• 6 AUGUST - *1907 - Gen. Macario Sakay, one of the Filipino military leaders who had continued fighting the imperialist United States invaders eight years into the Ph...
    8 years ago


The Daily Tribune

(Without Fear or Favor)



World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Philippines

The Philippines Matrix Project

RP must learn from Ecuador DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 01/27/2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

RP must learn from Ecuador

Herman Tiu Laurel
Other than the letters to its name, the Philippines has other things that are more plentiful than Ecuador: Nine times more population; 10 percent more land area; a sea territory that is far more vast, etc. Yet, Ecuador is much better off in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP), with $8,327 compared to our $4,111; or its higher Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.72 compared to our 0.64, among other statistics.

In addition, one key difference will make the Filipino people see the light of day — that is, if they would cease to be mindlessly dependent on mainstream media. This sad comparison centers on a recent announcement on the Philippine government’s share of Malampaya oil profits totaling $1.1 billion, which translates to only 10 percent of the gas facility’s total earnings for 2011. Ecuador, in contrast, gets an astounding 87-percent share of gross revenues today from oil extracted by foreign companies. So what accounts for the Philippines’ sordid plight?

If only we had the same tough pro-people, pro-nation leadership as Ecuador under its progressive President Rafael Correa, the Philippines would also have a just share of its natural and national patrimony. If RP had someone like Correa today, the people would be enjoying not just a $1.1-billion share from Malampaya but around $8.8 billion (equivalent to P360 billion), or about the entire sum of the yearly allocation for interest payments on our foreign debt. If only we had this money in our hands, then Congress could have had the means to budget the principal repayment of our foreign debt in order to wipe this out in a few years’ time.

Ecuador did not always have this vastly pro-people arrangement with the transnational oil companies in its country. Before 2007, it only had a 13-percent share of revenues from its oil fields. All that changed with the victory of a nationalist leadership. And this exciting and welcome development for all Ecuadorians was chronicled in Jayat Ghosh’s “Could Ecuador be the most radical and exciting place on Earth?” in The Guardian.

As a backgrounder, the then 47-year-old Correa was elected in 2007 on an anti-trapo platform after a year of then Vice-President Alfredo Palacio’s transition government, which took over from Lucio Gutiérrez, who was ousted by a “citizens’ movement” protesting his administration’s failures to deliver on land reform, lower unemployment, social services and historical exploitation by the oligarchy.

By December 2008, Correa declared Ecuador’s national debt illegitimate for having been contracted by previous corrupt and despotic regimes. And as he pledged to fight creditors in international courts, he succeeded in reducing the debt before even paying any of it off.

Correa then brought his country into the fold of the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in June 2009. All these policies were, of course, anathema to the US. Thus, a police-led coup that led to the Ecuadorian leader’s kidnapping was launched — with Correa thankfully restored after being rescued by the military. But this by no means deterred him from renegotiating contracts with foreign oil companies, thereby completely changing the rules by December 2010.

Foreign oil firms, which used to pay just over a percentage of their profits to the national government through taxes, were made service providers instead and paid a set fee for each barrel of oil extracted (at about $35 per barrel); the national government then kept everything above that, which allowed it to profit whenever oil prices increased.

Over and above his achievements in the oil sector, Correa also dramatically raised the corporate tax share in the total pie from 35 to 40 percent. These increases were then “put to good use in infrastructure investment and social spending,” raising Ecuador’s proportion of public investment to GDP to 10 percent — the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean — while doubling social spending since 2006, enabling progress toward free education and free health care for all.

Ghosh gushes, “All this may sound too good to be true, and certainly the process of transformation has only just begun. There are bound to be conflicts with those whose profits and power are threatened, as well as other hurdles along the way. But for those who believe that we are not condemned to the gloomy status quo, and that societies can do things differently, what is happening in Ecuador provides inspiration and even guidance. The rest of the world has much to learn from this ongoing radical experiment.”

Here in the Philippines, we have a scion of a cacique family in power who epitomizes a class of people whom Correa fought and overcame to launch the “radical and exciting” changes benefiting the Ecuadorian nation today.

Filipinos need the same type of leadership as the new Latin American leaders like Correa, Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), or Cristina Fernández (Argentina), who continue to push their countries forward with nationalist and pro-people policies.

While Ecuador wrested the just and rightful bounties of its oil wealth from foreign hands and gave them to its people, RP’s past and present governments have merely been in cahoots with Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, allowing additional investments in Malampaya to dilute the country’s already measly 10-percent share — when the fact is all these “investments” were derived from Malampaya profits courtesy of Filipino power consumers, who have been paying for overpriced electricity through natural gas plants managed by a big oligarchic family.

