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

NIGHTMARE TRAFFIC JUST GETS WORSE IN RP - SURVEY


SEPTEMBER 6 -nightmare in Metro Manila will not just go away as long as different government instrumentalities do not get their act together. EDITORIAL CARTOON FROM MANILA STANDARD LAST YEAR 2014
- The traffic situation in the Philippines has gone from bad to worse, ranking fifth among countries with worst place to drive in the world, according to data released by crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com. In its study, the Philippines, which placed ninth in its January 2015 index, had a traffic index of 201.31.Egypt has the worst traffic situation in the world with an index of 284.51, followed by South Africa (215.34), Thailand (211.86), and Iran (202.90), according to the report. Traffic index was defined by the private search firm based in Serbia as a “composite index of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, carbon dioxide consumption estimation in traffic and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.”  Rounding up the top 10 are Turkey (198.61), Russia (195.51), India (195.02), Brazil (194.29) and Argentina (186.46). According to the survey, the average “one-way time” that a commuter needs to transport in the Philippines is 46. 09 minutes. Among 59 countries on the list, Austria has the best traffic flow in the world with a traffic index of 71, followed by Norway (74.54), Bosnia and Herzegovina (75.21), South Korea (76.02) and Switzerland (77.93). Numbeo.com claims its research data are not influenced by any governmental organization. Malacañang has earned flak from motorists and commuters over the past months for the worsening traffic situation coupled with the deteriorating mass transport systems in Metro Manila. An online petition was also launched calling for the resignation of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino for his failure resolve the traffic situation in the metropolis. “You have no right to be in MMDA while we taxpayers wallow half of our time in a day in traffic. We are your bosses, we urge you to resign,” the petition spearheaded by PSLINK noted.READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay wants separate Department of Transportation


SEPTEMBER 6 -Vice President Jejomar Binay Philstar.com /File  Vice President Jejomar Binay is pushing for a separate Department of Transportation to improve the management of transport-related issues, particularly traffic. The government’s transportation concerns are currently under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). “The part of communications should be removed. It should be just the department of transportation, and then we will put (communications) in another department,” Binay said in an interview over TV5’s “Reaksyon” on Thursday. Binay earlier voice support for the creation of a department for information and communications technology to effectively address the challenges and opportunities presented by advances in technology. The Vice President has criticized the DOTC for failing to address the traffic situation in Metro Manila as well as the problems in the mass transport system, particularly the Metro Rail Transit. Pressed for specific plans to address the traffic situation, Binay said people with executive ability should be appointed to handle the problem. “Someone who knows how to handle people, how to plan, and how to implement these plans,” he said. He had said he would not appoint politicians to Cabinet positions. “What is important (is to appoint someone) who can implement the plans. Someone with executive ability, a manager or an administrator,” he added. He said he has yet to decide who to appoint as DOTC secretary should he win the presidential elections next year. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO MINDANAO KILLINGS: Militias, AFP spawn de facto Mindanao Martial Law


SEPTEMBER 6 -ZARATE
A virtual martial law (ML), which President Aquino may have been responsible for or at least tolerated, exists in Southern Mindanao as proven by the recent killings of indigenous Lumads, a militant lawmaker and human rights advocates, said. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, at a media forum yesterday in Quezon City, said Aquino seems to ignore the situation where officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and certain paramilitary groups perpetuate militaristic fear on indigenous peoples (IPs). Zarate has been looking into the cases of forced evacuations involving thousands of Lumads. “President Aquino, whose family experienced the harshness of martial law, is careless regarding this phenomenon in Mindanao where IPs are victimized by a virtual martial law as they experience horrifying crimes, intimidations and threats from the AFP that backs paramilitary activities in a divide and conquer fashion,” Zarate said. Among the cases Zarate cited is a “wreckless and inhumane” event where members of the community, including a 12 year old girl, witnessed actual killing before them. Sheina Campos, the 12 year old girl who was present in the said media forum, togethee with five other individuals saw how paramilitary men shot to death her father Dionel Campos in Diatagon village in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on September 1.
Speaking in behalf of Sheina, who can roughly speak English or Tagalog plus the emotional trauma that bars her from sharing what she saw, was Eufemia Cullamat, a woman leader of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and is a witness to the said killing. “We were preparing to bury a deceased elder that morning. The day before (Sept. 1), a small number of soldiers who introduced themselves as members of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army asked us to cooperate for an investigation of which we respectfully declined because we were mourning then. They agreed and we thought that that was it. Little did we know that paramilitary men were already spying on us since midnight,” Cullamat said.READ MORE...RELATED FROM INQUIRER: 'Militia in lumad killings a ‘monster created by military’.....

