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FINAL DEBATES 2016: PRESIDENTIAL BETS TO WOO THE UNDECIDED IN FINAL FACE-OFF, SUNDAY


APRIL 23 -
Hoping to convince the undecided in the third and final edition of the Pilipinas Debates 2016, all five aspirants for the presidents have confirmed their attendance in their final face off on Sunday or exactly 15 days before election day. The final leg of the Comelec-sanctioned debate will be hosted by ABS-CBN, Manila Bulletin, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). The face off will start at 6 p.m. and will have a town hall format where the audience flown from different provinces across the country will be allowed to directly ask questions to the candidates. Political analyst Ramon Casiple said the debate is “crucial” to all five of them: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. “It’s crucial for all. [It will be their] last chance to clarify issues, to present platform, and correct errors,” Casiple said in a text message. He said the debate will benefit the “undecided, including those who have tentative but not final choices.”  Dr. Clarita Carlos, president of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies Inc., and a full-time professor at the University of the Philippines, said however that the final debate “matters little to those who have made up their minds.”  The latest Pulse Asia survey shows Duterte in the lead with 32 percent and enjoys a seven percentage point lead over erstwhile frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe, who got 25 percent. Vice President Binay was at third place with 20 percent, while Roxas placed fourth with 18 percent. Santiago is at the tail end with one percent. The Pulse Asia survey conducted April 5 to 10 also shows that two percent of those surveyed were still undecided on their presidential candidate. - More interesting, exciting  In a media briefing on Saturday, ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes said the town hall format will make for an exciting debate. READ MORE...RELATED, Third presidential debate: Issues to be discussed...

ALSO: Final debate a major challenge for presidential candidates’; Miriam attending


APRIL 24 -Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said over radio dzRB yesterday the bets will be challenged “physically, mentally and emotionally, because all of them are already tired. The campaign is on the homestretch. So, let’s see what is on display and then we can judge on Monday.” Philstar.com file
The third and last presidential debate to be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Phinma-University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City would be much more challenging for the candidates, according to Malacañang.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said over radio dzRB yesterday the bets will be challenged “physically, mentally and emotionally, because all of them are already tired. The campaign is on the homestretch. So, let’s see what is on display and then we can judge on Monday.” In this light, the Palace again reminded the public to make the right choice in the coming elections and heed warnings from credit rating agencies, for instance, on the need to sustain reforms and continue economic growth. Standard & Poor Ratings Services affirmed the country’s BBB long-term and A-2 short-term sovereign credit ratings, citing the country’s strong external position, its big foreign reserve and low external debt. But S&P warned that the country’s ratings could drop if there would be a slowdown in the government reform agenda or reverse of the current economic gains. Quezon said the Philippines has obviously improved its credit standing and this reflects in domestic loans that became favorable to consumers. He said the investment grade was a vote of confidence in the Philippines and that S&P was right in issuing a caution because the country strived hard to attain such high credit rating. As the new administration takes office in the middle of this year, Quezon said it would be free to alter, reverse or amend the existing economic policies. But he said the country’s high ratings would not be forever and these must be nurtured and protected. “So, it’s a timely reminder to all of us to vote on the basis of a responsible frame of mind,” he said. Ready for debate Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is well prepared to face his rivals in the last debate before the May 9 elections, his spokesman said yesterday. READ MORE...ALSO, Duterte called ‘abnormal’

ALSO: Presidential bets - Diplomacy not war in disputed sea


APRIL 24 -Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe arrives at the University of Pangasinan, the venue of the last of three presidential debates on Sunday, April 24, 2016. Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV
MANILA, Philippines — All presidential aspirants on Sunday agreed to seek diplomatic means in solving the country's maritime dispute with China over the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Sen. Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II all noted that the international community supports the Philippines in its arbitration case against China. "Ang paniwala ng buong mundo sa atin talaga 'yang tubig na 'yan. Kaya 'wag nila tayo paandaran nang ganyan," Santiago said during the Luzon leg of the Commission on Elections-initiated presidential debate. Poe said that the country should also strengthen its Coast Guard to protect the rights of Filipino fishermen. "Hindi po personal aquarium ng mga Intsik ang West Philippine Sea. Atin 'yon at dapat hikayatin natin ang ating mga kakampi. Kung tunay silang kaibigan, tulungan nila tayo at 'wag natin isuko 'yun," Poe said. Meanwhile, Duterte said that he will personally go to one of the islands in the disputed sea and plant the Philippine flag to stake the country's claim. READ MORE...RELATED, Presidential bets offer solutions to traffic woes, sea dispute DUTERTE OFFERS TO BRING PH FLAG TO SPRATLYS, SANTIAGO TO BUILD NEW RAILWAY SYSTEM ...