Just the same, pressure from the likes of Energy Secretary Rene Almendras and his ilk continues for the privatization of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), which represents government’s share in Malampaya.

And so, as our country’s senators are caught up in impeachment rapture, the plunder of our nation continues unabated.

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “New proofs of Hocus PCOS;” 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/20120127com6.html

Recto’s foul play FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/27/2012

Recto’s foul play

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Sen. Ralph Recto thought the viewing and listening public, no matter how small an audience it really is, that it wouldn’t see through what he was doing, which was doing a Drilon, i.e., lawyering for the prosecution Wednesday.

Sure, he can always claim that all he did by questioning the witness, Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares, was merely to clarify the public what it was the “Alpha” returns and the Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were all about, but he went further, and asked, year by year, what was the income of Chief Justice Corona and the amount of taxes paid under the Alpha list. He can always claim that as an excuse.

But — and this is a big but. There was already a ruling made by the presiding judge of the impeachment court, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, disallowing the witness to be questioned by the prosecutor, except to authenticate the documents, to which the defense had already not only stipulated, but also was in full accord — to shorten the authentication process, which merely needed the witness to state that yes, such is true and correct, because she did not have personal knowledge and that she was moreover not competent to give an opinion on the matter related to the CJ’s ITR because she was not an expert witness..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120127com2.html

Americans are against war: But does govt care? (w/ Video)

Americans are against war: But does govt care?

With harsh US rhetoric and tensions around Iran’s nuclear program snowballing by the hour, American polls nonetheless show that most Americans think a war with Tehran would be a grave mistake. But do the leaders care?

­Despite Iran’s recent consent to return to negotiations over its atomic work, the Obama administration says war with Tehran is still on the table. Even harsher statements come from some of Washington’s hawks like Newt Gingrich, who spoke of breaking the Iranian regime within a year..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/americans-no-war-iran-819/

FBI would like to follow you on Facebook and Twitter

FBI would like to follow you on Facebook and Twitter

The FBI has got tired of monitoring social media sites manually and wants to reinvent the process. So, soon your posts may instantly light up on a map as a big red dot if considered suspicious, marking the location of the ‘bad actor.’

­"Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations," says the Request for Information published by FBI on January 19.

The FBI’s ‘market research’ shows that the bureau is planning to monitor all ‘publicly available’ data on social media sites through a new game-changing system..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/fbi-social-networks-privacy-781/

Pentagon's new budget: Rise of the machines

Pentagon's new budget: Rise of the machines

The Pentagon detailed the Defense Department cuts on Thursday that US President Barack Obama hinted at earlier in the month.

While the agenda for the DoD isn’t full of surprises, it exemplifies a trend that the military has seen more and more as of late: droves of drones replacing real-life soldiers.

Under the Pentagon’s new budget plan, America’s war-time arsenal will see a drastic decrease in the number of servicemen, with the DoD instead spending money on robotic unmanned vehicles..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/pentagon-budget-military-defense-805/

After 2011 toll fee hikes, toll operators report increased profits

After 2011 toll fee hikes, toll operators report increased profits

“The TRB decision approving the automatic increase in toll fee rates every two years should be scrapped.” – Taxpayers Unity vs Toll Fee Hike
MANILA – While most Filipinos today are gritting their teeth over the left and right hike in fees and prices that greeted them this new year, private toll operators of the capital’s highways “are feasting on higher profits,” as a group of consumers focusing on operations of the privatized toll roads said recently.

“This is outrageous,” said the Tutol-Hike or Taxpayers Unity vs Toll Fee Hike, an alliance of consumers, employees and former workers of public transport facilities, as reports came out that the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) is expecting its 2011 revenues to be bigger by 12 percent compared to previous year. The increase is attributed to higher toll fees at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

Rodrigo E. Franco, MNTC president, said the increase in revenues is due to toll rate increase. The increase has apparently more than offset the slight reduction in traffic volume at the expressway. Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) disclosed last week that MNTC’s revenue is expected to hit P6.5 billion, higher than P5.8 billion recorded in 2010.

Against public opposition, toll fees in NLEx and other privately operated toll roads were raised by 12-13 percent last year (the SLEx rate was raised by about 300-percent). These increases threaten to be implemented at the expressway every two years, based on the Toll Regulatory Board’s approval.

With truckers, transport groups, other consumer groups and legal personalities, Tutol-Hike (formerly Tutol-Slex) had spearheaded protest actions against the then proposed toll fee hikes in both the South and North expressways. The group has also actively attended the public hearings conducted by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), hearings which the group later came to describe as bogus for sheer absence of public voice, participation and timely information dissemination..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/01/26/after-2011-toll-fee-hikes-toll-operators-report-increased-profits/

Drama N.O . N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E Jacinto ‘Jing’ Paras 01/27/2012


N.O . N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E
Jacinto ‘Jing’ Paras
Or, that which my computer dictionary also defines as “an exciting, emotional or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances,” such as what we have in the ongoing impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate. And, such as what I get in my e-mail, where people inject color where there is none, prescribe emotions in true telenovela fashion and cast intrigue by making mountains out of molehills.