ALSO In the Visayas:
Mar to town, city mayors: Don’t believe in empty promises


ISEPTEMBER 6 -nterior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file
Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II has advised municipal mayors in the Visayas not to be lured by make-believe promises.
“Beware of presidential aspirants who will entice you with make-believe promises just to garner votes for next year’s national elections,” said Roxas, who was the guest speaker for the League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ Visayas Island Cluster Conference held recently. The event was attended by about 300 municipal mayors from the Visayas. Roxas said it is possible that some politicians seeking higher positions in the coming elections are motivated by twisted intentions. He said these are the people who want to destroy the foundation of daang matuwid (straight path) in order to bring back corruption and the “palakasan” system in government. Roxas said his presidential candidacy is anchored on the expansion of President Aquino’s straight path policy. He pointed out that daang matuwid has come a long way and should be continued by the next president. He noted the administration’s fair execution of projects such as the SalinTubig program, which brought clean, potable water to waterless barangays; Bottom-Up Budgeting, wherein LGUs craft the projects needed by their own constituents, and the delivery of police patrol jeeps to all the 1,490 municipalities in the country. The interior secretary said he is confident that for the past five years, Filipinos have experienced and enjoyed the first fruits of daang matuwid. Stronger candidate The LP is confident that even without the star power of Sen. Grace Poe on their side, Roxas would be able to gain popularity and win the presidency in next year’s elections. READ MORE...

ALSO Senate Probe: Customs chief Lina apologizes to OFWs


SEPTEMBER 3 -Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina and the Bureau of Customs recently got flak over the random physical inspection of balikbayan boxes from overseas Filipino workers. APEC photo  Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina on Thursday apologized to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the recent issue on balikbayan boxes.
During the Senate committee on ways and means hearing on balikbayan boxes, Lina admitted that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has opened boxes from the United States. Lina added that the bureau has also inspected five containers from Hong Kong. "Ako'y nag-so-sorry kung mayroon kaming natapakan d'yan. Hindi kami nantatapak sa mga OFW. I give my 200 (percent) support for them. Hintayin ninyo ang bago naming procedures," Lina said. RELATED...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Nightmare traffic just gets worse in RP — survey


INSENSITIVE AND ARROGANT GOVT: The traffic nightmare in Metro Manila will not just go away as long as different government instrumentalities do not get their act together. EDITORIAL CARTOON FROM MANILA STANDARD LAST YEAR 2014

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015, (TRIBUNE) Written by Joshua L. Labonera Saturday, 05 September 2015 00:00 - The traffic situation in the Philippines has gone from bad to worse, ranking fifth among countries with worst place to drive in the world, according to data released by crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com.

In its study, the Philippines, which placed ninth in its January 2015 index, had a traffic index of 201.31.
Egypt has the worst traffic situation in the world with an index of 284.51, followed by South Africa (215.34), Thailand (211.86), and Iran (202.90), according to the report.

Traffic index was defined by the private search firm based in Serbia as a “composite index of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, carbon dioxide consumption estimation in traffic and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.”

Rounding up the top 10 are Turkey (198.61), Russia (195.51), India (195.02), Brazil (194.29) and Argentina (186.46).

According to the survey, the average “one-way time” that a commuter needs to transport in the Philippines is 46. 09 minutes.

Among 59 countries on the list, Austria has the best traffic flow in the world with a traffic index of 71, followed by Norway (74.54), Bosnia and Herzegovina (75.21), South Korea (76.02) and Switzerland (77.93).

Numbeo.com claims its research data are not influenced by any governmental organization.


MALACANAN PALACE P-NOY ADMIN LOGO

Malacañang has earned flak from motorists and commuters over the past months for the worsening traffic situation coupled with the deteriorating mass transport systems in Metro Manila.

An online petition was also launched calling for the resignation of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino for his failure resolve the traffic situation in the metropolis.

