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Oil price review 70-percent done, more questions on oil overpricing still unanswered

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oil price review 70-percent done, more questions on oil overpricing still unanswered


Progressive organizations, business and transport leaders are dismayed at the fact that the government, up to now, has no system to monitor or explain how the oil companies profit and how much. Neither does it have a benchmark for defining excessive profits and penalties for such.
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – “We’re looking for a good monitoring method; I think that by now you should have that already. What I can’t understand is why there is still no clear monitoring system till now,” Claire dela Fuente, former singer and now leader of a bus operators’ association called IMBOA, remarked during a public consultation of the Independent Oil Price Review Committee. It is the second public consultation held by the committee, who promised to do this monthly until it submitted its report by July.

Dela Fuente had listened to the consultation at length before speaking. “I have lost interest in attending meetings like this,” she shared. She had been to many such meetings and consultations before, and she asked, “Until now, where is the system?” Dela Fuente said that even in their transport business, which is a lot smaller than the business of refining and distributing oil, they have a monitoring system that tells them their cost and profit projection.

“We’re talking of the oil companies’ accumulation of profits,” she said. But after many consultations like last Monday, she said, the government still cannot monitor or explain how the oil companies profit and how much, really.


(Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
Worse, during the public consultation, it transpired that the Philippines do not actually have a (legal) definition of excessive profit. In the law, dela Fuente pointed out, “there is no penalty for excessive profits, if there is such given its lack of definition in law.” This means that even if the ongoing review does find out that there is excessive profit taking on the part of the oil companies, it would likely be useless and toothless.

The oil price review committee is supposed to determine if the oil companies’ profits are excessive or not. Even if the committee said, last Monday, that they are already 60 to 70-percent through and they could submit their “scientific report” on July, they still would not reveal the trend of their findings, citing the terms of reference of the review. They are also set to meet with oil companies to get their side, along with other data on oil company’s “financials.”

Oil price reviewers’ limits, self-imposed or otherwise

In last Monday’s consultation by the Independent Oil Price Review Committee held at the Department of Energy, leaders of civil society and business received little to no reassurance that the much complained about oil overpricing, oil deregulation law or government neglect in developing local energy sources may be finally and decisively addressed.

The thrust of the review, said Dr. Rene Azurin, member of the review committee, “is not to determine whether prices are fair or not but if it’s fairly set, if it’s accurately set compared to world market, (or) whether local prices reflect international prices.”

This delineation followed a lengthy sharing of leaders from business and bus transport operators who, like Dela Fuente, had expressed disappointment with government inaction on oil prices and oil overpricing..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/10/oil-price-review-70-percent-done-more-questions-on-oil-overpricing-still-unanswered/

All this pointless fuss EDITORIAL 05/13/2012

All this pointless fuss

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
05/13/2012
Groups clad in yellow went near the Chinese Embassy the other day and tried to burn the Chinese flag among other forms of protests against the bullying China is being accused of as a result of the standoff in the Scarborough Shoal.

Had they succeeded in burning the flag, the conflict with the Chinese would have moved a few more notches higher, closer to the point of no return.

That point of no return is an armed conflict between the Philippines and China in the disputed area, which seems to be the worst-case scenario in the current standoff. But it is not far-fetched, if one looks back at the Falklands war England had with Argentina. It didn’t create a world war, but Falklands was lost to Argentina..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120513com1.html

‘Europe on the brink of armed-revolution’




‘Europe on the brink of armed-revolution’


The chorus of anti-austerity voices grows louder in Greece as Athens scrambles to form a coalition government. While eurocrats prepare to give Greece the boot, political analyst Alessandro Politi told RT speculators are Europe’s real enemy.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias has called on the leaders of the country’s three biggest parties in a last ditch effort to avoid new elections. With the Left Coalition SYRIZA party insisting that it will not participate in any government “that will implement the bailout,” Greece faces bankruptcy within weeks, and a likely ejection from the eurozone. But as Greece is told to suffer more austerity or say goodbye to the euro, Politi told RT there is a third way.

RT: Greece's predicament is unenviable. It could leave the Eurozone, maybe default, start from scratch – or try and stick out more than a decade of austerity. Which direction should it go?.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/greece-eurozone-exit-revolution-117/

US drones spy on Americans - ‘incidentally’

US drones spy on Americans - ‘incidentally’


A leaked US Air Force document stipulates a drone that happens to capture surveillance images of Americans may store them for a period of 90 days. The paper appears to justify spying on citizens, as long as it is “incidental.”

­The document accepts that the Air Force may not record information non-consensually; however it does state “collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent.”

