MANILA BULLETIN OPINION

EDITORIAL: FOR AN ECONOMY THAT PROVIDE JOBS, WE CAN START NOW 

AUGUST 5 --Everytime there is a disaster anywhere in the world, the question inevitably arises: Is there a Filipino involved? The question was asked when a Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared in the South Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard. It arose again when another Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine; this time, a Filipino family of three – a mother and her two children – were among the 298 dead. One disaster that is worsening every day is the fighting in Libya among warring militias and between Islamist forces and government forces. Hundreds of Filipino workers have been caught in the middle In the ensuing chaos, and with all airports shut down and the border crossings to Egypt in the east and to Tunisia in the west closed, foreign refugees have nowhere to go, except possibly by sea. The turmoil in Libya was particularly painful for one Filipina nurse who was gang -raped by several men on her way to the hospital where she worked. In protest, the Filipino workers declared a two-day strike that closed down the Tripoli Medical Center where Filipinos make up three-fourths of the medical personnel. Some 800 Filipinos have already left Libya and another 800 have signified their readiness to accept the Philippine government’s offer of free transportation back home, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Many more thousands, however, are determined to remain in Libya and wait out the turmoil. These are the ones who know there is nothing for them in the Philippines, no decent jobs open to enable them to support their families. * READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: A master plan for the area devastated by Yolanda 

A master plan for the rehabilitation of the vast area devastated by super-typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, has been submitted to President Aquino by Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson. This is probably the first time such a comprehensive program has ever been prepared for any part of the country after a calamity, but then this was the first time a typhoon like Yolanda had ever hit the Philippines. In fact, Yolanda (international name: Hainan) was the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land anywhere in the world. Yolanda struck the Visayas with winds of 275 kilometers per hour (kph). We have had several destructive typhoons before Yolanda, but they were in the range of 120 to 180 kilometers per hour. the kind that caused the PAGASA to raise typhoon signal No. 3. Yolanda was something new altogether, with center winds of 315 kph, gusting to 378 kph.

Still people in the path of the typhoon felt fairly confident that they could take the powerful winds. What they were not prepared for, because it had never happened before, was the storm surge that sent the sea – water up to two stories high – sweeping into the shore communities and then inland where the sea had never gone before. Japan had just suffered a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake. The storm surge that hit Tacloban City and other areas in Eastern Visayas was not technically a tsunami, not being caused by an undersea earthquake or volcanic eruption, but it had the same devastating effect. Thousands of people had prepared for the strong winds; they were not ready for the sea that swallowed up entire communities, then carried away thousands of bodies out to sea. After months of work and study, Presidential Assistant Lacson and his group completed a P170.9-billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), with four sectors – resettlement, P75.6 billion; infrastructure, P35.1 billion; livelihood, P33.6 billion; and social services, P26.4 billion. It includes a P98-billion fund for Tacloban City, Cebu, Iloilo, Eastern Samar, and Leyte previously approved by the President. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Ping Lacson, reinvented 

We call Secretary Ping Lacson a “czar” knowing he has no budget, no power/powers beyond piecing together an 8,000-page comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 17 provinces in 6 regions hit by super-typhoon Yolanda last November. As far as that plan goes, he is merely a master planner (for which road map USAID chipped in P200, 000 to print those 8 volumes). Now that the bundle of papers is with the President, what next? Ping told “Bulong Pulungan” it’s not true he’s ready to quit but “if we are to move forward” he would ask his boss to endow him with “the power to investigate shenanigans and delays, and enforce the law.” Sounds like Ping the law enforcer all over again, and yet he astounded those of us who listened to him reciting dates, recalling anecdotes with first and last names of total strangers, and enumerating pesos in the billions down to the last decimal point. It does not seem likely that President Aquino will spend his time reading so many pages of detailed information, mostly sums, names, and addresses of the projects per district and barangay, before his term comes to an end in 2016, so perhaps he will assign 2,000 pages to each of the four clusters of Cabinet rank to pore over the numbers, commas, and periods. * READ MORE...
 

