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Squabbling while the nation sinks DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 01/16/2012 A Nov. 10 to 2

Monday, January 16, 2012

Squabbling while the nation sinks

Herman Tiu Laurel
A Nov. 10 to 23, 2011 survey by Pulse Asia reported last week by Jocelyn Montemayor found that 97 percent of Filipinos say “their lives were affected by worsening economic conditions.” The same survey reported that the number of people who “felt,” which I take to mean palpably sensed, the economic deterioration jumped from 16 percent in Oct. 2010 to 38 percent a year later, in what can be described as a dramatic doubling.

This makes me wonder how the same survey outfit can still find that BS Aquino III’s approval ratings are staying at a high 70-percent rate. This also makes me wonder if the people surveyed are disjointed in their brains of if the controlled mass media have really done a terrific job of obfuscating issues so as to stunt the public’s capacity for perception.

What is clear is that Filipinos are facing a deepening crisis and, contrary to many columnists’ sanguine projections, 2012 holds even grimmer prospects.

Last Wednesday, Jan. 11, InterAksyon.com reported that the Department of Energy (DoE) is “gear(ing) up for fuel rationing, transport subsidies” in case “tensions in the Middle East trigger a fuel shortage.” As we have been tracking the events there, we have consistently asked what the leadership of this country is doing in case a war affecting the Strait of Hormuz and, consequently, global oil supply triggers a worldwide shortage and price spike from $150 to $200/bbl.

The current Philippine oil stockpile ranges only from 30 to 60 days, and more frequently it is at the minimum. These are indeed ridiculous levels, considering that it takes about that long for shipments to arrive from the sources.

Curiously, an August 2011 newspaper report discussed the call (such as from our many columns) for government to stockpile oil requirements for as much as six months to one year. But, in that same report, a certain Jorge Montepeque, global director for pricing at Platts (a US oil trading company), was also interviewed. He said that such a proposal would only do harm as stockpiling would cause oil prices to rise.

Of course, that pronouncement from the said executive, no matter how inane it was, must have been taken as a diktat to government and political authorities to shut up on the matter as the economic managers who earlier raised the idea never did so again.

That advice was inane for the simple reason that the Philippines’ whole year demand won’t even cause a blip in the oil markets, where prices are manipulated by speculators on a daily basis — prices which we, in turn, are compelled to always accept at their highest levels since we buy only what can be delivered because of the short lead time, and never at a cheaper price than the last offer. So, in order to get us out of this quagmire, the next logical question is where to get the money for a stockpile that will last us a good six months to one year.

Ah, but only a few like us would say that money is the least of our problems since we already have that P1.7-trillion Special Deposit Account (SDA) kept in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that yields four percent in interest earnings for banks when it can be used to earn multiples of that in our stockpiling of oil.

Then, we also have the surplus in our gross international reserves (GIR), which, in our discussion on how to properly release without appreciating the peso and harming the exchange rate that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) families rely on, finance forensics expert Hiro Vaswani of the Kilusan para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) suggested for the BSP to stop lending $25 billion to the US in buying its Treasury Bills, and instead to use that for our domestic needs — one of which is the country’s stockpiling of oil.

As our annual oil imports amount to around $14 billion, we have more than enough money to afford such a stockpile. Yet, while any sane person would never doubt the economic security and benefit we would get out of it, our economic managers remain inutile, all because they are useless slaves of Western financial interests.

Oil prices jumped to $101/bbl when Iran warned off a US aircraft carrier during a naval exercise of the Iranian Navy two weeks ago. For sure, we can expect more of such tensions in the Strait of Hormuz — through which 80 percent of oil for our country passes and a major part of which is legally considered under Iran’s jurisdiction.

The Iranian parliament is now considering legislation either to limit passage through that strait or to charge fees for it and to ban warships from passing, which are a response to US saber-rattling.

But even without these tensions, the global trend of oil prices is on the upswing due to the higher cost of extraction. As such, oil stockpiling is always a safe bet even on a purely commercial basis. Still, we need to underscore the economic stability that can be derived from having a large oil stockpile, especially since an oil shock that will lead to a complete economic standstill for an unprepared nation like the Philippines would be devastating.

Thus, one must realize how irresponsible and brainless this BS Aquino III government is today, creating imagined terror threats and picking fights left and right to create an atmosphere ripe for authoritarianism while real economic terror stalks the land.

