BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...


PEOPLE POWER FOR COCONUT FARMERS


Coconut farmers (photo: Don Jose) UCANEWS.COM ---Poverty Commission (NAPC) headed by Secretary Joel Rocamora stated: “At 60 percent poverty incidence, coconut farmers are the poorest and most socially insecure sector in the country, with income at P40 a day. Improving the lives of 4 million farmers and their families should therefore be a strategic focus of the government’s anti poverty program.” MANILA, MARCH 2, 2015 - As we celebrate this week the anniversary of People Power that restored our freedom in 1986, we should also discuss people power efforts over the past 29 years to gain economic freedom for our coconut farmers. READ FULL REPORT FROM BEGINNING...

ALSO: PH real estate sector to stay strong in 2015; CBRE Group sees gains across segments


CBRE Philippines chair and CEO Rick Santos ---MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine real estate sector is expecting another robust year, with gains seen across the traditionally strong office and retail segments apart from emerging areas like casino gaming and hotels, the local unit of US-based CBRE Group said. The outlook suggests robust growth in the property sector during the last full year of President Aquino’s term, before businesses take a more cautious approach ahead of the election season in 2016. CBRE Philippines chair and CEO Rick Santos said in a briefing Tuesday that the office sector, in particular, ended strong in 2014 and would likely post further gains in 2015. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: French President Hollande talks to Philippine business leaders


French leader François Hollande urges Filipino and French industry leaders to aid in narrowing the Philippines' development gaps in a meeting in Makati City on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Élysée/Released
MANILA, Philippines — French President François Hollande on Thursday addressed top Filipino and French businessmen on helping bridge the country's development gaps. Speaking at the Makati Business Club and the Philippines-France Business Council forum, Hollande said that while the Philippines enjoys one of the fastest growth rates in the world, it needs major investments for renewable energy and education. "This is where France can stand by you," he said.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT FROM PHILSTAR...MORE PHOTOS........

ALSO: Hollande sees Philippines as major tourist destination


The president estimate infrastructure would need "above $100 billion." French leader François Hollande addresses the French business community in the Philippines in Makati City, Philippines on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Philstar.com/Camille Diola
MANILA, Philippines — French President François Hollande on Thursday said he hopes the Philippines will become among the top destinations of French tourists as the two counties expand bilateral ties in the next years. "The Philippines may also make a major destination for the French," Hollande said, speaking in French and simultaneously translated in a forum with business leaders from the Makati Business Club and the Philippines-France Business Council in Manila. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: PHILSTAR EDITORIAL- Call to action on climate change

The French Revolution and its ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity inspired the Philippine revolution against colonial rule over a century ago. Now, for the first time ever, a leader of France is visiting the Philippines. French President Francois Hollande arrived in Manila yesterday, in a visit whose principal agenda is to spread a global call to action against climate change. Today Hollande will visit some of the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas in late 2013. Experts estimate that rehabilitation of the disaster zones will take several years. CONTINUE READING....

ALSO: Ombudsman wraps up Mamasapano probe; Cites 'urgent need to unearth the truth in the name of peace'
(She accepts this year’s recipient of the 16th Annual Peace Awards from Rotary International District 3830)


The first recipient of this award was the late President Corazon Aquino in 1999. The others were: President Fidel V. Ramos (2000), the late Jaime Cardinal Sin+ (2001), then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen. Angelo Reyes and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal (2002), Gina Lopez, environmentalist & president of ABS-CBN Foundation (2003), Father James Reuter, SJ (2004), Rosa Rosal of the Philippine Red Cross (2005), Father Rocky Evangelista of Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation (2006), Sr. Pilar Versoza of Pro Life (2007), Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga (2008), former Isabela Governor & Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca of Isabela (2009), and Philippine Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon (2012) Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process , Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles (2013) and Sec. Jessie Robredo+ and Congresswoman Leni Robredo (2014).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales expects her office to wrap up its own probe on the Mamasapano incident by next month, citing an “urgent need to unearth the truth in the name of peace.”  Morales, this year’s recipient of the 16th Annual Peace Awards from Rotary International District 3830, told Rotarians on Thursday that the fall of a number of Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos in the line of duty a month ago had sparked instantaneous reactions from various quarters that augured a possible delay or even derailment of the ongoing peace process. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO ON TARGET: Looking far and wide this year for the spirit of Edsa

