MAYON VOLCANO SHOWING SIGNS OF ABNORMALITY ANEW  

Mayon Volcano again showed signs of abnormality within the past 48 hours with two earthquakes, 15 rock fall incidents, sulfur emissions, and an inflated surface, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said yesterday. “The data indicate the volcano may have been experiencing increased volcanic gas emission and slight but persistent swelling due to the intrusion of magma beneath,” Phivolcs said. The agency said that under alert level two, these abnormal precursors could mean that “magma has most likely intruded at depth and the current conditions could eventually lead to a larger eruption.”  Phivolcs reiterated its advice for the public to remain alert and stay away from the six kilometer-radius permanent danger zone.

Citing accounts of Mayon’s previous explosions, Phivolcs Bicol chief volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the presence of a lava dome at the crater could be a prelude to another eruption. “But we could not tell yet how soon, considering the prevailing abnormal activities of Mayon which are slow but sustained,” Laguerta told The STAR. He said since the trajectory of Mayon’s explosions is vertical to its base, or follows a straight line, the magma channel is a straight line down to the magma chamber. “This means new magma is always present down the channel. What it needs only is a pressure through degassing process to push the magma to the upper chamber then out to the crater,” Laguerta said.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Chocolate Hills may “disappear” 

CARMEN, BOHOL, Philippines — Trees of various species have been growing along the slopes of almost 80 percent of the thousands of the world-famous Chocolate Hills, the iconic brown-image of which is now being threatened to disappear. Mayor Francisco Ricardo Toribio of this town told The Freeman that the famed Chocolate Hills, as its distinctive color might disappear from the sights of the tourists unless immediate action is done. The trees may eventually cover the hills and the cogon grasses that turn brown during summer, thus the hills will no longer be seen as "chocolate-colored" panorama. "If these hills are fully covered by trees they may not be called Chocolate Hills anymore," he said. Toribio estimated that only about 20 percent of the hills may still be considered strictly as the "Chocolate Hills" by now. There are at least 1,265 hills scattered unevenly throughout the lowlands of this town and the nearby Batuan and Sagbayan. The mayor said that, if he only had his way, he would start trimming or cutting those trees to avoid these from slowly covering the hills and the grasses. There is an agency being in charge of this tourist spot and he wondered if the local government is allowed to act instead. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Pinoy seamen vulnerable to Ebola virus - TUCP   

Filipino seafarers are still vulnerable to Ebola virus disease infection amid the no shore leave and no change crew policies strictly imposed by Philippine government and other international maritime bodies, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said Thursday. TUCP said Filipino seamen may contract the disease when they interact with shore-based workers, government inspectors and when the ship replenish food and water supplies in countries of destination known to be infected with the virus. "Filipino seamen and other seafarers in general are still prone to contamination because of contact with shore-based dock workers particularly when they load and unload cargoes. They are also defenseless against possible contagion upon interaction with government maritime authorities such as immigration, customs and health inspectors climb on the ship for mandatory inspections," TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said. He said seafarers are most vulnerable when they replenish drinking water and purchase food such as meat, vegetables and spices through ship chandlers in countries with virus outbreak. "There is a need, therefore, to create new or enhance existing maritime policies to minimize the risk of exposure of our sea-based workers," Tanjusay added.

