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7 DAYS TO GO BEFORE ELECTIONS 2016!

DBM, PAL INK DEAL ON DISCOUNTED DOMESTIC TRIPS OF GOVT WORKERS


APRIL 27 -pAL LOGO - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday signed a deal with the Philippine Airlines (PAL) granting discount on official domestic trips of government employees. The DBM’s Procurement Service-PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System), the government’s main procuring entity, signed a General Fares Agreement (GFA) on domestic airline travel for the initial 23 government agencies. “Under the said agreement, all official domestic trips of government officials, employees and personnel will be given 8 percent discount for all economy class reservations, 10 percent discount for business class, additional baggage allowance, and waiver of processing fee worth P250 per ticket, and waiver of fees for first rebooking, among others,” the DBM said in a statement. ADVERTISEMENT Click Here! The DBM said an estimated P830.93 million will be saved by the government with the eight-percent discount on economy class travel, P519.38 million on the waiver of P250-processing fee. The government has a P10.3-billion budget for domestic airline travel for 2016. Citing a survey conducted in 2015, Procurement Service (PS) executive director Jose Tomas Syquia said airline tickets ranked as among the most commonly required item in procurement activities of government agencies. READ MORE...

ALSO: A management teacher’s take on the presidential elections
[Dr. Avic Caparas is an Associate Professor at the School of Management-University of Asia]


APRIL 28 -"May 10 onwards is the beginning not only for the elected president but for all citizens whose civic-mindedness has been awakened, influenced or heightened by the national elections." Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File photo As soon as I arrived last Saturday morning to my periodontist’s clinic, the staff on reception duty asked me: “Ma’am, sinong iboboto ‘nyo?” (Madam, for whom will you vote?) Considering that my vote has no real significant influence on hers and she might just be initiating an informal conversation, I replied, “I am still thinking about it. Are you already decided?” She declared her top two candidates.
This article is not about my vote. I do not assume I have a big following in social media to influence anyone with my chosen candidates. Hence, enumerating and justifying my candidates here would be irrelevant to many readers. This article rather tackles the future after May 9 from my management viewpoint. One of my favorite topics when giving classes to managers is the six-step problem-solving framework. From it, I learned that all decision analysis must end with a choice. In this regard, if a voter did not spend time to analyze the alternatives, he is not obliged to make a choice. But if a voter has been spending time reflecting on each candidate with due diligence and how each candidate meets the voter’s criteria (i.e. performance track record, integrity, etc.), arriving at a choice regardless of imperfect knowledge will improve the voter’s decisiveness, risk-taking, self-confidence and positive attitude towards the country’s future. The choice, however, is not the end of any decision-making process. Action plans have to be drawn to make the decision workable. In this regard, May 10 onwards is the beginning not only for the elected president (although officially unknown yet on this date) but for all citizens whose civic-mindedness has been awakened, influenced or heightened by the national elections. On May 10, the action begins. The die is cast. My single vote cannot control the outcome, but my decision criteria persist. And these criteria refer to the values I will continue to live with regardless of the elected president. I propose what I can do if a particular candidate was elected. I tackle each one by order of popularity in the Pulse Asia survey. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte 1. I would suggest that he diversifies his cabinet by having a 50-50 representation of men and women. This proportion of women does not only mirror the Philippine population (all ages) but it could significantly minimize all doubts whether he respects women or not. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH faces risks from return of ‘strong man’ rule -HSBC


APRIL 28 -While the country’s economic and fiscal fundamentals remain sound and sustainable in the long term, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd. (HSBC) fears a decline in the quality of governance when President Aquino steps down and turns over the leadership of the land by midyear.
While “there appears to be little risk to the Philippine’s economic outlook over the next year emanating from the elections—either positive or negative,” HSBC said the overall impact of this year’s national polls on the economy would be “more relevant” over a longer-term horizon. “As long as candidates stick to the policy platforms and infrastructure spending continues, the outlook should remain positive. After all, the Philippines still has significant fiscal room and this should persist throughout the next presidential term barring any reversals in policy,” HSBC Global Research said in a report titled “Philippine Elections 2016: Beyond the Campaign Noise.” For HSBC, one long-term risk was that the quality and level of governance might deteriorate after Aquino. “This is not to suggest that corruption is the only risk—instead, we think any return to the type of strong-man rule the Philippines witnessed in the past, which reduces the strength of the country’s institutions, is a long-term growth risk,” HSBC warned, citing the “steady rise” of presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte. READ MORE...

ALSO: Execs show unease as Duterte meets Makati Business Club
[STOCKS, PESO WEAKEN DUE TO UNCERTAINTY]


