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SONA 2012: Reporting housekeeping and half-truths

Saturday, July 28, 2012

SONA 2012: Reporting housekeeping and half-truths

In closing the 2012 SONA, President Aquino asked rhetorically: “Isn’t the agenda for change moving forward?” Unfortunately after two years, there is clearly no fundamental change and no systematic economic reforms taking place.

IBON executive director
MANILA — State of the nation addresses (SONAs) are typically exercises in political advertising rather than government road maps for genuinely addressing the needs of the majority of Filipinos. President Benigno Aquino III’s 2012 SONA on Monday was no exception. The severity of the country’s social and economic problems was not just unmentioned but actually sought to be glossed over with an enumeration of supposed achievements. The SONA, the most important and widely publicized policy speech of the year, would have been memorable had it defined a break from the economic policies that cause severe poverty and inequality in the country.

Housekeeping rather than change

Much was reported in Pres. Aquino’s SONA– around two thirds of the SONA was abundant detail about various government economic and social programs. Yet a large part of every administration’s work is about normal housekeeping tasks. It is in this sense unremarkable to report building roads, airports, trains, terminals and schools, hiring health professionals, paying government salaries and pensions, and others. More so if the quantities involved are not even extraordinarily larger and were just built on the accomplishments of previous administrations.

A candid reporting of the social and economic well-being of Filipinos would have been much more meaningful particularly because admitting the seriousness of the problem is the start of taking real steps to resolve this. On the other hand, painting a picture that all is well on the economic front is at the very least irresponsible and at worst deceitful.

As expected the president cited positive international credit rating actions (eight in two years), record stock exchange index highs (44 times), relatively rapid economic growth (6.4 percent first quarter growth in gross domestic product) and ostensibly becoming a creditor nation as proof of an economic upsurge. The president also mentioned the country’s favorable image internationally.

Even granting the glowing numbers their significance to the daily lives of the people cannot be assumed. The most eloquent refutation would come from tens of millions of Filipinos who know that their lives have not correspondingly improved in the last two years. But another way to put the self-congratulatory account into perspective is to mention some details that the SONA remained silent on.

The 2012 SONA was selective in the data it presented and dealt in half-truths. A few stand out for the misleading picture of the economy that they seek to create.

Half-truths: Social development

When the speech declared “once, we were the debtors; now, we are the creditors” it actually meant something much less impressive. More precisely, all that could be claimed is that the Philippines had technically attained creditor member nation status within the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Even more specifically, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) lent foreign exchange to the IMF which is very different from saying that the national government (NG) lent the IMF money or that the Philippine economy is so awash with cash that it is now a creditor economy..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/27/sona-2012-reporting-housekeeping-and-half-truths/

Political dream or nightmare?

Political dream or nightmare?

Looks like the Liberal-Nacionalista parties’ coalition isn’t the dream team they thought it would be, what with political talk now making the rounds that the NP isn’t too happy with the inclusion of former Sen. Jamby Madrigal in the administration coalition senatorial slate.

Apparently, Sen. Manny Villar, president of the NP, refuses to have her in the same slate, and understandably so, as it was Madrigal who had made sure she would destroy Villar’s presidential dream, with her non-stop negative campaign against him on the alleged C-5 scam in which she had claimed Villar as the brains.

Madrigal was already seen as a loser in the presidential race, and had more chances of being reelected as a senator. But she made it clear that she was joining the presidential race because she would have that opportunity to wage a full scale negative campaign against Villar, whom she didn’t want to see win the presidency.

The rift in the administration coalition may be likened to a similar situation the United Nationalist Alliance faced when Sen. Koko Pimentel made an issue of not wanting former Sen. Migz Zubiri on the same slate, where UNA leaders had to make a decision, ending up with Pimentel getting out of UNA, and apparently joining the administration LP coalition..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/2107-political-dream-or-nightmare?

Will political reform occur in the United States only after a catastrophe?

Will political reform occur in the United States only after a catastrophe?

By Lawrence Sellin

Will political reform occur in the United States only after a catastrophe?. 47641.jpeg
Pravda.ru photo
John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States.

