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Time to trim some fat EDITORIAL 04/04/2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time to trim some fat

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The Palace is appearing frantic about supposedly not getting its message across to the public, despite creating a three-headed communications group, the top officials who enjoy Cabinet rank which is the most PR group working for any administration in recent memory.

Thus, it was a surprise that Noynoy blamed part of his dwindling ratings in the surveys to the fault of his administration in effectively communicating his supposed achievements to the nation.
Thereafter, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma ordered all the agencies of government to pitch in on promoting the positives of Noynoy to improve public perception, which could really be too tall an order, considering the fact that there is hardly anything positive in Noynoy, by way of achievements and performance..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com1.html

Time to face reality FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/04/2011

Time to face reality

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy and his Palace aides apparently attribute the steep fall in his popularity ratings in surveys, saying this is so because the “good news” of his claimed achievements never hit the front pages.

If such is the Palace logic, it should then be asked why his Cabinet members obtained much higher marks, since they hardly hit the front pages too.

True, Vice President Jojo Binay was in the news during the drug mules execution saga, but even before his trip to China to plead for the lives of the three convicted drug mules, his rating was already sky-high, while Noynoy’s ratings, from a high, went down 13 points.

Also, his Cabinet members who were given high scores by the survey outfit, hardly ever land in the front pages, yet they scored higher..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com2.html

Remote Nigerian village becomes front line in measles fight FEATURE 04/04/2011

Remote Nigerian village becomes front line in measles fight


RIJIYA — One of the front lines of global health is in this dusty northern Nigerian village, where a man dressed in a turban and caftan walks the streets, delivering a warning through a megaphone.

“If you don’t want your child to die or suffer deformities like deafness or blindness, you better take your child to be immunized,” broadcasts Gado Maibuji, recruited by local officials to deliver the anti-measles message.

With the global effort to eradicate polio seeing major gains, international health agencies have also been highlighting the fight against measles, the highly contagious disease that kills over 160,000 children each year.

It is preventable through vaccination, and nearly all of the deaths occur in what are considered low-income countries with poor health infrastructure..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com3.html

The USTR report C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 04/04/2011

The USTR report

Jonathan De la Cruz
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Cabinet level agency in charge of promoting America’s trading arrangements in all aspects and at all levels worldwide, has identified corruption, piracy, preferential tariff on various goods and restrictive laws as the principal barriers to trade between the US and the Philippines. In the agency’s 2011 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers which is the equivalent of the annual State Department Report on Human Rights, it noted that “corruption is a pervasive and long standing problem in the Philippines... and reports of corruption remain common... Foreign and domestic investors express concern over the propensity of Philippine courts and regulators to stray beyond matters of legal interpretation into policy making and about the lack of transparency in these processes. There are also reports of courts being influenced by bribery and improperly issuing temporary restraining orders to impede legitimate commerce.”

Left unattended, this very serious charge may well sound the death knell for our growth aspirations at least over this administration’s term considering the central role of the United States in global trade. Even on a bilateral basis, the US remains a principal contributor to our development efforts. Last year, the Philippines had a surplus of $609 million in goods traded with the US as we exported $8 billion which is up by 17.5 percent. from 2009 while importing $7.4 billion over the same period. On the other hand, sales of services by majority owned US affiliates in the Philippines in 2008 stood at $2.6 billion while majority owned Philippine companies sold only $36 million in the United States. In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI), the US stock stood at $5.8 bllion in 2009 which is up by $200 million from the $5.6 billion in 2008. Which is why the fight against graft and corruption at all levels and in all forms, in and out of government, must be pursued in as rigourous and vigorous a manner as possible. But always with equity and fairness not selectively as has been practiced in the past and seems to be the emerging route even under the P-Noy administration
It is well and good for P-Noy and his colleagues to lash out at every turn against the alleged corrupt and abusive ways of the previous administration. But it is utterly disgusting to do so on a selective, hyperbolic manner. For instance, Palace subalterns have been haranguing the previous regime for such cases as the “fertilizer scam,” the aborted NBN-ZTE deal and the Mega Pacific contract but have been eerily silent as far as the “Peace Bonds,” the Slex-Star contracts, the IPPs and power industry privatization deals, airport and port contracts, the IT services at the LTO, DFA and LRA and even the multple contracts involving the LRT/MRT3 operations, most if not all of which have found “advocates” among key P-Noy officials and close associates..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com4.html

