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AND THEN there were 6: ERAP PARTY (PMP) PRESIDENTIAL BET QUITS RACE, BACKS VP BINAY


FEBRUARY 2 -MENDOZA AND THEN there were six.The standard-bearer of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party on Monday announced that he was backing out of the May 9 presidential race to support the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.Romel Mendoza was one of the seven candidates included on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) initial list of presidential candidates released on Jan. 21. In a press conference Monday, Mendoza thanked the Comelec for having confidence in the PMP to field a presidential candidate and for recognizing his qualifications despite a petition filed by the poll body’s law department to declare him a nuisance candidate.The 40-year-old Mendoza admitted that he had filed his certificate of candidacy for president to reserve the slot for Estrada should the latter decide to run again for the position he once held.Earlier intention“Mayor Estrada earlier declared his intention to run for president if Sen. Grace Poe is disqualified from the race or if Vice President Binay is jailed,” said Mendoza, also the secretary general of the Kalipunan ng Masang Pilipino (Kampil). “I filed my candidacy to pave the way for this option for our former President and also as a sign of support by Kampil,” he said.But since the Dec. 10 deadline for candidate substitution has long gone—with Estrada filing his bid for reelection in Manila and Poe’s disqualification case still pending in the Supreme Court—Mendoza said he deemed it right to withdraw from the race.He also noted that Binay, who is facing corruption charges, was still on the official list of candidates.“For this, I am informing my countrymen that I am withdrawing my candidacy for president and we will make this official with the Comelec so that my name will be removed from and not cause confusion in the official ballot for the 2016 elections,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: And now it's - A 5-way race for president, 6 vie for VP spot


FEBRUARY 5 -(Left to right) Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago will be joining the presidential race in the May 9 elections.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday released the certified list of candidates for president and vice president. The list showed a five-way race for president and a six-way race for vice president. The final candidates for president are Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (People's Reform Party), Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan), Sen. Grace Poe (Independent), former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II (Liberal Party) and Rep. Roy Señeres (Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka Workers and Peasants Party). However, Señeres withdrew from the presidential race on Friday afternoon upon the advice of his doctors. His representatives said that he has diabetes, according to a report from the STAR. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP Binay’s 2016 bid receives another boost as Ifugao gov joins UNA


FEBRUARY 4 -IFUGAO. Governor Dennis Habawel explains a point after joining Vice President Jejomar Binay’s UNA Party during a press conference Tuesday morning. With Habawel is UNA secretary general Atty. JV Bautista and UNA Ifugao provincial coordinator Cicero Lumauig. (Milo Brioso)
SUNSTAR FILE The schism continues. This time it’s Ifugao Gov. Dennis Habawel’s turn to pledge his support to the 2016 presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay. United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general JV Bautista said Habawel, a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), has formally committed to fortify Binay’s lead in the “Solid North” which has a voting population of five million. At a press briefing in Baguio City yesterday, Habawel pointed out that Binay is the most qualified to respond to various local concerns, including problems on poverty, hunger, education and health care for ordinary citizens. “It was not difficult for me to make the decision to help Vice President Binay capture Malacañang because he is one of our own. He will be the first President, God willing, who will come from the ranks of the indigenous people’s (IP’s) group,” the governor said.Habawel, a partymate of two of the Vice President’s Senate inquisitors, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, who are both seeking the vice presidential post, also stressed that among the presidential candidates only Binay has the heart to listen to the concerns of the masses. “Additionally, this is also our way of expressing our deepest gratitude to the Binay family as his grandmother served for a long time as public school teacher in a far-flung barangay called Magulon in Mayoyao town,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Comelec junks all DQ cases vs Duterte


