BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...

GOVT UNDERSPENDING BIGGEST DRAG ON PHILIPPINE ECONOMY NEXT YEAR - CITI 

DEC 23 --Government underspending would be the biggest drag to economic growth next year, Citi said in a research note. “We believe that fiscal underspending would probably constitute the largest macro risk over the next six to 12 months since domestic demand continues to be the key growth driver,” Jun Trinidad, economist at Citi, said in the latest Emerging Markets Macro and Strategy Outlook. Another risk to be mindful of is the looming power crisis expected in the second quarter of next year, he added. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Aquino signs 2015 budget, says it’s pork-free 

DEC 23 ---President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday signed the 2015 budget at Malacañang, emphasizing that it no longer contains pork barrel funds. The 2015 General Appropriations Act is worth P2.606 trillion, 15.1 percent higher from 2014. “This is a historic day. For the fifth time, we are on time in passing the budget for next year,” Aquino said in Filipino in a speech after the signing. Aquino said pork barrel allocations are no longer part of the budget. “This budget is a true budget of the people.”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO Commentary: Pork ‘guisado’: the 2015 budget 

DEC 23: By Teddy Casiño --President Benigno Aquino III and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives have declared the 2015 budget free of pork barrel. To know if this is true, we have to begin with its definition. Organizers of the People’s Initiative Against the Pork Barrel have defined it as a lump-sum appropriation, the use of which is subject to the sole discretion of the President, a legislator, or any other public officer after the enactment of the budget. The discretion they have over the fund relates to its allocation; its release or use; the identification or selection of projects, implementers or beneficiaries; or a combination of all these. READ FULL COMMENTARY...

ALSO: Palace defends legality of 2015 budget

DEC 24 --In this Dec. 23, 2014 photo, President Benigno Aquino III signed the P2.606-trillion 2015 General Appropriations Act, marking the fifth consecutive year of the National Budget’s timely enactment. Malacañang Photo Bureau MANILA, Philippines — A Malacañang official on Wednesday defended the P2.606-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2015 amid a petition questioning its legality. In a statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the crafting of the 2015 national budget is above board and is in line with the Constitution and other law. "Lahat naman po ay ginawa para tiyakin na tumatalima tayo sa Konstitusyn at sa batas, at nasa proseso na rin po ng hudikatura ito," Coloma said in a phone interview with reporters.

(ALSO) YEARENDER: Phl banks to grow more resilient vs external shocks  

PHOTO: Tetangco MANILA, Philippines - Local banks are seen further strengthening their positions against external shocks following a flurry of reforms handed down by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas this year. BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said in an e-mail that while some of these reforms may cut earnings in the near-term, their benefits in the long run translate to profitability and brisker business activity. “From a policy perspective, the medium to long-term benefits of broad-based financial sector reforms are to keep the industry and the banks in strong position to handle future shocks,” Tetangco pointed out. “At the same time, however, the same reforms should provide for the impetus to continue nurturing the creativity of banks in addressing the needs of stakeholders under an evolving environment,” he added. Starting this year, universal and commercial banks were required to comply with higher capital ratios under the stricter Basel 3 reforms. Big banks now need to keep a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent, a minimum Tier 1 capital of 7.5 percent, a minimum common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio of six percent, and a capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO TIMES EDITORIAL: May Moody’s report knock sense into Aquino administration’s head 

Just before Christmas Day, a Moody’s Investors Service analysis of the Philippine economy was released. It says that domestic growth is being hamstrung by the Aquino administration’s weak use of its budget. Moody’s says because the administration is not spending as much and as fast as it should, economic growth is constricted. And Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) likely grew by only 6.3 percent this year, below the government target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.Among the opportunities that the administration did not take advantage of to spur economic growth is the reconstruction of areas that were badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda. This alone proves that the Aquino administration is motivated more by its political goals than doing the best for the people. READ FULL EDITORIAL...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Gov’t underspending biggest drag on Phl economy next year – Citi

MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Government underspending would be the biggest drag to economic growth next year, Citi said in a research note.