Eye on the kids SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 04/04/2011

Eye on the kids

Dinah S. Ventura
Willie Revillame is in hot water again, and it’s all because of the six-year-old boy, Jan-jan, who danced a sexy dance on television while the studio audience roared with laughter.
I watched the segment on YouTube to find out if there is indeed cause for concern, and I have to admit that what I saw left a disturbing impression. The kid was gyrating like a macho dancer, but other than the fact that it looked unnatural for one his age, he did not look like he was doing it for fun. In fact, it seemed like he was crying. Willie later explained that it was because the boy got afraid of a big person in the studio, the basketball player Bonel. Still, for those who did not know this, it looked like the boy had been coerced into doing it.

If you were watching it on TV and found the situation amusing, then you would no doubt agree with Willie and say there was no child abuse. But most people saw it and made their disapproval known. Concerned agencies saw it and filed the proper complaints. So now we have a beleaguered TV host, a network that has already apologized to the public for offending their sensibilities and made steps to prevent another incident of the sort from happening..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com7.html

For the children HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 04/04/2011

For the children

Aldrin Cardon
From Monique Wilson to Dennis Garcia to Aiza Seguerra, many Philippine entertainment personalities have their pieces to share regarding Willie Revillame’s latest television caper which involved a six-year-old kid whom he made to dance like he was in a gay bar.

Most of them are critical of the controversial television host. This is not the first time Revillame has figured in a controversy, but in a country whose people generally condone crass acts such as what Revillame did to the child recently, there’s no way but for his TV5 show’s rating to go up and soaring.

Revillame has been there and he has done that, many times that in fact, he has made a fortune that he also just recently bragged about in a magazine, just by being himself in front of national TV.

Revillame’s image is that of an insensitive man having fun, disregarding the norms of the world even if it reveals hollow thinking. It means one can get rich even if he does some stupid things..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com6.html

Above (and beneath) the law DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/04/2011

Above (and beneath) the law

Herman Tiu Laurel
What is a country that has an elected senator of the land who absconds and flees from the law, evades a warrant of arrest issued by the courts, abandons duties to which he was sworn into office, and apparently exits and re-enters the country without passing through the requisite legal procedures, all while waiting for a more friendly dispensation to pave the way for the dismissal of his case?

Then, what kind of a public official is one who, upon re-emerging, keeps mum on his disappearance and evasion of the international police dragnet, as well as the detailed methods, avenues, and persons that abetted his escape from the long arm of the law? The country is, after all, entitled to know just how certain high profile fugitives are aided in such a spectacular manner. But no; just as there is zero cooperation from this official, his fellow senators even accept and defend his “right against self-incrimination.”

On this supposedly constitutional expert senator’s legal opinion, law professor and constitutionalist Alan Paguia proffers a contrary view. First of all, he says Ping Lacson is not an ordinary person. As a public official, Lacson has special duties and responsibilities to the public; and wherever public interest and welfare is involved, these duties are paramount. Moreover, a public official does not have the luxury of invoking what Sen. Miriam Santiago claims for this senator as a right. I tend to agree.

It really sounds self-serving when senators defend their fellow members’ dissolute acts. Fortunately, such actions are eliciting scorn from the public. Take for example this blog entry by third2eyeblind: “With money and power you can hide from the law, surface only when the heat blows over. It was just like that, nothing happened. Comedians, really, all these government people.”

