PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

CHINA, U.S. REACH BREAKTHROUGH ON INFO TECH FREE TRADE 

NOV 12 --PHOTO: APEC FAMILY (Reuters) — Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders pose for a ‘family photo’ at the International Convention Center at Yanqi Lake in Beijing yesterday. They are (front row from left) Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, US President Barack Obama, China’s President Xi Jinping, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto and Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang. (Back row L-R) Taiwanese envoy to APEC summit Vincent Siew, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast.  ---BEIJING, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Reuters – China and the United States have reached a breakthrough in talks on eliminating duties on information technology products, a deal that could pave the way for the first major tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organization in 17 years. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Noy to have bilateral talks with Aussie, Japan PMs 

NOV 12 --NAYPYIDAW – President Aquino is set to hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott when the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit opens in the Myanmar capital today. This is contained in the media briefing kit that the Presidential Communications Operations Office has distributed to Filipino reporters in Naypyidaw. Aquino will have a “bilateral meeting” with Abe at 4 p.m. today. He will also have a “pull aside meeting” with Abbott at 6:30 p.m. It is not known if the agenda would cover the West Philippine Sea. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO at APEC: Chinese President Xi reaches out to Aquino on sea issue

NOV 12 --PHOTO: Time to move on. Chinese President Xi Jinping extended his greeting to President Benigno Aquino III on his arrival in Beijing for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting on Tuesday. Malacañang Photo Bureau. ---For the first time in years following a bitter territorial dispute in the South China Sea, the leaders of both China and the Philippines were able to talk cordially as they discussed possible ways for a peaceful solution to the conflict. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Benigno Aquino III held informal talks where the latter urged the Philippines to return to a “bilateral consensus” in resolving the territorial disputes. The two exchanged brief remarks that lasted for about 10 minutes after a tree planting activity during the sidelines of the 22nd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Yanqi Lake in China. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Can Pinoy invention zap Ebola?

NOV 10 --A locally developed machine that taps electrical current to promote general health and well-being and fight all kinds of diseases may just be able to neutralize killer viruses, including the current global scourge, the Ebola virus. Danny Orijuela, inventor of the electrotherapy device, told The STAR yesterday he was offering his invention as a possible remedy to alleviate, if not treat, the dreaded virus. Orijuela is a member of the Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative (FISPC). He has applied for a patent and certification with the Food and Drug Administration for his machine. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) UK needs Filipino nurses 

NOV 11 ---Due to the ageing nursing workforce and the shrinking pool of registered nurses in the United Kingdom (UK), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that there is a need of more than 1, 000 Filipino nurses there. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the UK received and verified eight job orders from various Foreign Placement Agencies (FPAs). READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: ‘Yolanda’ victims want Lacson declared persona non grata; 'We don"t want a Rehab czar who calls us 'belly-achers' and ....

NOV 12 ---PHOTO: “Yolanda” victims in Eastern Visayas have called for Lacson to be declared persona non grata in their region. No matter the declaration of President Aquino of his full trust in Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, as against Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez’s claims, “Yolanda” victims in Eastern Visayas have called for Lacson to be declared persona non grata in their region. People’s Surge, the militant group of Yolanda victims asked: “Was Pan-filo Lacson hired as Rehabilitation Czar purely to discredit and vilify our legitimate grievances and demands for genuine people-centered rehabilitation as supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors? READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO while in Beijing: PNoy tells Senate probers to present all evidence vs. Binay ASAP  

NOV 11 --PHOTO: President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Li Yuan at the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Beijing on Monday, November 10. Gil Nartea ---President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday called on the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee to present all evidence against Vice President Jejomar Binay immediately instead of on a piecemeal basis, so that those liable could already be charged and those innocent could already be cleared. Aquino made the call in an interview with members of Philippine media toward the end of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in China. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China, US reach breakthrough on info tech free trade deal


APEC FAMILY (Reuters) — Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders pose for a ‘family photo’ at the International Convention Center at Yanqi Lake in Beijing yesterday. They are (front row from left) Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, U.S. President Barack Obama, China’s President Xi Jinping, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto and Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang. (Back row L-R) Taiwanese envoy to APEC summit Vincent Siew, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast.

