TIGLAO: THE 'PORSCHE' REASON WHY FOI WON'T BE PASSED

It may seem a petty, even preposterous, reason. But given the paranoia of this President, it could be the reason why President Aquino—for all his blah-blahs about transparency in government—doesn’t want the Freedom of Information bill to get enacted. As soon as FOI bill becomes law, one of the first demands for information could be for certain government documents, which seem on the surface so trivial, but which could be politically disastrous for Aquino. These documents are the deeds of sale and Land Transportation Office’s certificates of registration for his Porsche 911 Turbo. Aquino claimed he bought it after several months in office in 2010 and then sold it in July after media outrage erupted over his display of arrogance and wealth. Reportedly scolded by his sisters over his expensive toy, Aquino told media in July that he sold it, claiming that it made the job of the Presidential Security Group harder as the Porsche made him extremely conspicuous. (Believe it or not, that’s a verbatim quote, translated form Pilipino: “Masyado nyo nang in-expose. Para bang it was an advertisement na ‘Oy, andito ako.”) But that time, he seemed to have forgotten what he said several months before what its price was and just blurted out when he was asked by a reporter: “I sold it exactly [for] the same price I bought it.” Could the President please provide us with a copy of the deed of sale of the Porsche and BMW and their LTO registrations, a reporter had asked. He turned his back and ended his press briefing. Several names—mostly of Chinese ethnicity—circulated in the grapevine as to who were supposedly the sellers and/or buyers of Aquino’s Porsche.
The first “suspect” was businessmen Robert Coyiuto, since his company PGA Cars was the exclusive Porsche distributor in the country and he was known to be a big Aquino supporter. But Coyiuto has denied any connection to Aquino’s Porsche.
It’s so easy to prove or disprove that when the FOI bill becomes law somebody would invoke that law for government to disclose the Deeds of Sale and LTO documents involving Aquino’s Porsche and BMW. Do you think Aquino would risk having a Freedom-of-Information Law passed?...MORE BELOW


NEAL H. CRUZ: How P7-B Globe Asiatique scam was done

It is becoming clear how easy it is to steal billions of pesos from government agencies in spite of red tape and documentary requirements. The documents required are merely faked and the government agencies do not make efforts to verify authenticity. That was the case with the pork barrel scam, the Malampaya Fund scam, the smuggling of rice through cooperatives, and now the Globe Asiatique fund scam in which P7 billion of Pag-Ibig funds for housing were lent to “buyers” of Delfin Lee’s housing developments, 60 percent of whom turned out to be “ghost” borrowers. It was so easy to set up nongovernment organizations and cooperatives and produce bogus documents. Lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe, CEO and president of Pag-Ibig Fund, related to journalists at the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel how Globe Asiatique perpetrated its housing scam. The first mistake was the decision of Pag-Ibig—in order to make its funds readily available to its members, to relieve the housing shortage, and to make the processing of loan applications faster—allowing developers with a “good track record” (Delfin Lee has a good track record?) to process the loan applications. The approved applications were then forwarded to Pag-Ibig and the funds released. The second mistake was the postvalidation of the applications. They were checked only after the loans had been approved and released. It turned out that more than half of Globe Asiatique’s borrowers were fictitious. Pag-Ibig thought it was amply protected by the “buy back” provision in the contract with Globe Asiatique. If the borrowers do not pay the loans, Globe Asiatique will simply buy it back and Pag-Ibig will get back its loan. The developer bought back the units and then sold these to other buyers. That is why there are two or more claimants to the same units. However, payments for the loans collected by the developer were not forwarded to Pag-Ibig. The developer simply pocketed them.....MORE BELOW

ALSO: ‘Alarming’ provision in Bangsamoro peace deal

We will be the last to spoil the euphoria over prospects of peace in Mindanao. But there is still one more concern about the Bangsamoro peace agreement that in our view needs attention. We cannot erase it from our minds because it is the most alarming. This has to do with the conferment in the Framework Agreement of exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro. The concept of exclusive powers for a local government is alien to the Constitution. Section 20 of Article X states that the grant of powers to the autonomous region shall be subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws. Legislation in an autonomous region is, therefore, subject to the reserved powers of the national government to repeal, amend, or modify. This is what makes us a unitary government. Granting exclusive powers to the autonomous region changes our system into a federal one, contrary to the Constitution.