ALSO: In Cebu, money flowed to LP allies but execs deny it happened


APRIL 24 -Mar Roxas Liberal party presidential and vice presidential candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA
CEBU CITY—The Liberal Party (LP) is apparently leaving no stone unturned to ensure the victory of its standard bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Rep. Leni Robredo in vote-rich Cebu.
Close to 1,000 LP allies and candidates, composed mainly of barangay leaders in Cebu city and province, gathered at a restaurant here on Friday for a “vote-assessment” meeting. Before the gathering ended, barangay captains were called to a separate function room and asked how many votes they could commit for Roxas and Robredo. Each was then given P5,000 in “operational funds.”  “But the money was not really intended for the barangay officials to share. It’s for their operational funds,” said a source, a village councilor who was in the gathering that started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and LP Cebu candidates led by Gov. Hilario Davide III were in the LP gathering, which was the second vote-assessment activity organized by LP in Cebu. When reached for comment, both Abad and Davide denied there was distribution of “operational funds” during the gathering. “I am not aware of that,” said Abad in a text message. “I was invited to speak about the achievements of this administration, why it was important for them to be continued and why Sec Roxas and Cong Robredo were the most trustworthy, competent and experienced candidates to continue the ‘daang matuwid,’” Abad said. Davide said the event was merely a gathering of supporters of Roxas and Robredo. “It’s not true that there was a distribution (of funds),” he said. Davide said the gathering, held at the White Gold House Restaurant along Gen. Maxilom Avenue in Cebu City, was the second phase of a vote-share assessment, which the LP kicked off before the start of the local campaign period on March 25. But those in the gathering were each given a piece of paper where they were asked to declare how many votes they could deliver for Roxas and Robredo. READ MORE...ALSO, WATCH DUTERTE VIDEO; I WILL CREATE A BANK FOR OFWs...

ALSO: No big pols to welcome Duterte in Cavite


APRIL 22 -DUTERTE -
SILANG,Cavite—No political bigwigs in vote-rich Cavite were present to welcome presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte when he visited the province on Friday. Duterte, who is leading the recent poll surveys, was here a day after reports came out saying the Remulla family, led by incumbent Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, was supposedly throwing its support for the mayor. Remulla served as campaign manager of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance. Remulla filed his candidacy for governor but backed out of the race in December and was replaced by his brother, Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla. The Inquirer had been trying to reach the Remullas since Thursday but Jesus Crispin, in a text message, said the family has yet to issue a statement. ‘Change is coming’ Instead, those who patiently waited for Duterte were hundreds of his supporters from this town. Also seen in his sortie here were the Pobletes, an old political clan led by its patriarch and former Mayor Clarito Poblete. People filled up the gym of the Silang Central Elementary School, only to catch a glimpse of the tough-talking Duterte. Duterte arrived before 6 p.m., four hours past his scheduled arrival, and immediately left onboard his campaign truck for a motorcade. READ MORE...RELATED, More infra projects mean more jobs – Miriam ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Presidential aspirants to woo the undecided in final face-off , Sunday

DAGUPAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2016 (GMA NEWS) Published April 23, 2016 9:13pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News — Hoping to convince the undecided in the third and final edition of the Pilipinas Debates 2016, all five aspirants for the presidents have confirmed their attendance in their final face off on Sunday or exactly 15 days before election day.

The final leg of the Comelec-sanctioned debate will be hosted by ABS-CBN, Manila Bulletin, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

The face off will start at 6 p.m. and will have a town hall format where the audience flown from different provinces across the country will be allowed to directly ask questions to the candidates.

Political analyst Ramon Casiple said the debate is “crucial” to all five of them: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

“It’s crucial for all. [It will be their] last chance to clarify issues, to present platform, and correct errors,” Casiple said in a text message.

He said the debate will benefit the “undecided, including those who have tentative but not final choices.”


DR CARLOS

Dr. Clarita Carlos, president of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies Inc., and a full-time professor at the University of the Philippines, said however that the final debate “matters little to those who have made up their minds.”

The latest Pulse Asia survey shows Duterte in the lead with 32 percent and enjoys a seven percentage point lead over erstwhile frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe, who got 25 percent.

Vice President Binay was at third place with 20 percent, while Roxas placed fourth with 18 percent. Santiago is at the tail end with one percent.

The Pulse Asia survey conducted April 5 to 10 also shows that two percent of those surveyed were still undecided on their presidential candidate.

More interesting, exciting

In a media briefing on Saturday, ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes said the town hall format will make for an exciting debate.

READ MORE...

“Magiging interesting, may kaunting excitement dahil yung mga kababayan natin na galing pa sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas ay ba-byahe sa Pangasinan para personal at direktang makipag-usap sa mga kandidatong nanliligaw,” she said.

Lawyer Joel Gines, provincial election supervisor, hopes that the debate will “guide [voters] as to whom to elect as the next president of the Philippines.”

Among the five candidates, only Binay had inspected the debate venue at the PHINMA University of Pangasinan.