The crisis the nation will face in 2012 will require all the people and political sectors to rally around the flag in order to survive. And as the growing internecine fighting is only going to doom the nation, a New Third Force that is neither Aquino nor Arroyo; neither Yellow nor Red; and neither Right nor Left must arise to offer the leadership that the present government cannot give as it winds down its self-destructive path.
(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, with this week’s topic, “QC Real Estate Tax Scam in 2012;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120116com5.html

All that bias — for the hacienda FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/16/2012

All that bias — for the hacienda

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Expect the Noynoy yellow propaganda network not only to repeat its demonizing feat during the impeachment of Erap Estrada in 2000 and early 2001 leading up to his unconstitutional ouster, but even surpass its dirty trial and conviction by publicity ways, with the trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Five members of the prosecution panel, acting as private prosecutors for the trial are all high officials of the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN network.

The five private prosecutors are Maximilian Uy — chief legal counsel, assistant corporate secretary; Mario Bautista — general counsel, legal services; Manuel Torres — corporate secretary; Maximilian Joseph Uy — legal services and assistant corporate secretary; and Enrique Quiason — assistant corporate secretary..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120116com2.html

US mainstream media: Beating war drums?

US mainstream media: Beating war drums?

America's mainstream media is being accused of playing with fire and hyping-up global tension, while trying to steer public opinion to please their sponsors.

­In a sensitive time with the military standoff in the Strait of Hormuz and looming sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, the MSM is cynically playing-up the prospect of war, between Iran and the West..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/us-mainstream-media-war-849/

CNN contributor salutes Marines for urinating on dead Afghans (AUDIO)

CNN contributor salutes Marines for urinating on dead Afghans (AUDIO)

The video of American marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan civilians has prompted worldwide outrage, condemnation from the White House and the opening of a federal investigation. CNN's Dana Loesch thinks the whole thing is pretty cool, though.

Loesch, the 33-year-old CNN contributor hired last year to offer political analysis for the coming election, is already giving the network their money's worth. Speaking during her own syndicated radio program on Thursday, Loesch discussed the just-surfaced video that shows four Marines urinating on the corpses of slain Afghans, presumed to be civilians..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/cnn-urinating-loesch-marines-731/

Woman put in jail for being poor

Woman put in jail for being poor

The recession ruined Linda Ruggles’ business and she has been selling plasma twice a week since to make ends meet. The blood bank couldn’t bail her out from behind bars though, which is where she ended up after she couldn’t pay a $480 fine.

That fine, say cops in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, came about because Linda Ruggles had a messy yard..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/jail-ruggles-pay-lawn-765/

Gitmo Gulag: US flayed over ‘illegal’ indefinite detention

 Gitmo Gulag: US flayed over ‘illegal’ indefinite detention
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has blasted the US detention facility in Cuba, where 171 suspected terrorists are being held in indefinite custody without legal representation, as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

In a statement posted on its website Sunday, the ministry said inmates are in a “legal vacuum” unprecedented in modern history and indicative of a broader trend of behavior that also exists in Afghanistan..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/politics/guantanamo-us-cuba-russia-human-rights-865/

No difference between student Aquino, teacher Arroyo – Bayan

 No difference between student Aquino, teacher Arroyo – Bayan

The student is no different from the teacher.
This was the stand of the BagongAlyansangMakabayan (BAYAN) on the exchange of insults between Malacañang and the camp of former president and now under hospital-arrest Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Macapagal-Arroyo through her supporters, recently released a supposed study on the current state of the economy. In it, the former executive now charged with electoral fraud and corruption alleged that the Benigno Aquino administration has wrought damage to the economy through unintelligent mismanagement. The title of the paper was “It’s the Economy, Student!” referring to Aquino being Macapagal-Arroyo’s former student in a course on economics at the Ateneo University.

“Neither the President nor anyone else can truly expect to govern the next five years with nothing but a sorry mix of vilification, periodically recycled promises of action followed by lethargy, backed up by few if any results, and presumptuously encouraging gossip about one’s love life in which no one can possibly be interested. Given the electoral mandate that he enjoyed in 2010—the same size as mine in 2004, as predicted by every survey organization at that time—our people deserve more, and better, from him,”Arroyo wrote in her paper.

