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BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

EDSA TRAFFIC: MORE HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
[Solution “Solving the EDSA traffic problem is easy for me to solve but it would be too dangerous to implement because several entities would be affected, and in our culture, life is just worth P5,000. I guess the media practitioners know what I mean.]


SEPTEMBER 1 -RICHARD A. REYES /INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Another reader, Raymond G. Tumao, sent a lengthy commentary on every Metro Manila resident now who has to use the major road arteries of the metropolis to travel, either to work or home, for most part of the week.
“Is Metro Manila traffic headache unsolvable’ I think puzzles you too because at the end of your article, there was no sign of a solution. Anyway, I have a set of solutions to this problem which is actually an attitude problem. “To solve a problem, I always ask myself why it became a problem, where did it originate, who started or caused it to happen and when did it start becoming a problem. And when I arrive at a point wherein I have no further questions, that then is the solution, which makes the problem half-solved. “Not all people know that problems create opportunities. So allow me to enumerate some reasons why we have traffic. “1. It takes a lot of experience to be able to solve an attitude problem like traffic and that would mean experiencing the whole dilemma in order to understand fully well what has to be done. “The traffic situation along EDSA had been studied by the academe, represented by the UP-NCTS, for a fee but this organization is being funded by JICA and JETRO, both Japanese organizations formed in the country to provide business to its citizens from Japan. “Therefore, their purpose is to see to it that all factions pertaining to transport has to have a ‘Japanese presence,’ not to help the people but to control its business interest. So how could they possibly solve traffic when, in fact, almost all modes of transport like tricycles, jeepneys and buses are Japanese-made – not to mention the Japanese surplus parts industry, which still flourishes to this day. Major cause “2. The MMDA is the major cause of traffic not only on EDSA, but in all places covered by its authority to govern. Its mandate is to control traffic and solve flooding so if there is no more traffic, there will be no violation and therefore, no revenues for them. READ MORE...

ALSO: Highway patrol group (HPG) to lead traffic law enforcement on Edsa


SEPT 1 -CASH TRANSFER FOR WHOM? – Members of Grabriela stage a protest rally in front of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) main office in Batasan Road, Quezon City, questioning the proposed P104.5-billion budget of the agency which they fear would go to the campaign coffers of the ruling Liberal Party, or for a scheme they dubbed ‘Campaign Cash Transfer’, a take off from the DSWD’s flagship project Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). (Camille Ante) Despite spending over P245 billion for the poor through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the national government has miserably failed in alleviating poverty in the country, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said yesterday as he cited a survey conducted by Ibon Foundation in which self-assessed poverty incidence rose to 25.8 percent in the first half of 2014 from the 24.6 percent in the same period in 2013. Conservative estimates also show that some 2.5 million Filipinos have joined the ranks of those in the under-P58-per-day bracket since President Aquino assumed office in 2010, he added. Ridon said the latest poverty survey conducted by Ibon Foundation last May show that seven out of 10 respondents or 67 percent rated themselves as poor. Ibon said this is consistent with the estimate that some 66 million Filipinos are living with a P125 daily income or even less. READ MORE...

ALSO: HPG ready for EDSA traffic duties starting Monday


SEPTEMBER 5 -Starting September 7, members of the Highway Patrol Group will be manning and directing traffic along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA
. The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police yesterday declared its readiness to take over traffic management along EDSA on Monday.
HPG director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao advised motorists to follow traffic rules and regulations on the 23.8-kilometer highway.  PNP chief Ricardo Marquez would ceremoniously send off HPG police officers from PNP headquarters at 4 a.m. on Monday. In 1995, traffic management on EDSA were transferred from the HPG to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as the HPG focused on anti-crime operations on the highways. Gunnacao said the PNP chief has strict orders for the HPG troopers to stay clear of any extortion activity while on duty along EDSA. “The PNP chief will lead the sendoff ceremony and before that he would be talking to everyone of them regarding the policy against extortion. Just do your job and do not get involved in any illegal activity,” Gunnacao said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Inflation eases to record-low 0.6% in August


SEPTEMBER 5 -Inflation eases to record-low 0.6% in August
- Inflation eased to a fresh low of 0.6 percent in August from 0.8 percent in July amid declining food prices as well as cheaper power rates and lower transport fares brought about by the declining global oil prices, the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) reported yesterday. Inflation was recorded at 4.9 percent in August last year. For the first eight months of the year, the average inflation settled at 1.7 percent, below the government’s two- to four-percent target for the year. According to Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, the record-low inflation has given policymakers more space to maneuver at a time the El Nino phenomenon in the Asia Pacific threatens the local economy. “Sustained lower rates of inflation would give policymakers more headroom to respond to external and internal economic shocks,” Beltran said in an economic bulletin e-mailed to reporters. Among others, Beltran said this would allow the government to better tackle the El Nino phenomenon expected to persist until the middle of next year. READ MORE...