“We believe that fiscal underspending would probably constitute the largest macro risk over the next six to 12 months since domestic demand continues to be the key growth driver,” Jun Trinidad, economist at Citi, said in the latest Emerging Markets Macro and Strategy Outlook.

Another risk to be mindful of is the looming power crisis expected in the second quarter of next year, he added.

The bank has forecast the Philippine economy to grow 6.3 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2015. Both are below the government’s 6.5- to 7.5-percent goal for 2014 and the seven- to eight-percent target for next year.

“Net exports can provide one-off surprises just like in 3Q14 (third quarter of 2014) when two-digit export gains and benign imports implied a heft net export gain that mitigated fiscal spending during the quarter,” Trinidad noted.

The domestic economy expanded by 5.3 percent in the third quarter, the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2011.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan last week said economic growth may accelerate in the last quarter, adding a six-percent expansion for the full year would still be “very respectable” despite being below the target.

“Coupled with ‘dim light’ scenario in 2Q15 (second quarter of 2015), the key question is whether legacy fiscal spending and other income catalysts like remittances, private investments in BPO (business process outsourcing) and power with favorable construction effects, would be sufficient to ensure that the economy continues to chug along at over six percent,” Trinidad said.

He continued: “Conscious of Aquino’s legacy, we sense a strong fiscal bias would not be derailed in undertaking various projects/programs to recover potential GDP (gross domestic product) lost to Yolanda’s fury.”

Trinidad said there may be a subdued risk of fiscal spending from the fourth quarter of this year following the approval and the start of the implementation of the P171-billion budget for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for Yolanda-stricken areas.

The approved package consists of a P35.1-billion infrastructure budget, a P26.4-billion social services program, a P75.7-billion resettlement budget, and a P33.7-billion allocation for livelihood projects, Trinidad recounted.

“The reconstruction/rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated regions kicks off Aquino’s legacy fiscal spending,” Trinidad said.

“Other programs/projects under DAP (Disbursement Allocation Program) stalled by the High Court’s decision, untangling of legal issues governing recently awarded PPP (public-private partnership) projects to unleash its investment potential, and other FY15 (fiscal year 2015) budget priorities implies a heft spending gain in 2015,” he added.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino signs 2015 budget, says it’s pork-free Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 11:08 AM | Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday signed the 2015 budget at Malacañang, emphasizing that it no longer contains pork barrel funds.

The 2015 General Appropriations Act is worth P2.606 trillion, 15.1 percent higher from 2014.

“This is a historic day. For the fifth time, we are on time in passing the budget for next year,” Aquino said in Filipino in a speech after the signing.

Aquino said pork barrel allocations are no longer part of the budget. “This budget is a true budget of the people.”

“We sped up the budget process, we lessened the need for Saro (special allotment release order) and signatures, the budget is good as released,” Aquino said.

The supplemental budget for 2014, which includes P10 billion for Super Typhoon “Yolanda” rehabilitation efforts, was also approved.

Present at the signing were representatives from the business sector, donor community, civil society partners, heads and members of the Senate, House of Representatives and the Department of Budget and Management.

Allocations

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the administration’s flagship anti-poverty program, has P35.3 billion in next year’s budget to cater 4.3 million families in need.

Other major allocations under the 2015 GAA include P53.9 billion for Basic Education Facilities, which covers the respective construction and repair of 31,728 classrooms and 9,500 classrooms, as well as the development of 13,586 water and sanitation facilities, and the procurement of 1.3 million seats, the DBM said in a statement.

Philhealth premium subsidies get P37.1 billion of the total budget to benefit 15.4 million poor and near-poor families, while P11 billion will be directed to socialized housing for in-need families, particularly those living in danger zones or high-risk areas, it added.

For national roads and bridges, an amount of P185.8 billion was allocated, while P10.6 billion was allotted for the country’s railway systems.