APRIL 28 -DUTERTE AT THE MAKATI BUSINESS CLUB -
The business sector broke out in cold sweat yesterday after PDP-Laban bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is leading the pre-poll surveys, faced the business elite in the Makati Business Club (MBC) yesterday with almost no economic program to show. MBC chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. admitted to reporters that MBC members were uneasy with Duterte due to the absence of any concrete economic plan except for his vow of a determined drive against criminals in the first six months of his presidency.Duterte did not detail his economic plans, Del Rosario said. Traders in the stock market said that after a recovery in March, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) resumed its dive in April with foreign investors heading for the exits. Among the reasons they cited was the uncertainty over the upcoming elections and the little information the foreign community has on the leading presidential bet. The uncertainty over the outcome of the elections was also weakening the peso which ended the trade yesterday at P46.78 from P46.76 a day ago. Duterte appeared yesterday in the joint meeting of the MBC and the Managers Association of the Philippines (MAP) which constituted leaders of local businesses. His speech which was peppered from profanities appeared to have turned off most his audience who were mostly waiting for Duterte to spell out his program for the economy. “Relax, I am not the man I am portrayed to be by some,” Duterte said in his speech that was met with uncomfortable laughter. “I am castigated for being brutal and honest. It will be a bloody war, and for those who are already there, they will never go back,” he said. The most that Duterte said that resembled a plan was to hire an additional 3,000 policemen and the doubling of the salary of members of both the police force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) so that he can launch a “bloody war” against crime, which he promised businessmen would be felt within weeks. Del Rosario said what Duterte said was not those that the business executives wanted to hear. “I would have wanted that he discussed the economic policies and programs of a Duterte administration,” he said.“I think there is uncertainty because we did not hear enough on what he plans to do with the economy,” he added. “We really never got a chance to know him or his advisers. It is in that sense that there is some degree of uneasiness and uncertainty,” Del Rosario said. “That is not to say we are predicting negative things about him but I think it (would be) a wait and see attitude,” he said. Before Duterte, the MBC also invited Senator Grace Poe, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Jejomar Binay and Liberal Party (LP) hopeful Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Duterte, nonetheless, touched on a plan of infrastructure projects held up under past governments due to a lack of “political will.” “We have to continue with public spending and we have to continue the projects that will ease up congestion in traffic,” he said.READ MORE...

ALSO: By Gerardo Sicat - The next president: Duterte vs. Roxas and Poe’s bubble


APRIL 27 -By Gerardo P. Sicat 
It would be crystal balling to speculate on election outcomes. I will not do this. But I will try to explain the reasons behind the evolution of the presidential campaign so far. Emerging two-man contest. With two weeks to go before votes are cast, the shifts in preferences among voters are trending toward a two-man contest. It is between late-comer challenger, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and the administration candidate, Mar Roxas, the anointed successor for the administration of President Aquino. For some time, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe, the two other candidates were quite strong, suggesting that it would be a tight race among four candidates. Changes in sentiments have registered at the expense of these two candidates in the last two weeks. The Binay support which had held earlier at above 20 percent is now below that level. With time’s passing, Binay’s failure to provide a satisfactory answer to corruption charges against him and his family as mayor of Makati has reduced his credibility. It is easier and faster to track public sentiments across the nation among all classes of voters because of the almost universal existence of cell phones in the hands of voters. There is also in existence the quicker technology of polling arithmetic that can be calculated statistically through software applications. SWS and Pulse Asia, the nation’s established polling companies, are in competition in tracking public opinion. Grace Poe’s bubble. Early on, Grace Poe was seen as the candidate to beat. She has supported the Aquino government program, except where it fell short. Thus positioned, she became the “acceptable” alternative to a Mar Roxas candidacy. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that permitted her to run for the presidency, it was expected that her candidacy would be sharply boosted even more, but the opposite happened. Her ratings fell precipitously, after a short period of rise. Several reasons might account for this turn of events. First, the Supreme Court was utterly divided in its decision. The decision appeared more political rather than dedicated to the core legal issue that it faced. The court was sharply divided on the “natural-born” issue as applied to her case, as pointed out in the minority dissent of Justice Carpio. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Boo Chanco - Time to focus on VP battle


BOO CHANCO
The future of our country actually depends on the outcome of the fight for the vice presidency. I have given up trying to convince myself that I can vote any of the candidates for president and walk out of the voting booth confident that I have chosen well.
I want to think that whoever is elected president on May 9 is largely going to be a transition president – a transition from business as usual to change we can bank on. The one good thing this campaign season delivered is the awakening of voters that change has to happen. And this change is all about a break from the usual politics of the Metro Manila elite. They are being roused from their comfort zones in this electoral season. They can no longer be continually enriched by our rising GDP while the rest of our 100 million plus population get nothing much. The poor among us and many of us who think of ourselves as middle class are still mired in economic insecurity. This is why I wrote months before the campaign season heated up that if Duterte didn’t exist, we would need to invent him. The alternative is a bloody revolution. Duterte shocked the elite and those who think they are among the elite. His language is vulgar, he looks like a goon and publicly kisses women on the lips to the total discomfort of so called polite society. But he delivered the message of change and attracted a legion of supporters who adulate him like a rock star. They are angry about the status quo and Duterte represents change. The one good thing about Duterte that tempted me to consider him on May 9 is that he is not from Metro Manila. He comes from the troubled South and has a record of tough governance that seems just what the country needs now. READ MORE...RELATED, Unanswered questions (about Grace),,,

ALSO: By Babe Romuanldez - Political demolition in full swing


APRIL 28 -With less than two weeks before the May 9 national elections, it’s very obvious that demolition jobs will be intensified to target the frontrunners – and that means Sen. Bong Bong Marcos for the vice presidential race and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is leading in the presidential surveys. Results from the latest Pulse Asia survey show Sen. Marcos maintaining his lead with 29 percent in the VP race. Meantime, Mayor Duterte is pulling away with 35 percent – or an 11 percent surge from the last time – despite the fact that at time the survey was taken, Mayor Digong was being pilloried for his remarks regarding an Australian missionary who was raped and murdered during a Davao jailbreak attempt.
Everything – not only the kitchen sink but the entire house even – is now being thrown at the PDP-Laban standard bearer as seen in the latest salvo from Sen. Antonio Trillanes who claims that the mayor has P211 million in a secret account in a Metro Manila bank. One of the close friends of the mayor called asking Duterte if he really had this kind of money and Duterte said no, but admitted that he had a bank account. The friend then asked how much money the mayor had, to which the latter replied that he knew he has P200,000, adding that he was surprised that this has been counted as P200 million. To which the friend teased the mayor: “You only have P200,000? You’re useless!” We will soon see how these new issues will play out in the elections but some political observers are saying they could help boost Duterte even more because these will be perceived as desperate attempts to knock him down from his perch as frontrunner. The mayor’s supporters are expecting his numbers to surge by another 10 points at the very least towards the homestretch, especially with defections from local leaders – with a very long queue already stretching from Davao City all the way to Abra in the Cordilleras. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

DBM, PAL ink deal on discounted domestic trips of gov’t workers

MANILA, MAY 2, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 03:05 PM April 26th, 2016 - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday signed a deal with the Philippine Airlines (PAL) granting discount on official domestic trips of government employees.