ALSO: DSWD Chief Dinky Soliman’s criminal neglect, incompetence

Santa Banana, it’s getting worse! I refer to reports that not only are aid and relief going on slow in Yolanda-ravaged areas in Samar and Leyte, but that rotten relief good are buried because they can no longer be eaten. Now we hear that maggots or worms have been found crawling out of the food packs. Yolanda survivors are thus shocked upon receiving these goods. Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman has been boasting about the millions of food packs that have been given to Yolanda survivors. Now we are hearing all these disgusting things about the relief goods. It’s for these reasons that I am joining the mounting clamor for Soliman to be sacked. If she has any delicadeza or self-respect left, she should resign, pronto. Her neglect and incompetence are just criminal. This only reflects the awful management skills of President Aquino. It’s bad enough that Yolanda survivors are getting their aid in trickles. Soliman must explain why these things are happening under her watch. In fact, she should be investigated by Congress. * * * President Aquino tells us that the arrest of one high-profile fugitive is forthcoming. The guessing game is on. Will it be General Jovito Palparan, long wanted for alleged human rights violations? Will it be former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo, wanted for allegedly killing his wife? How about former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario Reyes, or the brother of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, Reynaldo Lim? It is said that the police and the NBI know where Palparan is hiding, but would not dare apprehend him since Palparan is surrounded by heavily armed former military soldiers. * * * In his attempt to downplay the plunder case filed against him, the President asked: “I am curious, what did I supposedly gain from this pork barrel misuse? In a plunder case there must be personal gain.” A plunder case has been filed against Mr. Aquino and Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alacala following the misuse of pork barrel funds channeled through the now-defunct National Agri-Business Corp. or Nabcor....READ MORE BELOW

ALSO: Can we really create more jobs under the present economic situation?

I attended the German Chamber of Commerce lecture discussion to see what the invitation could possible mean by “Creating more and better jobs: we can work it out.” The guest speaker was Rogier van den Brink of the World Bank. A young man next to me said it plainly when I asked him why should the removal of the 60-40 restriction on foreign investment matter to him? It meant he would not have to know Filipinos who would partner with him to get over the restriction. Others do but there were more who are not able to because being a foreigner he did not know Filipinos. I was sure that he was not the only one who could invest but did not because of the constitutional restrictions against foreign investments. The World Bank guest developed his lecture into five main points. “ First, the central policy challenge facing the Philippines today is how to accelerate inclusive growth, the type that creates more and better jobs and reduces poverty. “ He said that by jobs he meant “what people do to make a living.” It includes formal work and informal work. It covers wage workers and self-employment. It covers businesses of all sizes. By “good” jobs, we mean jobs which raise people’s real income and bring them out of poverty.” Second, you already know what reforms are needed to create more and better jobs. Third, the reasons why these reforms are well known, but not implemented, are also well known. Reforms create winners and losers, and for decades, not centuries, the winners have been unable to convince the losers that implementing these reforms would put the country on a much higher growth path than before, which would also benefit those who would lose out in the short term. Hence, there is no simple and quick technical solution for the reform agenda. It will require a political process and agreement. Fourth, a unique window of opportunity exists today to accelerate reforms that will help create more and better jobs. Finally, and more importantly, seizing this window of opportunity is not just the job of the President: government, business, labor, and civil society, need to work it out with a sense of urgency and agree on an action plan on job creation.“ True but the President will have to create an environment for coalition. Van den Brink’s last word was that we need a crisis and that crisis is we have just more than 832 days left to do it. That was a give-away because as Filipinos we do not put a deadline to reforms. It is a continuing task with this administration and whatever government will follow. We are advocates of constitutional reform and if it takes forever we will just keep at it even if there is so much pressure against it not least of them a President who has said bluntly he did not believe in constitutional reform. MORE....