One truck lane’ sa C-5 aarangkada ngayon

Ngayon ang unang araw nang pagpapatupad ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ng “one truck lane” sa kahabaan ng C-5 Road upang maisaayos umano ang daloy ng trapiko. Ayon kay MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino na “test run” pa lamang ang kanilang isasagawa at titignan kung magiging epektibo ito upang mabawasan ang antas ng aksidente sa C-5 Road. Nilinaw rin nito na hindi nila inaasahan na mababawasan ang pagbubuhol ng trapiko sa C-5 Road dahil sa parehong dami pa rin naman ng sasakyan ang babagtas sa kalsada ngunit maisasaayos umano nila ito sa pagbibigay ng isang lane lamang sa mga trak. Pinaalala rin ni Tolentino na papayagan lamang na magamit ng mga trak ang C-5 truck lane tuwing alas-10:00 ng umaga hanggang alas-5:00 ng hapon at alas-10:00 ng gabi hanggang alas-6:00 ng umaga dahil epektibo pa rin ang truck ban. Ipagbabawal din ang pagparada ng mga container trucks sa gilid ng C-5 at mga kadikit na kalsada; huhulihin at pagmumultahin ng P2,000 ang mga trak na lalabag sa bagong polisiya at pagpapa-blacklist ng trucking company. Bukod dito ipatutupad bukas hanggang Enero 31, 2015 ang pagsasara ng 7 U-turn slots sa C-5 maliban sa mga nasa ilalim ng flyovers at intersections.THIS IS THE FULL
REPORT FROM PHILSTAR'S 'PANG-MASA' SECTION.

ALSO: Noy hit for not certifying FOI bill as urgent  

Former Manila representative Benny Abante yesterday scored President Aquino for withdrawing his certification on the Freedom of Information (FOI) as a urgent measure that needs immediate passage by Congress. “Disappointing, discouraging, and disheartening,” Abante said in reaction to Aquino’s recent justification for the non-certification of the FOI as urgent, saying it is not a matter of national emergency. “The President should certify the FOI bill as urgent since battling corruption is a matter of national emergency in our country – and any means to combat graft should be considered as such,” he said. Abante said the President’s statements “betrayed a poor understanding” of the issues involved in the FOI advocacy. “This is not about his administration or any specific administration; what we want is to institutionalize measures that will deter and expose corruption at all levels of government. For someone who purportedly claims to be a champion of good governance, the President’s lukewarm reaction to FOI is perplexing,” he said.

Abante, the former chairman of the House committee on public information, stressed that presidential support was preferable. He said administration allies in the House of Representatives have interpreted the President’s lack of enthusiasm for the FOI bill “as a clear sign that FOI is not a legislative priority of his administration.”  Abante was hopeful that the growing clamor for the FOI bill would encourage the President to change his mind about the proposed measure. Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, however, said there is no need for President Aquino to certify FOI as an urgent measure for its immediate passage in Congress. Castelo said the FOI bill is one of the priorities listed by the House leadership led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. amid the growing outcry over the Aquino administration’s failure to support the transparency and anti-corruption measure. “There’s no need for us to wait for any marching orders or imprimatur from the President,” Castelo said.  “We should, and we will, take up the cudgels for our respective constituents and the people who want greater transparency and accountability in government,” he said. *READ MORE...

ALSO Freeman Opinion: That New York Times editorial on Pres. Noy

I have never done this in my 27 years of writing columns. But last Aug.28, 2014, The New York Times came up with an editorial about the plan by Pres. Benigno Aquino III to extend his term. I’m sure that our faithful readers do not have a copy of this New York Times editorial, so I will reprint this story so that our readers would know how the No.1 US newspaper thinks of Pres. Aquino. So here’s the article in full. “POLITICAL MISCHIEF IN THE PHILIPPINES President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines is now hinting at running for a second term in 2016, which would require a constitutional amendment. He has also suggested limiting the power of the Supreme Court, which, on July 1, declared parts of Mr. Aquino’s economic program illegal. That, too, would require adjusting the Constitution. These threats jeopardize Philippine democracy. Mr. Aquino wants more time to complete his reform programs, but there will always be unfinished business. The 1987 Constitution limits the president to a single six-year term. The Constitution was promulgated under his mother, Corazon Aquino, after the overthrow of the 20-year dictatorship predecessors, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Ferdinand Marcos. Despite her efforts, the presidency remained a fount of patronage and a source of corruption.