FEBRUARY 3 -All the disqualification cases filed to cancel the presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is denied by the Commission on Elections First Division. The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division on Wednesday afternoon denied all the disqualification cases against presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
In a press conference, Comelec First Division Chair Christian Robert Lim said the body voted unanimously to dismiss all of the four petitions filed against Duterte due to lack of merit. The ruling was signed by Comelec body’s members Lim, Luie Tito Guia and Ma. Rowena Guanzon. Among the petitions junked by the Comelec are those filed by University of the Philippines Student Council Chair John Paulo delas Nieves, broadcaster Ruben Castor, nuisance candidate Elly Pamatong and former senatorial candidate Rizalito David, who is also petitioner in Sen. Grace Poe's disqualification case, Nieves earlier questioned the validity of Duterte's substitution for former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan standard-bearer Martin Diño. The Comelec said, however, that the petitions which challenged Diño's certificate of candidacy was filed out of time since he was already declared a nuisance candidate and withdrew his candidacy. The Comelec added that Diño's intent to run for president was clear despite his error. Lim said the petitioners may still file a motion for reconsideration to counter the division's ruling.FULL REPORT.RELATED, Duterte celebrates dismissal of DQ cases...

ALSO: Binay camp - PNoy's rice sufficiency program a failure


FEBRUARY 3 -President Benigno Aquino earlier said that he was confident that the Philippines could become a rice exporter during his term. Edd Gumban The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday claimed that the administration's rice self-sufficiency program is a failure. Binay's spokesperson Joey Salgado contradicted the claims Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. "Secretary Alcala claims the Philippines has been 96 percent rice self-sufficient starting in 2010. What he fails to mention is that the Philippines imported 1.787 MMT (million metric tons) of rice last year, the largest in the last five years. In 2014, we also imported 1.7 MMT," Salgado said in a statement. Salgado recalled that in 2011, Alcala said that from being the top importer, the Philippines will be a top exporter in four years. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that rice production in 2015 only reached 18.86 MMT which is 1.22 MMT short of the 20.08 MMT target. It was also o.6 percent lower than the 18.97 MMT output in 2014.
Salgado noted that the poorest Filipinos belong to the agriculture sector despite the Philippines being an agricultural country. "Secretary Alcala’s thinking that our farmers who are starving and wallowing in poverty are ‘sexy’ is just another example of the insensitivity of this administration, not unlike their presidential candidate saying that the worsening traffic in Metro Manila was ‘a sign of progress," Salgado said. In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III declared the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign in achieving self-sufficiency. However, international organizations and agriculture economists warned that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent. FULL REPORT. RELATED, Cases rise against Noy's rice sufficiency dream...

ALSO: Gloves come off - Malacañang, Liberal Party trade barbs with Binay


FEBRUARY 3 -Promise. Vice President Jejomar Binay shares a light moment with the United Nationalist Alliance’s candidates in Cebu, where he vowed a bigger share of internal revenue allotments to local governments once he was elected president.
Malacañang and its standard bearer, Manuel Roxas II, traded barbs with opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay Tuesday after the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee recommended the filing of plunder charges against Binay. “The Senate report speaks for itself. I have nothing to add to this,” Roxas said during a campaign sortie in Antipolo, Rizal. “The appeal of the people [is] for him to answer the charges,” he said, adding that the senators had heard all the testimony and examined all the evidence before release their partial report. “Who am I to oppose the view of the Senate?” Clearly referring to the charges against Binay, Roxas added: “It is important that a President should not steal.” Binay’s camp, on the other hand, said the Senate subcommittee report held nothing new, and accused Roxas’ Liberal Party of timing its release during the campaign and just before the next survey period for the opinion polls. United Nationalist Alliance spokesperson Rico Quicho accused the Liberal Party of using the charges against Binay to divert public attention from the administration’s failure to improve the lives of the poor. “The apparent full-court press of the Liberal Party against the vice president is a crude attempt to divert attention from its utter failure to address poverty,” he said, adding that the charges against Binay were politically motivated and aimed at pulling down the ratings of the Vice President after he topped the recent Social Weather Stations opinion poll. “The people are already tired of this callous and failing government that we have today. It’s been six years and yet 11 million Filipino families continue to suffer from poverty, 3 million families are starving, and 10 million people are unemployed,” Quicho said. READ MORE...

