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Blameless Noynoy EDITORIAL 08/29/2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blameless Noynoy

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Bigger crises are sprouting from the containment of the backlash of the bungled rescue operations on Hong Kong tourists at the Luneta Park that resulted in the death of eight hostages and the hostage taker.

Right off, the day the hostage crisis started, mismanagement and the resulting foul ups from the highest levels all the way down started to happen. Noynoy was nowhere to be found throughout the whole ordeal. When the standoff was nearing its critical phase as darkness approached, many were expecting Noynoy to make his presence known on television or on radio at least to give some sense of direction to the mayhem that is being seen on TV in and around the situation area.
The hostage taker started acting irrationally and began to shoot down his hostages and the police started a comical assault — although definitely not a laughing matter, as it had tragic consequences — that would definitely be used in training tactical police units throughout the globe as perfect examples of what not to do in such operations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com1.html

No messing up on this, too FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/29/2010

No messing up on this, too

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Another crisis may just blow up on the faces of Noynoy Aquino and his government, which includes the police force, if they don’t watch every step they make, because China and Hong Kong are definitely watching the Aquino government and how it handles the crime lab findings, yet another crisis is likely to erupt, giving the country yet another big blackeye.

As things stand, it was pretty stupid of a police crime lab officer to come up with an initial finding of who really killed the hostages — whether it was the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team that did, via “friendly fire” or that of the hostage taker, sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza, when he snapped.

Just what did the crime lab officer say that was stupid? Something about his saying that he can state, “with a degree of certainty” that the foreign hostages were killed by Mendoza, adding that these initial findings are based on witnesses’ accounts. And all these despite the fact that there has not been any forensic examination done, nor was there even any ballistic testing.

Hong Kong authorities have already reacted to this statement, pointing out that the hostages who survived the carnage were not even interviewed at all..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com2.html

Under attack, Obama holds cards on Afghan pullout date focus 08/29/2010

Under attack, Obama holds cards on Afghan pullout date


WASHINGTON — Faced with mounting criticism over Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama is leaving a persistent — and, some say, strategic — ambiguity about a July 2011 goal to start withdrawing troops.

In recent weeks, Obama has faced thinly veiled calls from the defense establishment to delay the date. But the war is increasingly unpopular with the US public, particularly the base of his own Democratic Party.

Obama first mentioned the deadline in a December 2009 speech outlining an intensification of the war. Obama — who has tripled the US troop presence to 100,000 since taking office — said forces will start to leave in July 2011 while “taking into account conditions on the ground.” Ever since, officials have offered their own interpretations.

Addressing Afghans, the administration has highlighted the deadline to coax President Hamid Karzai to take more responsibility. But to neighboring Pakistan, officials have stressed a long-term US commitment, fearing Islamabad may otherwise hedge bets by keeping ties to the Taliban.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com3.html

Council eyes reclaimed Manila Bay land for squatters BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 08/29/2010

Council eyes reclaimed Manila Bay land for squatters

Louie Logarta
British security specialist Charles Shoebridge, without his having to explicitly say so, is saying the buck stops with Senior Supt. Orlando Yebra of the Manila Police District.

Yebra, in case you didn’t know, is the police officer who stood as the principal negotiator last Monday during the hostage drama at the Luneta staged by a disgruntled former police officer wherein eight unfortunate Hong Kong tourists lost their lives, and for which some 125,000 OFWs, mostly domestic helpers, now risk being discriminated against by their Chinese employers.

In the BBC News Web site, Shoebridge, who had reportedly worked with Scotland Yard and the British Army, said in the article “Ten things the Philippines bus siege police got wrong” that Colonel Yebra had missed several opportunities to put an early end to the crisis which due to the fumbling and bumbling of concerned police officials, has made the country the laughingstock of the world.

Most notable was (as shown in an accompanying photograph embedded in the article) when Yebra, reputedly the most experienced negotiator in the MPD, having studied sophisticated anti-terrorism tactics in Australia, England and the US, and the other unidentified policeman wearing a crew-cut and an orange T-shirt were talking to the hostage-taker who was standing in the doorway of the bus with his M-16 Armalite rifle nonchalantly slung down his right side a mere three feet away.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com4.html

A humiliated nation TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 08/29/2010

A humiliated nation

Larry Faraon, OP
The infamous hostage taking fiasco not only humbled our nation but also humiliated us almost to the grave beyond resurrection.

I was homebound from Singapore when all eyes at the Changi Airport were glued to international news TV focusing on our national embarrassment. Suddenly, I felt like saying I was an Indonesian when other passengers saw me heading for the departure gate assigned to the Philippine Airlines, as one Caucasian guy boisterously commented, “I won’t get there (at PAL plane)…you know, somebody might just get crazy and they start shooting the plane down!”