Mr. Aquino’s two immediate and Joseph Estrada, were charged after they left office with illegally feeding from the public trough. Ms. Arroyo was charged with misusing state lottery funds. Mr. Estrada was removed from office and convicted of various corruption charges, but he was pardoned in 2007. Mr. Aquino believes that the Supreme Court has grown too powerful and that someone needs to reassert executive authority. By a 13-to-0 vote, the court struck down a spending program he created to stimulate the economy. It ruled that he had exceeded his authority in disbursing funds and that parts of the program consisted of irregular pork-barrel spending. Mr. Aquino came to power in 2010 vowing to rid the Philippines of corruption. At that time, the country ranked 134th in Transparency International’s corruption index. In 2013, it ranked 94th. Mr. Aquino should uphold the Constitution of a fragile democracy if only out of respect for his father, who was assassinated in the struggle against Marcos, and for his mother, who died in 2009 after leading the “people power” that triumphed over the excesses and abuses of the presidency. In practical terms, that means he should stop butting heads with the court and gracefully step down when his term is up.” This New York Times article ought to put Pres. Aquino in his proper place. Indeed, it is no longer us Filipinos bashing PNoy! Even the Yanks are also bashing him for being a threat to Philippine Democracy! PNoy ought to resign.THIS IS THE FULL ARTICLE ON THE COLUMN TITLE.

ALSO Freeman Editorial: Cash doleouts like being astride a tiger  

The cash doleouts amounting to billions of pesos that government has been giving to the poor have not produced the results government naively expected from its folly. Despite the cash assistance, there are now even more poor people than before the assistance was given. More and more children are dropping out of school despite keeping them there being one of the requirements for the dole. Clearly the program is not working and even government is aware of the failure. Not a few insiders are wanting a review. But whether the program gets reviewed or not, we do not believe the government, whether this one or the next ones that will follow it, will ever get around to scrapping it even if it wanted to. Embarking on such a foolhardy program was like getting on the back of a tiger -- there is no way anyone can get off without getting eaten live by the animal. To be sure, it is always the duty and responsibility of government, any government, to take care of its constituents, poor or not, but most especially the poor and underprivileged. But social amelioration programs must come in practical and meaningful packages that are not only productive but also sustainable. Cash doleouts do not belong in this category. Wealthy countries may give cash doleouts, but only because they can afford to, and only on top of other basic services.

The Philippines is far from being wealthy. For it to throw away billions of pesos it can ill afford, and on top of what it has utterly failed to provide in terms of modern basic services, is sheer braggadocio on the part of government. It is plainly crazy for the 10th most corrupt country in the world to place billions of pesos ostensibly meant for the lowest and most powerless 70 percent of its 100 million population (10th in the world) in the hands of its corrupt officials. The cash doleouts have not been used for the purpose for which they were given. Instead they have been used to further entrench a system of political patronage that is mainly responsible for why the poor will always remain poor in the first place. Worse, the doleouts have instilled in the poor an expectation that has become a dangerous social condition in our midst.  The few thousands of pesos that the poor have come to expect to receive every month can no longer be taken away from them without causing a riot. Even if the government sees the uselessness of its folly, it is left with no other recourse than to perpetuate the folly lest it face a revolution in its hands. And because the poor are growing in number, the cash doleouts will have to grow exponentially bigger for the same reason that it can no longer be withdrawn. As the cash doleouts grow bigger to keep in step with the increasing number of poor people, it will start to eat into the other needs that government must address and fill. Once these other needs begin to feel the crunch, the government will have even bigger problems in its hands. Whoever gets to lead this country at crunch time will find leadership a most terrible thing indeed.THIS IS THE FULL EDITORIAL.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Mayon Volcano showing signs of abnormality anew

LEGAZPI CITY, SEPTMEBR 1, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Cet Dematera - Mayon Volcano again showed signs of abnormality within the past 48 hours with two earthquakes, 15 rock fall incidents, sulfur emissions, and an inflated surface, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said yesterday.

“The data indicate the volcano may have been experiencing increased volcanic gas emission and slight but persistent swelling due to the intrusion of magma beneath,” Phivolcs said.

The agency said that under alert level two, these abnormal precursors could mean that “magma has most likely intruded at depth and the current conditions could eventually lead to a larger eruption.”