The DBM’s Procurement Service-PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System), the government’s main procuring entity, signed a General Fares Agreement (GFA) on domestic airline travel for the initial 23 government agencies.

“Under the said agreement, all official domestic trips of government officials, employees and personnel will be given 8 percent discount for all economy class reservations, 10 percent discount for business class, additional baggage allowance, and waiver of processing fee worth P250 per ticket, and waiver of fees for first rebooking, among others,” the DBM said in a statement.

The DBM said an estimated P830.93 million will be saved by the government with the eight-percent discount on economy class travel, P519.38 million on the waiver of P250-processing fee.

The government has a P10.3-billion budget for domestic airline travel for 2016.

Citing a survey conducted in 2015, Procurement Service (PS) executive director Jose Tomas Syquia said airline tickets ranked as among the most commonly required item in procurement activities of government agencies.

READ MORE...

“Our partnership with Philippine Airlines will greatly impact government transactions for domestic airline travel. As part of the government’s common requirement which we will aggregate, we can purchase domestic airline tickers faster and easier,” Syquia said.

“The roll-out plan for the ‘Domestic Air Travel as a Common Use’ program will start in May with training programs for the hands-on use and navigation of the PAL portal within the PS-PhilGEPS website. During the initial implementation, ticket purchases will be charged under the PS-PhilGEPS’ revolving fund, in coordination with the Landbank of the Philippines to take into account the existing credit lines of government agencies,” the DBM added. RAM

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PHILSTAR

A management teacher’s take on the presidential elections By Avic Caparas (philstar.com) | Updated April 28, 2016 - 11:56am 5 314 googleplus0 0

"May 10 onwards is the beginning not only for the elected president but for all citizens whose civic-mindedness has been awakened, influenced or heightened by the national elections." Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File photo As soon as I arrived last Saturday morning to my periodontist’s clinic, the staff on reception duty asked me: “Ma’am, sinong iboboto ‘nyo?” (Madam, for whom will you vote?) Considering that my vote has no real significant influence on hers and she might just be initiating an informal conversation, I replied, “I am still thinking about it. Are you already decided?” She declared her top two candidates.

This article is not about my vote. I do not assume I have a big following in social media to influence anyone with my chosen candidates. Hence, enumerating and justifying my candidates here would be irrelevant to many readers. This article rather tackles the future after May 9 from my management viewpoint.

One of my favorite topics when giving classes to managers is the six-step problem-solving framework. From it, I learned that all decision analysis must end with a choice. In this regard, if a voter did not spend time to analyze the alternatives, he is not obliged to make a choice. But if a voter has been spending time reflecting on each candidate with due diligence and how each candidate meets the voter’s criteria (i.e. performance track record, integrity, etc.), arriving at a choice regardless of imperfect knowledge will improve the voter’s decisiveness, risk-taking, self-confidence and positive attitude towards the country’s future.

The choice, however, is not the end of any decision-making process. Action plans have to be drawn to make the decision workable. In this regard, May 10 onwards is the beginning not only for the elected president (although officially unknown yet on this date) but for all citizens whose civic-mindedness has been awakened, influenced or heightened by the national elections.

On May 10, the action begins. The die is cast. My single vote cannot control the outcome, but my decision criteria persist. And these criteria refer to the values I will continue to live with regardless of the elected president. I propose what I can do if a particular candidate was elected. I tackle each one by order of popularity in the Pulse Asia survey.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

1. I would suggest that he diversifies his cabinet by having a 50-50 representation of men and women. This proportion of women does not only mirror the Philippine population (all ages) but it could significantly minimize all doubts whether he respects women or not.

READ MORE...

2. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks but if he is willing to run a country without national government experience, he could perhaps still learn to mend unacceptable ways. Much will depend on his collaborators. I am not sure if the presence in his cabinet of more women (who will not laugh at offensive remarks) could help him watch his language. Hence, I would suggest further that he gets a consensus from his team what would give him a strong signal when, in his words, "my mouth can get better of me." The gesture of disapproval can be turning one’s back, keeping heads down, folding arms over the chest, etc.

3. The president “personifies the nation” in the words of Apolinario Mabini. I would endorse a training on etiquette, diplomacy and protocols even as the president will have already appointed the best foreign affairs secretary from among those with praiseworthy expertise in laws, governments and history. I hope no follower of the mayor will take this personally as campaign time would have ended after May 9. Irreverent name-calling and unethical behavior will not do any service to the newly-elected president. Take my suggested action plan as a manifestation of my utmost reverence for the highest position in the motherland, regardless of the position-holder. If Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) undergo education, licensure examination and continuing development, why require less for the president of the Philippines?

Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares

1. I would share with her my local research on manager-subordinate trust which has revealed a cultural tendency not to trust young and inexperienced managers. The highest executive function of the government is one of decisions and actions, unlike the legislative function where she recently gained experience. (Raise your hand if you think it was an easy ride for former President Cory Aquino and for the outgoing president to earn public trust in their executive leadership capabilities.) Hence, I would shorten the time to build trust by appointing older, more experienced men and women in public administration.