P89.1 billion will go towards boosting agricultural production projects under the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies and various government-owned or -controlled corporations, the DBM said.

P14 billion has been devoted to the Calamity Fund—now known as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund—while another P6.7 billion has been tagged as Quick Response Funds. Meanwhile, the Aquino administration’s “Build Back Better” program—designed to address the recovery requirements in the aftermath of Yolanda and other previous calamities—will get 21.7 billion for 2015.

The top 10 agencies with the biggest budget for 2015 are the following:

1. Education – P367.1 billion
2. Public Works and Highways – P 303.2 billion
3. National Defense – P144.5 billion
4. Interior and Local Government – P141.4 billion
5. Health – P108.2 billion
6. Social Welfare and Development – P103.9 billion
7. Agriculture – P89.1 billion
8. Transportation and Communications – P59.5 billion
9. Environment and Natural Resources – P21.5 billion
10. Science and Technology – P17.8 billion


COMMENTARY FROM THE INQUIRER

Pork ‘guisado’: the 2015 budget Teddy Casiño  @inquirerdotnet  Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:09 AM | Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014


Teddy Casiño

President Benigno Aquino III and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives have declared the 2015 budget free of pork barrel.

To know if this is true, we have to begin with its definition.

Organizers of the People’s Initiative Against the Pork Barrel have defined it as a lump-sum appropriation, the use of which is subject to the sole discretion of the President, a legislator, or any other public officer after the enactment of the budget.

The discretion they have over the fund relates to its allocation; its release or use; the identification or selection of projects, implementers or beneficiaries; or a combination of all these.

This definition is based on the Philippine experience where such lump-sum, discretionary funds as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators, or the special purpose funds and lump-sum allocations of the Executive, are easily and routinely used by these officials for political patronage or, worse, for corruption and plunder.

Using this definition, how does the 2015 budget check out?

Just like in the 2014 budget, the most obvious and notorious form of congressional pork—the PDAF—has been removed. This is in keeping with the Supreme Court ruling that declared the PDAF unconstitutional for allowing legislators to meddle in the implementation of government projects and programs, or what the high court calls “postenactment” activities.

But as in 2014, what was once the PDAF has merely been broken up and realigned—“itemized,” as it were—to seven agencies:

--the Department of Works and Highways for its Local Infrastructure Program worth P18.37 billion;
--Department of Social Welfare and Development for its Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services Program worth P3.64 billion; ----------------Department of Health for its Assistance to Indigent Patients worth P1.76 billion;
--Department of Labor and Employment for its Government Internship Program and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers Project worth P611.7 million;
--Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for its Special Training for Employment Program worth P543.3 million;
--and Commission on Higher Education and various state colleges and universities for their Tulong Dunong Program worth P2.46 billion.

On paper, lawmakers have no discretion over or any role to play in the implementation of the projects or programs. But this is where it gets tricky.

The truth is, just like in the old PDAF system, the funds are preallocated to each district and party-list group, the release of which is subject to a discreet system of referrals and recommendations by lawmakers, designed and implemented by the agencies themselves.

In other words, just like in the old PDAF system, it is still the congressmen who will say which infrastructure project to fund, which patient to be given money for medicines, which student to be given a scholarship, which poor family to be given financial aid.

And, as in the past, such a system will surely be used for political patronage and corruption. Indeed, if it walks like the PDAF and looks like the PDAF, then it’s pork barrel.

So, yes, the 2015 budget technically has no PDAF, but each congressman will have P94.4-million worth of pork barrel, more than the previous PDAF allocation of P70 million per year.

The bulk of the increase will go to the DPWH, whose budget for local infrastructure has been more than doubled—from P7.31 billion to P18.37 billion—no doubt for our politicians’ election showcase projects.

But all that is peanuts compared to the presidential pork barrel amounting to some P958 billion.

This includes special purpose funds, unprogrammed funds, and other lump-sum appropriations whose release is on the sole discretion of the President or his appointees.

