rushed solicitation to the Federal Business Opportunities site on Wednesday, which is a portal for Federal government procurement requisitions over $25,000. The request gave the potential suppliers only one day to submit their proposals and a 15-day delivery requirement to Alexandria, Virginia..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/dhs-unrest-gear-283/

Heaven on Earth Written by Archbishop Oscar V.Cruz

Heaven on Earth

The State of the Nation Adress (Sona) spoke not only of an exquisite present but also of a sublime and majestic future.

It did not simply take note of a distinctly favored people here and now but also foresees them as very much more fortunate and blessed in the days yet to come. It sees a country that is not only wallowing in benefits and accomplishments now but also projects it as overflowing with wealth and honey in the days ahead.

In short, the Sona sees the Philippines as one big emerging heaven on earth.

But there were then the poor people in the streets that were hungry and angry. There were the elderly who knew not where to live, what to eat. And there were the children whose present is miserable, whose future is dim and grim.

In fact, there were protest rallies in different parts of the country. They said the same things: Living is hard, work is lacking. Food is expensive. Here in imperial Manila, some of them even became violent due to exasperation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2147-heaven-on-earth

Pnoycchio, the boy with an elongated nose

Pnoycchio, the boy with an elongated nose

During the State of the Nation Address delivered by P-noy  at the Batasan, several militant organizations such as Bayan, Piston, KMU and its allied NGOs staged protest rallies  denouncing the Noynoying ways of P-noy Aquino.Militants  brought with them an effigy of P-noy with an elongated nose. They said that P-noy should really have this long nose to show that everytime he speaks about his accomplishments which are really lies, his nose becomes longer and longer like  the wooden boy toy Pinocchio.

The militants accused P-noy of fooling the nation as they shouted that P-noy bragged about his accomplishments but the truth is, these were merely sugar-coated motherhood statements. His so-called accomplishments did not in fact trickle down to the vast majority of Filipinos who have remained poor and downtrodden. His alleged economic advancement leading to a growth of 6.4 percent was merely the product of inventions by  his new Economic Czar named Balicasan. Had it been true that there was a growth rate of 6.4 percent, why did not Secretary Paderangga of National Economic and Development Authority announce it before he left his post?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2148-pnoycchio-the-boy-with-an-elongated-nose

AFP fields more troops in Basilan to run after Abus

AFP fields more troops in Basilan to run after Abus

  • Written by 
  • Sunday, 29 July 2012 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday deployed a C-130 plane loaded with Army troops in Zamboanga City to conduct offensive operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The move came  following an encounter on Thursday night that killed at least 10 soldiers and wounded 17 other members of the Army.

Report reaching the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City said  soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion arrived in Zamboanga City yesterday at around 3 p.m.

They were brought to Camp Arturo Enrile in Barangay Malagutay.

The C-130 plane also carried coffins for the soldiers killed in the clash.

A send-off ceremony for the fallen soldiers will be held inside the Air Base.

However, the Western Mindanao Command has been strict in allowing media to cover the ceremony..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2177-afp-fields-more-troops-in-basilan-to-run-after-abus

Noynoy hits Kabayan, refers to his VP stint

Noynoy hits Kabayan, refers to his VP stint

  • Written by 
  • Sunday, 29 July 2012 


President Aquino was all over taking potshots at media again last Friday even making a political connection on the way news stories are being delivered by a news anchor of a broadcast firm which is perceived to be a big supporter of the Aquino family.

Former Vice President and now TV Patrol anchor Noli de Castro, popularly known as “Kabayan,” was the focus of Aquino’s jabs at media during a speech at the 25th anniversary of the news program as Aquino lambasted De Castro who was in the crowd over his supposed negative comments even on positive news stories.