2. The citizenship on paper or by heart would always be questioned. I would think that it would be better to err on the excess of patriotic decisions, like vacationing in the local tourist spots than going abroad, being cautious to be seen using foreign brands much more than local products, and re-examining if ideologies imbibed from her US education and residency actually have local, extensive resonance.

3. From my work-family balance advocacy, I would suggest that integrity as the president of the country would find its application in every decision when she asks herself, “Have I retained my integrity as a wife first, mother second, and country leader, third?” I am not imposing a priority in values. I would only be reminding her the sequence of commitments she has taken in life.

Vice President Jejomar Binay

1. I would point out the good practices in corporate governance, considering that the biggest threat to Binay to get the presidency is the corruption charges towards him and his family members. For instance, transparent disclosure of net worth every quarter would sound exaggeratedly strict, but it would be no sweat if there is a regular dutiful accounting of increases and decreases of wealth while in public service.

2. And since I uphold family values, I would endorse several ghost writers for him to author his mother’s biography. His words might have been misquoted by the media, but it has certainly left an example of utilizing one’s parent whenever convenient (i.e. to deny allegations of ill-gotten wealth or to give the raison d'ętre of his promised health services for the poor). May the new president leave the legacy to our young people of rendering truth and justice at all times to a mother’s good name.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II

1. I would suggest to the new president to order putting up tracking counters (digital and physical) in the Office of the President and in various government agencies. It would show when the public issue started (e.g. tanim-bala in airports), the targeted resolution date, and how many days remaining to resolution. The statistics of those reached by government service should also be complemented by individual stories with photos, to minimize doubts and public dissatisfaction that glowing statistics do not reflect reality.

2. From my work-family balance viewpoint, I highly commend his substantial leadership in the expansion of the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry. In fact, I always mention in my seminars how the progress in this industry could separate the family members not anymore by enormous physical distance but only by schedules or shifts. Nonetheless, I would propose to the new president an equally vigorous push towards intellectual and moral education. Promoting an English-speaking populace is not sustainable; a courteous and respectful English-speaking people in all medium of communication will thrust the Philippines and his administration to a glorious global future ahead.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

I particularly commend Santiago’s fighting spirit. I can declare right now that she had my vote in the 1992 presidential elections. I would recommend when she wins that she focus on the minimum required tasks of the new president, specify the working arrangement with the new vice president and take a break to recover from the taxing campaign period, looking at the next six years ahead in the presidency. During that break, I could ask for an audience to share my recent layman’s learnings on oxidative stress and cellular nutrition.

May the best candidate win. And if the best does not come out, think ACTION PLANS.

Dr. Avic Caparas is an Associate Professor at the School of Management-University of Asia and the Pacific, Ortigas Business Center, Pasig City. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. For comments, questions, or feedback, you may email her at victoria.caparas@uap.asia.


INQUIRER

PH faces risks from return of ‘strong man’ rule LONG-TERM DECLINE IN QUALITY, LEVEL OF GOVERNANCE By: Ben O. de Vera
@BenArnolddeVera Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:55 AM April 28th, 2016

While the country’s economic and fiscal fundamentals remain sound and sustainable in the long term, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd. (HSBC) fears a decline in the quality of governance when President Aquino steps down and turns over the leadership of the land by midyear.

While “there appears to be little risk to the Philippine’s economic outlook over the next year emanating from the elections—either positive or negative,” HSBC said the overall impact of this year’s national polls on the economy would be “more relevant” over a longer-term horizon.

“As long as candidates stick to the policy platforms and infrastructure spending continues, the outlook should remain positive. After all, the Philippines still has significant fiscal room and this should persist throughout the next presidential term barring any reversals in policy,” HSBC Global Research said in a report titled “Philippine Elections 2016: Beyond the Campaign Noise.”

For HSBC, one long-term risk was that the quality and level of governance might deteriorate after Aquino.

“This is not to suggest that corruption is the only risk—instead, we think any return to the type of strong-man rule the Philippines witnessed in the past, which reduces the strength of the country’s institutions, is a long-term growth risk,” HSBC warned, citing the “steady rise” of presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte.

READ MORE...

“The most interesting development from the campaign has been the more or less steady rise of Mayor Duterte. At first an outside candidate who declared his candidacy relatively late, the mayor has broadened his support outside of his home region of Mindanao, where he is mayor of Davao City, the Philippines’ third largest. His rise has been surprising to many due to his unconventional rhetoric and controversial comments. The candidate’s popularity is partly explained by a firm stance against crime and corruption—two salient issues resonating with many Filipinos,” HSBC noted.

“While Duterte lacks policy experience in national-level politics, his record as mayor over 22 years does shed some light on the type of policies he might pursue. His most notable accomplishment in Davao was tackling high crime, partly a residue of a communist insurgency in the 1980s. This paved the way for Davao to undergo an impressive economic rehabilitation—attracting significant foreign investment, particularly in the outsourcing and business processing sectors. In recent years, the growth of southern Mindanao (or Davao Region), of which Davao City constitutes most of the GDP [gross domestic product], has outpaced national GDP by a small margin,” it added.

According to HSBC, while the upcoming elections only have “little short-term impact,” the business sector has “expressed a preference for continuity,” citing that “Grace Poe and Mar Roxas are generally perceived to be the ‘continuity candidates.’”

“However, the split between ‘continuity candidates’ and the rest is not so straightforward. Roxas deviates from the administration on key policies, citing concerns over constitutional reforms to attract FDI [foreign direct investment] and has opposed moves to join the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement]. Incidentally, these are measures that both Duterte and Vice President [Jejomar] Binay seem to support,” it noted.


TRIBUNE

Execs show unease as Du30 meets MBC Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 28 April 2016 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 9 comments



STOCKS, PESO WEAKEN DUE TO UNCERTAINTY

The business sector broke out in cold sweat yesterday after PDP-Laban bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is leading the pre-poll surveys, faced the business elite in the Makati Business Club (MBC) yesterday with almost no economic program to show.

