LAST 2 YEARS: AQUINO BELIEVES BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT 'CHANGE IN ATTITUDE TOWARD GOVT' 

Marking his fourth year in office on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III believes that a change in attitude toward government is one of his biggest achievements, according to a Malacañang official. Elected to office by 15 million Filipinos saddened by his mother’s recent death, Mr. Aquino took his oath as the country’s 15th President on June 30, 2010. “The President has been asked that question. For him, the change in attitude is a big deal,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told state-run dzRB radio. From the apathy that he said marked the years before Mr. Aquino took over from the Arroyo administration in 2010, Lacierda claimed Filipinos had become more hopeful during the past four years. “Now, it’s possible for them to believe that everything is possible, anything is possible. We’ve seen the change in our countrymen,” he said. There has been a “rising appreciation” for government, he said. According to Lacierda, the President would focus on making economic growth more inclusive in the last two years of his term. “Our advocacy, our belief is that we would like to have inclusive growth for all, and so, we would like to make sure that as we leave—as the President leaves after 2016—he has laid the foundation for an economy that will provide equitable growth for all,” he said. “What we want to instill in our countrymen is that ‘let’s not go back anymore to where we were before.’ We have elevated the level of governance. People expect better from the government,” he said. Still, Malacañang is leaving it to historians and political analysts to judge Mr. Aquino’s legacy, Lacierda said. *READ MORE...

(ALSO) Aquino makes pitch for admin presidential bet for 2016 elections: Guess who  

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday made a pitch for the administration’s presidential candidate in 2016—but did not directly say who his choice would be. In a speech in Iloilo City, the President said he and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had jointly campaigned for the daang matuwid (righteous path) policy and said the country would not achieve its development goals if Filipinos strayed away from that path. “Two years from now, we will again pick someone to carry on what we’ve started. I urge you not to deviate. Otherwise, if we go our separate ways, we will not achieve our collective goal,” Mr. Aquino said in his speech, where he trumpeted the government’s infrastructure projects and reforms in the bureaucracy. The President did not directly name who his 2016 candidate would be. Seated behind him on the stage was Roxas, who is widely tipped as the administration’s choice for president in 2016. With Roxas on the stage were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., congressmen and other local officials. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Liberal Party (LP) officials had expressed preference for Roxas as the administration’s standard-bearer but stressed that the President has yet to make an anointment. “Several Liberal Party members have expressed preference for Secretary Mar Roxas. But there is an official process that they would have to undergo to determine who will be the standard-bearer, taking into consideration the President’s preference,” Lacierda said by phone. “As to who that preference will be, we have to wait for the President’s announcement,” he added. Lacierda could not say when the President would make the announcement. In March this year, acting LP president, Transportation Secretary Joseph E. A. Abaya, said Roxas would carry the flag for the party in 2016. Drilon, the LP vice chair, announced in January 2013 Roxas would be the party’s standard-bearer. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Mar Roxas-Butch Abad BUB scheme resurrects PDAF system

The Aquino administration, through Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s (LP) acknowledged bet for the presidency in 2016, and LP strategist Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, is using the budget as a tool for political consolidation mainly through the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) scheme which is being touted as a reform in the budgeting process but is apparently being used as an alternative to fill the gap in political largesse after the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. While the PDAF has been buried, the Abad-Roxas pork barrel scheme has found life and seems to grow bigger in size.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which is headed by Abad, is now in the midst of preparing the 2015 national budget. Under the Budget Call, which is a document which sets the expenditure parameters and the “indicative budget ceiling” of agencies, results of the BUB exercise will be incorporated in the requested appropriations of 13 participating agencies, except housing agencies. The boxing out of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which in turn is headed by Roxas political rival Vice President Jejomar Binay, sticks out like a sore thumb as the agencies recruited by the DBM to join in the BUB project address basic needs like food (DA), health (DOH) and education (DepED), and housing, being a basic need, should be in. While population pressure and land scarcity have led local government units (LGUs) to grapple with shelter issues, for some inexplicable reason housing and HUDCC were left out of the menu. * READ MORE...

