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From bad to worse EDITORIAL 08/30/2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

From bad to worse

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From one foul up to another, authorities are digging the country into a deeper diplomatic crisis than where it is currently now. And all indications are pointing to a vacuum in leadership as a source of the problem.

A team of forensic experts from Hong Kong was denied access to the bus where the Aug. 23 hostage incident happened on the mere excuse that they did not have authorization from the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police.

Verifying the Hong Kong team’s purpose, however, was illogical since the group is accompanied by the Hong Kong police and Hong Kong officials themselves had earlier stated that the group is being sent under an agreement with local officials.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo also mentioned the willingness of the Aquino administration to cooperate with Hong Kong investigators.

Was it all for show then, Philippine style, which is the government’s style of claiming cooperation and effective coordination, where none is given or even exists?... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100830com1.html

It’s a crisis, not an election campaign, stupid! FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/30/2010

It’s a crisis, not an election campaign, stupid!

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It was pretty stupid of Malacañang to come up with that e-mail to Palace reporters bringing up, at this particular time, the killing of a Filipino tourist in Beijing by a crazed Chinese wielding a scythe.

That “anonymous” Palace message had one theme: The killing of Filipino tourists also happen in China, but the Chinese never apologized, while Noynoy Aquino did in the case of the dismissed policemen who held Chinese nationals hostages and killed eight of them.

Nobody says killings happen only in the Philippines because it happens everywhere in the world. What is at issue in this crisis under the Noynoy presidency is not only that it had botched the rescue operations of the Hong Kong Chinese tourists resulting in the senseless deaths of eight of them, but that the Aquino government had succeeded in making it an international issue, as well as a diplomatic crisis with China.

What then is behind the stupidity of Aquino’s Malacañang in comparing the two incidents and Noynoy apologizing for the botched rescue while, according to the Palace e-mail, the Chinese government did not?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100830com2.html

Poland’s 1980 strike spawned Solidarity, doomed communists focus 08/30/2010

Poland’s 1980 strike spawned Solidarity, doomed communists


WARSAW — Thirty years ago, Poland was squarely in the global spotlight as a strike spawned Solidarity, the communist bloc’s first free trade union which later brought down the regime.

Aug. 31, 1980 saw a watershed accord between communist authorities and the striking shipyard workers of the Baltic city of Gdansk, led by charismatic electrician Lech Walesa.

With Polish media muzzled by official censors, the tense days were recounted by foreign correspondents.

“Special forces are on view in Gdansk,” reported an AFP correspondent on Aug. 19, amid fears that the regime would crush the strike as it had done repeatedly in the past, possibly with the help of its Soviet allies.

The strike had begun on Aug. 14. Like several previous protest waves in communist-era Poland, it was a response to price rises by the regime, which controlled the economy.

But it took on a political dimension. The movement was to snowball nationwide, eventually drawing in 10 million Poles, or over one in four.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune
URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

‘We don’t hate’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 08/30/2010

‘We don’t hate’

Jonathan De la Cruz
Amid all the gloom, hate mail and finger pointing engendered by the Rizal Park carnage last Monday Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan has issued a calming and much appreciated note on his Twitter (@EyeOfJackieChan) which read: “This kind of things always happen around the world. It happen to HK’s people, the whole HK is talking about it. It’s really sad..If they killed the guy sooner, they will say why not negotiate first? If they negotiate first, they ask why not kill the guy sooner? So sad..HK is a nation built by a lot of different people..don’t worry!! We do not hate!! Humans should be united and not kill or hate each other..” Chan or for that matter anybody else could not have said it better.