Among the more notorious of these items are: assistance to local government units at P33.1 billion; grassroots participatory budgeting, P20.9 billion; risk management program, P30 billion; support for infrastructure projects and social programs, P20 billion; unprogrammed fund, P123 billion; miscellaneous personnel benefit fund, P118 billion; and the Pamana Program, P7.3 billion.

The President also has discretion over the P148-billion Malampaya Fund and P29.5 billion in other off-budget accounts including the Motor Vehicles Users’ Charge and the President’s Social Fund.

The annual savings, estimated at P251 billion in 2014, top the President’s pork. With the redefinition of savings in the 2015 General Appropriations Act, the President is now allowed to declare billions of pesos in savings in the middle of the year for use as pork barrel for his or his allies’ pet projects, just like what he did under the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Thus, as far as pork barrel goes, 2015 will be essentially no different from the previous years, give or take a couple of billions of pesos.

Senate finance committee chair Francis Escudero says these lump-sum, discretionary appropriations can’t be avoided.

He assures the public that provisions have been introduced in the budget barring lawmakers from post enactment interventions as well as the President’s DAP-style practice of pooling savings from impounded projects in order to realign the budget. He also says agencies will now be required to submit special budgets before using their lump-sum funds.

But these measures have been tried before, with hardly any dent in the way the pork barrel has been abused or plundered.

Until Congress, or the public through a people’s initiative, does away with lump-sum, discretionary funds altogether, the national budget will always be bursting with pork.

And we will always end up stewing in our own juices. Igigisa pa rin tayo sa sariling mantika.

Teddy Casiño is an activist who served for three terms in Congress as a Bayan Muna party-list representative (2004-2013). He is now back in the parliament of the streets.


FROM PHILSTAR

Palace defends legality of 2015 budget By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated December 24, 2014 - 4:42pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


In this Dec. 23, 2014 photo, President Benigno Aquino III signed the P2.606-trillion 2015 General Appropriations Act, marking the fifth consecutive year of the National Budget’s timely enactment. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — A Malacañang official on Wednesday defended the P2.606-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2015 amid a petition questioning its legality.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the crafting of the 2015 national budget is above board and is in line with the Constitution and other law.

"Lahat naman po ay ginawa para tiyakin na tumatalima tayo sa Konstitusyn at sa batas, at nasa proseso na rin po ng hudikatura ito," Coloma said in a phone interview with reporters.

He added that the Aquino administration remains committed to pursuing reforms to improve the plight of the people.

The remarks came after former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the basis of next year's budget.

Syjuco claimed that the General Appropriations Act allows for lump sum allocations, which many identify as forms of "pork barrel" earlier struck down by the high court.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the budgetary law on Tuesday, vowing there are no "pork" allocations, which he called magnets for corruption.

Aquino, however, made no mention of funds similar to those under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP, which the Supreme Court ruled against.

In the same event, the president also signed the 2014 supplemental budget of more than P10 billion for reconstruction of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.

Of the amount, P7.99 billion has been allocated for the construction of permanent housing for the disaster victims in the Visayas.


FROM PHILSTAR

YEARENDER: Phl banks to grow more resilient vs external shocks By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Tetangco

MANILA, Philippines - Local banks are seen further strengthening their positions against external shocks following a flurry of reforms handed down by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas this year.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said in an e-mail that while some of these reforms may cut earnings in the near-term, their benefits in the long run translate to profitability and brisker business activity.

“From a policy perspective, the medium to long-term benefits of broad-based financial sector reforms are to keep the industry and the banks in strong position to handle future shocks,” Tetangco pointed out.

“At the same time, however, the same reforms should provide for the impetus to continue nurturing the creativity of banks in addressing the needs of stakeholders under an evolving environment,” he added.

Starting this year, universal and commercial banks were required to comply with higher capital ratios under the stricter Basel 3 reforms. Big banks now need to keep a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent, a minimum Tier 1 capital of 7.5 percent, a minimum common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio of six percent, and a capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent.

