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A letdown move EDITORIAL 01/24/2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

A letdown move

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The Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco) consortium that built the $500-million Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is protesting the Anti-Dummy Act charges the Department of Justice (DoJ) had ordered filed against the consortium.

And for good reason, since the Palace move was clearly a maneuver to further prolong the dispute with the private group, which naturally would result in the Noynoy Aquino still using the airport terminal without compensating the owners of Terminal 3.

The consortium had filed suits for claims on the expropriation of the project with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) in Washington DC and the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Buying time appears to have been the strategy decided on by the Aquino administration to frustrate efforts to finally settle the dispute or prolong it enough to become the problem of the next administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com1.html

Extortion, Inc. FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/24/2011

Extortion, Inc.

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Filing a breach of the Anti-Dummy Law charge against the executives of the consortium that built the airport Terminal 3, Malacañang said over the weekend, that this would serve to put a closure to the controversy swirling over the Philippine government ad the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco) and its German investor Fraport AG (Fraport).

Come again? Filing a case against Piatco executives brings closure to a decade long controversy initiated by the Philippine government?

How on earth can ordering the filing of the case even be regarded by the Noynoy government as closure, especially since a number of Piatco and Fraport officers had already faced charges before the Sandiganbayan and other courts for alleged corrupt acts and other offenses, with none proven, and all have to date already been dismissed.

For Noynoy, charging a person or persons is already closure? How dumb can this administration be?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com2.html

Money may have driven Duvalier’s return ANALYSIS 01/24/2011

Money may have driven Duvalier’s return


WASHINGTON — The mystery of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s return to Haiti, out of the blue and in a moment of national chaos and instability, may be explained not by a thirst for power but another gnawing human need: money.

The former dictator said Friday that he flew home after nearly 25 years in exile “to show my solidarity at this difficult moment,” and he expressed “deep sorrow” for those who say they were victims of his regime.

But human rights activists and experts believe it may have been a maneuver to prevent the confiscation of at least $5.7 million in frozen Swiss bank accounts.

“It would seem to be the most plausible explanation when you put these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together,” said Reed Brody, counsel to Human Rights Watch and a former prosecutor in Haiti.

The theory, which has gained wide currency in Haiti, stems from a law passed by Switzerland that goes into effect on Feb. 1 which would allow for the confiscation of the last of Duvalier’s frozen assets and their return to Haiti..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com3.html

Questionable appointments C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 01/24/2011

Questionable appointments

Jonathan De la Cruz
This I can’t believe. Is it true that P-Noy just appointed two senior Customs officials and a commissioner of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) with questionable records? If true, what’s happening to the vaunted appointments screening process at the Palace? This question is being asked in the face of charges that the appointments of deputy Customs Commissioner Prudencio Reyes Jr. and his subordinate, CIIS Director Filomeno Vicencio Jr., and PRC Commissioner Alfredo Po are not only highly irregular but smacks of political patronage of the worst kind. These appointments have drawn a steady stream of criticisms from various quarters which, if left unrectified, may engender demoralization within the ranks and erode the credibility of the civil service corps, in key positions within the bureaucracy which, if left unrectified, may engender demoralization within the ranks and erode the credibility of the career service corps.

In the wake of that high profile controversy featuring PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta and the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) these appointments do not speak well of the wisdom and discernment of those making up P-Noy’s screening committee and, in the case of Reyes and Vicencio, the judgment of Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez and his boss, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com4.html

‘Competitiveness,’ GDP and other BS DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 01/24/2011

‘Competitiveness,’ GDP and other BS

Herman Tiu Laurel
Charter change (Cha-cha) proponents are foisting their battle cry of economic “competitiveness” to hoodwink our people into letting down their guard like a boxer lowering his arms. This BS has prevailed in the country for the last 25 years ever since the Yellow fever took hold, with the Makati Business Club behind it. Just look at how much clobbering the Philippine economy and population have taken — beaten to a pulp, in the ICU — while countries which kept up their guard such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India et al. have not only kept up their sparring form but have taken crown after crown in the ascending economic weight divisions.

