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Claims that US will aid Philippines against China, a fantasy

Monday, May 21, 2012

Claims that US will aid Philippines against China, a fantasy


The Philippines, because it relies on the US as treaty “partner,” has not developed its own military capability.
By MARYA SALAMAT

Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: Opposition mounts as US increases military aid, sends nuclear submarine to Subic

MANILA – The Philippines, China and even the United States “know they will benefit from a peaceful resolution of the conflict” which outwardly emanates from contesting claims on Spratlys and Scarborough shoal. In an interview with UP professor and geopolitics expert Roland Simbulan, he reiterated that China, the Philippines and the US need each other as markets for exports and, particularly with US and China, also for capital.

But the Aquino government’s tack of talking tough against China, without the backing of its own defense capability in case China obliges and engages the Philippines in a war, is not wise at all nor helpful to Filipinos, according to Simbulan. He explained that the Aquino government is mistaken in thinking that the US is a Philippine ally against China..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

50% power cut, not wage hike DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/21/2012

50% power cut, not wage hike

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
05/21/2012
The newspapers have just reported that the Metro Manila Wage Board approved a P30-minimum wage hike to be factored into the “cost-of-living allowance” and given in two tranches. Some labor groups that demanded a P125-daily minimum wage increase described the wage board’s decision as “loose change.”

Acting president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) Rene Soriano questioned the move, asking, “Will the wage increase create jobs? The resounding answer is no,” adding that the increase would, in fact, worsen the conditions of vulnerable workers.
This tit-for-tat between the labor and business sectors goes on every year with the same predictable outcome — an unhappy compromise where both lose and the employable unemployed lose even more.

According to Dr. Rosalinda Pineda-Ofreneo, professor of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development, the entire informal sector constitutes around 24.6 million informal workers and operators, or 76.34 percent of the country’s labor force. Well, the recent minimum wage hike just pushed that figure higher.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) claims that workers have no reason to be happy with the small wage hike granted by the wage board. Its secretary-general Roger Saluta says, “It’s another reason to intensify the struggle for a legislated wage hike.” So, every year, the KMU revs up for the perfunctory “struggle” then settles for the predictable “loose change” while continuing to charge fees from its members to keep itself going.

The unionized labor force in the Philippines, according to one report in Bulatlat.com, has dropped from a high of 2.97 million 20 years ago to 319,408 in 2010 or 10 percent of the wage earners in the country and less than one percent of the country’s labor force. The underground economy is now reported to be 70 percent of the national economy; and of the more or less 40 million labor force, 35 million are invisible to the formal, legal system of wages, incomes, social security and benefits. Workers and employees in the underground economy have a free-wheeling, negotiated wage system — and maybe that’s why this sector is thriving and growing at the expense of the formal economy.

During the discussions and debates on the latest wage hike petition, one focus of interest was the comparative levels of minimum wages in the Asean and Asian regions, with the employers’ side highlighting the $10 per day in the Philippines in relation to Vietnam’s $2.20, Cambodia’s $2, Indonesia’s $5.20 to 5.90, and China’s $3.75 to $5.

KMU reacts saying most Asean and Asian counterparts may be receiving lower minimum wages but their living conditions are way better because of lower local commodities and services costs, and higher purchasing power. Moreover, in reaction to BS Aquino III’s rejection of his group’s wage hike demand, KMU chairman Elmer Labog adds, “The problem with the President is that he is always taking the viewpoint of the foreign investors, never of Filipino workers.”

The problem with both of them — Aquino and Labog — is that they never take the viewpoint of the real engine — the drivers and workers of the real economy — the SMEs (small and medium enterprises), which constitute 95 percent of Philippine businesses and employ the vast majority of both formal and informal sector workers.

Every year, this charade among the three parties in the wage issue — government, labor and employers’ representatives — is played out without ever resolving the matter to the benefit of our people and economy. The growing hardships of the working class are never solved in any wage boards since there are more fundamental problems that the decision makers know of but have nary the guts nor will to confront decisively.

Of course, foremost of these problems is our country’s “highest power rate in Asia” that’s debilitating every aspect of Philippine life and livelihood. Hernan Nicdao admitted this much on a GNN show. After reciting labor’s mantra, the talk shifted to the Filipinos’ standard of living and, inevitably, to the price of electricity.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had already demanded government action on this problem late last year. But as it was unfortunately not sustained, then it’s back to the old charade.

