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IMF-WB, the resurrection EDITORIAL 10/17/2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IMF-WB, the resurrection

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It took Noynoy Aquino and his administration to bring back the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s intrusive presence in the country and no thanks to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who despite being in the Cabinet of Noynoy, remains the governor of the World Bank (WB) Group and the Asian Development Bank and alternate governor for the IMF for the country.

With his conflicting interest, Purisima could also be credited for the facilitation of the $434-million Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC)’s supposed anti-poverty grant Noynoy recently snagged in his US visit.

Also, with apparent help from Purisima, the WB contributed an additional $59.1 million for the expansion of its Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) project on top of the $120 million component for Kalahi-CIDSS of the MCC compact grant.
All of this, however, expectedly comes with a price..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com1.html

Stormy rescue, stormy weather FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/17/2010

Stormy rescue, stormy weather

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
To this day, Noynoy Aquino blames media for sympathizing with former Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) chief Nilo Prisco, whom he had fired — and without due process — when Prisco failed to predict the right path of a typhoon.

Noynoy at that time said that because of Prisco’s inefficiency, the government was left unprepared for the typhoon.

He blasted Prisco and quickly replaced him with his appointee, and even used Pagasa under his new appointee as an achievement, during his first 100 day speech.

A good guess is that Prisco got a lot of public sympathy mainly because he was fired on the spot, without Noynoy having given him that due process he keeps on claiming is much too important in the course of justice.
And if Prisco’s case always manages to crop up, it is mainly because the general public sees for itself just how selective Noynoy can be when it comes to his “dispensing” due process..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com2.html

Botched Afghan rescue would spell trouble for SEALs — experts FEATURE 10/17/2010

Botched Afghan rescue would spell trouble for SEALs — experts


WASHINGTON — If a Navy SEAL is confirmed to have accidentally killed a British hostage during a rescue operation in Afghanistan, it will have serious repercussions for the elite US unit, experts said Thursday.

Commanders reviewing surveillance video of the operation to save British aid worker Linda Norgrove spotted a SEAL throwing a grenade into the captors’ building who could now face disciplinary action, two Western officials told AFP.

The alleged incident comes as US and Nato forces stepped up special operations over the past year, claiming some success in rooting out the Taliban and other militants from their strongholds.

Fragmentation grenades — rather than non-lethal stun or smoke grenades — are rarely used in delicate hostage rescue operations and the assault team commander likely had access to detailed intelligence, including Norgrove’s location, experts noted.

“It’s highly unusual,” said Bill Roggio, managing editor of The Long War Journal, a Web site tracking counterterrorism operations.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com3.html

Playing hooky BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 10/17/2010

Playing hooky

Louie Logarta
The Philippine National Police’s resident horn-blowers are making a big to-do about the order recently released by their chief Raul Bacalzo, Ph. D banning all police officers from playing golf during office hours.

Bacalzo, in a statement released by his office, said this is part of the “moral transformation program” covering all PNP members at all levels of the command throughout the country. He noted, and correctly at that, that several PNP officials who are predominantly from the corps of generals have this bad habit of leaving their posts any ol’ time they pleased to rush over to the Camp Aguinaldo or Villamor Air Base golf course for nine holes, which is why there is so much backlog in their respective work load and they can hardly get anything done anymore.

But if you were to properly digest the spirit of order, you’d see what Bacalzo is raging at and desperately wants to put a stop to are the “cheating ways” of colleagues who think nothing about shortchanging the Filipino people, who are paying their salaries, by sneaking out of the office to play a round of the game of the royal and ancient..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com4.html

Church and churchmen VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 10/17/2010

Church and churchmen

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
There is a fundamental, real and essential distinction between the Catholic Church and the Catholic churchmen. This signal and living reality could be easily overlooked if not actually ignored. Yet, its significance and consequences however may not be over-emphasized — even if only for a clearer and better understanding of the Church and the churchmen. To unconsciously miss or deliberately ignore this profound and relevant truth is not merely pitiful but also disastrous for all those concerned, viz, the people in general, the churchmen in particular, and the Church in a special way. In other words, let the Church and churchmen be not confused with one another — under penalty of confusion and falsity.