He was tried for treason, the murder of five pro-slavery Southerners, and inciting a slave insurrection, found guilty on all counts, and was hanged on December 2, 1859.

On the day he died Brown wrote: "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."

Less than two years later the U.S. Civil War began, the American casualties from which exceeded those of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

The United States is now facing its greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War. As Abraham Lincoln asked, will a nation conceived in liberty and a government of the people, by the people and for the people perish?.... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/27-07-2012/121769-usa_political_reform-0/

Saudi riot police fire live rounds on Shiite protesters in Qatif - reports (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Saudi riot police fire live rounds on Shiite protesters in Qatif - reports (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Several demonstrators have been wounded in Saudi Arabia’s eastern district of Qatif after security forces opened fire on protesters.

Officers fired live rounds at demonstrators, who carried posters of detained protesters who were injured and arrested earlier this month.

Spokesmen for the Saudi Interior Ministry said several people were burning tires during the protests, and several arrests were made..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/saudi-police-fire-protestors-qatif-wounded-212/

Bhopal victims stage own ‘Olympics’ to protest Dow sponsorship (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Bhopal victims stage own ‘Olympics’ to protest Dow sponsorship (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Dozens of disabled kids affected by the 1984 Bhopal disaster, one of the world’s worst-ever industrial catastrophes, have held their own Games to protest against the London Olympics sponsorship by Dow Chemical.

­The children, aged five to 16 and cheered by their nearest and dearest, have participated in 10 sports in Bhopal during the “Special Olympics". The move was aimed to attract attention to the responsibilities of the company, which has a contract with the IOC until 2020 and, in particular, is a sponsor of London Olympics.

Dow Chemical has repeatedly denied any involvement in the tragedy and refuses to add to the $470-million compensation paid out in 1989..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/olympics-bhopal-games-dow-disaster-160/

Ilocos environmental advocates face harassment

Ilocos environmental advocates face harassment


ILOCOS — Political activists and journalists are endangered species in the country. With the renewed push of the Aquino government for the encouragement of foreign, large-scale mining operations in the country coupled with the president’s order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protect mining companies, environmental, anti-mining advocates have been added to the list of targets of attacks of state security forces.

Donna Rabang Peta, convenor of the Peoples Solidarity Against Large-scale and Destructive Mining in Ilocos Norte (PSALM-IN) and secretariat member of the Defend Ilocos Against Mining Plunder (Defend Ilocos), is the latest environmental advocate to be subjected to threats, harassment and intimidation due to her work.

Since late last year, Rabang Peta has been monitored by the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Ilocos Norte with supposed orders coming from Provincial Director Marlou Chan due to her involvement in the growing anti-mining campaign of the people of the province.

The latest incident happened last June 20, 2012 when Ms. Rabang Peta was included in a police blotter in the office of the PNP in Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte.

At around 4:00 p.m. of that day, Dumalneg Municipal Councilor Maylin Santos received a letter signed by chief of police PSI Freddie Evangelista inviting her to his office because several issues have reached him and Association of Barangay Council (ABC) President Faustino Tomas and that they wanted to clarify it with Santos.

Santos asked the letter bearer PO2 Eddie Mar Yadao what the problem is. Yadao explained that the PNP received reports about her supposed activities and trips outside of Dumalneg and that an activity of the New People’s Army (NPA) was purportedly conducted in her house.

Yadao also explained that their “big boss” wanted to know why Rabang Peta constantly goes to her house. Yadao reportedly said Rabang Peta is an activist and an organizer of anti-mining activities in Adams, Ilocos Norte. The “big boss” that Yadao referred to is Dumalneg Mayor Francisco Espiritu.

Santos questioned Yadao why her activities were being monitored and probed. She also explained that the activity conducted at their house is a discussion on organic farming and proceeded to show Yadao the visual aids they are using.

After the incident, she received a sketchy report from a reliable source that there was a police blotter, referring Rabang Peta as “Ka Donna” and described her as an organizer of anti-mining advocates.
According to Rabang Peta, she is frightened by the continuous threat against her life especially when the news of the blotter and surveillance reached her. “Our democratic space as environmental advocates, the places where we want to reach out to and share the cause and destructive effects of mining in the province, is decreasing because of these threats. This harassments and intimidations curtails the right of the people to organize and peaceable assembly,” Rabang Peta added.

