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ECONOMIC MANAGERS: AS PER CAPITA GDP 5.8% ECONOMIC GROWTH NOT AS GOOD AS IT SEEMS


JANUARY 28 -The Philippines's quarterly growth. Trading Economics
While Philippine financial markets cheered over the 5.8-percent economic growth last year, it may not be as good as analysts and the country's economic managers have portrayed it. In peso terms, the 5.8 percent means that the goods and services produced by the country in 2015 amounted to P7.579 trillion from P7.164 trillion in 2014. The totality of the goods and services produced by a country in a given period is called the gross domestic product or GDP. The P7.579 trillion can buy more than 37.524 billion large Big Mac meals at the current price of P202 per meal as advertised on the McDonald's website. At the current price, the P7.164 trillion output in 2014 is equivalent to 35.465 billion large Big Mac meals. Given the estimated Philippine population of 104 million for 2016, the value of the economy last year can feed Filipinos large Big Mac meals three times a day for 120.26 days. In reality, however, the per capita GDP or the value turnover of the economy divided by the population actually grew at a slower pace of 4.6 percent last year from 4.8 percent in 2014 versus 2013. In current peso terms, each Filipino would have P130,804 in his or her pocket if the value of last year's GDP was distributed equally among the population. In 2014, that amount was P126,583 for every Filipino.
Population growing faster "This is indicative that the population is growing faster than the economy. A declining per capita GDP will continue if this will be the trend," John Paolo Rivera, program manager at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) told GMA News Online. "We divide the income with the number of members. So the more population we have, more are sharing the pie. But the pie is not growing as fast as those who are sharing it," Rivera said. In a briefing on the GDP report Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan floated the idea that Philippines is probably one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay: Economic growth must create jobs


JANUARY 30 -Vice President Jejomar Binay downplayed yesterday the 6.3 percent growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2015, saying such improvement is “meaningless unless it provides jobs” for the people. STAR/Boy Santos
Vice President Jejomar Binay downplayed yesterday the 6.3 percent growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2015, saying such improvement is “meaningless unless it provides jobs” for the people.
He also criticized the marginal improvement in the agriculture sector at only 1.6 percent from 2011 to 2015, saying the figure proves the continued neglect by the Aquino administration of this vital sector. “The agricultural sector had a very imperceptible growth last year at 0.2 percent. Agriculture, despite being the dominant sector, is the least productive under the present administration,” Binay said. Lawmakers also hit Malacañang yesterday for making it appear that the country’s growth and corruption figures improved last year. Reps. Terry Ridon of the Kabataan party-list group and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte said the Palace was trying to put different spins on the country’s 6.3 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, and the 2015 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) where the Philippines slid 10 notches from 85th to 95th place. This is the second year that the GDP has slumped, with growth sliding from the peak 7.1 percent growth in 2013, to 6.1 percent in 2014, to only 5.8 percent last year, Ridon said. READ MORE...

ALSO: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT -Noy gov’t lacks accountability, fails to deliver on promise — HRW


JANUARY 29 -President Aquino’s six-year term in office will end in mid-2016 without achieving his promised goal to significantly improve human rights in the country, a report from an international human rights group noted. In its World Report 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW), which reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries, lamented that “there has been little accountability for the killings of indigenous leaders, activists and journalists, and other serious abuses during his (Aquino) administration.” “Since his election, President Aquino held out the promise of a rights-respecting Philippines for which he has sadly been unable to deliver,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. “While the number of serious violations has declined during Aquino’s administration, ongoing killings of prominent activists and the lack of successful prosecutions mean there’s nothing to prevent an upsurge of abuses in the future.” In the first eight months of 2015, Philippine military and paramilitary groups allegedly killed more than a dozen tribal leaders and tribal community members, local rights groups reported. Military operations in areas in Mindanao, heavily populated by indigenous peoples, contributed to the displacement of 243,000 since January, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). Many of those displaced faced inadequate food, shelter and health care. Also, nine journalists were killed in 2015 – three of them over 10 days in August. Only one suspect was reported arrested in these attacks. Killings of alleged petty criminals, drug dealers, and others by “death squads” or contract killers in several cities continued unabated. In some cases, the killings were publicly encouraged by local officials such as presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. READ MORE...