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

The ‘Porsche’ reason why FOI won’t be passed


Rigoberto Tiglao

MANILA, MARCH 24, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO - It may seem a petty, even preposterous, reason. But given the paranoia of this President, it could be the reason why President Aquino—for all his blah-blahs about transparency in government—doesn’t want the Freedom of Information bill to get enacted.

As soon as FOI bill becomes law, one of the first demands for information could be for certain government documents, which seem on the surface so trivial, but which could be politically disastrous for Aquino.

These documents are the deeds of sale and Land Transportation Office’s certificates of registration for his Porsche 911 Turbo. Aquino claimed he bought it after several months in office in 2010 and then sold it in July after media outrage erupted over his display of arrogance and wealth.

It was a display of arrogance of power for Aquino to ignore media’s demand for him to disclose the documents—the deeds of sale and the LTO papers—to prove conclusively that it wasn’t a gift from a crony.

He was confident he could be adamant in that controversy and it would just go away since at that time he was still the adored Son of the Saint of Democracy and had high approval ratings.

The seriousness of that “Porsche” issue could be better appreciated with the fact that it involves the third definition of prohibited acts specified in the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices law.


One of the many collages critical of his Porsche that spread in social media in 2011.

“Receiving any gift” includes the act of accepting directly or indirectly a gift from a person other than a member of the public officer’s immediate family, in behalf of himself or of any member of his family or relative within the fourth civil degree, either by consanguinity or affinity, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is under the circumstances “manifestly excessive.”

Second-hand?

Aquino in effect had stammered in trying to explain how he got the Porsche.

He said it was a second-hand one, that it cost P4.5 million, that he sold his BMW to buy it.

However, the talk among sports-car aficionados—who make up a tiny group in the country—was that of course it was a second-hand one, driven to Malacañang.

They say Aquino obviously didn’t even know how much was the Porsche he bought: No Porsche 711 Turbo could cost P4.5 million; it was at least P7 million. Or did Aquino not pay the 200 percent duty on such cars?

There was talk that despite the tremendous pressure to remove his old Tarlac friend Virginia Torres from the LTO for inefficiency, Aquino couldn’t (until two years later) since she herself issued the LTO’s Certificate of Registration (CR) of the President’s Porsche, and kept it in her safe. The head of the LTO office that has the exclusive authority to issue such CRs told me in 2011 that Aquino’s car registration “did not pass through this office.”

Reportedly scolded by his sisters over his expensive toy, Aquino told media in July that he sold it, claiming that it made the job of the Presidential Security Group harder as the Porsche made him extremely conspicuous. (Believe it or not, that’s a verbatim quote, translated form Pilipino: “Masyado nyo nang in-expose. Para bang it was an advertisement na ‘Oy, andito ako.”) But that time, he seemed to have forgotten what he said several months before what its price was and just blurted out when he was asked by a reporter: “I sold it exactly [for] the same price I bought it.”

Could the President please provide us with a copy of the deed of sale of the Porsche and BMW and their LTO registrations, a reporter had asked. He turned his back and ended his press briefing.

Vanished
The Porsche 911 after that seemed to have vanished into thin air, and nobody bragged about buying such a unique luxury sports car, the only one ever owned by a Philippine president.

Several names—mostly of Chinese ethnicity—circulated in the grapevine as to who were supposedly the sellers and/or buyers of Aquino’s Porsche.

The first “suspect” was businessmen Robert Coyiuto, since his company PGA Cars was the exclusive Porsche distributor in the country and he was known to be a big Aquino supporter. But Coyiuto has denied any connection to Aquino’s Porsche.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported in April last year, based on interviews with Bureau of Customs (BOC) head Rufino Biazon, that the BOC was investigating PGA Cars for not paying the correct duties for its luxury car importations.