MBC chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. admitted to reporters that MBC members were uneasy with Duterte due to the absence of any concrete economic plan except for his vow of a determined drive against criminals in the first six months of his presidency.

Duterte did not detail his economic plans, Del Rosario said.


Ramon del Rosario Jr.

Traders in the stock market said that after a recovery in March, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) resumed its dive in April with foreign investors heading for the exits.

Among the reasons they cited was the uncertainty over the upcoming elections and the little information the foreign community has on the leading presidential bet.

The uncertainty over the outcome of the elections was also weakening the peso which ended the trade yesterday at P46.78 from P46.76 a day ago.

Duterte appeared yesterday in the joint meeting of the MBC and the Managers Association of the Philippines (MAP) which constituted leaders of local businesses.

His speech which was peppered from profanities appeared to have turned off most his audience who were mostly waiting for Duterte to spell out his program for the economy.

“Relax, I am not the man I am portrayed to be by some,” Duterte said in his speech that was met with uncomfortable laughter.

“I am castigated for being brutal and honest. It will be a bloody war, and for those who are already there, they will never go back,” he said.

The most that Duterte said that resembled a plan was to hire an additional 3,000 policemen and the doubling of the salary of members of both the police force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) so that he can launch a “bloody war” against crime, which he promised businessmen would be felt within weeks.

Del Rosario said what Duterte said was not those that the business executives wanted to hear.

“I would have wanted that he discussed the economic policies and programs of a Duterte administration,” he said.

“I think there is uncertainty because we did not hear enough on what he plans to do with the economy,” he added.

“We really never got a chance to know him or his advisers. It is in that sense that there is some degree of uneasiness and uncertainty,” Del Rosario said.
“That is not to say we are predicting negative things about him but I think it (would be) a wait and see attitude,” he said.

Before Duterte, the MBC also invited Senator Grace Poe, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Jejomar Binay and Liberal Party (LP) hopeful Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Duterte, nonetheless, touched on a plan of infrastructure projects held up under past governments due to a lack of “political will.”

“We have to continue with public spending and we have to continue the projects that will ease up congestion in traffic,” he said.

READ MORE...

Duterte said that he would copy good programs from past administrations and from the present crop of presidentables.

“I will not hesitate to copy the projects of Noynoy (Aquino) or (Gloria) Arroyo that will redound to the benefit of the people. I will not hesitate to copy,” he said.

Foreign bank also edgy

British investment bank HSBC also warned in a study against a return to a “strongman” rule.

“Such a system damaged institutions in the past posed a risk to the Philippines’ robust economic growth in the long term,” HSBC said in a report.


Makati Business Club (MBC) chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. said that his fellow businessmen may still be uneasy with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte PHOTO FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK.

The results of the May 9 elections, however, will not affect the economy “over the next year,” with growth seen at 5.9 percent for the full year, HSBC said in a research note.

Duterte, who has vowed to wage a “bloody war” against crime, has widened his lead over closest rival, Sen. Grace Poe, in the most recent surveys.

“One long-term risk is that the quality and level of governance may deteriorate after (President Benigno) Aquino,” the bank said.

“This is not to suggest that corruption is the only risk — instead, we think any return to the type of strongman rule the Philippines witnessed in the past, which reduces the strength of the country’s institutions, is a long-term growth risk,” it added.

HSBC said the economic outlook on the Philippines remained “positive” as long as Aquino’s successor adopts his policy platforms and continues spending on infrastructure.

In his speech before the MBC, Duterte stressed on peace and order as crucial to ensure progress and development in the country.

“Progress and development cannot happen in place if there is insecurity caused by criminals and lawless elements. We must begin by addressing criminality, ensuring law and order, and I assure under my leadership you will feel the difference in six months,” he noted.

The presidential candidate also stressed the significance of improving the quality of education in the country through equipping public school teachers with training programs.

“I believe that our people of the Philippines, (have their) greatest resource is education. They cannot go out of poverty unless we educate the people,” said Duterte.

“The only way to do this in this country, I suppose, is to build strong middle class... You have to raise the middle class, education, and of course the opportunity to do business for everybody to come in,” he added.

In terms of infrastructure, he will continue to boost public spending, particularly for improving mass transit.

He mentioned that he will also continue the projects of the administration in easing decongestion in Metro Manila and push motorists to maintain discipline on the road.

When it comes to agriculture, Duterte said he will study land reform programs as he see it as unsuccessful.

The Davao City mayor, once he becomes the next president, said he will support small enterprises by providing P1 billion per region to help them grow their businesses. This is copied from one of the presidenriables.

The Conditional Cash Transfer will also be pushed by Duterte to help in uplifting the lives of poor Filipinos while committing the entire Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor ) funds to help for the hospitalization of poor individuals.


PHILSTAR

The next president: Duterte vs. Roxas and Poe’s bubble CROSSROADS (Toward Philippine Economic and Social Progress) By Gerardo P. Sicat (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2016 - 12:00am 2 2 googleplus0 0


By Gerardo P. Sicat

It would be crystal balling to speculate on election outcomes. I will not do this.

But I will try to explain the reasons behind the evolution of the presidential campaign so far.

Emerging two-man contest. With two weeks to go before votes are cast, the shifts in preferences among voters are trending toward a two-man contest. It is between late-comer challenger, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and the administration candidate, Mar Roxas, the anointed successor for the administration of President Aquino.

For some time, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe, the two other candidates were quite strong, suggesting that it would be a tight race among four candidates.

