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Temptations of evil EDITORIAL08/09/2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Temptations of evil

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Applying the “Boss ko kayo” principle of Noynoy Aquino, it is hard to fathom the rationale for his wavering on the executive privilege issue that his Malacañang brought up as being reviewed for removal to allow full transparency.

It could be a signal that the temptations of power are starting to affect the new president.

The Supreme Court had indeed upheld the privilege in a 9 to 6 decision on a case former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri filed to stop the Senate committees on accountability of public officers and investigations, trade and commerce, and national defense and security investigating the anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN) deal from extracting from him answers to three questions: Whether the President followed up the (NBN) project; was he dictated on to prioritize the project; and whether the President said to go ahead and approve the project after being told about the alleged bribe..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com1.html

Judicial interference again FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Judicial interference again

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino can’t seem to learn his lessons well, even as mistakes have already been made from which he can learn.

For making public his desire to have the case of detained Sen. Sonny Trillanes reviewed by his Justice department (DoJ), while claiming that the detained senator is a victim of injustice, since he claimed that the Oakwood mutiny Trillanes and his comrades staged was not a coup d’etat, Noynoy was suspected of trying to free Trillanes with the ulterior motive of getting him to attend the opening of the 15th Congress in exchange for his vote in favor of Liberal Party Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who was then making a bid for the Senate presidency.

For that move, Noynoy was heavily criticized for interfering in judicial matters and interference in Senate affairs.

Malacañang aides quickly came to his defense, saying that which Noynoy sought from the Justice department was not a case of judicial interference nor even Senate interference, as Noynoy has the power of review, through the DoJ.

That was a pretty weak defense, given the fact that not only the Makati Regional Trial Court but also the high court, had earlier denied the motion of Trillanes to be allowed to attend to his senatorial functions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com2.html

Kosovo war widows wage their own battle on tradition FEATURE 08/09/2010

Kosovo war widows wage their own battle on tradition


KRUSHA — Fahrije Hoti lost her husband in the 1999 Kosovo war but when that fight ended, a new one began against age-old taboos when she took up her dead husband’s place working in the fields.

“We were receiving emergency assistance at first but it was only enough for bread,” she said. So she and many other widows decided to take charge and plough their fields as their husbands had all their lives.

This switch from housework to farming was akin to revolution in this patriarchal rural milieu where fieldwork was the preserve of men and women were supposed to stay home, looking after children and managing the household.

“We did not want to live off social assistance forever because we wanted to offer our children a chance,” Hoti said.

But the widows faced a dual challenge. Not only did they have to learn about cultivating the soil, they also had to confront prejudices in Kosovo Albanian society that brand women as anti-social if they take on a man’s job and appear often in public.

“They demonstrated an extraordinary instinct for survival. They broke the old codes in rural and patriarchal areas that treated women as a (domestic) labor force,” political analyst Migjen Kelmendi said.

Krusha’s fertile soil is known for good agricultural yields and ideal for growing sweet peppers, known here as paprika, a key ingredient in regional cuisine such as the ubiquitous condiment, ajvar. More then 90 percent of the local population depends on its production.

Settled in the far south of Kosovo, the village was heavily affected by the conflict between forces of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and separatist ethnic Albanian rebels..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com3.html

RP coconut agencies: Same bananas DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 08/09/2010

.RP coconut agencies: Same bananas

Herman Tiu Laurel
In the first quarter of 2009, Philippine coconut exports plunged 60 percent whereas total revenues in 2008 reached $1.5 billion. It is thus alarming to note this decline in 2009. Tragically, very little is heard from those in government charged with ensuring that the coconut industry of the Philippines prospers and grows.

I have been involved in the advocacies for the coconut industry for the past several years, seeing it not only as an agricultural commodity with the greatest potential to raise the national per capita income but also as an industrial raw material that can multiply our nation’s income from our 340 million or so coconut trees. If only the country develops all of the Philippine coconut’s potentials in terms of cosme-ceuticals, nutra-ceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals, it may well rival the BPOs in dollar earnings at $10 billion, if not more.

In 2009, I attended a series of meetings of coconut industry and government leaders, where it was once held at the Philippine Coconut Authority (Philcoa). Representatives from the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and Congress were there, as was the staff of Philcoa — yet the Philcoa head was never around. Rep. Leonardo Montemayor was very active in those meetings. But I never got to see the Philcoa head either in any of the other activities conducted by the coconut sector organizations.

If you ask around today who heads the Philcoa, very few people will be able to give you an answer, unlike in previous administrations where the agency’s administrator was among the most recognizable public figures.

Sadly, an even more significant government coconut agency that has also been led by lackluster characters is the CIIF, which controls the funds of the sector.