The newspaper quoted Biazon: “Our suspicion is that they undervalued their cars, “ and that the amount involved could be P1 billion. PGA cars denied the allegation.

Biazon was pushed out of the BOC by December that year.

Another is tycoon Gregorio Yu, who owns CATS Motors, the exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz automobiles as well as top-of-the-line Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep SUV’s.

Aquino indeed seems to be so close—or for some reason, so grateful—to Yu that he appointed him a member of the Board of Trustees in the Government Service Insurance Commission.

Aquino didn’t mind the risk in appointing such a tycoon into the government’s pension fund, who had never been in government, and who risked a conflict-of-interest situation, as he was also a banker and a stockbroker.

Yu’s probably once-a-month work in board meetings was quite lucrative, as he was paid P8 million from 2011-2013 as a GSIS trustee.

Yu joined Aquino’s sisters in bankrolling the 2013 electoral bid of Aquino’s rent-an-NGO, Akbayan, donating P5 million.

If it is ever proven that Yu or whoever, gifted the Porsche to Aquino, or sold it to him at a give-away price, that would be a clear instance of corruption, one of the most serious basis for impeachment, certainly a graver one than filing an inaccurate Statement of Assets and Liabilities.

It would burst the balloon he keeps holding proclaiming there’s not a single charge of corruption against him.

It’s so easy to prove or disprove that when the FOI bill becomes law somebody would invoke that law for government to disclose the Deeds of Sale and LTO documents involving Aquino’s Porsche and BMW.

Do you think Aquino would risk having a Freedom-of-Information Law passed?

FROM THE INQUIRER

As I See It
How P7-B Globe Asiatique scam was done By Neal H. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:13 am | Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


By Neal H. Cruz

MANILA -It is becoming clear how easy it is to steal billions of pesos from government agencies in spite of red tape and documentary requirements.

The documents required are merely faked and the government agencies do not make efforts to verify authenticity.

That was the case with the pork barrel scam, the Malampaya Fund scam, the smuggling of rice through cooperatives, and now the Globe Asiatique fund scam in which P7 billion of Pag-Ibig funds for housing were lent to “buyers” of Delfin Lee’s housing developments, 60 percent of whom turned out to be “ghost” borrowers. It was so easy to set up nongovernment organizations and cooperatives and produce bogus documents.

Lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe, CEO and president of Pag-Ibig Fund, related to journalists at the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel how Globe Asiatique perpetrated its housing scam.

The first mistake was the decision of Pag-Ibig—in order to make its funds readily available to its members, to relieve the housing shortage, and to make the processing of loan applications faster—allowing developers with a “good track record” (Delfin Lee has a good track record?) to process the loan applications. The approved applications were then forwarded to Pag-Ibig and the funds released.

The second mistake was the postvalidation of the applications. They were checked only after the loans had been approved and released. It turned out that more than half of Globe Asiatique’s borrowers were fictitious.

Pag-Ibig thought it was amply protected by the “buy back” provision in the contract with Globe Asiatique. If the borrowers do not pay the loans, Globe Asiatique will simply buy it back and Pag-Ibig will get back its loan. The developer bought back the units and then sold these to other buyers. That is why there are two or more claimants to the same units. However, payments for the loans collected by the developer were not forwarded to Pag-Ibig. The developer simply pocketed them.

Berberabe emphasized that Pag-Ibig will not lose anything in the scam. The housing agency holds all the titles to the units mortgaged to it. The losers will be the buyers, if they did not pay directly to Pag-Ibig. If there are two claimants to a unit, who will Pag-ibig recognize? Naturally, the one who is paying the loan, as shown in Pag-Ibig records. If the other claimant has nothing to show as proof of his payments, then he has to go after the developer. Berberabe said Pag-Ibig will help all those buyers who have been cheated by the developer.