Changes in sentiments have registered at the expense of these two candidates in the last two weeks. The Binay support which had held earlier at above 20 percent is now below that level. With time’s passing, Binay’s failure to provide a satisfactory answer to corruption charges against him and his family as mayor of Makati has reduced his credibility.

It is easier and faster to track public sentiments across the nation among all classes of voters because of the almost universal existence of cell phones in the hands of voters.

There is also in existence the quicker technology of polling arithmetic that can be calculated statistically through software applications. SWS and Pulse Asia, the nation’s established polling companies, are in competition in tracking public opinion.

Grace Poe’s bubble. Early on, Grace Poe was seen as the candidate to beat. She has supported the Aquino government program, except where it fell short. Thus positioned, she became the “acceptable” alternative to a Mar Roxas candidacy.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that permitted her to run for the presidency, it was expected that her candidacy would be sharply boosted even more, but the opposite happened. Her ratings fell precipitously, after a short period of rise.

Several reasons might account for this turn of events.

First, the Supreme Court was utterly divided in its decision. The decision appeared more political rather than dedicated to the core legal issue that it faced. The court was sharply divided on the “natural-born” issue as applied to her case, as pointed out in the minority dissent of Justice Carpio.

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In a way, the Supreme Court has exposed the circumstances of her case under greater public scrutiny. It did not help that the Supreme Court, in rendering its decision, glossed over an error of fact regarding the residency requirement for her candidacy. (A more stern Supreme Court had disqualified, in a separate case, a candidate for the post of mayor who used his US passport to travel abroad).

Second, her opponents for the presidency also made good use of the fact that Poe acquired American citizenship only to give it up to run for president. The tag of being a former American has been used as an argument for lack of sincerity and an example of opportunism.

Third, equally serious is the criticism about her lack of experience, which she tried to build as an asset rather than a liability. Her platform of government is comprehensive but has no immediate priorities.

The programs do not add up: most of them either reduce tax income of government or involve additional public spending. In this, however, her program is no different from that of candidates promising new programs in order to get elected.

With all these factors at play, she was unable to hold on to a weak core of substantial support from voters. That weak core proved very vulnerable toward changing loyalties. It seemed that much of that support had moved over to the camp of Duterte. (The weakened support for Binay likewise has benefitted Duterte.)

Mar Roxas, steady but behind. The Aquino administration is the support behind the candidacy of Mar Roxas.

The core support for the administration is normally steady and strong, given that the administration is in control of the government and its power of patronage. The Liberal Party and the Daang Matuwid program are the support structure of the Mar Roxas candidacy as the standard bearer of the administration program.

Roxas’s candidacy has failed to impress partly because the candidate is essentially a shy politician. He is not a natural politician who could mix easily with the people. But more importantly, he avoids taking risky positions that natural leaders often do.

Essentially, Roxas has not positioned himself to be his own man and has remained content to be a symbol of continuity of the Aquino presidency. (His recent efforts to engage and challenge Duterte on specific issues have the trade mark of juvenile comedy.)

Despite these limitations, the administration has the power of the purse, both in terms of timing and of patronage. It is a great advantage during election time to be on the side of the government.

Campaign resources that are being unleashed during the late stage of the campaign show how logistically prepared and well-funded is the Roxas election drive.

Rodrigo Duterte, reluctant candidate with few priorities. Rodrigo Duterte’s candidacy initially was on and off. When he filed for candidacy, it was mainly to substitute for one that had already been filed. The drama of his candidacy is that it was almost like an afterthought.

In finally filing for the candidacy for president, he therefore presented himself as an unwilling candidate, who when challenged to do it, would deliver on his promises. His message is simple: get rid of drugs and drug cartels, criminals and criminality, put in law and order and make sure people are made to obey the rules.

The message appears to resonate with the voting public. His popularity has surged despite a plain-speaking campaign technique that is filled with expletives, cuss words, and unsavory jokes.

In this way, he sometimes trips and invites the enmity of groups that would otherwise be sympathetic. Recently, this has happened in the case of a joke on rape.

He seems to have absorbed the loyalties of those who used to favor Binay and Grace Poe. In the recent polls, his favorable rating has surpassed every other candidate, especially that of Grace Poe.

After the last full presidential debate held on Sunday, April 24, the Duterte bandwagon is not likely to implode or tire out. Based on the immediate commentaries of those who were tracking these by radio and television and the assessments on social media, his participation provokes debate and also support among many voters.


PHILSTAR

Time to focus on VP battle DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2016 - 12:00am 2 27 googleplus0 0


BOO CHANCO

The future of our country actually depends on the outcome of the fight for the vice presidency. I have given up trying to convince myself that I can vote any of the candidates for president and walk out of the voting booth confident that I have chosen well.

I want to think that whoever is elected president on May 9 is largely going to be a transition president – a transition from business as usual to change we can bank on. The one good thing this campaign season delivered is the awakening of voters that change has to happen.

And this change is all about a break from the usual politics of the Metro Manila elite. They are being roused from their comfort zones in this electoral season. They can no longer be continually enriched by our rising GDP while the rest of our 100 million plus population get nothing much. The poor among us and many of us who think of ourselves as middle class are still mired in economic insecurity.

This is why I wrote months before the campaign season heated up that if Duterte didn’t exist, we would need to invent him. The alternative is a bloody revolution.

Duterte shocked the elite and those who think they are among the elite. His language is vulgar, he looks like a goon and publicly kisses women on the lips to the total discomfort of so called polite society. But he delivered the message of change and attracted a legion of supporters who adulate him like a rock star. They are angry about the status quo and Duterte represents change.

The one good thing about Duterte that tempted me to consider him on May 9 is that he is not from Metro Manila. He comes from the troubled South and has a record of tough governance that seems just what the country needs now.

