PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK (Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

P2.5M FOR 2,750 GUESTS IN P-NOY's LAST SONA 'MERIENDA'
[More guests, celebrity singer, security for Aquino’s last SONA
‘Asia’s Got Talent’ finalist to sing nat’l anthem at Sona]


JULY 22 ---HOUSE CLEANING FOR SONA Two men vacuum the carpet just below the podium in the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives in preparation for the last State of the Nation Address of President Aquino on Monday, July 27. LYN RILLON  Each guest at President Aquino’s final State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 27 may partake of P700 worth of food and drinks, an amount equivalent to an eat-all-you-can treat at popular restaurants in Metro Manila. The Sona will be special but not particularly lavish, said Marilyn Barua-Yap, secretary general of the House of Representatives. Yap said the House protocol office picked the caterer Center Table to provide food to members of the diplomatic corps and other officials. “For the traditional cocktails for the diplomatic corps and other officials at the South Wing, we are expecting between 700 and 800 guests, probably 800. The budget is P700 per cover,” she said, meaning for food and beverage served for each guest. Lowest among bidders Yap said the caterer, a first-timer, gave the lowest price among those considered. Another catering company called La Plaza was chosen to provide the traditional lunch for the Speaker and other House members before the Sona at 4 p.m. The House session hall can accommodate a maximum of 2,750 people. Yap said invitations had already been sent to more than 2,700 people. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino to public: Choose ‘honest, competent’ candidates


JULY 22 ---FILE – President Benigno Aquino III during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) Philippine President Benigno Aquino III speaks during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Friday, June 5, 2015. Aquino said he wants to start talks toward signing a pact legally allowing Japanese troops to visit his country and join a wide range of operation, signaling expanded Japanese troop presence in the South China Sea. Aquino said a visiting forces agreement would accommodate refueling and other needs for Japanese troops while in the Philippines. Manila has similar deals with the U.S. and Australia. Just a few days before he announces his preferred successor, President Benigno Aquino III has called on the electorate to choose honest and competent candidates who put the interest of the country first. The President, at the inspection of Angat Dam rehabilitation project in Bulacan, cautioned the pubic against candidates who lie and put their selfish interests ahead of others.“Hindi sinumang magbibitiw ng mga pahayag at pangakong walang laman; hindi sinumang may ni kaunting duda tayong magsasamantala o manlalamang; hindi sinumang may ambisyong parating pansarili, imbes na para sa buong bayan—kundi piliin natin ang indibidwal na panatag tayong ipagpapatuloy ang tuwid na daan,” he added. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO THE FEARED QUAKE: ‘Big One’ to waste Metro


JULY 21 ---NEWS SHAKER Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum stresses a point in his presentation before editors and reporters of The Manila Times. PHOTO BY ABBY PALMONES Port decentralization to mitigate possible business losses – Solidum The feared “Big One” or the powerful earthquake that may strike Metro Manila “in our lifetime” may have a huge impact on the country’s economy as the country’s top volcanologist pointed out that Manila’s port area is vulnerable to liquefaction that would damage infrastructure and make roads impassable.Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), on Tuesday told editors and reporters of The Manila Times that structures along the port area in Manila are in danger of getting hit by liquefaction or the phenomenon when loose, water-rich sediments behave like liquid during strong ground-shaking. He warned that a strong earthquake could possibly trigger a tsunami at the Manila Bay with waves as high as 3 meters crashing inland and barrel through 2-3 kilometers from the coastline. “Aabutin kayo dito [You’ll get hit here],” he said referring to Intramuros district where The Manila Times offices are located. Solidum has been going around conducting talks to explain the West Valley Fault system as well as possible scenarios of what could happen if a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Metro Manila. “We don’t mean to scare people. We’re providing scientifically correct information so that we could all be better prepared,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: AFP gears up for big quake


JULY 23 --DOH personnel attend to an earthquake "victim." Public Affairs Office, AFP
The military on Friday conducted a tabletop exercise that seeks to test their coordination plan in case a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Metro Manila.
About 100 soldiers joined the exercise held at the Armed Forces Command and General Staff College Wargaming Center and Function Hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. The activity coincided with the nationwide earthquake drill organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). “Insofar as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned, we are ready,” AFP deputy chief for operations Brig. Gen. Angelito de Leon said in an interview. “If the Big One happens, the instruction is to drop everything and switch to HADR (humanitarian and disaster response),” he added. Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned that 33,000 people could die if a 7.2-magnitude quake caused by the West Valley Fault hits Metro Manila and nearby areas. READ MORE...