Phivolcs reiterated its advice for the public to remain alert and stay away from the six kilometer-radius permanent danger zone.

Citing accounts of Mayon’s previous explosions, Phivolcs Bicol chief volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the presence of a lava dome at the crater could be a prelude to another eruption.

“But we could not tell yet how soon, considering the prevailing abnormal activities of Mayon which are slow but sustained,” Laguerta told The STAR.

He said since the trajectory of Mayon’s explosions is vertical to its base, or follows a straight line, the magma channel is a straight line down to the magma chamber.

“This means new magma is always present down the channel. What it needs only is a pressure through degassing process to push the magma to the upper chamber then out to the crater,” Laguerta said.

FROM THE FREEMAN

Chocolate Hills may “disappear” By Ric V. Obedencio (The Freeman) | Updated August 31, 2014 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


CHOCOLATE HILL

CARMEN, BOHOL, Philippines — Trees of various species have been growing along the slopes of almost 80 percent of the thousands of the world-famous Chocolate Hills, the iconic brown-image of which is now being threatened to disappear.

Mayor Francisco Ricardo Toribio of this town told The Freeman that the famed Chocolate Hills, as its distinctive color might disappear from the sights of the tourists unless immediate action is done.

The trees may eventually cover the hills and the cogon grasses that turn brown during summer, thus the hills will no longer be seen as "chocolate-colored" panorama. "If these hills are fully covered by trees they may not be called Chocolate Hills anymore," he said.

Toribio estimated that only about 20 percent of the hills may still be considered strictly as the "Chocolate Hills" by now. There are at least 1,265 hills scattered unevenly throughout the lowlands of this town and the nearby Batuan and Sagbayan.

The mayor said that, if he only had his way, he would start trimming or cutting those trees to avoid these from slowly covering the hills and the grasses. There is an agency being in charge of this tourist spot and he wondered if the local government is allowed to act instead.

* The LGU's part has been limited to operate the Chocolate Hills Complex, which has a viewing deck for tourists to have a 360-degree view of the hills.

The Complex also sells foodstuffs and souvenirs to tourists, of which 70 percent of the revenues goes to the LGU and the rest to the provincial government, said Toribio.

After the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last year, the hotel in the area was damaged and had to be demolished for being unfit for occupancy, he said, adding that his administration is now doing its best to construct a new one.

Toribio admitted that tourist arrivals at the Complex had declined considerably right after the tremor, but it has gradually recovering now. An average of 700 visitors come here during weekdays and about 1,500 on weekends, still below the pre-quake average of 2,000 visitors, he added. (FREEMAN)

Pinoy seamen vulnerable to Ebola virus - TUCP Dennis Carcamo | Updated Thursday August 28, 2014 - 4:10pm SHARE THIS: 0 0 Google +0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino seafarers are still vulnerable to Ebola virus disease infection amid the no shore leave and no change crew policies strictly imposed by Philippine government and other international maritime bodies, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said Thursday.

TUCP said Filipino seamen may contract the disease when they interact with shore-based workers, government inspectors and when the ship replenish food and water supplies in countries of destination known to be infected with the virus.

"Filipino seamen and other seafarers in general are still prone to contamination because of contact with shore-based dock workers particularly when they load and unload cargoes. They are also defenseless against possible contagion upon interaction with government maritime authorities such as immigration, customs and health inspectors climb on the ship for mandatory inspections," TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

He said seafarers are most vulnerable when they replenish drinking water and purchase food such as meat, vegetables and spices through ship chandlers in countries with virus outbreak.

"There is a need, therefore, to create new or enhance existing maritime policies to minimize the risk of exposure of our sea-based workers," Tanjusay added.

* Meanwhile, members of the Philippine Seafarers' Union of the Associated Labor Unions (PSU-ALU) were told to strictly observe the 'no shore leave' advisory and other safety measures issued for seafarers by the Philippine government and the International Transport Federation (ITF) amid report of a Filipino seaman allegedly being tested for Ebola virus in Togo.