Jojo Borja of Iligan Light and Power called me last weekend to report that their power utility company’s retained earnings the past year alone exceeded their authorized capital despite an electricity rate of only P5.50 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and a customer base of only 60,000, which from all angles, is a fantastic, if not immoral, return for the company that Borja blames on the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).

Thus, Borja also wonders how much more a giant utility company such as the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is raking in since it charges P12 per kwh with a customer base of almost 6 million and with the majority of industry and commerce situated in its 9,337-square kilometer-franchise area, where the concentration of the national economy is.

It is very clear from the example of Iligan Light and Power that electricity rates in the country can be brought down dramatically and radically — if only the will to demand and achieve it is there. That will certainly do all the workers of the Philippines — in both the formal and informal sectors — greater good than all the past and future tripartite wage negotiations can ever hope to attain.

(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.; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120521com5.html

The era of reforms and anonymous sources FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/21/2012

The era of reforms and anonymous sources

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
05/21/2012
Over two years ago, Noynoy claimed that with him at the helm of Malacaang, there would not only be change, but also reforms in government, whether in the executive, legislative or judicial department.

That pledge, people now know, is meaningless and meant to be meaningless, because as sure as sin, Noynoys idea of change, is merely a change of faces in government, with him and his KKKs (kaibigan, kaklase, kabarilan), which include the Liberal Party.

As for his idea of reforms in government, again, the reforms are in the form of kicking out the appointees of the previous administration, and placing his appointees in their positions not to introduce reforms, but mostly to enable Noynoy to prostitute the institutions that are now headed by his appointees..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120521com2.html

From G8 to NATO: ‘Russia and China may be on the same side’



From G8 to NATO: ‘Russia and China may be on the same side’

With Putin opting not to attend the ongoing G8 summit at Camp David and Obama passing on an upcoming APEC summit in Vladivostok, much has been made of the bilateral snub. But Russian expert Martin McCauley told RT critics have missed the plot.

As President Obama greeted leaders of seven other major world economies for a working dinner at the start of the G8 summit Friday night, President Putin was not among them. The Russian president said domestic affairs and cabinet appointments had led him to send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his place..... MORE

SourceRT.com
URL: http://www.rt.com/news/obama-putin-g8-summit-669/

‘Ring of fire’ eclipse awes people…and lemurs (PHOTOS, VIDEO)



‘Ring of fire’ eclipse awes people…and lemurs (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Skywatchers from Mount Fuji to the Grand Canyon enjoyed a treat: the moon nearly blotting out the sun to create a dramatic “ring of fire” over a narrow strip of eastern Asia and the western United States.

­The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible in Asia early Monday. It then moved across the Pacific and was seen in parts of the western United States Sunday afternoon..... MORE

SourceRT.com
URL: http://www.rt.com/news/fire-ring-eclipse-awes-people-745//

Violations of workers’ rights, getting worse – rights group

Violations of workers’ rights, getting worse – rights group

Of the 40.3 million workers who are part of the labor force in the Philippines, 19 million are wage or salary earners, only 1.7 million of whom are union members.
By PATRICIA LOURDES VIRAY
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – “We will walk on a straight path; [we] will end corrupt leadership and poverty that has long pounded the majority of the Filipino people. We, Filipinos can now dream again,” said President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in his inaugural speech on June 30, 2010.

The Filipinos began to hope again when Aquino promised change. For workers, his policies promised to “improve the country’s labor relations, create employment, and uplift the workers’ participation in policy and program formulation,” said Daisy Arago, executive director of Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR)..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/21/violations-of-workers%E2%80%99-rights-getting-worse-%E2%80%93-rights-group/

Actress Jodi Sta. Maria joins Migrante in demanding justice for OFW killed in Mongolia

Actress Jodi Sta. Maria joins Migrante in demanding justice for OFW killed in Mongolia
 
MANILA — Actors Jodi Sta. Maria and Allen Dizon have put their support behind Migrante International and its campaign demanding justice for overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Terril Atienza whose death in December remains shrouded in mystery.

When Atienza’s remains were flown back to the country on December 9, it was discovered that her heart was missing and her entire body bore various bruises and burns. In an autopsy report made by the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Medico-Legal Division, it was stated that the OFW’s other internal organs were “sectioned with missing portions.” A cloth rag was also extracted from inside her body..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/19/actress-jodi-sta-maria-joins-migrante-in-demanding-justice-for-ofw-killed-in-mongolia/

Sotto wants Panamanian envoy probed for ‘illegal’ drugs ties 05/21/2012

Sotto wants Panamanian envoy probed for ‘illegal’ drugs ties

05/21/2012
Possible involvement in illegal drugs trade of the Panamanian diplomat facing rape charges is now wanted pursued by Senate probers through the country’s drug enforcement units with the assistance of international anti-narcotics agencies.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III bared yesterday the continuing efforts to clear the suspect claiming to hold diplomatic status, Erik Shcks, who had already fled the country.

