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As EPIRA proves an utter failure on its 11th year, groups urge Aquino to scrap it

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

As EPIRA proves an utter failure on its 11th year, groups urge Aquino to scrap it


MANILA – This month, Filipino consumers are being asked yet again to cope with increased electricity rates, spurring protests and renewed calls to scrap the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA. The law is being blamed for having allowed electricity rates to increase so much.

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the country’s biggest electricity distributor, recently announced it will hike its rates starting June. Citing a 54-centavo increase in generation charges, Meralco has proposed to recoup this via the generation rate adjustment mechanism (GRAM), which it could increase automatically under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Given that electricity in the Philippines is already the highest in Asia, higher than high-income Japan, public opposition to EPIRA has been mounting. Business groups, large and small, have also complained of the rates, with some multinational companies relocating in other countries reportedly because of high electricity rates.

“As things stand, power rates have made small and medium-scale businesses more inclined to close shop while bigger businesses transfer to other countries,” observed Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

Progressive groups ask Aquino why he has not yet called for the reversal of GMA’s first law, EPIRA. (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
Progressive groups and consumers have questioned the continued implementation of EPIRA as its promised lower electricity rates “proved a sham from the beginning,” the KMU said in a statement.

Last year, the multi-sectoral alliance Bayan (New Patriotic Alliance) submitted to Congress its review of EPIRA. The group has been urging lawmakers to conduct its own review of the said law, in hopes Congress could see the need to scrap it altogether.
So when EPIRA turned 11 years old last Friday June 8, coinciding with the Meralco rate hike announcement and likely hikes, too, in Mindanao, progressive groups led by Bayan marched to Mendiola (now Chino Roces Bridge) to denounce the Aquino government’s continued implementation of EPIRA..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/11/as-epira-proves-an-utter-failure-on-its-11th-year-groups-urge-aquino-to-scrap-it/

What democracy? EDITORIAL 06/13/2012

What democracy?

Click to enlarge
Noynoy appears to have a skewed sense of what democracy — and its strengthening is.
During the Independence Day rites in Malolos, Bulacan, he again harped on the impeachment trial and conviction of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona, saying that this has strengthened democracy.

It should be asked: How on earth did the impeachment trial and conviction of Corona strengthen democracy, when in truth, it has weakened democracy, given the way the impeachment was worked on — and by Noynoy himself.

Driven by his vindictive and persecutorial nature, Noynoy bribed the congressmen with pledges of the early full release of their pork barrel, thereby turning what should have been an independent House of Representatives into his puppet legislative chamber..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120613com1.html

China’s Iranian crude imports remain in US firing line

China’s Iranian crude imports remain in US firing line

Washington has granted waivers to sanctions on Iranian oil imports to several countries, leaving China the only major oil importer subject to US penalties. Chinese oil giant Sinopec announced it will not raise imports in an effort to allay sanctions.

The US government added India, South Korea and four more nations to the list of countries exempt from the sanctions on Monday.

Ten EU nations and Japan were granted waivers in March to US financial penalties..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/sanctions-iran-oil-imports-614/

Russia, in favor of Iran's presence at conference on Syria

Russia, in favor of Iran's presence at conference on Syria

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, denounced that Iran did not participate in the international conference on Syria, as Tehran is an influential state in the region and in Syria.

"Iran is one of the countries that have influence on the Syrian government," the Russian diplomat stressed Saturday in a press conference on Syria he called as soon as possible to implement the peace plan of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Organization (UN) to Syria, Kofi Annan.

With these statements, Lavrov has opposed U.S. and western countries and some who question the presence of Tehran at the negotiating table on the Arab country..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/russia/politics/11-06-2012/121365-russia_syria-0/

Terrible state murder of Saddam Hussein's former secretary

Terrible state murder of Saddam Hussein's former secretary

"There was no honour left; ruin and war and the blood was flowing ...

Sadness, hate and the reign of arbitrary destruction." (Rachid Taha, Algerian Musician and lyricist, 1958-:)

Shocking details have emerged from an impeccable source (not named for obvious reasons) of the execution on Thursday the 7th of June, in Baghdad, of Abed Hamid Hamoud, President Saddam Hussein's former personal secretary and aide.

Mr Hamoud, fourth on America's 2003 asinine, juvenile playing card list of Iraq's sovereign government, has been held in jail since June 2003, after being arrested by US occupying forces.