ALSO: G-20 nations confident global recovery will gain speed
[ANKARA: Finance officials from the world's leading economies said Saturday that global growth has fallen short of their expectations but they remained confident that the global economic recovery would gain speed].


SEPTEMBER 6 -ALL SMILES: The meeting was held at a time of heightened uncertainty over the global economy triggered by slow growth in China. From Economic times Finance officials from the world's leading economies said yesterday that global growth has fallen short of their expectations but they remained confident that the global economic recovery would gain speed. Ending a two-day summit in the Turkish capital Ankara, finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 leading economies promised to take "decisive action" to keep economic recovery on track. The meeting was held at a time of heightened uncertainty over the global economy triggered by slow growth in China, increased market volatility and concern over a looming US interest rate increase. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yilmaz told reporters at the end of the meeting that G-20 members were reassured China would continue to grow and achieve a 7 percent rate. "There is a general opinion that growth will continue with a rate of around 7 percent," Yilmaz said. "This is something that will appease concerns to a certain extent." However, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement that it believes risks to growth have increased. READ MORE...

ALSO by Babes Fernandez: Metro Manila traffic already ‘fatal’


Babe Romualdez
I’d like to be kind to DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya (who seems to be a nice guy — unfortunately nice guys finish last) and simply say he used the right word “fatal” but in the wrong way. Traffic is in fact – fatal! When thousands of people get stuck in traffic – it is fatal. Metro Manila is dying with all its major arteries totally blocked with cars, buses, construction, etc. Medically speaking, when you have blocked major arteries in your body – you’re a “walking dead.” Metro Manila is a total mess. The metropolis is in the ICU and it needed a by-pass years ago. You can hear everyone from rich to poor, man or woman, young and old using every curse word in the English, Tagalog language and some even in Ilocano and Pampango about the traffic. Is this what you call “progress” – when thousands of cars are sold every year? How can we claim progress if traversing one to two kilometers can take almost an hour? The government says it wants to increase the number of visitors to 10 million by 2016 but how is that possible if visitors will take two to three hours just to leave the airport because of the horrendous traffic? Some foreign visitors I know who recently arrived at NAIA told me, “It took me four hours to travel from Tokyo and it took me another four hours just to travel an 18-kilometer stretch to my hotel! It took a total of 10 hours from the time we arrived to reach my destination and I tell you, I would have been better off going to the US!” And now, Sid Consunji of DMCI has admitted that they will not be able to finish the seven-kilometer NAIA expressway project in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit this November. Can you just imagine how chaotic it will be with the thousands of delegates, participants and security people arriving from all parts of Asia plus the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Russia, Papua New Guinea and the other participating countries? READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDSA Traffic: More hints and suggestions


The Unsolved Manila traffic: "Solution? Abolish MMDA."

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  BIZLINKS By Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 1, 2015 - Another reader, Raymond G. Tumao, sent a lengthy commentary on every Metro Manila resident now who has to use the major road arteries of the metropolis to travel, either to work or home, for most part of the week.

“Is Metro Manila traffic headache unsolvable’

I think puzzles you too because at the end of your article, there was no sign of a solution. Anyway, I have a set of solutions to this problem which is actually an attitude problem.

“To solve a problem, I always ask myself why it became a problem, where did it originate, who started or caused it to happen and when did it start becoming a problem. And when I arrive at a point wherein I have no further questions, that then is the solution, which makes the problem half-solved.

“Not all people know that problems create opportunities. So allow me to enumerate some reasons why we have traffic.

1. It takes a lot of experience to be able to solve an attitude problem like traffic and that would mean experiencing the whole dilemma in order to understand fully well what has to be done.

“The traffic situation along EDSA had been studied by the academe, represented by the UP-NCTS, for a fee but this organization is being funded by JICA and JETRO, both Japanese organizations formed in the country to provide business to its citizens from Japan.

“Therefore, their purpose is to see to it that all factions pertaining to transport has to have a ‘Japanese presence,’ not to help the people but to control its business interest. So how could they possibly solve traffic when, in fact, almost all modes of transport like tricycles, jeepneys and buses are Japanese-made – not to mention the Japanese surplus parts industry, which still flourishes to this day.