ALSO VOTERS MUST KNOW: Filipinos should know whose money politicians are using


FEBRUARY 3 -The presidential candidates are Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Mar Roxas, Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte.Except for Senator Miriam Santiago, all of them have been spending a lot of money for print ads, tarpaulin and other kinds of posters, radio and TV jingles, commercials and documentaries, social media postings. Collectively they have already spent scores of billions for their campaign and are expected to spend much more until the elections in May. We, the public, can guess that the very rich ones among them are spending some of their own money. Or in the case of Mar Roxas, using his money, as well as money from the gigantic vault of the Liberal Party, which has been enriched by President Aquino, Budget Secretary Abad and Transport and Communications Secretary Abaya (who is the LP big boss.) But even Mar Roxas and Vice-President Binay, we are sure, get financial contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations. Who are these? And of course, Senator Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are also receiving contributions. Who are their donors? And who are the very powerful persons, said to have inexhaustible bank accounts, who have been whispered about as the backers not just of Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares’ vote-getting campaign nationwide but also of the expensive legal effort to make her qualified to run for president if she is clearly not qualified if the election laws and the Constitution are obeyed? This legal effort is rumored to now involve billions to make sure that—God forbid—some of the Supremes decide to oppose the correct and moral stand on her citizenship and residency disqualification.In the United States many citizens are also demanding to know who the moneybags of the candidates are. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

And then there were 6: Erap party’s bet quits, backs Binay


MENDOZA

MANILA, FEBRUARY 8, 2016
(INQUIRER)  By: Jocelyn R. Uy @inquirerdotnet February 2nd, 2016 - AND THEN there were six.

The standard-bearer of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party on Monday announced that he was backing out of the May 9 presidential race to support the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Romel Mendoza was one of the seven candidates included on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) initial list of presidential candidates released on Jan. 21.

In a press conference Monday, Mendoza thanked the Comelec for having confidence in the PMP to field a presidential candidate and for recognizing his qualifications despite a petition filed by the poll body’s law department to declare him a nuisance candidate.

The 40-year-old Mendoza admitted that he had filed his certificate of candidacy for president to reserve the slot for Estrada should the latter decide to run again for the position he once held.

Earlier intention

“Mayor Estrada earlier declared his intention to run for president if Sen. Grace Poe is disqualified from the race or if Vice President Binay is jailed,” said Mendoza, also the secretary general of the Kalipunan ng Masang Pilipino (Kampil).

“I filed my candidacy to pave the way for this option for our former President and also as a sign of support by Kampil,” he said.

But since the Dec. 10 deadline for candidate substitution has long gone—with Estrada filing his bid for reelection in Manila and Poe’s disqualification case still pending in the Supreme Court—Mendoza said he deemed it right to withdraw from the race.

He also noted that Binay, who is facing corruption charges, was still on the official list of candidates.

“For this, I am informing my countrymen that I am withdrawing my candidacy for president and we will make this official with the Comelec so that my name will be removed from and not cause confusion in the official ballot for the 2016 elections,” he said.

READ MORE...

“But we also want to announce that in withdrawing my bid, we are also endorsing the candidacy of Binay for president,” he said.

Kampil was throwing its support behind Binay because of what it described as his “pro-Filipino” and “pro-masses” agenda and platform of government.

“We believe that he is competent and he has the professional track record to lead the Philippines,” said Mendoza.

Withdraw anytime

In an interview, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the Comelec will accept Mendoza’s withdrawal from the presidential race if he personally filed it before the election body.

“We will accept that if it happens. If it does, we might have six candidates for president,” said Bautista.

Under Comelec rules, any candidate backing out of the elections must personally file at any time before Election Day a sworn statement of cancellation or withdrawal before the poll body.

Congress review

But noting Mendoza’s reason for filing his candidacy, Bautista said there might be a need for Congress to review the law on substitution of candidates to prevent politicians and political parties from abusing such provision and from “circumventing” nomination procedures.

“Probably, for the succeeding elections, we may need to assess this provision of the law and we call on Congress to look into whether we should still allow substitution of candidates,” he said.

Mendoza filed a sworn statement of withdrawal at the Comelec late Monday afternoon.


