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MOTHER TERESA TO BE CANONIZED SEPTEMBER 4; POPE SETS OTHER SAINTHOOD DATES
[RELATED: Did you know Mother Teresa experienced visions of Jesus?]


AUGUST 3 -CNS photo/Jayanta Shaw, Reuters A poster of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and Missionaries of Charity are seen in Kolkata, India, in this Sept. 5, 2007, file photo. Pope Francis will declare her a saint at the Vatican Sept. 4, the conclusion of the Year of Mercy jubilee for those engaged in works of mercy. (CNS photo/Jayanta Shaw, Reuters) 
Pope Francis will declare Blessed Teresa of Kolkata a saint at the Vatican Sept. 4. The date was announced March 15 during an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process. At the same consistory, the pope set June 5 as the date for the canonizations of Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski of Poland, founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, and Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad of Sweden, who re-founded the Bridgettine sisters. In addition, Pope Francis declared that Oct. 16 he would celebrate Mass for the canonizations of Argentina's "gaucho priest," Blessed Jose Brochero, and Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s. Setting the dates concludes a long process of studying the lives and writings of the sainthood candidates: -- Mother Teresa was widely known as a living saint as she ministered to the sick and the dying in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the world. Although some people criticized her for not also challenging the injustices that kept so many people so poor and abandoned, her simple service touched the hearts of millions of people of all faiths. Born to an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in what is now part of Macedonia, she went to India in 1929 as a Sister of Loreto and became an Indian citizen in 1947. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Shortly after she died in 1997, St. John Paul II waived the usual five-year waiting period and allowed the opening of the process to declare her sainthood. She was beatified in 2003. After her beatification, Missionary of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of her sainthood cause, published a book of her letters, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light." The letters illustrated how, for decades, she experienced what is described as a "dark night of the soul" in Christian spirituality; she felt that God had abandoned her. While the letters shocked some people, others saw them as proof of her steadfast faith in God, which was not based on feelings or signs that he was with her. READ MORE...RELATED, Did you know Mother Teresa experienced visions of Jesus?...

ALSO: Happiest place: Phl ranks 20th in the planet, Costa Rica No 1, Mexico 2nd
[RELATED: PH is 20th happiest place in the world,  score of 3.5 —report]


AUGUST 28 -In the 2016 Happy Planet Index (HPI) report of the UK-based think tank New Economic Foundation (NEF), Costa Rica was tagged as the happiest nation on the planet. Philstar.com/File
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines ranked 20th among 140 countries that are reportedly able to provide “happiness” to their citizens. In the 2016 Happy Planet Index (HPI) report of the UK-based think tank New Economic Foundation (NEF), Costa Rica was tagged as the happiest nation on the planet. The HPI combines four elements to show how efficiently residents of different countries are using environmental resources to lead long, happy lives. These are life expectancy or the average number of years a person is expected to live in each country; well-being or how satisfied the residents of each country say they feel about life overall, on a scale from zero to 10, based on data collected as part of the Gallup World Poll; ecological footprint which refers to the average impact that each resident of a country places on the environment, based on data prepared by the Global Footprint Network; and the inequality of outcomes meaning inequalities between people within a country, in terms of how long they live and how happy they feel, based on the distribution in each country’s life expectancy and well-being data. Costa Rica registered 79.1 years for life expectancy, 7.3 rating for well-being with 10 being the highest, 2.8 global hectares for ecological footprint and 15 percent for inequality of outcomes. In second place was Mexico, followed by Colombia and Vanuatu, which is in the Asia-Pacific region where the Philippines belongs. In fifth place was Vietnam, followed by Panama, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand, Ecuador, Jamaica, Norway, Albania, Uruguay, Spain, Indonesia and El Salvador. The Netherlands and Argentina were 18th and 19th, respectively. READ MORE..., PH is 20th happiest place in the world,  score of 3.5 —report...

