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Afghan women swap burqas for police uniforms FEATURE 08/01/2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Afghan women swap burqas for police uniforms


KANDAHAR — In the heart of the violent birthplace of the Taliban movement, defying Afghan convention and family advice, mothers Magola and Faranaze decided to take up arms.

From the southern province of Kandahar, they are among a handful women who have swapped the full Islamic veils known as burqas for life in uniform as members of Afghanistan’s under-strength police force.
“My parents don’t like me to work for the police but I am happy to serve my country,” said Magola, proudly wearing her blue uniform at the camp where she has been trained by US-led Nato forces.

Magola and Faranaze are not their real names. Afghanistan is a country where strict Islamic beliefs and conservative convention prohibit most women from working. Out of a thousand recruits, police in Kandahar have only 20 women.

Widowed during the 1996-2001 Taliban regime, Magola confided that she needed her police salary to feed her family. She has 12 children and six are still dependent on her.

Like most Kandahari women, female officers wear burqas off duty. But at work, wearing scarves or hoods with their uniforms, women perform essential roles in areas that remain off limits to men.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com3.htm

Debt addiction lingers EDITORIAL 08/01/2010

Debt addiction lingers

Click to enlarge
When Gloria Arroyo snatched the presidency from former President Joseph Estrada in 2001, she inherited what the civil socialites, now backing Noynoy, vilified Estrada of having a mismanaged government, citing the worsening budget shortfalls after a P1.45 billion surplus in 1997 and a P50 billion deficit in 1998.

In the first full year of Estrada’s abbreviated administration, he had a P112 billion deficit in 1999, followed by a P134.2 billion shortfall in 2000.

Estrada, however, was voted to the presidency when the financial crisis that hit Asia was at its worst, resulting in a drop in trade receipts and poor collections from private businesses.

Arroyo took over in 2001 and on her first year, she already exceeded Estrada’s worst budget gap by incurring a shortfall of P147 billion.

Her administration was not able to tame the deficit to within the levels during Estrada’s tenure until 2006 when the budget gap was reduced to P65 billion but only after the enactment of the expanded value added tax law which raised the sales tax to 12 percent from 10 percent and widened its coverage to include previously exempt basic goods and services such as electricity and fuel.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com1.html

Pushing the limits of power FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/01/2010

Pushing the limits of power

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Under the Constitution under which the government operates, the only sole law-making body is the Congress of the Philippines.

Yet with the Executive Order (EO) No. 1 issued yesterday by Noynoy Aquino, which creates the Truth Commission and giving it not only investigative powers but also subpoena powers, along with penalties imposed should summonses be ignored, it appears that the new President is deliberately usurping the powers of Congress.

True, the president can issue an EO and even create a truth commission that will investigate public officials of at least third-level, such as department heads of government agencies and even private individuals suspected of being involved in graft and corruption cases but such an EO would be limited to a fact-finding job that would have its findings having only recommendatory powers and nothing else — unless, the powers that the Truth Commission seeks in EO1 are backed up by a law crafted by Congress and passed into law.

But the Palace wants to do away with Congress, saying having Congress enact a law to give the Truth Commission teeth would take too long. An EO, it said is preferable. That’s called a short cut and an illegal and unconstitutional one at that.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com2.html

Drawerless desks juvenile way of solving Customs corruption BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 08/01/2010

Drawerless desks juvenile way of solving Customs corruption

Louie Logarta
The proposal of Commissioner Lito Alvarez to install drawerless desks, in lieu of the existing ones, in all the offices of the Bureau of Customs in a desperate bid to eliminate graft and corruption in the government’s “third most corrupt” agency (after the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, this is according to the pollster Pulse Asia) is juvenile to say the least and demeaning to those few remaining upright employees who have tried their best to keep their noses clean in the midst of all the shenanigans going on around them.
This immediately brings to mind the uniform of the casino dealers and cashiers of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) whose main feature are pocketless trousers so that they may not be tempted to slip aside one or two or three or four P1,000-denomination chips such as the type used in high-stakes or VIP baccarat tables.