BEIJING, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Reuters – China and the United States have reached a breakthrough in talks on eliminating duties on information technology products, a deal that could pave the way for the first major tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organization in 17 years.

The breakthrough would allow a “swift conclusion” on talks to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at the WTO in Geneva later this year, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday. It would reduce global tariffs on such products as medical equipment, GPS devices, video games consoles, and next-generation semiconductors.

“This is encouraging news for US-China relationship,” Froman said on the sidelines of meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit (APEC) in Beijing.

“It shows how the US and China work together to both advance our bilateral economic agenda but also to support the multilateral trading system.”

The ITA, which went into effect in 1997, now covers more than $4 trillion in annual trade, according to the US government. Participants in ITA commit to eliminating tariffs on such items as computers and computer software, telecommunication equipment, and other advanced technology products.

An expanded ITA would eliminate tariffs on about $1 trillion worth of global sales on IT products, Froman said. More than 200 tariff lines will be reduced to zero under the new agreement.

US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant immediately welcomed the announcement.

“With so many new products created since the ITA was concluded two decades ago, expanding the agreement’s coverage is imperative,” Brilliant said. “The commercial significance of these negotiations is obvious.”

Talks to update the WTO pact on technology trade broke down in the summer of 2013 due to disagreements over the scope of coverage of what listed products would be covered by the agreement, said Froman.

“Since that time, the United States and China have been working to close our differences,” Froman said.

The United States and other countries were hopeful that China would agree to an expanded ITA agreement, which requires signatories to eliminate duties on some IT products, during the APEC summit ending on Tuesday.

Washington has blamed China, the world’s biggest exporter of IT products, for derailing the talks by asking for too many exemptions.

“While we don’t take anything for granted, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to work quickly to bring ITA to a successful conclusion,” Froman said.

FREE TRADE AREA

Meanwhile, the global economic recovery is unstable and nations in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc should speed up free trade talks to spur growth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the start of a summit of APEC leaders, Xi urged the meeting to speed up talks on a trade liberalization framework called the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) that is being pushed by Beijing.

“Currently, the global economic recovery still faces many unstable and uncertain factors. Facing the new situation, we should further promote regional economic integration and create a pattern of opening up that is conducive to long-term development,” Xi said.

“We should vigorously promote the Asia-Pacific free trade zone, setting the goal, direction, and roadmap and turn the vision into reality as soon as possible.”

Some see a proposed study on the FTAAP plan, which will be presented to APEC leaders for approval, as a way to divert attention from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement being pushed by the United States. China is not part of the TPP, which seeks to establish a free-trade bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile and Japan, encompassing about 800 million people and almost 40 percent of the global economy.

China has not been enthusiastic about the TPP, fearing that it is being used by Washington as a way to either force it to open markets by signing up or else isolate it from other regional economies as trade is diverted to TPP signatories.

The TPP is widely seen as the economic backbone of US President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, what some experts view as an attempt to balance China’s rise by establishing a larger US presence in the region, including military assets.


FROM PHILSTAR

Noy to have bilateral talks with Aussie, Japan PMs By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2014 - 12:00am 2 28 googleplus0 0

NAYPYIDAW – President Aquino is set to hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott when the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit opens in the Myanmar capital today.

This is contained in the media briefing kit that the Presidential Communications Operations Office has distributed to Filipino reporters in Naypyidaw.

Aquino will have a “bilateral meeting” with Abe at 4 p.m. today.

He will also have a “pull aside meeting” with Abbott at 6:30 p.m.

It is not known if the agenda would cover the West Philippine Sea.

Japan and Australia may be interested in that topic.

Japan also has a territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

Australia is reportedly sympathetic to the Philippines on its territorial dispute with China.