ALSO: Palace wants 166 exceptions on FoI order
[RELATED FROM VERA FILES: Is that so? Marcosian state secrecy in Duterte’s FOI executive order]


AUGUST 29 -It turns out that the Freedom on Information (FoI) executive order (EO) of President Duterte covering the Executive branch is mostly hype as the Palace admitted that at least 166 exceptions are being considered in the EO’s draft manual. The draft implementing guidelines listed specific government agencies which are given exemption from complying with the transparency order. Duterte earlier said that the only exceptions from the EO will be information concerning national security, personal privacy and executive discretions but the draft manual showed exceptions for specific documents of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted, however, the proposed 166 exceptions do not “dilute the essence of the President’s EO on FoI and contradict his efforts to make the Executive (branch) more transparent.”Saying that he is the one tasked by the President to oversee the FoI implementation, Andanar said that the list of limits filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice is still subject to review. “That is not the final list of exemptions that the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the Sol Gen (Solicitor General) has prepared. Those are being reviewed in the Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legislative Affairs,” Andanar said. The said agencies, apparently, are the only five in the executive branch that has particularly been protected from the coverage of the EO. The Comelec, under the draft manual, is exempted from divulging “information acquired by Comelec officials and employees involved in the procurement process.” Many transparency groups and advocates of clean elections, prior to the May 9 elections, were vocal about the questionable procurement processes that the Comelec had with foreign service provider Smartmatic among other complaints raised on the Comelec in the runup to the last elections.READ MORE...RELATED,
FROM VERA FILES, Is that so? Marcosian state secrecy in Duterte’s FOI executive order...

ALSO: Many investors see Duterte as the Philippines’ Lee Kuan Yew


AUGUST 27 -Anvil Business Club leaders Eddie Cobankiat, Marcelo Co and George Siy
There seems to be a disconnect between some elements of the Western media, who paint a dark, grim scenario of the Philippines due to the ongoing war on illegal drugs, and the generally bullish sentiments of businesspeople, who are optimistic about the Philippines’ future under the iron-fisted, Lee Kuan Yew-style governance of President Rody Duterte. During his heyday, Singapore statesman Lee Kuan Yew also often clashed with Western media over his draconian policies.
EastWest Bank president Tony Moncupa told Reuters: “We are in a very good spot. The pronouncement of government prioritizing infrastructure spending, accelerating it and cutting red tape, solving peace and order, I think all point to very good prospects ahead.” Weeding Out Bad Miners From Good Philex Mining SVP Atty. Mike Toledo recently expressed confidence that the sincere anti-corruption drive of President Duterte and his DENR Secretary Gina Lopez will weed out the bad miners from the many good and ethical miners, thus giving hope to this important industry. The miners are hopeful that the Philippines will benefit from $34 billion in projects to be developed in the next six years. Atty. Toledo said that the Philippines has been blessed by God with some of the world’s richest mineral resources, that environmentally sound mining can unleash this natural wealth to enrich far-flung rural areas and can support Duterte’s dream of Philippine industrialization. Tourism Boom Coming? Mang Inasal and DoubleDragon founder Edgar “Injap” Sia II (ranked by Forbes magazine as the No. 17 wealthiest in the Philippines) is bullish about the Philippine economy’s future, expanding the company’s CityMalls and has invested with Shanghai’s Jinjiang Inn brand to already open two hotels. Jinjiang Inn plans to open in 15 key Philippine cities in the next five years. Another publicly listed dynamo, Anchor Land Holdings Inc., is planning to build 1,000 hotel rooms over the next five years with hotels in Boracay, Palawan and Tagaytay. Anchor Land vice chairman Steve Li said they’re also building the country’s largest Chinese restaurant. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: DPWH HOTLINE - Here’s a complaint


AUGUST 29 -This time it is the Department of Public Works and Highways launching a line for citizens to raise complaints, questions and suggestions about anything related to its projects. Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said number 165-02 will be available for feedback on how the department can improve its policies, programs, activities and projects.
“We are asking the help of every Filipino in ensuring that the projects are implemented well and at the right quality,” Villar said. The secretary added the hotline ensures transparency and is in keeping with the anti-corruption fight of the Duterte administration. We, however, find the connection between launching the hotline and fighting corruption a bit of a stretch. Anybody can dial the number and cite irregularities in this or that project. Whether the department will even act on the call, or even put the issue through a queue within a reasonable time, is another matter altogether. We wonder, too, if anything would come out of a hypothetical call complaining about the appointment of Villar to the post given the glaring conflict of interest in his position and his family’s real-estate enterprise. Many raised a howl about it when the appointment was first made, but nothing came out of it and as usual, and the country moved on to the next hot topic. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Mother Teresa to be canonized Sept. 4; pope sets other sainthood dates


AUGUST 3 -CNS photo/Jayanta Shaw, Reuters A poster of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and Missionaries of Charity are seen in Kolkata, India, in this Sept. 5, 2007, file photo. Pope Francis will declare her a saint at the Vatican Sept. 4, the conclusion of the Year of Mercy jubilee for those engaged in works of mercy. (CNS photo/Jayanta Shaw, Reuters)

THE VATICAN, AUGUST 29, 2016 (CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE) By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service 3.15.2016 9:06 AM ET - Pope Francis will declare Blessed Teresa of Kolkata a saint at the Vatican Sept. 4. The date was announced March 15 during an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.

