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RP’s $500M to IMF: Cruel joke DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/02/2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

RP’s $500M to IMF: Cruel joke

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
03/02/2012
I do not know why the usual government financial managers and “experts” went out on a limb to attempt the latest PR stunt for the Philippines’ financial status, but it is so lame that they are certain to get rotten eggs and tomatoes on their faces.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy chief Diwa Guinigundo said the country’s contribution of $500 million to the New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) program of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) signals its “creditor” status in the world. Cory Aquino Finance Chief Jess Estanislao, meanwhile, chimed in with his paeans, leading a yellow daily to blare, “From butt of jokes in 1986, Philippines has risen to creditor nation, says ex-finance chief.” All these, when the truth is, the national government (NG) will only be borrowing by way of issuing bonds to raise the dollars to “contribute” its regular quota to the IMF — as it had done in the past.

With help from financial forensics expert Hiro Vaswani, we have gathered several instances where the BSP and the NG went about raising the country’s contributions to the IMF. From January 2006 (“NG to issue bonds to BSP for advances of IMF dues”), there was this idea of issuing the same type of zero-coupon bonds as the infamous CodeNGO PeaceBonds which will no longer pass through the national budget and go straight to government’s debt to form part of our “automatic debt service.” In 2009, with the budget deficit incurred at that time but which the NG repaid in subsequent years to the BSP, another development (“BSP advances P9B IMF quota payments”) highlighted the country’s regular ritual of raising contributions for the IMF. There is thus no reason to expect that there will be any difference in the process this year.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), in its reaction to the BSP and NG’s trumpeting of another $251-million RP contribution to the IMF’s Financial Transaction Plan (FTP), said in its press release, “The news suggesting that ‘the Philippines has now become a creditor nation’ may sound good, but (FDC) smells something fishy about this ‘hype’… Ricardo Reyes, FDC president, said that while such move ‘seems to suggest that the Philippines has gotten out of its debt problem, which of course is not true,’ considering the outstanding national government debt of P4.93 trillion ($120 billion) at present, the catch lies in the next part of the BSP announcement… (where the) ‘BSP lends a part of our dollar reserves to IMF’s FTP’ so the Philippines can borrow again and borrow more from the IMF!” This contribution to the FTP is again no different from our contribution to the NAB of $500 million.

So let’s throw rotten tomatoes and eggs, and add the rotten balut for PeNoy’s head, for this shamefully lame attempt to glorify the Philippines’ borrowed financial tribute to the IMF. This is nothing but a desperate effort to put an artificial sheen to the 26 years of Edsa I’s financial “reforms,” consisting of liberalization of currency and capital flows, deregulation and privatization of the financial system and economy, among others, which have caused the Philippines to become a shameful laggard in the region.

Believe me: The Philippines has now been overtaken by Vietnam, which 26 years ago had just begun to rebuild form the ravages of 50 years of war with France and then the US. Tonette Chan of the Inquirer, who wrote that report on Estanislao, even dared to ask, “Who is having the last laugh now?” It’s certainly not us Filipinos.

But their hubris doesn’t come in short supply. Estanislao was, in fact, quoted to have said before the Institute for Solidarity in Asia that “The Philippines is going to be a model of good governance in the world,” arguing that “public officials and citizens (who) address local issues like instituting political reforms and changing the political culture… would help the Philippines overtake Thailand and Indonesia in terms of economic growth.”
Given the dismal 26 years of Edsa I financial and economic reforms that Jess Estanislao started and bequeathed to a long list of Finance heirs, from “Boy Blue” del Rosario, Jose Cuisia, Bobby de Ocampo, Lito Camacho, to the latest, Cesar Purisima, how the hell can our country even dream of “overtaking” Thailand and Indonesia, when these countries were well behind the Philippines 26 years ago?