ALSO: P426-M budget insertions for LP solons slammed by labor group


JULY 22 --ERICE -National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed outrage today over the expose that two Liberal Party members loyal to Pres. Noynoy Aquino received more than P422 million worth of public works projects in the 2015 national budget. The labor group said the allotment of P294 million to the district of Aquino’s attack dog Caloocan Cong. Edgar Erice and another P167.5 million to the district of Caloocan Cong. Enrico Echiverri shows the continuing barefaced corruption under the present government. “Just a few days before Aquino’s last SONA, we are provided with another proof that ‘Daang Matuwid’ is just a slogan meant to cover up corruption. The Filipino workers and people have been treading a bumpy, crooked, and bloody road this past five years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, said. The labor leader said that it is common knowledge that public works projects in the country are riddled with corruption, as politicians get kickbacks from contractors belonging to the private sector. READ MORE...

ALSO: Parties will name bets after SONA


JULY 21 --THE coast will be clearer after President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivers his administration’s valedictory in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27. Lawmakers who belong to political parties affiliated with the administration coalition on Tuesday said their parties will firm up their plans by next week. The key question to resolve is who among the President’s possible bets will get their support. Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) said they will tackle the next elections in their meeting next week. “[Some of us are waiting if Senator Grace [Poe] will be running for President]. Many of us will be supporting her. I for one… There are others who are supportive of Vice President [Jejomar] Binay,” Sotto added On the other hand, he said another group in the NPC will support the candidacy of Binay, who will be the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance Binay’s avid supporters, according to Sotto, include President Aquino’s cousin, Mark Cojuangco, son of NPC chairman emeritus Eduardo “ Danding” Cojuangco Jr. “There are others also headed by Mark Cojuangco who are supportive of Vice President Binay. So [that is one issue that we will] thresh out. So after the SONA, we will meet and we will finalize [our plans for the 2016 elections],” he said. Poe and Binay are ranked 1st and 2nd in pre-election presidential surveys. Poe, a first-time senator, is an independent but is affiliated with the Aquino administration’s coalition. READ MORE...


ALSO: Despite endorsements, Poe still undecided on 2016


JULY 23 ---Sen. Grace Poe said she would rather keep her political plans under wraps for now. File photo
While grateful to Senate colleagues for their informal endorsement of her possible presidential run, Sen. Grace Poe said she would rather keep her political plans under wraps for now.
“Sen. Serge is someone I respect and consult. We may differ in our views sometimes, but I consider him to be politically astute and an expert in many different areas in government such as the energy sector and finance. I have learned a lot from him,” Poe told The STAR, referring to Sen. Sergio Osmeña III. She reiterated she has not yet decided on calls for her to run for president next year in tandem with Sen. Francis Escudero. “We have discussed possibilities for 2016 but I have not made a decision yet on the matter,” she said. Poe also said she was heartened by Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III’s expressing his full support for her possible presidential candidacy. Sotto is a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), one of the biggest and most well-funded political parties in the country. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

P2.5M for 2,750 guests in Sona ‘merienda’
More guests, celebrity singer, security for Aquino’s last SONA
‘Asia’s Got Talent’ finalist to sing nat’l anthem at Sona


HOUSE CLEANING FOR SONA Two men vacuum the carpet just below the podium in the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives in preparation for the last State of the Nation Address of President Aquino on Monday, July 27. LYN RILLON

MANILA, JULY 23, 2015 (INQUIRER) By: DJ Yap, Julie M. Aurelio @inquirerdotnet July 22nd, 2015 - Each guest at President Aquino’s final State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 27 may partake of P700 worth of food and drinks, an amount equivalent to an eat-all-you-can treat at popular restaurants in Metro Manila.

The Sona will be special but not particularly lavish, said Marilyn Barua-Yap, secretary general of the House of Representatives.

Yap said the House protocol office picked the caterer Center Table to provide food to members of the diplomatic corps and other officials.