ALSO: Philippine leader welcomes Japan's emperor as ties blossom


JANUARY 27 -Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, right, greets visiting Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko before a start of their meeting inside the presidential palace in Manila, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (Romeo Ranoco/Pool Photo via AP) Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave a red-carpet welcome to Japan's emperor Wednesday in a sign of blossoming ties between the two nations, both mired in territorial disputes with China, while further moving past painful memories of Japan's World War II aggression. Aquino and Emperor Akihito held talks at Manila's Malacanang presidential palace, where Philippine and Japanese flags were displayed side by side and Filipino troops fired cannons in a traditional salute. Aquino later hosted a state banquet for Akihito, whose visit marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. Aquino and Akihito discussed robust sales of Japanese-made cars that have contributed to Manila's heavy traffic and the entry of Japanese retail store Uniqlo, presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. said. Akihito, a revered symbol of Japanese unity who plays no political role in his country, did not discuss contentious security issues such as the territorial disputes or demands for an apology by Filipino women who accuse Japan's wartime army of forcing them into sexual slavery, according to the emperor's press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima. READ MORE, VIEW MORE PHOTOS...

ALSO: 100-day election countdown starts; led by Comelec chair Bautista, fun run kicks off campaign for clean, peaceful polls


JANUARY 30 -Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista leads the kickoff of the 100-day countdown to the May 9 polls in front of the Manila Cathedral yesterday. Participants carried brooms during a fun run to symbolize calls for clean elections. Edd Gumban
A fun run yesterday around the square in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros kick-started the 100-day countdown to the May 9 local and national polls. Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista led the fun run, accompanied by running priest Robert Reyes and several others from the poll body and urban poor groups. Bautista and Reyes dramatized their call for clean elections by carrying broomsticks during the run. “We need the help of the public and the media to make sure that our elections will be orderly,” Bautista told reporters after running around Plaza Roma. The elections chief said that while it is the duty of the Comelec to count the votes correctly, “voters have the responsibility to vote right.” He admitted the Comelec is behind schedule in its preparations, but stressed that it is coping nevertheless. “It’s hard to put in percentages, but yes, we are still trailing,” he said when asked how much catching up the poll body would have to do. “But we are just continuing with our preparations. We don’t want to rush because the more you rush, the more you may commit mistakes,” he explained. Bautista assured the public that the Comelec is in a better position today in preparing for the general elections than when he joined the poll body in April 2015. “We now have a good momentum. We can catch up with our timetable,” he added. The Comelec is behind schedule in the printing of ballots, finalizing the list of candidates, completing the source code certification and the holding of mock elections. Printing of official ballots has been set back twice to Feb. 8, five days after the final list of candidates would have been drawn. “Elections should not only be clean but also meaningful. The Comelec needs to be at the forefront in helping the people do their part in having clean and meaningful elections,” said Reyes, who also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines. “If the Comelec does not measure up to the people, the people will sweep them away. Even if they have fixed terms in office, we all know that they can be impeached. If we learn that they are part of the election cheating, they must be swept away,” he added. Warehouse inspected Later in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Bautista inspected the rented warehouses where 64,824 vote counting machines (VCMs) are being stored. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bongbong says ping-pong diplomacy may resolve sea row


JANUARY 30 -Marcos, who is running for vice president, said while the filing of a case against China before the international court is laudable, it is not enough. PRIB/Albert Calvelo
A different form of engagement with China – like through sports or cultural exchange – might help the Philippines resolve its maritime spat with the Asian giant, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday.
In a roundtable discussion with TV5, Marcos said the Philippines can take pointers from the so-called ping-pong diplomacy that set the stage for improved relations between the US and China in the 1970s. The exchange of table tennis players between the US and China may have helped thaw relations between the two countries, according to some historians. Marcos, who is running for vice president, said while the filing of a case against China before the international court is laudable, it is not enough. “We can make our case before the UN but we will not win anything, we can just expose our case but there will be no winner,” he said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

AS PER CAPITA GDP SLOWS 5.8% economic growth not as good as it seems – economists


The Philippines's quarterly growth. Trading Economics

MANILA, FEBRUARY 1, 2016 (GMA NEWS) Published January 28, 2016 9:23pm By JON VIKTOR D. CABUENAS - While Philippine financial markets cheered over the 5.8-percent economic growth last year, it may not be as good as analysts and the country's economic managers have portrayed it.

In peso terms, the 5.8 percent means that the goods and services produced by the country in 2015 amounted to P7.579 trillion from P7.164 trillion in 2014.