ALSO by B. Diokno: RP is the most fragile among Asean-6 countries

JUNE 30  --The Philippines is one of the top 10 most worsened – not most improved — states, both by score and by rank. Seriously? And I thought the country is doing some progress in the area of good governance. The Fund for Peace put the Philippines as the 52nd most fragile state with a score of 85.3 (the higher the score, the better). The score put the Philippines on the index’s “very high warning” for fragility, the fourth-worst on the scale, which ranged from the worst (“very high alert”) to the best (“very sustainable”). Sudan, with a score of 112.9, was deemed the most fragile state while Finland, with a score of 18.7 points, was deemed the most sustainable state. Looking at countries closest to home, the Philippines has remained the most fragile state among Asean- 6 countries, consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The ranking among the more developed Asean member-countries has not changed since four years ago: Singapore first, the Philippines last.Top 10 Most Worsened 2013-2014, By Score READ MORE...

ALSO: Faulty USB charger blamed for Pinay's death in Sydney

A faulty USB charger is being blamed for the death of a 28-year-old Filipina mom in Sydney, Australia. In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, government agency Fair Trading NSW said that Sheryl Anne Aldeguer was found dead by her friends inside her house on April 23, wearing headphones and with burns on her ears and chest. The Fair Trading NSW believes that a faulty phone charger sent a high-voltage electrical pulse into her phone, which went to the earphones she had connected to a laptop. ''The voltage seems to travel up through the faulty charger into her phone and she was wearing earplugs and also operating a laptop which was also plugged into a power point. So the (electricity) traveled back down through the earphones to the laptop and into the power point,'' said Fair Trading NSW's Lynelle Collins as quoted by the Australian newspaper. ''Two-hundred-and-forty volts traveled up into the phone which obviously the phone isn't designed to handle,'' added Collins, who explained that bodies are good conductors of electricity. According to the report, Aldeguer, a mother of two, was about to start her work as a nurse at Gosford Hospital before she died. She was hoping that her family would join her in Australia soon. Authorities in South Wales have already raided Campsie, a shop in Sydney where Aldeguer allegedly bought the $4.95 USB charger which was found non-compliant with Australian safety standards. Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the owners of Campsie could face fines of up to $875,000 and a two-year custodial sentence. He said that they were not aware of the large number of cheap chargers sold in the market in NSW until Aldeguer's death. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: A Dodgy, $4.95 Knock-Off Charger Has Been Blamed For Sheryl Aldeguer's Death 

Authorities have warned consumers against buying cheap knock-off USB chargers for popular devices such as phones and tablets after a woman was found dead, wearing headphones and with burn marks on her ears and chest. Fairfax Media reported the story, and says the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is issuing the warning to prevent further deaths. “We’re only familiar with this one incident and it does look like one of these devices are implicated in the electrocution,” he said in the report. A laptop was resting on the Sheryl Aldeguer’s chest when her body was discovered. According to the report the charger cost around $4.95. Aldeguer, from East Gosford, leaves behind two children and a husband. She was about to begin work as a nurse before her death. The 28-year-old, originally from the Philippines, was in Australia on a working visa. Devices such as power-boards, USB chargers and travel adapters had been removed from a stall in the Sydney suburb of Campsie, and the owner now faces more than $80,000 in fines or two years in prison. According to Fair Trading, the removed devices had no insulation pins or approval marks. A Fair Trading spokesperson, Lynelle Collins, told Fairfax she was speaking on her phone, which was connected to the charger, while also wearing headphones connected to the laptop. “So the (electricity) travelled back down through the earphones to the laptop and into the power point,” she said. “Two-hundred-and-forty volts (then) travelled up into the phone which obviously the phone isn’t designed to handle. * READ MORE...


Read Full Stories here:

Last 2 years: Aquino believes his admin's biggest achievement 'change in attitude toward govt'

Focus on inclusive growth


President Benigno S. Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, LAGUNA, JUNE 30, 2014 (INQUIRER) By TJ Burgonio - Marking his fourth year in office on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III believes that a change in attitude toward government is one of his biggest achievements, according to a Malacañang official.

Elected to office by 15 million Filipinos saddened by his mother’s recent death, Mr. Aquino took his oath as the country’s 15th President on June 30, 2010.

“The President has been asked that question. For him, the change in attitude is a big deal,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told state-run dzRB radio.

From the apathy that he said marked the years before Mr. Aquino took over from the Arroyo administration in 2010, Lacierda claimed Filipinos had become more hopeful during the past four years.