PHILSTAR

And now it is 5-way race for president, 6 vie for VP spot By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 5, 2016 - 10:45am 1 106 googleplus0 0


(Left to right) Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago will be joining the presidential race in the May 9 elections.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday released the certified list of candidates for president and vice president.

The list showed a five-way race for president and a six-way race for vice president.

The final candidates for president are Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (People's Reform Party), Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan), Sen. Grace Poe (Independent), former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II (Liberal Party) and Rep. Roy Señeres (Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka Workers and Peasants Party).

However, Señeres withdrew from the presidential race on Friday afternoon upon the advice of his doctors. His representatives said that he has diabetes, according to a report from the STAR.

READ MORE...

Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino Rommel Mendoza recently withdrew from the presidential race and decided to support Binay instead.

Meanwhile, a temporary restraining order was issued against the Comelec ruling to disqualify Por from the presidential race.

Six candidates also qualified for the vice presidency which are Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (Independent), Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero (Independent), Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II (United Nationalist Alliance) Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (Independent), Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo (Liberal Party) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (Independent).

The poll body is set to begin the printing of ballots on February 8.


TRIBUNE

VP’s 2016 bid receives boost as Ifugao gov joins UNA Written by Charlie V. Manalo Thursday, 04 February 2016 00:00 font size decrease


IFUGAO. Governor Dennis Habawel explains a point after joining Vice President Jejomar Binay’s UNA Party during a press conference Tuesday morning. With Habawel is UNA secretary general Atty. JV Bautista and UNA Ifugao provincial coordinator Cicero Lumauig. (Milo Brioso) SUNSTAR FILE

The schism continues. This time it’s Ifugao Gov. Dennis Habawel’s turn to pledge his support to the 2016 presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general JV Bautista said Habawel, a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), has formally committed to fortify Binay’s lead in the “Solid North” which has a voting population of five million.

At a press briefing in Baguio City yesterday, Habawel pointed out that Binay is the most qualified to respond to various local concerns, including problems on poverty, hunger, education and health care for ordinary citizens.

“It was not difficult for me to make the decision to help Vice President Binay capture Malacañang because he is one of our own. He will be the first President, God willing, who will come from the ranks of the indigenous people’s (IP’s) group,” the governor said.

Habawel, a partymate of two of the Vice President’s Senate inquisitors, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, who are both seeking the vice presidential post, also stressed that among the presidential candidates only Binay has the heart to listen to the concerns of the masses.

“Additionally, this is also our way of expressing our deepest gratitude to the Binay family as his grandmother served for a long time as public school teacher in a far-flung barangay called Magulon in Mayoyao town,” he added.

READ MORE

Bautista said the groundswell of support in the presidential bid of Binay continues to gain momentum as another governor from the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) is expected to join UNA in the next few days.

“Clearly, there is now a snowballing trend from the ranks of incumbent local officials that is developing into a surge of support for Binay,” the UNA official added.

Cicero Lumauig, UNA provincial coordinator for Ifugao, said eight out of 11 incumbent mayors are with Habawel.

Habawel will be adopted as official UNA candidate in Ifugao province and will be entitled to the rights and privileges of an official candidate.

Bautista said more announcements will be made during the campaign period as incumbents from the Liberal Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP) and other political parties have already expressed they desire to join UNA and support the presidential bid of Binay.

Last Monday, former Government Service Insurance System president Winston Garcia, who is running for Cebu governor, announced that he and One Cebu party have decided to support the candidacy of Binay, noting that “he is the most experienced to lead the Philippines in the next six years.”

“We have done exhaustive consultations with Cebuanos from all walks of life and from all sectors of society. The overwhelming choice as President for them and for us at One Cebu is no less than Vice President Binay,” Garcia said, adding the Vice President has the most credible, doable and economics-centrist platform of government among the presidential candidates.

Last week, Southern Leyte Vice Gov. Sheffered Tan and No. 1 Board Member Albert Esclamado declared their support for Binay. Both are now UNA candidates for governor and vice governor, respectively.

Bautista added UNA is set to make a big announcement next week in Cebu City that will complete the dominance of UNA in the Top 3 vote-rich provinces of the country.