O
PHNO APPENDED PHOTO FROM INQUIRER NEWS REPORT: “President Noynoy Aquino should not be aided by a teleprompter. [He should give his speech] from the heart,” ] Political analyst Clarita Carlos told Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Friday when asked about what Aquino should do in the face of present Mamasapano controversy. --.....Twenty-nine years after dictator Ferdinand Marcos fell from power because of the mammoth crowd at Edsa, the spirit of Edsa is all but gone. Nothing has changed since the fall of Marcos; corruption in government is still prevalent. It’s worse now because we have a weak and inefficient leader. President Noy, whose mother Cory Aquino symbolized freedom in 1986, has wasted the sweat and tears of the multitudes that called on Marcos to step down. There’s a common belief that the first generation gathers wealth, while the second generation fritters the wealth away. That belief appears to be true in the case of Noynoy Aquino, who “inherited” the presidency from his mother, President Cory, after her death. Noynoy, who was a do-nothing congressman and senator who garnered votes then by virtue of the assassination of his father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, was elected President of the Republic, triggered largely by sympathy arising from his mother’s death.  READ FULL COMMENTARY FROM THE BEGINNING BY RAMON TULFO.....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

People power for coconut farmers


Poverty Commission (NAPC) headed by Secretary Joel Rocamora stated: “At 60 percent poverty incidence, coconut farmers are the poorest and most socially insecure sector in the country, with income at P40 a day. Improving the lives of 4 million farmers and their families should therefore be a strategic focus of the government’s anti poverty program.”

MANILA, MARCH 2, 2015 (INQUIRER) Ernesto M. Ordoñez @inquirerdotnet - As we celebrate this week the anniversary of People Power that restored our freedom in 1986, we should also discuss people power efforts over the past 29 years to gain economic freedom for our coconut farmers.

Coconut farmers achieved two milestones in the last two months of 2014.

On Nov. 26, President Aquino committed to issue an Executive Order to ensure that the coconut levy would be used as a trust fund, with its interest income benefiting only the coconut farmers.

However, this could not be implemented because there was a need for the Supreme Court (SC) issuance of an “entry of judgment.”

Fourteen days later, the SC issued an “entry of judgment.”

These achievements were made possible by the 71-day march from Davao to Malacañang of the Kilos Magniniyog, composed mostly of small coconut farmers.

This week, a public-private sector conference is being held to bring justice to the coconut farmers. Government representatives such as Food Security Secretary Francis Pangilinan, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Philippine Coconut Authority administrator Romulo Arancon, Jr. will work with private sector stalwarts like former Assemblyman Oca Santos, former Senator Bobby Tañada, and COIR executive director Joey Faustino to build on the gains achieved last year.

The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) headed by Secretary Joel Rocamora stated: “At 60 percent poverty incidence, coconut farmers are the poorest and most socially insecure sector in the country, with income at P40 a day. Improving the lives of 4 million farmers and their families should therefore be a strategic focus of the government’s anti poverty program.”

Last year’s commitments on the coconut levy will not bring the desired justice for coconut farmers unless two actions are undertaken.

First, the SC entry of judgment on the coconut levy cash needs to be supplemented. The SC has to approve another entry of judgment so that the coconut farmers will have access not only to the cash component of the coconut levy, but also its assets.

These include United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Cocochem which processes coconut oil into oleo chemicals, and six oil mills that process the copra into oil. These critical assets should be controlled by the farmers so that the benefits will go to them, and not to others. It is these assets that provide tremendous value-added to the farmers production of primary products.

Second, a draft executive order on the coconut levy should be amended. It now incorporates a plan to privatize these coconut levy assets. This means that these assets may be sold to people other than the coconut farmers.

On Feb. 10-11, Centro Saka executive director Omi Royandoyan met with leaders from Alyansa Agrikultura and Katarungan Land Rights in Davao .