At the same consistory, the pope set June 5 as the date for the canonizations of Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski of Poland, founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, and Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad of Sweden, who re-founded the Bridgettine sisters.

In addition, Pope Francis declared that Oct. 16 he would celebrate Mass for the canonizations of Argentina's "gaucho priest," Blessed Jose Brochero, and Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s.

Setting the dates concludes a long process of studying the lives and writings of the sainthood candidates:

•Mother Teresa was widely known as a living saint as she ministered to the sick and the dying in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the world. Although some people criticized her for not also challenging the injustices that kept so many people so poor and abandoned, her simple service touched the hearts of millions of people of all faiths.

-- Born to an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in what is now part of Macedonia, she went to India in 1929 as a Sister of Loreto and became an Indian citizen in 1947. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.

-- Shortly after she died in 1997, St. John Paul II waived the usual five-year waiting period and allowed the opening of the process to declare her sainthood. She was beatified in 2003.

-- After her beatification, Missionary of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of her sainthood cause, published a book of her letters, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light."

-- The letters illustrated how, for decades, she experienced what is described as a "dark night of the soul" in Christian spirituality; she felt that God had abandoned her. While the letters shocked some people, others saw them as proof of her steadfast faith in God, which was not based on feelings or signs that he was with her.

READ MORE...

The date chosen for her canonization is the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death and the date previously established at the Vatican for the conclusion of the Year of Mercy pilgrimage of people like her who are engaged in works of mercy.

•Blessed Papczynski founded the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Poland in the 17th century. Today the Marians are special promoters of the Divine Mercy devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska.

-- Born in 1631, he was ordained as a Piarist priest, but left the order after 10 years. His new congregation was established officially in 1679 and he died in 1701. He was beatified in Poland in 2007.

-- Blessed Hesselblad was born in Faglavik, Sweden, in 1870 and went to the United States at the age of 18 in search of work to help support her family. She studied nursing in New York and, impressed by the faith of the Catholics she cared for, began the process of entering the Catholic Church. Coming from a Lutheran family, she was conditionally baptized by a Jesuit priest in Washington, D.C.
-- On a pilgrimage to Rome, she visited the home of the 14th-century St. Brigid of Sweden and was welcomed by the Carmelite sisters who were then living there.

-- She received permission from the pope to make religious vows under the rule of St. Brigid and re-found the Bridgettine order that had died out in Sweden after the Protestant Reformation. She was beatified in 2000.

•Blessed Brochero, the "gaucho priest," was born in Argentina in 1840 and died in 1914. Ordained for the Archdiocese of Cordoba, he spent years traveling far and wide by mule to reach his flock. Pope Francis, in a message in 2013 for the priest's beatification -- a ceremony scheduled before the Argentine pope was elected -- said Father Brochero truly had "the smell of his sheep."

-- He gained particular fame for his work caring for the sick and dying during a cholera epidemic in 1867. With his own hands, he built churches and chapels and opened paths through the western mountains of Cordoba province.

-- During his travels, he contracted Hansen's disease, more commonly known as leprosy; many people believe he was infected by sharing a cup of mate, an herbal tea, with someone who already had the disease.

•Blessed Sanchez was martyred in Mexico in 1928, just weeks before his 15th birthday. In 1926 Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles had introduced tough anti-clerical laws and confiscated church property across the country. Some 90,000 people were killed in the ensuing Cristero war before the government and church reached an accord in 1929.

Young Sanchez wanted to fight in the war alongside his brothers, but he was too young. Eventually, he was allowed to be the flag bearer of a unit. During an intense battle, he was captured by government troops, who ordered him to renounce his faith. He refused, even when tortured. The boy was executed about two weeks later. He was beatified in 2005.

Copyright ©2016 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Send questions about this site to cns@catholicnews.com

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RELATED FROM CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Did you know Mother Teresa experienced visions of Jesus? By Hannah Brockhaus


Mother Teresa. Credit: India 7 Network via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Vatican City, Aug 27, 2016 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Even her friend of more than 30 years, Father Sebastian Vazhakala, did not know Mother Teresa had conversations with and visions of Jesus before forming the Missionaries of Charity.

It wasn't until after her death, for the vast majority of people, that this part of Mother Teresa's spiritual life was uncovered. “It was a big discovery,” Missionary of Charity priest, Fr. Vazhakala told CNA.