PHILSTAR

Comelec junks all DQ cases vs Duterte By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated February 3, 2016 - 4:43pm 3 223 googleplus0 0


All the disqualification cases filed to cancel the presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is denied by the Commission on Elections First Division. The STAR/Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division on Wednesday afternoon denied all the disqualification cases against presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press conference, Comelec First Division Chair Christian Robert Lim said the body voted unanimously to dismiss all of the four petitions filed against Duterte due to lack of merit.

The ruling was signed by Comelec body’s members Lim, Luie Tito Guia and Ma. Rowena Guanzon.

Among the petitions junked by the Comelec are those filed by University of the Philippines Student Council Chair John Paulo delas Nieves, broadcaster Ruben Castor, nuisance candidate Elly Pamatong and former senatorial candidate Rizalito David, who is also petitioner in Sen. Grace Poe's disqualification case,

Nieves earlier questioned the validity of Duterte's substitution for former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan standard-bearer Martin Diño.

The Comelec said, however, that the petitions which challenged Diño's certificate of candidacy was filed out of time since he was already declared a nuisance candidate and withdrew his candidacy.

The Comelec added that Diño's intent to run for president was clear despite his error.

Lim said the petitioners may still file a motion for reconsideration to counter the division's ruling.

----------------------------------------------

RELATED FRO  PHILSTAR

Duterte celebrates dismissal of DQ cases By Mike Frialde (philstar.com) | Updated February 3, 2016 - 7:24pm 3 2 googleplus0 0


In this Nov.30, 2015 photo, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City in southern Philippines greets supporters prior to addressing the crowd on his proclamation as the Presidential candidate of the PDP-LABAN political party in Manila, Philippines. Duterte entered the top five presidential bets in next year's Presidential elections. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the dismissal by the Commissions on Election (Comelec) of the consolidated disqualification petitions lodged against him.

"As the mayor has stated in the past, he is confident that his certificate of candidacy was proper, legal and can stand legal scrutiny. We continue to respect the legal processes and call on the Comelec to dismiss with finality all the petitions to disqualify Duterte as candidate for president," a statement sent by Duterte's camp said.

"In the light of this recent development, we call on our supporters to continue to pray and resist and expose vicious black propaganda circulating that Duterte would be disqualified," the statement added.

The Comelec on Wednesday denied all the disqualification cases against Duterte due to lack of merit.

Among the petitions junked by the Comelec are those filed by University of the Philippines Student Council Chair John Paulo delas Nieves, broadcaster Ruben Castor, nuisance candidate Elly Pamatong and former senatorial candidate Rizalito David, who is also petitioner in Sen. Grace Poe's disqualification case,

Nieves earlier questioned the validity of Duterte's substitution for former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan standard-bearer Martin Diño.

The Comelec said, however, that the petitions which challenged Diño's certificate of candidacy was filed out of time since he was already declared a nuisance candidate and withdrew his candidacy.

The Comelec added that Diño's intent to run for president was clear despite his error.


PHILSTAR

Binay camp: PNoy's rice sufficiency program a failure By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 3, 2016 - 2:51pm 1 26 googleplus0 0

P
resident Benigno Aquino earlier said that he was confident that the Philippines could become a rice exporter during his term. Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday claimed that the administration's rice self-sufficiency program is a failure.

Binay's spokesperson Joey Salgado contradicted the claims Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

"Secretary Alcala claims the Philippines has been 96 percent rice self-sufficient starting in 2010. What he fails to mention is that the Philippines imported 1.787 MMT (million metric tons) of rice last year, the largest in the last five years. In 2014, we also imported 1.7 MMT," Salgado said in a statement.

Salgado recalled that in 2011, Alcala said that from being the top importer, the Philippines will be a top exporter in four years.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that rice production in 2015 only reached 18.86 MMT which is 1.22 MMT short of the 20.08 MMT target. It was also o.6 percent lower than the 18.97 MMT output in 2014.

Salgado noted that the poorest Filipinos belong to the agriculture sector despite the Philippines being an agricultural country.