Vested interests

Asked why she is being targeted, Rabang Peta explained that the issue of mining in the province is something that the people have always been vigilant about, the anti-mining activities and mobilizations have made the pro-mining politicians angry because their vested interests are affected. In Dumalneg, for example, Rabang Peta’s presence has been consistently questioned by Mayor Espiritu and that he even warned other Mayors regarding Rabang Peta’s anti-mining stance..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/21/ilocos-environmental-advocates-face-harassment/

Silang mga nilalait pagkatapos ng SONA

Silang mga nilalait pagkatapos ng SONA


Pagkatapos ng SONA,
si Arturo Capellan ng Anakbayan-Marikina ay ikinulong
at walang pampiyansa. Siya ang kakarga sa lahat ng kaso sa SONA
na isasampa ng pulisya laban umano sa mga raliyista.

Si Arturo ay galing sa maralitang pamilya,
natigil sa pag-aaral dahil walang pang matrikula.
Kaya naobligang mag-sideline habang patuloy
na kumikilos bilang lider ng Anakbayan-Marikina.

Pagkatapos ng SONA,
pinalaya si Gloria matapos maglagak
ng isang milyong piyansa..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/26/silang-mga-nilalait-pagkatapos-ng-sona/

Beijing names military chiefs in Spratlys; Palace downplays UN force suggestion

Beijing names military chiefs in Spratlys; Palace downplays UN force suggestion

  • Written by 
  • Saturday, 28 July 2012
China has appointed military officers at a newly established garrison in the South China Sea, state media reported yesterday.

This is  Beijing’s latest step to bolster claims to disputed islands in the area.

The defense ministry announced the appointments Thursday, the China Daily said, two days after China said it had established the city of Sansha on an island in the disputed Paracel chain, along with the military garrison.

The Philippines reacted to the move, summoning the Chinese ambassador to lodge a complaint against the garrison announcement.

Defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the new garrison was responsible for guarding the city and disaster relief, among other functions, according to China Daily.

He, however, added a separate maritime garrison under the Chinese navy was responsible for maritime defense and military combat, appearing to suggest that the Sansha garrison would not have such responsibilities.

China says it owns much of the South China Sea, though the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia each claim portions of it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2128-beijing-names-military-chiefs-in-spratlys-palace-downplays-un-force-suggestion

Senate, House pull out members from JBC

Senate, House pull out members from JBC

The two Houses of Congress and the Supreme Court are now what could be described as in a stalemate situation over the matter of the Legislature’s representation in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), with their leaders yesterday deciding to inhibit participation in the proceedings until they have resolved their next legal move.

The decision of the two leaders of Congress to pull out their representatives occurred after the week-long public interviews by the  JBC concluded yesterday, after screening 20 aspirants for chief justice.

The two representatives of Congress to the JBC affected are Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and Sen. Francis Escudero who opted not to participate.

JBC member Jose Mejia said they would continue with their voting for the chief justice shortlist next week even without the representative of Congress to meet the constitutional 90-day deadline for the President to appoint a replacement for ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“It is not a big loss, if you will look at the numbers, even if we lose one member, we still have a quorum,” Mejia said, referring to the lawmakers’ absence..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2129-senate-house-pull-out-members-from-jbc

Suspect in Olalia-Alay-ay slay surrenders after 26 years

Suspect in Olalia-Alay-ay slay surrenders after 26 years

Laguna — After 26 years, a breakthough has taken place in the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case with the surrender of one of the accused, police said Thursday.

Desiderio Perez surrendered to the Rizal Provincial Public Safety Office on July 24, Olalia’s son, Rolando Rico Olalia, said.

Labor leader Rolando Olalia and his driver, Leonor Alay-Ay were kidnapped, tortured and later killed in the aftermath of the Edsa People’s Revolt in 1986.

Their bodies were found in Antipolo on Nov. 13, 1986..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2122-suspect-in-olalia-alay-ay-slay-surrenders-after-26-years

POEA: Illegal recruiters lure Pinay nurses to Australia

POEA: Illegal recruiters lure Pinay nurses to Australia

  • Written by 
  • Saturday, 28 July 2012 

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Cacdac has warned aspiring overseas workers to beware of illegal recruiters of medical personnel for Australia.

