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Seeking help, refusing to listen EDITORIAL 08/03/2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Seeking help, refusing to listen

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Noynoy Aquino has again sought the public’s participation in his campaign against corruption, saying that citizens should not be bystanders in the fight against the twin evils of government.

That’s all to the good, his calling for public support in his claimed fight. And if his yellow devotees are to be believed, they have been raring to help the Noynoy presidency, even as they have also been known to complain that they are being shunted aside by certain power blocs in the Palace.

Many appear to be willing not to become bystanders in this fight against the twin evils in government. Yet it seems more like Noynoy is not willing to listen to what is being brought out even in the newspapers, with Noynoy even defending his officials who are being exposed in the media for some infraction or misdeed that goes against his so-called righteous path.

Two cases in point substantiate this statement: Not too long ago, the official Noynoy appointed to head the Bureau of Customs, was reported in a big way to have cheated at a golf tournament. The facts were pretty accurate: The Golf Club itself suspended the official and fired two caddies who had altered the golf scores of this official for him to win..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com1.html

Noynoy’s lose-lose situation FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/03/2010

Noynoy’s lose-lose situation

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been forced to cancel at least 14 flights — as of last count — due to the mass resignations of their pilots, who apparently have been offered a bigger pay plus perks by a new foreign airline: Hong Kong Air and a MidEast airline.

It really must be a difficult situation for PAL, having lost a lot of its pilots — some 25 of them, according to reports. Given the situation PAL faces, the airline will be hard-pressed to be able to immediately find their replacements.

It really is a brain-drain problem. Workers, whether of the blue or white collar variety, are truly not earning enough to feed their families, and compared to other countries, workers are paid much higher, which is why we have been losing even our teachers to foreign employment, even as these educators work abroad, not as teachers but as domestics, many of whom face abuses.

Given the hard economic times Filipinos experience and high prices in this country and with more Filipinos seeking jobs abroad, it was expected that even the professional Filipinos — doctors, nurses, engineers, and virtually all types of professionals, would be contributing greatly to the great Filipino brain-drain.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com2.html

Malaysia ‘Imam Idol’ seeks to put friendly face on Islam FEATURE 08/03/2010

Malaysia ‘Imam Idol’ seeks to put friendly face on Islam


KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s top “Young Imam” has vowed to soften the stern image of clerics and energize young Muslims after winning a hugely popular TV talent show search for a top young Islamic leader.

The show, which attracted worldwide attention, saw 10 finalists tackle tasks such as reciting verses from the Koran, washing corpses and slaughtering sheep according to Islamic rules.

Following the reality TV formula of shows such as American Idol and The X Factor, one contestant was eliminated each week until the series drew to a close on Friday night.

Religious scholar Muhammad Asyraf Mohammad Ridzuan, who saw off nine rivals to win the “Young Imam” title, said he wanted to reach out to youngsters to spark their interest in the religion.

“I want to be an imam who is friendly to the youth, cool, relaxed, able to play with children and engage the elderly,” the 26-year-old said after the finale, as he hailed the show as a “victory of Islam.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com3.html

Leave Kris alone MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 08/03/2010

Leave Kris alone

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
The almost unanimous reaction to Archbishop Soc Villegas’ homily about Kris Aquino is negative. Archbishop Villegas in his sermon told Kris: “Your beauty and talents are not yours. They are God’s. Remember all of these things shall pass. You will find your real happiness as your mother did not by being in the limelight but being the spotlight lighting the face of Jesus.”

Why do it publicly? It should have been done privately. Let’s leave the lady alone, Archbishop Soc. Finding one’s happiness or marital woes is definitely a private matter.

Even Archbishop Villegas’ asking P-Noy to “be our most available and loving bachelor President” was also considered out of line by some sectors and left people guessing about what he meant by using the word bachelor. Is he suggesting P-Noy should not get married?

P-Noy’s girlfriend, Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad was in attendance. Wonder how she reacted to the homily.

Feng Shui prediction. In the light of the troubles of Philippine Air Lines, the Chinese community is talking about a famous Feng Shui’s prediction that 2010, 2011 and 2012 would be down years for Lucio Tan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com4.html

Low expectations AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 08/03/2010

Low expectations

Ken Fuller
As expected and intended, President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (okay, Sona), with its revelations of profligate spending, over-purchasing of rice, over-paid (over-allowanced, at least), waterworks and sewerage authority executives and depleted government coffers, created a bit of a rumpus. Such revelations are, of course, necessary if the nation is to fully appreciate the state it’s in.