Major cause

2. The MMDA is the major cause of traffic not only on EDSA, but in all places covered by its authority to govern. Its mandate is to control traffic and solve flooding so if there is no more traffic, there will be no violation and therefore, no revenues for them.

READ MORE...

“But why is the media silent on the roots and agenda of the MMDA?

My classmate’s dad was its second chairman during the Nutribun days, which is why I know that it was originally formed to generate revenues for the president.

“But today, it is tasked to generate revenues for all mayors of Metro Manila to share. This is why traffic could not be solved, at least from their side. One of the solutions in my plan is to abolish the MMDA.

3. The main reason why there is so much traffic along EDSA is because of the industry practice of the bus companies and operators along EDSA. The ‘boundary/commission fare system’ is old school, and it considers the riders as prey.

“What the operators want is to simply get as much money as they can while the system exists, disregarding the comfort and safety of riders. It is also standard practice to give a ‘butaw’ to the police forces that man the main roads and its feeder streets.

“This is why the drivers, conductors and barkers are so unruly and arrogant in doing their daily chores. There is simply no Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR inherent in their practice.

4. The government is inutile in providing efficient transportation modes because almost all of the departments and agencies are waiting for an investor to come in and take over so they can impose fees and charges to kingdom come.

“The best solution to traffic along EDSA lies in this statement. The MRT and LRT could have eased traffic until today if not for the mismanagement of the police officers who were given ‘juicy’ positions to manage the train operations during the earlier days.

“So when the train management became privatized, the new owners saw the money that is being generated and opted to join the fray and leave the trains and its rails to complete its useful life. The MMDA, DOTC and the DPWH are there to blame anyway.

Solution

“Solving the EDSA traffic problem is easy for me to solve but it would be too dangerous to implement because several entities would be affected, and in our culture, life is just worth P5,000. I guess the media practitioners know what I mean.

“In order for you to see how effective my plan could be, here are some salient points which need no further explanation:

“1. EDSA bus consortium – all operators become stockholders of a new corporate entity called Consortium. This ‘professionalizes’ the ranks of all previous participants and gives the operation of buses a boost to our economy.

2. To be able to perform the duties as a public conveyance provider, only new buses are to be used with some provisions to allow old buses to operate until the end of their useful lives.

“This is done through the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method. Maintenance of the buses is not the concern of the operators because a department shall be created just to perform that task.

3. When the consortium or company operates, all officers and employees should comply strictly with their duties and responsibilities to attain their corporate goal. And paramount of their mission is to provide an efficient mode of transport for the general public.

4. The MRT and LRT should have smaller cars to run instead of larger ones, which normally weigh more and cause stress on the tracks. Besides, smaller trains can attain higher ridership as long as there is consistency in its volume and time release. Yet, it could be lighter on the tracks.

Intermodal transport system

5. The ultimate stage in my plan is to employ the Intelligent Intermodal Transport System that is intended to connect the arterial and circumferential roads including the use of Pasig River and Manila Bay with minimal government intervention because they have always asked ‘What’s in for me?’

“Maybe you can give some hints to our fellow citizens what are the causes of traffic and how could they be of help.”

Facebook and Twitter

We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us at www.facebook.com  and follow us at www.twitter.com/ReyGamboa .

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at reydgamboa@yahoo.com . For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.


INQUIRER

Highway patrol group (HPG) to lead traffic law enforcement on Edsa By: Jerry E. Esplanada @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:21 PM September 1st, 2015


RICHARD A. REYES/FILE PHOTO

STRESSING the need to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, President Benigno Aquino III has named the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police as the “lead traffic law enforcement agency” on the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), the busiest thoroughfare in the region, if not the entire country.

In a meeting at Malacañang, the President on Tuesday also directed traffic enforcers of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and personnel of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to support the HPG in enforcing traffic on the former Highway 54.

Traffic teams from the HPG, MMDA, LTO and LTFRP “will start mobilizing as soon as possible,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told reporters.

He also disclosed that “after the meeting presided over by the President, it was agreed upon that priority action will be taken to clear six major intersections that are considered traffic congestion “choke points” along Edsa.”

Coloma, also head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, or PCOO, was referring to the following junctions:
-Balintawak in Caloocan City
-Cubao in Quezon City
-Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City
-Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City
-Guadalupe in Makati City; and
-Taft Avenue in Pasay City

“Among the immediate action steps agreed upon were stricter enforcement of the bus lanes along Edsa; clearing of obstructions on the highway and alternate routes, and continuing consultations with bus and other public utility operators, truckers and other port stakeholders,” he told reporters.

READ MORE...