Cacdac said his office had received another recruitment  e-mail, supposedly from the Sydney Adventist Hospital, charging  a fee of P3,750  for a two-day “British English” training and prospective jobs.

“This is similar to the one allegedly sent by Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Canada which offers ‘Visa Interview Coaching’ for a fee of P3,888,” Cacdac said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2120-poea-illegal-recruiters-lure-pinay-nurses-to-australia

Aquino confers National Artist Award on King of RP Movies; Comedy King next in line Written by Fernan J. Angeles Saturday, 28 July 2012 00:00

Aquino confers National Artist Award on King of RP Movies; Comedy King next in line

Better late than later must have been how President Aquino justified his act of conferring on the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr.  “a posthumous National Artist award,” the same citation seen coming the way of another “King” named Rodolfo Vera Quizon or fondly referred to as Dolphy.

In issuing Proclamation No. 435, Aquino simply confirmed an earlier declaration of Poe as National Artist in 2006.

“Pursuant to the authority vested in me by law, I Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, do hereby confirm the declaration of Ronald Allan K. Poe aka Fernando Poe Jr. (Posthumous) as National Artist as conferred in Proclamation No. 1069, dated May 23, 2006,” the statement read.

The proclamation, signed by Aquino and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last July 20, ended a six-year debate on whether or not Poe, who died on Dec. 11, 2004 due to thrombosis with multiple organ failure, deserves the recognition seeing him as the choice artist under the category of “Film.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2111-aquino-confers-national-artist-award-on-king-of-rp-movies-comedy-king-next-in-line

Top mining firm headquarters bombed; communist rebels eyed in attack

Top mining firm headquarters bombed; communist rebels eyed in attack

  • Written by 
  • Saturday, 28 July 2012 

A grenade exploded outside the Manila headquarters of the Philippines’ top mining company yesterday in the second such attack in two months, police and company officials said.

The pre-dawn blast near the Philex Mining Corp. compound gate caused no casualties or serious damage, said Mike Toledo, a spokesman for the firm, which is the Philippines’ biggest gold miner and has moved into energy exploration.

“Two men aboard a motorcycle threw a grenade which landed 10 to13 feet away from the perimeter wall. It caused minor damage to the wall but fortunately no one was harmed,” he told AFP.

Police are looking into the possible involvement of communist rebels in the attack and a similar blast at the same site on June 2, when again no-one was hurt, district police chief Supt. Alfredo Calama-an said.

Communist rebels frequently attack mining projects in rural areas for extortion purposes, but company spokesman Toledo said he was not aware of any threats against Philex..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2108-top-mining-firm-headquarters-bombed-communist-rebels-eyed-in-attack

‘JV’ asks Palace to probe overpricing of water rates by Maynilad, Manila Water Written by Charlie V. Manalo Saturday, 28 July 2012 00:00

‘JV’ asks Palace to probe overpricing of water rates by Maynilad, Manila Water

San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday called on Malacañang to immediately freeze the collection of both Maynilad and Manila Water for fees intended for cancelled projects and conduct an investigation for possible syndicated estafa.

“In view of the simultaneous price hikes of oil, electricity and basic commodities, I appeal to the Aquino administration to freeze and conduct an inquiry into the impending water overpricing by Maynilad and Manila Water and to conduct an inquiry into their issue of syndicated estafa with regard to previous cancelled projects,” Ejercito said.

“There is a need to investigate these water firms, especially that they continue to collect payments for the construction of the Laiban Dam and the Angat Dam Irrigation Replacement Project which have already been mothballed. Refund and cancellation of payments have been ordered by MWSS. But until now, no refunds have been made by both water service providers,” the San Juan solon explained.

Thus, with records showing that the collection for the dam projects already amounted to more than P6 billion, Ejercito said  there is no need for Maynilad and Manila Water to increase their water rates to P0.89/cu.m for the third quarter of 2012..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2112-%E2%80%98jv%E2%80%99-asks-palace-to-probe-overpricing-of-water-rates-by-maynilad-manila-water

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