When Mother Teresa's cause for canonization was opened, just two years after her death in 1997, documents were found in the archives of the Jesuits in Calcutta, with the spiritual director and another of Mother Teresa's close priest friends, and in the office of the bishop, containing her accounts of the communications.

Fr. Vazhakala, who co-founded the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity alongside Mother Teresa, said he has a document handwritten by Mother Teresa where she discusses what Jesus spoke to her directly during the time of the locutions and visions.

During a period lasting from Sept. 10, 1946 to Dec. 3, 1947, Mother Teresa had ongoing communication with Jesus through words and visions, Fr. Vazhakala said. This all happened while she was a missionary sister in the Irish order of the Sisters of Loreto, teaching at St. Mary's school in Calcutta.

Mother Teresa wrote that one day at Holy Communion, she heard Jesus say, “I want Indian nuns, victims of my love, who would be Mary and Martha, who would be so united to me as to radiate my love on souls.”

It was through these communications of the Eucharistic Jesus that Mother Teresa received her directions for forming her congregation of the Missionaries of Charity.

“She was so united with Jesus,” Fr. Vazhakala explained, “that she was able to radiate not her love, but Jesus’ love through her, and with a human expression.”

Jesus told her what sort of nuns he wanted her order to be filled with: “'I want free nuns covered with the poverty of the Cross. I want obedient nuns covered with the obedience of the Cross. I want full-of-love nuns covered with the charity of the Cross,'” Fr. Vazhakala related.

According to the Missionary, Jesus asked her, “Would you refuse to do this for me?” “In fact, Jesus told her in 1947,” Fr. Vazhakala explained, “'I cannot go alone to the poor people, you carry me with you into them.'”

After this period of joy and consolation, around 1949, Mother Teresa started to experience a “terrible darkness and dryness” in her spiritual life, said Fr. Vazhakala. “And in the beginning she thought it was because of her own sinfulness, unworthiness, her own weakness.”

Mother Teresa's spiritual director at the time helped her to understand that this spiritual dryness was just another way that Jesus wanted her to share in the poverty of the poor of Calcutta.

This period lasted nearly 50 years, until her death, and she found it very painful. But, Fr. Vazhakala shared that she said, “If my darkness and dryness can be a light to some soul let me be the first one to do that. If my life, if my suffering, is going to help souls to be saved, then I will prefer from the creation of the world to the end of time to suffer and die.”

People around the world know about Mother Teresa's visible acts of charity toward the poor and sick in the slums of Calcutta, but “the interior life of Mother is not known to people,” said Fr. Vazhakala.

Mother Teresa's motto, and the motto of her congregation, was the words of Jesus, “I thirst.” And that they could quench the thirst of Jesus by bringing souls to him. “And in every breathing, each sigh, each act of mind, shall be an act of love divine. That was her daily prayer. That was what was motivating her and all the sacrifices, even until that age of 87, and without resting,” he said.

Mother Teresa never rested from her work during her life on earth, and she continues to “work” for souls from heaven. “When I die and go home to God, I can bring more souls to God,” she said at one point, Fr. Vazhakala noted.

She said, “I'm not going to sleep in heaven, but I'm going to work harder in another form.” Mary Shovlain contributed to this report.


PHILSTAR

Happiest place: Philippines ranks 20th By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2016 - 12:00am 2 13 googleplus0 0


In the 2016 Happy Planet Index (HPI) report of the UK-based think tank New Economic Foundation (NEF), Costa Rica was tagged as the happiest nation on the planet. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines ranked 20th among 140 countries that are reportedly able to provide “happiness” to their citizens.

In the 2016 Happy Planet Index (HPI) report of the UK-based think tank New Economic Foundation (NEF), Costa Rica was tagged as the happiest nation on the planet.

The HPI combines four elements to show how efficiently residents of different countries are using environmental resources to lead long, happy lives.

These are life expectancy or the average number of years a person is expected to live in each country; well-being or how satisfied the residents of each country say they feel about life overall, on a scale from zero to 10, based on data collected as part of the Gallup World Poll; ecological footprint which refers to the average impact that each resident of a country places on the environment, based on data prepared by the Global Footprint Network; and the inequality of outcomes meaning inequalities between people within a country, in terms of how long they live and how happy they feel, based on the distribution in each country’s life expectancy and well-being data.

Costa Rica registered 79.1 years for life expectancy, 7.3 rating for well-being with 10 being the highest, 2.8 global hectares for ecological footprint and 15 percent for inequality of outcomes.