“Now, it’s possible for them to believe that everything is possible, anything is possible. We’ve seen the change in our countrymen,” he said. There has been a “rising appreciation” for government, he said.

According to Lacierda, the President would focus on making economic growth more inclusive in the last two years of his term.

“Our advocacy, our belief is that we would like to have inclusive growth for all, and so, we would like to make sure that as we leave—as the President leaves after 2016—he has laid the foundation for an economy that will provide equitable growth for all,” he said.

“What we want to instill in our countrymen is that ‘let’s not go back anymore to where we were before.’ We have elevated the level of governance. People expect better from the government,” he said.

Still, Malacañang is leaving it to historians and political analysts to judge Mr. Aquino’s legacy, Lacierda said.

* “History, I believe, will judge what would be the President’s biggest achievement. In the meantime, we still have two more years to go, and every year there will always be achievements and it will be up to the historians and the political analysts to decide for themselves what would be the single biggest achievement of this administration,” he said.

Lacierda was not that forthcoming about what accomplishments of the past 12 months the President would be reporting in his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 28.

“Let’s just wait for his State of the Nation Address,” he said.

But based on what issues daily out of the Malacañang public affairs and communications mill in the past year, people can make out the bare bones of what the President will likely claim in his report on July 28.

Pork barrel scam

Mr. Aquino last year ordered the abolition of the pork barrel Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 national budget following the discovery of the scandalous misuse and theft of P10 billion in rural development funds.

Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several officials have been indicted for plunder and graft over the scam.

The President also presided over the signing of a peace agreement with Moro rebels that will see the creation of a new, autonomous Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines, drawing international praise.

But Mr. Aquino has not been spared criticism over disclosures that the executive department suspiciously distributed additional pork barrel funds to senators under the questionable Disbursement Acceleration Program soon after the Senate convicted ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012 for dishonesty in the disclosure of his assets.

Aquino makes pitch for admin presidential bet for 2016 elections: Guess who By TJ BurgonioPhilippine Daily Inquirer2:52 am | Saturday, June 28th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday made a pitch for the administration’s presidential candidate in 2016—but did not directly say who his choice would be.

In a speech in Iloilo City, the President said he and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had jointly campaigned for the daang matuwid (righteous path) policy and said the country would not achieve its development goals if Filipinos strayed away from that path.

“Two years from now, we will again pick someone to carry on what we’ve started. I urge you not to deviate. Otherwise, if we go our separate ways, we will not achieve our collective goal,” Mr. Aquino said in his speech, where he trumpeted the government’s infrastructure projects and reforms in the bureaucracy.

The President did not directly name who his 2016 candidate would be.

Seated behind him on the stage was Roxas, who is widely tipped as the administration’s choice for president in 2016.

With Roxas on the stage were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., congressmen and other local officials.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Liberal Party (LP) officials had expressed preference for Roxas as the administration’s standard-bearer but stressed that the President has yet to make an anointment.

“Several Liberal Party members have expressed preference for Secretary Mar Roxas. But there is an official process that they would have to undergo to determine who will be the standard-bearer, taking into consideration the President’s preference,” Lacierda said by phone.

“As to who that preference will be, we have to wait for the President’s announcement,” he added.

Lacierda could not say when the President would make the announcement.

In March this year, acting LP president, Transportation Secretary Joseph E. A. Abaya, said Roxas would carry the flag for the party in 2016.

Drilon, the LP vice chair, announced in January 2013 Roxas would be the party’s standard-bearer.

* In his speech, the President thanked Iloilo residents for making him and Roxas No. 1 in the 2010 presidential elections.

“Each time I come here and see the transformation that you’re experiencing, I just want to say: Thank you very much,” he said, drawing applause.

“From the start, your trust and support have been full. In the 2010 elections, Secretary Mar Roxas and I were No. 1,” he added.

Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010.

National transformation

Inaugurating a portion of an eight-lane highway in Iloilo City, the President drew attention to the transformation of the bureaucracy and the countryside as an offshoot of the administration’s reforms.

That was why it should be clear to the Iloilo voters who would push for significant and long-term reforms, Mr. Aquino said.

“Now, after four years, let’s take a look at the transformation not only of Iloilo, but the whole country,” he said in his speech, drawing applause. “All this came to pass because you chose the right path.”