There will also be a face-off round, Reyes said, but the organizers refused to disclose whom the candidates have picked in a raffle draw.

“Karamihan ay mukhang handang-handa nang magtanong at makipagbatbatan sa isa’t isa,” she said.

The questions will touch on seven topics, such as metro traffic and public transport, job security, health, foreign policy, basic public education, concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and peace for Mindanaoans in conflict areas.

Of the three-hour debate, 40 minutes is allotted for advertisements and another two minutes will be for infomercials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

All candidates are allotted 100 seats each for their family and supporters. The debate venue can accommodate 1,200 people. —
APG, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Third presidential debate: Issues to be discussed (philstar.com) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 5:50pm 0 12 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines — The five presidential candidates will share the same stage for the last time for the third and last presidential debate on Sunday night.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and administration bet Manual "Mar" Roxas II are expected to discuss issues and answer questions on:

Traffic woes

Transportation

Foreign policy

Concerns of overseas Filipino workers

Job security

Mindanao
Read up on the issues see whether the candidates can adequately propose policies that can address them once seated.

Traffic and transportation

The Philippines ranked fifth among countries with worst traffic conditions, garnering a traffic index score of 201.31, according to the online database Numbeo’s Traffic Index for 2015 Mid-Year Report.

The index estimates time spent by motorists during commute, dissatisfaction, carbon dioxide emission, as well as inefficiencies in the traffic system. Numbeo’s Traffic Index for 2016 Report also showed that the Philippines placed sixth as the country with worst traffic condition based on the cost of living.

For senior advisor of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, John Forbes, if the annual car growth continues to significantly increase by 2020, and the road or other infrastructures are not upgraded immediately, the traffic mess can make Metro Manila “uninhabitable” within four years. But government does not seem to be listening. In August 2015, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earned negative criticisms for saying that Metro Manila’s traffic is “at least not fatal.”

The Department of Transportation and Communications and other transport agencies such as Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metro Manila Development Authority, Manila International Airport Authority, and Department of Public Works and Highways, under the Aquino administration are also being slammed for several inconveniences the mass transportation brings.

These traffic and transport issues include trains derailed, lack of coaches for the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit, erring traffic enforcers, anomalous maintenance deals, bullet-planting in airports, and power glitches, among others.

To ease the commuter’s traffic and transportation woes, the Aquino government identified the six choke points on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), where traffic congestion is heavier, and re-deployed the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group to manage traffic EDSA.

The government also implemented stricter bus lanes, launched point to point bus for foreign and local commuters and even persons with disabilities, and ordered no-contact policy in catching erring motorists, among others.

Last April 20, the MRT-7 project broke ground to stir development along its 22-kilometer elevated railway with 12 stations in Quezon City which is also vital for connecting the city to Central Luzon.

Foreign policy

Republic Act 7157 or the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991 mandates the Department of Foreign Affairs to implement the three pillars of the Philippine Foreign Policy:

--Preservation and enhancement of national security

--Promotion and attainment of economic security

--Protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interest of Filipino overseas

In its bid to preserve and enhance national security, the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China before a United Nations court, challenging the latter's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. China, however, refused to participate in the proceedings and insisted that they have indisputable sovereignty over the disputed waters.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia earlier said that the territorial dispute have overtaken all security issues in the country's hierarchy of national security concerns. The international tribunal is expected to issue a ruling on the Philippines' case against China by May.

The Philippines has gained support from the international community following its arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The United States, along with member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have called for a peaceful resolution of the maritime dispute in the region.

There have been reports that China had deployed surface-to-air missiles and had been building radars in some of the features at the Spratly Group of Islands in the South China. Beijing has also recently dispatched a military aircraft to Kagitingan or Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed sea. The Department of National Defense noted that China's recent actions are "definitely provocative."

On the other hand, remittances from overseas Filipino workers have provided a steady source of dollar earnings of the country. An estimated 10.4 million ethnic Filipinos live abroad, 2.3 million or 22 percent of them are overseas Filipinos, according the Philippine Statistical Authority's "Survey on Overseas Filipinos 2013."

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that cash remittances went up to 3.6 percent to $22.83 billion in the first 11 months of 2015 from $22.08 billion. However, the growth still fell short of the target set by the BSP.

RELATED: OFWs: Who they are, where they work, and what they do

OFWs

Around 440,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are back in the country, while domestic unemployment is lower.

This was highlighted by President Benigno Aquino III in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year.

According to the president, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported in 2011 that there were around 9.51 million overseas Filipinos. In December 2014 the number went down to 9.07 million. Despite the returnees, the unemployment rate still dropped to 6.8 percent in 2014, he added.

At the heart of the president’s statement is the argument that his administration is on-track in achieving inclusive growth — simply put, ensuring that the poor too have food on their table — one of the goals of the Aquino presidency.

"Let me be clear: We created permanent jobs; we did not hire an abundance of street sweepers during the period the labor survey was conducted, just to boost results," Aquino said.

But citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), migrant group Migrante said the average number of Filipinos deployed overseas grew from 4,018 in 2010 to 6,092 in 2015, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The group said that unemployment and low wages in the country are cited as the main reasons that push Filipinos to work abroad.

Mary Jane Veloso’s story was the same, where her search for a better life led to a death row conviction in Indonesia after falling victim to drug traffickers.

Veloso’s predicament also brought back to memory the case of Flor Contemplacion, an OFW executed in Singapore for murder more than two decades ago. Contemplacion’s story also brought to the fore the different rights abuses many OFWs experience.

OFW remittances have been a main driver of growth in the country. It has grown from $20 billion in 2010 to almost $30 billion in 2015. And Commission on Elections (Comelec) data showed that 737,759 overseas Filipinos were registered to vote in 2013, while it jumped to more than 1.3 million in 2016.

Concerns such as abuse and maltreatment or being underpaid might be top of mind for OFWs in choosing leaders. But underlying the issue of labor migration is the availability of sustainable, regular, and secure jobs in the country.

Mindanao

The signing of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front -- and a separate, earlier agreement with the Moro Nationalist Liberation Front -- are just the first steps to bringing development to conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

The Aquino administration, primarily through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government, has been spending on bringing social services, infrastructure projects and livelihood programs to the less developed parts of Mindanao.

The approach is meant to address poverty and a feeling of being forgotten by government that can lead to conflict and to recruitment by extremist groups.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II plans to continue the Aquino administration's approach. At the presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro last month, he said the administration focused on Mindanao more than past administrations have.

He has also pledged to make passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law a priority if he is elected into office.

Sen. Grace Poe, meanwhile, has promised 30 percent of the national budget -- around P1 trillion -- for projects in Mindanao. She said the money will be used to build more roads, bridges and dams, and to pay for agricultural assistance programs. She said the infrastructure programs will also provide jobs in the southern Philippines.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whom his party says will be the next president and the first one from Mindanao, has been promising a form of federalism to allow local governments far from the capital to decide on what their constituents need and how to best develop their areas.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has warned that there can be no peace in Mindanao with Duterte as president, has promised to build a "Malacanang" in Mindanao.

He has also promised to give poor towns in Mindanao a bigger share of the taxes collected by the national government and to provide a better business environment for investors in agriculture and manufacturing. Like Poe, he has promised better access to government services and more infrastructure projects.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has said the BBL may have provisions that are in conflict with the 1987 Constitution, does not specifically mention Mindanao in her action plan. She did not say much about specific plans for Mindanao at the Cagayan de Oro debate either. She emphasized that electing a competent leader is the best way to bring development to Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines.

Job security

While records show that jobless rate has thinned since President Benigno Aquino III assumed power in 2010, unemployment remains a persistent problem for the sprawling Philippines which has a population of 102.4 million at the end of 2015.

Data from the January 2016 Labor Force Survey made by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that there was a decline in the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent in January from 6.6 percent in the same period last year.

The number of employed Filipinos climbed two percent to 39.2 million in January with an estimated 752,000 additional jobs between January 2015 and January 2016.

“Our labor market was boosted by better employment opportunities in the industry and services sectors. This performance also brought the unemployment rate to its second lowest in the decade, with the lowest recorded in October last year,” said Economic Planning Secretary and NEDAchief Emmanuel Esguerra.

But survey taken by the Social Weather Stations Inc. in December 2015 showed that about 9.1 million Filipinos – nearly a tenth of the population – are jobless.

Generating meaningful jobs for an ever-expanding population has been a challenge for many years.In three of the past five years, the number of Filipinos entering the job market has been greater than the number of jobs created.

Data from the PSA revealed that an estimated 2.4 million Filipinos during the period of April to September 2015 are working overseas because of the lack of decent jobs in the country.

The problem on the labor front is not only limited to employment figures.

Based on the latest results of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, about a fifth or 21.1 percent of Filipino families were considered poor for earning less than the P9,140 average income needed to meet their basic needs in a month.

To ensure that the labor and employment situation will continue to improve, Esguerra said students should be equipped with skills relevant to industries looking for manpower.

The NEDA chief also addressed the loss of employment in the agriculture sector which recorded a net employment loss of 935,000 during the reference period due to El Niño phenomenon.

“Agriculture accounts for over a quarter of total employment. This highlights the need to further improve the resiliency of farmers to mitigate effects of unfavorable weather conditions such as the El Niño which may persist until May 2016. Also, enhancing skills and improving capacities of affected farm workers is important for them to have a smoother transition to more stable work,” Esguerra added. — Kristine Bersamina, Jonathan de Santos, Levi A. So, Patricia Lourdes Viray and Rosette Adel

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Presidential bets offer solutions to traffic woes, sea dispute DUTERTE OFFERS TO BRING PH FLAG TO SPRATLYS, SANTIAGO TO BUILD NEW RAILWAY SYSTEM SHARES: 5 VIEW COMMENTS By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 08:01 PM April 24th, 2016

DAGUPAN CITY — Presidential candidates attempted to outclass each other during the first round of the last government-sanctioned debate in this city when asked by ordinary Filipinos about how they will solve the country’s biggest problems.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte offered to jet ski to a disputed area of West Philippine Sea and plant the nation’s flag on China’s reclaimed airport.