In second place was Mexico, followed by Colombia and Vanuatu, which is in the Asia-Pacific region where the Philippines belongs.

In fifth place was Vietnam, followed by Panama, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand, Ecuador, Jamaica, Norway, Albania, Uruguay, Spain, Indonesia and El Salvador.

The Netherlands and Argentina were 18th and 19th, respectively.

READ MORE...

The Philippines, meanwhile, registered a life expectancy of 67.9 years, which is classified as “middling” or in the middle. Data was provided by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

In terms of well-being, the country got a 5. As to ecological footprint, the Philippines registered 1.1 global hectares per capita, classified as good.

Ecological footprint is expressed using a standardized unit of global hectares per person.

According to NEF which promotes social, economic and environmental justice, the HPI measures what matters to everyone: sustainable well-being for all.

“It tells us how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives. The HPI annual survey of countries – which started in July 2006 – provides a compass to guide nations, and shows that it is possible to live good lives without costing the Earth.”

It also explained, “The Happy Planet Index gives us a clearer picture of how people’s lives are going. It does this by measuring how long people live, how people are experiencing their lives directly and by capturing the inequalities in those distributions instead of just relying on the averages.”

It added, “By also measuring how much natural resources countries use to achieve those outcomes, the Happy Planet Index shows where in the world well-being is being achieved sustainably.”

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

PH is 20th happiest place in the world—report SHARES: 3948 VIEW COMMENTS By: Aries Joseph Hegina
@AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 11:42 AM August 28th, 2016


Filipinas display Philippine flags 28 May 2004, at Manila's Rizal Park to mark National Flag Day. The Philippines is to celebrate its 106th anniversary of its independence campaign against colonial Spain on 12 June. AFP PHOTO Joel NITO / AFP PHOTO / JOEL NITO

Filipinas display Philippine flags at Manila’s Rizal Park to mark National Flag Day. AFP FILE PHOTO / Joel NITO

The Philippines has ranked 20th happiest place in the world, according to the Happy Planet Index (HPI) report of think tank New Economic Foundation (NEF) which was released recently.

The Philippines got an HPI score of 35.0.

The HPI was obtained by considering the well-being (where residents were asked on how they feel about life overall, on a scale from zero to ten); life expectancy (average number of years a person in each country is expected to live); inequality of outcomes (“the inequalities between people within a country, in terms of how long they live, and how happy they feel”); and ecological footprint of the citizens of the country.

The Philippines got a 5 in terms of well-being, an ecological footprint of 1.1 global hectares per person and 26 percent in the inequality of outcomes.

United Nations data said that the life expectancy of Filipinos is at 67.9 years.

The HPI report for 2016 included 140 countries.

According to the NEF, the HPI “measures what matters: sustainable wellbeing for all” showing “how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives.”

For 2016, Costa Rica was hailed as the happiest place on Earth, ranking first in the list with an HPI score of 44.7. It has previously been considered the happiest place in the world in 2009 and 2012.

Following Costa Rica are Mexico, Colombia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand, Ecuador, Jamaica, Norway, Albania, Uruguay, Spain, Indonesia and El Salvador.

The report also noted that while wealthy western countries are usually regarded as “standards of success,” these countries do not rank highly on the Happy Planet Index.

The HPI was created by Nic Marks and was first introduced by the NEF in 2006. JE/rga

RELATED STORIES

PH among happiest countries in the world—Gallup poll

Filipino millennials happiest, least stressed in the world–survey


TRIBUNE

Palace wants 166 exceptions on FoI order Written by Ted Tuvera Monday, 29 August 2016 00:00

It turns out that the Freedom on Information (FoI) executive order (EO) of President Duterte covering the Executive branch is mostly hype as the Palace admitted that at least 166 exceptions are being considered in the EO’s draft manual.

The draft implementing guidelines listed specific government agencies which are given exemption from complying with the transparency order.

Duterte earlier said that the only exceptions from the EO will be information concerning national security, personal privacy and executive discretions but the draft manual showed exceptions for specific documents of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted, however, the proposed 166 exceptions do not “dilute the essence of the President’s EO on FoI and contradict his efforts to make the Executive (branch) more transparent.”Saying that he is the one tasked by the President to oversee the FoI implementation, Andanar said that the list of limits filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice is still subject to review.

“That is not the final list of exemptions that the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the Sol Gen (Solicitor General) has prepared. Those are being reviewed in the Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legislative Affairs,” Andanar said.