During the meeting, Aquino “ordered the review and fine-tuning of action proposals on easing traffic congestion and the submission of detailed implementation plans that take into account the need for holistic solutions, unified action among concerned government agencies and heightened awareness to ensure citizen participation,” Coloma reported.

Among the government officials present were Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, National Economic and Development Authority head Arsenio Balisacan, PNP chief Ricardo Marquez, Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero and MMDA chair Francis Tolentino, among others.

Tolentino will meet shortly with Metro Manila mayors for “continuing consultations” with local government units and other sectors on traffic-related issues, according to Coloma.

The Palace over the weekend said it was aware of the traffic jams in Metro Manila, some of which were so bad that travelers missed their scheduled flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan that they received “reports that a big number of people were not able to make their flights.”

The bulk of the complaints came from motorists who were stuck for several hours at the South Superhighway and Villamor Air Base in Pasay City leading to the four Naia terminals.

Valte explained that there were ongoing infrastructure projects in these areas, including the construction of the Skyway Extension project.

She appealed anew for “everyone’s patience” as she also reiterated the appeal of airport authorities to adjust travelers’ times accordingly to give them ample time to get to the airport.

She added that the MMDA and the local governments “will continue to deploy traffic enforcers to help ease the heavy traffic.”

The past weeks have seen worsening traffic gridlock in the metropolis, particularly on Edsa and C-5 Road.

Malacañang has repeatedly apologized to the public for the traffic jams caused by road works as it asked both motorists and commuters to be more patient.


PHILSTAR

HPG ready for EDSA traffic duties By Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 5, 2015 - 12:00am 3 123 googleplus0 0


Starting September 7, members of the Highway Patrol Group will be manning and directing traffic along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA
.

MANILA, Philippines - The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police yesterday declared its readiness to take over traffic management along EDSA on Monday.

HPG director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao advised motorists to follow traffic rules and regulations on the 23.8-kilometer highway.

Gunnacao said PNP chief Ricardo Marquez would ceremoniously send off HPG police officers from PNP headquarters at 4 a.m. on Monday.

In 1995, traffic management duties on EDSA were transferred from the HPG to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as the HPG focused on anti-crime operations on the highways.

Gunnacao said the PNP chief has strict orders for the HPG troopers to stay clear of any extortion activity while on duty along EDSA.

“The PNP chief will lead the sendoff ceremony and before that he would be talking to everyone of them regarding the policy against extortion. Just do your job and do not get involved in any illegal activity,” Gunnacao said.

READ MORE...

Gunnacao is also encouraging passengers of public utility vehicles to take videos or photos of the driver being apprehended by HPG officer for traffic violation.

He said this could be evidence should there be an allegation of extortion against the HPG officer.

Gunnacao advised HPG officers to strictly follow the order of President Aquino to wrap up all apprehensions within 30 seconds.

“The rule is to get the license of the offending driver then issue the traffic citation ticket, all within 30 seconds. No more talking your way out, no more negotiations,” he said.

Gunnacao said the HPG would be deploying 96 police officers on Monday to the six choke points on EDSA. The officers would be deployed on two eight-hour shifts starting at 5 a.m. This means there would be eight HPG officers stationed at each of the six choke points. Gunnacao said the HPG officers at each choke point would be assisted by two other police officers coming from the local police precinct.

Gunnacao said the HPG officers at each choke point would have motorcycles and patrol cars.

He added each HPG officer would be carrying with him traffic violation tickets issued both by the MMDA and the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The tickets issued by the LTO carry higher fines for traffic violations as stated under the Joint Administrative Order 2014-01. Gunnacao said the apprehending HPG officer has the discretion which sort of ticket to issue after taking note of the gravity of the traffic violation.

Gunnacao warned any attempt to bribe the HPG officer is a criminal offense punishable with six years to 12 years imprisonment.

Gunnacao said the HPG has also placed measures to make sure that no extortion activity will happen on EDSA starting on Monday.

“We have the 30-second rule, we also have the periodic rotation of the HPG personnel which would also depend on the assessment. Usually it would be a three-day rotation or a weekly rotation. It would depend on the aspect… this is to prevent familiarization of the enforcers and the stakeholders,” he said.

Gunnacao added there would be roving inspectors to audit the performance of the HPG personnel.

He said the HPG officers involved in extortion would be subjected to a speedy probe upon the filing of a complaint.

Traffic czar On Tuesday, President Aquino ordered the HPG to take over traffic law enforcement from the MMDA along EDSA.

The President also ordered the HPG to prioritize the clearing of six identified choke points along EDSA: Balintawak, Cubao, Ortigas, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe, and Taft Avenue.