“Pag pinatay nila ako dun bahala na kayong umiyak dito as Pilipinas,” he said, later explaining that he did not want to sacrifice the lives of soldiers.

Click Here! Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, on the other hand, said the government should invest in a new railway system.

“We have to have an entirely new railway system…from Manila to Sorsogon,” she said during the final presidential debate held at the Phinma University of Pangasinan.

She said there should also be a new modern airport, and the Land Transportation Office should make sure that drivers’ licenses are issued only to those qualified.

Diplomacy?

Both Santiago and former Interior secretary Mar Roxas agreed that diplomacy is the key.

However, the senator was also interested in going on the offensive.

“Kung nandyan sila sa ating katubigan at kinukuha ang isda natin, tatawagin ko ang mga coast guard bombahin ko ang mga yun,” she said.

“Kausapin natin sila tapos sabihin natin we have world public opinion behind us,” Santiago added.

Roxas, on the other hand, said that Filipinos should accept the fact that the Philippine government is no match to China when it comes to military assets.

But he said Filipinos should not give up on their claims in South China Sea. He said this is why the government went into arbitration.

Roxas assured the public that Filipinos can rely on the influence of the international community if the government wins the case against China.

“Subalit di natin dapat isuko. Kaya tayo dumulog sa korte. Magpasya ang international para sa atin…impluwensya ay maaasahan,” he said.

Poe had a more practical suggestion, telling the fisherman who asked the question that she would increase the number of Coast Guards and give handheld radios to fishermen so they can ask for help from the authorities.

“Atin yun at dapat hikayatin ang ating mga kakampi na tulungan at wag nating isuko yun,” she said.

Solving traffic

On the issue of traffic, Vice President Binay told a commuter that he plans to separate the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to have two agencies devoted to solving traffic and improving communications.

“Education, enforcement, engineering” are the solutions to traffic, Binay said. Hitting the Aquino administration, he said the current problem is the implementation.

Roxas, however, pointed out that the reason for the traffic is the earlier government decision to have a DOTC and a Department of Public Works and Highways. He said the two agencies should be merged so they can come up with more coherent plans.

 

Duterte admitted that there is no silver bullet to solving traffic. He said he would like to copy Santiago’s proposal of constructing a new railway system.

Poe said roads should also be cleared and widened and the law enforced against those who use the roads as their “personal parking lot.”

She said the current projects of extending the trains to northern and southern Luzon should be closely followed.

Roxas, the ruling Liberal Party’s presidential bet, pointed out that those projects were already being done.

He claimed that 12 new coaches for the Metro Rail Transit are arriving every month while the ground breaking for the MRT 7 has already been done.


PHILSTAR

Final debate a major challenge for presidential candidates’ By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said over radio dzRB yesterday the bets will be challenged “physically, mentally and emotionally, because all of them are already tired. The campaign is on the homestretch. So, let’s see what is on display and then we can judge on Monday.” Philstar.com file

MANILA, Philippines – The third and last presidential debate to be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Phinma-University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City would be much more challenging for the candidates, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said over radio dzRB yesterday the bets will be challenged “physically, mentally and emotionally, because all of them are already tired. The campaign is on the homestretch. So, let’s see what is on display and then we can judge on Monday.”

In this light, the Palace again reminded the public to make the right choice in the coming elections and heed warnings from credit rating agencies, for instance, on the need to sustain reforms and continue economic growth.

Standard & Poor Ratings Services affirmed the country’s BBB long-term and A-2 short-term sovereign credit ratings, citing the country’s strong external position, its big foreign reserve and low external debt.

But S&P warned that the country’s ratings could drop if there would be a slowdown in the government reform agenda or reverse of the current economic gains.

Quezon said the Philippines has obviously improved its credit standing and this reflects in domestic loans that became favorable to consumers.


MANUEL QUEZON

He said the investment grade was a vote of confidence in the Philippines and that S&P was right in issuing a caution because the country strived hard to attain such high credit rating.

As the new administration takes office in the middle of this year, Quezon said it would be free to alter, reverse or amend the existing economic policies.

But he said the country’s high ratings would not be forever and these must be nurtured and protected.

“So, it’s a timely reminder to all of us to vote on the basis of a responsible frame of mind,” he said.

Ready for debate

Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is well prepared to face his rivals in the last debate before the May 9 elections, his spokesman said yesterday.

READ MORE...