Obviously by now, our national imagination must have loitered into the realm of the growing global disgust, jeer and contempt even among those countries where Filipinos have been considered friendly and hospitable, such as countries hosting our overseas Filipino workers. But presuming that we have defecated on our own heads and sullied our faces of ignominy and metamorphosed ourselves into dumb and dumber global citizens, we have done our share of apologies, in fact quite profusely enough to the point of self-effacement. I believe that is enough.

Our leadership has avowed no let up and no whitewash in the investigations which the Hong Kong authorities entrusted to us as a last ditch trust. We have paid all the bills. We lost a disillusioned yet be-medaled officer. We have declared a Day of Mourning and put at half-mast our flags. No less than President Noynoy Aquino himself apologized in international television and officially to the bereaved and to the leaders of China and Hong Kong. He has admitted to the national police’s shortcomings and crude unpreparedness in dealing with the hostage-crisis situation, even if he did not openly admit to his failure to be available when Hong Kong’s Donald Tsang was desperately reaching him out to a possible collaboration with the Hong Kong police with ours — the hostages are their nationals anyway. But our contrition is sincere and deep..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com5.html

‘Ponzi scheme’ shakes Benin, puts president on defensive focus 08/29/2010

‘Ponzi scheme’ shakes Benin, puts president on defensive


COTONOU — An alleged Ponzi scheme has shaken the tiny nation of Benin, leaving scores of people in financial ruin and prompting calls for the president to be tried on accusations he helped the firm involved.

Months after allegations emerged that the firm, ICC Services, was defrauding people of their life savings through a scheme reminiscent of the Madoff scandal in the United States, victims have focused their anger on the government.

They say government officials endorsed the company and signaled that its promises of lavish returns were legitimate by giving it special attention, including appearing with ICC management on television.

“We believed it, and how could we not when the political authorities themselves, the moral guardians, gave their approval by appearing with those investment firm managers,” said Janvier Houndekon, a 32-year-old taxi driver.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com6.html

Sex Education — 5 VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 08/29/2010

Sex Education — 5

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
\"Natural Family Planning.” This is a rather known phrase that the Catholic Church claims and proclaims as a cardinal truth and mandate in the sphere of family and life, in the context of birth and population.

The phrase itself already brings forward the following three more important realities for people to know, understand and observe: One, that the Church is formally and categorically pro-family whereas this is the nucleus of human society. Two, that the Church is pro-planning of the family in terms not only the birth but also the support and formation of children. Three that the Church is pro-nature in the planning of the family.

In other words: First, the Church is definitely not against the “planning” of a family concretely in terms of the number of children born therein. Second, the Church formally reposes the grave obligation on fathers and mothers of having only the number of children they can satisfactorily support in their physical needs and accordingly form in their ethical/moral values. Third, the Church nevertheless only approves the planning of the family or the spacing of children through the means provided by the Law of Nature, specifically as far as the woman is concerned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com7.html

Senegalese beggars lash out at government ban FEATURE 08/29/2010

Senegalese beggars lash out at government ban


DAKAR — A group of beggars cluster around a car in Senegal’s capital, to take some meat being offered to them: “We expect generous souls, not raids,” one of them told AFP in response to a government ban on street begging.

“The government wants to kill us. Let those who do nothing for us leave us alone,” added another beggar sitting in front of Dakar’s Grand Mosque with her blind husband, and two children under five years old, reaching out to passers-by.

In another street, a group of men and women in wheelchairs were equally scathing.

“It is because we are weak that the government is attacking us. They can kill me but I won’t leave here,” said Ali Ndoye, a man in his thirties.

A young beggar, Cheikh Diop, 18, agreed with the others. “Let them put us all in prison. In 2005 we were with several other beggars, beaten and dragged away by police... but we came back.

“If they pick us up, we will come back, because without begging we couldn’t live.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100829com8.html

PNP blocks HK experts from hostage bus probe By Gina Elorde 08/29/2010

Security exec says investigation arrangements made

PNP blocks HK experts from hostage bus probe

By Gina Elorde
The Philippine National Police (PNP) barred Hong Kong forensic experts yesterday from examining the tourist bus where the Aug. 23 hostage drama happened that led to the death of eight nationals and residents of the Chinese territory as local police investigators said they have not yet completed their own forensic investigation.

The denial of the Hong Kong experts from holding their own investigation into the incident happened despite an earlier assurance made by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to the Hong Kong government that the government will welcome a third-party investigator to verify the PNP’s findings and ensure transparency of the ongoing probe. Hong Kong Undersecretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok also told a Hong Kong newspaper that the arrangements had been made under an existing communication mechanism between the two governments to gather information for a likely inquest.