"Secretary Alcala’s thinking that our farmers who are starving and wallowing in poverty are ‘sexy’ is just another example of the insensitivity of this administration, not unlike their presidential candidate saying that the worsening traffic in Metro Manila was ‘a sign of progress," Salgado said.

In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III declared the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign in achieving self-sufficiency.

However, international organizations and agriculture economists warned that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent.

----------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Cases rise against Noy's rice sufficiency dream By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated January 4, 2013 - 2:30pm 14 110 googleplus0 2


The Philippines, one of the world’s largest importers of rice, is set to end such imports altogether by producing 13.03 million tons of milled rice this year. ANTWELM

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III declared 2013 the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign to achieve rice self-sufficiency this year, despite warnings by international organizations and agriculture economists that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent.

The president even promised in his year-end speech on the last day of 2012 that Filipinos can expect enough locally produced rice to feed the population soon.

“Hindi na lamang rice self-sufficiency, kundi ang pag-eexport ng matataas na klase ng bigas ang habol natin pagdating ng 2013,” he said.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior fellow Roehlano Briones, however, assessed the country’s capability to halt rice imports and concluded that the administration’s expensive Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) is “too ambitious” to be realized.

“The rice self-sufficiency target is unlikely to be achieved, whether in 2013 or even over the course of the decade to 2020,” Briones said in PIDS study published late in 2012.

The Philippines, one of the world’s largest importers of rice, is set to end such imports altogether by producing 13.03 million tons of milled rice in 2013—a goal, which for Briones, is simply "unrealistic."

Veteran business journalist Rene Pastor of New Jersey-based Philippine Commodities Digest shared Briones’ insight, even suggesting that the move is more political than it seems.

“The (rice sufficiency) target is a nice sound-bite in the Philippines … especially with mid-term elections coming up in May of next year,” Pastor said in a December 2012 article.

Causing poverty

Economists from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Center for Food and Agribusiness, meanwhile, partly blamed government’s popular campaign to become an autonomous rice producer for “persistent” poverty in rural areas.

READ MORE...

Calling the high allocation on rice development “misguided,” the study by the think tank found that the poorest of the poor belongs to the fishing and coconut farming sectors that are barely reached by government support despite their productivity.

“The pursuit of the common good is hampered by the over-emphasis on the rice sector, which has led to lower incomes of non-rice farmers—(this is) one of the structural causes of food insecurity of the rural poor,” the research concludes.

However, agriculture economist Rolando Dy, the lead researcher of the UA&P study, refused to comment on whether the rice drive is advantageous to the country.

“The issue is a very sensitive one for Pnoy,” he said in an e-mail response.

Pricey fixation

The World Bank, moreover, released a study on the country’s agribusiness in 2011 saying that the Aquino administration’s commitment to self-sufficiency makes the staple food more expensive for consumers.

“The fixation on rice self-sufficiency results in relatively higher price of rice in the domestic market compared to the world market price,” says the World Bank September 2011 report jointly written by National Economic Development Authority chief Artemio Balisacan and five other researchers.

Department of Agriculture’s banner policy to mainly fund rice programs also makes farm lands costlier, the study notes.

Saying that local rice production is costlier, Briones similarly found that Filipinos will eventually find rice more expensive once government protects the country’s own outputs by barring cheaper imports.

“Sa madaling sabi: makakamit ang sariling kasapatan sa bigas, kapalit ng lalong pagmahal nito sa pamilihan,” he said.

International criticism


Bui Minh Giap is an economist educated in Viet Nam and the UK. He is currently a Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist in ADB's South East Asia ...

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) also recommended that the Philippines should lessen its investments in programs to boost rice production and to even export the grain by 2014.

ADB economist Bui Minh Giap said in a forum that the Aquino administration’s bid to meet the demand in rice, a staple food, by 2013 is not only unviable but also unwise.

“The target will not be accomplished,” Giap said, supporting claims that costs of rice production costs in the Philippines are much higher than large rice producing neighbors Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Giap cited the country’s lack of agricultural infrastructure and the slow progress in land reform programs as bottlenecks for the goal.