Frankly, I haven’t the foggiest who broached the idea of the drawerless desks to Commissioner Alvarez, but whoever he is should be skewered because he really doesn’t know the first thing about corruption at Customs.
Interviewed by reporters, Alvarez, who is being pressured by Malacañang to immediately show results, said the drawers of the desks being presently used by all Customs examiners serve as the repository of the grease money that for the longest time is SOP from the ubiquitous brokers following up the release of the shipments of their respective clients.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com4.html

The straight path C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 08/01/2010

The straight path

Jonathan De la Cruz
Now that P-Noy has enunciated what we will now call “The Straight Path Movement” (Daang Matuwid as his advisers have come to call it), we mortals should now join this laudable initiative and do whatever it takes in our own little ways to help achieve its basic goal: A society dedicated to the highest possible standards of “ethical conduct, good governance and good citizenship.”

A society which puts a premium on excellence and hard work, on doing good deeds and does not have any room for the corrupt and all kinds of corrupting practices.

Start at home: That presidential injunction is decidedly embodied and practices by P-Noy himself. He has enjoined his security staff, for example, to stop insinuating “security problems’ in a bid to have him reconsider his no “wang-wang” policy. Well, they better take heed and bite the bullet.

P-Noy will not reconsider that policy. Not now. Maybe never. The message is clear : P-Noy will lead by example and will enhance the “Straight Path Movement” by starting at home. Let’s consider for now the Sona pronouncements.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com5.html

All about greed TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 08/01/2010

All about greed

Larry Faraon, OP
Pulpits of Catholic churches will resound off in today’s gospel preaching in Luke 12:13-21 about the rich man who collapsed his old barns in order to build new ones to accommodate his overflowing harvest and then said to himself, “Now as for you, you have so many years, rest, drink be merry!” But God said, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

President Noynoy Aquino’s “shocking revelations” in his first State of the Nation Address tingled the tip of the iceberg — issues and anomalies almost everybody already knew to be more than what the Sona had revealed. And it is all about greed and nothing more, the mother of all corruption.

In this country. however, it is not only greed for the sake of greed, but to catapult one into power through a purchased political power in order to acquire more wealth and more wealth — it is viciously cyclical.

The rice scam is not the first in this country’s history of cereal related corruption. If my memory serves me right, during Madam Cory’s time, then Agriculture Secretary, Emil Ong remained largely a suspect of the mysterious sinking of a huge rice barge off the waters of Samar. ... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com6.html

Mining in an agricultural country VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 08/01/2010

Mining in an agricultural country

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
It is evident that mining has its own merits, contributes to the government coffers, and helps in the development of the nation concerned. It is, however, also rather obvious that a country that is basically agricultural in nature and design, would not find mining as a welcome industry, but instead look at it with discomfort, fear and repulsion even. There are certain elementary reasons for the “unholy” paring of mining and agriculture — simply as a matter of fact.

In general, mining is the search, pursuit and digging of minerals that stipulate the following: First, the required piece of land is secured, prepared and accordingly contoured or dug. Second, the pursued ore is then continuously taken or brought out respectively, incessantly cleansed until such a time when the mining venture is no longer profitable to the investors, most of whom are foreigners.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100801com7.html

Noy says criticisms welcome as media rap ComGroup bias By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/01/2010


Noy says criticisms welcome as media rap ComGroup bias

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
President Aquino tried to score brownie points with media Friday night, saying he was open to their criticisms “because it is media’s right and obligation to encourage public discourse” while newsmen covering him are up in arms over his Communication Group (ComGroup)’s repeated preferential treatment of a broadcast network owned by a known political supporter.
Complaining members of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) criticized what they claim as the perceived preferential treatment being granted by the members of the ComGroup to giant media firm, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. owned by the Lopez family.
Aquino said the complaints had already reached him, adding he had called the attention of ComGroup officials to settle whatever conflicts they have with members of media.
“Since I don’t have a bias, my people should not have a bias also and I think you will all be witnesses to the fact that I entertain everybody if I can — regardless if it’s a national organization or regional or even a provincial — we are not selective,” Aquino expressed in a chance interview with the media yesterday.

Opposition quizzes legality of Noy’s EO on truth body By Charlie V. Manalo 08/01/2010

Opposition quizzes legality of Noy’s EO on truth body

By Charlie V. Manalo

The minority bloc in the House of Representatives is seriously considering challenging before the judicial forum the constitutionality of Executive Order (EO) 1 of President Aquino creating the Truth Commission of 2010.

At the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo, Minority Floor Leader Edcel Lagman said “the projected court action is not to shield officials of the previous administration who can be indicted and tried before existing prosecutorial and judicial bodies.”