Aquino, in a recent meeting with stakeholders, also reached a consensus that six major intersections along EDSA should be cleared of any disturbance of traffic flow.

Aquino also ordered the review and fine-tuning of action proposals on easing traffic congestion and submission of detailed implementation plans that take into account the need for solutions.

Aquino believes the odd-even scheme is the most radical solution to Metro Manila’s traffic problems, but he expects strong opposition from the public if this is implemented.

The President blamed the high volume of vehicles and the ongoing infrastructure projects for causing the traffic gridlocks in metro streets.

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) has offered the government several remedies, among them the appointment of Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras as traffic czar.

While welcoming the recent orders of President Aquino to transfer traffic management to the HPG, the MAP insisted on assigning Almendras as point man.

“Although Secretary Almendras has been assigned to take charge, an important component of such a plan is the appointment of a single point of authority, such as a traffic czar, duly empowered by the President,” said Eduardo Yap, chairman of the MAP’s Traffic, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“We need a traffic czar not just to serve as a coordinator of different agencies working together to ease traffic flow, but one who is empowered to exercise executive powers to mobilize resources of the different national government agencies in order to expeditiously and effectively implement measures to provide the earliest relief from traffic congestion gripping the capital city,” he said. –With Rainier Allan Ronda

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RELATED FLASHBACK FROM INQUIRER LAST YEAR

MMDA launches new upgraded Hi-tech traffic control system @inquirerdotnet 04:05 PM January 8th, 2014

[LAST YEAR PRESIDENT ALL PRAISES FOR MMDA: SAME RHETORICS --The President called it a system that is “more effective,” fast and responsive. “Mapapaigting din nito ang seguridad at kaligtasan ng mamamayan,” he added (The security and safety of people would be enhanced by the new system.)]


Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Attorney Francis Tolentino INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III was all praises for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s new traffic control system during its launch on Wednesday.

Aquino noted how the new system will allow the MMDA Command and Control Center, where the launch was held, to control traffic lights based on their monitoring through high definition video surveillance cameras.

The President called it a system that is “more effective,” fast and responsive.

“Mapapaigting din nito ang seguridad at kaligtasan ng mamamayan,” he added

(The security and safety of people would be enhanced by the new system.)

RED MORE...

The new “upgraded information technology-based traffic control system,” launched on Wednesday at the MMDA Command and Control Center in Makati City, aims to improve traffic flow by monitoring more than 400 intersections, 85 of which will be covered by Phase 1 of the project.

The launch was also attended by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-Jun” Binay, Jr.

The MMDA said Phase 1 will involve the installation of “25 new fiber optic, high definition pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) traffic control/video surveillance cameras and 36 (units of) 45-inch video screens.”

This will augment the 150 closed-circuit television and internet protocol cameras already installed around Metro Manila.

The new system “is also set towards elevating to mobility management in the future, through a comprehensive and integrated approach that improves not just vehicle movement, but also the overall networked movement of people, goods, and services.”

-------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Lacson says MMDA should only focus on directing Edsa traffic by Hannah Torregoza September 6, 2015 (updated) Share0 Tweet2 Share0 Email0 Share9


A member of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic constable, mans his post as he directs traffic along EDSA in Qeuzon City, MArch 16, 2015, wearing shorts instead of the usual pants. To cope with the fierce summer heat, the MMDA has ordered their traffic enforcers and constables to wear shorts that started Monday. (Mark Balmores)

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said it would be much better if the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) focuses on directing traffic on EDSA and leave the responsibility of apprehending erring motorists to the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Lacson, also a former senator, said he believes the PNP-HPG should not fully take over the mandate of the MMDA in the quest to resolve the worsening problem in Metro Manila.

“I suggest is that let the MMDA focus on conducting and directing the traffic. The HPG can apprehend violators and ticket so that the MMDA can focus on its job of directing traffic,” Lacson said in an interview over Radio DZBB.

Lacson said he is not opposed to the idea of putting HPG along EDSA but they should not be allowed to assume the functions of the MMDA.

The former lawmaker noted that when MMDA was solely handling traffic situation in EDSA, their personnel were too busy attending to apprehending traffic violators than directing traffic flow.

READ MORE...

Both groups, Lacson said can work out a system that would prevent them from encroaching on the other’s duties.

“But let’s do something to prevent an unholy collusion between the HPG and MMDA, because in due time, they might do something illegal,” the former senator said.

Some 150 members of the HPG are expected to start managing traffic at six major choke points on EDSA on Monday, namely Balintawak, Cubao, Ortigas, Shaw Boulevard, Guadalupe and Taft Avenue.