He was sentenced to death in October 2010 with former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Tareq Aziz, and former intelligence chief, Sadoun Shakir, heightening fears for their imminent execution..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/crimes/11-06-2012/121363-Abed_Hamid_Hamoud-0/

Arson at Isla Puting Bato?

Arson at Isla Puting Bato?
“The next day, they blockaded the entrance with drums, container vans, so that people and the construction materials they brought won’t be able to pass.”

ISLA PUTING BATO, Manila — “My neighbors were shouting ‘fire! fire!.’ I asked, ‘Where is it?’ because I had just come home. They said it was at the corner. When we looked, the fire was already big. My children became agitated. They said, ‘Mama, hurry, let’s go.’ I could only think of my children. My eldest, in her agitation, carried her shoes away. My youngest took the dog. My second child, maybe because she was so nervous, was in shock, so I just dragged her. When we arrived at the end of the street, I went back. I tried to save even just a little of what I was selling, but I couldn’t because the fire was already beside our house. In the end, we couldn’t save anything, not even one, not even our clothes, only ourselves.”

This was the story told by Isabel Solayao, 37, a resident of Isla Puting Bato, to Bulatlat.com two weeks after a fire razed their homes. More than 1500 families were affected by the blaze which began at around 4 p.m. until 6:00 in the evening.

The fire started at a house near the entrance to Isla Puting Bato. There was only one way for the residents to flee: to the end of the Isla. Some residents scaled the wall while others jumped into the sea for safety.

(Photo by Igal Jada Sand Andres / bulatlat.com)
“Even when the firefighters came, the fire was not put out quickly,” Luzviminda Solayao, 55, a relative of Isabel, said. “They said they did not have enough water. The hose they were bringing was also small. But you should, of course, know that when there’s a fire, you should have plenty of water because you need to rescue the lives of the victims.”

The cause of the fire remains unclear. There are rumors that it was caused by a gas tank exploding or illegal electrical connections or a child playing with matches. But some residents believe otherwise – contending that the fire was not accidental and that the perpetrators might have been paid.

“What they’re telling us is that there was a couple who fought,” Isabel said. “The husband allegedly poured gasoline on his wife. But the wife was able to run to the barangay hall. So the man burned down their house. Purportedly they did not really own the house; they were only renting it.”

The couple has not been sighted after the event..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/11/arson-at-isla-puting-bato/

Justice department holds preliminary hearing on criminal cases filed by Burgos family against military

Justice department holds preliminary hearing on criminal cases filed by Burgos family against military
“I want to believe that there is hope.” – Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas
MANILA – Unlike Jonas Burgos, an activist abducted on April 28, 2007, military officials implicated in his enforced disappearance are being given an opportunity to defend themselves.

“The chance that they are giving Harry to defend himself is not an opportunity they gave my son. But we are not like them. We are God-fearing. We know how to love and we know how to forgive,” Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas, said.

Jonas, who is also the son of late press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr., was abducted on April 28, 2007 inside a mall in Quezon City. His family, friends and comrades continue to search for him to this day. The military has long been implicated to his enforced disappearance but it was only until Jeffrey Cabintoy, the busboy of the restaurant where Jonas was seen eating, identified Major Harry Baliaga Jr. during the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights that his alleged abductors finally had a name and a face.
Cabintoy, during the recent Writ of Amparo hearing before the Court of Appeals, positively identified Baliaga, who was sitting inside the courtroom. “It is him. It is him,” he said in Filipino.

Major Harry Baliaga Jr takes his oath before the state prosecutor of the Department of Justice (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
A year after they filed criminal cases of kidnapping and arbitrary detention against Baliaga, Lt. Col. Melquiades and Col. Eduardo Año and Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders against former high ranking military officials namely former military chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and former Police director general Avelino Razon, the Department of Justice finally summoned both the complainants and respondents for the first preliminary hearing.

“I want to believe that there is hope. Today is the first hearing and I am happy that these people [referring to former top state security officials] went out to give their sworn statements [before the state prosecutor],” Mrs. Burgos told Bulatlat.com.

Military did not cooperate

In an ambush interview, Gen. Esperon, one of the high ranking military officials charged with Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders, said he ordered an investigation on Jonas’ abduction but it is “classified,” meaning that it is not open to the public, including Mrs. Burgos..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/11/justice-department-holds-preliminary-hearing-on-criminal-cases-filed-by-burgos-family-against-military/

Noynoy, Comelec, allies push SC to OK PCOS 06/13/2012

Noynoy, Comelec, allies push SC to OK PCOS

A day after President Aquino made known to all and sundry that he wants the Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to lord it over the 2013 polls, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio immediately scheduled the petitions against the use of the PCOS machines under an P1.8-billion budget for today.