Shore leaves are a few hours respite granted by immigration of country destination to seafarers to disembark ship and access phones and the internet to contact family, to seek welfare, social, medical or psychological support after being cooped up in ship for many weeks.

"All our members in the PSU-ALU were instructed to observe carefully the guidance issued both by the Philippine government and the ITF. These include the 'no shore leave' advisory on all ports of destination reported to have presence of the Ebola virus," Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the PSU-ALU, said.

Besides disallowing shore leave, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) advised all shipping principals and employers with ships operating or calling on ports of the affected countries to provide seafarers with masks, gloves, and goggles as necessary to limit the chance of contamination.

The same memorandum also clarifies that it shall be the responsibility of the ship master or the designated ship medical officer to report any case involving crew members with symptoms of Ebola virus disease to their principal/employer who in turn are required to coordinate with the appropriate international marine medical providers to manage a virus contamination on board.

FROM PHILSTAR 'PANGMASA' SECTION

‘One truck lane’ sa C-5 aarangkada ngayon Ni Danilo Garcia (Pang-Masa) | Updated September 1, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Ngayon ang unang araw nang pagpapatupad ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ng “one truck lane” sa kahabaan ng C-5 Road upang maisaayos umano ang daloy ng trapiko.

Ayon kay MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino na “test run” pa lamang ang kanilang isasagawa at titignan kung magiging epektibo ito upang mabawasan ang antas ng aksidente sa C-5 Road.

Nilinaw rin nito na hindi nila inaasahan na mababawasan ang pagbubuhol ng trapiko sa C-5 Road dahil sa parehong dami pa rin naman ng sasakyan ang babagtas sa kalsada ngunit maisasaayos umano nila ito sa pagbibigay ng isang lane lamang sa mga trak.

Pinaalala rin ni Tolentino na papayagan lamang na magamit ng mga trak ang C-5 truck lane tuwing alas-10:00 ng umaga hanggang alas-5:00 ng hapon at alas-10:00 ng gabi hanggang alas-6:00 ng umaga dahil epektibo pa rin ang truck ban.

Ipagbabawal din ang pagparada ng mga container trucks sa gilid ng C-5 at mga kadikit na kalsada; huhulihin at pagmumultahin ng P2,000 ang mga trak na lalabag sa bagong polisiya at pagpapa-blacklist ng trucking company.

Bukod dito ipatutupad bukas hanggang Enero 31, 2015 ang pagsasara ng 7 U-turn slots sa C-5 maliban sa mga nasa ilalim ng flyovers at intersections.

Noy hit for not certifying FOI bill as urgent By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 1, 2014 - 12:00am 2 2 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - Former Manila representative Benny Abante yesterday scored President Aquino for withdrawing his certification on the Freedom of Information (FOI) as a urgent measure that needs immediate passage by Congress.

“Disappointing, discouraging, and disheartening,” Abante said in reaction to Aquino’s recent justification for the non-certification of the FOI as urgent, saying it is not a matter of national emergency.

“The President should certify the FOI bill as urgent since battling corruption is a matter of national emergency in our country – and any means to combat graft should be considered as such,” he said.

Abante said the President’s statements “betrayed a poor understanding” of the issues involved in the FOI advocacy.

“This is not about his administration or any specific administration; what we want is to institutionalize measures that will deter and expose corruption at all levels of government. For someone who purportedly claims to be a champion of good governance, the President’s lukewarm reaction to FOI is perplexing,” he said.

Abante, the former chairman of the House committee on public information, stressed that presidential support was preferable.

He said administration allies in the House of Representatives have interpreted the President’s lack of enthusiasm for the FOI bill “as a clear sign that FOI is not a legislative priority of his administration.”

Abante was hopeful that the growing clamor for the FOI bill would encourage the President to change his mind about the proposed measure.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, however, said there is no need for President Aquino to certify FOI as an urgent measure for its immediate passage in Congress.

Castelo said the FOI bill is one of the priorities listed by the House leadership led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. amid the growing outcry over the Aquino administration’s failure to support the transparency and anti-corruption measure.