In his speech, Mr. Aquino raved about the impact of the P500-million, eight-lane road, named after his late father Sen. Benigno Aquino Sr., on tourism and trade.

Apart from its walk lanes, service road, sidewalk and drainage system, this is the first highway that has a lane for bikers, he said.

“In short, we’ve not only widened the road for 30,000 motorists who use this road every day. We’ve made it safer for our people and more fortified against floods,” Mr. Aquino said.

This would also shorten travel from the Iloilo Esplanade to the international airport from 45 minutes to 25 minutes, he added.

Furthermore, the Iloilo Bridge wasn’t only widened but also fortified, Mr. Aquino said.

Infrastructure projects

“These projects would speed up travel not only for the Ilonggos and Ilonggas, but for the tourists and the businessmen investing in Iloilo,” he said. “Iloilo City is now connected to other municipalities of your province.”

Mr. Aquino credited the coordination between the local and national government for this.

Then speaking of reforms in the bureaucracy, the President reported that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has saved some P26.38 billion in infrastructure projects from July 2010 to March this year by making the bidding process transparent.

On top of this, the government allotted P404.3 billion for the construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure this year, up from P200.3 billion in 2011, he said.

In coordination with the Department of Tourism, the DPWH is now repairing 202 roads across the country, including the Iloilo City-Jaro Road and the widening of the Iloilo-Tacas Road, and Iloilo Coastal Road, Mr. Aquino said.

“Indeed it’s true: through the efficient coordination of the agencies we’re able to identify projects that needed to be prioritized to better serve our countrymen,” he said.

He also reported that by August, the government would finally craft the detailed engineering and design of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project, one of the key irrigation projects of the government.

“‘Every bridge, every road, port, airport, dam and building in your province will prove to the succeeding generations how far Filipinos can go, if they trust fully in reforms, don’t think twice at linking arms together, and are ready to achieve their dreams,” he said.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Mar Roxas-Butch Abad BUB scheme resurrects PDAF system
Written by Tribune Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

LP CONSOLIDATION MAIN TARGET OF BILLED BUDGET REFORM


ROXAS

The Aquino administration, through Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s (LP) acknowledged bet for the presidency in 2016, and LP strategist Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, is using the budget as a tool for political consolidation mainly through the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) scheme which is being touted as a reform in the budgeting process but is apparently being used as an alternative to fill the gap in political largesse after the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

While the PDAF has been buried, the Abad-Roxas pork barrel scheme has found life and seems to grow bigger in size.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which is headed by Abad, is now in the midst of preparing the 2015 national budget.

Under the Budget Call, which is a document which sets the expenditure parameters and the “indicative budget ceiling” of agencies, results of the BUB exercise will be incorporated in the requested appropriations of 13 participating agencies, except housing agencies.

The boxing out of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which in turn is headed by Roxas political rival Vice President Jejomar Binay, sticks out like a sore thumb as the agencies recruited by the DBM to join in the BUB project address basic needs like food (DA), health (DOH) and education (DepED), and housing, being a basic need, should be in.

While population pressure and land scarcity have led local government units (LGUs) to grapple with shelter issues, for some inexplicable reason housing and HUDCC were left out of the menu.

* For this year, BUB funds total P20.1 billion, spread out in 1,226 municipalities. This has been reputed as the LP’s counterpoint to PDAF, under a scheme which bypasses legislators and funnels funds direct to LGUs.

In terms of funding, the BUB’s outlay is bigger than what all congressmen would have gotten from PDAF if it was not delisted this year as a result of the SC decision.

Different local government units and agencies were the recipients of a total of P6.634 billion in mainly DILG assistance from April to June this year based on documents provided The Tribune.

Last April 61 LGUs in Eastern Visayas were the recipients of P215 million; on April 24, P2 million went to 54 LGUs in the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR); 23 LGUs received P258 million; and P38 million went to 21 LGUs in Northern Mindanao last May 21.

A table provided The Tribune on the BUB scheme funds distribution also showed 17 police stations in Albay last May 27 obtained P34.1 million; 54 Bicol LGUs also received P91.6 million on the same day.

On May 28, 36 LGUs in Camarines Sur received P641 million while 23 police stations got P14.6 million.

The Bohol provincial government also received P2.5 billion in Yolanda assistance last June 6 while 68 other LGUs in the province were given P662 million.