“I’m not threatening them, but lest they forget that (aside from the rape charges) they seem to be also facing (possible) violations to Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002),” he said in an interview over dzBB radio..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120521hea6.html

Crucial CJ testimony faces tough hurdles By Angie M. Rosales, Fernan J. Angeles and Gerry Baldo 05/21/2012

CONTROVERSIAL DOLLAR ACCOUNTS KEY TO SENATE COURT VOTE

Crucial CJ testimony faces tough hurdles

By Angie M. Rosales, Fernan J. Angeles and Gerry Baldo 05/21/2012

Impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona faces a paradox when he appears to testify before the Senate impeachment court tomorrow to primarily answer several allegations hurled at him as senator-judges plan a vote on whether or not to comply with the Supreme Court restraint order on making public the contents of his dollar accounts while the Palace stated that it is convinced that Corona should be convicted “regardless whether the chief magistrate has one or 82 dollar accounts.”

Corona’s lawyers had said the Supreme Court head would bare all regarding his banking accounts in his testimony.

Senator-judges, on the eve of Corona’s testimony, indicated holding a likely caucus to vote on the opening of his alleged dollar accounts, a decision that will reflect their decision whether to obey the high court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) on its being bared to the public..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120521hea1.html

Noy orders AFP to step up intel efforts 05/21/2012

Noy orders AFP to step up intel efforts

05/21/2012
President Aquino yesterday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to intensify intelligence activities across the country after members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) on Friday torched some P100 million worth of heavy-duty construction equipment in Albay.

In a radio press briefing, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reported that authorities were already in close coordination with the field personnel, but intelligence operations needed to be intensified across the country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120521nat2.html

Tobacco farmers urge Aquino to review ‘repressive’ sin tax bill By Fernan J. Angeles 05/21/2012

Tobacco farmers urge Aquino to review ‘repressive’ sin tax bill

By Fernan J. Angeles 05/21/2012

Tobacco farmers from the northern part of Luzon voiced out fears that Malacañang may be getting distorted data that lead the government to believe tobacco planters would benefit from a new sin tax system.

Expressing apprehension over the possible enactment of House Bill 5727 providing a new tax computation system for alcohol and cigarette products, the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) also asked the Aquino administration to go slow in the implementation of radical measures which may eventually boomerang on the Philippine economy, such as HB 5727 should it be enacted.


In their press statement, the militant peasant organization said the new sin tax would eventually compel them to sell their produce at a loss, as they would have nobody to sell their tobacco leaves once the market is flooded with tobacco end-products by smugglers who sneak “hot” goods into countries who collect high taxes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120521nat1.html

Measure regulating construction of road humps in QC okayed By Arlie O. Calalo 05/21/2012

Measure regulating construction of road humps in QC okayed

By Arlie O. Calalo 05/21/2012

Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista has approved an ordinance that will regulate the construction of any traffic-calming structures like road humps that slow down the fast mobility of trade and the day-to-day routine of residents.

The measure, authored by Councilor Anthony Peter Crisologo, would be the answer to the motorists as well who feel bored of travel delays not because of the long queue of vehicles but because of too many elevated structures perpendicularly constructed on city streets.

Crisologo said Ordinance SP-2135, s-2012 seeks to regulate the construction of humps, speed bumps or any protuberance on public roads within the territorial jurisdiction of the city..... MORE




 URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120521met1.html

NCRCom fields 1,000 soldiers to assist in kick-off of DepEd’s ‘Brigada Eskwela’ By Mario J. Mallari 05/21/2012

NCRCom fields 1,000 soldiers to assist in kick-off of DepEd’s ‘Brigada Eskwela’

By Mario J. Mallari 05/21/2012
At least 1,000 soldiers will be allotted by the military’s National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) for today’s kick-off of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) week-long “Brigada Eskwela” within Metro Manila.

Civil military operations (CMO) units from the Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters, numbering at least 1,000 and reservists within the capital region would be placed under operation control of the NCRCom, led by Maj. Gen. Tristan Kison, to assist in the DepEd activities.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa said the military’s involvement in DepEd’s National Schools Maintenance Week or Brigada Eskwela which started today up to May 26 nationwide, is part of its internal peace and security plan “Bayanihan.”.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120521met2.html

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