These leaders argued that the coconut levy would become a farce if its assets would just be sold to the same parties who would further exploit them. They instead recommended that these assets be controlled by a government-private sector mechanism that would ensure that they be used for the benefit of coconut farmers.

The coconut farmers should unite once more to influence the SC for a quick decision on the supplemental entry of judgment for the coconut levy assets. They should then ask the Office of the President to amend its draft executive order by deleting the privatization plan for these assets.

This kind of people power is necessary so that coconut farmers will finally get the justice and benefits that they deserve from the coconut levy which, in the first place, they contributed to.

(The author is chair of Agriwatch, former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Projects, and former Undersecretary for Agriculture, Trade and Industry. For inquiries and suggestions, e-mail agriwatch_phil@yahoo.com or telefax 8522112.)


INQUIRER

PH real estate sector to stay strong in 2015; CBRE Group sees gains across segments Miguel R. Camus @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:42 AM | Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


CBRE Philippines chair and CEO Rick Santos

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine real estate sector is expecting another robust year, with gains seen across the traditionally strong office and retail segments apart from emerging areas like casino gaming and hotels, the local unit of US-based CBRE Group said.

The outlook suggests robust growth in the property sector during the last full year of President Aquino’s term, before businesses take a more cautious approach ahead of the election season in 2016.

CBRE Philippines chair and CEO Rick Santos said in a briefing Tuesday that the office sector, in particular, ended strong in 2014 and would likely post further gains in 2015.

Backing this outlook is the continued demand for business process outsourcing services, political stability and positive economic growth indicators, Santos said.

CBRE data showed that vacancy rates in prime Metro Manila office buildings remained under 3 percent. By the end of 2014, the vacancy rate slipped from 2.53 percent to 2.13 percent quarter on quarter, CBRE said. During this period, Metro Manila lease rates grew 2.6 percent.

“Even with the increase in rental rates across all business districts, the good news remains that investors are willing to pay for the quality and value that they can get in the Philippines,” Santos said.

Makati City will continue to lead in terms of office rates, with the average central business district price already hovering at P1,073 a square meter, followed by P848.34 a sqm in Fort Bonifacio and P650.5 a sqm in Pasay City, CBRE data showed.

“Makati rents seen to strengthen up to 2017 due to lack of new completion of Grade A buildings as vacancy levels seen to remain below 3 percent,” CBRE said. Santos noted that rental rates in Makati were expected to grow by between 5 percent and 15 percent in 2015.

John Corpus, CBRE director of corporate agency and brokerage, noted that the office segment was primarily driven by BPOs. The domestic BPO industry is worth an estimated $14 billion in terms of revenues last year and the figure is expected to hit $25 billion by 2016 and $48 billion by 2020, CBRE data showed.

“Philippine BPO expansion looks to be on an uphill climb for its 20-year run in Philippine real estate,” he said. “No end in sight for strong BPO demand in the Philippine commercial real estate sector.”

The retail segment is also expected to benefit from continued economic growth, given that the Philippines is driven by heavy consumer spending.

Morgan McGilvray, director for corporate agency who handles CBRE’s retail segment, said the country was in a good position to attract more brands, partly as tourism prospects increase.

“The Philippine retail industry has great potential to be a major shopping haven in Asia,” he said.

Santos noted that the benefits were being felt in the tourism and gaming sectors, the latter mainly through the massive Entertainment City complex along Manila Bay.

“The gaming sector of the Philippines, when developed, is expected to rival that of Macau and other Asian countries,” Santos said, as he downplayed risks following China’s announcement that it would fight efforts by foreign casinos to lure Chinese customers.

Already, two out of four casino projects have opened their doors in Entertainment City. These are Enrique Razon Jr.’s Solaire Resort and Casino and City of Dreams Manila, a venture between billionaire Henry Sy and Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment.


PHILSTAR

Hollande talks to Philippine business leaders By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated February 27, 2015 - 2:37pm


French leader François Hollande urges Filipino and French industry leaders to aid in narrowing the Philippines' development gaps in a meeting in Makati City on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Élysée/Released

MANILA, Philippines — French President François Hollande on Thursday addressed top Filipino and French businessmen on helping bridge the country's development gaps.