We need to revive the public and government’s consciousness about the coconut industry and its bountiful potentials. The first 100 days of the new administration has slowly ticked by yet nothing is heard about its policies for this sector. The coconut sector has already suffered by omission during the inaugural speech and the State of the Nation Address of this new government. It therefore leads many to ask if the PeNoy administration has anybody in its team with coconuts at all.

If they don’t, then it’s high time they get some coconuts: The Philippine Coconut Week’s festivities are slated on Aug. 12 to 15 of this week, and the welfare of 25 million Filipinos directly and indirectly dependent on the coconut industry for livelihood (that’s over 25 percent of the population of 90 million) are staked in the success or failure of this effort to bring the vital issues of the coconut industry to the attention of our national leaders.

As I have written many times before, and discussed in our Global News Network (GNN) show, the coconut tree is a tree of unbounded potentials. Its water is the healthiest natural drink which provides a thousand times more nutrients than sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade. The Taiwanese and Chinese know this better than many Filipinos; hence, they import our coconuts even at a premium price.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is a fantastic health supplement that neutralizes HIV and, as recently discovered by Western medicine, Alzheimer’s disease. I take VCO every day and have my own adobo formulation where I mix minced garlic, coco vinegar, and calamansi with over three tablespoons of VCO.

I use VCO on my hair as well before bathing, and I am the only one who doesn’t need to use hair dye among 10 siblings.

VCO’s potent health values are well understood, but its popularity has ebbed due to lack of promotion and advertising, as well as, due to deliberate sabotage by Big Pharma in cahoots with some Department of Health authorities.

Other parts of the coconut are also valuable: Its sap produces sugar of the best glycemic quality (30 in the index) for health. Its husks as mattings could have been used in the massive oil gush in the Gulf of Mexico if there had been enough supply, though these are already used to prevent soil erosion and in re-greening desert areas. It is much sought after in cosmetics for the finest oil is provides.

Of even greater potential is the coconut’s industrial and chemical application (even for industrial explosives), which could be produced in the Philippines if basic infrastructure were to be provided.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, the “Politics (and Economics) Today” episode on GNN will feature a discussion on “Coconut: The Savior Commodity” with coconut sector leaders Sonny Villariba, Gerry Natividad, and Joey Faustino. I call the coconut “the savior commodity” as it has the potential to save the national economy. And unlike BPOs which are a servant industry dependent on the industrial economies, the coconut sector is a production industry and when developed to its fullest promotes economic independence, reduces imports, expands import substitution (such as replacing the $1-billion milk and related imports), multiplies layers of values from processed coconut exports, and builds the domestic industrial and chemical industries.

The potentials of the coconut industry to save the economy and the nation will never be realized if the “same bananas” stay on in the government coconut agencies. This sector needs leadership that knows its coconuts and knows how to use those coconuts.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m. on Destiny Cable Channel 21 about “Coconut: The Savior Commodity” with Phil. coconut industry leaders; visit our new blog, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com4.html

In Zimbabwe, a good read is supplanted by need for a feed FEATURE 08/09/2010

In Zimbabwe, a good read is supplanted by need for a feed


HARARE — As visitors crowded round Daimon Phiri’s stall at Zimbabwe’s annual book fair, business seemed to be roaring for the fledgling publisher, but few people could afford to buy books.

“This year it’s busy in terms of people visiting,” Phiri, who runs Tepp Publishers in the second city of Bulawayo, told AFP. “But the people don’t have money to buy books.”

He was attending to queries from a group of school pupils asking if he had anything on offer for free.

At its peak more than a decade ago, the book fair in Harare drew hundreds of exhibitors from around the world and local publishers reported brisk business, in a nation that prided itself as the most literate in Africa.

That was before a decade of economic crisis reduced many to paupers, while a political crisis isolated Zimbabwe from its former allies in the West. Now the fair is a local affair and a low-key one at that.

“Most of the visitors say they like reading, some show interest in some of the books we have on display and ask for contacts, and from my experience asking for contacts is a polite parting note but they don’t get in touch,” Phiri lamented.

“People are living from hand to mouth and to.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com5.html

The long road to reconciliation in Kosovo focus 08/09/2010

The long road to reconciliation in Kosovo


PRISTINA — Kosovo Albanians, their confidence boosted by a UN court opinion backing independence, want to reach out to the territory’s Serb minority but ingrained distrust is hampering efforts at reconciliation.

“Without reconciliation... we will not be able to improve our lives as citizens and people who want clear perspectives for themselves and their children,” said Veton Nurkollari, the Kosovo Albanian organizer of Doku Fest, an international documentary film festival, aiming to use culture to bridge differences.
“There is a need for reconciliation, an urgency even,” he told AFP.