The Church is the ecclesial Institution founded by Christ some 2,000 years ago, The Church is but one of a kind, apostolic in origin, universal in scope and holy on account of her Founder the Lord Jesus Himself — the Son of God. Everything that is intrinsic to the Church is holy — like her doctrine, her sacraments, her devotions, her prayers. In short, a Holy Founder established a Holy Church for holy purposes here and now, in view of a holy destiny hereafter and beyond..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com5.html

Fearful drug addicts abandoned in Ciudad Juarez focus 10/17/2010

Fearful drug addicts abandoned in Ciudad Juarez


CIUDAD JUAREZ — Thousands of drug addicts live in the shadows of Ciudad Juarez, the infamous Mexican border city at the epicenter of a wave of brutal drug violence as well as growing drug use.

Abandoned by authorities, the addicts live in fear of drug gangs who threaten and sometimes kill them for no apparent reason, including several brutal massacres in drug treatment centers.

“Now they enter houses and kill us. We keep this window open so we can at least try to escape over the roof,” said a drug user who gave her name as Carla, inside a house used as a “shooting gallery” for heroin in Barrio Alto, a central district dotted with abandoned businesses.

Groups of addicts huddle in hundreds of similar spots of desolation in the border city across from El Paso, Texas, from which thousands of wealthier residents have fled in recent years..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com6.html

The unexpected rebirth of a Saxon village in Romania FEATURE 10/17/2010

The unexpected rebirth of a Saxon village in Romania


VISCRI—It could have been the end of the centuries-old village of Viscri in the hills of Transylvania when almost all its inhabitants, Saxons of German origin, left in 1989 at the collapse of communism.

After all, how could such a small village survive in the poor and remote Romanian countryside?

But Romanians — Roma Gypsies as well as non Roma — have breathed new life into the picturesque village.
They moved into the abandoned houses and worked with the remaining Saxons to forge a new future based on cultural tourism, sustainable agriculture and a revival of ancient craftsmanship.

Last year more than 11,000 tourists from around the world came to see Viscri’s pastel-colored houses and its fortified church, a Unesco World Heritage site. Even Britain’s Prince Charles has bought a house there..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101017com7.html

Only SC TRO can halt truth body — Malacañang By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/17/2010


Only SC TRO can halt truth body — Malacañang

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/17/2010

Unless the Supreme Court (SC) issues a restraining order, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) will not concern itself with petitions questioning the legality of the body pending with the tribunal, Malacañang said yesterday.

Echoing the views of PTC chief and former SC Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said it’s just appropriate for the truth body to finally start working because of the limited time period of only two years it was given to complete its mission.

The PTC was created by virtue of President Aquino’s Executive Order 1 that Malacañang released last July 30 which aims to revisit allegations of corruption and irregularities of the previous administration, citing former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo as its top respondent along with other past officials who were suspected of having been involved in cases of corruption.

“We all know that there is a pending challenge on the constitutionality of the executive order creating the Philippine Truth Commission. But that, in itself, we should (consider) the statement made by one of our commissioners (in the PTC) and I think former Chief Justice Davide mentioned it also that we cannot let this issue to bog their work down,” Valte said.

Davide and Malacañang are holding on to their belief that because the high court had not yet acted on the motions filed by opponents of EO 1, composed mostly of Arroyo’s allies led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, nothing should stop the PTC from executing its functions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed1.html

Binay named presidential adviser on OFWs concerns 10/17/2010

Binay named presidential adviser on OFWs concerns

Vice President Jejomar Binay has been given another hat to wear in the Aquino administration as Malacañang yesterday confirmed his designation as presidential adviser on the overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) concerns.

The information came from the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and was relayed to reporters by Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Herminio Coloma hours after deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte announced President Aquino’s latest batch of appointees.

Binay holds the chairmanship of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in the Aquino Cabinet.

Valte, in an interview over the state-run dzRB yesterday, said Aquino has named Noe A. Wong and former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Nestor Ochoa as new envoys to Cambodia and Brunei Darussalam, respectively.

Ochoa held the reins of the AFP when he was appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo as successor to former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit who was forced to take an early retirement in order to make way for Lt. Gen. Ricardo David who was Aquino’s choice to lead the military..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed2.html

P1.6-T budget clears 2nd reading in House 10/17/2010 By Charlie V. Manalo

P1.6-T budget clears 2nd reading in House

By Charlie V. Manalo
After a record 10 session days of grueling marathon plenary debates that ended before dawn yesterday, the House of Representatives passed on second reading the government’s proposed P1.645-trillion “reform” budget for next year.
“We lost sleep, but kept our word,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said after the budget was approved at 3 a.m. yesterday.