Like the Philippines, the US is now being beaten to the canvass by the likes of China because, in its bigness, it let down its guard as China did the famous Ali “rope-a-dope.” So who’s the dope now?

This is what economist Paul Krugman had to say when Obama, in a crucial address, dwelt on the matter: “Sigh. So it appears that President Obama is going to make ‘competitiveness’ his main economic theme… But this is hackneyed stuff, and involves a fundamental misconception about the nature of our economic problems. It’s OK to talk about competitiveness when you’re specifically asking whether a country’s exports and import-competing industries have low enough costs to sell stuff in competition with rivals in other countries… But the idea that broader economic performance is about being better than other countries at something or other — that a country is like a corporation — is just wrong… As Robert Reich says, this could all too easily turn into a validation of the claim that what’s good for corporations is good for America, which is even less true now than it used to be.”

Last week we focused on the incontrovertible fact that the Philippines is fully equipped to achieve success in its national economic recovery aspirations, particularly in the availability of domestic capital, as the idle P1.22-trillion Special Deposit Account managed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shows. Hiro Vaswani, forensic finance process consultant and research chief of KME (Kilusan para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya), pointed this out — something that we shared in our last column. Well, Hiro just sent us another e-mail on the subject of competitiveness and the Cha-cha: “Maintaining nationalist (partial bars to foreign ownership) provisions in the Constitution in some sectors of the economy and qualified restrictions of land ownership for foreigners is not a bar to economic development. The present 1987 Constitution in many ways calls for a developmental state model that has not been clearly established by the government itself. The calls for changes to the Constitution, in the alleged face of the emergence of a borderless economy, are stupid and insane at best. Firstly, countries do not and cannot compete like corporations. Countries do not have a bottom line that, if not achieved, they die like corporations. Furthermore, the recent financial crisis has already put the lie to the ideas of this so-called borderless world economy led by the more developed economies of the world.

“Countries all over the world today are putting in place domestic policy measures to grow their domestic economies. Among the emerging market economies, strong state developmental policy paradigms are driving their economic development. The problem in the Philippines remains with the policy of importing demand (i.e. export market dependence) deeply imbedded in the Filipino psyche. The economist Simon Kuznets who is credited with the creation of national income accounts (such as GDP or Gross Domestic Product) warned the government then that this measurement does not measure the general welfare of the people in the country. He further warned that there will be a huge disparity in income with developing economies as they transition from agrarian economies… (which) can only be avoided if an industrialization process happens…

“Figures from the government today reveal that income from deployed foreign employment is greater than domestic employment. The so-called ‘employed,’ consisting of self-employed and unpaid family workers, comprise the bulk of the true unemployed in the country (30 percent to 40 percent).”

Simply put, competition as an exemplar only emerged from “corporate economics,” along with its myth of the “private sector”-led growth. Of this Vaswani says: “An economic system that depends on individual selfishness and greed without qualifications will always lead to perverse incentives. Lying, cheating and corruption in both public and private sectors become institutionalized. Individual and familial interests prevail over a non-existing national psyche. Economic systems are morally neutral. This is where politics come in.

Any student of political economy knows that the material base will greatly influence the political structure. It is in the rational self interest of a poor man to sell his vote for lugaw to survive the day…

“Economic history has proven that the selfish motive of man to create a better life for himself with ever decreasing levels of effort was directed by men who established state institutions to direct this effort over the last three centuries with resounding success.

“These state institutions are still mainly national in character. The idea of competitiveness in a borderless economy is a utopian dream of nuts and carpetbaggers. Taking it in hook, line and sinker has created a dystopian situation in the country.”

So let’s cut the BS and get back to the National Development Economics paradigm. Let’s all junk the GDP mantra and replace it with a National Development Index of human, ecological, industrial and sovereign growth!