For Bayan, however, there’s no difference between the current president and his predecessor. Case in point, the group said, was how both administrations have done nothing to stop the incessant problem of excessive oil prices and continuing price hikes. Oil companies recently raised their pump prices by as much as P2.00 (US$0.05)per liter. World gasoline prices have already increased by around P1.75 (US$0.04) per liter while diesel prices rose by around P1.30 per liter in the international market.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/01/13/no-difference-between-student-aquino-teacher-arroyo-bayan/

Noynoy: Listen, form opinion; Jurors: Don’t be swayed by spins By Angie M. Rosales 01/16/2012


Noynoy: Listen, form opinion; Jurors: Don’t be swayed by spins

By Angie M. Rosales 01/16/2012

President Aquino and Senate jurors were unanimous in asking the public to keep a close tab on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona but for entirely different objectives with Aquino and his Palace aides saying that the proceedings will help Filipinos “create their own opinions” while Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III asked the public not to be swayed by allegations made outside the court which he said could be coming from spin doctors from either side.

“Let’s all listen, let’s be vigilant and create our own opinions,” Aquino’s spokesman Abigail Valte called on the public.

Unless the charges against Corona are formally entered into therecords of the impeachment court, these issues will not hold water, Sotto said, however.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120116hed1.html

DILG given 3 months to wrap up probe of Oro, Iligan floodings

Malacaang has given the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) three months to wrap up its investigation into flash floods and landslides that swept away villages and killed close to 1,500 in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan last month.

Deputy presidential spokes-man Abigail Valte, in a radio interview, said President Benigno is expecting a report from Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo on the fatal flash floods and landslides that killed more than 800 and left more than 400 missing in Cagayan de Oro alone.

Valte said the report would contain result of the investigation and a recommendation as to who is or are culpable..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120116hed4.html

VP Binay joins Sinulog in Cebu City 01/16/2012

VP Binay joins Sinulog in Cebu City

CEBU CITY — Vice President Jejomar Binay joined thousands of people for the Sinulog Grand Parade 2012 yesterday.

Early in the morning, Binay attended a pontifical mass at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Binay went onstage shortly before lunch, greeted the revelers who packed the Cebu City Sports Center with “Pit Señor,” referring to today’s feast of the holy image of Sto. Niño..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120116nat4.html

Noynoy gov’t allots P17B for AFP in 17 months By Mario J. Mallari 01/16/2012

Noynoy gov’t allots P17B for AFP in 17 months

By Mario J. Mallari 01/16/2012

The Aquino administration has allotted about P17 billion during its first 17 months in office for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), a huge leap compared to the P33.5 billion released to the military organization during the last 15 years.

The Department of National Defense (DND) said that President Aquino made a total of P16,852,000,000 available for the AFP modernization program from July 2010 to December 2011.

As a result, the DND said that the AFP modernization program got a huge leap, noting the P33.596 billion which was released to the military during the 15-year period of the AFP Modernization Program as provided by law. The AFP got an average of P2.24 billion a year during the 15-year implementation of the modernization program from 1995 to 2010..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120116nat2.html

For exposing graft at LTO, whistle-blower now under fire By Fernan J. Angeles 01/16/2012

For exposing graft at LTO, whistle-blower now under fire

By Fernan J. Angeles 01/16/2012

A case of non-remittance of collection in an agency headed by President Aquino’s “close friend” Virginia Torres may open up a bigger fund mess as soon as the Commission on Audit wraps up its investigation into what could be described as an open corruption at the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

No less than the LTO Binangonan District Office chief Aureo Costales admitted corruption in an agency mandated to regulate and systematize transport registration.

Citing his own district as an example, Costales said the LTO Binangonan District Office lost not as huge as those which the media deemed as “newsworthy” but “it would certainly open a can of worms,” apparently referring to a common practice in other LTO district offices nationwide..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120116met1.html

CPP brands Gloria’s paper ('shameless') By Mario J. Mallari 01/16/2012

CPP brands Gloria’s paper ('shameless')

By Mario J. Mallari 01/16/2012
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has branded detained former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo’s paper entitled “It’s the economy, student!” as “shameless,” citing Arroyo’s nine years of corrupt and brutal regime, as it stressed the present administration is showing no difference.

In a statement, the CPP said Arroyo is just trying to differentiate herself from President Aquino whom she wanted to portray as “the easy go lucky student.”

“Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ‘It’s the economy, student!’ is a shameless paper of self-promotion built on lies and half-truths — the very same foundation on which, for nine long years, she built her corrupt and brutal regime from 2001 to 2010,” the CPP said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120116met2.html

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