These were on top of 24 fire trucks, two new fire stations, three new police stations and the repair of 11 police stations in the province with a total cost of P219.1 million.

The funds were distributed under several programs such as the grassroots participatory budget process for water supply projects, grassroots participatory budge process, the performance challenge fund, the DILG’s Oplan Hilamos program, the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) or PAMANA program, and rehabilitation assistance of areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

Under the BUB scheme, in the guise of grassroots empowerment, towns were asked to draw up a wish list of P15 million worth of projects each.

The scheme, thus, seeks to clone PDAF but this time not as a congressional entitlement but something that is brokered by DBM and facilitated by DILG.

For it not to attract attention, the items were not booked separately in the national budget. It is what is called a dispersed allotment, embedded in the 13 agencies: the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Education (DepED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Electrification Administration (NEA), Department of Health (DOH), DILG, Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

BUB requests are prepared under the auspices of DBM and DILG and then attached to the budget of the agencies. It can be said that the 13 agencies are to some degree emasculated in drawing up their budget as a big portion of it has been ceded to the DBM-DILG combine, using LGUs of course as cover.

BUB has been renamed last year as Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process. Sources said its budget for 2015 may go up to P25 billion.

BUB is also being used as an organizing vehicle. Under the DBM-DILG-DSWD-National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Joint Memorandum Circular of November 26, 2013, the drawing up of projects for BUB funding entails multiple consultations involving the most number of non government organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs).

The DILG plays a major role in naming the organizations to benefit from the scheme despite its functions not encompassing the task. To cite one example, the DILG will convene Civil Society General Assembly in cities and town, a situation that is patently incongruous because a government agency tasked to monitor LGU operations has no business organizing NGO affairs.

The DSWD is in the fray, too, despite the fact that is has no organic presence in towns and cities, because its functions were one of those devolved under the Local Government Code.

While the selection of most NGOs and CSOs will be done along generic sectoral lines, the joint memorandum specifically requires the participation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer scheme leaders identified by DSWD plus “five barangay development council vice-chairpersons selected by DSWD’s KALAHI-CIDDS program.”

This means that recipients of the CCT largesse are being given seats on the table and are slowly being mentored to flex their political muscle, preparatory to their being tapped as a voting bloc in the next elections.

In some BUB assemblies, they’re being told that they must be active politically in order to ensure the continuity of the 4Ps and, therefore, their stipend.

While the BUB assembly is their forum to lobby, those with vested political agenda are using it as a recruitment ground for some electoral projects,

It is also specified in the memorandum that the regional overseer of the BUB process , the Regional Poverty Reduction Action Teams, or RPRATs, will be headed by the DILG Regional Director as Chairman, with the DBM Regional Director as Vice Chairman. The import of this is that DILG have not only subverted the Regional Development Council but usurped its powers too.

The memo in effect demoted the role of NEDA from principal economic planner in the region to ordinary member of a DILG led team . In terms of competence, there is no doubt that the NEDA has the staff, the experience and the expertise in making economic blueprints. A NEDA director, with his or her PhD, is more capable of drafting development plans than a DILG director.

The BUB’s purpose is to consult the public on managing and allocating public funds. In 2013, 595 of the poorest municipalities and cities were able to develop Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans (LPRAPs) after consultation with
the civil society organizations (CSOs) and local governments.

In 2014, the coverage of the BUB will be expanded to 1,233 cities and municipalities which former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said runs counter to the essence of representative democracy in which citizen voters elect their representative to make policy decisions for them.

Diokno said effectively, the scheme gives national government officials the power to choose who among the many CSOs can participate in the BUB program.

“One may say this is not a real budget reform but a scheme for political consolidation,” he said.

Which CSO will represent what sector of society? This is less a real budget reform than a scheme for political consolidation, Diokno added.

The BUB approach, he said, is an extension of previous initiatives to involve the regional development councils in the budget process; it appears to be more of a political tool to get the support of favored civil organizations.

“In previous administrations there had been initiatives to institute a comprehensive and decentralized project monitoring and evaluation systems, he added.

In practice, the bub is a tedious and time-consuming process and violates the essence of representative democracy, where citizens elect their representatives to make policy decisions for them, he said. Chito Lozada

RP is the most fragile among Asean-6 countries Written by Tribune Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

The Philippines is one of the top 10 most worsened – not most improved — states, both by score and by rank.