ALSO by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid: Our OFWs in war zones  

Recent reports on the situation of our Filipinos in Libya brought to mind a similar event three years ago in the same country. The Inquirer editiorial describes it as an “existential choice” – doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t. Over a month ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs had issued a mandatory repatriation order but only 800 had returned with another 800 on the waiting list. In fact, DFA Secretary Del Rosario himself had flown to nearby Tunisia to organize the evacuation of 13,000 workers following the discovery that a Filipino in Benghazi had been beheaded and a nurse had been gang-raped. The problem in 2011 again surfaced as a majority showed reluctance to leave oil-rich Libya where they have been assured economic security. Again, it became a matter of choosing between two options – imminent risks in a country facing escalating violence or returning home with the prospect of joblessness. If the choice is difficult for the unskilled and semi-skilled workers, it is even harder for the 3000 or so health workers who make up 60% of Libya’s hospital staff. It is reported that the Libyan health authorities are fearful that the mandatory order for repatriation would paralyze hospitals and lead to a total collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

As the situation worsens, it becomes riskier to leave as many of the exits (airports) are no longer available and the usual pick-up points have become danger zones. Again, it may be time for government, the private sector, and civil society to get together and focus on the urgency of providing adequate safety nets for our returning OFWS. The immediate one is creating jobs for the newly repatriated and then looking for medium and long-term strategies to address future ones. The challenge won’t end with Libya and similar war zones so the strategy should be proactive and at the same time examining what still can be done in implementing provisions of existing legislation and executive orders. One is RA 8042 which “renders overseas employment as a genuine option rather than a no-choice necessity. Its thrust is to increase the level of financial literacy of migrants and their dependents, harness remittances for employment, development at local level, and engage local governments to develop programs to support small and medium scale industry.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO by Fred Lobo: Developmental budget, not ‘war chest’ — PNoy 

Malacañang says the proposed national budget for 2015 seeks to promote inclusive growth and improve the lives of Filipinos, and won’t serve as the administration’s “war chest’ for the 2016 national elections. Politics is war but this is not our “war chest,” says Kapitan PNoy. *** But the opposition and progressive blocs insist that the Aquino administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are gearing up for the next presidential polls by asking for a bigger budget, including some “lump sum” or automatic appropriations. Here come “lump sum” and… a lump in the throat. Clear them ASAP, gentlemen, so as not to delay the budgetary process. *** Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. says that the public is free to scrutinize the budget outlay, asserting that the government is neither hiding anything in the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget nor planning any sinister plot for the 2016 presidential polls. Palaces says the proposed budget is open for review by Juan, Maria or Pedro. But let the experts do it for better results.

*** “The proposed 2015 national budget carries the theme ‘inclusive development’ because it aims to improve the welfare of millions of Filipinos especially the poor,” Coloma says. Aha, now they can brag it’s pro-poor, not pro-pork. *** “It is clear that the proposed 2015 national budget, like previous budgets under the Aquino administration, adheres to the principle of the straight path. To those thinking it will be used for politicking, they should consider the concrete record,” Coloma adds. No more crooked path and substandard roads, Malacañang boys promise. *** President Aquino tells Congress that the P2.6 trillion proposed 2015 national budget is 15.1 percent higher than this year’s outlay because it seeks to accelerate spending on social services and infrastructure development. Let me fulfill my social contract with the people. And build more bridges and infra. *** Mr. Aquino points out that social services will get the largest share of the budget at P967.9 billion, followed by economic services (P700.2 billion), general public services (P423.1 billion), defense (P115.5 billion), and debt burden (P399.4 billion). See how PNoy divides the pie or the Philippine “bibingka.” * READ MORE...