“For the traditional cocktails for the diplomatic corps and other officials at the South Wing, we are expecting between 700 and 800 guests, probably 800. The budget is P700 per cover,” she said, meaning for food and beverage served for each guest.

Lowest among bidders

Yap said the caterer, a first-timer, gave the lowest price among those considered.

Another catering company called La Plaza was chosen to provide the traditional lunch for the Speaker and other House members before the Sona at 4 p.m.

The House session hall can accommodate a maximum of 2,750 people. Yap said invitations had already been sent to more than 2,700 people.

READ MORE...

The first Sona of a new President and the last one of an outgoing President traditionally attracts the largest attendance, Yap said.

In a press briefing at her office, she said a budget of P2 million to P2.5 million would cover catering and reception activities.

Yap said the goal was not to exceed last year’s Sona budget of P2.3 million.

As in the previous year, other expenses, such as repairs, repainting and refurbishing of facilities, have already been incorporated in the annual operating budget of the House units, Yap said.

P5,000 dress for Dorado

Ten-year-old Gwyneth Dorado, an “Asia’s Got Talent” finalist who has been chosen to sing the national anthem, will be given an allowance of P10,000 on top of a P3,000-P5,000 budget for her dress.

Asked if anything about this Sona would be special, she said: “It’s the last one [for the President]. Sona is always special. We always try to make Sona special. But what really make it special are the main actors.”

Yap said most people would be more concerned about “what the President said, what the lawmakers announced, and so on” instead of the trimmings at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

Paranoid security measures

But she added that security measures would be stricter than before.

“We always try to be paranoid in terms of security. It’s not really something to plan for, because we can’t anticipate what will happen. Risk and contingency factors are quite high,” Yap said.

Around the perimeter of the Batasan complex, some 3,000 to 3,500 security personnel will stand guard, she said.

Within the complex itself, there will be another 1,500-1,700 guards, including members of the Legislative Security Bureau.

They do not include the local and national police, military and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personnel who will be deployed to the surrounding area.

PNP 99.9% ready

Director General Ricardo Marquez of the Philippine National Police said the PNP was 99.9-percent ready for the Sona.

Marquez said the PNP was polishing the security arrangements for the President’s address at the House of Representatives and the protest rallies on Commonwealth Avenue.

“We are very much ready, at least 99.9 percent, for the Sona. We are just putting the finishing touches,” said Marquez, six days before the big event.

The PNP will conduct a final coordinating conference on the security arrangements. Top PNP officials are expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the progress in the security preparations.

Final walk-through

On Friday, police officials will hold a final “walk-through” of the major points leading to the House of Representatives to check the deployment and readiness of the deployed policemen.

“We will also invite the Presidential Security Group to show them our security arrangements and to see if their preparations are coordinated with ours,” Marquez said.

He said he would be manning the security plans from inside the House of Representatives, while the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office would man the advance command post on Commonwealth Avenue.

Template

Marquez, who assumed the post of PNP chief last week, is known for overseeing the security arrangements during the papal visit earlier this year and the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings.

Without going into details, he said the PNP would use a similar template of the Apec security plan for next week’s Sona, with a “whole of government approach.”

“We put on board all agencies that could help in these kinds of operations, because we know that a single agency cannot handle it alone,” he said.

RELATED STORIES

More guests, celebrity singer, security for Aquino’s last SONA

‘Asia’s Got Talent’ finalist to sing nat’l anthem at Sona


MANILA BULLETIN

Aquino to public: Choose ‘honest, competent’ candidates by Genalyn Kabiling July 22, 2015 (updated)


FILE – President Benigno Aquino III during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III speaks during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Friday, June 5, 2015.

Aquino said he wants to start talks toward signing a pact legally allowing Japanese troops to visit his country and join a wide range of operation, signaling expanded Japanese troop presence in the South China Sea. Aquino said a visiting forces agreement would accommodate refueling and other needs for Japanese troops while in the Philippines. Manila has similar deals with the U.S. and Australia.

Just a few days before he announces his preferred successor, President Benigno Aquino III has called on the electorate to choose honest and competent candidates who put the interest of the country first.

The President, at the inspection of Angat Dam rehabilitation project in Bulacan, cautioned the pubic against candidates who lie and put their selfish interests ahead of others.