Speaking at the Makati Business Club and the Philippines-France Business Council forum, Hollande said that while the Philippines enjoys one of the fastest growth rates in the world, it needs major investments for renewable energy and education.

"This is where France can stand by you," he said.


French President François Hollande was the guest of honor at a meeting of the Makati Business Council and the Philippines-France Business Council on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.


Hollande points out infrastructure gaps in the Philippines amid its staggering growth.


PHILSTAR

Hollande sees Philippines as major tourist destination By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated February 26, 2015 - 5:19pm


The president estimate infrastructure would need "above $100 billion." French leader François Hollande addresses the French business community in the Philippines in Makati City, Philippines on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Philstar.com/Camille Diola

MANILA, Philippines — French President François Hollande on Thursday said he hopes the Philippines will become among the top destinations of French tourists as the two counties expand bilateral ties in the next years.

"The Philippines may also make a major destination for the French," Hollande said, speaking in French and simultaneously translated in a forum with business leaders from the Makati Business Club and the Philippines-France Business Council in Manila.

He said the Philippines is rich with environmental sites that the French may not be aware of, and protection of these resources will encourage more tourists to come.

"There are wonderful sceneries that we should protect here, that we should support here ... that we should improve with you so that there will be more French tourists coming to the Philippines," he said.

The Philippine Embassy in France last year has pushed for awareness about the Philippines to reach the Department of Tourism's target of 50,000 French tourists.

Hollande, meanwhile, also said more Filipinos should see his homeland, urging the business community to facilitate travel between the two countries.

"France is a major tourist destination," he said. "Of course, there are not enough Filipino tourists in France."

Hollande is in a two-day state visit in the Philippines to call for global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. He is also set to Guiuan, Samar devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) on Friday.


PHILSTAR

EDITORIAL- Call to action on climate change (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 27, 2015 - 12:00am

The French Revolution and its ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity inspired the Philippine revolution against colonial rule over a century ago. Now, for the first time ever, a leader of France is visiting the Philippines.

French President Francois Hollande arrived in Manila yesterday, in a visit whose principal agenda is to spread a global call to action against climate change. Today Hollande will visit some of the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas in late 2013. Experts estimate that rehabilitation of the disaster zones will take several years.

The powerful storm surges and freak floods that have killed thousands and devastated communities across the country in recent years have made climate change a central issue. There is general agreement that the world must bring down greenhouse gas emissions and shift to cleaner fuels, but achieving these objectives is proving to be complicated.

Paris is hosting an international gathering later this year to build a global consensus in confronting climate change. Similar meetings in the past have been contentious, with developing countries and advanced economies accusing each other of not doing enough for the environment. Rich countries are among the top consumers of petroleum products. Developing nations, for their part, need dirty but cheap fossil fuels to power economic growth and lift people from poverty, as the advanced economies did on their way to prosperity.

Controversies hound even efforts to promote biofuels. While these are cleaner than fossil fuels, concentrating on the production of certain crops for fuel is also raising food costs and, as scientists have learned, throwing ecosystems out of whack. The consequent destruction of natural habitats is driving certain species into extinction.

Certain measures to protect the environment can also have unintended consequences. As the Philippine experience is showing, for example, the ban on plastic bags without practical provisions for alternative containers has been bad for trees, as commercial establishments use double-layer paper bags in lieu of plastic.

From hybrid vehicles to solar panels, environment-friendly technology is still expensive. Bringing down the cost of being green is one of several factors that can be tackled at the forthcoming climate change gathering in Paris. Being green may be expensive, but the cost of not protecting the planet will be steeper in the long term.


INQUIRER

Ombudsman wraps up Mamasapano probe; Cites 'urgent need to unearth the truth in the name of peace'
(She accepts this year’s recipient of the 16th Annual Peace Awards from Rotary International District 3830) INQUIRER.net 5:45 PM | Friday, February 27th, 2015


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales expects her office to wrap up its own probe on the Mamasapano incident by next month, citing an “urgent need to unearth the truth in the name of peace.”