The report, dated April 23 was discovered by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists and has been put online.... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/drone-spying-memo-leaked-088/

Suspect in abduction of Jonas Burgos identified by witness

Suspect in abduction of Jonas Burgos identified by witness


Jeffrey Cabintoy, then busboy at the Hapag Kainan restaurant inside the Ever Gotesco mall in Quezon City when Jonas Burgos was abducted, readily pointed to Major Harry Baliaga Jr. as the man who told him not to intervene when they forcibly took Jonas five years ago.
 By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – “Sir, he is the one.”

Jeffrey Cabintoy, a witness to the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos told his companion, a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) personnel, the moment he saw Major Harry Baliaga Jr. at the court room this morning.
It turned out that Baliaga was the first witness to be presented by the defense in the continuing hearings on the habeas corpus petition filed by Jonas’s mother, Mrs. Edita Burgos. In a decision issued in July 2011, the Supreme Court reverted back the case to the appellate court’s Special 7th Division.

Before Baliaga took the witness stand, Assistant Solicitor General Amparo Tang, lawyer for the public respondents, requested for an executive session “for the protection of their witness.” Lawyer of Mrs. Burgos, Ricardo Fernandez, objected and instead asked the justices to order Cabintoy to identify Baliaga.

The justices ordered Cabintoy to stand up and point at Baliaga. Cabintoy, then busboy at the Hapag Kainan restaurant inside the Ever Gotesco mall in Quezon City, proved he has not forgotten the man who told him not to intervene when they forcibly took Jonas five years ago. He pointed at the man wearing blue long sleeves..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/10/oil-price-review-70-percent-done-more-questions-on-oil-overpricing-still-unanswered/

On Health Workers Day, health workers reiterate demand for salary hike, stop to privatization

On Health Workers Day, health workers reiterate demand for salary hike, stop to privatization


“The government is passing its obligation to the private sector to reduce its social spending.” – Health Alliance for Democracy
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: Gov’t temporary employment program for nurses, exploitative
Finding fulfillment in serving the poor

MANILA – Leopoldo Merdanio, 40, is a registered nurse working at the San Lazaro Hospital. He is single but his P17,000 ($404) monthly salary is just enough for him, his mother and grandmother to be able to live and eat decent meals three times a day. However, he is worried that as prices of basic commodities are soaring his monthly salary might not be enough to cover his family’s expenses.

“We have long been calling for an increase but it falls on deaf ears. What’s worse is that the government is reducing our benefits,” Merdanio told Bulatlat.com.

Republic Act 10069 declares May 7 as National Health Workers Day “to give due recognition to the important role and contributions of the health workers who provide vital health services to our people and to promote their rights and welfare and enhance their sense of worth and dignity.”

However, Merdanio and hundreds of health workers gathered on May 7 this year not to celebrate but to cry out for justice as the government continues to deprive them of their rights and that of the people they serve as well. Health workers from different hospitals, clinics, agencies and institutions marched from España Avenue to Chino Roces Bridge (former Mendiola bridge).

“We cry out for an immediate relief from our comatose state – health workers are battered with low salaries, inadequate benefits, inhumane working conditions and lack of job security.

These are the results of the worsening crisis and aggravated by the continuing implementation of cost-cutting, privatization and contractualization policies of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III administration,” the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) said in a statement.

Health workers are demanding for a P6,000 ($142) increase in the salaries of the lowest salary grade in the sector. They are also demanding for an upgrade to salary grade 15 for nurse 1 and salary grade 24 for doctors.


(Bulatlat.com file photo)
“Aquino has not given us any salary increase. He is just implementing the salary standardization law 3 approved in 2009 before he became president. We need a real salary increase,” AHW added.

“With our meager wages, many health workers are in deep debt. Health workers are forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks to augment their needs,” Sean Velches, president of the National Orthopedic Center Health Workers’ Union-AHW said.

Aquino ‘killing softly’ health workers

The health workers also denounced the attempts of the government to reduce their subsistence and laundry allowances. “We oppose all attempts of the government to reduce or diminish our laundry and subsistence allowances and to delay our hazard pay, as per the department orders and circulars of the Department of Budget and Management and DOH,” the AHW said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/10/on-health-workers-day-health-workers-reiterate-demand-for-wage-hike-a-stop-to-privatization/

Erap: Beyond politics TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 05/13/2012

Erap: Beyond politics

TABLETS OF STONE
Larry Faraon, OP
05/13/2012
\"Asiong Salonga” is coming back to Manila. This time it is for real! President Joseph Estrada is gunning for the top post in Manila come 2013, and he is a sure winner with the obvious initial fervor of the Manileños in welcoming him to his new home in Sta. Mesa last Wednesday.

Estrada’s posturing for the mayoral post in Manila is actually a metamorphosis of what politics and politicians are all about and should be.