Aquino said he no longer wants to hear any more debates on whether to automate next year’s mid-term election even as he claimed that going back to the manual mode of electing government leaders would mean a “tragedy.”

The President’s choice of the PCOS machines to be utilized in the 2013 polls was seen as a strong message being conveyed to the Supreme Court which is set to decide on the petitions against the PCOS..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120613hea2.html

Almendras to PMS, Bonoan takes over energy post 06/13/2012 By Fernan J. Angeles

Almendras to PMS, Bonoan takes over energy post

By Fernan J. Angeles

President Aquino, whose survey ratings are on a dangerous slide, initiated yesterday a shuffling of members of his Cabinet with the daughter of Budget Secretary Butch Abad bowing out of government service to pave the way for Energy Secretary Jose Almendras as the new chief of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Despite presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s denial, and the usual alibis of having short or no information on media queries, Almendras is set to take over the PMS in a matter of two weeks as President Aquino has reportedly picked his preference for his replacement at the Department of Energy (DoE).

With Almendras as the new PMS chief, the President chose to get a “veteran” replacement for the Department of Energy (DoE). Expected to take over the post that Almendras handled for the last two years is former Finance Secretary Emmanuel Bonoan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120613hea4.html

Pimentel readying to bolt UNA By Angie M. Rosales 06/13/2012


Pimentel readying to bolt UNA

By Angie M. Rosales 06/13/2012
With the Liberal Party (LP) ready to embrace Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel as its senatorial bet for 2013, the senator yesterday gave broad hints on his impending departure from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as one of its senatorial bets in the coming 2013 mid-term polls following the formal pronouncements Monday of the coalition in drafting as a candidate in the race for the upper chamber seats of former Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

Pimentel also broadly hinted that his party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, will likely split the coalition consisting of PDP and Vice President Jojo Binay’s party, Laban ng Bayan (Laban).

His father, former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, entered the fray yesterday as he denounced UNA’s decision-makers’ move to dismiss the appeal of his son Koko to drop from the senatorial list the latter’s political nemesis, Zubiri..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120613hea1.html

Akbayan hits DAR’s bad performance, says landowners, Reds delay CARP By Fernan J. Angeles 06/13/2012

Akbayan hits DAR’s bad performance, says landowners, Reds delay CARP

By Fernan J. Angeles 06/13/2012

The most dominant Socialist-Democrats known to be closest to the President seemed to be packing things up in an apparent attempt to veer away from an administration seen as reluctant to implement an agrarian reform program that embodies their political ideology of promoting common ownership between the feudal lords and peasants.

In a statement sent to reporters via e-mail, the Akbayan Party expressed “grave concern” over the poor performance of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), especifically in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms (CARPer), which was designed primarily to ensure swift completion of the distribution of agrarian-classified land to farmer-beneficiaries.

The party felt that the Aquino administration was not-so-eager to reduce the remaining 1.06 million hectares of farmlands meant to be redistributed to Filipino farmers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120613nat2.html

Jails ordered to disclose finances By Gina Peralta-Elorde 06/13/2012

Jails ordered to disclose finances

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 06/13/2012

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the full disclosure of jail expenses and donations, Secretary Jesse Robredo announced yesterday.

In 2010, the DILG adopted the Full Disclosure Policy obliging local government units (LGUs) to make public their financial documents such as budget and procurement bidding. Since then, more than 90 percent of LGUs have complied with the policy.

Starting July 1 this year, all jails under the jurisdiction of the DILG will be required to post their expenditures and donations on their bulletin boards nationwide..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120613nat5.html

Arum to request probe of Pacquiao decision 06/13/2012


Arum to request probe of Pacquiao decision

LAS VEGAS — Promoter Bob Arum said Monday he would ask the Nevada attorney general\'s office \"for a full and complete inquiry\" into the controversial Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao title fight.

Arum, who promotes both fighters, was among the many who voiced shock that Bradley was awarded the victory Saturday on two of three judges\' scorecards, giving him a split decision triumph that ended Pacquiao\'s 15-fight victory streak.

\"The public has a right to know,\" Arum said. \"The fighters have a right to know..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/sports/20120613spo1.html

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