“You have no right to be in MMDA while we taxpayers wallow half of our time in a day in traffic. We are your bosses, we urge you to resign,” the petition spearheaded by PSLINK noted.

READ MORE..

“The insensitivity and arrogance of this administration has caused the ordinary Filipino worker unnecessary suffering. In fact, this administration is so callous that it continues to use public funds for the advanced campaigning of those running for public office under the slate of the administration,” it said.

But Malacañang has repeatedly said it is moving to address the traffic debacle in Metro Manila, where President Aquino admitted that he is currently being presented with possible solutions to the problem, hinting at the implementation of a weekly odd-even scheme anew, which has been proven highly unpopular in the past.

Aquino, earlier this week, even tasked the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to decongest chokepoints along Edsa while carrying their guns.

Aquino particularly directed the HPG to lead the traffic clearing operations, with the help of the MMDA, Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.


PHILSTAR

Binay wants separate Department of Transportation By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 6, 2015 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Vice President Jejomar Binay Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay is pushing for a separate Department of Transportation to improve the management of transport-related issues, particularly traffic.

The government’s transportation concerns are currently under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

“The part of communications should be removed. It should be just the department of transportation, and then we will put (communications) in another department,” Binay said in an interview over TV5’s “Reaksyon” on Thursday.

Binay earlier voice support for the creation of a department for information and communications technology to effectively address the challenges and opportunities presented by advances in technology.

The Vice President has criticized the DOTC for failing to address the traffic situation in Metro Manila as well as the problems in the mass transport system, particularly the Metro Rail Transit.

Pressed for specific plans to address the traffic situation, Binay said people with executive ability should be appointed to handle the problem.

“Someone who knows how to handle people, how to plan, and how to implement these plans,” he said.

He had said he would not appoint politicians to Cabinet positions.

“What is important (is to appoint someone) who can implement the plans. Someone with executive ability, a manager or an administrator,” he added.

He said he has yet to decide who to appoint as DOTC secretary should he win the presidential elections next year.


TRIBUNE

MINDANAO KILLINGS: Militias, AFP spawn de facto Mindanao ML Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 06 September 2015 00:00


ZARATE

A virtual martial law (ML), which President Aquino may have been responsible for or at least tolerated, exists in Southern Mindanao as proven by the recent killings of indigenous Lumads, a militant lawmaker and human rights advocates, said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, at a media forum yesterday in Quezon City, said Aquino seems to ignore the situation where officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and certain paramilitary groups perpetuate militaristic fear on indigenous peoples (IPs).

Zarate has been looking into the cases of forced evacuations involving thousands of Lumads.

“President Aquino, whose family experienced the harshness of martial law, is careless regarding this phenomenon in Mindanao where IPs are victimized by a virtual martial law as they experience horrifying crimes, intimidations and threats from the AFP that backs paramilitary activities in a divide and conquer fashion,” Zarate said.

Among the cases Zarate cited is a “wreckless and inhumane” event where members of the community, including a 12 year old girl, witnessed actual killing before them.

Sheina Campos, the 12 year old girl who was present in the said media forum, togethee with five other individuals saw how paramilitary men shot to death her father Dionel Campos in Diatagon village in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on September 1.

Speaking in behalf of Sheina, who can roughly speak English or Tagalog plus the emotional trauma that bars her from sharing what she saw, was Eufemia Cullamat, a woman leader of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and is a witness to the said killing.

“We were preparing to bury a deceased elder that morning. The day before (Sept. 1), a small number of soldiers who introduced themselves as members of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army asked us to cooperate for an investigation of which we respectfully declined because we were mourning then.

They agreed and we thought that that was it. Little did we know that paramilitary men were already spying on us since midnight,” Cullamat said.

READ MORE...

“Dionel and Jovillo Sinzo, another MAPSU leader, were staying at the house (of Josephine Pagalan). At around 4 a.m. soldiers and their paramilitary escorts went house to house and when they saw Dionel and Jovi they ordered them to sit at the foot of the stairs. They also grabbed Belen Itallo, who is crippled by polio since birth, near Dionel and Jovillo. They kicked her,” Cullamat narrated.

“The Armed men ordered them to sit beside each other while telling others who were there to ‘drop’. They shot Dionel, whose head was blown off, and Jovillo dead,” Cullamat said.