“Hindi sinumang magbibitiw ng mga pahayag at pangakong walang laman; hindi sinumang may ni kaunting duda tayong magsasamantala o manlalamang; hindi sinumang may ambisyong parating pansarili, imbes na para sa buong bayan—kundi piliin natin ang indibidwal na panatag tayong ipagpapatuloy ang tuwid na daan,” he added.


MANILA TIMES

THE FEARED QUAKE: ‘Big One’ to waste Metro July 21, 2015 11:06 pm by CATHERINE TALAVERA REPORTER


NEWS SHAKER Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum stresses a point in his presentation before editors and reporters of The Manila Times. PHOTO BY ABBY PALMONES

Port decentralization to mitigate possible business losses – Solidum

The feared “Big One” or the powerful earthquake that may strike Metro Manila “in our lifetime” may have a huge impact on the country’s economy as the country’s top volcanologist pointed out that Manila’s port area is vulnerable to liquefaction that would damage infrastructure and make roads impassable.

Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), on Tuesday told editors and reporters of The Manila Times that structures along the port area in Manila are in danger of getting hit by liquefaction or the phenomenon when loose, water-rich sediments behave like liquid during strong ground-shaking.

He warned that a strong earthquake could possibly trigger a tsunami at the Manila Bay with waves as high as 3 meters crashing inland and barrel through 2-3 kilometers from the coastline.

“Aabutin kayo dito [You’ll get hit here],” he said referring to Intramuros district where The Manila Times offices are located.

Solidum has been going around conducting talks to explain the West Valley Fault system as well as possible scenarios of what could happen if a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Metro Manila.

“We don’t mean to scare people. We’re providing scientifically correct information so that we could all be better prepared,” he said.

READ MORE...

Centering his discussion with The Manila Times on the possibilities in Intramuros where the newspaper’s offices are located and the nearby port area, Solidum added that heavy damage inflicted on the country’s primary port will leave the shipping industry at a standstill.

“Delivery of goods such as basic commodities to Luzon and other parts of the country will come to a halt,” he said.

Solidum then suggested that other ports in Luzon should be “activated” to decongest the Port of Manila and maximize operations of other ports such as Subic and improve access to other docking areas.

He said transfer of the docking of goods to other ports in the country should be done now as a precaution against the possible big earthquake.

“Malulugi ang Pilipinas kapag nasira ang port area ng Manila, so why not spread [the docking of goods to other ports]? It will also lessen the traffic,” Solidum added.

He said many port users oppose the decentralization of port operations as they are only looking from the perspective of business operations without considering the safety of their employees.

Solidum, who has been going around to explain the so-called “Big One” or the occurrence of a powerful earthquake once the West Valley Fault moves, is urging businesses to prepare a continuity plan, which charts their course of action when the inevitable happens.

He said companies should have their buildings and office locations evaluated and identify which areas are hazardous to their employees.

The companies should make a plan on what to do during and after the earthquake and each of the employees should be aware of this plan, according to him.

They should also always put the safety of their employees first before thinking about the profitability of their business since the human resource is their “focused asset,” he said.

“Your focused asset is your human resource. Help your employees.” Solidum added.

He suggested that companies should take the lead in being proactive in knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

“Everybody should know how to respond, how you evacuate from a building,” the Phivolcs chief said.

Employees who get the right information and training should ideally then cascade their knowledge to their families and communities.

“If an earthquake strikes while an employee is on his way to work, he should not rush back home if he knows that his house is strong enough to resist the earthquake and his family members are knowledgeable of the emergency procedures. In the end, there will be business continuity as your human resource is protected,” Solidum said.

2nd riskiest country
In his presentation, the Phivolcs chief narrated that Manila was almost totally destroyed after a powerful earthquake struck 370 years ago.

The Manila Cathedral which was then under renovation was nearly levelled as aftershocks continued for about a week. An estimated 600 people were killed. The epicentre of the 1645 earthquake was at Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

Swiss Re, a risk analysis firm, conducted a study in 2013 that identified Manila as the second “riskiest city in the world” in terms of disasters, particularly earthquakes, next to Tokyo.

There are two major faultlines near Manila–the West Valley Fault and the Manila Trench.

State volcanologists believe that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake would strike once the West Valley Fault moves while a stronger 7.9 may occur from the Manila Trench.

