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The China snub EDITORIAL 06/14/2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

The China snub

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On the way out Gloria’s visit to China last June 8 pulled her feet down to earth as she was made to realize that her days of excess and abuse of power are at their end.

Gloria with her cabal in tow apparently planned the trip to hold farewell rites with Chinese government officials and businessmen who were her most generous benefactors during most of her nine years in power with rich government contracts always finding a source of funding from China.

On an official level, the trip should have been an assurance that the next administration of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino would pursue strong bilateral relations with China which would should have been conveyed to Chinese leader Hu Jintao.

The meeting should have taken place at the Shanghai expo and Gloria should have met Hu with her husband, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, Trade and Industry Secretary Jesli Lapus and Cabinet officials who are mostly affiliated with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

Remember the $329-million ZTE-National Broadband Network contract would have been implemented under the DoTC had its lid not been blown open.

All of Gloria’s plans remained as nothing but “should haves” as Hu avoided Gloria during her stay in China and instead sent Shanghai Communist Party chief Yu Zhengsheng to meet Gloria and her party.

Hu instead made a phone call to Aquino and congratulated him as the new President on the day that he was supposed to meet Gloria. Hu, who obviously wanted to prevent anymore association with Gloria, requested the ceremonial official of Shanghai, not even the city’s mayor, for the scheduled meeting.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com1.html

Off to a bad start FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/14/2010

Off to a bad start

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino, on the campaign stump, virtually promised the Filipino a corrupt-free government and the elimination of poverty, with his spiel of “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

Catchy spiel, but much too impossible, and therefore dangerous to his presidency if Noynoy can’t live up to his promises.

He will find out soon enough that eradicating corruption (which is pretty impossible) does not necessarily translate to the elimination of poverty.

Take the so-called least corrupt countries, or even Hong Kong, which always stands out as a top notch place on the list of the least corrupt, as the surveys say. Yet it cannot be denied that there are still a great many Hong Kong Chinese people who still live in squalor. The truth is, there is little, if at all, any connection between corruption and poverty.

In much the same way, China’s economic growth is stupendous, yet a lot of the Chinese in mainland China, live in poverty.

But whether he and his propagandists admit it, the fact is that Noynoy and his administration will be judged on this campaign pledge, more than any other campaign pledges made by previous presidents.

The reason is pretty clear. He, together with his yellow propagandists came up with promise, at a time when Filipinos were already up to their necks in disgust with the corruption, not to mention lying, stealing and cheating, that has marked Gloria Arroyo’s regime.

As Noynoy peddled hope, and generated much expectations from the Filipinos—especially those who had voted for him, which is hardly a majority, he is expected to deliver on his campaign promises, especially as he and his Liberals have painted themselves as the “good” against the evil — which was generally taken to mean everybody and anybody that was not with them, or for them.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com2.html

Dubai trade in the frontline of Iran sanctions FEATURE 06/14/2010

Dubai trade in the frontline of Iran sanctions


DUBAI — On the concrete wharfs of the creek that divides Dubai, bundles of goods wait to be loaded aboard vessels bound for Iran, the Gulf emirate’s largest trading partner.

Three rounds of UN sanctions since 2006 failed to strangle this flourishing trade, which reached 4.8 billion dirhams ($1.8 billion) in May according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

But the measures did have an adverse effect.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday imposed a fourth round of sanctions after Iran refused to stop enriching uranium. Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful but the West and others suspect it may be aimed at building an atom bomb.

Iran does an estimated $10 billion of trade per year with Dubai, a major center for re-exports.

Goods land in the tiny emirate from around the world and are loaded onto waiting dhows, the traditional sailing boats that head daily for Iran’s southern Gulf ports.

But Morteza Masoumzadeh, vice president of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai, says business has been taking a hit.

“Over the past six months our company’s business has gone down by 60 percent,” said Masoumzadeh, who owns one of Dubai’s oldest shipping companies.

“This is due to the (global) economic crisis as well as the sanctions,” he said, adding that banking and financial restrictions imposed by two sets of sanctions in 2008 and the previous year have had an adverse impact on trade..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com3.html

Clueless by the Pasig DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/14/2010

Clueless by the Pasig

Herman Tiu Laurel

What really struck me among the things the supposed president-to-be said he will be doing first is his “inventory of the problems” being left behind by the Arroyo regime. Given the fact that he was pushed to make a bid for the presidency almost a year ago when his mother passed away, then campaigned for months and made several promises to his audiences, not to mention that for the past 24 years, it has been his Yellow ilk that has charted the country’s precipitous decline, to say that he still needs to do an inventory today betrays an utter cluelessness that bedevils his mind and soul.