Comedians, yes, but funny they aren’t. When they help in covering up for persons or forces that challenge the majesty of the law, laws that all the rest of us have to fear and obey but which they flaunt, they pose a menace to the whole of society.

Worse, those who help such fugitives beat even transnational laws, wield powers that are over and above, as well as beneath the radar of, the formal state. These powers come with an extensive web of assets and operators in and around the unlighted corridors of both national and transnational bureaucracies. As such, this is no ordinary travel agency.

Who has such powerful transnational influence and networks if not the intelligence services or Hades of the underworld, from Her Majesty’s secret service, Mossad, the CIA, or China’s Guojia Anquan Bu, to the international drugs, human trafficking, or smuggling mafias and syndicates?

The situation reminds me of a story that fascinated me in my youth, the tale of The Devil and Daniel Webster. It tells of Mr. Stone, an American farmer beleaguered by hard times, who sold his soul to the Prince of Darkness for better prospects. When, seven years later as agreed, the Devil came to collect on the farmer’s debt, the latter balked on giving his soul and sought out American statesman Daniel Webster to accept his case. Webster acceded then argued, “Mr. Stone is an American citizen, and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince,” demanding a trial as is the right of every American. By his eloquence, Webster successfully extricated the farmer from his dilemma. While we can’t really know if Lacson did indeed make a deal with the Devil in exchange for shelter and refuge, the fact that he now wouldn’t divulge any details leads people to suspect that he must have.

As the court Lacson faces is the court of the people, Miriam Santiago can’t be his Daniel Webster. Furthermore, Lacson’s silence, like his flight from the law, is another admission of guilt — a guilt that he tries to cover up with innuendoes that he never backs up.

With dark clouds of suspicion hanging over him, how can Lacson function as a member of the highest lawmaking body of the land? Similarly, how can the people repose their trust in a legislature that harbors such shifty and dubious character (this, especially after legislators barefacedly deny them any truth and transparency)?

Why, the question should also be addressed to an even higher office, the Office of the President: Why receive Lacson without first demanding the whole truth, which is nothing but his primary obligation to the nation?

It is clear that under the present dispensation, the mantra of “This is not a priority” applies to everything that the people hold with utmost importance — truth and justice. Even the truth in the last elections, upon which the present government stands, has not been fully established as 12 percent of the “Hocus PCOS” machines have actually not been read or all the mandated manual auditing completed. The truth in the Luneta hostage massacre is also being waylaid today as this government portrays the Deputy Ombudsman as the most guilty just so that it can cover up for one of its own — the darling city mayor of the Yellow family.

What is a country with leaders that do not adhere to the rule of law and dishonor the people’s aspirations for truth and justice? No doubt, a lawless country! If the Philippines were to be saved, this lawlessness should not prevail even a moment longer.

(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, on “Dacer Family’s struggle for justice” with Cezar Mancao and Attys. Ferdinand Topacio and Demetrio Custodio; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus select radio and GNN shows)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110404com5.html

Enrile bars Noy ally bid to alter impeach rules By Angie M. Rosales 04/04/2011


Enrile bars Noy ally bid to alter impeach rules

By Angie M. Rosales 04/04/2011

An effort of Palace allies in the Senate to expedite a verdict on the impeachment trial set before the Senate court on Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez through an amendment in the recently-adopted rules of the chamber will not be allowed, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said.

Last-ditch efforts to amend the set of rules of the Senate on the impending impeachment proceedings against Gutierrez were proposed by Sen. Francis Pangilinan through a resolution but Enrile yesterday ruled out the possibility of the upper chamber acceding to the call of Pangilinan.

Pangilinan’s proposal, in effect, would allow a Senate court verdict on Gutierrez through a two-thirds vote after the first of the six articles of impeachment has been presented against the Ombudsman.