Aquino flew directly to Naypyidaw after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

He will also attend the launching of the ASEAN Institute of Green Economy and gala dinner hosted by Myanmar President U Thein Sein.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Luis Cruz said ASEAN heads of state will exchange views on ASEAN Community 2015 and Beyond (Greater Asean Connectivity) and regional and international issues.

Aquino will also attend the 25th ASEAN Summit Plenary Session, the 12th ASEAN-India Summit, the 17th ASEAN-Japan Summit, the 6th ASEAN-UN Summit and the 40th ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit in Naypyidaw today.

Tomorrow he will join other leaders in the 9th East Asia Summit Plenary Session, the 2nd ASEAN-US Summit, the 17th ASEAN-China Summit and the 17th ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

On the same day, Aquino will meet the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

At the 9th East Asia Summit Plenary Session, leaders will talk about climate change, disaster management, pandemic diseases and non-traditional security issues.

Ebola

Philippine Ambassador to Naypyidaw Alex Chua expects Aquino and other ASEAN leaders to discuss the Ebola virus and climate change.

Speaking to RTV Malacañang on Monday, Chua said he sees these non-traditional issues, including the evolving regional security architecture, to be high on the agenda.

The attendance of Aquino, who arrived late last night, highlights Philippine support for Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year, he added.

This year’s summit theme is “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community.”

High on the agenda of Asian leaders is the ASEAN Integration in 2015.

Chua said Aquino and other ASEAN leaders will discuss barriers and preparations to realize an Integrated ASEAN to benefit the region, including Filipinos in Myanmar in terms of unimpeded movement of people, goods and services.

“As founding member of ASEAN, the Philippines will push for ASEAN’s centrality, as well as important regional issues such as disaster adaptation and mitigation, maritime security, economic integration and ASEAN community building,” he said.

“It is important for the Philippines to create awareness on the country’s priorities in the region such as disaster adaptation and mitigation, maritime security and the need to focus in the region’s micro, small and medium enterprises among others.”


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Xi reaches out to Aquino on sea issue By Joyce Pangco Panares | Nov. 12, 2014 at 12:01am


Time to move on. Chinese President Xi Jinping extended his greeting to President Benigno Aquino III on his arrival in Beijing for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting on Tuesday. Malacañang Photo Bureau

For the first time in years following a bitter territorial dispute in the South China Sea, the leaders of both China and the Philippines were able to talk cordially as they discussed possible ways for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Benigno Aquino III held informal talks where the latter urged the Philippines to return to a “bilateral consensus” in resolving the territorial disputes.

The two exchanged brief remarks that lasted for about 10 minutes after a tree planting activity during the sidelines of the 22nd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Yanqi Lake in China.

“We are happy because this is the first time we’ve had direct contact with them,” Aquino said in an interview at the Philippine embassy. He last met with then Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2011.

“It is a nice opening. Hopefully it will lead to something concrete,” added the President, who described the talks as “extensive.”

Xi told Aquino that Manila and Beijing should be able to handle maritime disputes “in a constructive way.”

Aquino told Xi that the Philippines is also “looking for constructive ways” to address the outstanding issues.

“I told him that our primary role in government is improving the lot of our people. And any dispute does not enhance our efforts to improve the lot of our people,” the President said.

Xi acknowledged that “severe difficulties” have emerged because of overlapping territorial claims but he expressed hope that the Philippines will be able to “meet China halfway” and that both countries will be able to return to their previous consensus.

Xi said both sides have reached “some common understanding” on how to tackle the disputes and improve bilateral relations.

During the APEC CEO Summit on Sunday, Aquino said bilateral relations with China continue to improve even as both countries have locked horns over territorial claims.

“It’s also in the Philippines’ interest to achieve harmony with all of its neighbors. There are so many practices that each country can benefit from as we face common challenges,” the President said.

“And we seek to have, again, harmonious relationships with everybody. We actually firmly believe that without stability prosperity is impossibility,” Aquino added.