The Department of Agriculture, however, forged a partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in December to attain and sustain the desired food security.

A top scientist from the same organization, however, earlier criticized government's 2013 projection.

IRRI Deputy Director General Achim Dobermann told reporters the year before that sustainable production would not be likely due to Filipinos' rice-based eating habits and lack of infrastructure.

"Self-sufficiency by 2013 is probably somewhat ambitious," said Dobermann.

Asked to react on such findings, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told reporters that the government will still push for the self-sufficiency target amid criticisms.

“I don’t care what they think. We are Filipinos, we know our country (better). And when I say that we will attain self-sufficiency (in 2013) … we will do our best to make that happen,” Alcala said.


MANILA STANDARD

Gloves come off: Malacañan, Liberal Party trade barbs with Binay posted February 03, 2016 at 12:01 am by Vito Barcelo and Sandy Araneta


Promise. Vice President Jejomar Binay shares a light moment with the United Nationalist Alliance’s candidates in Cebu, where he vowed a bigger share of internal revenue allotments to local governments once he was elected president.

Malacañang and its standard bearer, Manuel Roxas II, traded barbs with opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay Tuesday after the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee recommended the filing of plunder charges against Binay.

“The Senate report speaks for itself. I have nothing to add to this,” Roxas said during a campaign sortie in Antipolo, Rizal.

“The appeal of the people [is] for him to answer the charges,” he said, adding that the senators had heard all the testimony and examined all the evidence before release their partial report. “Who am I to oppose the view of the Senate?”

Clearly referring to the charges against Binay, Roxas added: “It is important that a President should not steal.”

Binay’s camp, on the other hand, said the Senate subcommittee report held nothing new, and accused Roxas’ Liberal Party of timing its release during the campaign and just before the next survey period for the opinion polls.

United Nationalist Alliance spokesperson Rico Quicho accused the Liberal Party of using the charges against Binay to divert public attention from the administration’s failure to improve the lives of the poor.

“The apparent full-court press of the Liberal Party against the vice president is a crude attempt to divert attention from its utter failure to address poverty,” he said, adding that the charges against Binay were politically motivated and aimed at pulling down the ratings of the Vice President after he topped the recent Social Weather Stations opinion poll.

“The people are already tired of this callous and failing government that we have today. It’s been six years and yet 11 million Filipino families continue to suffer from poverty, 3 million families are starving, and 10 million people are unemployed,” Quicho said.

READ MORE...

But presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government’s dole program, the conditional cash transfer, has lifted 1.5 million families or over 7.7 million Filipinos out of poverty.

“Mr. Vice President, while the government was addressing poverty, where have you been in the last five years before you started attacking the President?” Lacierda said.

“Now that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has forwarded its report to the Ombudsman on corruption allegations against you, maybe you will no longer say this is all politics. Maybe you’d like to improve your script,” he said in Filipino.

A spokesman for Roxas, Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, said Binay should just explain himself before the Ombudsman.

“No matter how long the procession may be, corrupt people will still end up in jail. Maybe this is the reason why the Binays do not want to attend the Senate probe,” Gutierrez said.


JULY 13, 2015 PHOTO--  THE INFAMOUS LACIERDA VS SALGADO WORD WAR

But Binay spokesman Joey Salgado said that after more than a year and 25 public hearings, the subcommittee fell back on false accusations, hearsay and erroneous conclusions.

He insisted that the subcommittee did not have the competence or the authority to determine criminal liability.

“And clearly, the investigations were made in aid of demolition, not legislation,” Salgado said.

He said that Binay has consistently asked his accusers to take their allegations to court, but the accusers would not allow it because, in a court of law, false witnesses are not allowed to testify and perjury is punished, and not rewarded.

“In a court of law, conjectures, insinuations and hearsay are thrown out. But since none of them took up the challenge, the Vice President himself has brought the matter before the courts and we look forward to bringing these accusers to the witness stand,” he said.

Salgado said that the subcommittee’s partial report will be thrown out in its entirety, for relying on perjured testimony and hearsay from tainted witnesses.