Efforts to amend the impeachment rules were made as President Aquino stepped up his attacks against his supposed critics in a speech during a visit to Panay island yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110404hed1.html

Son cries foul as graft court sets Tupas Sr. arraignment By Gerry Baldo 04/04/2011

Son cries foul as graft court sets Tupas Sr. arraignment

By Gerry Baldo 04/04/2011

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan is set to arraign the father of Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. on June 2 in connection with his involvement in allowing a quarrying deal that was supposedly disadvantageous to the government.

The case has gathered controversy as it was being linked to the successful impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez before the House of Representatives. Tupas Jr. is the chairman of the House committee on justice that recommended the impeachment of Gutierrez.

Tupas Sr., who was Iloilo governor when the deal was inked, was alleged to have allowed the quarrying firm to operate despite its being unqualified..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110404hed2.html

Noy-Ping alliance criticized By Gerry Baldo 04/04/2011

Noy-Ping alliance criticized

By Gerry Baldo 04/04/2011

The alliance between President Aquino and Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is sending the wrong signal that the Chief Executive, espousing a “straight path,” is, after all, coddling the former fugitive lawmaker who is accused of masterminding the abductions and murders of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, a stalwartof the opposition’s Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats, said the meeting of the two last Tuesday could create the perception that Lacson is a sacred cow under the Aquino administration.

“The meeting should not have happened because this may send the message that the President is indeed a strong ally of Senator Lacson. The President should be sensitive to the feelings of the Dacer and Corbito families,” Magsaysay told House reporters in an impromptu press conference..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110404hed6.html

US scales down troops joining Balikatan war games By Michaela P. del Callar 04/04/2011

US scales down troops joining Balikatan war games

By Michaela P. del Callar 04/04/2011

The United States (US) has scaled down its troops who will be joining this week’s military exercises in the Philippines as hundreds of them are currently engaged in humanitarian mission in quake-devastated Japan, an embassy spokesman said yesterday.

Wossie Mazengia, US deputy spokesperson, said only 3,000 will be deployed for the activity and not 6,000 as initially announced.

“The annual Philippine-US Balikatan exercises will take place as scheduled even though some 3,000 US Marines who are stationed in Japan have remained there to assist with the relief effort,” Mazengia said in a text message..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

South Cotabato eyes closure of mining sites in T’boli

South Cotabato eyes closure of mining sites in T’boli

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Environment officials in South Cotabato recommended over the weekend the immediate stoppage of small-scale mining activities in T’boli town following the collapse of several mine tunnels in the area last Wednesday that resulted to the death of at least four miners.

Ramon Ponce de Leon, Provincial Environment Management Office chief of South Cotabato, said they issued such recommendation for immediate approval by Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr.

“Should he approve it, we will conduct an assessment if tunnel mining would still be allowed to operate,” Ponce de Leon said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110404nat7.html

Bamboo-framed fish cages used as coral reefs 04/04/2011

Bamboo-framed fish cages used as coral reefs

TUGUEGARAO CITY — Bamboo-framed fish cages designed to produce even more fish here are being put up under the provincial government’s small water impounding projects (SWIPs), with technical guidance from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

BFAR officer Dr. Jovita Ayson explained that the semi-confined feature of the small area of impounded water is ideal for fish production because it minimizes the effects of floods and strong water current especially during bad weather.

He said SWIP addresses the primary problem of irrigation, and the structure has a minimum catchment area of three hectares and an embankment of not more than 15 meters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110404nat9.html

MMDA ready to implement vehicle tagging on all PUVs in 3 months’ time 04/04/2011

MMDA ready to implement vehicle tagging on all PUVs in 3 months’ time

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to implement vehicle tagging on all public utility vehicles (PUVs) such as buses, jeepneys and taxi cabs in three months’ time.

This was announced by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino during yesterday’s weekly “Balitaan sa Tinapayan” forum after the agency last Friday issued to all Metro Manila and provincial bus operators, PUV operators, franchise holders and drivers Memorandum Circular Number 05 that states the guidelines to be followed on the implementation of vehicle tagging pursuant to MMDA Resolution Number 11-02 Series of 2011..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110404met5.html

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