In an earlier interview in Hainan, top South China Sea expert Wu Shicun said the Chinese government would likely wait for the next administration in 2016 for improved bilateral relations.

Wu said Beijing will not abide by any decision of the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea where Manila has lodged an arbitration case questioning China’s nine-dash line policy.

“I am optimistic about the future. Maybe after 2016, China will enjoy relations with the Philippines as before,” said Wu, president of the state think-tank National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Wu said the Philippines should consider withdrawing the case it has filed before the UN tribunal in The Hague since China will not recognize whatever judgment the court may reach.

“China will not accept any compulsory arbitration. China will not follow or implement the judgment that will be awarded by the UN tribunal,” he said.

The tribunal in The Hague gave Beijing until Dec. 15 to reply to the Philippine motion, but China has said all along it will not participate in the UN arbitration proceedings, pushing instead for a bilateral approach to resolve the territorial conflict.

China’s ‘soft’ stance in the APEC meeting with its ASEAN neighbors came on the heels of another significant meeting between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also at the APEC sidelines.

Abe said after the historic meeting that Japan and China “need each other” as he called on Beijing to step up tentative efforts to put deep hostility behind them.

“Japan and China, we need each other. We are in a way inseparably bound with each other,” Abe told reporters in Beijing after an Asia-Pacific summit.

“Japan and China both have responsibility for peace and prosperity of the region and of the world.”

Beijing and Tokyo’s historically frosty relations have plunged to their lowest in decades over competing claims to Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea, and Tokyo’s 20th-century history of aggression.

The rare encounter -- the first by leaders of the world’s second- and third-largest economies in three years -- has raised hopes of a possible thaw.

Abe said the two sides “hope to conduct several dialogues” but did not offer specifics when asked when another summit might occur.

“Many countries of the world are expecting to see an improvement of the relationship between Japan and China,” Abe said.

“Many leaders have told me they are delighted that the summit has taken place.”


FROM PHILSTAR

Can Pinoy invention zap Ebola? Philippine StarBy By Rainier Allan Ronda | Philippine Star – 8 hours ago
NOVEMBER 11



A locally developed machine that taps electrical current to promote general health and well-being and fight all kinds of diseases may just be able to neutralize killer viruses, including the current global scourge, the Ebola virus.

Danny Orijuela, inventor of the electrotherapy device, told The STAR yesterday he was offering his invention as a possible remedy to alleviate, if not treat, the dreaded virus.

Orijuela is a member of the Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative (FISPC). He has applied for a patent and certification with the Food and Drug Administration for his machine.

He credits his device for saving the life of his daughter years ago.

“I have treated a dengue fever case that was then in the critical level or the bleeding stage. And this was a case that involved no less than my own daughter, Jennylyn Domondon Orijuela, who now lives in Florida,” Orijuela said.

He also credited his device for treating a leptospirosis case that was also in critical stage.

“If you will consider that it was able to treat the two diseases, we may be able to kill the Ebola virus, as long as it is still in the early stages or the symptomatic stage when there’s just fever and body pains,” he said.

“If it’s worse than this, it’s possible that the electrotheraphy device could not do anything anymore,” he added.

He said that all viruses are weak when in the initial stage and negative ions can easily kill the virus.

“Nothing can beat electricity in killing a virus and I have tested this for more than 30 years,” he said.

Orijuela’s electrotherapy device is being positioned as a “miracle” new technology that promises to correct what is wrong with the human body.

The breakthrough device will be one of the showcase products of the FISPC’s member-inventors when they celebrate National Inventors Week (NIW) starting this Thursday until Sunday.

The device is described as a multi-functional machine that can stimulate and rebuild the natural electric field in a human body.

Orijuela said most ailments are the result of an imbalance in the body’s electrical field, usually due to a drop in supply of anions or negatively charged ions.

Orijuela’s device aims to correct this imbalance by bombarding the body with anions or negative ions until the right balance is achieved.