Ask any serious political alternative and one can expect more concrete answers, such as how the nationalists would espouse “a national-democratic program,” or Estrada’s “addressing poverty,” or Bayani Fernando’s proffering nationwide “discipline.”

Benigno Simeon Aquino III was a three-term congressman and later a one-term senator. He has had 12 months since inheriting the political mantle of his parents. Yet he still has to do an inventory? Isn’t a “to-do” list way too late at this point?

Simply put, a serious leader will prepare a lifetime for the moment to lead; a dilettante will never be prepared… ever.

If such cluelessness is already unnerving, then consider BSA III’s apparent cluelessness on the matter of who to appoint to well over 1,000 key political positions and about four times the number of underlings.

I spoke to two individuals concerning this. One is a staff executive of one of the country’s largest firms (that has no record of public service) who asked me what position he should ask for. “Friend ko kasi ang sisters,” he claims. In fact, he was asked, “Ano’ng gusto mong position?” (What position do you want?), even when he was not in the campaign. One criterion, it seems, for many of BSA III’s upcoming appointments will not be who is right for a particular post but who is a “friend” to the family.

Another person I spoke to, an old friend who found himself on the losing side of a Gloria turf battle during the time of “Hello Garci,” has joined the lawyers’ circle of one of Gloriaquino’s cronies who is now an Aquinorroyo stalwart. After languishing jobless in the US for years due to the Wall Street collapse and for always going where the wind blows, my friend should be called the “weatherman” henceforth.

But this classic “weder-weder lang” syndrome in Philippine politics that Erap’s homespun wisdom so aptly depicted is a truism the Yellows hypocritically despise yet practice to the hilt since Edsa I and II. Prime examples today include Joey Salceda, Bert Romulo, Bebot Bello, Ralph Recto, and many others. In fact, it was Erap who was really careful not to appoint on a “weder-weder” basis as we shall see below.

One of the key positions in the cabinet is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) portfolio. The name insistently being floated for that post under BSA III is Jose “Ping” de Jesus — a Lopez man who’s been in many Lopez firms and also DPWH chief during Cory’s term. He used to sit at a Thursday media breakfast club.
During Gloria’s time, a well-known family had an expressway project that had to undergo scrutiny by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) under Romy Neri. In the review of the project, the Neda chief pryingly questioned a P700-million item for “legal and information” fees. The barefaced answer given, as my source reveals, was: “Pabayaan mo na yan. Alam na doon (referring to Malacañang)” or words to that effect.

Under a BSA III regime, in which that family is heavily invested, there’s no chance this will ever be investigated.
During Estrada’s time, the Secretary for Public Works was truly a professional engineer and public servant — a soldier-engineer, in the person of retired Gen. Gregorio Vigilar. This man whom Estrada retained was a sparing personality; low keyed; professional; and absolutely devoid of any links to vested interests.

Thus, the contrast between the Cory Aquino and, now, the probable BSA III appointee to that of Estrada’s is crystal clear. Now, I don’t know if BSA III knew what he was talking about when he highlighted his “anti-corruption” stand during the campaign but clearly, this sleeping-in-bed with vested (and oligarchic) interests also smacks of corruption — the kind of corporatist corruption where leaders such as “Dubya” Bush rub elbows with big-time swindlers such as Enron.

Could BSA III be clueless about the implications of making such appointments that are so intricately linked to vested interests?

Further, in BSA III’s political hierarchy, one personality looming large is former Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte. In light of the former’s “anti-corruption” stand, I am reminded of the recent campaign debates among QC mayoralty bets. At one such occasion, vice-mayoralty candidate Joy Belmonte stood up and declared loudly over the microphone that, if elected to the position, she would “eradicate corruption” in City Hall; whereupon rival Annie Susano stood up and reminded her that corruption has been her father’s hallmark all these years. This just shows how clueless and naïve Joy Belmonte is about politics and campaigning.

So is BSA III equally clueless about what went on in Quezon City, especially in light of Sonny Belmonte’s era of unprecedented local pork barrel that makes a mockery of his anti-corruption stance?