Faultlines outside Metro Manila may still cause heavy damage, they said, citing the 7.3-magnitude Casiguran (Aurora) earthquake in 1969 that resulted in the collapse of the Ruby Tower in Santa Cruz (Manila) that killed over 200 people.

A study conducted in 2004 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), titled the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), said 40 percent of the buildings in Metro Manila will be destroyed with fatalities estimated to reach in the mid-30,000 should an earthquake with such magnitude strike.

Solidum said the movement of the West Valley Fault will be more destructive.

Metro-wide drill

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be conducting a region-wide earthquake drill on July 30.

Around five to six million individuals are expected to participate in the massive exercise,

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino earlier said.

He said the drill will cover 16 cities and one town in Metro Manila or the National Capital Region.

To signal the start of the drill, sirens will blare, church bells will ring and fire alarms will go off.

The drill will start 10:30 a.m. and last for a full hour or until 11:30 a.m.

Metro Manila will be divided into four evacuation areas: Intramuros golf course in the west, Veterans Memorial Medical Center golf course in the north, Light Rail Transit 2 depot in the east, and Villamor Air Base golf course in the south.

Tolentino clarified that power and communication lines will not be interrupted during the drill.

“We expect an all-out participation of schools, hospitals, malls, call centers, government offices, among others,” he said.


PHILSTAR

AFP gears up for big quake By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated July 23, 2015 - 7:48pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


DOH personnel attend to an earthquake "victim." Public Affairs Office, AFP

MANILA, Philippines - The military on Friday conducted a tabletop exercise that seeks to test their coordination plan in case a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Metro Manila.

About 100 soldiers joined the exercise held at the Armed Forces Command and General Staff College Wargaming Center and Function Hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The activity coincided with the nationwide earthquake drill organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Insofar as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned, we are ready,” AFP deputy chief for operations Brig. Gen. Angelito de Leon said in an interview.

“If the Big One happens, the instruction is to drop everything and switch to HADR (humanitarian and disaster response),” he added.

Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned that 33,000 people could die if a 7.2-magnitude quake caused by the West Valley Fault hits Metro Manila and nearby areas.

READ MORE...

Also known as the Marikina fault line, the West Valley Fault starts from the Sierra Madre and runs through Bulacan, Rodriguez, Rizal, Quezon City, the eastern side of Metro Manila including Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, San Pedro, and Sta. Rosa in Laguna and ends in Carmona, Cavite.

De Leon said under their plan, troops from the Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac and Southern Luzon Command in Quezon will send troops to assist affected areas in Metro Manila.

He cited the need to improve the logistics and communication systems to ensure prompt delivery of assistance.

“We have to identify and consider the capacity of logistics bases. We have to further streamline communications,” de Leon said.

Rescuers, de Leon said, have been reminded to ensure their safety so they can extend assistance to those who need it.

“They should keep safe because if they do not take care of themselves, they will not be able to join the response efforts,” he added.

The venue of the tabletop exercise has two control rooms where military units can discuss and coordinate their responses. The plan was assessed based on three indicators namely promptness, appropriateness, and sustainability.

The Northern Luzon Command, Southern Luzon Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, Western Mindanao Command, Air Force, Army, Navy, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Civil Relations Servations, Generations Headquarters and Headquarters Support Command, AFP Reserve Command, AFP Medical Center, AFP Crisis Action Team, and AFP Battle Staff Bravo participated in the exercise.

The tabletop exercises started last Wednesday and will end on Friday.


VIA E-MAIL FROM KILUSANG MAYO UNO

From: KILUSANG MAYO UNO (kilusangmayouno@gmail.com)
Sent: July-22-15 2:08:26 AM
To: Kilusang Mayo Uno (kilusangmayouno@gmail.com)
Media Release
22 July 2015

P426-M budget insertions for LP solons slammed

P426-M budget insertions for LP solons slammed

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed outrage today over the expose that two Liberal Party members loyal to Pres. Noynoy Aquino received more than P422 million worth of public works projects in the 2015 national budget.

The labor group said the allotment of P294 million to the district of Aquino’s attack dog Caloocan Cong. Edgar Erice and another P167.5 million to the district of Caloocan Cong. Enrico Echiverri shows the continuing barefaced corruption under the present government.