When this is accomplished, the human body will go back to its normal functioning self, free of any disease, according to him.

Orijuela said people suffering from high blood pressure, including stroke victims and those who are undergoing dialysis, have asked him for help and have been happy with the results.

The NIW 2014 celebrations organized by the FISPC will have two locations – Fishermall along Quezon Avenue and the Filipino Inventors’ Society Cooperative display room at the ground floor of the Delta building at the corner of Quezon Avenue and West Avenue in Quezon City.

The device will be made available for trial at the Fishermall during NIW Week.

Ebola threat discussed

Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said the Philippines should be well prepared should there be cases of Ebola virus in the country.

The threat of Ebola in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, was one of the issues raised during a leaders’ forum yesterday hosted by the UNISDR and Hans Sy, a member of the agency’s private sector advisory group and president of SM Prime Holdings Inc., at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The Top Leaders Forum is an annual gathering of top-level executives and leaders in the country’s private sector to discuss topics, challenges and action plans to create a holistic disaster risk reduction campaign.

More than 130 government officials and top businessmen from all industries attended the forum.

Margareta Wahlstrom, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction and who presided over the forum, said the threat of Ebola affects all countries in the world because it’s a public health hazard that is hard to contain.

“It is a biological hazard. It is a public health threat which cannot be contained within the national borders because it travels with people,” she said, adding that people in Asia should not feel complacent about the virus because it can also happen here.

She said educating the people about the disease is the first step towards preparedness. –
With Perseus Echeminada


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

UK needs Filipino nurses  November 11, 2014 3:20 pm

Due to the ageing nursing workforce and the shrinking pool of registered nurses in the United Kingdom (UK), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that there is a need of more than 1, 000 Filipino nurses there.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the UK received and verified eight job orders from various Foreign Placement Agencies (FPAs).

She said that two of the FPAs, the Search Recruitment Limited and Medicare Staffing Limited, will deploy 180 and 60 nurses to hospitals considered National Health Service (NHS) Trusts, respectively.

There are also four FPAs that will deploy 314 Filipino nurses to some private care homes in the UK, including the Rushcliffe Care Group, Gold Care Homes Limited, Bond Care Limited, and Four Seasons.

“There was an increase of job orders for Filipino nurses by 38 percent compared to last year’s, with 402 job orders,” Baldoz said.

The Drake International, which is also an FPA submitted recruitment requirements to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and reported 487 job orders of Filipino nurses for its five clients.

Citing the 2014 hiring cap of 20, 700 imposed by the UK for Filipino nurses, Baldoz said that they “have not reached that cap yet.”

“Hence, more slots are available for Filipino nurses, considering the availability of UK’s own local pool of workers, as well as those coming from the European Union. The United Kingdom’s labor market remains a qualitative and quantitative selective market for migrant workers,” she said.

POLO-UK Labor Attache Joan Lavilla cited reports and studies by the UK’s Center for Workforce Intelligence and the Royal College of Nursing, saying that 24 percent of registered nurses are set to retire in the next five years.

On the other hand, the POLO office in UK reported a verified number of employment documents for seafarers for UK shipping companies and the Scottish fishing industry.

“British territories also hired 10 auditors and accountants for the Channel Islands, seven customer service assistants and one nanny in the Falkland Islands, all of which are Filipino workers,” Baldoz added.

“With this good news, I wish to warn our nurses desiring to work in the UK to follow the legal stream—processes—of overseas employment, through the POEA—to avoid getting conned by illegal recruiters,” she said. Robertzon F. Ramirez, The Manila Times


FROM THE TRIBUNE

‘Yolanda’ victims want Lacson declared persona non grata Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00 f


“Yolanda” victims in Eastern Visayas have called for Lacson to be declared persona non grata in their region.

No matter the declaration of President Aquino of his full trust in Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, as against Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez’s claims, “Yolanda” victims in Eastern Visayas have called for Lacson to be declared persona non grata in their region.