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez said Roxas can give substantial and practical statements on the various topics expected to be raised in the debates, including foreign policy, health, job security, concerns of overseas Filipino workers, peace in Mindanao conflict areas, metro traffic and public transport and education.

“This debate is important because this is the last time the presidential candidates will be facing each other and talk about what they know,” Gutierrez said in a telephone interview.

He said based on studies of previous elections, 20 to 30 percent of voters make a decision two to three weeks before the polls.

Gutierrez said Roxas will emphasize during the debate and the last weeks of his campaign two things: that he has a clear plan for the country and that he is a “decent” candidate with no involvement at all in corruption.

Binay prepares for debate

Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday held an ocular inspection of the debate venue at the University of Pangasinan.

He had no other scheduled sorties, but did not disclose details on how his camp is preparing for the debate this afternoon organized by ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin, in partnership with the Commission on Elections.

Binay also welcomed the announcement of fellow presidential bet Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that her health has improved after taking an anti-cancer medication.

“Thank God. That’s good news,” Binay told reporters when asked for his reaction about the statement of the senator.

In a video uploaded on Facebook, the senator, who is suffering from lung cancer, said her health has returned to normal after undergoing the trial medication.

“I’m perfectly normal now, as you can tell just from my voice and from the way I speak,” she said.

The senator is expected to attend today’s debate, which will also be attended by Binay, Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Santiago health improved

Santiago missed the second debate in Cebu on March 20 as she had to undergo the trial on the new medication.

Over the past weeks, she had returned to the campaign trail and spoke before supporters in various universities across the country.

The improvement in her condition was noticeable as she was able to walk without support and speak without her voice wavering.

The issue of health has hounded Santiago, who is trailing in the pre-electoral surveys since she announced her candidacy.

Since then, other bets – particularly Binay and Duterte – have been challenged to bare their medical records.

Binay has since announced that he is in the peak of his health, releasing a medical report to prove it.

Tight race

For Sen. Serge Osmeña III, the presidential race remains too close to call, with the May 9 elections just two weeks away.

“It’s still a tight race. No one can predict the outcome,” he told the Pandesal Forum at the Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City.

Osmeña, whom Senate colleagues acknowledge is good at reading survey numbers, said based on previous surveys, only about 20 percent of voters have decided who is the presidential candidate they would vote for.

“That is the only firm portion. The rest is loose,” he said.

He said voter preferences could change in the last two weeks of the campaign even if the latest surveys showed that Duterte has widened his lead over his rivals.

He said each candidate would now try to avoid committing mistakes in their campaign and in their statements in the homestretch.

“This is now a game of mistakes,” he added.

He said even the vice presidential race remains tight, despite the survey lead of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Leni Robredo is surging fast. She had 22 percent against the 25 percent of Bongbong (Marcos). She came from single digit. Of course, you cannot discount Chiz (Francis Escudero) and Alan (Cayetano),” he said.

Commitment to environment

Civil society groups, on the other hand, have called on presidential aspirants to take a stand on environmental issues besetting the country.

“There has been no definitive commitment from our presidential candidates to work in protecting our environment, including our oceans and the livelihood of those most dependent on our resources,” said Gloria Ramos, vice president of Oceana Philippines, the largest marine conservation group.

The Philippines is home to more than 52,177 endemic species, making it one of the 18 megadiverse countries in the world.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said heavy exploitation of fisheries translates to lower catch and income for coastal communities. – With Paolo Romero, Janvic Mateo, Jess Diaz, Louise Maureen Simeon, Eva Visperas, Evelyn Macairan

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ALSO FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Duterte called ‘abnormal’ posted April 23, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera and Vito Barcelo


Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

ALAMINOS CITY—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday called rival presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte “abnormal” for insulting and antagonizing allied countries United States and Australia, senior citizens, women and children.

He dared Davao City Mayor Duterte to undergo physical and psychological checkup for free in Makati, saying the stress of the campaign could be taking its toll on Duterte’s mental and physical health.

“Hinihikayat ko si Mister Duterte na magpatingin na agad sa psychiatrist. Mukhang sobra na siyang naaapektuhan ng stress sa kampanya,” Binay said.

“I also urge him to undergo as well a full physical examination, at siya mismo ang nagsabi na siya ay may malubhang sakit.”

Binay said he hoped Duterte’s mental and physical conditions had not worsened “because of the stress of dealing with reality.”

He said it was “most unfortunate” for Duterte to say he would sever the Philippines’ ties with the US and Australia if he won the presidency after the ambassadors of the two countries assailed his comment that he should have been the first to rape Australian missionary Jacquelin Hamill who was raped and killed by prison inmates.


BINAY

Binay also chided Duterte for belittling senior citizens and making fun of those who had been paralyzed by a stroke.

“No God-fearing person wishes harm on another person even his political enemies,” Binay said.

Duterte’s confused reply to the charges filed against him by women’s rights advocates could be a sign of deteriorating mental health.