“verling40@yahoo.com” is perhaps the most mellow, with “keep on writing, ma’am armida, about CJ Corona and his buddy little girl to counter your editor writer. I’m always looking (forward) to reading your column.”

To clarify, I’m on good terms with my editor. She lets me write what I want to write, does not tell me to drop a paragraph here or change a couple of lines there, she just never censors me, period..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120127com4.html

Iggy Arroyo dies in London hospital 01/27/2012

Iggy Arroyo dies in London hospital

Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, brother-in-law of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, has been declared dead after life-support systems were removed from him Thursday evening.

Members of the Arroyo clan said Iggy went into a coma last Wednesday and was rushed immediately to a hospital where he was declared clinically-dead early morning Thursday, Manila time.

The younger Arroyo went to London last year to seek treatment for a liver ailment..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120127hed4.html

Prosecution fishing for evidence—JPE 01/27/2012


Prosecution fishing for evidence—JPE

The House prosecution’s penchant for asking vague subpoenas tends to prove that the accusers of the impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona are merely fishing for evidence.

Enrile issued a stern warning after handing down a ruling approving the prosecution panel’s motion withdrawing its earlier request for the court to issue subpoenaes to some bank executives, as well as property developers, supposedly privy to alleged bank deposits and condos of the embattled SC chief justice.

Enrile directed them as well as the defense panel to specify in their requests for the issuance of subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum the reasons for such..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120127hed1.html

Despite series of media killings, Press Freedom in RP improved — Palace By Fernan J. Angeles 01/27/2012

Despite series of media killings, Press Freedom in RP improved — Palace

By Fernan J. Angeles 01/27/2012

Despite a series of media killings, Malacanang insists that the country is getting to be a safe place for journalists.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ramon Carandang said the Philippines has improved in the 2011 Press Freedom Index by the Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters without Borders.

He cited better democratic space in the country as the primary reason over what he described as an improvement in the local environment.

RSF, a Brussels-based organization, said the Philippines has improved slightly in its 2011 Press Freedom Index although it still reels from the stigma of the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre where at least 57 were killed including 32 media people..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120127nat6.html

Noy ‘happy’ with DoJ’s cases against foes By Fernan J. Angeles 01/27/2012

Noy ‘happy’ with DoJ’s cases against foes

By Fernan J. Angeles 01/27/2012

Malacañang never runs out of new names to beef up what appears to be a growing membership in what appears to be an exclusive hit-list club. The latest addition in their list is former Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman Prospero Pichay.

In a statement farmed out by the Office of the Presidential Spokesman to Palace reporters, Malacañang appears to be “very happy” with the Department of Justice (DoJ), which approved the indictment of Pichay in connection with the “anomalous purchase” of the Express Savings Bank.

“We welcome the decision of the Department of Justice panel of prosecutors to file charges of corruption, malversation and violation of the banking law, against former Local Water Utilities Administration Board Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr., and acting LWUA Administrator Daniel Landingin,” the statement said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120127nat1.html

CA upholds conviction of JI men in LRT blast By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/27/2012

CA upholds conviction of JI men in LRT blast

By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/27/2012

The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the conviction of three members of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) behind the Dec. 30, 2000 bombing of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) which killed 11 persons.

In a 56-page decision by Associate Justice Danton Bueser, the CA’s Seventh Division did not give credence to the alibi of the accused-appellants Mukhlis Hadji Umpara Yunos (also known as Hadji Onos, Moklis, Muklis and Mocles), Zainal Paks (alias Paks and Mamasao Gaon Naga) and Mohamad Amir (alias Amir, Abdul Fatak Paute) that they were in their respective hometowns when the bombing took place.

Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Ricardo Rosario concurred..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120127met1.html

Military sends 115-strong peacekeeping force to Liberia 01/27/2012

Military sends 115-strong peacekeeping force to Liberia

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday sent a 115-strong peacekeeping force to war-torn Liberia as part of the country’s commitment to the United Nations (UN).

The 16th Philippine Contingent to Liberia (PCL), composed of seven officers and 108 enlisted personnel and medical staff, was sent off via chartered flight to Liberia at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga during simple ceremonies led by Air Force 1st Air Division chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Banayat.

Led by Col. Armin Alejaga, the 16th PCL will be relieving the 15th PCL which has been deployed in Liberia since March. Members of the 15th PCL will be arriving back in the country on Jan. 28..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120127nat5.html

Blog Archive