People’s Surge, the militant group of Yolanda victims asked: “Was Panfilo Lacson hired as Rehabilitation Czar purely to discredit and vilify our legitimate grievances and demands for genuine people-centered rehabilitation as supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors?

“This was certainly the only thing he has been doing during his stint,” said th group calling itself People Surge, in a prepared press statement sent to the media.

“Thus, we demand for Lacson to be declared persona non grata here in Tacloban City and in the rest of the Eastern Visayas region for his recent malicious depictions of the Yolanda survivors’ righteous anger over the sluggish, corrupt, and politicized rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of the Aquino goverment,” the statement read.

“Lacson is continuously spinning a crackpot’s tale that much rehabilitation funds have already poured into Tacloban, and that the crisis of criminal negligence in the Yolanda experience is a mere isolated case in Tacloban — that it is nothing but an extension of the political clash between Aquino and the Romualdezes. The chismoso (gossip-monger) has gone as far as claiming that our 20,000-strong protest last Nov. 7 to 8 calling for Aquino’s ouster was a mere hakot (paid ) crowd by the Romualdezes from the ‘unaffected’ provinces of Samar.

“Where is this supposed P6 billion that went to Tacloban City? Mayor Romualdez said this was not coursed through the local government. We did not see or feel any form of assistance from the national government. We can only assume that the P6 billion, just like the P23.84 billion that went to disaster risk management projects through the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) , became patronage money once again.

“That the entire region was 100-percent affected is obvious to any Yolanda responder worth his salt. The powerful winds and extreme rainfall brought by Yolanda left not a community untouched, though Tacloban City and other coastal communities suffered worse from the their storm surges. Everyone was affected by the standstill of electricity, water and other public utilities, and the devastation of agriculture and properties. Did the government not conduct a comprehensive damages and needs assessment?”

“If our members who hailed from Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar were indeed just paid hacks, then why would the Aquino government bother to threaten residents with being removed from the beneficiaries of the 4P’s conditional cash transfer program? Why would they dangle housing relocation as a carrot for Yolanda survivors who choose not to join the action? Why have suspected government agents already killed at least two of People Surge’s members in the midst of their demands for justice and response to their fellow survivors’ needs?

“Despite the deception and repression, we pushed through, and we were rewarded with such a groundswell of support.

While we were marching in the streets of Tacloban, we saw a young woman running up to us from her sari sari store, giving bags of ice water to our fellow marchers. Despite the traffic our march was causing, not a single driver or passenger complained—some even raised their thumbs up to us.

“A lot of bystanders heartily clapped and gamely joined in our chants of ‘Noynoy Aquino waray pulos, patalsikon!’ (Oust the worthless Noynoy Aquino!) Clearly, regardless of whether a Romualdez or an Aquino is in power in Tacloban, we will take to the streets because we need to defend our rights and dignity.

“So where is Lacson’s wild claims coming from? We can only make sense of Lacson’s banter as follows: Aquino is now in full defensive mode, having his clowns like Lacson work double time for damage control over the growing discontent of disaster survivors under his regime. The deceptive veil hiding the empty and corrupt rehabilitation program of the Aquino administration is fast unravelling.

“We do not need a rehabilitation czar who knows nothing and is heartless toward the Yolanda survivors’ plight.

We especially do not need a rehab czar who has called us bellyachers, paid protesters, and even enemies of the state. Lacson must be banned from ever setting foot in our region: give us a rehabilitation czar instead who actually knows his job!”

The President, though deputy spokesman Abigail Valte, said there is no question as to the issue of confidence and trust of Aquino when it comes to Lacson, adding that Lacson has done his job properly as rehabilitation czar in Tacloban City.

Lacson, earlier this week, picked a fight with Tacloban Mayor Romualdez, a member of one of the Aquino’s staunch political rivals, whom Lacson alleged to have misused funds that were supposedly for recovery efforts in the municipality, tagging the local executive’s efforts as “below par.”