Last Monday’s bloodbath was truly sad and unfortunate. It was an isolated incident and does not happen everyday, here and elsewhere. It was a real blackmark on all of us and we hope that in time the hurt will subside and the wound would heal. But it could have been avoided if only those officials whose responsibility it is to keep the peace and make our environs safe did their work well. Some will say lots of people including this writer have become instant experts on the art of hostage taking or the handling of crisis situations such as last Monday’s. That this is Monday morning quarterbacking at its worst. No, Sir. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the crisis committee (and that includes those at the Palace who did the post-evaluation issuing all kinds of statements) which oversaw the situation bungled big time. They made a “major, major” faux pas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100830com4.html

Radical national surgery imperative DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 08/30/2010

Radical national surgery imperative

Herman Tiu Laurel
While the whole country is distracted with the Hong Thai tourist bus massacre and the subsequent embarrassing and demoralizing imbroglio, the PeNoy Aquino government is insidiously conniving with its financial overlords to transfer taxpayers’ money to the oligarchs under the guise of an “investment fund to finance loans for infrastructure under the public-private partnerships (PPPs)... at very low interest rates.” Big Business’ DPA (deep penetration agent) in the National Economic Development Authority, Cayetano Paderanga Jr., adds that the money will be used “for loans to pump-prime the economy” to boost infrastructure “if we are to generate the six million tourists we hope to achieve,” as well as “strengthen the legal, institutional, and governance framework” of the PPPs.

Take out the gibberish and the scheme is simple: Subsidized loans for private corporations that will engage in government projects, with sovereign guarantees yet again!

Frankly, the pump-priming and six million tourists Paderanga is dreaming about went up in smoke after PeNoy allowed the police under his authority, as commander-in-chief, to go without timely interference despite the Keystone Kops’ odious performance from the moment they pumped bullets into the tourist bus’ tires without immediate follow through. But since that fiasco has been already whipped more than the proverbial dead horse, we will not beat it anymore. Nonetheless, there are still live horses which PeNoy and his Big Business masters are intending to ride on to another six years of unprecedented corporate profits — hoping to beat their previous P3-trillion bonanza in the nine-and-a-half years of Gloria Arroyo. With the announced PPPs of PeNoy yielding billions of low interest loans, Big Business will be off to a very spectacular start again under its new puppet government.

Of course, PeNoy’s economic plotters believe that affixing any plan with a “pump-priming” tag will sound academic and economic, a kind of techno-talk enough to impress the public into acceptance. However, such a step will only impoverish the nation and destroy its economy, while enriching only the oligarchs. It’s much of the same pump-priming that US President Obama did, which is why it’s now almost certain that not only will a “double dip recession” descend upon that once mighty superpower, but that it will most probably lead to its “greatest depression.” Already, top American economist David Rosenberg, along with trend researcher Gerald Celente and other luminaries such as Arthur Laffer and Paul Krugman believe so. That’s because Obama’s stimulus package, which amounted to trillions of dollars, merely went to bailing out the financial mafiosos that left the people penniless.

In stark contrast, China’s pump-priming consists of tax rebates and the raising of minimum wages, along with massive infrastructure expansion by the state. The Chinese people therefore have more money to keep domestic consumer activity expanding; to fuel demand; to keep farms and factories viable; and to sustain employment.

PeNoy’s Big Business-biased cheap loans, meanwhile, will result in infrastructure projects that only favor business interests. And, as we have seen in the past three decades, the supposed “trickle down” effect will only fall into the catch basin of Big Business and its corrupt partners in the government bureaucracy through corruption — as exemplified by the Gloria to PeNoy holdover of appointees’ financial perks, including a “privatization bonus,” which is actually a bribe to government executives who will betray public interest by promoting the oligarchy’s privileges.

The Big Business bias in Philippine government and society started with the Edsa I coup. This was then institutionalized by Cory Aquino through her 1987 Constitution with provisions that mandated the economy to be “private sector-led” and the Monetary Board to be dominated by bankers.

As public wealth and power started getting transferred to the giant corporations of the oligarchs, it made government progressively bankrupt, and among many other things, caused the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ store of equipment to shrink (from over 100 helicopters down to two dozen in recent years) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rely more on jueteng and other sidelines to keep the loyalty of its generals and officers to the ruling class (while many in its rank-and-file resort to petty crimes to survive). All these have led to the low morale (and morals) of our uniformed service — fostering a deteriorating professionalism, the rise of a “pera-pera” culture, as well as, careerist opportunism in its ranks.

Should we be surprised then, given the overall decay of society and the government institutions, that at the Hong Thai crisis the Manila Police District and the PNP showed utter lack of cooperation and cohesion; or that on the same day, two Korean missionaries in the Philippines were kidnapped, with their two companions killed; or that eight policemen were ambushed and killed elsewhere in the Philippines that same week; and so on? Should we be surprised that the nation’s psyche, in reaction to the hostage fiasco, has come to mirror national confusion and paranoia?