The top 10 departments receiving the biggest allocations in the proposed budget are: Department of Education (including Educational Facilities Fund), P207.3 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways, P110.6 billion; Department of National Defense (including pension and the AFP Modernization Program), P104.7 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government (including pension), P88.2 billion; Department of Agriculture, P37.7 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P34.3 billion; Department of Health, P33.3 billion; Department of Transportation and Communications, P32.3 billion; Department of Agrarian Reform, P16.7 billion, and the judiciary, P14.3 billion.

Since its presentation to Congress on Sept. 1, the proposed budget faced tough public scrutiny.
First to protest was the judiciary which decried its appropriation of P14.3 billion or P9 billion lower than what it requested from the DBM..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed3.html

Miriam renews call to junk VFA 10/17/2010

Miriam renews call to junk VFA

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago yesterday reiterated her call to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), saying even though President Aquino is considering “refinements” to the controversial treaty, Congress can still unilaterally terminate the VFA.

The lawmaker was reacting to reports that Aquino has informed US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. of a plan to “refine” the VFA and “make it better.”

“The House of Representatives has already filed its own version of my resolution to terminate the VFA. What we need now is a public hearing and the approval of both houses of Congress. The chairs of the foreign relations committees of both houses should therefore prioritize these resolutions,” Santiago, in a statement, said.

Santiago filed Joint Resolution No. 3 expressing the sense of Congress as a whole to terminate the VFA, and directing the secretary of Foreign Affairs to give the notice of termination to the United States.
House Joint Resolution No. 7, similar to that of Santiago’s, was filed in the House of Representatives by militant congressmen..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed4.html

‘Juan’ sighted near N. Luzon; precautions urged 10/17/2010

‘Juan’ sighted near N. Luzon; precautions urged

Malacañang yesterday said the government has prepared concerned agencies to address potential damage as typhoon “Juan” appeared on track to hit the north of the country late Sunday.

President Aquino ordered relief goods and rescue equipment at the ready and billboards to be taken down to avoid possible harm when the typhoon starts affecting the north of the main island of Luzon.

“I ask our countrymen in affected areas to cooperate with their... provincial and national officials in ensuring orderly and efficient preparations,” he said in a statement. “We do not want to unduly alarm the public but there is nothing lost by being prepared.”

He added hourly advisories would inform the public of expected rainfall levels and which areas had to be evacuated if necessary.

Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said the government was alarmed by the speed and strength of Juan which may have devastating effects in Northern Luzon provinces..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed5.html

Palace vows not to interfere in court verdict on mutineers 10/17/2010

Palace vows not to interfere in court verdict on mutineers

The Palace will not interfere in a scheduled court decision on the coup d’état charges filed against former Lt. Senior Grade and now Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the rest of his fellow Magdalo insurgents to be issued by Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Oscar Pimentel on Oct. 28 even as a noted lawyer said that it would be proper for the court to defer prosecuting cases involving the mutineers in view of President Aquino’s issuance of Proclamation 50 which grants amnesty to them.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said Aquino’s amnesty grant to over 300 rebel soldiers will not stand in the way of the judiciary which she said has the jurisdiction over the mutineers’case.

She added that the Palace is still waiting for the Congress’ and the Senate’s concurrence on Proclamation 50 released by Malacañang last Tuesday.

“That (promulgation) is perfectly within the ambit and the jurisdiction of Judge Oscar Pimentel—we are not interfering on that. But, of course, as everybody knows, we are waiting for the concurrence of Congress. The waiting goes on and the process (toward granting) amnesty (to the rebel soldiers) continues and that will proceed separately from the track that the case is going to take with the regional trial court,” Valte said on radio.

Aquino’s amnesty grant raised eyebrows among his critics who questioned its timing suspecting a political move that encroached on the jurisdiction of the courts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101017hed6.html

Sino traders, Church call for deployment of Marines vs kidnappers in Cotabato 10/17/2010

Sino traders, Church call for deployment of Marines vs kidnappers in Cotabato

COTABATO CITY — Filipino-Chinese traders and the Catholic Church here called on the government to deploy a Marine brigade in the city to help contain the kidnap-for-ransom gangs.

“We feel more secure if the Marines are in town,” Yu Beng Chua, president of the Cotabato City Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in an interview.

Chua said they were worried of the kidnapping threats now hounding them following the abduction of the chamber’s two members by gunmen in just a span of two months.

“Our general feeling is that we don’t have enough protection from authorities,” Chua said.
He said most of the Filipino-Chinese traders in Cotabato City favored the deployment of Marines to help the local military and police in securing the city against lawless elements..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101017nat1.html

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