“We are certain that assistance we gave to constituents in Tacloban are substantiated by records,” Valte said. In addition, Valte said “There is no question” when asked whether Aquino still trusts Secretary Lacson.

Valte said that Senator Lacson is still adjusting to Tacloban City’s rehabilitation. However, she said the secretary is pushing all efforts to the speedy recovery of the most hit municipality in Easter Visayas by typhoon Yolanda.

“Let us see how people of Eastern Visayas will respond, but we are certain that Secretary Lacson is still not used to the transition. He has every right intention to help move along rehabilitation,” she said.

“I know that we informed the President already about the developments here at home while he was in Beijing yesterday. However, we have had no feedback as the President is still busy in the Apec meeting,” Valte said.

Meanwhile, Valte defended Lacson from allegations that he is implicated in protests actions done in Yolanda a year after the calamity hit Tacloban City. She said, however, that the Palace hopes no government funds were used to back up the demonstrations.
By Pat C. Santos and Joshua L. Labonera


FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

PNoy to Senate probers: Present all evidence vs. VP Binay ASAP November 11, 2014 6:46pm


President Benigno Aquino III is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Li Yuan at the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Beijing on Monday, November 10. Gil Nartea

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday called on the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee to present all evidence against Vice President Jejomar Binay immediately instead of on a piecemeal basis, so that those liable could already be charged and those innocent could already be cleared.

Aquino made the call in an interview with members of Philippine media toward the end of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in China.

"For every question there... you want the answer as soon as possible," Aquino said when asked if he wanted the investigation to end soonest.

Aquino, who was only halfway through his first term as senator when he ran and won the presidency in 2010, said the Senate has other functions and responsibilities aside from investigating wrongdoing in government.

"I would have to respect a co-equal branch but the request is, does it have to be in drips and drops? Can we not have the whole list? Is the proof really there? Is there substantial proof?" Aquino said, referring to how pieces of evidence were presented against Binay in the weekly hearings.

"May balance ang politics and responsibilities. And I'd like to think that we have responsible members of the Senate who are attending to the other functions besides this," he added.

Accusations

Binay has so far refused to attend Senate hearings on alleged graft in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II, an inquiry initiated by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

He claimed the accusations from his critics were politically motivated and that senators involved in the inquiry had already prejudged him.

During the hearings, Binay's critics bared alleged evidence linking him to graft, including kickbacks from billions of pesos worth of city hall projects and ownership of Batangas property that didn't figure in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

When asked if he was still comfortable having Binay in his Cabinet, Aquino said the Vice President was doing his job.

The President said it would be difficult to fire an official for allegations outside of his functions in the Cabinet.

Aquino also said the Vice President was entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence.

Drips and drops

Senate President Franklin Drilon recently said that Aquino relayed to him Binay's request that the Senate subcommittee end its inquiry into the allegations against the Vice President.

"Tumawag po sa akin si President Aquino at ni-relay ang request ni Vice President Binay na itigil na ang investigations,” Drilon told reporters then.

Drilon said he told Aquino that he could not stop senators from conducting the investigation as, according to the Rules of the Senate, the matter depended on the chairman and members of the committee involved.

Asked what his personal take on the matter was, Aquino said that he preferred the senators not do the investigation "in drips and drops."

The President said the Senate still needed to work on other pressing matters such as the P2.6-trillion proposed national budget for 2015 and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Not stopping just yet

Two of the senators that have consistently showed up in the subcommittee investigation on Binay aren't about to heed Aquino's call for an immediate completion of the proceedings.

In a report on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho, Trillanes said there were still many pieces of evidence that have yet to be presented against Binay.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, on the other hand, said that while senators wanted to terminate the hearings soonest, it was Binay who has refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

Meanwhile, United Nationalist Alliance interim president Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, a Binay ally, said that while the Vice President wants to resolve the issue, the subcommittee had been selective in accepting evidence.

Tiangco said some members of the subcommittee would listen only to one side and cut off the other. —Joel Locsin/NB/KBK/FRJ, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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