HPG director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao had said that apart from the MMDA, the HPG will also be assisted in their duties traffic personnel from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

At the same time, Lacson also suggested that the PNP leadership deploy intelligence operatives on EDSA who will keep a close eye on HPG personnel.

“Let’s start it right while the HPG members still has the enthusiasm to participate in traffic enforcement along EDSA, we should let them,” he said.

“But I would suggest that we field intelligence operatives in areas where the HPGs are deployed so that surreptitiously we can see if there are mulcting cops,” he said.

--------------------------------------------------

OTHER BIZ NEWS FROM MANILA BULLETIN

Despite P245-B CCT, poverty in PH continues to rise by Ben Rosario September 2, 2015


CASH TRANSFER FOR WHOM? – Members of Grabriela stage a protest rally in front of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) main office in Batasan Road, Quezon City, questioning the proposed P104.5-billion budget of the agency which they fear would go to the campaign coffers of the ruling Liberal Party, or for a scheme they dubbed ‘Campaign Cash Transfer’, a take off from the DSWD’s flagship project Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). (Camille Ante)

Despite spending over P245 billion for the poor through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the national government has miserably failed in alleviating poverty in the country, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said yesterday as he cited a survey conducted by Ibon Foundation in which self-assessed poverty incidence rose to 25.8 percent in the first half of 2014 from the 24.6 percent in the same period in 2013.

Conservative estimates also show that some 2.5 million Filipinos have joined the ranks of those in the under-P58-per-day bracket since President Aquino assumed office in 2010, he added.

Ridon said the latest poverty survey conducted by Ibon Foundation last May show that seven out of 10 respondents or 67 percent rated themselves as poor. Ibon said this is consistent with the estimate that some 66 million Filipinos are living with a P125 daily income or even less.

READ MORE...

The congressman vowed to seek answers on the CCT program from officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by Secretary Dinky Soliman who are expected to defend the P103.7- billion budget they propose for 2016, including P62.6 billion for the CCT.

Ridon said the cash dole-out program for poor Filipinos was started during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with an initial budget of P298.5 million. President Benigno Aquino III adopted the same program but the budgetary requirement has ballooned to P62.3 billion this year.

“Billions have already been sunk into the CCT program. But in retrospect, has it made a dent on the bleak poverty situation in the country? Clearly not,” Ridon said.

“Congress has allowed CCT funds to grow exponentially, despite the fact that it is merely a palliative solution to poverty. Looking back at the seven-year implementation of the program, we cannot see any clear indication that continuing this program will result in improved living situations,” Ridon said.

The lawmaker also lamented the fact that the Aquino administration has been borrowing foreign funds to sustain the largely ineffective program.

In 2010, the government borrowed $400 million from the Asian Development Bank and $405 million from the World Bank for the CCT. The government has again borrowed $100 million from the World Bank for the same purpose.

“Not only is the CCT a grossly ineffective program; it’s also adding to our mounting debt burden,” Ridon said.

Concern was also raised over a number of Commission on Audit findings that indicate questionable disbursement of dole outs.

In the 2013 COA report, the COA reported that a number of ineligible beneficiaries benefitted from CCT funds, such as barangay officials, government employees, and families with spouses and children working abroad – all inconsistent with CCT’s target beneficiaries.

According to Ridon there were also several complaints on the non-receipt of cash grants. In 2014, for example, the DSWD allotted P57.6 billion for CCT cash grants but, based on reports of the DSWD itself, only P38.4 billion had been released as of December, 2014.

“Not only has the CCT program failed in its avowed goal of alleviating poverty; its implementation is also riddled with issues and controversies that point to corruption,” Ridon said.


PHILSTAR

Inflation eases to record-low 0.6% in August By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 5, 2015 - 12:00am 1 9 googleplus0 0


Inflation eases to record-low 0.6% in August

MANILA, Philippines - Inflation eased to a fresh low of 0.6 percent in August from 0.8 percent in July amid declining food prices as well as cheaper power rates and lower transport fares brought about by the declining global oil prices, the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) reported yesterday.

Inflation was recorded at 4.9 percent in August last year.

For the first eight months of the year, the average inflation settled at 1.7 percent, below the government’s two- to four-percent target for the year.

According to Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, the record-low inflation has given policymakers more space to maneuver at a time the El Nino phenomenon in the Asia Pacific threatens the local economy.

“Sustained lower rates of inflation would give policymakers more headroom to respond to external and internal economic shocks,” Beltran said in an economic bulletin e-mailed to reporters.

Among others, Beltran said this would allow the government to better tackle the El Nino phenomenon expected to persist until the middle of next year.