Aquino cited a TV Patrol story last October 2011 on higher passenger arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) which Aquino claimed De Castro belittled by raising the problems faced at the old NAIA 1 terminal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2180-noynoy-hits-kabayan-refers-to-his-vp-stint

Bacoor, Las Piñas folk clean up Zapote River Written by Gina Peralta-Elorde Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Rate this item 1 2 3 4 5 (0 votes) Around 500 local officials and residents of Bacoor and Las Piñas cities yesterday started the regular synchronized cleanup of the once-pristine 18.3-kilometer Zapote River. The joint cleanup activity in the two cities at Barangay Pulang Lupa Uno was the result of the dialogue between and among the barangay leaders of Bacoor and Las Piñas and representatives of the two city governments, the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s National Capital Region and Region IV-A offices. The dialogue was made after DILG-NCR Director Renato Brion issued a show-cause order to the barangay governments of Las Piñas to justify the continuous flooding in the barangays near Zapote River caused by garbage that accumulated along its riverbanks.

Bacoor, Las Piñas folk clean up Zapote River

Around 500 local officials and residents of Bacoor and Las Piñas cities yesterday started the regular synchronized cleanup of the once-pristine 18.3-kilometer Zapote River.

The joint cleanup activity in the two cities at  Barangay Pulang Lupa Uno was the result of the dialogue between and among the barangay leaders of Bacoor and Las Piñas and representatives of the two city governments, the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s National Capital Region and Region IV-A offices.

The dialogue was made after DILG-NCR Director Renato Brion issued a show-cause order to the barangay governments of Las Piñas to justify the continuous flooding in the barangays near Zapote River caused by garbage that accumulated along its riverbanks..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2171-bacoor-las-pi%C3%B1as-folk-clean-up-zapote-river

Calabarzon DENR bans transport of logs at night Written by Efren B. Chavez Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:00

Calabarzon DENR bans transport of logs at night

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarzon gathered recently the region’s field officials at the Calamba City office for a strengthened anti-illegal logging stance a day after President Aquino delivered his third State of the Nation Address.

DENR Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Reynulfo Juan presided over the meeting which included personnel from the provincial environment and natural resources office (PENRO) and the community environment and natural resources office (CENRO).

“Transport of forest products will be done during the day and will not be allowed at night,” Juan said. He said this will make monitoring easier since this is in broad daylight..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2173-calabarzon-denr-bans-transport-of-logs-at-night

Environmental Ombudsman’s reactivation gets support Written by Arlie O. Calalo Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:00

Environmental Ombudsman’s reactivation gets support

The reactivation of the Office of the Environmental Ombudsman will give the citizens’ environmental rights a more prominent position in the Aquino administration’s crusade against graft and corruption, according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje.

“By resurrecting the office of the Environmental Ombudsman, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has made, in one stroke, protecting the citizens’ environmental rights a centerpiece of her agency’s mission,” Paje said in a statement e-mailed to the Tribune.

Reiterating his gratitude for the Ombudsman’s “display of political will to enforce environmental laws,” Paje said the reactivation of an environmental team by Morales “has taken the next step further in building institutional support within the bureaucracy to DENR’s initiatives for environmental justice.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2155-environmental-ombudsman%E2%80%99s-reactivation-gets-support

Stop breaking seized TV sets used in ‘video karera’ — Ecowaste Coalition

Stop breaking seized TV sets used in ‘video karera’ — Ecowaste Coalition

A waste and pollution watchdog has appealed to local government and police officials to stop the practice of breaking confiscated TV sets used in illegal “video karera” (VK) gambling activities.

The practice of smashing TVs with mallets or sledgehammers by concerned officials, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out, is turning the gambling problem into a real chemical pollution with far reaching implications.

“While it seems to make a good photo op for government and police authorities, the crushing, dumping or burning of TVs and other gambling paraphernalia is extremely injurious to human health and the environment and sends the wrong message about the management of unwanted electronics,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Improper destruction of gambling apparatuses and materials, particularly the TVs, causes their hazardous components to scatter not only in the immediate surroundings, but even in remote dumpsites and landfills where these are finally disposed of and thus polluting the air, soil and water,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2153-stop-breaking-seized-tv-sets-used-in-%E2%80%98video-karera%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-ecowaste-coalition

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