The said agencies, apparently, are the only five in the executive branch that has particularly been protected from the coverage of the EO.

The Comelec, under the draft manual, is exempted from divulging “information acquired by Comelec officials and employees involved in the procurement process.”

Many transparency groups and advocates of clean elections, prior to the May 9 elections, were vocal about the questionable procurement processes that the Comelec had with foreign service provider Smartmatic among other complaints raised on the Comelec in the runup to the last elections.

READ MORE...

Employment data not subject to FoI

As for the DSWD, an employee is not obliged to disclose the “reason of (his or her) employment”.

Sought for reaction, DSWD media relations head Ina Silverio told the Tribune in a text message that they are not aware of such a provision in the EO.

The NLRC, a quasi-judicial body of the Department of Labor Employment, is also prohibited to disclose “information, reports, records or communications” that they have obtained.

But as for the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), such a measure delays the immediate concerns raised by the labor sector.

“The current FOI executive measure should allow workers to access information that is necessary to them in their pursuit to fair and swift justice. Information at the NLRC relevant to the affected party should be made available without question or delay,” TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay told the Tribune in a text message.

“Aggrieved workers go to NLRC for redress and they must be allowed access to the immediate resolution of their cases. Majority of cases in the labor court are filed by workers who are victims of abusive and oppressive employers. If they are not allowed information in NLRC, it is tantamount to justice denied,” he added.

Student groups, meanwhile, are also frustrated with the inclusio among the exemptions of data coming from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that are filed to CHEd saying that it will prevent them from scrutinizing tuition hike proposals.

“Among schools, such information is being hidden from students including what is being paid for miscellaneous fees. It is very glaring that even CHED hides these types of data,” League of Filipino Students (LFS) secretary general Aries Gupit told the Tribune in a text message.

President Duterte’s EO on the FoI was supposedly in response to the past administration’s failure to push for the legislation of the transparency measure that has been advocated by various organizations, including members of the press.

Also on the list is executive privilege involving information on the President’s appointing, pardoning and diplomatic powers. Minutes of decision-making and policy formulation meetings, which the President considers privileged, are also included.

Data that may compromise military or police operations and immigration controls and border security, or put witnesses in danger, are also excepted.

The draft states that “government officials cannot be compelled to prepare lists and detailed reports on how congressional funds were disbursed.”

School records, medical records, birth records, employment records, banking transactions, as well as personal and sensitive information concerning natural persons “resulting in invasion of privacy,” are also among the exceptions.

Statements of assets, liability and net worth of government officials may not be disclosed if the purpose is contrary to morals or public policy or if they are intended for any commercial purpose other than for public dissemination by news media.

To protect businesses and entrepreneurs, trade secrets, confidential commercial and financial data, and business information gathered by government agencies on the operations, books and records of private corporations may also not be released.

Antimoney laundering concerns and related transaction reports are also on the list.

Also protected from public disclosure is information obtained by Congress in executive session and privileged communications, in legal proceedings or the Rules of Court.

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RELATED FROM VERA FILES

Is that so? Marcosian state secrecy in Duterte’s FOI executive order
August 19, 2016

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s milestone executive order on freedom of information retains Macapagal and Marcosian relics. The repealing clause of Executive Order No. 2 issued July 23 poses a few noteworthy exceptions.

“SECTION 18. Repealing Clause. All orders, rules and regulations, issuances or any part thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Executive Order are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly: Provided, that the provisions of Memorandum Circular No. 78 (s. 1964), as amended, shall not be deemed repealed pending further review.”

Issued in 1964, and amended by Marcos in 1968, Memorandum Circular No. 78 laid out rules on security of certain “matters” in government offices, particularly those that “require protection in the interest of national security.”

In a nutshell, documents, equipment, projects, books, reports, articles, notes, letters, sketches, plans, recordings, photographs, films and other substances shall be classified, based on content, into four: 1) top secret 2) secret 3) confidential and 4) restricted.

These classified documents shall be taken care of by custodians duly designated by heads of departments, and they shall be released for public consumption upon the department head or an authorized representative’s consent.

Access to classified matter is guided by the principle of “need-to-know,” in this case, persons to whom documents are essential to fulfill their duties. Only “properly cleared persons” shall be disseminated copies.

“Need-to-know,” meanwhile, shall be determined both by the individual who has possession, knowledge or command control of the information, and the recipient.

MC No. 78 was amended in 1968 to include a provision on “communication security” or the “protection resulting from the application of various measures which prevent or delay the enemy or unauthorized persons in gaining information through our communications.”