During the investigation, the Pag-Ibig chief said, borrowers admitted that they were paid to sign loan applications although they had no intention of borrowing, of owning a unit, or of paying the loan. This may be the work of agents who get commissions from proceeds of the loan and do not care what happens next. Some borrowers were outright fictitious, and the developer pocketed the proceeds and sold the unit to another buyer.

Many of the borrowers were overseas Filipino workers who thought that by buying a unit in installments, they would have a place to go home to. And because they are abroad, they have no means of checking the units or the records. They simply paid merrily, trusting the developer, thinking that when they go back to the Philippines, they would have a unit waiting for them.

Are there other developers with the same contracts as Globe Asiatique?

Yes, but they are now being reviewed and the same policy with Globe Asiatique has been totally stopped.

Borrowers will now have to go directly to Pag-Ibig to apply. They will be interviewed and asked to produce lots of documentary proof.

Many are complaining that there is too much red tape and that the processing is too slow, Berberabe said. But she would prefer to be accused of that than to have a repeat of the Globe Asiatique scam, she said.

* * *
Still another mistake is the post-audit of government expenses. The Commission on Audit looks at these expenses long after the money is gone. It has found that P5 billion in cash advances are still unliquidated.

This is a common abuse by government officials. They get cash advances, spend the money, and then don’t explain how they spent it. When asked to liquidate the funds, they claim that they have lost the receipts. The law says that when you don’t liquidate a cash advance, you have to return the money. But nobody does that.

The COA said many officials with unliquidated funds have retired, gone abroad, or died.

I think cash advances should be discouraged. And if it is absolutely necessary, the rules should be very strict. For one, there should be a deadline for liquidating cash advances. If the official fails to liquidate before the deadline, he should return the money or face the consequences.

And we should go back to pre-auditing.

* * *
I am being badgered by fans who ask when is the next show of Aliw awardee Margaux Salcedo at the Manila Hotel. Well, here it is: March 26, starting at 9 p.m. at the Tap Room.

Margaux, who has just returned from Singapore where she was a juror in selecting Asia’s Best Restaurants, has a radio program at dwIZ on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The name of the program is “Home Cook,” and it is all about food, restaurants, cooking and recipes.

* * *
Mama Mia Abbamania is back in the Philippines. Enjoy Abba’s music live as played and sung by Europe’s top tribute band, Abbamania.

Catch the band at Solaire Resort and Casino on March 21, at Island Cove and Resort Hotel on March 28, and at Lagao gym in General Santos City on March 30. It will be two hours of nonstop Abba music live. The OB Montessori choir will perform with the band.

FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Alarming’ provision in Bangsamoro peace deal Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:51 am | Thursday, February 13th, 2014


By MARIO GUARIÑA III,
former associate justice,
Court of Appeals, Parañaque City


We will be the last to spoil the euphoria over prospects of peace in Mindanao. But there is still one more concern about the Bangsamoro peace agreement that in our view needs attention. We cannot erase it from our minds because it is the most alarming.

This has to do with the conferment in the Framework Agreement of exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro.

The concept of exclusive powers for a local government is alien to the Constitution.

Section 20 of Article X states that the grant of powers to the autonomous region shall be subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws.

Legislation in an autonomous region is, therefore, subject to the reserved powers of the national government to repeal, amend, or modify.

This is what makes us a unitary government.

Granting exclusive powers to the autonomous region changes our system into a federal one, contrary to the Constitution.

Let us temper our expectations and settle our differences within the ambit of the Constitution.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Soliman’s criminal neglect, incompetence By Emil Jurado | Mar. 21, 2014 at 12:01am

President Aquino tells us that the arrest of one high-profile fugitive is forthcoming.

The guessing game is on. Will it be General Jovito Palparan, long wanted for alleged human rights violations? Will it be former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo, wanted for allegedly killing his wife? How about former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario Reyes, or the brother of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, Reynaldo Lim?

It is said that the police and the NBI know where Palparan is hiding, but would not dare apprehend him since Palparan is surrounded by heavily armed former military soldiers.