Morales, this year’s recipient of the 16th Annual Peace Awards from Rotary International District 3830, told Rotarians on Thursday that the fall of a number of Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos in the line of duty a month ago had sparked instantaneous reactions from various quarters that augured a possible delay or even derailment of the ongoing peace process.

“This is truly a difficult time for the entire nation,” she said during her acceptance speech at the awarding ceremonies held at SMX in SM Aura, Taguig.

Her office seeks to contribute to the search for the truth through the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO). She noted that MOLEO had – for the past 29 days – been conducting its own fact-finding investigation “in a low-profile manner away from the limelight that focuses on the sometimes dimming atmosphere in other fora.”

“I expect to receive the MOLEO report next month,” she said.

“Among other snags to attaining genuine and lasting accord, corruption is one of the major threats to stability and peace,” she said.

Quoting a study by the Transparency International Netherlands in 2014, she said that corruption increases the risk of conflict and conflict increases the risk of corruption.

“The widely accepted proposition is that less corruption helps build a stronger pace. The most peaceful countries are often the least corrupt,” she said.

In accepting the Peace Award, Morales said she noted that this seemed to be bestowed each year to persons waging various wars – whether be it war against a dictatorship, a war against environmental degradation or a war against poverty and other social inequities.

The Ombudsman’s main task is to promote integrity and efficiency and high ethical standards in public service through proactive approaches in graft prevention and public assistance, prompt investigation of complaints and aggressive prosecution of cases filed against erring public officials and employees. Morales vowed to continue waging war against corruption.

“I am honored to be included in the company of eminent Peace Awardees including two presidents, two Cabinet secretaries, two cardinals, two priests, two Red Cross officials, two lawmakers, among other proponents of peace,” she said.

The Rotary Peace awards was instituted by the Makati Clubs of then Rotary District 3810, spearheaded by Rotary Club of Makati San Lorenzo in 1999 to give recognition to persons who embody Rotary’s ideals of peace, fellowship and world understanding, whose actions and advocacies promote peace and international understanding through their selfless service to humanity.

The first recipient of this award was the late President Corazon Aquino in 1999. The others were: President Fidel V. Ramos (2000), the late Jaime Cardinal Sin+ (2001), then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen. Angelo Reyes and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal (2002), Gina Lopez, environmentalist & president of ABS-CBN Foundation (2003), Father James Reuter, SJ (2004), Rosa Rosal of the Philippine Red Cross (2005), Father Rocky Evangelista of Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation (2006), Sr. Pilar Versoza of Pro Life (2007), Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga (2008), former Isabela Governor & Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca of Isabela (2009), and Philippine Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon (2012) Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process , Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles (2013) and Sec. Jessie Robredo+ and Congresswoman Leni Robredo (2014).

The annual Rotary initiative aims to “ignite the sparks that will lead to consciousness and actions toward peace on a daily basis.”


INQUIRER

ON TARGET: Looking far and wide for the spirit of Edsa Ramon Tulfo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:00 AM | Thursday, February 26th, 2015


By Ramon Tulfo

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, an administration ally, has asked President Noy to fire Teresita Deles and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer from the government peace panel for not supposedly working for the interest of the Republic in the peace talks with the Moros.

Deles is presidential peace adviser while Ferrer is head of the government team in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Biazon, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Marine commandant, has apparently seen through the two women in promoting the interest of the MILF, instead of the government’s.

“People on the streets, well-known people, everybody is saying it: Ferrer and Deles are acting as lawyers for the MILF,” Biazon said.

It’s not hard to see the truth in Biazon’s allegation: The two women seem to be defending the MILF at every turn.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was right in asking Deles and Ferrer at Tuesday’s Senate hearing: “What side are you representing in the peace panel?”

The two women seem to have been sweet-talked by their MILF counterparts into sympathizing with their cause.

Ironically, even Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chair of the government panel in the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), seems to be siding with the MILF.

Perhaps that’s because all of them are not from Mindanao.

* * *

Reader Melchor Amado Jr. says the President and members of the peace panel “have not lived long enough or have never lived in Mindanao at all to fully understand how to effectively deal with the Moros and other tribes there.”

“That is why wrong decisions are being made by them,” says Amado, a media person who hails from Iligan City in Lanao del Norte.