It’s clear we’ll have a clueless government for some time to come, but it may not matter for a majority of the Yellow fevered crowd that is as clueless, if not more. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the people wake up from the post-election stupor to realize what kind of a clueless government Smartmatic has saddled us with.

This is why I don’t want to use the term “president-elect” for there was never any legitimate election to begin with.
For a detailed presentation of massive fraud in the recent automated elections, with new evidence and witnesses, be sure to catch “MIGHTe2010” at the Manila Polo Club, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on June 19, Saturday.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, Talk News TV — Infowars Edition, on “Synarchism and the Committee of 300,” Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com4.html

Divided Belgium to assume caretaker EU role focus 06/14/2010

Divided Belgium to assume caretaker EU role


BRUSSELS — Profoundly divided Belgium will take the European Union chair on July 1 in the midst of an unprecedented debt crisis, but leading EU figures maintain they are relaxed at the prospect.

When voting ends on Sunday in Belgium’s general election, it could take months for the kingdom’s political parties to fashion a new coalition government — especially if, as polls predict, Flemish separatists seize the upper hand.
As a result, the current caretaker government would have to take the reins of the EU’s presidency — still an agenda-setting role in crucial economic and other policy areas despite the creation of a permanent EU president last year.

The day-to-day executive running affairs across the 27-nation bloc, the European Commission, has expressed its confidence that Belgium will run an efficient six-month programme during its six months at the helm.

Of course, the main thrust of Belgian EU priorities have already been worked out — in conjunction with Spain, the current post-holder, and Hungary, which will take over on January 1 next year.

“Many political formations have helped to elaborate the presidency plans and it seems highly unlikely that a new coalition will want to alter it,” said outgoing Belgian minister for European affairs, Olivier Chastel.

Belgium is one of the EU’s six founding nations and serves as the home of the main EU institutions — a major employer and economic driver.

“Even if there is no government on July 1, there is no doubting the capacity of the Belgians” to fulfill their responsibilities, caretaker prime minister Yves Leterme has said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com5.html

Euphorias and downers HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 06/14/2010

Euphorias and downers

Aldrin Cardon
I’m at a loss on what to write. Personally, I would want to tackle freedom icon Nelson Mandela’s loss of his great-grand daughter to a car crash as she was on her way home from a World Cup event in South Africa, the nation Mandela helped and led to be free.

Mandela was supposed to grace the opening rites of the World Cup, which set foot on Johannesburg for the first time since its majority black people beat apartheid after Mandela’s freedom from 27 years of prison life in 1990.

The World Cup, the greatest sporting spectacle that could rival the Olympics, was only about to start on Sunday when the latest tragedy in Mandela’s life occurred.

But the euphoria building up for the World Cup was tinged by this personal disaster in Mandela’s life.

During his early years in prison on charges of sabotage, Mandela’s first-born son also died in a car crash. He had two marriages which failed. And only recently, another of his sons died due to AIDS-related complications.

The latest tragedy in his life was too much to bear for the iconic leader, he would pass up on the opportunity to be seen celebrating the sport that helped glue his country when it was in the verge of a civil war. He will miss the World Cup.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com6.html

Not just another rainy season SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 06/14/2010

Not just another rainy season

Dinah S. Ventura
Al Gore’s recent visit to the Philippines put an exclamation point to what Filipinos already know, but perhaps, typically, simply leaves to fate.

Climate change is no longer a theoretical discussion. We have experienced its extreme effects ourselves — the latest one being our extra-hot summer season, which dried up agricultural lands in the northern regions, and before that, the heavy rains that caused massive floods in Metro Manila and other provinces last year.

And now, with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) saying that El Niño is out and La Nina is in, we cannot help but feel some apprehension for another “Ondoy” occurring no matter how much we prepare for it.

La Niña, defined as the “abnormal cooling of sea surface temperatures that cause heavy rainfall,” is dreaded more because of the possibility of floods. Heat we can take, many Pinoys would say, but against floods we are helpless. Although agriculture suffers due to drought, with floods, more, it seems, are destroyed.