Seriously?

And I thought the country is doing some progress in the area of good governance.

The Fund for Peace put the Philippines as the 52nd most fragile state with a score of 85.3 (the higher the score, the better).

The score put the Philippines on the index’s “very high warning” for fragility, the fourth-worst on the scale, which ranged from the worst (“very high alert”) to the best (“very sustainable”).

Sudan, with a score of 112.9, was deemed the most fragile state while Finland, with a score of 18.7 points, was deemed the most sustainable state.

Looking at countries closest to home, the Philippines has remained the most fragile state among Asean- 6 countries, consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The ranking among the more developed Asean member-countries has not changed since four years ago: Singapore first, the Philippines last.

* Top 10 Most Worsened 2013-2014, By Score

MOVE COUNTRY 2013 2014
+5.3 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC O5.3 110.6
+4.2 SYRIA 97.4 101.6
+3.8 LIBYA 84.5 87.0
+3.1 MOZAMBIQUE 82.8 85.3
+2.5 PHILIPPINES 82.8 85.3

MOST FRAGILE

The Philippines has been the most fragile among Asean-6 countries, especially in terms of poverty reduction and public services, which include public infrastructure.

“Poverty and economic decline strain the ability of the state to provide for its citizens if they cannot provide for themselves and can create friction between the “haves” and the “have nots”, the Fund for Peace notes.

This economic indicator includes pressures and measures related to economic deficit, government debt, unemployment and adult unemployment. It also measures purchasing power, GDP per capita, GDP growth and inflation.

On poverty and economic decline, the numbers suggest rising misery rather than improving happiness. In 2010, the Philippines’ score for poverty and economic decline was 5.8; in 2014, it was 5.7 points, or practically unchanged.

With population growing rapidly (approximately 2 million Filipinos are born yearly) and with income inequality worsening, no wonder many Filipinos do not see their personal lives improving despite the two consecutive years of above normal growth in 2012 and 2013.

The warning to policy makers is unmistakably clear: non-inclusive growth is not sustainable. Strong growth accompanied by rising poverty might lead to social conflict that could disrupt future growth.

On public services, it is clear that the state is responsible for the provision of health, education, and sanitation services, among others.

This indicator pressures and measures related to policing, criminality, education provision, literacy, water and sanitation, and infrastructure. It also includes quality of health care, telephony, internet access, energy reliability, and roads.

Among Asean-6 economies, the Philippines has the lowest score in public services (6.9 in 2014 from 5.0 in 2010), and the highest erosion of score (1.9) from 2010 to 2014. This suggests lack of focus and commitment on the part of policy makers to improve public services.

As the Asean integration approaches, this should alarm our national leaders and decision makers. These numbers suggest that the Philippines has become less, rather than more, competitive vis-à-vis its Asean neighbors.

WHAT’S THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FAILED STATE INDEX (FSI)?

“Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe,” according to the Fund for Peace.

The Fragile State Index (FSI) is based on The Fund for Peace’s proprietary Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical platform. It distills millions of pieces of information into a form that is relevant, easily digestible, and informative. Based on comprehensive social science methodology, data from three primary sources are triangulated and subjected to critical review to obtain final scores for the FSI.

“Millions of documents are analyzed every year. By applying highly specialized search parameters, scores are apportioned for every country based on 12 key political, social and economic indicators (uneven development; poverty and income decline; legitimacy of the state; public services, human rights and rule of law; security apparatus; factionalized elites; and external intervention) that are the result of years of painstaking expert social science research.”

The FSI numbers, for this year and over time, suggest that the Philippines, in comparison with its neighboring countries and the rest of the world, has a long way to go before it becomes truly competitive in the global economy.

The Philippines has a lot of catching up to do. Contrary to Malacanang’s self-serving press releases, it has even regressed in many aspects of governance. The sad part is that the Philippines backslides while its Asean counterparts move forward.

FROM ABS-CBN

Faulty USB charger blamed for Pinay's death in Sydney ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 06/28/2014 6:30 PM | Updated as of 06/29/2014 12:48 PM


Photo grabbed from the Facebook account of Sheryl Aldeguer

MANILA – A faulty USB charger is being blamed for the death of a 28-year-old Filipina mom in Sydney, Australia.