The Reyes brother are reported to be out of the country.

Ecleo, head of a cult in Dinagat, is said to be hiding in his domain where authorities would not dare go after him there.

Ecleo, head of the Dinagat cult in Dinagat is said to be enjoying his days as fugitive. He knows that the authorities would not dare go after him in his domain.

So, who will be it, Reynaldo? Your guess is as good as mine.

* * *

The best argument against the Reproductive Health Law, whose implementation has been stopped by an injuction of the Supreme Court, is the fact that companies peddling contraceptives—condoms, IUDs, abortive pills and the like—are free to advertise them.

This answers the arguments of anti-life proponents that women should be given a free choice on what method they want in the name of family planning.

The advertisements on print, broadcast and social media already clearly give the people that choice. As for the need for maternal medical care, we already have laws for that. So, Santa Banana, what’s the need for a RH Law?

* * *

In his attempt to downplay the plunder case filed against him, the President asked: “I am curious, what did I supposedly gain from this pork barrel misuse? In a plunder case there must be personal gain.”

A plunder case has been filed against Mr. Aquino and Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alacala following the misuse of pork barrel funds channeled through the now-defunct National Agri-Business Corp. or Nabcor.

If we were to follow the logic of President Aquino, why then should we file plunder cases against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for allegedly endorsing Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds for other purposes? Arroyo did not gain a centavo for it.

Why also file a case against the former President for the botched NBN-ZTE deal?

Of course, we all know that the President is immune from suits during his incumbency. But he should remember this: I should not do unto others what I don’t want done to me.

* * *

Santa Banana, it’s getting worse! I refer to reports that not only are aid and relief going on slow in Yolanda-ravaged areas in Samar and Leyte, but that rotten relief good are buried because they can no longer be eaten. Now we hear that maggots or worms have been found crawling out of the food packs. Yolanda survivors are thus shocked upon receiving these goods.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman has been boasting about the millions of food packs that have been given to Yolanda survivors. Now we are hearing all these disgusting things about the relief goods.

It’s for these reasons that I am joining the mounting clamor for Soliman to be sacked. If she has any delicadeza or self-respect left, she should resign, pronto. Her neglect and incompetence are just criminal. This only reflects the awful management skills of President Aquino.

It’s bad enough that Yolanda survivors are getting their aid in trickles.

Soliman must explain why these things are happening under her watch. In fact, she should be investigated by Congress.

* * *

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolf Biazon has some good advice for dismissed Philippine Military Academy cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia. Cudia was not allowed to graduate because he was found to have violated the Honor Code of the PMA.

Biazon, a former senator and Armed Forces Chief of Staff, said that Cudia should just obtain his diploma and transcript of records from the PMA and then start a new life in the civilian world.

Cudia should just forget being in the military service because he will just be a leper in the military.

I agree with Biazon. Who knows? Cudia may just do better in the civilian world.

* * *

There’s a lot of half-lies and half-truths in the media blitz undertaken by the Wenceslao Group to demonize businessman Bobby Ongpin and Alphaland.

Alphaland has not been delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange. The PSE decision simply fines Alphaland for late disclosure and imposes an additional one-month suspension of tradiing.

The question that should be asked is: Why is the Wenceslao Group doing this at all?

FROM PHILSTAR

Can we really create more jobs under the present economic situation? FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 22, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Carmen N. Pedrosa

I attended the German Chamber of Commerce lecture discussion to see what the invitation could possible mean by “Creating more and better jobs: we can work it out.” The guest speaker was Rogier van den Brink of the World Bank. The presentation was very detailed and included graphs. I confess that as a layman with no training in economics I was groping to find the relation between what the speaker said and my own observations about politics and the economy of the Philippines in general.

But I did not wish to disrupt his attempt to make the Germans aware of what he said that there was a window of opportunity. It was a full house and there was interest on what they can do to help. There were many things that could be done but the government will have to do its bit about the ease of doing business here. Too difficult and that goes for local businesses as well.