Interestingly, the 1964 and 1968 orders were revived by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007 to justify a vaguely defined security clearance procedure that further restricted public and media access to official documents.

Media freedom advocates expressed alarm over Arroyo’s order, raising the possibility of repressing transparency in exchange of “national safety.”

Executive Order No. 608 was prompted by the need to “implement security measures that will protect and ensure the integrity and sanctity of classified or sensitive materials,” since the government was “always at constant risk of being infiltrated by groups or individuals.”

In effect, those handling classified matters were subject to a comprehensive background investigation before they were issued an Interim Security Clearance by the head of the department.

Background information of those issued clearances were then indexed and stored by the dep
artment. Such clearance is again reviewed by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and subject to final approval by the National Security Adviser.

Sources:
Executive Order No. 608, s. 2007
Memorandum Circular No. 78, s. 1964
Memorandum Circular No. 196, s. 1968


PHILSTAR

Many investors see Duterte as the Philippines’ Lee Kuan Yew BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET By Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 29, 2016 - 12:00am 10 15 googleplus0 0


Anvil Business Club leaders Eddie Cobankiat, Marcelo Co and George Siy

There seems to be a disconnect between some elements of the Western media, who paint a dark, grim scenario of the Philippines due to the ongoing war on illegal drugs, and the generally bullish sentiments of businesspeople, who are optimistic about the Philippines’ future under the iron-fisted, Lee Kuan Yew-style governance of President Rody Duterte.

During his heyday, Singapore statesman Lee Kuan Yew also often clashed with Western media over his draconian policies.


Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub. The city-state's prime minister for 31 years, he was widely respected as the architect of Singapore's prosperity. But he was criticised for his iron grip on power. Under him freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts. WIKIPEDIA

EastWest Bank president Tony Moncupa told Reuters: “We are in a very good spot. The pronouncement of government prioritizing infrastructure spending, accelerating it and cutting red tape, solving peace and order, I think all point to very good prospects ahead.”

Weeding Out Bad Miners From Good

Philex Mining SVP Atty. Mike Toledo recently expressed confidence that the sincere anti-corruption drive of President Duterte and his DENR Secretary Gina Lopez will weed out the bad miners from the many good and ethical miners, thus giving hope to this important industry. The miners are hopeful that the Philippines will benefit from $34 billion in projects to be developed in the next six years.

Atty. Toledo said that the Philippines has been blessed by God with some of the world’s richest mineral resources, that environmentally sound mining can unleash this natural wealth to enrich far-flung rural areas and can support Duterte’s dream of Philippine industrialization.

Tourism Boom Coming?

Mang Inasal and DoubleDragon founder Edgar “Injap” Sia II (ranked by Forbes magazine as the No. 17 wealthiest in the Philippines) is bullish about the Philippine economy’s future, expanding the company’s CityMalls and has invested with Shanghai’s Jinjiang Inn brand to already open two hotels. Jinjiang Inn plans to open in 15 key Philippine cities in the next five years.

Another publicly listed dynamo, Anchor Land Holdings Inc., is planning to build 1,000 hotel rooms over the next five years with hotels in Boracay, Palawan and Tagaytay. Anchor Land vice chairman Steve Li said they’re also building the country’s largest Chinese restaurant.

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Are young tycoons Sia and Li optimistic that President Duterte can finally restore and normalize Philippine-China relations, so that we can compete with our ASEAN neighbors for the world’s biggest and richest market for tourists? In 2015 Thailand attracted eight million affluent Chinese tourists. That year, the number of Chinese outbound tourists climbed 14.5 percent to 35.4 million worldwide and they spent $235 billion.

Other bullish investors in Philippine tourism are architect Ramon Licup and wife Elena, the prime movers behind Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, as well as the Elan Hotel in Greenhills and the Makati Palace Hotel.

Billionaires To Share Success Stories With Young Entreps

On Sept. 9 starting at 1 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of Marriott Hotel, top business leaders like Jon Ramon Aboitiz of the Aboitiz family (ranked by Forbes as the Philippines’ No. 3 wealthiest with a net worth of $5 billion); Edgar Saavedra, the self-made young Chinese construction tycoon of publicly listed Megawide (ranked No. 37 wealthiest by Forbes with a net worth of $255 million) and his business partner Michael Cosiquien (ranked No. 35 with a net worth of $265 million); Jojo Concepcion of top appliance producer Concepcion Industries (the family is ranked No. 30 wealthiest with a net worth of $450 million); and self-made information-technology tycoon Dado Banatao of California will share their success stories and why they’re investing more in the Philippines now.