He also said the subcommittee relied on incorrect methods to conclude that Makati City Hall Building II was overpriced.

“All these methods… rely on CFA [construction floor area] to arrive at the project cost per square meter—an approach that the Supreme Court has ruled unreliable and erroneous in determining overpricing. The comparison, said the Supreme Court, must be based on the actual price of the item purchased at the time the item is actually purchased,” he said.

He said that even Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson had testified before the subcommittee that a building’s price cannot actually be determined by merely using the floor area, but this testimony was not even mentioned in the partial report.

The Senate subcommittee earlier said there was “plunder through grand conspiracy” in the overpricing of the Makati City Hall building by at least P1.12 billion.

The panel also alleged that other structures in Makati were also overpriced and questioned several deals that Binay approved when he was still mayor of Makati.

But Salgado said these allegations were nothing new.

“If you check your files last year that was the same report released to media,” he said.


MANILA  TIMES

Filipinos should know whose money politicians are using
February 3, 2016 10:12 pm

The presidential candidates are Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Mar Roxas, Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte.

Except for Senator Miriam Santiago, all of them have been spending a lot of money for print ads, tarpaulin and other kinds of posters, radio and TV jingles, commercials and documentaries, social media postings. Collectively they have already spent scores of billions for their campaign and are expected to spend much more until the elections in May.

We, the public, can guess that the very rich ones among them are spending some of their own money. Or in the case of Mar Roxas, using his money, as well as money from the gigantic vault of the Liberal Party, which has been enriched by President Aquino, Budget Secretary Abad and Transport and Communications Secretary Abaya (who is the LP big boss.)

But even Mar Roxas and Vice-President Binay, we are sure, get financial contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations. Who are these?

And of course, Senator Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are also receiving contributions. Who are their donors?

And who are the very powerful persons, said to have inexhaustible bank accounts, who have been whispered about as the backers not just of Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares’ vote-getting campaign nationwide but also of the expensive legal effort to make her qualified to run for president if she is clearly not qualified if the election laws and the Constitution are obeyed? This legal effort is rumored to now involve billions to make sure that—God forbid—some of the Supremes decide to oppose the correct and moral stand on her citizenship and residency disqualification.

In the United States many citizens are also demanding to know who the moneybags of the candidates are.

READ MORE...

Below is the wise and high-minded editorial that the Seattle Times published on Tuesday Feb. 2 and which we are allowed to reprint as a member of the TNS group of contributor newspapers.

Americans should know who’s funding political TV ads



Television watchers need to brace themselves for the worst this election season.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to be poured into political ads narrated by ominous voices and designed to influence voters’ ballot choices.

Some commercials, paid for by campaigns, will conclude with candidates saying they approve the message. Viewers should be extra skeptical of any ads brought to them by independent political action committees with benign sounding names like Priorities USA Action, Believe Again, Unintimidated PAC and Right to Rise USA.

Such names reveal nothing about who the true sponsors of the advertisements really are. The Federal Communications Commission, which seems to turn a blind eye, should require more transparency and has the authority to do so:

—Section 315 of the Communications Act requires broadcast stations to identify sponsors of political ads in files available for public viewing. Not every station is complying, according to extensive research by civic watchdog groups, such as the Sunlight Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center and Common Cause.
—Section 317 requires advertisers and broadcasters to disclose to viewers and listeners the “true identity” of the person, group or entity paying for a political ad.

Many don’t, and the FCC has failed to enforce this rule.

Last week, 168 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter urging FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to quickly require that broadcasters reveal the names of political-ad sponsors on the air.

According to OpenSecrets.org, conservative groups by far dominate this type of campaign advertising.

Democracy is weakened when influence over the public airwaves is controlled by dark-money groups, whether on the right or the left, which have the power to raise and spend unlimited funds.

Citizens have a right to know when and why mega-rich individuals, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the industrialist Koch brothers, pour their wealth into advocacy. That’s why the FCC must do more as a regulator to restore trust in American democracy by ensuring campaign commercials are more transparent.
©2016 THE SEATTLE TIMES / DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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