The totality of the goods and services produced by a country in a given period is called the gross domestic product or GDP.

The P7.579 trillion can buy more than 37.524 billion large Big Mac meals at the current price of P202 per meal as advertised on the McDonald's website. At the current price, the P7.164 trillion output in 2014 is equivalent to 35.465 billion large Big Mac meals.

Given the estimated Philippine population of 104 million for 2016, the value of the economy last year can feed Filipinos large Big Mac meals three times a day for 120.26 days.

In reality, however, the per capita GDP or the value turnover of the economy divided by the population actually grew at a slower pace of 4.6 percent last year from 4.8 percent in 2014 versus 2013.

In current peso terms, each Filipino would have P130,804 in his or her pocket if the value of last year's GDP was distributed equally among the population. In 2014, that amount was P126,583 for every Filipino.

Population growing faster

"This is indicative that the population is growing faster than the economy. A declining per capita GDP will continue if this will be the trend," John Paolo Rivera, program manager at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) told GMA News Online.

"We divide the income with the number of members. So the more population we have, more are sharing the pie. But the pie is not growing as fast as those who are sharing it," Rivera said.


Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan

In a briefing on the GDP report Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan floated the idea that Philippines is probably one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

READ MORE...

"For 2015, among the major developing countries, the Philippines is likely among the fastest in Asia next to India, the People's Republic of China, and Vietnam," he said. Only China has so far released its 2015 GDP, which grew by 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 6.9 percent for the full year.

The Cabinet official's premise may be true, but it does not necessarily mean the P7.579 trillion turnover actually trickled down to the majority of Filipinos.

"Growth has not been as inclusive as we want it to be, because many still have low quality and low productivity jobs," Cid Terosa, vice dean of the Economics Program at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said in a separate text message.

"We can't automatically say that lives are better, because economic well-being is a broad concept," Terosa noted.

"Social services have not advanced spectacularly too. But we are getting there," he added.

AIM's Rivera said a higher per capita GDP can only be achieved if the economy accelerates at a much faster pace than the population.

Reflecting on the latest economic story, Cora Guidote, senior vice president for investor relations at SM Investments Corp., said, "I don't think this kind of growth can be inclusive enough." – VS, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Binay: Economic growth must create jobs By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2016 - 12:00am 0 27 googleplus0 1


Vice President Jejomar Binay downplayed yesterday the 6.3 percent growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2015, saying such improvement is “meaningless unless it provides jobs” for the people. STAR/Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay downplayed yesterday the 6.3 percent growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2015, saying such improvement is “meaningless unless it provides jobs” for the people.

He also criticized the marginal improvement in the agriculture sector at only 1.6 percent from 2011 to 2015, saying the figure proves the continued neglect by the Aquino administration of this vital sector.

“The agricultural sector had a very imperceptible growth last year at 0.2 percent. Agriculture, despite being the dominant sector, is the least productive under the present administration,” Binay said.

Lawmakers also hit Malacañang yesterday for making it appear that the country’s growth and corruption figures improved last year.

Reps. Terry Ridon of the Kabataan party-list group and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte said the Palace was trying to put different spins on the country’s 6.3 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, and the 2015 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) where the Philippines slid 10 notches from 85th to 95th place.

This is the second year that the GDP has slumped, with growth sliding from the peak 7.1 percent growth in 2013, to 6.1 percent in 2014, to only 5.8 percent last year, Ridon said.

READ MORE...

Binay said the agriculture sector’s dismal growth rate under the Aquino administration was the second lowest recorded since 1986 as he vowed to focus on improving the sector, provide jobs and address widespread poverty, especially in rural areas, if he wins the presidency.

His administration, he claimed, would concentrate on generating jobs in the 15 provinces with the most number of poor families, especially those with poverty incidence greater than 50 percent, which he identified as Lanao del Sur (67.3 percent), Eastern Samar (55.4 percent), Apayao (54.7 percent) and Maguindanao (54.5 percent).

He promised to create economic zones in key agricultural provinces and train farmers to shift from subsistence farming to agribusiness.

On the GDP growth, Ridon said, “These figures offer a bleak economic forecast for the coming year. Yet, what we are more appalled about is the fact that Malacañang officials, especially presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, still have the gall to heap praises to the administration despite the slowdown.”