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, about “The RP Constitution, Economics and Cha-cha” with Atty. Alan Paguia and Dr. Hiro Vaswani; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com5.html

Guns, will and busting crimes HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 01/24/2011

Guns, will and busting crimes

Aldrin Cardon
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has churned out six names which it said are allegedly related to the spate of car theft operations in Metro Manila and its environs.

In the PNP-Highway Patrol Group’s order or battle, according to its spokesman, Senior Supt. Edwin Butacan, are the Dominguez Carjacking Group, Bonifacio Carnapping Group, Madrigal Carnapping Group, Herrera Carnapping Group, and Bundol Gang, each with their own styles and violent consequences to their crimes which drive many to condemnation yet more to fear and absolute paranoia.

And it could be same paranoia which drove Sen. Franklin Drilon to introduce Senate Bill 129 titled Firearms Regulation Act which, from an official Senate Web page, claims to “mandate that the carrying of firearms shall be authorized only for those directly engaged in military, police and law enforcement functions.”

Although we already have laws almost similar to Drilon’s bill, the comebacking senator wants to ban possession of firearms outside of a legitimate gun owner’s home. It also bans law enforcers from bringing their guns outside of their posts if they are not in proper uniform. Sportsmen shall also be accredited before they can transport their guns from their homes to practice/competition venues and back..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com6.html

Crime and crime again SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 01/24/2011

Crime and crime again

Dinah S. Ventura
I watched an advanced screening of The Green Hornet at Greenbelt 3 last week. It’s a very entertaining movie — a reinvention of the radio series created by George W. Trendle that starred the late Bruce Lee as the genius sidekick, Kato — that is also surprisingly relevant to our times.

Could it be because nothing much has changed in the world except for the deadly climate changes?

The Green Hornet tells the story of the unwilling heir (Seth Rogen as Britt Reid) of a newspaper magnate (Tom Wilkinson), who finds himself at the helm of his late father’s company. Because there was no love lost between the two, son does not immediately take the responsibility seriously. He would rather play the anti-hero — or, as the movie marketers trumpet, “doing crime to fight crime” or “protecting the law by breaking it.”

For this, he discovers the invaluable talents of his father’s former employee, Kato (now played by Korean star Jay Chou), who turns out to be a genius with technology. He invents and builds advanced gadgets and indestructible cars, which serve as their weapons to fight the bad guys. One night, in the midst of a prank, they stumble upon the possibility of fighting criminals incognito, but when television news paints them as villains as well, the idea for ‘Green Hornet’ is born..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110124com7.html

Noynoy junking rerun no guarantee vs Cha-cha By Angie M. Rosales 01/24/2011


Noynoy junking rerun no guarantee vs Cha-cha

By Angie M. Rosales 01/24/2011

President Aquino’s recent declaration that he will not seek another term after his six-year tenure expires is not an assurance against the pursuit of term extensions under his administration, especially if Charter change (Cha-cha) is seriously pursued by his allies, one of Aquino’s close allies in the Senate said yesterday.

Sen. Francis Escudero said it cannot be discounted that some in Aquino’s camp are out to pursue moves to amend the Constitution for their personal political gains.

“Even if he already said that he does not intend to stay in power beyond his mandate just like what his mother, the late President Cory Aquino, did, it cannot be denied that some of those who surrounded her tried to resort to all means to remain in power,” the senator said in a radio interview.

It is for this same reason why Escudero said he believes that the position of the President against Cha-cha might not hold water after all if some of his allies are bent on amending the Constitution..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110124hed1.html

Murder, carjack raps filed vs dealers’ slay suspects 01/24/2011

Murder, carjack raps filed vs dealers’ slay suspects

The police filed yesterday murder and carjacking charges against seven members of the notorious Dominguez carjacking group tagged in the brutal kidnap-slaying of car trader Venzon Evangelista.

Chief Supt. Benito Estipona, chief of the PNP’s special investi-gation task group (SITG), said that among those charged were Raymond Dominguez, the alleged leader of the carjacking syn-dicate, and his brother Roger.

Raymond surrendered volun-tarily to the Bulacan police on Saturday night, while Roger remains at-large and is now subject of an inten-sified manhunt.