But Noynoy’s honeymoon period may be the one he creates for himself, lasting as long as he can maintain a positive satisfaction rating by dwelling on the alleged transgressions and follies of the ancient regime. But that kind of thing may have a short shelf-life, particularly if those transgressions are confirmed and there’s no sign of retribution.

Besides which, it won’t be too long — maybe — before it begins to dawn on people that these crime and punishment questions will, even if resolved, make very little impact on the fundamental problems of the country. It’s like playing cops and robbers in a house that’s on fire. Yes, the robbers need to be brought to justice, but the fire needs extinguishing, with reconstruction work commencing shortly thereafter. The sona was short on extinguishing and reconstruction content..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com5.html

Debate on death and taxes heats up as billionaires fall focus 08/03/2010

Debate on death and taxes heats up as billionaires fall


WASHINGTON — The question of death and taxes has risen to the fore in Washington as the demise of prominent billionaires has underscored a fluke which allows big estates to escape taxes, but only for this year.

Highlighting the conundrum has been the death of wealthy Americans including oil tycoon Dan Duncan and New York Yankees baseball owner George Steinbrenner, who can pass on their fortunes to heirs with no taxes. Duncan’s fortune was estimated at $9 billion and Steinbrenner’s at $1.1 by Forbes magazine.

If they had died in 2009 or 2011, their estates would have paid huge amounts of taxes to the US Treasury. The heirs avoided the tax man because a law enacted in 2001 under then President George W. Bush phased out the estate tax entirely in 2010.

But the law expires in 2011, putting the tax back into effect at 2001 levels, with rates up to 55 percent.

Lawmakers and others claim it is folly for the government to allow such dramatic changes in the inheritance tax depending on the year of death, and are pressing for quick reform.

Some activists say the estate tax is progressive because it distributes wealth from the richest; but critics deride it as a “death tax” and claim it hurts farms and family businesses when an owner dies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com6.html

Soaring e-book sales speak volumes focus 08/03/2010

Soaring e-book sales speak volumes


HONG KONG — After years of lurking in the literary wilderness, the e-book market has exploded with online retailer Amazon.com’s digital volumes recently overtaking sales of their hardcover counterparts.

The increase in sales has come as Amazon slashes the price on its Kindle device amid heavy competition from Apple’s multi-purpose iPad and e-readers from Sony and bookstore giant Barnes & Noble.

Underscoring the growth, Hong Kong’s massive book fair, an annual event attended by almost one million people, wrapped up last week with visitors exposed to a brand-new section: Digital reading.

Beijing-based Hanvon Technology unveiled a black-and-white tablet reader that comes with 5,000 Chinese and English book titles pre-installed for about 3,400 Hong Kong dollars (440 US).

Readers can download thousands more titles for as little as 20 Hong Kong dollars each on the device, which also lets users enlarge the typeface, take notes and look up words in the dictionary..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100803com7.html

No stopping truth body, in law, public opinion —Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 08/03/2010

Senator: Noy usurping Congress powers

No stopping truth body, in law, public opinion —Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales
Malacañang stood pat on the alleged legal basis that founded President Aquino Executive Order No.1, creating the Truth Commission, last Friday despite the slew of criticisms issued by lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate on the matter over the weekend.

Two of Aquino’s Communications Group (ComGroup) officials, in separate radio interviews yesterday, underscored that the truth body remains independent, stemming from the authority of the President, saying it is inappropriate to say that his office is trying to usurp the powers of either of its co-equal branches, the legislative and the judiciary, with his decision to establish the truth commission through an EO.

ComGroup information dissemination unit head, Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, nonetheless admitted that until now some of the policies with respect to the rules of procedures by the Truth Commission remain unclear pending its draft to be issued by its chairman, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.

Coloma said the full construction of the Truth Commission is now under process with the ongoing reviews on the qualification of the nominees who would fill up its staffing requirements as stated under the EO’s Section 3.
He, however, added that even as the nation awaits the rules of procedure to be outlined by Davide, it is deemed that the Truth Commission has already started on its mandate which would eventually lead to the conduct of public hearings on the graft cases to be filed against the officials of the previous administration.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed1.html

Junk Roxas’ poll protest, VP asks PET 08/03/2010

Junk Roxas’ poll protest, VP asks PET

Vice President Jejomar Binay has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the election protest filed against him by defeated vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II of the Liberal Party (LP).

In a 76-page comment and counter-protest filed by his counsel Sandra Coronel yesterday, Binay cited a ruling of the high tribunal, which also serves as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), that said there should first be an indication as to what precincts where the electoral fraud was allegedly committed.

Binay argued that the electoral protest filed by Roxas did not mention a particular place or precincts where the alleged electoral fraud was committed during the May 10, 2010 automated elections.