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“The government and the private sector should cooperate in crafting the appropriate policy response (to El Niño),” he explained.

Inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) eased to 0.2 percent in August from 0.8 percent in July, while consumer prices in areas outside NCR was unchanged at 0.8 percent.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said last month’s inflation fell within the 0.2 percent to one percent forecast of the central bank.

The BSP has set an inflation target of two percent to four percent this year but latest forecast of the central bank shows inflation falling below the target at 1.9 percent this year.

The BSP sees inflation falling within the target starting next year.

“August inflation figure was well within our forecast range and helps to keep us on track to the path of within target inflation for 2016 and 2017,” Tetangco said.

Monetary authorities, he explained, would continue to monitor the price of all in the world market as well as the impact of the prolonged El Niño that is expected to last until the first quarter of next year.

“We’ll continue to monitor developments in global oil prices, track El Niño as well as coordinate with relevant agencies of government on mitigants to El Niño’s adverse impact. We’re also mindful of global developments and heir effects on domestic liquidity,” he said.

The BSP has kept interest rates steady since September last year. The overnight borrowing rate is pegged at four percent while overnight lending rate stood at six percent.

“We will make adjustment to policy if needed to ensure just enough liquidity in the market so favorable inflation path is sustained,” the BSP chief said.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng said the easing of headline inflation as well as core inflation last month would give the BSP enough room to keep interest rates steady.

“Both inflation indicators enhances monetary policy leeway to respond accordingly risks to inflation and expectations and to financial sector stability from external developments including that from US monetary policy outlook and China and global growth risks and El Nino related inflationary pressures,” he said.

According to him, the BSP is likely to keep its current monetary stance unchanged this year.

“Need for monetary policy stimulus to spur economic growth is low for now with promising drivers of growth in the second quarter sustaining the pace of growth or gaining momentum in the second half,” Cuyegkeng said.—With Prinz Magtulis and Ted Torres


PHILSTAR

G-20 nations confident global recovery will gain speed By Suzan Fraser (Associated Press) | Updated September 6, 2015 - 5:26am 0 0 googleplus0 0


ALL SMILES: The meeting was held at a time of heightened uncertainty over the global economy triggered by slow growth in China.

ANKARA — Finance officials from the world's leading economies said yesterday that global growth has fallen short of their expectations but they remained confident that the global economic recovery would gain speed.

Ending a two-day summit in the Turkish capital Ankara, finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 leading economies promised to take "decisive action" to keep economic recovery on track.

The meeting was held at a time of heightened uncertainty over the global economy triggered by slow growth in China, increased market volatility and concern over a looming US interest rate increase.

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yilmaz told reporters at the end of the meeting that G-20 members were reassured China would continue to grow and achieve a 7 percent rate.

"There is a general opinion that growth will continue with a rate of around 7 percent," Yilmaz said. "This is something that will appease concerns to a certain extent."

However, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement that it believes risks to growth have increased.

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"Downside risks have increased, especially for emerging market economies," said Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director. "Growth is still too moderate and uneven ... The only thing that is too high is unemployment."

The G-20 members promised to "calibrate" their economic policies and to "clearly" communicate actions they will be taking in a bid to increase transparency and reduce uncertainty.

A final statement said the members promised to move toward a "more market-determined exchange rate system" and to "refrain from competitive devaluations."

It was an apparent reference to a Chinese move to weaken its currency, seen as a deliberate effort to boost exports.

Earlier, a senior US Treasury official said China must improve "communication" of its economic policies and steer clear of competitive devaluation so that the value of its currency is determined by market forces.

The official said there was a "shared sense" among G-20 members "for the need to double down on its principle that competitive devaluation would be a bad move."

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

China central bank governor says yuan stable against dollar (Associated Press) | Updated September 6, 2015 - 4:07pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


In this Aug. 11, 2015 photo, a woman holding an umbrella walks past China's central bank People's Bank of China in Beijing. China’s central bank governor has told a meeting of the G-20 that China’s currency has stabilized against the dollar after the country’s surprise announcement last month to revalue the yuan amid stock market turmoil. AP/Andy Wong

BEIJING — China's central bank governor has told a meeting of the G-20 that China's currency has stabilized against the dollar after the country's surprise announcement last month to revalue the yuan amid stock market turmoil.

Zhou Xiaochuan told a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Turkey on Friday that the exchange rate of the yuan against the dollar "tends to be stable," according to a statement late Saturday on the website of the People's Bank of China.

"At present, the exchange rate of RMB against dollar tends to be stable, and most of the correction of the stock market has taken place, so the financial market is expected to be more stable," the statement read.