Ah, but the financial milieu imposed by Edsa I was all but a banker’s heaven, erected on Cory Aquino’s pledge to “honor all debts,” which turned our people over to the money masters and the “debt trap,” and dismantled our financial and economic floodgates to effect the massive transfer of public assets to foreign and local corporatists, all financed by “sovereign guarantees,” leading to the emaciation of our nation-state to the shadow of a captive creature that it is today.

As a recent commentary from the Economist’s View (“The Nation-State Reborn” by Dani Rodrik) tells us, the restoration of any nation to greatness would require its people to “turn for solutions to their national governments, which remain the best hope for collective action” because even as the “nation-state may be a relic… (of) the French Revolution… it is all that we have.” For us, that only means a truly sovereign nation-state borne of a new Philippine Revolution; not one that’s captive to corporate powers.

(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 “Alan Paguia’s crusades;” 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/20120302com6.html

Jose ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno, quintessential nationalist

Jose ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno, quintessential nationalist


By Satur C. Ocampo
At Ground Level |

Tomorrow marks the 90th birthday of Jose “Ka Pepe” Diokno: nationalist, human rights defender, progressive intellectual, and more.

Had he lived as long as his colleague, Lorenzo “Ka Tanny” Tanada who, at 91, stood up from his wheelchair at the gallery to hail the Senate voting in 1991 that ended the US military bases’ presence in the Philippines one need not wonder how Ka Pepe would feel today.

Most probably he would be dismayed, yet undaunted, that American troops have returned and remained since 2002. He would vigorously oppose the bilateral talks to be held in March on the plan to expand US military-presence-cum-intervention in our national affairs.

Claro M. Recto, Jose P. Laurel, Tanada, and Diokno were the cogent, consistent, and courageous voices of nationalism in the Senate from the 1950s right up to 1972 when Congress was shut down by Ferdinand Marcos. After the deaths of Recto and Laurel in the 1960s, Tanada and Diokno forged on, alongside the rejuvenated progressive mass movement, to boot out the military bases as symbols of US hegemony..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/01/jose-ka-pepe-diokno-quintessential-nationalist/

Libyan rebels cage black Africans in zoo, force feed them flags (SHOCK VIDEO)



Libyan rebels cage black Africans in zoo, force feed them flags (SHOCK VIDEO)

A shocking video has appeared on the Internet showing Libyan rebels torturing a group of black Africans. People with their hands bound are shown being locked in a zoo-like cage and forced to eat the old Libyan flag.

­“Eat the flag, you dog. Patience you dog, patience. God is Great,” screams a voice off-camera in the video published by LiveLeak on February 28.

The torturers are also shown making the group of captive black Africans stand up with pieces of green cloth still in their mouths and apparently forcing them start jumping..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/libya-rebels-torture-africans-679/

Gunmen executing people in the streets – Homs eyewitness (w/ Video)



Gunmen executing people in the streets – Homs eyewitness


People have been left without water or electricity as rebels destroy water pumps and power converters. Civilians are forced to stay inside as snipers shoot from the rooftops.

­RT in Damascus managed to contact an eyewitness in Homs, who says self-proclaimed revolutionaries are killing civilians in the streets. Galina says leaving home is out of the question, as snipers “can shoot you in the back.”

They kill both young and old. They steal people from their homes and chop them into pieces, put them in plastic bags and throw them out!”.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/syrian-witness-report-rebel-crimes-639/

Europe's financial diet: EU signs crucial fiscal treaty (w/ Video)



Europe's financial diet: EU signs crucial fiscal treaty


Hot on the heels of the ECB’s half-trillion-euro handout to 800 banks, 25 EU member states have signed a fiscal treaty committing them to balance their budgets. The move has stoked public anger, with anti-austerity rallies breaking out across Europe.

The controversial fiscal treaty has been signed at a European Union summit taking place on March 1-2 in Brussels. The agreement introduces new budgetary regulations to which signatories must strictly adhere. The document also carries automatic sanctions for any country failing to comply with the rules..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/business/news/eu-summit-fiscal-treaty-573/

NASA loses laptop with command code for ISS

NASA loses laptop with command code for ISS


Four dozen high-tech computing devices disappeared from the offices of NASA over a two-year span, including one laptop that contained the code needed to command the International Space Station.
No big deal, guys!