The last big flood is proof of that. Pagasa warned of heavy rains, but Ondoy still took us by surprise. It took mere minutes that day in September 2009 for the water levels to rise, and within hours, houses were submerged in some cities, thousands were stranded and hundreds were killed from raging waters overflowing from clogged waterways.
Gore’s second visit to Manila, in fact, included images from the Filipinos’ “environmental nightmare” that was Ondoy. The anti-global warming campaigner gave his local audience an update of his acclaimed 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, as well as more information on the dangers faced by Asia. On a positive note, he lauded the efforts made by the Philippines to address climate change with such developments as the country’s first wind farm in Ilocos Norte, the use of geothermal power and the promotion of the use of bicycles.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100614com7.html

Calls for deeper auto polls probe build up By Marie A. Surbano and Angie M. Rosales 06/14/2010


Calls for deeper auto polls probe build up

By Marie A. Surbano and Angie M. Rosales

Just when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its supplier Smartmatic were about to breathe in relief after exhaustive probes into the conduct of the automated polls last May 10, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. sought the continued impounding of the 60 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines at the Senate while poll watchdog-Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) asked the poll body to make public several documents which it will use for its planned independent study of the recently concluded automated elections.

In a statement, CenPEG said there is a need for a full disclosure in the documents related to the implementation of the first-ever nationwide automated polls before an unprejudiced assessment can be made.

Pimentel also urged the Comelec to authorize the disclosure of the source codes to allow the scrutiny of neutral information technology experts from the Philippine Computer Society (PCS), as requested by Congress.

Pimentel made the appeal in reaction to a statement of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that the voting machines that were placed under Senate custody should be transferred back to the Comelec.

“An objective study can only be done if pertinent data and information, relevant to the study at hand, shall be accessible and available to researchers and scholars, so that a no-nonsense body of knowledge can be developed in the interest of public service and good governance,” CenPEG said.

CenPEG said these documents inculde the SysTest full report; source code waltkthrough plan; source code of PCOS program; source code of the CCS programs; file formats of all data files used or produced by the PCOS program; file formats of all data files used or produced by the CCS program; public keys used by all the PCOS computers; public keys used by all the CCS computers; user manual of the PCOS program; user manual of the CCS program; and the Smartmatic-Comelec contract with the complete annexes..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed1.html

Bangit hurting, sues for ‘dignified’ exit By Mario J. Mallari 06/14/2010

Bangit hurting, sues for ‘dignified’ exit

By Mario J. Mallari

While he had given up hopes of being retained as head of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), beleaguered Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit is asking for a “dignified” exit from his military career from President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

A reliable source close to Bangit admitted the AFP chief of staff is hurting over the lack of formal channels between him and the camp of Aquino, who is scheduled to be sworn into office on June 30 and had already announced that he would not retain Bangit as military chief.

“Of course, he is feeling something…he still has more than one year and there was not even a formal briefing…there was no formal hand over and no opportunity to talk,” said the source, who also hinted that Bangit may announce his final decision on what step he will take within the week.

“There was no formal talk about his non-retention,” said the source.

“We may know it (Bangit’s final decision) this week. If there’s a testimonial parade, that’s already a signal…we’ll know it within the week,” the official said.

Earlier, Bangit expressed willingness to go on early retirement when the Aquino administration assumes office. He said it is just a matter of making the right preparations before he will announce before July 1. Bangit has more than a year in the active service, reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 in July 2011.

Bangit has also vowed to obey the orders of Aquino, who has hinted that an upperclassman of Bangit would succeed him as AFP chief.

.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed2.html

Arroyo not turning over anything to new administration — solon By Gerry Baldo 06/14/2010

Arroyo not turning over anything to new administration — solon

By Gerry Baldo

Amid President Arroyo’s statement that she is going to turn over to the incoming Aquino administration “a legacy of hard work, a strong and stable economy and renewed global engagement, major investments in health care, education and physical infra-structure,” a senior member of the House minority bloc yesterday laughed off the claim as something that came out of the blue.

According to Rep. Joel Villanueva of the party-list Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption, there is little or nothing that Arroyo could claim that she had improved the Philippine economy and improved the lot of the poor Filipinos, except for the urgency that pushed the Filipino people to make sure that not one of those perceived to be her ally wins the presidency.

With the people’s “sad experience” with the Arroyo administration, they voted for the one who would not in any way co-opt with her, Villa-nueva told the Tribune.

Arroyo claimed she had reversed the country’s economic decline by raising revenues, investment in infrastructure and posting 37 quarters of growth and promoting last month’s first nationwide automated elections which will change the face of Philippine politics.