The public is welcome to attend this annual Anvil Business Summit organized by the young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs of the Anvil Business Club led by the trimumvirate of chairman emeritus George T. Siy of Marie France/Facial Care Center/Svenson, chairman Eduardo “Eddie” Cobankiat of the construction industry, and president Marcelo Co of Hobe noodles. Anvil officers say their speakers are role models for local investors to emulate.

At a recent edition of the non-partisan Pandesal Forum of Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City, the three Anvil officers told media that local investors are leading the way in supporting Philippine economic development and that they are confident President Duterte’s bold reforms can bring about more inclusive economic growth. They said this Anvil Business Summit hopes to encourage more young and SME entrepreneurs to invest in the economy now.

Bullish On Movies, Burgers And Solar Energy

On her 77th birthday, Mother Lily Monteverde donated P1 million to Mowelfund, led by actress Boots Anson Roa Rodrigo, and told me that she’s going to keep producing many Regal films every year. While others half her age are dreaming of retirement, Mother Lily is still thinking of new projects to undertake. Although the youngest of 12 kids of the late copra tycoon Domingo Yu Chu, Mother Lily didn’t get to inherit his wealth when she married his dealer’s son, Remy Monteverde, of the less wealthy but no less entrepreneurial Monteverde-Dy family.

Mother Lily founded and has been the prime mover of Regal Films ever since, at one time also helping the late Geny Lopez in rebuilding ABS-CBN 2 and cofounding their Star Cinema filmmaking outfit. The late Lopez patriarch once gifted Mother Lily with a special diamond ring.

Another entrepreneur bullish about the Philippine economy is chef-turned-entrepreneur and Zark’s Burgers owner Zark Varona, whose gourmet hamburger chain is opening branches with their popular large-sized burgers. On the issue of ending the “endo” or contractual system, this young entrepreneur hopes politicians can dialogue with SME entrepreneurs to come up with a win-win solution beneficial for employees, the economy and businesspeople.

Bacolod-born ethnic Chinese entrepreneur Bonnie Chan Gamboa of the Hexagon Group of Companies has a unique way of celebrating the anniversary of his business group, giving away college scholarships in memory of his late Chinese immigrant father, Simplicio Gamboa Sr., through the SGS Foundation. Poor but deserving students are welcome to apply for scholarships.

Not only are private businesses optimistic about the Philippine future, even non-governmental organizations like the global environmental NGO Greenpeace are. Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said at a recent Pandesal Forum that lower costs and technological advances are making solar energy more viable and practical for homes and small businesses in the Philippines. Saño pointed out that financing options are now available.

At present, the Philippines produces 29 percent of its electricity requirements through renewable sources, with the Department of Energy hoping to increase this to 40 percent by 2020.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

DPWH HOTLINE: Here’s a complaint posted August 28, 2016 at 12:01 am

This time it is the Department of Public Works and Highways launching a line for citizens to raise complaints, questions and suggestions about anything related to its projects.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said number 165-02 will be available for feedback on how the department can improve its policies, programs, activities and projects.

“We are asking the help of every Filipino in ensuring that the projects are implemented well and at the right quality,” Villar said.

The secretary added the hotline ensures transparency and is in keeping with the anti-corruption fight of the Duterte administration.

We, however, find the connection between launching the hotline and fighting corruption a bit of a stretch. Anybody can dial the number and cite irregularities in this or that project. Whether the department will even act on the call, or even put the issue through a queue within a reasonable time, is another matter altogether.

We wonder, too, if anything would come out of a hypothetical call complaining about the appointment of Villar to the post given the glaring conflict of interest in his position and his family’s real-estate enterprise. Many raised a howl about it when the appointment was first made, but nothing came out of it and as usual, and the country moved on to the next hot topic.

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It does not mean it is any less acceptable now.

Villar’s father built a property empire and then became Speaker of the House of Representatives, then Senate President, before launching a failed presidential campaign six years ago. His mother was a House representative and is an incumbent senator.

The secretary himself managed to convince voters of his district to land him a seat in Congress—before abandoning his mandate and saying yes to the plum post at Public Works —which decides, among others, which roads are to be built and where.

The idea of launching yet another hotline so that citizens may feel free to voice their concerns is in itself a good way to bring the government to the people but does not translate to inclusive governance automatically. How the agencies handle, much less respond, to the issues raised will determine their sincerity in opening up the lines in the first place.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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