Binay won by 727,084 votes over Roxas.

In his counter-protest, the Vice President asked the PET to order the recount of votes from 40,000 precincts in Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas) and Caraga where electoral fraud was allegedly committed against Binay. 

On July 9, Roxas questioned the victory of Binay before the PET and asked the PET to order a recount of some three million votes nullified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed2.html

Gov’t still has to pay Piatco for ‘just compensation’ By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/03/2010

Gov’t still has to pay Piatco for ‘just compensation’

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Malacanang’s elation over the dismissal by the Singapore arbitration body of the case against the government by the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) may be shortlived, especially since the arbitration body also dismissed the counter claim of the government that sought some $900 million against Piatco.

More troubling for the Aquino government is the ruling by the arbitration body that the body’s decision does not in any way affect in any manner the “just compensation” to Piatco, being the builder of the air terminal, for expropriating the property.

This means that the Aquino government will have to still pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Piatco.

Malacañang also yesterday denied speculations that the government this early is considering engaging in an out-of-court settlement with Piatco after defeating it recently in an arbitration case filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Singapore.

President Aquino was quoted as saying that he is still awaiting a briefing on the details to move it forward so that NAIA-3 can be used to its maximum capacity in time and we’re targeting at the very least for the Christmas holidays,” Aquino said.

“It is significant that in both of these arbitration cases they have lost and the government and the people have won and now they are now (going to) go back to our court system to be guided under our laws,” he added.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed3.html

Gov’t fails at PAL mediation job; airline to cut flights 08/03/2010

Gov’t fails at PAL mediation job; airline to cut flights

Government forces yesterday were still unable to bridge the gaps between the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its pilots whose exodus caused a series of canceled flights over the weekend that has affected not only the trade and tourism aspects of the country but also its reputation.

In a press conference hosted by Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus at Malacañang last night, he admitted it is still a “work in progress” insofar as the dispute between PAL and over two dozens of its pilots is concerned.

“We have tried to ask Philippine Airlines officials what the issues are and we tried to do the same with representatives of the pilots and what we have agreed on is that we will meet with the representatives of other pilots Tuesday after which, we will arrange a dialog with the Philippine Airlines between the two groups,” De Jesus explained.

He declined to disclose what issues have been discussed between in detail pending the efforts that all the parties concerned were inclined to take to arrive at an amicable settlement.

De Jesus only mentioned that, for the benefit of the riding public that is the most affected on this issue, they were promised by PAL officials to come up with a rescheduling of flights to be announced to the public as well as the plan to merge two flights in one to accommodate more passengers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed4.html

Noy alerted on graft cases against allies — Palace 08/03/2010

Noy alerted on graft cases against allies — Palace

Malacañang yesterday admitted that President Aquino is fully aware of the controversies his allies are facing and that the Chief Executive had even talked to Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino about the graft charges before he was appointed.

“The President is fully aware of the cases,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Tolentino and defeated Liberal Party senatorial candidate Nereus Acosta, are facing separate graft charges.
Acosta also yesterday entered a plea of not guilty on the charges of fraud invoving P10,5 million in government funds.

Acosta is also reportedly being groomed to be the next secretary of the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) after the one year ban.

Like Tolentino, Acosta claimed that the case against him was politically motivated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed5.html

No panel for Santiago as LP corners postings By Angie M. Rosales 08/03/2010

No panel for Santiago as LP corners postings

By Angie M. Rosales
President Aquino’s Senate allies nailed down the more sought after committee leadership posts in the upper chamber in yesterday’s caucus on committee assignments with none going to members of the minority including Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

But the cornering of the choice posts was not done without having to enter into concessions with some colleagues comprising the “broader” majority bloc whom they have been engaging in a clash for weeks now.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile assumed responsibility over the distribution of the so-called permanent committees.

Enrile’s stance was made as earlier in the day as Santiago openly denounced the moves being taken by Palace allies led by the ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) in the Senate, who were accused of dictating on the leadership the distribution of committees.

Santiago said the issue of committee chairmanships is not yet settled, even as there are only two that remain “unfilled” 

following a closed-door caucus in the middle of their plenary proceedings and later on, the elections on the floor.
Santiago said: “In case there is voting on the floor, this will be the first time in Senate history for the committee chairmanships.”

Santiago, prior to the plenary session, admitted to reporters her preference to handle this time, the committee on accountability of public officers and investigations or the blue ribbon, which can handle the probe on practically all cases of anomalies in the government. Santiago, however, did not participate in the caucus, according to Enrile.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100803hed6.html

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