She detailed the efforts of her government to bring the country back on the global map.

She also claimed that when she took over as President in 2001, the Philippines was in a dismal situation and is “in a much healthier position today than nine years ago.”

Arroyo is set to relinquish her post to President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on June 30.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed3.html

RP post in Bangkok says Pinoy drug mules using Thailand as transit point By Michaela P. del Callar 06/14/2010

RP post in Bangkok says Pinoy drug mules using Thailand as transit point

By Michaela P. del Callar

The Philippine Embassy in Thailand said the Southeast Asian state is being used as a transit point by Filipino drug mules to illegally transport drugs in other countries in Asia.

A West African drug gang is believed to be behind a large-scale operation where Filipinos are allegedly hired as drug mules, the embassy noted. 

According to the embassy, Thai immigration and police authorities arrested three Filipinas at the Suvarnab-humi Airport for the 

possession of between two and five kilograms of cocaine on three separate occasions on March 22, April 13, and May 4. Two came from Peru, while one arrived from Brazil.

At the Thai-Myanmar border, two Filipinos were recently arrested on May 3 for possession of over five kilograms of methamphetamine. 

In June last year, a Filipina was arrested for possession of 13 kilograms of marijuana at the Thai-Laos border. The Filipina was told that she was just carrying slimming tea.

Following these incidents, the embassy has strongly warned Filipinos against accepting and carrying packages or items to Thailand in exchange for money.

“The embassy gives this warning especially to those approached by complete strangers or new acquaintances offering money in exchange for transporting certain packages on their behalf,” it said.... MORE  

   SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed4.html

Canadian group to hold Aquino on no-graft vow By Jason Faustino 06/14/2010

Canadian group to hold Aquino on no-graft vow

By Jason Faustino

A Canadian-based group of legislators is holding President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on his vow to rid the government of corruption and likewise in fulfilling his promise not to steal a single centavo from the government coffers.

The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) called on Aquino III to make sure that he keeps his campaign promises to rid the country of the stigma of corruption and elevate the country from its humiliating standing as one of the world’s most corrupt nations for most of the nine-year term of outgoing President Arroyo. 

Sen. Edgardo Angara, who attended the GOPAC executive committee meeting where the international anti-corruption group voted to hold its biennial conference in 2013 in Manila, called for a national strategy to fight corruption, involving both the public and private sector.

GOPAC is the only parliament-ary network with the singular focus on combating corruption. Its current 900-strong membership represents over 90 countries.

“Multilateral institutions like the World Bank, IMF and ADB have long come to the conclusion that there is a linear relationship between corruption and development; that the public sector cannot do it alone — the private sector and civil society must get firmly on board. But most importantly, there should be a national strategy so that the various sectors can perform their roles in a concentrated and coordinated manner,” he said.

The GOPAC executive board asked Angara, who is also an executive board member of the organization, to convey the mes-sage to the newly elected Aquino administration.
“Hosting a conference that would gather the world’s parliamentarians to unite behind fighting corruption perfectly fits the Aquino agenda of fighting corruption in government. This would be an opportunity to link up with parliaments all over the world who are confronting the same challenge of eliminating corruption from our institutions,” he said.

Philippine envoy to Ottawa Jose S. Brillantes supported and provided necessary staff support during the Executive Board Meeting and welcomed the hosting of GOPAC’s biennial conference in Manila.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed5.html

15 tourists killed as bus falls off cliff in Cebu 06/14/2010

15 tourists killed as bus falls off cliff in Cebu

At least 15 tourists, including Iranians and Pakistanis, were killed when their bus fell into a ravine while negotiating a mountain road in Cebu province yesterday, police said.

Many people were also injured as the bus, carrying as many as 70 holidaymakers and local guides, fell into a deep ravine in Sitio Buli, Barangay Cansumuroy, Balamban in western Cebu, PO3 Arden Trocio of the Balamban Police Station said.

Police report said the bus was returning to Cebu City when it apparently lost its brakes and then plunged into a 30-meter ravine.

Several seriously injured passengers were taken to hos-pitals, paramedics from the Cebu City-

the Cebu City-based Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) said.

Officers at the scene reported that 15 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, including the Filipino driver and two foreign children, Trocio said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100614hed6.html

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