Binay said he could not understand why Duterte, a lawyer and a former fiscal, was “apparently confused about the concept of freedom.”

“This could be due to his psychological condition,” Binay said, referring to the “Antisocial Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Duterte is reportedly suffering from as revealed in a psychological report conducted and submitted as evidence during the annulment of his marriage to his wife Elizabeth Zimmerman.

“For all his wrongdoings, he tends to rationalize and feel justified. Hence, he seldom feels a sense of guilt or remorse,” the assessment said of Duterte.

READ MORE...

Binay slammed Duterte for invoking his freedom of speech to defend his “slurs against women and his comments about raping a dead Australian missionary,” saying “freedom comes with responsibility and accountability.”

“May kalayaan daw siyang insultuhin ang kababaihan at pagtawanan ang panggagahasa. Anong klaseng salita ‘yan?” Binay said.

“Mister Duterte should know that freedom comes with responsibility and accountability. It is not freedom from responsibility and accountability, especially when you not only demean women but violate their rights.”

Binay said Duterte should assure the people that he was of sound mind and body, especially if he was to become president.

Duterte disclosed last year that he was suffering from Buerger’s Disease, an inflammation of the blood vessels in the arms and legs primarily associated with smoking.

In December, Duterte also admitted he might not be able to finish a president’s full six-year term if he won.


PHILSTAR

Presidential bets: Diplomacy not war in disputed sea By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 7:53pm 1 4 googleplus0 0


Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe arrives at the University of Pangasinan, the venue of the last of three presidential debates on Sunday, April 24, 2016. Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — All presidential aspirants on Sunday agreed to seek diplomatic means in solving the country's maritime dispute with China over the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Sen. Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II all noted that the international community supports the Philippines in its arbitration case against China.

"Ang paniwala ng buong mundo sa atin talaga 'yang tubig na 'yan. Kaya 'wag nila tayo paandaran nang ganyan," Santiago said during the Luzon leg of the Commission on Elections-initiated presidential debate.

Poe said that the country should also strengthen its Coast Guard to protect the rights of Filipino fishermen.

"Hindi po personal aquarium ng mga Intsik ang West Philippine Sea. Atin 'yon at dapat hikayatin natin ang ating mga kakampi. Kung tunay silang kaibigan, tulungan nila tayo at 'wag natin isuko 'yun," Poe said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that he will personally go to one of the islands in the disputed sea and plant the Philippine flag to stake the country's claim.

READ MORE...

The Davao City mayor added that he is willing to risk his life to assert the country's claim over the disputed waters but clarified that he is not willing to go into war.

"I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest boundary d'yan sa Spratlys, bababa ako, sasakay ako ng jet ski, dala-dala ko yun flag ng Pilipino at pupunta ako doon sa airport nila tapos itanim ko then I would say 'This is ours,'" Duterte said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, Poe and Roxas all vowed that they will provide assistance to fishermen while the country's arbitration case against China is ongoing.

The Philippines was the first nation to challenge China's nine-dash line claim over the South China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations. The international tribunal is expected to issue its ruling on the case by May.

RELATED: China hoping for 'well-thought policies' from new Philippine president

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INQUIRER

In Cebu, money flowed to LP allies but execs deny it happened SHARES: 58 VIEW COMMENTS By: Doris C. Bongcac and Victor Silva @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 01:20 AM April 24th, 2016


Mar Roxas Liberal party presidential and vice presidential candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

CEBU CITY—The Liberal Party (LP) is apparently leaving no stone unturned to ensure the victory of its standard bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Rep. Leni Robredo in vote-rich Cebu.

Close to 1,000 LP allies and candidates, composed mainly of barangay leaders in Cebu city and province, gathered at a restaurant here on Friday for a “vote-assessment” meeting.

Before the gathering ended, barangay captains were called to a separate function room and asked how many votes they could commit for Roxas and Robredo.

Each was then given P5,000 in “operational funds.”

“But the money was not really intended for the barangay officials to share. It’s for their operational funds,” said a source, a village councilor who was in the gathering that started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and LP Cebu candidates led by Gov. Hilario Davide III were in the LP gathering, which was the second vote-assessment activity organized by LP in Cebu.

When reached for comment, both Abad and Davide denied there was distribution of “operational funds” during the gathering.


ABAD

“I am not aware of that,” said Abad in a text message.

“I was invited to speak about the achievements of this administration, why it was important for them to be continued and why Sec Roxas and Cong Robredo were the most trustworthy, competent and experienced candidates to continue the ‘daang matuwid,’” Abad said.

Davide said the event was merely a gathering of supporters of Roxas and Robredo. “It’s not true that there was a distribution (of funds),” he said.

Davide said the gathering, held at the White Gold House Restaurant along Gen. Maxilom Avenue in Cebu City, was the second phase of a vote-share assessment, which the LP kicked off before the start of the local campaign period on March 25.