We as a nation are already in the ICU (intensive care unit). Radical brain surgery of the Edsa I-Edsa II tumor is therefore imperative if we are to recover. Here’s an SOS to all patriotic citizens, soldiers, officers, and civilian leaders!

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics (and Economics) Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m. on Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21 about “Ninoy’s Death: A False Flag Operation?”; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100830com5.html

Mamang Pulis II HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 08/30/2010

Mamang Pulis II

Aldrin Cardon
Last week, I wrote about the different faces of the Filipino policeman, those which were far from the straight-bodied, nice looking “Mamang Pulis” of old who commanded respect from the community, as he has become worse than a monster — the kotong cop hated by drivers and commuters; the pulis patola who is far worse than what Dolphy did his policeman’s job in the movies for laughs; and the torturer whose existence was confirmed by the video leaked by his own kind.

Also last week, however, another face of the Filipino policeman surfaced: that of an extortion expert, a hostage-taker and later, when he knew his drama was going nowhere, that of a murderer and one-man cause of shame of a country whose leadership could not effectively deal with his kind.

It is somehow stupefying to see the nation now delving into the what ifs and would-have-beens as a result of the hostage drama in front of the Quirino Grandstand, where the country’s glorious history was once made, only to be eclipsed by this one shameful act that brought forward our worst.

Police officials are pointing at each other, the Manila mayor is denying his botched role in the siege, senators are enjoying their moments grilling the officials involved, and Malacañang not knowing what happened. These are the various backdrops that further exposed government’s weaknesses in dealing with crisis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune
URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

Major major events SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 08/30/2010

Major major events

Dinah S. Ventura
As the heavens opened up and drenched the metro and its bleary-eyed commuters many times in the past week, so, too, did two “major major” events rain down both ire and reservations from everywhere in the world.

First, there was the “bungled,” “botched,” “embarrassing” rescue of Chinese tourists taken hostage in their tour bus at the Quirino Grandstand that many of us are still talking about today. The quoted adjectives above have made their run in the past days, along with “frustrating,” “stupid,” “ineffectual,” and even “WTF!” 

These have all been directed at the police force, which everyone agrees could have done much to attain a much better end for that hostage-taking crisis. The people who followed the news from start to finish were mostly horrified at the way the authorities mishandled the situation. If they had been better trained, more equipped and had their priorities straight, then none of those poor tourists would have died.

It’s too bad that the tragic turn of events on that sad day was witnessed — over and over again — in different parts of the world, sending our compatriots cringing into a safe corner to avoid the anger of some who made everything into a racial issue, as well as the ridicule of others, who made it into a racial slur..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100830com7.html

Tens of thousands rally in HK, vent fury on Aquino 08/30/2010


Tens of thousands rally in HK, vent fury on Aquino

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Hong Kong yesterday to demand from President Aquino justice for victims of the August 23 hostage bloodbath, as legislators of the territory sought the use of the black travel alert on the Philippines to exert political pressure on the Aquino government

Legislators wanted the black alert in place until the Philippine government delivered a report on its investigation into what led to the deaths of eight Hongkongers in last Monday’s hostage-taking in Manila, according to the South China Morning Post.

Demonstrators voiced their anger over the Philippine government’s handling of the siege in the heart of Manila on Monday which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead amid widespread complaints of police bungling.

“It’s too late for the governments to do anything, but Hong Kong people hope that, at the very least, the Philippine authorities could tell us the truth,” Daisy Kwong, a telecoms firm project manager, said.
“I cried for hours after watching the tragedy played out live on TV,” she said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed1.html

PNP claims ‘mis-coordination’ over barred HK bus probers By Mario J. Mallari 08/30/2010

PNP claims ‘mis-coordination’ over barred HK bus probers
By Mario J. Mallari

The Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed “mis-coordination” for denying Hong Kong forensic experts access the other day to the Hong Thai bus, where the bloody hostage-taking happened that ended in the killing of eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker last Monday, saying that the foreign investigators will be granted full cooperation on undertaking their probe starting today. 