“Just a few days before Aquino’s last SONA, we are provided with another proof that ‘Daang Matuwid’ is just a slogan meant to cover up corruption. The Filipino workers and people have been treading a bumpy, crooked, and bloody road this past five years,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, said.

The labor leader said that it is common knowledge that public works projects in the country are riddled with corruption, as politicians get kickbacks from contractors belonging to the private sector.

READ MORE...

“Here is another proof that Aquino’s ‘Pamilya, Partido at Padrino’ continue to have a grand time under his rule. Politicians continue to get huge kickbacks from project works projects under a government that claims to be against corruption,” Labog added.

One of the intended projects is a multi-purpose basketball court worth P6 million in the district of Echiverri, an erstwhile ally of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but is now a self-avowed LP member.

“Aquino claimed that he abolished the Priority Development Assistance Fund but he has only changed the name and mechanism of the pork barrel system. He is also the Pork Barrel King, amassing the biggest pork funds in the national budget,” Labog added.

KMU expressed alarm over Erice’s statement that “there are districts which got billions depending on the need” and that his district “got peanuts compared to others,” as if irregularities like these should simply be tolerated.

It said Aquino did not prevent his allies from inserting huge amounts for their particular projects despite expose’s from the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan or Makabayan bloc about midnight insertions for the 2015 national budget.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597


MANILA TIMES

Parties will name bets after SONA July 21, 2015 11:02 pm
by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER AND LLANESCA T. PANTI REPORTER

THE coast will be clearer after President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivers his administration’s valedictory in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

Lawmakers who belong to political parties affiliated with the administration coalition on

Tuesday said their parties will firm up their plans by next week.

The key question to resolve is who among the President’s possible bets will get their support.

Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) said they will tackle the next elections in their meeting next week.

“[Some of us are waiting if Senator Grace [Poe] will be running for President]. Many of us will be supporting her. I for one… There are others who are supportive of Vice President [Jejomar] Binay,” Sotto added

On the other hand, he said another group in the NPC will support the candidacy of Binay, who will be the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance
Binay’s avid supporters, according to Sotto, include President Aquino’s cousin, Mark Cojuangco, son of NPC chairman emeritus Eduardo “ Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

“There are others also headed by Mark Cojuangco who are supportive of Vice President Binay. So [that is one issue that we will] thresh out. So after the SONA, we will meet and we will finalize [our plans for the 2016 elections],” he said.

Poe and Binay are ranked 1st and 2nd in pre-election presidential surveys.

Poe, a first-time senator, is an independent but is affiliated with the Aquino administration’s coalition.

READ MORE...

Sen. Cynthia Villar said the Nacionalista Party (NP) is still weighing its options whether to field its own candidates or enter into an alliance with other political parties.

Three NP members–Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes 4th–are reportedly eyeing higher positions in 2016.

Trillanes earlier expressed his interest to run for Vice President.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who has been reported to be supportive of Poe after a “falling out” with Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd –the presumptive standard-bearer of the Liberal Party–refused to categorically say if he would still support Roxas.

“You know at this stage of the game, we are not [sure]… still a free thing [isn’t it]? I’d like to wait for [further developments],” Belmonte said.

When asked how he sees Poe as a potential candidate for President, the House Speaker replied, “Certainly, I think she is a good candidate.”

“And certainly I believe as well that Secretary Mar Roxas is super well-prepared to take over the presidency. But at this stage of the game, I don’t like to say anything,” Belmonte said.

Sotto expressed optimism about a possible team-up of Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero.

He said Poe herself would not slide down to Roxas as some Liberal Party stalwarts wanted her to do because she is “committed” to supporting Escudero’s bid for the vice presidency.

According to him, the camps of Poe and Escudero are “seriously considering” running together.

“That I know for a fact [that they are] seriously considering it,” Sotto said.
Meanwhile, Belmonte admitted that even within the LP, many are still weighing their options as to who they should be backing.

“At this stage of the game where nobody has been chosen and where… In effect, the field is still open. I think it is not unreasonable for various LP members to entertain all sorts of ideas [but] the important thing is that once a decision on the right processes has taken place, that they are behind it and I have no doubt that they will be,” he said.

Nevertheless, Belmonte added, he expects the President “to reach out to our coalition partners and solicit their support.”