“There’s no need for us to wait for any marching orders or imprimatur from the President,” Castelo said.

“We should, and we will, take up the cudgels for our respective constituents and the people who want greater transparency and accountability in government,” he said.

* Castelo said the lawmakers are duty-bound and under moral obligation to pass the FOI bill as soon as possible.

“We will marshal forces and consensus for this even if some sectors and individuals are blocking it,” he added.

The FOI bill remains stalled at the committee on public information currently chaired by Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, whom several authors said appeared to be acting upon orders from Malacañang to delay its passage until 2016 so the administration will not be covered by it.

The 24 authors have agreed among themselves to consolidate their respective versions to speed up the process, but Almonte appeared not be keen on convening the committee as often as it should. The last committee meeting was held several months back.

Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, another author of the bill, said the enactment of such a measure into law would go a long way in preventing and minimizing corruption.

“Without an FOI law, public officials can withhold certain documents, claiming confidentiality when all they want to do is to keep secret their wrongdoings,” Tambunting said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, also a proponent of the FOI bill, earlier expressed her frustration over the slow pace of deliberations on the measure, saying “technicalities” were being raised by some opposing the measure.

Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, chairman of the committee on good government and public accountability, said the measure is necessary for transparency in the military.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon earlier said Malacañang’s refusal to disclose details of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, may prove to be “the single largest stumbling block” to the passage of the FOI bill.

FREEMAN: BY BOBIT AVILA

That New York Times editorial on Pres. Noy SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit Avila (The Freeman) | Updated September 1, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Bobit Avila

Our guest for our special presentation on our talk show “Straight from the Sky” is a very special person who came to the Philippines for a series of meetings. His name is Tim Harvey and he works with Google… yes that Google in Mountain View, California. Tim Harvey is an American who is married to someone from San Carlos City and he has a love and passion for Philippine languages… and yes, he doesn’t believe that the Philippines should have a national language. That’s the reason why I have him on this tv talk show.

Tim Harvey is a software engineer and in the early 1990s, while an engineer with PI Systems (which designed an early pen-based tablet computer), he came to the Philippines to arrange for development partners. Later, he returned to establish “Ato Ni,” an outsource company that did early preparation work in advance of the release of Windows 95.

In the late 1990s Tim Harvey started the Bisaya Website and later became a founding member of DILA with Ernie Turla (a friend and neighbor in Portland, Oregon) and other advocates of Philippine languages. I joined DILA very early and knew the name of Tim Harvey, but I have never met him before.

But Tim Harvey’s greatest contribution to the preservation of the Cebuano language happened recently. Three years ago, when you clicked on Google, the default language it used for the Philippines was Tagalog/Filipino.

Because Tim works for Google, he asked the team to use Tagalog as our default language for the Philippines. Where did it get this information? The answer was, the CIA Fact book. Tim told the Google Team that created the default language that there are numerous languages in the Philippine archipelago and it agreed to restore the default for the Philippines to English with languages for Tagalog and Cebuano if anyone wished to utilize these.

This is what our guest Tim Harvey has done to preserve the Cebuano language. So please watch this very interesting talk with Tim Harvey on SkyCable’s channel 61 at 8:00 tonight with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. Replays also on MyTV’s channel 30 at M-W-F.

* * *

I have never done this in my 27 years of writing columns. But last Aug.28, 2014, The New York Times came up with an editorial about the plan by Pres. Benigno Aquino III to extend his term. I’m sure that our faithful readers do not have a copy of this New York Times editorial, so I will reprint this story so that our readers would know how the No.1 US newspaper thinks of Pres. Aquino. So here’s the article in full.

“POLITICAL MISCHIEF IN THE PHILIPPINES

President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines is now hinting at running for a second term in 2016, which would require a constitutional amendment. He has also suggested limiting the power of the Supreme Court, which, on July 1, declared parts of Mr. Aquino’s economic program illegal. That, too, would require adjusting the Constitution.