He added that instead of discussing the economic downturn as it is, Lacierda and Abad “twisted data to downplay, and even hide” the slowdown.

Lacierda used technical terms like the ‘six-year moving average,’ which actually masks the fact that a marked economic slowdown has again taken place, he stressed.

Ridon pointed out that the government’s fiscal managers actually projected a seven to eight percent GDP growth, as reflected in the 2015 National Expenditure Program.

“We’re way off-target and this has serious implications, even for the country’s national budget,” he said. – With Paolo Romero


TRIBUNE

Noy gov’t lacks accountability, fails to deliver on promise — HRW Written by Gerry Baldo Friday, 29 January 2016 00:00



President Aquino’s six-year term in office will end in mid-2016 without achieving his promised goal to significantly improve human rights in the country, a report from an international human rights group noted.

In its World Report 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW), which reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries, lamented that “there has been little accountability for the killings of indigenous leaders, activists and journalists, and other serious abuses during his (Aquino) administration.”

“Since his election, President Aquino held out the promise of a rights-respecting Philippines for which he has sadly been unable to deliver,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. “While the number of serious violations has declined during Aquino’s administration, ongoing killings of prominent activists and the lack of successful prosecutions mean there’s nothing to prevent an upsurge of abuses in the future.”

In the first eight months of 2015, Philippine military and paramilitary groups allegedly killed more than a dozen tribal leaders and tribal community members, local rights groups reported. Military operations in areas in Mindanao, heavily populated by indigenous peoples, contributed to the displacement of 243,000 since January, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). Many of those displaced faced inadequate food, shelter and health care.

Also, nine journalists were killed in 2015 – three of them over 10 days in August. Only one suspect was reported arrested in these attacks. Killings of alleged petty criminals, drug dealers, and others by “death squads” or contract killers in several cities continued unabated. In some cases, the killings were publicly encouraged by local officials such as presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

READ MORE...

HRW added children throughout the country face a wide range of human rights abuses.

As a September 2015 Human Rights Watch report documented, in small-scale gold mining, children are exposed to extremely hazardous work conditions, working deep underground, diving underwater to dig for gold, and processing ore with toxic mercury.

Armed conflict prevented children in a number of areas from attending school, and paramilitaries raided several schools, killing a school administrator in August.

The HRW also reported that authorities detained hundreds of poor and homeless, among them many children, to clear Manila of street dwellers during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit last November, a practice previously used during high-profile events.

“While Aquino’s presidency has had a mixed record on rights issues, ultimately he has failed to make the institutional reforms to ensure a lasting positive human rights legacy,” Kine said.

He also stressed the need for the Philippines next president to be prepared “to tackle deep-seated impunity for abuses by state security forces and the corrupt and politicized criminal justice system.”


YAHOO ASIA

Philippine leader welcomes Japan's emperor as ties blossom Associated Press By JIM GOMEZ and TERESA CEROJANO January 27, 2016 9:04 AM  Japan's


Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, right, greets visiting Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko before a start of their meeting inside the presidential palace in Manila, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (Romeo Ranoco/Pool Photo via AP)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave a red-carpet welcome to Japan's emperor Wednesday in a sign of blossoming ties between the two nations, both mired in territorial disputes with China, while further moving past painful memories of Japan's World War II aggression.

Aquino and Emperor Akihito held talks at Manila's Malacanang presidential palace, where Philippine and Japanese flags were displayed side by side and Filipino troops fired cannons in a traditional salute. Aquino later hosted a state banquet for Akihito, whose visit marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Aquino and Akihito discussed robust sales of Japanese-made cars that have contributed to Manila's heavy traffic and the entry of Japanese retail store Uniqlo, presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Akihito, a revered symbol of Japanese unity who plays no political role in his country, did not discuss contentious security issues such as the territorial disputes or demands for an apology by Filipino women who accuse Japan's wartime army of forcing them into sexual slavery, according to the emperor's press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima.

READ MORE...

At the state banquet, the emperor recalled the fierce battles between Japanese and American forces in the Philippines that resulted "in the loss of many Filipino lives" and left many others injured.

"This is something we Japanese must never forget and we intend to keep this engraved in our hearts throughout our visit," Akihito said, expressing hope that his trip will help deepen Japanese ties with the Philippines.


Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, right, greets visiting Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko before a start of their meeting inside the presidential palace in Manila, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (Romeo Ranoco/Pool Photo via AP)


Philippine President Benigno Aquino (C) listens as visiting Japanese Emperor Akihito delivers a statement, next to Empress Michiko during a state dinner at the presidential palace in Manila January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco


Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow before the tomb of the unknown soldier as a soldier fires a salute during a wreath laying ceremony at the Heroes' Cemetery Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 in suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. The 82-year-old Akihito pays his respects at memorials for both the Philippine and the Japanese war dead during his state visit. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) .

Aquino said the emperor was apprehensive when, as crown prince, he first visited the Philippines in 1962 because of what happened during Japan's wartime occupation of the country. But Akihito's anxieties eased then because of the warm Philippine reception he and his wife received, he said.

"I am held in awe, recognizing the burdens you have borne, as you have had to live with the weight of the decisions made by others during the dark episodes in the history of our nations," Aquino said.

Relations between Japan and the Philippines have improved dramatically in the seven decades since the war, with Japan becoming a major trading partner and aid donor for the Philippines. Akihito's visit is seen as a strong sign of a further deepening of ties as the countries, both close American allies, confront China over long-contested maritime territories.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces have staged joint search and rescue exercises with the Philippine navy near the disputed South China Sea and are providing the Philippines with coast guard patrol boats.


Filipino women forced to work as slaves for Japanese military brothels marched near Manila’s Malacañan Palace on Wednesday, January 27, as Japanese Emperor Akihito met Philippine President Benigno Aquino. The so-called comfort women, who were forced into sexual slavery during the World War II, called on Aquino to seek justice on their behalf. This video shows the protest.Emperor Akihito said at Wednesday’s state banquet that the Japanese people “must never forget” the loss of lives in the Philippines during the war. The Japanese imperial couple arrived in Manila on Tuesday for a five-day visit to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Philippines. Credit: YouTube/kodao phils

Still, six elderly Filipino women led a protest outside the presidential palace Wednesday asking the Japanese government to formally apologize and compensate them and other sex slaves abused by Japanese forces during the war. They carried placards reading, "No to rising Japanese militarism."

Akihito's foreign trips conveying a pacifist message are important because they ease concerns over perceptions that Japanese political leaders are trying to flex the country's military muscles once again, said Richard Heydarian, a political science professor at Manila's De La Salle University.

He said it is still important to push Japan to deal with the remaining issues caused by its wartime aggression.

"We should forgive but we should not forget the past. That will also help Japan," Heydarian said.

Akihito is to pay his respects at memorials for both Philippine and Japanese war dead during his visit, which ends Saturday.


PHILSTAR

100-day election countdown starts Fun run kicks off campaign for clean, peaceful polls By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2016 - 12:00am 0 33 googleplus0 0


Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista leads the kickoff of the 100-day countdown to the May 9 polls in front of the Manila Cathedral yesterday. Participants carried brooms during a fun run to symbolize calls for clean elections. Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines – A fun run yesterday around the square in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros kick-started the 100-day countdown to the May 9 local and national polls.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista led the fun run, accompanied by running priest Robert Reyes and several others from the poll body and urban poor groups.

Bautista and Reyes dramatized their call for clean elections by carrying broomsticks during the run.

“We need the help of the public and the media to make sure that our elections will be orderly,” Bautista told reporters after running around Plaza Roma.

The elections chief said that while it is the duty of the Comelec to count the votes correctly, “voters have the responsibility to vote right.”

He admitted the Comelec is behind schedule in its preparations, but stressed that it is coping nevertheless.


BAUTISTA

“It’s hard to put in percentages, but yes, we are still trailing,” he said when asked how much catching up the poll body would have to do.

“But we are just continuing with our preparations. We don’t want to rush because the more you rush, the more you may commit mistakes,” he explained.

Bautista assured the public that the Comelec is in a better position today in preparing for the general elections than when he joined the poll body in April 2015.

“We now have a good momentum. We can catch up with our timetable,” he added.

The Comelec is behind schedule in the printing of ballots, finalizing the list of candidates, completing the source code certification and the holding of mock elections.

Printing of official ballots has been set back twice to Feb. 8, five days after the final list of candidates would have been drawn.

“Elections should not only be clean but also meaningful. The Comelec needs to be at the forefront in helping the people do their part in having clean and meaningful elections,” said Reyes, who also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines.