A laptop with the algorithm used to control the ISS was one of 48 gizmos and gadgets that NASA either reported lost or stolen between April 2009 and April 2011, the agency’s inspector general, Paul Martin, tells the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Although the incidents date back to nearly three years ago, Martin has only now informed Congress of the accidents. They are discussed in a written statement he authored and published this week under the title “NASA Cybersecurity: An Examination of the Agency’s Information Security.”.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/nasa-international-space-station-647/

Of new lawyers and the ‘G’ word NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 03/02/2012

Of new lawyers and the ‘G’ word

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
03/02/2012
Lawyers wore contrasting faces, last Wednesday afternoon.

Just outside the Supreme Court 1,913 rejoiced, for they had just found themselves among those who passed the 2011 Bar examinations. At the Philippine Senate where an impeachment court continues to try SC Chief Justice Renato Corona, some were outright referred to as fools, or gago.

The new lawyers are idealistic, which is to be expected. Terry Ridon, from the University of the Philippines and national chairman of the League of Filipino Students, asks: “Does the Chief Justice absolutely think, in his heart of hearts, that he is serving as a great role model to us bar passers? We think absolutely not. His defense panel can insist on all excuses and justifications for his actions but the breadth of evidence presented showing partiality for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is disapprovingly overwhelming.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120302com4.html

Waahh! CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 03/02/2012

Waahh!

CROSSROADS
Jonathan De la Cruz
03/02/2012
We join the family, friends and associates of former DAR Secretary and DAP Chairman Horacio “Boy” Morales Jr. in prayers for the eternal repose of his soul.

“Manong Boy” as we fondly called him in our younger days being a fellow Ilocano (he was born in Moncada, Tarlac), occupied various key government positions from the Marcos years to President Estrada’s time. Even as he was in government, he was actively promoting his pro-people, pro-democracy advocacies through various NGOs and Pos. A noted economist, development guru and indefatigable organizer who rose to prominence when he resigned from the Marcos government to head the National Democratic Front (NDF) on the day he was supposed to be honored as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardee in 1977. He organized the “Jeep ni Erap” which was a key plank in the presidential bid of then Vice President Erap Estrada in 1998 and was appointed to the Cabinet after the latter’s victory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120302com5.html

GMA hails plunder drop; Noy vows 3 more plunder raps By Charlie V. Manalo and Fernan J. Angeles 03/02/2012

GMA hails plunder drop; Noy vows 3 more plunder raps

By Charlie V. Manalo and Fernan J. Angeles 03/02/2012

Former President now Rep. Gloria Arroyo yesterday lauded the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss the plunder case filed against her in connection with the sale and disposition of the Iloilo airport in 2007.


She however lamented that it took quite sometime for the Ombudsman to approve the recommendation to dismiss the case against her which she said had been used by the Department of Justice (DoJ) as basis for several watch list orders issued against her.

But even as she lauded the dismissal of the case against her, President Aquino yesterday intimated that there will be new charges against his predecessor over three transactions where she “could have caused undue damage to the government” warranting new non-bailable plunder cases.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120302hed3.html

RP, US meet for top-level regional security talks By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 03/02/2012

RP, US meet for top-level regional security talks

By Michaela P. del Callar and Mario J. Mallari 03/02/2012

A crucial meeting between the Philippines and the United States that will determine the extent of American military presence in the country has been set for April 30 in Washington, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

It is considered a vital meeting as it will extensively discuss a planned increase in US military activities in the Philippines amid territorial disputes with China in the contested South China Sea, where Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Chinese rival Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

The Spratlys, a cluster of islands, shoals and coral outcrops that straddles one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, is believed harboring rich oil and mineral reserves..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120302hed2.html

PSG bars Tribune reporter from covering Malacaang By Fernan J. Angeles 03/02/2012

PSG bars Tribune reporter from covering Malacanang

By Fernan J. Angeles 03/02/2012
In what appears to be another test of press freedom in the Aquino administration, the elite Presidential Security Group (PSG) barred a reporter of a critical newspaper from entering the Malacanang Palace for the usual coverage yesterday.