Basel 3 is an updated set of measures meant to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of banks.

The BSP in October also released guidelines for “too big to fail” banks or domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) in line with the Basel 3 reform agenda. These banks are those whose failure would significantly impact the financial system and the economy as well.

The D-SIBs will be asked to meet new capital ratios by January 2019, while CET1 levels will be mandated by 2017.

The central bank has also continuously adopted measures to ensure the exposure of banks to housing loans remains manageable and that there are no property bubbles in the economy.

In July, the central bank required banks to undergo a separate stress test in order to assess the impact of their exposure to the property sector once borrowers fail to pay back their loans.

Banks should be able to maintain a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of at least six percent and a minimum risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent even if 25 percent a lender’s exposure to the property sector has been written off.

There would be a quarterly report submitted to the BSP and those found non-compliant will be given the chance to explain and submit an action plan for their shortcomings.

“The pursuit of deep financial reforms will develop a safe, inclusive and competitive financial system. Supervised financial institutions (FIs) shall be allowed to grow, innovate and assume risks within the FI’s risk-bearing capacity,” Tetangco stressed.

Banks in October were also required to revisit their credit risk management frameworks to focus on borrowers’ cash-flow analysis and ability to pay instead of collateral and to develop internal risk rating systems and stress testing policies to better assess their credit risk exposures.

Moreover, the new rules encourage lending to the micro and small firms as borrowers will be exempted from some documentary requirements. Banks were also asked to limit credit exposures to certain segments and diversify their portfolio to mitigate risks.

“The macroprudential measures implemented will mitigate the build-up of systemic risks and their channels of transmission which may impair the smooth functioning of the financial system and economic growth,” Tetangco recounted.

The domestic banking landscape has also been opened up to more players following President Benigno Aquino’s signing into law of Republic Act No. 10641 in July.

This liberalized the entry of foreign banks in the country, earlier capped at only 10. The new law also allows foreign banks to buy as much as 100 percent of a local bank, amending a previous provision that only permits them to own up to 60 percent of any Philippine lender’s voting stock.

“The entry of more foreign banks is expected to be another vehicle for bringing in foreign direct investments,” Tetangco said.

“Across banks, new foreign entrants into the industry will enhance banking technology and offer a wider array of financial products and services. This will benefit end-users while also resulting in increased competition,” he continued.

The BSP in November released the implementing rules and regulations for the law and as early as last week, Tetangco said that there have already been applications coming from interest foreign banks.

“Banks which decide to introduce changes—for example through more capital, wider physical network, alternative delivery channels etc.—will indeed see an increase in cost,” Tetangco said.

“This can be seen as the price of reform in the sense of addressing evolving market conditions and changing stakeholder requirements,” he explained.

But the improvements are seen benefitting the banks in the long run as these are expected to help them offer a wider array of products and services and to give their customers “better client experience.”

“This broader base, improved customer relationship and heightened activity should lead to more business opportunities and thus ultimately to improved profitability,” Tetangco said.

The central bank remains ready to implement further changes in policy and strengthen the local banking system.

“We continue to build on our existing regulatory and supervisory framework to progressively align with international standards as may be appropriate for the situation of our market,” Tetangco said.

“As we align with specific pieces of the global reform agenda, we will also continue to refine governance standards by prescribing that the banking system adheres to appropriate and reform-consistent market, operational and liquidity risk management frameworks,” he continued.

These reforms, Tetangco stressed, will continue to be done in consultation with the stakeholders in accordance with the current practice.

“The reforms we will be adopting will help banks define the risk they are willing to take, and will make sure that they have the requisite capital, liquidity profile and funding structure and risk monitoring tools in place,” Tetangco said.

The BSP has been readying new prescriptions for banks’ liquidity and leverage ratios, still in line with the Basel 3 reform agenda.

The leverage ratio will supplement the capital requirements and will be computed as Tier 1 capital over the total exposure, Tetangco said.