“If the Comelec does not measure up to the people, the people will sweep them away. Even if they have fixed terms in office, we all know that they can be impeached. If we learn that they are part of the election cheating, they must be swept away,” he added.

Warehouse inspected Later in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Bautista inspected the rented warehouses where 64,824 vote counting machines (VCMs) are being stored.

READ MORE...

Bautista noted there are other VCMs being readied for release by the Bureau of Customs.

“I‘m not sure how many machines are in Customs but the deliveries are as scheduled,” he said.

The VCMs are undergoing testing and configuration at the warehouses owned by Jam Liner bus company.

He also inspected some of the ballot boxes being kept in one of the warehouses.

The Comelec refused to show two other warehouses to the media as the poll body is set to visit the facilities on Feb. 3.

Bautista also reported no “untoward incidents” concerning Comelec’s “field-testing” in 32 public schools across the country.

“But the transmission was not yet tested. We need to test that as well,” he pointed out.

The field-testing was done in preparation for the mock elections that would be done in 30 areas nationwide on Feb. 13.

In 2010 and 2013 polls, the mock polls were held in five and 10 places, respectively.

Bautista said the holding of mock election is important as it would provide a preview of what may transpire on Election Day itself.


 Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal

In Cebu City where the 51st International Eucharistic Congress is being held, Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal urged wannabe politicians to uphold honesty in public service.

Vidal, in a wheelchair, made a quick visit to the pavilion accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo.

“Be honest,” Vidal said when sought for his message to political candidates.

Vidal also said politicians must not promise what they cannot fulfill and they must be truthful in their campaigns. He said politicians should respect people’s beliefs and culture.

The cardinal also disclosed that some local politicians visited him at his home in Banilad, Cebu City. He did not name them.

But he said presidential candidates Rodrigo Duterte and Jejomar Binay went to his house one after the other, but he was not around to welcome them.

He said he has no idea yet who are the “qualified” political aspirants.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also made an appeal to politicians to value the trust of the people and not stain it with things that are an affront to God.

“Trust is a gift from God. Show it in your service,” he said.


TAGLE AT THE 51st IEC IN CEBU

Last Thursday, Tagle assailed some politicians for promoting the throwaway culture, as he pointed out the widespread bribery and corruption in government and even in businesses. He said such practices are inconsistent with Christian living.

“I mentioned the politicians in terms of the culture of throwing away. I was really pointing out – being in politics means to have earned the trust of people. You were elected because people have trust in you. Don’t throw away the trust of people. Return it as a gift,” he said.

“Politicians, will you throw away people’s taxes for your parties and shopping, or guard them as gifts for social service?”

During his visit to the Philippines last year, Pope Francis called for honesty and integrity among political leaders and urged Filipinos to reject corruption.

Pope Francis recognized that the country is facing the challenge of building a just and humane society as its people are confronting new and complex political and ethical questions.

The Philippines is Asia’s largest Catholic nation whose progress is being hampered by rampant corruption.


PHILSTAR

Bongbong says ping-pong diplomacy may resolve sea row By Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2016 - 12:00am 1 94 googleplus0 0


Marcos, who is running for vice president, said while the filing of a case against China before the international court is laudable, it is not enough. PRIB/Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines – A different form of engagement with China – like through sports or cultural exchange – might help the Philippines resolve its maritime spat with the Asian giant, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday.

In a roundtable discussion with TV5, Marcos said the Philippines can take pointers from the so-called ping-pong diplomacy that set the stage for improved relations between the US and China in the 1970s.

The exchange of table tennis players between the US and China may have helped thaw relations between the two countries, according to some historians.

Marcos, who is running for vice president, said while the filing of a case against China before the international court is laudable, it is not enough.

“We can make our case before the UN but we will not win anything, we can just expose our case but there will be no winner,” he said.

READ MORE...

The senator said the government must reach out to China through other informal channels like business or cultural exchanges or even sports, and that it should not abandon bilateral discussions on the West Philippine Sea issue.

He said in the past, Chinese and Filipino fishermen would often meet on certain islands in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to share food and drinks.

“We can no longer do that these days but we can request that our fishermen and their Chinese counterparts bond together instead of being hostile to one another,” Marcos said.

The senator said the Chinese government has expressed its desire to discuss the maritime issue with Manila based on international law.

“We must grab that opportunity, it’s now time that we talk to China, we are a small nation, we will be hurt and we will be caught in the middle if conflict between China and US escalates,” Marcos said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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