A young man next to me said it plainly when I asked him why should the removal of the 60-40 restriction on foreign investment matter to him? It meant he would not have to know Filipinos who would partner with him to get over the restriction. Others do but there were more who are not able to because being a foreigner he did not know Filipinos. I was sure that he was not the only one who could invest but did not because of the constitutional restrictions against foreign investments.

* * *

The World Bank guest developed his lecture into five main points.

“ First, the central policy challenge facing the Philippines today is how to accelerate inclusive growth, the type that creates more and better jobs and reduces poverty. “ He said that by jobs he meant “what people do to make a living.”

It includes formal work and informal work. It covers wage workers and self-employment. It covers businesses of all sizes.

By “good” jobs, we mean jobs which raise people’s real income and bring them out of poverty.”

Second, you already know what reforms are needed to create more and better jobs.

Third, the reasons why these reforms are well known, but not implemented, are also well known. Reforms create winners and losers, and for decades, not centuries, the winners have been unable to convince the losers that implementing these reforms would put the country on a much higher growth path than before, which would also benefit those who would lose out in the short term. Hence, there is no simple and quick technical solution for the reform agenda. It will require a political process and agreement.

Fourth, a unique window of opportunity exists today to accelerate reforms that will help create more and better jobs.

Finally, and more importantly, seizing this window of opportunity is not just the job of the President: government, business, labor, and civil society, need to work it out with a sense of urgency and agree on an action plan on job creation.“

True but the President will have to create an environment for coalition.

Van den Brink’s last word was that we need a crisis and that crisis is we have just more than 832 days left to do it. That was a give-away because as Filipinos we do not put a deadline to reforms. It is a continuing task with this administration and whatever government will follow. We are advocates of constitutional reform and if it takes forever we will just keep at it even if there is so much pressure against it not least of them a President who has said bluntly he did not believe in constitutional reform.

* * *

Miscellany: Unfortunately, unlike a lecture, Filipinos have to deal with the real world with gorier details. Just this week, the brother of one of the most prominent bishops of Mindanao, Bishop Capalla, had been killed by assassins who simply escaped. The reality of the lack of peace and order cannot be brushed aside in any form of coalition for nation-building.

* * *

Passing by Roxas Boulevard, there has been frenetic activity to open another mall, not far from the Mall of Asia. Indeed it is in front of the MOA and would attract shoppers from several condominiums already set up in the area by Federal Land that is behind this newly built mall. The grand opening of Bluebay Walk is on March 29, Saturday 4 p.m. It is located at the corner of Edsa and Macapagal Blvd, In the invitation letter Federal Land president Alfred Ty said this will be a different kind of mall and will cater to families.

“It is a new concept — garden retail arcade — that provides roofed-free flow ventilation shopping, while at the same time shoppers enjoy big open space for outdoor activities.“ So it serves both as a park and a mall where families can gather together in wide open space.

* * *

I also received an invitation from my friend, Sheniech Chen whose company, European Wines will be celebrating their partnership with Hennessy on March 24. She is Chinese-Filipina and works hard at her business of wine distribution of some of the best wines her company imports. Filipinos have become sophisticated wine connoisseurs so Sheineich is on to a good thing. The celebration will be Shangri-la Plaza in Edsa and I have invited all the guests at a party of Cecile Consunji Navarro to join the celebration.

* * *

Another invitation comes from Nordic countries that have banded together for a celebration called the Magical Northern Lights - the First Anniversary Dinner and NBCP Awards, with cocktails, dinner, and entertainment at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel on March 27, 2014.

They have invited former President Fidel V. Ramos as their guest speaker and will present the NBCP awards.

In case you are not aware, here are the list of Nordic countries that operate in the Philippines, The Besson Group, Ericsson Telecommunications, Maersk Global Service Centres, Electrolux Philippines, Ericsson Telecommunications and SKF Philippines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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