China unexpectedly announced a more flexible exchange rate on Aug. 11 which it said was aimed at making the tightly controlled yuan more market orientated. The move rattled global financial markets.


PHILSTAR COLUMN

Metro Manila traffic already ‘fatal’ BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 23, 2015 - 12:00am 1 23 googleplus1 0


Babe Romualdez

I’d like to be kind to DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya (who seems to be a nice guy — unfortunately nice guys finish last) and simply say he used the right word “fatal” but in the wrong way. Traffic is in fact – fatal!

When thousands of people get stuck in traffic – it is fatal. Metro Manila is dying with all its major arteries totally blocked with cars, buses, construction, etc. Medically speaking, when you have blocked major arteries in your body – you’re a “walking dead.”

Metro Manila is a total mess. The metropolis is in the ICU and it needed a by-pass years ago. You can hear everyone from rich to poor, man or woman, young and old using every curse word in the English, Tagalog language and some even in Ilocano and Pampango about the traffic.

Is this what you call “progress” – when thousands of cars are sold every year?

How can we claim progress if traversing one to two kilometers can take almost an hour?

The government says it wants to increase the number of visitors to 10 million by 2016 but how is that possible if visitors will take two to three hours just to leave the airport because of the horrendous traffic?

Some foreign visitors I know who recently arrived at NAIA told me, “It took me four hours to travel from Tokyo and it took me another four hours just to travel an 18-kilometer stretch to my hotel! It took a total of 10 hours from the time we arrived to reach my destination and I tell you, I would have been better off going to the US!”

And now, Sid Consunji of DMCI has admitted that they will not be able to finish the seven-kilometer NAIA expressway project in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit this November.

Can you just imagine how chaotic it will be with the thousands of delegates, participants and security people arriving from all parts of Asia plus the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Russia, Papua New Guinea and the other participating countries?

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To be fair, government has announced plans to develop several provincial airports and even allocated P108 billion for the project, but people are asking – why only now?

Why couldn’t have all these projects been started earlier in the last five years?

Clark Airport is a very good alternative gateway that could decongest Metro Manila. The US Air Force built it to accommodate their big jumbo transport jets and its location is perfect as a growth corridor.

But I am told that just because it was named Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, the government dilly-dallied and focused instead on efforts to have it renamed to “Corazon C. Aquino International Airport” rather than maximize its potential as a secondary international airport that could decongest flights at NAIA.

Unfortunately, the DOTC does not have any sense of urgency.

Worse, this agency lacks foresight because it continues to ignore the fatal consequences of delays in the implementation of key infrastructure projects like the NLEX-SLEX connector road project that would facilitate the transport of people and goods from north to south (and vice versa).

It’s all very well and good for Jun Abaya and the Palace to tell the people to be patient – but that’s exactly what people have been in the last five years of this administration: patient and “pa-martyr.”

The public is already reaching its boiling point, the frustration fueled by the very strong belief that the government is simply insensitive to their plight and are only mouthing words of apology to placate the anger without offering any real solution.

Take the MRT for instance. It’s been five years since the administration took over, the fare hike had been implemented ostensibly for repairs of the decrepit trains and to improve the operations, but the situation is worse than ever. The government answer: Don’t blame us; blame the Arroyo administration.

If one could recall, the MVP group offered to rehabilitate MRT 3 and submitted the proposal to Abaya, but I’m told they were not even given the courtesy of a reply by the DOTC head.

Can you blame people for blaming government for all the misery they go through every day? Even without the Japan International Cooperation Agency report that says the country loses P2.4 billion everyday due to traffic (the amount could reach P6 billion by 2030), Filipinos know the congestion is fatal.

The amount of pollution that commuters ingest from motor vehicles idling in traffic for hours is fatal especially for those with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases – a fact that was underscored by the former president of the Philippine Medical Association.

For instance, a few days ago we heard about this family that was rushing a loved one to the hospital but the ambulance just a few meters away from the hospital could not weave its way through the traffic. Fortunately, a “good Samaritan” in a motorcycle helped transport the patient to the hospital just in time.

The only long-term solution to the Metro Manila traffic has always been and will always be to start moving work outside of the city.

The only other way is to develop a good, clean, reliable and easy commuter system that can encourage even the rich to use it just like major cities around the world.

During elections, they say where Metro Manila goes, the whole county goes. Let’s see if the politicians running for office can offer a solution to this major problem.

Actually, we can even say that if Metro Manila has a fatal heart attack, the whole country will be paralyzed and who knows – may eventually die.


Editorial cartooning courtesy of the Manila Times, January 2014


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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