Five experts arrived yesterday to examine the Hong Thai tourist bus which was hijacked by a dismissed policeman last Monday in an 11-hour standoff that was covered live by media outfits worldwide. 

The bus is now under the custody of the National Capital Region Office (NCRPO) in Camp Bagong Diwa headquarters in Taguig, City..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed2.html

House to conduct own probe intotourist bus siege 08/29/2010

House to conduct own probe intotourist bus siege
The House of Representatives has decided to conduct a separate investigation into the 11-hour tourist bus siege last Monday which resulted in the killing of eight foreign hostages.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, author of House Resolution 277, has asked the concerned House committees to investigate and evaluate the incident.

“It is an unfortunate incident that cost the lives of the Chinese tourists precisely because the stand-off lasted for possibly an unreasonable length of time without skilled and careful planning on how to make the assault without endangering the lives of the hostages and the hostage taker as well,” Castelo noted.

“The manner the crisis has been handled reflects utter lack of skill of supposed-to-be trained police authorities to contain or neutralize life threatening incidents that put the lives of hostages on the line and at grave danger not just in the hands of the hostage taker but even more in the hands of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) assault team,” he said.

The Senate started last Thursday its probe into the hostage-taking perpetrated by a dismissed police officer who was also killed in the incident.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed3.html

Palace to meetmedia on crisis coverage rules By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/29/2010

Palace to meetmedia on crisis coverage rules
By Aytch S. de la Cruz

The Palace will start a series of dialogs with news organizations next week to put up parameters on media coverage as a result of the recent hostage-taking at Rizal Park that took the lives of at least eight Chinese tourists where sensational reporting, especially among those in the broadcast media were being blamed for the situation turning for the worst.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) Secretary Ricky Carandang said he is scheduled to meet with broadcast media executives and share some of the government’s insight with hopes to correct the lapses made by both sides that he said “were deemed contributory to the tragic end of the 11-hour hostage incident at Quirino Grandstand last Monday.”

Crisis management analysts said that, at some point, the sensational and blow-by-blow media account of the hostage taking incident hampered the authorities’ negotiation efforts with the perpetrator, former police Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza.

Carandang, nonetheless, clarified that President Aquino does not necessarily blame the mass media over the failed rescue attempt by the law enforcement agencies that led to the bloody conclusion of the hostage crisis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed4.html

Cunanan says he earned only P15.3M not P66.6M 08/29/2010

Cunanan says he earned only P15.3M not P66.6M
The former chairman of state pension fund Social Security System (SSS) said that the Senate finance committee which is currently investigating excessive compensations given to officials of state-owned corporations released inaccurate figures regarding the bonuses and other perks that he received for the past three years and that he earned a mere P15.3 million windfall and not P66.6 million from the sale of shares.

Thelmo Cunanan wrote Sen. Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate body that has been conducting hearings on bonuses and allowances of officials in government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs), said that he used his own money to exercise a stock option offered by Philex Mining Corp. (Philex), in which the SSS owns stakes, from which Cunanan supposedly got an estimated an P85 million windfall. 

At recent hearings, four SSS executives including its former president Romulo Neri were questioned on some P127 million they allegedly pocketed over the past three years, the bulk of which was in the form of stock options in Philex, where these executives represented the SSS.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed5.html

Enrile pushes estate tax relief for homeowners 08/29/2010

Enrile pushes estate tax relief for homeowners
Persons inheriting homes from deceased parents or relatives usually are overburdened by the estate tax which they could ill afford. Because of inability to pay the estate tax, some heirs are focused to sell their inherited property.

To grant them relief, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has filed a bill granting an estate tax exemption for a family home from P1 million to P10 milllion.

“The prevailing provisions of Republic Act 8424) or the Tax Reform Act of 1997), as amended, allow for the deduction from the gross estate an amount equivalent to the current fair market value of the decedent’s family home up to P1 million,” Enrile explained in Senate Bill 132.

“Despite the deduction, the increasing value of the family home nowadays and its inclusion in the computation of the estate tax contribute significantly to the amount to be paid by the surviving spouse.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed6.html

House panel organization nears completion 08/29/2010

House panel organization nears completion
The committee assignments are nearing completion as the House of Representatives confirmed the nomination of several chairmen and members of the different panels.

Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara chairs the committee on foreign affairs which tackles all matters directly and principally relating to the relations of the Philippines with other countries, diplomatic and consular services, the United Nations and its agencies, and other international organizations and agencies. The committee currently has 36 members representing the majority and six members for the minority.

Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz heads the committee on local government, which has 42 members. Arnaiz headed the same committee in the 14th Congress. 

The chairmanship of the committee on information and communications technology went to first termer Taguig Rep. Sigfrido Tinga..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100829hed7.html

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