Nearly 95 percent of Kosovo’s population of two million are ethnic Albanians, who feel empowered by the recent International Court of Justice’s verdict that its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 — opposed by Belgrade — was not illegal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com6.html

Far from over HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 08/09/2010

Far from over

Aldrin Cardon
Some see roses, others blood in the announced compromised, limited land distribution package meant to put an end to the nagging Hacienda Luisita issue, which, even with efforts from its owners, the Cojuangcos who have been out of and in power through the Aquinos, would continue to hang around Noynoy Aquino’s neck like a sinker or a floater, however one wishes to see it.

Like it did to Cory, Hacienda Luisita will reflect Noynoy’s success (or failure) in government’s land reform program, and since 1986, it has become the main soil of contention between the landlords, in this case represented by the Cojuangcos, and the farmers, long agitated to owning what they till, which they claim as their right as infused by the tenets of different communist thoughts, but clearly guaranteed in advanced countries’ social justice programs.

The United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) rebuffed the Cojuangco offer to distribute about one-third of the 6,500-hectare plantation, or equivalent to the amount of stocks distributed during the term of Cory as their version of the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp). The Ulwu rejection guarantees the continuation of its fight to claim the whole hacienda from the Cojuangcos, who have developed a large part of the land to non-agricultural purpose.

Lito Bais, acting president of Ulwu, the main labor group in the plantation, claimed to have been left out of the negotiations, and reacted with surprise at the new declaration which made the Luisita workers choose between receiving pieces of lands or maintaining their shares of stocks with the HLI..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com7.html

Skirmishes SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 08/09/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
While the Philippine Airlines row continues to simmer, the dispute between farmers of the Hacienda Luisita Inc (HLI) and its owners seems on its way to being settled.

A report from GMA News last Friday said that the farmers and owners of HLI have signed a compromise deal that gives the 12,000 farmer-beneficiaries the options to either “receive land parcels or retain their HLI stocks.” Those who have long wanted to own their piece of land will heave a sigh of relief at the hope this piece of news gives them.

A Stock Distribution Option deal was signed by the Tarlac corporation and their workers in 1989, or 21 years ago, giving the latter a share of the stocks. Under the latest deal, the farmers can now choose to surrender their shares to the corporation in order to own a piece of the 1,400 hectares within the 6,453-hectare plantation. Aside from this, financial assistance worth P150 million will be given to the farmer-beneficiaries once the agreement has been approved by the Supreme Court.

After 21 years of brewing discontent highlighted by a bloody encounter in November 2004, this is surely a welcome development. It seems the Aquinos, whose family owns the land and are stockholders themselves, are intent on clearing the air regarding this long-time issue that their critics have used, time and again, against them.

The ultimate aim of said agreement is to “uplift the lives of the people living in Hacienda Luisita, and an early resolution of the case, as well as all collateral issues, will definitely augur well to serve this purpose,” the document obtained by GMA News read..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com8.html

Widespread protests called vs sham Hacienda Luisita deal By Charlie V, Manalo 08/09/2010

Congressional probe sought by militants

Widespread protests called vs sham Hacienda Luisita deal

By Charlie V, Manalo
The Cojuangco-Aquino owned Hacienda Luisita’s move to keep the farm under the clan’s full control while maintaining the status quo, with the farm workers reduced to owning a third of the shares under the stock distribution option, or the SDO, instead of owning the land, may not be all that easy, as calls are now being made by militant group leaders to stage widespread protests against the Cojuangco-Aquino clan’s move, as well as calls being made for a congressional probe on the compromise agreement.

Anakpawis Rep. and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairman Rafael Mariano yesterday called on farmers across the country to launch “widespread protests” to condemn the latest maneuver of the Cojuangco-Aquinos, the family of President Noynoy Aquino, to retain the SDO scheme in Hacienda Luisita.
A case filed by militant farmers against the hacienda is before the high court, with a scheduled hearing on oral arguments this month.

It was also pointed out by lawyers of the farmers’ groups that the agreement that offered hacienda workers the choice of retaining their stocks under the SDO or get the land parceled among the workers, but giving them much less land than what the workers believed to already be theirs, under an old agreement inked between the original owners of the Hacienda and the grandparents of Noynoy Aquino will preempt any ruling from the Supreme Court, should the compromise agreement be upheld by the SC.

Mariano also assailed the claim of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) that “more than 90 percent” of the farmers have elected to keep their shares under the SDO saying that “the HLI’s statement only shows that the Hacienda owners are still stuck in the dark days of feudal aristocracy.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed1.html

Troops deployed in hot spots after airport blast— AFP 08/09/2010

Troops deployed in hot spots after airport blast— AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured the public that government troops are keeping a close watch on key installations after an airport bomb blast killed two persons in strife-torn Mindanao region.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said Thursday’s bomb explosion outside the Zamboanga City International Airport was a result of a feud between rival politicians, not carried out by any terror groups.
“I don’t think there will be any spillover (of the violence),” he said, adding troops were on heightened alert but that no additional forces would be deployed.