Cullamat identified brothers Bobby and Loloy Tejero, who were Lumads recruited by a paramilitary group allegedly “armed by the AFP” and are actually Campos’ relatives, as the shooters.

On the same morning, Emerito Samacara, Executive Director of the Lumad school Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), was also found dead in one of the classrooms in the said school compound. His throat was slit open from ear to ear.

Samacara’s death was also attributed to paramilitary groups accordingly backed by the military who allegedly provided arms.

According to rights group Karapatan, the military recruits Lumads into paramilitary units called Magahat, Bacani, and Marcos Bocales to “fuel brother-to-brother feuds” by giving them arms and cash.

“Paramilitary recruitment is not new. It was done during the martial law era in the guise of private armies of politicians. The same thing also happned during the regime of (President Cory Aquino) where paramilitaries appeared as fanatic vigilante groups,” he said.

“Now, the paramilitary forces within the Lumad community are backed by the AFP through the influence, we believe, of mining companies,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay told the Daily Tribune.

Mining firms after Lumad lands

Mining companies, since 1994, have been expressing interest in investing on particular Lumad territories.

Meanwhile, Liberal Party (LP) ally Rep. Nancy Catamco, together with another group of Lumads in a separate media forum last Thursday, said that the Lumad evacuees which include Campos and the two other victims who are being hosted by ecumenical Christian churches are being “influenced and manipulated” by left-leaning groups linked to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

The NPA, true enough on their website, claimed that the largest base of the Maoist insurgents are operating in the Northern and Southern Mindanao regions where the displaced Lumads originally came from.


Manobo from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces light candles on a map of Mindanao at Davao City's Freedom Park during a protest against the murder of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the ALCADEV school, Dionel Campos, chairman of the lumad organization MAPASU, and Campos' cousin Bello Sinzo, by members of the Magahat militi in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. (photo courtesy of Bayan Southern Mindanao Region) INTERAKSYON SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

Catamco even said that the evacuees are being “illegally detained” by suspected NPA fronts such as militant partylist groups Bayan Muna and Gabriela.
Zarate and Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan were invited in a dialog supposedly initiated by Catamco, to convince Lumads to leave the evacuation compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City on July 23.

The Christian sect is also being tagged as a communist front.

In the dialogue that turned out to be a confrontation between the IPs and Catamco, the latter insulted the Lumads, as well as Zarate and Ilagan, by telling them that they stink.

Catamco, following the incident, was tagged by the Lumads as ‘persona non grata’.

The Bayan Muna solon, who defended the Lumads, is now facing charges of illegal detention.

Zarate, in an interview with the Tribune, said that despite the Lumad’s cultural negation of firearms, “some seek justice through options offered by the NPA”.

“We cannot actually blame them if they decide to take arms and join the NPA. The justice system itself is doubtful, you know. It actually turns out that the AFP has become recruiting agents of the NPA because of the conditions they engender and their anti-Lumad campaign,” Zarate said.

“In the end, its not just between the NPA and the AFP. The true victims here are the Lumads,” Zarate added.

Zarate told the Tribune that he is trying to look into the possibility that Catamco’s pork barrel funds - as she is recently cited in a pork-related case before the Ombudsman - might have benefitted certain paramilitary forces.
By Ted Tuvera

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Militia in lumad killings a ‘monster created by military’ By: Karlos Manlupig @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Mindanao 12:12 PM September 6th, 2015
pimentelgov


Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel. INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY — Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel on Friday said the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary force that recently killed a school director and two Manabo lumad residents in Lianga town was a “monster created by the military.”

At least 2,000 residents from the village of Diatagon fled their homes after members of the Magahat-Bagani — allegedly accompanied by soldiers — killed Emerico Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) in the morning of Sept. 1.

Samarca was found dead inside a classroom. He had a stab wound and his throat was slit open.

Alcadev is a privately operated but government-regulated learning institution that provides basic and technical education to lumad children in communities rarely reached by government services.

After killing Samarca, the armed men gathered the residents and killed Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo.

Campos was a community leader and chair of the indigenous people’s group Maluhutayong Pakigbisog Alansa sa Sumusunod (Mapasu), which is known to fight for ancestral land and campaign against human rights violations targeting indigenous people.

The Magahat-Bagani also razed the building of a community cooperative not far from the school compound.