Also charged were Alfred Mendiola and Ferdinand Parulan, who were arrested on Saturday in Bulacan province by combined police operatives.

Estipona said that Mendiola and Parulan admitted partici-pation in the Evangelista case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110124hed2.html

China, Asean open talks on Spratlys code of conduct By Michaela P. del Callar 01/24/2011

Flawed justice system bars death penalty bid

Legislators admitted yesterday they are being impeded in reinstating the death penalty on heinous crimes by the flawed justice system existing in the country.

While the proposal for the reimposition of the death penalty appears to be heading to a dead-end in the House of Representatives, the Senate is giving a 50-50 chance to a revival of capital punishment due to the worsening crime wave, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, aired this assertion even as the Senate is yet to tackle in the panel level the proposed restoration of capital punishment.

While Escudero himself admittedly is against the proposal aired by some of his colleagues, in particular Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., the fact is that upper chamber members are split over the issue..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110124hed4.html

Review of Jpepa sought 01/24/2011

Review of Jpepa sought

A lawmaker from Eastern Samar yesterday sought a thorough review of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) on the ground that Tokyo did not fulfill its side of the agreement.

According to Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, the Philippine government is being shortchanged by the Japanese government, particularly about the provision on the employment of Filipino nurses.

“Jpepa makes a registered Filipino nurse inferior to a Japanese nurse as the former will enter Japan not as professional nurses but as trainees. Moreover, a Filipino nurse has to undergo the rigorous nursing licensure examinations in Japan written in Japanese language for her to obtain a permanent employment,” Evardone said of the Jpepa provision that pertains to health professionals.

He pointed out that under the Jpepa, Filipino nurses and caregivers are subjected to more stringent requirements before they could enter Japan compared to their counterparts in Indonesia..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110124hed5.html

AFP allows officers to testify in Garcia plunder By Mario J. Mallari 01/24/2011

AFP allows officers to testify in Garcia plunder

By Mario J. Mallari 01/24/2011

The Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday welcomed Malacañang’s joining the clamor for members of the military to come out and testify against former AFP chiefs who may have knowledge on the activities of suspected plunderer, former AFP comptroller retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the pro-nouncement made by the Palace, through deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte, only indicated the Aquino adminis-tration’s commitment transparency.

“We welcome that statement and with that in mind, officers who are willing to shed light can make themselves available in relation to that statement of Malacañang,” he stressed.

“Any member of the Armed Forces can shed light,” Mabanta added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110124hed7.html

Solon asks Noynoy to stop oil price hikes By Charlie V. Manalo 01/24/2011

Solon asks Noynoy to stop oil price hikes

By Charlie V. Manalo 01/24/2011

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño yesterday said that among the socially-sensitive issues that the Aquino administration should squarely address at all levels is the intermittent hikes of oil prices that happens at the whim of the international monopolies and local oil firms.

“Since government deregulated the oil industry via Republic Act 8479, we have been at the mercy of the oil oligopoly that is fooling the public by rapidly increasing pump prices at every squiggle of the international market and is extremely slow to reduce prices when prices per barrel go down. There will be no end to this extortion until government imposes prices controls for socially-sensitive oil products, aggressively pursues alternative and renewable energy sources, and puts a stop to oil smuggling,” Casiño said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110124nat1.html

Rizal, national gov’t employees received anti-flu vaccinations 01/24/2011

Rizal, national gov’t employees received anti-flu vaccinations

A total of 4,546 national and local government employees of Rizal province were given free vaccination against the dreaded AH1N1 flu.

According to a report by Dr. Iluminado Victoria, provincial health officer, the free mass vaccination against AH1N1 disease was conducted in three separate activities.

Rizal Gov. Jun Ynares III, a doctor himself, ordered the vaccination.

The first vaccination was conducted last Sept. 24, 2010 to Oct. 6, 2010 and those who benefited from the vaccination were provincial government employees, personnel from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Audit (CoA) for a total of 1,018 vaccines..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110124nat4.html

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