He stressed that “the sole purpose of the judicial recourse is to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution on separation of powers and maintain the rule of law.”

The Albay lawmaker said the establishment of the Truth Commission may be constitutionally infirm for the following reasons — the creation and funding of offices and commissions is a legislative power of Congress and, consequently, the Truth Commission cannot be constituted by mere executive fiat; the equal protection clause of the Constitution may be violated by targeting a specific group of officials for investigation; and the Truth Commission duplicates the constitutional mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman as well as the statutory jurisdiction of the Department of Justice.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100801hed2.html

Noynoy: No need to step out of parents’ shadows 08/01/2010

Noynoy: No need to step out of parents’ shadows

President Aquino elected yesterday to stay in the shadows of his popular parents, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, on whose memories propelled his candidacy in the recent May 10 elections despite demands that he prove his own mettle as leader of the nation and not merely the son of two democracy icons.

Former President Aquino died Aug. 1 last year after a long battle with colon cancer while Ninoy was assassinated on the airport tarmac Aug. 21, 1983. 

Aquino said he is not bothered by critics who said he remains in the shadows of his deceased parents whose contributions to Philippine democracy are appreaciated worldwide.

“Getting out of their shadows means that I’ll (have to) make my own mark. I think what I’ve always stated is that I am continuing the fight that both of them have rendered for the people. So why is there a need to reinvent the wheel, why is there a need to digress and diverge from what they were fighting for,” he told reporters during the unveiling of the gigantic photo mosaic in Cory’s honor at the Rizal Park.

Aquino admitted that had it not been for the so-called “resurgence of hope” that happened during the death of his mother last year he would have not been elected President.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100801hed3.html

Palace gives Gloria pat on back for NAIA 3 victory By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/01/2010

Palace gives Gloria pat on back for NAIA 3 victory

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The Palace reported yesterday that the government has won its arbitration case at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) based in Singapore against the Philippine International Air Terminals Corp. (Piatco) consortium that built the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) that stemmed from President Arroyo’s order to expropriate the $600-million project over supposed irregularities.

The case had resulted in a crack in diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Germany as an offshoot of a demand for compensation of the German airport developer Fraport AG which is the foreign partner of Piatco in the project.

When asked if this particular triumph by the government should be credited to former President Arroyo who conceived of such project, Lacierda had this to say: “Well, it started with them and I suppose they made a successful effort to defend the country from paying such a  huge burden. I think credit should be given to the lawyers who handled it. The international law firm that was retained by the Philippine government did a very good job and they should be credited for that.”

The Philippine government was reportedly represented by retired Supreme Court (SC) Justice Florentino Feliciano and SC nominee Atty. Maria Lourdes Sereno in this arbitration case against Piatco.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100801hed4.html

Pilot exodus disrupts PAL flights 08/01/2010

Pilot exodus disrupts PAL flights

Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) yesterday said it had to cancel several domestic and international flights after some of its pilots quit without giving enough notice.

Three flights to Hong Kong and at least eight domestic flights were canceled after pilots left to join airlines abroad, PAL said in a statement.

The airline also apologized to its passengers inconvenienced by the disruption of several PAL flights due to “inadequate” flight deck crew to fly its Airbus A320 airplanes.

“The indiscriminate resignation of the A320 pilots...is in violation of their contract with PAL as well as with pertinent government regulations that require resigning pilots to give PAL six months’ notice,” the statement added.

The PAL management, however, assured the public that “PAL is adjusting its schedules by merging some flights, upgrading aircraft to a bigger type in order and fielding of management pilots to lessen the inconvenience to affected passengers.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100801hed5.html

DoJ chief vows intensified drive vs human trafficking 08/01/2010

DoJ chief vows intensified drive vs human trafficking

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday vowed to send people behind bars in her agency’s effort to leave no stone unturned in cracking down white slavery and human trafficking in the country.

According to her, she ordered a no-nonsense campaign against human trafficking by the fledgling Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) which will review pending cases before the council and work for the immediate resolution of those cases. 

De Lima’s order came at the heels of a meeting with President Aquino where the Chief Executive expressed concern over large-scale human trafficking cases in the country.

The President also said the battle against trafficking in persons — child and women trafficking, labor trafficking and organ trafficking — is one of the priority concerns of the administration.

The meeting was also attended by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100801hed6.html

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