Pimentel said the Magahat-Bagani force, which is composed of at least 30 heavily armed men, had been a persistent security problem in the province.

“They killed people including barangay leaders. They are the same people creating chaos in at least four towns,” Pimentel told the Inquirer by phone.

The four towns, Pimentel said, include Lianga, San Agustin and Marihatag.

Pimentel disclosed that the people and the government knew very well that the paramilitary group was created by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“This is the creation of the military. But they created a monster that they could no longer control,” Pimentel said.


VOX POP : UP community condemns killings of LUMADS in Mindanao By: Bernard Testa September 3, 2015 11:43 AM PHOTO: Baby Boy Velandrez speaking to Interaksyon: "Ganito na ba ang mangyayari sa mga katutubong nag dedepensa para sa kapakanan ng lahat? Hindi lang sa aming sarili, para protektahan ang ang aming lupain, gobyerno pa ang unang tumapak sa aming karapatang pantao. "Imbes na ang gobyerno ang magtanggol sa amin dahil sila ang nakakaalam ng mas mataas na batas, sila pa ang unang sumusuway sa batas. INTERAKSYON SEPTEMBER 3, 2015

The governor explained that the creation of the Magahat-Bagani Force was part of the military’s counterinsurgency campaign.

“The Bagani is being used by the Army for counterinsurgency,” Pimentel said.

“I know how it works,” said the governor.

“Before the group was created and before training started, I already learned about that. The same thing happened in Patukan (in Compostela Valley) and other areas. Where will they (Bagani) get the money? An Armalite rifle costs at least P150,000. The firearms came from the Army,” he said.

The governor said he has been pleading to the military to disband the Bagani.

“For the past two years I have been asking the military to disband and disarm them but nothing happened,” Pimentel said.

On Aug. 31, Pimentel said he had a meeting with 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, 401st Brigade commander Col. Alexander Macario and 402nd Brigade commander Col. Isidro Purisima about the Bagani because militiamen killed two lumad brothers in the town of San Miguel on Aug. 28.

“When will you act on it? The Bagani should be disbanded,” Pimentel recalled telling the military officers during the meeting, warning of the Bagani going on a rampage.

Just as Pimentel had predicted, the killings happened in Lianga.

Pimentel identified the leaders of the Magahat as Marcos Bocales, Bob Tejero and Loloy Tejero, while the leader of the Bagani force as Calpet Egua, who is based in Agusan del Sur.

The governor said he ordered the arrest of Bocales in 2009, but local authorities could not catch up with him and his followers, despite them usually being “seen inside the camp” of the military.

“If only I can, I would declare war on them,” said Pimentel. “I want Bocales and Tejero dead because the people are pitiful. It’s too much already,” he added.

The military had denied allegation it was behind the militia and even vowed to support an investigation.

Purisima, in an earlier press statement said more soldiers had been sent to help investigate the killings in Lianga and “go after the perpetrators.”

“We shall not let these criminals roam and threaten the peace-loving people of Surigao del Sur. We will let them face the crimes they’ve committed,” he added.

For his part, Lactao said the killings had affected the peace programs of the provincial government.

“We condemn the crime committed by this armed group. It is very unfortunate that this situation happened,” Lactao said.

“We will support and participate in the conduct of this fact finding mission and the ongoing investigation by the PNP to give justice to the victims of this crime,” Lactao added.

But Pimentel said the support that he needed from the military was the immediate disbandment of the militia and the prosecution of those behind the killings.

The provincial government is also asking AFP chief of staff Gen. Hernando Irriberi, who is from Surigao del Sur, to intervene and exact accountability over the alleged abuses of the militia and the role of the military in its operations.

“The people are also appealing to presidential adviser on the peace process Ging Deles to also intervene and help resolve the issue,” Pimentel said. Karlos Manlupig / CB


PHILSTAR

Mar to Visayas mayors: Don’t believe in empty promises By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 6, 2015 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0


Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II has advised municipal mayors in the Visayas not to be lured by make-believe promises.

“Beware of presidential aspirants who will entice you with make-believe promises just to garner votes for next year’s national elections,” said Roxas, who was the guest speaker for the League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ Visayas Island Cluster Conference held recently.

The event was attended by about 300 municipal mayors from the Visayas.