PHILSTAR

Despite endorsements, Poe still undecided on 2016 By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 23, 2015 - 12:00am 1 26 googleplus0 0


Sen. Grace Poe said she would rather keep her political plans under wraps for now. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - While grateful to Senate colleagues for their informal endorsement of her possible presidential run, Sen. Grace Poe said she would rather keep her political plans under wraps for now.

“Sen. Serge is someone I respect and consult. We may differ in our views sometimes, but I consider him to be politically astute and an expert in many different areas in government such as the energy sector and finance. I have learned a lot from him,” Poe told The STAR, referring to Sen. Sergio Osmeña III.

She reiterated she has not yet decided on calls for her to run for president next year in tandem with Sen. Francis Escudero.

“We have discussed possibilities for 2016 but I have not made a decision yet on the matter,” she said.

Poe also said she was heartened by Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III’s expressing his full support for her possible presidential candidacy.

Sotto is a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), one of the biggest and most well-funded political parties in the country.

READ MORE...

“As for Tito Sen, he was a campaign manager of my dad and he has always been very supportive of me. We have been family friends in and outside of politics,” Poe added.

Sotto and his actress wife Helen Gamboa are close friends of Poe’s adoptive parents, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. and his wife Susan Roces.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto called Poe the “lady to beat” in the coming elections if results of recent surveys on voter preference are to be considered.

But he said a presidential campaign involves many factors, including party machinery and support from local officials.

As Liberal Party member, Recto said he would support the candidate chosen by the party.

No more meeting? Poe said President Aquino has not set another meeting but asked her “to keep lines of communication open.”

The President met for over five hours last Monday at Malacañang with Poe and LP’s presumptive standard-bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, reportedly to discuss a possible administration tandem.

While they apparently did not agree on matters pertaining to the presidential campaign, Poe said that after the meeting they agreed to do only “what is best for the country in whatever decisions we will make in the coming days.”

Poe said she sensed that the President was in a difficult situation, and was agonizing over how the administration coalition can be preserved.

“I understand and sympathize with his predicament and situation. I consider him a true and sincere friend and he has my utmost respect,” said Poe, who won a Senate seat in 2013 as independent adopted by the administration party.

“He reiterated his desire for all of us to continue working together and that he believes that, like him, we can and will do what is best for our country,” she added.

“In the end, we both agreed to continue, in whatever capacity, striving and working for our countrymen and for the betterment of our children’s future,” Poe said.

She also chided Vice President Jejomar Binay for dredging up the issue regarding her citizenship, saying the matter has been resolved and her loyalty is beyond question.

“Now, she is a Filipino public servant who has taken an oath to serve the best interest of the Filipino people and uphold and defend the laws and the Constitution of our country,” Poe’s chief of staff Nelson Victorino said in a statement.

“She has renounced any foreign citizenship years ago before she entered government service,” he said.

“She is and will abide by her oath,” he stressed.

“The real proof of love and loyalty to the country is not just taking oath of allegiance but fulfilling one’s sworn duty in thought and in action, and that’s what Sen. Poe has been doing all along,” he said in Filipino.

NPC backing With the President apparently still undecided on who to endorse for the 2016 presidential race, the NPC appears poised to back a Poe-Escudero tandem.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, who is president of the NPC, said the overwhelming support of party members for the tandem may help President Aquino get himself out of a dilemma. Aggabao, however, clarified there is no official party stand yet on the matter. The filing of certificates of candidacy is in October.

“We’re hoping that whatever they (Aquino and LP leadership) infer from here, becomes an input in their decision-making process. At the end of the day, there could be disparities but I hope they will respect whatever decision we will make,” Aggabao told reporters.

“The operative fact is for Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Escudero to announce their candidacy,” he said. “Only at that time will NPC come out to say we’re with them or with other parties.”

When asked why the NPC is leaning towards Poe, he said her splendid survey ratings were among the key considerations.

The administration coalition also includes the Nacionalista Party, the National Unity Party and other smaller groups.

The NPC boasts of over 2,000 incumbent officials including two senators, 47 congressmen, 14 governors and 22 city mayors.

Its chairman emeritus is businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., Aquino’s uncle.

Aggabao said Cojuangco’s preference would be highly considered in the party decision even as consultations are underway.

Escudero was an NPC member but quit the party in 2009. At that time, there were talks that he might run for president. – With Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero, Jose Rodel Clapano


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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