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My economist friend Toti puts it succinctly: “It seems to me that the public has concluded that nobody who’s from or close to the Manila-based oligarchic elite can fix our problems. Even Grace Poe ran on a continuity platform, fearing to alienate P-Noy and the yellow crowd. She underestimated the anger out there.”

Indeed, many think Duterte is too ill-mannered to represent the country in international functions. The ruling Metro Manila elite are uncomfortable because they do not really know him and they probably didn’t even consider contributing to his campaign.

If only for all that, Duterte is just the man we need to effect change. At this time it seems any change is better than a continuity of incompetence and the rent seeking conspiracy of a ruling elite who stay detached from the hard life of the masses.

But Duterte may prove to be too unpredictable for our own good. While it is alright for a change leader to keep the traditional power elites guessing, the country also needs some level of predictability for the economy and society to function.

It may become too tiring for the nation to keep on guessing their president’s every move, every utterance. If he is about to declare war on China, I want to see evidence other options were considered. It should not happen only because President Duterte woke up with a migraine and on the wrong side of his bed.

I am also antsy about his promise to give up the presidency after six months or even a year and turn over government to Bongbong if his fight against crime and illegal drugs fails. This is why it is important that we have a vice president we can trust and not related in any way to politicians of the past who did our country wrong.

My biggest fear about voting for Duterte is that I may actually be voting Bongbong Marcos for president. Marcos had been leading the VP contest. SWS April 18-20 puts Leni Robredo at 26 vs BBM’s 25, a statistical tie. The latest Pulse Asia poll April 16-20 released as I write this column puts BBM ahead again at 29 vs Robredo at 24.

We don’t get a chance to vote for an ideal public servant like Ms. Robredo every day. I do not remember anyone who has her kind of grassroots public service record before being elected president or vice president. It is also noteworthy she has spent most of life out of Metro Manila.

Leni had served her province of Camarines Sur with NGOs that cater to the needs of the very poor. She did that years ago without thinking she would run for public office. She had traveled to the remotest barangays of her province to help poverty stricken countrymen defend their rights or learn skills that would alleviate the impact of poverty in their lives.

Leni’s commitment is based on a shared public service philosophy with her late husband Jesse, who once received the recognition of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation for excellence in public service. If he didn’t die prematurely in that plane crash, he would have been an ideal candidate for president today.

But a President Jesse was not to be. A Vice President Leni is, however, within our reach. That thought seemed impossible just a few months ago but the story of this woman whose heart and life had been totally committed to serving the marginalized of society is difficult to ignore.

And because I know she will continue helping those who are in her words, nasa laylayan ng lipunan, the least I can do is to help her do what she does best by voting for her. On May 9, that is the obligation of all Filipinos who worry about our country’s future.

Forget that Leni is part of a ticket that represents an administration that lacks empathy and the ability to move the economy beyond rosy macroeconomic numbers. Indeed many of us have done that already. That explains why Leni is on the verge of being elected while voter acceptance of Mar Roxas remains weak.

The biggest danger for our future is for us to elect the son of the deposed dictator. The Marcos family refuses to acknowledge the damage martial law has done to our country and people. As for hidden wealth, it must be there somewhere or how could Mr Marcos run an expensive campaign?

A Marcos just a heartbeat away from reclaiming Malacanang isn’t a comforting thought. Moving on by going back to the past isn’t too bright a thing to do.

I know many are voting for Marcos because they are angry with P-Noy and want to deliver a strong message. That’s not a very bright idea.

Why vote for the Marcos kid who grew up spoiled, rich and was never really interested in how the poor lived? And why vote for a Marcos when there is Leni Robredo whose style of leadership and public service record offers the hope our people need.

Go ahead and vote for Duterte, Poe, Binay, Roxas or Santiago. But vote for Leni Robredo for Vice President. Voting for Leni is voting for our future.

It is still very much an uphill drive for Leni Robredo. Those who want her to win should not be complacent. She is up against a formidable political force in and out of the present administration.

Remember that Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa is the one who does the backroom political operations for P-Noy. All government appointments passed through his office and he can collect on past favors.

Ochoa is the partner of the wife of Bongbong in a law office called MOST where M stands for Marcos and O for Ochoa. His ties with Bongbong is strong and it is to his interest to see Bongbong win so that “tuloy ang ligaya.”

Leni Robredo is our insurance policy. We need to keep our country safe for democracy by making sure someone in high office is truly looking out for our poor. Bongbong will look out for the restoration of the Marcos family. It’s as simple as that.

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ALSO FROM PHILSTAR

Unanswered questions HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0


By Mary Ann LL. Reyes

Erstwhile presidential race frontrunner Senator Grace Poe seems to have lost her luster.

After the Supreme Court ruled in her favor and overruled the Comelec’s cancellation of her certificate of candidacy, Poe’s spokesperson Rex Gatchalian said his candidate would enjoy a 10-point increase in her voter preference survey.

But instead of an increase, all the latest surveys have shown as much as an eight-point drop in her ratings. From pole position, Poe is now trailing frontrunner Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte by a significant five percent.

Poe’s fading popularity now appears irreversible. It appears the faulty narrative she tried to peddle to get her to the presidency has lost credibility. Voters are now refusing to buy into her stories.

Observers note that Grace Poe has not been telling the truth, or at least not the whole story, about her legislative performance, about her residency, about her renunciation of citizenship, about the use of her American passport 12 times in the period after she claims to have renounced her US citizenship, about her experience as an OFW in the US when in fact she lived in a nine-bedroom mansion abroad, about how Cardinal Sin brought her when she was just a foundling, to Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces when it was one of her caretakers who turned out to be a friend of Roces that convinced the actress to take her, about her two social security numbers when she was in the US, about her campaign contributors, among others.