* * *

P-Noy made the mistake of appointing people from Luzon, instead of from Mindanao, to talk peace with the Moros.

Non-Muslim Mindanawans, because they coexist with the Muslim population, know the ways of the Moros.

Moros will only make peace with an enemy who matches their capability.

Look how they respected the American colonizers.

Look how deathly scared the Moros were of unschooled Ilonggo farmers who formed themselves in the 1970s into a fighting group called “Ilaga” who mutilated dead bodies of Moro rebels and partook of their innards.

See how they bowed to former President Erap who declared total war on them.

The government’s desire for peace in Mindanao at all cost, even after the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, is a sign of weakness in the eyes of the Moros.

* * *

Twenty-nine years after dictator Ferdinand Marcos fell from power because of the mammoth crowd at Edsa, the spirit of Edsa is all but gone.

Nothing has changed since the fall of Marcos; corruption in government is still prevalent.

It’s worse now because we have a weak and inefficient leader.

President Noy, whose mother Cory Aquino symbolized freedom in 1986, has wasted the sweat and tears of the multitudes that called on Marcos to step down.

There’s a common belief that the first generation gathers wealth, while the second generation fritters the wealth away.

That belief appears to be true in the case of Noynoy Aquino, who “inherited” the presidency from his mother, President Cory, after her death.

Noynoy, who was a do-nothing congressman and senator who garnered votes then by virtue of the assassination of his father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, was elected President of the Republic, triggered largely by sympathy arising from his mother’s death. Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, an administration ally, has asked President Noy to fire Teresita Deles and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer from the government peace panel for not supposedly working for the interest of the Republic in the peace talks with the Moros.

Deles is presidential peace adviser while Ferrer is head of the government team in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Biazon, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Marine commandant, has apparently seen through the two women in promoting the interest of the MILF, instead of the government’s. “People on the streets, well-known people, everybody is saying it: Ferrer and Deles are acting as lawyers for the MILF,” Biazon said.

It’s not hard to see the truth in Biazon’s allegation: The two women seem to be defending the MILF at every turn. Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was right in asking Deles and Ferrer at Tuesday’s Senate hearing: “What side are you representing in the peace panel?”

The two women seem to have been sweet-talked by their MILF counterparts into sympathizing with their cause. Ironically, even Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chair of the government panel in the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), seems to be siding with the MILF.

Perhaps that’s because all of them are not from Mindanao.

* * *

Reader Melchor Amado Jr. says the President and members of the peace panel “have not lived long enough or have never lived in Mindanao at all to fully understand how to effectively deal with the Moros and other tribes there.” “That is why wrong decisions are being made by them,” says Amado, a media person who hails from Iligan City in Lanao del Norte.

* * *

P-Noy made the mistake of appointing people from Luzon, instead of from Mindanao, to talk peace with the Moros. Non-Muslim Mindanawans, because they coexist with the Muslim population, know the ways of the Moros. Moros will only make peace with an enemy who matches their capability.

Look how they respected the American colonizers.

Look how deathly scared the Moros were of unschooled Ilonggo farmers who formed themselves in the 1970s into a fighting group called “Ilaga” who mutilated dead bodies of Moro rebels and partook of their innards.

See how they bowed to former President Erap who declared total war on them.

The government’s desire for peace in Mindanao at all cost, even after the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, is a sign of weakness in the eyes of the Moros.

* * *

Twenty-nine years after dictator Ferdinand Marcos fell from power because of the mammoth crowd at Edsa, the spirit of Edsa is all but gone.

Nothing has changed since the fall of Marcos; corruption in government is still prevalent.

It’s worse now because we have a weak and inefficient leader.

President Noy, whose mother Cory Aquino symbolized freedom in 1986, has wasted the sweat and tears of the multitudes that called on Marcos to step down.

There’s a common belief that the first generation gathers wealth, while the second generation fritters the wealth away. That belief appears to be true in the case of Noynoy Aquino, who “inherited” the presidency from his mother, President Cory, after her death.

Noynoy, who was a do-nothing congressman and senator who garnered votes then by virtue of the assassination of his father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, was elected President of the Republic, triggered largely by sympathy arising from his mother’s death.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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