These threats jeopardize Philippine democracy. Mr. Aquino wants more time to complete his reform programs, but there will always be unfinished business. The 1987 Constitution limits the president to a single six-year term. The Constitution was promulgated under his mother, Corazon Aquino, after the overthrow of the 20-year dictatorship predecessors, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Ferdinand Marcos. Despite her efforts, the presidency remained a fount of patronage and a source of corruption.

Mr. Aquino’s two immediate and Joseph Estrada, were charged after they left office with illegally feeding from the public trough. Ms. Arroyo was charged with misusing state lottery funds. Mr. Estrada was removed from office and convicted of various corruption charges, but he was pardoned in 2007.

Mr. Aquino believes that the Supreme Court has grown too powerful and that someone needs to reassert executive authority.

By a 13-to-0 vote, the court struck down a spending program he created to stimulate the economy. It ruled that he had exceeded his authority in disbursing funds and that parts of the program consisted of irregular pork-barrel spending. Mr. Aquino came to power in 2010 vowing to rid the Philippines of corruption. At that time, the country ranked 134th in Transparency International’s corruption index.

In 2013, it ranked 94th. Mr. Aquino should uphold the Constitution of a fragile democracy if only out of respect for his father, who was assassinated in the struggle against Marcos, and for his mother, who died in 2009 after leading the “people power” that triumphed over the excesses and abuses of the presidency. In practical terms, that means he should stop butting heads with the court and gracefully step down when his term is up.”

This New York Times article ought to put Pres. Aquino in his proper place. Indeed, it is no longer us Filipinos bashing PNoy!

Even the Yanks are also bashing him for being a threat to Philippine Democracy! PNoy ought to resign.

FREEMAN EDITORIAL

Cash doleouts like being astride a tiger (The Freeman) | Updated September 1, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

The cash doleouts amounting to billions of pesos that government has been giving to the poor have not produced the results government naively expected from its folly. Despite the cash assistance, there are now even more poor people than before the assistance was given. More and more children are dropping out of school despite keeping them there being one of the requirements for the dole.

Clearly the program is not working and even government is aware of the failure. Not a few insiders are wanting a review. But whether the program gets reviewed or not, we do not believe the government, whether this one or the next ones that will follow it, will ever get around to scrapping it even if it wanted to. Embarking on such a foolhardy program was like getting on the back of a tiger -- there is no way anyone can get off without getting eaten live by the animal.

To be sure, it is always the duty and responsibility of government, any government, to take care of its constituents, poor or not, but most especially the poor and underprivileged. But social amelioration programs must come in practical and meaningful packages that are not only productive but also sustainable. Cash doleouts do not belong in this category. Wealthy countries may give cash doleouts, but only because they can afford to, and only on top of other basic services.

The Philippines is far from being wealthy. For it to throw away billions of pesos it can ill afford, and on top of what it has utterly failed to provide in terms of modern basic services, is sheer braggadocio on the part of government. It is plainly crazy for the 10th most corrupt country in the world to place billions of pesos ostensibly meant for the lowest and most powerless 70 percent of its 100 million population (10th in the world) in the hands of its corrupt officials.

The cash doleouts have not been used for the purpose for which they were given. Instead they have been used to further entrench a system of political patronage that is mainly responsible for why the poor will always remain poor in the first place. Worse, the doleouts have instilled in the poor an expectation that has become a dangerous social condition in our midst.

The few thousands of pesos that the poor have come to expect to receive every month can no longer be taken away from them without causing a riot. Even if the government sees the uselessness of its folly, it is left with no other recourse than to perpetuate the folly lest it face a revolution in its hands. And because the poor are growing in number, the cash doleouts will have to grow exponentially bigger for the same reason that it can no longer be withdrawn.

As the cash doleouts grow bigger to keep in step with the increasing number of poor people, it will start to eat into the other needs that government must address and fill. Once these other needs begin to feel the crunch, the government will have even bigger problems in its hands. Whoever gets to lead this country at crunch time will find leadership a most terrible thing indeed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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