PNP spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. stressed the Hong Kong police were not blocked from conducting their separate investigation of the bus now being preserved as evidence at a warehouse inside the National Capital Region Police Office’s (NCRPO) headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

“”They (Hong Kong police) will have ‘constructive possession’ of the bus starting tomorrow (Monday),” said Cruz during a press conference in Camp Crame yesterday afternoon. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, meanwhile, has been summoned by the Senate for a public hearing on the bloody hostage-taking incident last August 23.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed2.html

Filipino maids suffer brunt of HK anger By Mario J. Mallari 08/30/2010

Filipino maids suffer brunt of HK anger
By Mario J. Mallari
Joy Fajardo likes to spend her Sundays meeting friends from her home town in Chater Garden, a famous gathering spot for the Philippine community at the heart of Hong Kong’s financial center but yesterday was an exception.

The 30-year-old said she was warned to stay away from Chinese crowds for fear of retribution over the dramatic hostage crisis that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead in Manila Monday.

“We are very worried to be living in a Chinese com-munity now,” Fajardo said.

Anger and grief mounted this week after a busload of Hong Kong tourists was hijacked in Manila exactly a week ago by a sacked policeman armed with an assault rifle in a bloody siege watched live around the world.
Eight of the tourists were killed in the final stages of the 12-hour standoff, triggering widespread accusations about police bungling.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed3.html

Four killed, 38 injured as bus plunges into creek in Quezon 08/30/2010

Four killed, 38 injured as bus plunges into creek in Quezon
A passenger bus fell into a creek in Quezon province early yesterday, resulting in the deaths of at least four passengers while 38 others were injured.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said a CUL bus, with license plate TWV-912, was traversing the New Diversion Road along Sitio Amao, Barangay Silangang Malicboy in Pagbilao town around 2:30 a.m. when it lost its brakes.

According to him, the bus fell into a creek that led to the killing of four of the passengers who died on the spot due to massive head and body injuries.

The identities of the fatalities, however, were not immediately available.

The PNP spokesman said 38 others, including the driver of the bus identified as Oscar Pedrigosa, were injured.

“While traversing the said place bound for Cubao, Quezon City, the bus allegedly lost its brakes and fell into a creek,” said Cruz, quoting initial reports from the Quezon Provincial Police Office..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed4.html

Ampatuans ask court to defer massacre trial 08/30/2010

Ampatuans ask court to defer massacre trial
Former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., together with his son, Andal Jr., has asked the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to postpone the Sept. 1 trial of the multiple murder charges against the Ampatuan clan until Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes resolves all related pending motions before her sala.

Government prosecutors, however, vowed to oppose the motion of Andal Sr., one of the principal suspects in last year’s massacre of 57 persons.

State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera said the government panel will file its opposition to the clan’s legal move this coming week.

He also expressed confidence that the judge tasked to hear and try the case, Solis Reyes, will not grant the Ampatuans’ petition.

“The trial (date) has already been set for Sept. 1. There’s already a pre-trial, and the pre-trial order was issued last Friday. We don’t see any reason it should be delayed any longer,” he said.

Navera said the trial will be for those who have already been arraigned last month, unlike in the case of Andal Sr. who has yet to be arraigned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed5.html

Hostage-taking crisis should not affect Noy’s US trip — Honasan By Angie M. Rosales 08/30/2010

Hostage-taking crisis should not affect Noy’s US trip — Honasan

By Angie M. Rosales

Malacañang should deal with criticisms over the apparent mishandling of the Aug. 23 hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila head-on.

According to Sen. Gregorio Honasan, there is no reason for the Palace to put off the planned visit to the United States of President Aquino scheduled sometime in September.

“We’re not trying to preempt the President and his advisers but until when do we have to deal with this? We have to face the situation,” he said in an interview with dzBB yesterday.

There are concerns raised by some that the planned visit to the US could further incite the already strained relations with China.

Malacañang earlier has announced that Aquino is slated to attend the United Nations general assembly next month and also intend to invite foreign investors to the Philippines, his first foreign trip as the country’s Chief Executive..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100830hed6.html

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