Roxas said it is possible that some politicians seeking higher positions in the coming elections are motivated by twisted intentions.

He said these are the people who want to destroy the foundation of daang matuwid (straight path) in order to bring back corruption and the “palakasan” system in government.

Roxas said his presidential candidacy is anchored on the expansion of President Aquino’s straight path policy.

He pointed out that daang matuwid has come a long way and should be continued by the next president.

He noted the administration’s fair execution of projects such as the SalinTubig program, which brought clean, potable water to waterless barangays; Bottom-Up Budgeting, wherein LGUs craft the projects needed by their own constituents, and the delivery of police patrol jeeps to all the 1,490 municipalities in the country.

The interior secretary said he is confident that for the past five years, Filipinos have experienced and enjoyed the first fruits of daang matuwid.

Stronger candidate

The LP is confident that even without the star power of Sen. Grace Poe on their side, Roxas would be able to gain popularity and win the presidency in next year’s elections.

READ MORE...

Senate President Franklin Drilon, the LP’s vice chairman, said the party is focused on making Roxas a stronger candidate, the results of which are already showing.

Last Friday, Drilon announced that he will ask his colleagues in the LP to end their pursuit of Poe as the running mate of Roxas and start looking for someone else.

Drilon said he was convinced that Poe has already decided on running for president based on her actions in the past few months.

Poe, who in her interviews claimed that she was still undecided on whether or not to run for higher office, has been going around the country to attend various events and even has advertisements out on radio and television, leaving no doubt in the minds of many, including Drilon, that she was now on campaign mode.

With Poe now out of the picture, Drilon said that the LP can now focus on finding a suitable running mate for Roxas and making him an even stronger candidate.


LIBERAL PARTY CHAIRMAN DRILON

“We do not rely on Sen. Grace Poe, with all due respect, to strengthen Secretary Mar. We will focus on making him a strong candidate. That has been our objective from the very start. We need to make our candidate stronger rather than rely on anybody,” Drilon said over dwIZ radio.

Drilon said the efforts of the party are paying off already, based on a survey commissioned by the LP, which showed Roxas holding a significant lead over Vice President Jejomar Binay on a one-on-one battle of presidential candidates.

The said survey showed Roxas getting 53 percent of the vote of the respondents against 37 percent for Binay.

Drilon explained that the survey was limited to the two politicians because they were the only ones who have declared their intentions to run for president.

According to Drilon, what is important is to analyze surveys based on the trend and not on any one particular period.

A candidate going on an upward trajectory in the surveys, regardless of how small the margin, is good, according to Drilon.

“What is a bad signal is if the trend is downwards,” Drilon said.

Growing support

Meanwhile, around 50 top officials of Negros Occidental, led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Gov. Eugenio Lacson, pledged anew their support for Roxas’ presidential bid.

The pledge of support was done in a closed-door meeting at Nature’s Hotel and Restaurant in Talisay City, Negros Occidental last Friday.

“We have not discussed anything with Roxas except our pledge of support for him,” said fourth district Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer.

Negros Occidental is considered a “Mar country” as he traces his roots to Bago City in the province.

In the 2010 vice presidential race, Roxas had an overwhelming win in Negros Occidental against Binay.

He garnered 707,313 votes against Binay’s 221,679 votes.

Meanwhile, the absence of Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who is the provincial chairman of LP, was noticeable during last Friday’s meeting.

In an ambush interview at the Talisay City public market, Roxas was mum when asked why Benitez was absent.

Roxas later said, “You have to ask him. I don’t know.”

Reports said Benitez was allegedly disappointed when Roxas threw his support to Marañon without consulting first the LP members in the province.

Marañon, who is not an LP member but a staunch supporter of President Aquino and Roxas, is seeking reelection in 2016.

Both Benitez and Marañon belong to different local parties. Benitez leads Love Negros while Marañon heads United Negros Alliance.

Marañon earlier announced that the proposed merger between the two parties will not push through because he wants Ferrer to be his running mate, contrary to the proposition of Benitez that Lacson should seek reelection.