In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, government agency Fair Trading NSW said that Sheryl Anne Aldeguer was found dead by her friends inside her house on April 23, wearing headphones and with burns on her ears and chest.

The Fair Trading NSW believes that a faulty phone charger sent a high-voltage electrical pulse into her phone, which went to the earphones she had connected to a laptop.

''The voltage seems to travel up through the faulty charger into her phone and she was wearing earplugs and also operating a laptop which was also plugged into a power point. So the (electricity) traveled back down through the earphones to the laptop and into the power point,'' said Fair Trading NSW's Lynelle Collins as quoted by the Australian newspaper.

''Two-hundred-and-forty volts traveled up into the phone which obviously the phone isn't designed to handle,'' added Collins, who explained that bodies are good conductors of electricity.

According to the report, Aldeguer, a mother of two, was about to start her work as a nurse at Gosford Hospital before she died.

She was hoping that her family would join her in Australia soon.

Authorities in South Wales have already raided Campsie, a shop in Sydney where Aldeguer allegedly bought the $4.95 USB charger which was found non-compliant with Australian safety standards.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the owners of Campsie could face fines of up to $875,000 and a two-year custodial sentence.

He said that they were not aware of the large number of cheap chargers sold in the market in NSW until Aldeguer's death.

FROM BUSINESS INSIDER AUSTRALIA

A Dodgy, $4.95 Knock-Off Charger Has Been Blamed For Sheryl Aldeguer's Death BEN COLLINS JUN 27 2014, 11:40 AM BOOKMARK 51


Mother-of-two Sheryl Anne Aldeguer (Photo: Facebook)

Authorities have warned consumers against buying cheap knock-off USB chargers for popular devices such as phones and tablets after a woman was found dead, wearing headphones and with burn marks on her ears and chest.

Fairfax Media reported the story, and says the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is issuing the warning to prevent further deaths.

“We’re only familiar with this one incident and it does look like one of these devices are implicated in the electrocution,” he said in the report. A laptop was resting on the Sheryl Aldeguer’s chest when her body was discovered. According to the report the charger cost around $4.95.

Aldeguer, from East Gosford, leaves behind two children and a husband. She was about to begin work as a nurse before her death. The 28-year-old, originally from the Philippines, was in Australia on a working visa.

Devices such as power-boards, USB chargers and travel adapters had been removed from a stall in the Sydney suburb of Campsie, and the owner now faces more than $80,000 in fines or two years in prison. According to Fair Trading, the removed devices had no insulation pins or approval marks.

A Fair Trading spokesperson, Lynelle Collins, told Fairfax she was speaking on her phone, which was connected to the charger, while also wearing headphones connected to the laptop.

“So the (electricity) travelled back down through the earphones to the laptop and into the power point,” she said.

“Two-hundred-and-forty volts (then) travelled up into the phone which obviously the phone isn’t designed to handle.

* “Bodies are very good conductors of electricity so it’s travelled through her body.”

Fair Trading also warned consumers to dispose of any unapproved devices in its statement:

Do not purchase or use an electrical product that does not carry a recognised safety approval mark or insulation on the pins of the plug.

Consumers in possession of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, typically used to charge phones and tablets, should bend the pins on the chargers and dispose of them immediately.

Warning over USB chargers after woman dies from apparent electrocution Date June 26, 2014 Saffron Howden

Unapproved phone chargers can kill

A Sydney woman has died in an apparent electrocution caused by a phoney USB phone charger.

Sheryl Aldeguer left behind two young children and a husband when she was electrocuted by a faulty USB phone charger in her rented room in Gosford in April.

The 28-year-old, from the Philippines, was to start work as a theatre nurse at Gosford Hospital within days of her death.

Authorities used Ms Aldeguer's death to warn consumers against buying rip-off USB-style chargers.

The young woman was wearing headphones and holding her laptop when she was found dead with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution.


Sheryl Aldeguer was a married mother of two. Photo: Facebook

She had spent six months in Melbourne converting her nursing training to Australian standards and she had hoped her young family would join her within months.

A report will be prepared for the coroner after her body discovered about found 4pm on April 23.

Brisbane Waters police are investigating the circumstances surrounding her death.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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