The elite presidential guards assigned to the Arias gate of the Malacaang Palace kept Fernan Angeles, the duly designated reporter of the hard-hitting the Daily Tribune from entering the Palace even after getting hold of the newsmans Press ID (issued by the Tribune) and after Angeles logged in a record book where guests and visitors alike are made to sign.

Three PSG men, including one who had a name tag that read Divino, were with two wire news photographers when Angeles was made to wait at the PSG sentry against his will..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120302nat1.html

DILG updating demographic data on risk areas By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/02/2012

DILG updating demographic data on risk areas

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/02/2012


Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Jesse Robredo yesterday called on all punong barangays (village chiefs) to update the list of populations at risk in vulnerable areas particularly in the cities and municipalities previously identified as landslide- and flashflood-prone areas.

Robredo’s call was made following the flashfloods and landslides in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities last year which killed large numbers of people.

Robredo said village chiefs should have a ready and updated list of at-risk communities such as those in low-lying lands, along riverbanks, shorelines, esteros, canals and in and under slope areas prone to landslides and flooding; people with special needs such as elderly, children, infants, pregnant women and persons with disability, and their locations; and poorly constructed houses and facilities..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120302nat3.html

Caloocan mayor throws more support to the city’s CIA M E T R O F I L E 03/02/2012

Caloocan mayor throws more support to the city’s CIA

M E T R O F I L E

03/02/2012
Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri has feted the locally-based Christian in Action (CIA), a charitable organization whose members are all senior citizens, for its great contribution in extending help to their fellow residents over the years. The city chief executive believed that it was only fitting to recognize the efforts of the group, particularly for the assistance they have rendering to others despite their being senior citizens. “The way that they’ve been helping their fellow citizens is truly commendable. They should be made role models for public service,” said Echiverri, who is the national chairman of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP). The mayor was obviously delighted as he was more encouraged to give his all-out support to the group which takes pride of its program dubbed “Abuluyang Panlipunan” where it has raised about P3.1 million as funds..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120302met6.html

BSP’s Leal lies on CJ’s bank copy, faces contempt By Angie M. Rosales 03/02/2012

BSP’s Leal lies on CJ’s bank copy, faces contempt

By Angie M. Rosales 03/02/2012

He said he never got a copy of the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona, then later got caught in the lie, as he later made a slip and admitted that indeed he had a copy—but only an electronic one, which may yet be another lie.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) examiner now faces the prospect of being cited for contempt and possible detention in the Senate after being caught by Senate probers lying in allegedly accessing and being furnished a copy of bank records in the PSBank of the Chief Justice.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile moved to have Jerry Leal, a member of the anti-money laundering specialist group of the BSP supervision and examination sector, cited in contempt by the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120302hed1.html

Gun, liquor ban imposed during Valenzuela plebiscite 03/02/2012

Gun, liquor ban imposed during Valenzuela plebiscite

03/02/2012
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has imposed the liquor and gun ban all over Valenzuela City as local voters in one of the largest barangays will decide tomorrow in a plebiscite whether or not they want to divide it into two.

District 1 Elections Officer Patrick Enaje said the ban is under a Comelec resolution that enjoins the concerned electorate in a certain area to obey.

“Although it is a plebiscite in just one barangay, prohibited acts implemented during regular election shall be imposed, such as ‘Liquor Ban’ from March 2 to 3 and ‘Gun Ban’ from Feb. 17 to March 6, 2012 in the whole Valenzuela City,” Enaje said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120302met5.html

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