Benitez, who is the fourth richest congressman in the country and leader of the Visayan bloc in the House of Representatives, has yet to issue a statement if he will support the presidential bid of Roxas. – With Marvin Sy, Danny Dangcalan


FROM PHILSTAR

Customs chief Lina apologizes to OFWs By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 3, 2015 - 3:54pm 2 405 googleplus0 1


Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina and the Bureau of Customs recently got flak over the random physical inspection of balikbayan boxes from overseas Filipino workers. APEC photo

MANILA, Philippines — Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina on Thursday apologized to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the recent issue on balikbayan boxes.

During the Senate committee on ways and means hearing on balikbayan boxes, Lina admitted that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has opened boxes from the United States.

Lina added that the bureau has also inspected five containers from Hong Kong.

"Ako'y nag-so-sorry kung mayroon kaming natapakan d'yan. Hindi kami nantatapak sa mga OFW. I give my 200 (percent) support for them. Hintayin ninyo ang bago naming procedures," Lina said.

READ MORE...

The Customs chief said that the bureau conducted the physical inspections in able to detect smuggled goods.

The BOC on Wednesday released a new memo which bans the random physical inspection of balikbayan boxes.

Balikbayan boxes will instead undergo mandatory X-ray scanning. The BOC will also acquire K-9 units and install CCTVs in all authorized inspection and examination areas.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier ordered the BOC to stop conducting random physical inspections of balikbayan boxes.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Lina raises voice during Senate hearing; Recto loses his cool By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net 06:22 PM September 3rd, 2015


Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto lost his cool on Thursday when Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina raised his voice during a Senate hearing on balikbayan boxes controversy.

It started when Recto questioned about the additional taxes the Bureau of Customs will impose on a container of balikbayan boxes — from P80,000 per container in July to P180,000 in October. The additional taxes, he said, would be passed on eventually to overseas Filipino workers sending balikbayan boxes in the Philippines.

On Recto’s questioning, Customs Deputy Commissioner Agaton Uvero confirmed the increase— from P80,000 to P180,000 for containers that will come from the United States of America and Europe.

But even without the duties and taxes on the contents, Lina said, the taxes being imposed on a 40-foot container has already reached about P120,000.

Recto pointed out however that there was nothing in the law that says that a container coming from the two countries should be slapped with a P80,000 to P100,000 tax.

“Korek. Ang tawag po dun ay benchmarking…(Correct, that’s what we call benchmarking)” Lina said.

“Pero huwag nating sabihin na nasa batas. Ang puntos ko lagi nyong sinasabi na sinsunduan ang batas…(But let us not say it’s in the law. My point is you keep on saying it’s just following the law),” Recto said.

Apparently not satisfied by the answers he was getting from the custom officials, Recto called a freight forwarder present in the hearing room to confirm that the additional tax would be passed on to the OFWs.

But Lina, who came from the freight forwarding business before he assumed the post, insisted that the additional tax would be imposed on the freight forwarders, and not on the OFWs.

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“Alam ko kung magkano kinikita ng mga yan e. Humihingi lang ang gobyerno ng additional na P80,000 or P100,000 kundi magbukasan tayo ng libro ng mga freight forwarders kung yan ang gusto nyo dito. Hindi ko naman yan hinihingi sa mga balikbayan e, hinihingi ko yun dito sa intermediary,” Lina said.
(I know how much they are earning. The government is just asking for additional P80,000 or P100,000 if not lets open the books of freight forwarders if that’s what you want to do here. I am not asking for that from the balikbayan. I am asking for that here through an intermediary.)

“Because kung talagang magbubukas tayo ng box per box at ng duties and taxes, lalabas kung ano ang tunay nilang dapat bayaran. What is in the law is the law,” he added.
(Because if we’re going to open them box per box and [compute] duties and taxes, the real amount to be paid will come out.)

“Precisely the point, e di habulin sila ng BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue),” said Recto.
(The BIR will pursue them.)

“Kaya nga freight fowarder …sila ang dapat magbayad dyan hindi po ang balikbayan at saka yung OFWs,” Lina answered.
(That’s why it’s the freight forwarder…they’re the ones who should pay not the balikbayan and the OFWs.)

“E kokolektahin nga nila doon yun e. Huwag kayong magtataas ng boses dito,” an irate senator said.
(But they’re going to collect [taxes and duties] from [balikbayan, OFWs]. Don’t raise you voice here.)

“I’m just trying to explain here,” Lina said.

“No, I’m also explaining the effect,” Recto shot back.
Maila Ager/TVJ


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