Have the voters had enough of her? Is she as some people say a wolf in sheep’s clothing? That instead of being a shy and reluctant candidate, that she is actually a manipulative and a not-so-nice person as some who have seen her up close would say?

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Ever since she dropped from first place in the surveys, she has begun promising everything from free education to full medical coverage without telling us how such generous freebies will be funded. Voters have grown tired of empty promises, of motherhood statements. They want something concrete.

When Vice-President Jejomar Binay, during the third and final presidential debate sponsored by Comelec, asked Grace Poe how she could love her country when she renounced it by taking an oath as an American citizen, her answer was notably muddled and indiscernible. According to Grace, she wanted to be with her family and that is why she did it. But that is not answering the question. She was evading the issue.

There is also increasing talk of disenchantment within Poe’s ticket. Her team which includes vice-presidential aspirant Senator Chiz Escudero and her senatorial candidates are said to be complaining that husband Neil Llamanzares is cornering all the political contributions and allotting nothing to the other candidates. Some of her candidates have simply stopped campaigning for lack of funding support.

Are we being given an idea this early how the Llamanzares couple would behave if Grace is elected president? Are we seeing another Mike Arroyo in the making?

Not so hidden agenda

Robert Lim Joseph (right), president of the Network of Independent Travel and Allied Services Inc. (NITAS) and director of Voice of Hope Foundation, met recently with Mayor Hiroshi Sonoda of Omura City (left).

The mayor assured that he will help increase the number of Filipino workers through the Japanese Diet for additional nurses and caregivers’ visas for Nagasaki Prefecture during Joseph’s visit to Omura Race, Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.

Joseph and group visited Japan as part of his advocacy to promote tourism and business in Japan. Also in photo is Kanji Ogawa, CEO of Ogawa Boat and Boat Racing Stadium.


PHILSTAR

Political demolition in full swing SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 28, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

With less than two weeks before the May 9 national elections, it’s very obvious that demolition jobs will be intensified to target the frontrunners – and that means Sen. Bong Bong Marcos for the vice presidential race and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is leading in the presidential surveys. Results from the latest Pulse Asia survey show Sen. Marcos maintaining his lead with 29 percent in the VP race. Meantime, Mayor Duterte is pulling away with 35 percent – or an 11 percent surge from the last time – despite the fact that at time the survey was taken, Mayor Digong was being pilloried for his remarks regarding an Australian missionary who was raped and murdered during a Davao jailbreak attempt.

Everything – not only the kitchen sink but the entire house even – is now being thrown at the PDP-Laban standard bearer as seen in the latest salvo from Sen. Antonio Trillanes who claims that the mayor has P211 million in a secret account in a Metro Manila bank.

One of the close friends of the mayor called asking Duterte if he really had this kind of money and Duterte said no, but admitted that he had a bank account. The friend then asked how much money the mayor had, to which the latter replied that he knew he has P200,000, adding that he was surprised that this has been counted as P200 million. To which the friend teased the mayor: “You only have P200,000? You’re useless!”

We will soon see how these new issues will play out in the elections but some political observers are saying they could help boost Duterte even more because these will be perceived as desperate attempts to knock him down from his perch as frontrunner. The mayor’s supporters are expecting his numbers to surge by another 10 points at the very least towards the homestretch, especially with defections from local leaders – with a very long queue already stretching from Davao City all the way to Abra in the Cordilleras.

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US raining ‘Hellfire’ on ISIS targets


So far, $6.2 billion has been allocated for military operations against the so-called Islamic State, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. COURTESY OF JEWISHBUSINESSNEWS.COM APRIL 28, 2016

Top US intelligence officials had warned against terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) having sleeper cells in Europe, particularly the UK, Italy and Germany. Describing ISIS “as the most urgent threat to nations,” US president Barack Obama had also announced a military expansion in Syria with additional troops to be sent.

US military commanders in Iraq and Syria are adopting an Israeli battlefield tactic known as “roof knocking” to reduce the number of civilian casualties during airstrikes against terrorist strongholds.

Roof knocking is like a warning shot where a missile is exploded above the roof of a target to warn civilians about an impending attack and give them time to leave the area.

This tactic, which was first used by the Israel Defense Forces several years ago for their Gaza operations, was recently adopted by US troops who fired Hellfire missiles before they bombed a target in Mosul believed to be the financial center of the terrorist group.

Prior to the bombing, US soldiers also dropped leaflets to warn about the impending attack, and then put Hellfire missiles which they airburst on top of the target structure. A civilian female however perished during the attack because she went back into the building and was trampled on by men coming out of the building – which by then had been processed for the strike.

The US had been targeting the financial centers of ISIS, with the latest target in Mosul believed to hold as much as $150 million in cash. As one intelligence observer noted, the US is literally raining Hellfire on terrorists.

Ongpin’s continuing tourism initiative

The upscale Balesin Island Resort in Quezon continues to be a magnet for tourists and visitors especially the health conscious ones who want to experience the state-of-the-art facilities of the Aegle Wellness Center. A four-level structure comprising more than 2,000 square meters, the wellness center is said to be more than twice the size of a wellness center in Bermuda that’s reputed to the the biggest in the world.

Named after the mythological Greek goddess of radiant health, Aegle Wellness Center is increasingly getting popular with its high-tech diagnostic equipment and its Thalassotherapy pools that harness the beneficial effects of seawater. A topnotch group of wellness doctors, nutritionists, nurses, medical technologists and other medical staff complement the modern equipment and facilities that are utilized to conduct diagnostic examinations that will be used to develop a wellness program tailor fit for each client.

Business tycoon Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin has described Aegle as “a masterpiece” and those who have been to the wellness center couldn’t agree more.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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