For many politicians who see politics as a career leading toward an upward movement to the higher echelons of power, Estrada’s move is indeed a puzzle or a mystery to many..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120513com6.html

Noy using China to divert issues 05/13/2012

MILITARY PAPER CITES HIGH POVERTY, JOBLESSNESS UNDER NOY

Noy using China to divert issues

05/13/2012
The Aquino government is using the current standoff with China over the conflicting claims on Scarborough Shoal as a way to “divert its people from its domestic political and economic contradictions,” an opinion piece that appeared in the mainland’s military paper the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily said.

It described provocation that started the standoff as deliberate and that the tough position being made by the Aquino administration was meant to cover up its shortcomings in the domestic front.

China also denied it is increasing its combat readiness in response to the tense territorial row which has dragged on for more than a month.

The standoff erupted last month after Philippine authorities detected Chinese ships fishing near the Scarborough Shoal. They tried to arrest the crew, but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels deployed in the tiny rocky outcrop in the South China Sea about 230 kilometers from the main island of Luzon..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120513hea1.html

Filipino-Chinese ocean camaraderie fades amid row By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/13/2012

Filipino-Chinese ocean camaraderie fades amid row

By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/13/2012
Threats, harassment and fear have replaced ocean camaraderie between Filipino and Chinese fishermen following the ongoing standoff at Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.

While Filipino fishermen still ply their trade at Scarborough Shoal about 230 kilometers from the coastal town of Masinloc in Zambales province, they say rifle-brandishing Chinese personnel on rubber boats are intimidating them.

Shortly after returning from two weeks at the shoal, crewmen from a 15-meter long outrigger, said the Chinese shadowed them whenever they sought to fish inside the shoal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120513hea3.html

Groups voice backing for CJ, seek judicial independence By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/13/2012

Groups voice backing for CJ, seek judicial independence

By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/13/2012
Various groups continued to voice their support to impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona with court employees and the Ateneo Law Alumni Association Inc. (ALAAI) demanding that the independence of the Judiciary be upheld by the Aquino administration

“He risked everything for the institution he so loved and served so well,” Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator (DCA) Antonio Eugenio Jr. explained before the 15th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) in Palawan.

“This fight is not mine alone. It is a struggle of all freedom-loving Filipinos who believe in the rule of law, the independence of the Judiciary, and the separation of powers — principles which define us as a people and our worthiness to live in a democracy,” Chief Justice Corona said in reply..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120513hea2.html

Suarez: Probe insurance firms that lure clients through foreign partners 05/13/2012

Suarez: Probe insurance firms that lure clients through foreign partners

05/13/2012
The House committee on trade and industry will conduct an inquiry into certain insurance companies that invest in the country using their foreign affiliates and agents.

“This practice of domestic insurance companies of soliciting clients through their foreign affiliates and agents must be severely penalized because it ruthlessly handicaps citizens jurisdictionally, financially and physically from pursuing their claims,” said House Minority Leader Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

Suarez filed House Resolution 2290 urging the House committee to investigate the matter to prevent domestic insurance companies from engaging in this unfair practice..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120513nat2.html

Davao radioman gets death threats via text By Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/13/2012

Davao radioman gets death threats via text

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/13/2012


A provincial radio commentator in Mati City, Davao del Sur sought the police after he received text messages of death threats on his cellular phone.

Lito Labra, a commentator of DxWM-Sunrise FM based in Mati City, said he received threatening messages minutes before his morning radio program.

The text messages were received by Labra two days before a radio reporter was killed in Mati..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120513nat1.html

EARIST official slain in Sta. Mesa ambush By Pat C. Santos 05/13/2012

EARIST official slain in Sta. Mesa ambush

By Pat C. Santos 05/13/2012

The executive vice president of the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Technology (EARIST) died in an ambush Friday night staged by motorcycle-riding men while cruising Valencia Street in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Authorities identified the victim as Noel Bangis Cabrerra, 46, married, an EVP of EARIST located on Nagtahan Street, Sampaloc, Manila and a resident of Lot 7, Modesto Village, San Mateo, Rizal.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at the De Ocampo Hospital a few meters away from the ambush site..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120513met2.html

Suspect in murder of star witness under WPP tagged By Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/13/2012

Suspect in murder of star witness under WPP tagged

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/13/2012


The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday confirmed that its investigating teams had gathered conclusive evidence to pin down Ryan Dominguez, younger brother of car theft syndicate leaders Raymund and Roger Dominguez, in the murder of star witness Alfred Mendiola and two others whose bodies were dumped in Dasmarias, Cavite last May 6.

At a case conference held at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City yesterday, PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome noted that the pieces of evidence gathered had connection with the younger Dominguez.

Mendiola and two other victims identified as Mark Herrera and Eriberto Jumaquio bore gunshot wounds on their heads when found..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120513met1.html

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