“Meanwhile, Basel III’s liquidity standards include two major parts: Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR),” Tetangco said.

“The former will require banks to hold sufficient high-quality liquid assets to survive in a period of stress for at least 30 days. NSFR, on the other hand, intends to establish a minimum acceptable level of stable funding over a one-year time frame, based on the liquidity characteristics of a bank’s assets and activities, and to ensure that long-term assets are funded with at least a degree of stable liabilities,” he explained.

At the same time, the BSP is committed in developing surveillance tools for shadow banking and the real estate sectors so it can put in place the appropriate standards for said activities.

“It is important to develop surveillance tools that will help us detect potential vulnerabilities and the extent and nature of interconnectedness of shadow banking sector and the real estate sector to the financial system. These initiatives are being coordinated with counterpart regulators under the Financial Stability Coordination Council,” Tetangco said.


MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL

May Moody’s report knock sense into Aquino administration’s head December 28, 2014 10:22 pm

Just before Christmas Day, a Moody’s Investors Service analysis of the Philippine economy was released.

 It says that domestic growth is being hamstrung by the Aquino administration’s weak use of its budget.

Moody’s says because the administration is not spending as much and as fast as it should, economic growth is constricted.

And Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) likely grew by only 6.3 percent this year, below the government target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Among the opportunities that the administration did not take advantage of to spur economic growth is the reconstruction of areas that were badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda. This alone proves that the Aquino administration is motivated more by its political goals than doing the best for the people.

After Yolanda hit the Philippines in November last year, it was obvious that its impact would be deep and vast. Moody’s points out that Philippine growth momentum in the first quarter of 2014 was adversely affected by the destruction caused by Yolanda.

But the Aquino administration dilly-dallied on the reconstruction of the areas hard hit by the typhoon. The misery of the victims obviously mean nothing to the President and his men.

The Moody’s report says government consumption and public construction, which includes infrastructure development, fell by 1.6 percent year-on-year over the first three quarters of the year.

Moody’s says the government’s real GDP growth target of 7 percent to 8 percent for 2015 will be difficult to achieve if budget releases and use are not improved.

The economy is expected to grow by 6.5 percent next year, with the report saying that any benefits from infrastructure development will be reaped only in the medium- to long-term.

Manila Times commentaries have long faulted the corrupt and incompetent Aquino administration for not spending the money that it has the power to disburse legally—appropriated by Congress and allocated for the projects for which the budgets were created. But rather than do its work —according to the law and the rules—the President and his Budget Secretary have been choosing which projects to actually release money for.

When they could not be sure that what they want to happen would or could, they choose to freeze the projects.

They insanely invented what they called the Disbursement Acceleration Program to justify their transferring money from allocated project appropriations to those they like because these are favorable to their political aims.

But the DAP, patently illegal and unconstitutional, was declared so by the Supreme Court.

Since then they have been blaming the High Court’s correct and high-minded ruling to cover up their incompetent and malfeasant unwillingness to spend money—which would have created jobs—on good projects they don’t like.

Will this negative Moody’s report—which we have forecast in our columns and commentaries—at last trigger some action in the Aquino administration?

If the Aquino administration wants to at least look good next year, it should immediately put into full swing the reconstruction efforts of areas that were badly affected by Yolanda.

Because Tacloban City—more than half of which Yolanda destroyed—is the bailiwick of the Romualdez clan, Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and the President have been cruel to it and its citizens whose homes and businesses were devastated.

Their neglect of Tacloban, most of all, is ground for the PCOS-machine created President Aquino to be impeached.

But the gods of politics and bad governance have been allowed by the true God Almighty to favor Mr. BS with control over Congress\ and the affection of friends and relatives who control the popularity surveys and the largest mass media.

So Mr. Aquino and his administration can continue being as incompetent and as uncaring of the common good without being punished.

We pray that reports by foreign organizations, like this one by Moody’s, knock some good sense into the President’s and his key associates’ heads.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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