“We are ready, our forces are deployed in possible hot spots, but the most important thing is that we ask the public to be more vigilant and report to authorities suspicious looking elements.”

Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan was among 24 persons wounded Thursday when a man carrying a backpack loaded with explosives and another man were killed in a blast outside the airport’s passenger terminal.

Police said they were looking for three suspects, including two political rivals of Tan, who said he was was the target of the attack and blamed political rivals on nearby Jolo island.

“We feel that this is only an isolated case,” Mabanta said, ruling out terrorism as the motive..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed2.html

PAL seeks to settle row; to meet unions 08/09/2010

PAL seeks to settle row; to meet unions

The management of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will meet this week with members of Flight Attendants and Stewards Associa-tion of the Philippines (Fasap) and PAL Employees Association (Palea) carrying hopes it could resolve the labor problems bede-viling the airline firm.

In a press statement, PAL said it hopes to arrive at a productive solution with members of the labor groups during scheduled talks with them this week. 

“We are coming to the table with the best intention of fruitfully resolving the issues with the flight at-tendants and stewards as well as Palea,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said.

PAL management and Fasap officials will meet at the Department of Labor and Employment’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Manila on their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Bautista said the PAL management is eager to find common ground with the flight attendants and stewards, saying the the company recognizes the aspirations of its workers for competitive remuneration and benefits..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed3.html

Ombudsman asked to drop raps against Comelec exec 08/09/2010

Ombudsman asked to drop raps against Comelec exec

Fearing the case against him would affect his nomination as an associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC), Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to junk the criminal and adminis-trative charges filed against him in connection with the alleged poll-related anomalies during the May 10 automated elections.

In a three-page letter addressed to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, Sarmiento stated that the Ombudsman does not have any jurisdiction over his case since he is an impeachable officer.

An SC candidate who has pending criminal charges is automatically passed over.

Sarmiento’s case stems from the complaint filed by Ma. Cristina Agustin and Nelson Selis of the Philippine Computer Society (PCS) in view of the alleged anomalous procurement of computers for the May 10, 2010 elections.

Sarmiento alleged that Comelec is an independent constitutional body which can be removed only by impeachment.
“Undersigned humbly submits that these cases/complaints should be dismissed on the ground that they were filed in his capacity as a commissioner of the Commission on Elections. Violations of laws cited in the cases/complaints carry with them the penalties of removal from office, imprisonment and fines,” part of the letter stated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed4.html

AFP cover-up of 2004, 2010 poll fraud ongoing By Mario J. Mallari 08/09/2010

AFP cover-up of 2004, 2010 poll fraud ongoing

By Mario J. Mallari
There appears to be a strong move on the part of high ranking Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers to cover up the participation of the military during the 2004 and 2010 presidential elections, where accusations revolve around partisan politics and fraud engaged in by AFP officers and men.

A claim was made that the testimonies of National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue and other officers before the Mayuga Board may be regarded as “hearsay” as these testimonies were not weighed-in to pin down some top-ranking officers of the AFP allegedly involved in 2004 election cheating as Angue and the rest of the alleged officer-witnesses issued issued them off the record.

This also apparently is being applied on Angue’s claim that the military still engaged in partisan politics during the 2010 polls, and sought a probe in the Truth Commission on both the 2004 and 2010 polls.

Angue was quickly ordered by his superiors not to issue statements to the media that are not cleared with his superiors.

A military source, who requested anonymity, said the Mayuga Board, headed by then AFP Inspector General Rear Admiral Mateo Mayuga, cannot use Angue’s testimonies to pin down personalities allegedly involved in the 2004 manipulation of the presidential elections..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed5.html

Body of worker slain in Iran territory due today By Michaela P. del Callar 08/09/2010

Body of worker slain in Iran territory due today

By Michaela P. del Callar

The remains of the male Filipino worker killed by a Sudanese national during a fist fight on Kish Island, Iran, will arrive in the country today as Philippine embassy officials continue to verify information that there are several other dead Filipinos in the Iranian territory.

Philippine Embassy to Iran Charge d’ Affairs Mariano Dumia said the body of Mark Lloyd Carmen, 24, will arrive this morning from Bahrain.
A native of Taguig City, Carmen, who was waiting for his re-entry visa to the United Arab Emirates, was killed on July 1.
Carmen died when a Sudani national stabbed him in the chest with a knife during
a fist fight. The Sudani challenged him to a fist fight and slapped him several times when he refused to fight. When Carmen defended himself, the fight turned bloody when the Sudani was handed a knife by his companion.
Dumia said the embassy is continuously following up on the case and is intent of bringing the perpetrator to justice..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100809hed6.html

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