But those in the gathering were each given a piece of paper where they were asked to declare how many votes they could deliver for Roxas and Robredo.

READ MORE...

The form contained blank spaces for information about the number of registered voters in 2016, number of voters who voted in 2013, estimated number of voters in 2016, target votes and estimated number of votes they could deliver for Roxas and Robredo.

The source said Abad told the group to give an “honest assessment” so they would know the number of votes they could gather for the LP candidates.

Before the gathering ended, barangay officials were called by district and directed to proceed to the restaurant’s function rooms on the second floor.

Abad, Davide and other LP candidates remained in the third floor hall.

The source said inside the function rooms were tables manned by Cebuano- and Tagalog-speaking men and women.

Barangay captains were then asked to step forward and submit the forms they had filled out.

The barangay captains were then handed small brown envelops containing P5,000 cash and were made to sign attendance sheets.

RELATED STORIES

No cash distribution in LP meet, says Davide

Rama chides LP for ‘cash distribution’


INQUIRER

No political big-wigs to welcome Duterte in Cavite SHARES: 7742 VIEW COMMENTS By: Maricar Cinco @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon 09:53 PM April 22nd, 2016



SILANG, Cavite—No political bigwigs in vote-rich Cavite were present to welcome presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte when he visited the province on Friday.

Duterte, who is leading the recent poll surveys, was here a day after reports came out saying the Remulla family, led by incumbent Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, was supposedly throwing its support for the mayor.

Remulla served as campaign manager of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Remulla filed his candidacy for governor but backed out of the race in December and was replaced by his brother, Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla.

The Inquirer had been trying to reach the Remullas since Thursday but Jesus Crispin, in a text message, said the family has yet to issue a statement.

‘Change is coming’

Instead, those who patiently waited for Duterte were hundreds of his supporters from this town.

Also seen in his sortie here were the Pobletes, an old political clan led by its patriarch and former Mayor Clarito Poblete.

People filled up the gym of the Silang Central Elementary School, only to catch a glimpse of the tough-talking Duterte.

Duterte arrived before 6 p.m., four hours past his scheduled arrival, and immediately left onboard his campaign truck for a motorcade.

READ MORE...

A group of middle-aged women came ready with their cell phone cameras and monopods as they wrestled against policemen and security personnel from Duterte’s camp.

“Ang tagal naman ng presidente (What’s taking the president so long),” one woman said.

To which, a member of Duterte’s staff replied, “change is coming, meaning pwedeng magbago (anything can change),” referring to the mayor’s schedule.

“Change is coming” is also a campaign slogan of Duterte.

When the helicopter carrying Duterte landed, a throng of supporters, mostly men, ran toward the chopper, hoping to shake his hand or have their pictures taken with him.

‘Let’s wait’

Asked about the Remullas’ supposed endorsement of Duterte, his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, said: “There are many, many more public officials from different parties who are talking to us. Some have sworn formally, some are making agreements and they’re welcome.”

“Pag one way ‘yung support, most welcome.’Pag two-way, we have to assess kung ka-prinsipyo namin (If it’s a one-way support, most welcome. If it’s two-way, we have to assess if they share our principles),'” he said.

Pressed about any arrangement between them and the Remullas, Cayetano said: “Let’s wait for them (Remullas) to officially say themselves … I think there will be some public events set up.”

“Ayokong pangunahan. I don’t know exactly what their stand will be (but) ang alam ko lang, as of now, they have said that they are not supporting Binay for many reasons,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

More infra projects mean more jobs – Miriam SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 08:52 PM April 24th, 2016


PHOTO AND CAPTION FRO THE MIRIAMSANTAIGO WEBSITE

DAGUPAN CITY – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Sunday emphasized the need to build more infrastructure to generate more opportunities for jobless Filipinos.

“Gagawa tayo ng maraming infrastructure–roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and urban transit systems,” Santiago said during the third and last government-sanctioned presidential debate here.

“‘Pag binuksan natin ‘yung mga proyekto na ‘yun, milyong trabaho ang magbubukas,” she added.

Santiago lamented that millions of Filipino graduates have nowhere to go to after leaving the university due to the lack of jobs in the country.

“The government must pay attention to infrastructure, farm to market roads, irrigation… Kung gumawa ka ng trabaho, lalapit ang tao sa’yo,” she added.

Santiago also denounced labor contractualization as an “illegal” and “possibly unconstitutional” practice that violates an employee’s right for security of tenure.

The senator added that she was in favor of lowering both the income and corporate taxes, and proposed the creation of a “strong economy” for overseas Filipino workers.

“The best way we can help OFWs is not to make it a necessity for them to leave. Build a strong economy. A legal assistance is very important to OFWs–consul generals should have special training in helping OFWS when they are in need,” she said.

WATCH POE: Poe pledges to lead a caring gov't

 

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MIRIAM: If elected, Miriam vows uniform rule of law

 


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