ALSO by Erik Espina: Appropriations 

No president will publicly admit he was wrong. Rare are the occasions he or she may ask for an apology, and often only because of great pressure. But never will he concede a slip-up. This is why the cabinet invariably comes to the rescue, “paraphrasing” or explaining what the chief executive meant, to avert pie on his face. It is precisely the job, nay the duty of media and press to put the statements of public officials on record. So that one can check, validate, or catch them red-faced, in the interest of the greater good. Sure, presidents deserve respect. But never veneration. To the general public, the debate on the Aquino Administration’s performance may be abbreviated in two commandments. In his campaign, and inaugural speech, P-Noy chiseled the standard from on-high and in the vernacular for all to understand: 1) “No Wang-wang mentality” 2) “Tuwid na Daan. “He saw public office as service, capping the moral testaments with “Kayo ang boss ko.” When we speak of “No wang-wang,” this is a negative predisposition of entitlement, wielding power and authority, with officials moving ahead unrestrained by “traffic,” a “long queue,” or a “regulatory process.” The “Tuwid na daan” advocates a conscience respecting the rule of law with the specifics of a presidency which is a non-thief crusading versus all forms of graft & corruption. Question: * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Editorial: For an economy that provides jobs — we can start now


Editorial Cartoon by Angelo Lopez, Philippines Today

MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) Everytime there is a disaster anywhere in the world, the question inevitably arises: Is there a Filipino involved? The question was asked when a Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared in the South Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard. It arose again when another Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine; this time, a Filipino family of three – a mother and her two children – were among the 298 dead.

One disaster that is worsening every day is the fighting in Libya among warring militias and between Islamist forces and government forces. Hundreds of Filipino workers have been caught in the middle In the ensuing chaos, and with all airports shut down and the border crossings to Egypt in the east and to Tunisia in the west closed, foreign refugees have nowhere to go, except possibly by sea.

The turmoil in Libya was particularly painful for one Filipina nurse who was gang -raped by several men on her way to the hospital where she worked. In protest, the Filipino workers declared a two-day strike that closed down the Tripoli Medical Center where Filipinos make up three-fourths of the medical personnel.

Some 800 Filipinos have already left Libya and another 800 have signified their readiness to accept the Philippine government’s offer of free transportation back home, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Many more thousands, however, are determined to remain in Libya and wait out the turmoil.

These are the ones who know there is nothing for them in the Philippines, no decent jobs open to enable them to support their families.

* The Philippine government has come to depend on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their annual remittances which support the Philippine economy. It is good our workers have other countries to go to, because there is not enough work in this country.

We have few factories to manufacture goods for export and provide employment, mostly because of the high cost of energy in this country. Our agriculture cannot produce our basic needs, particularly rice which we have to import.

We have statistical prosperity, a high Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it does not seem to reach down to the masses of people. So many of them continue to leave by the hundreds of thousands every year for other countries to look for jobs.

It will take many years before we can turn around and be an economy that imports workers instead of sends them to other countries.

But with the billions of pesos we have in our lump sum-heavy national budget, we can start laying the foundations now for an economy that provides for its own – basic goods, services, and especially jobs for everyone.

Editorial: A master plan for the area devastated by Yolanda August 7, 2014

THE PRESIDENT AND HIS YOLANDA REHAB CZAR

A master plan for the rehabilitation of the vast area devastated by super-typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, has been submitted to President Aquino by Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson.

This is probably the first time such a comprehensive program has ever been prepared for any part of the country after a calamity, but then this was the first time a typhoon like Yolanda had ever hit the Philippines. In fact, Yolanda (international name: Hainan) was the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land anywhere in the world.

Yolanda struck the Visayas with winds of 275 kilometers per hour (kph). We have had several destructive typhoons before Yolanda, but they were in the range of 120 to 180 kilometers per hour. the kind that caused the PAGASA to raise typhoon signal No. 3. Yolanda was something new altogether, with center winds of 315 kph, gusting to 378 kph.

Still people in the path of the typhoon felt fairly confident that they could take the powerful winds. What they were not prepared for, because it had never happened before, was the storm surge that sent the sea – water up to two stories high – sweeping into the shore communities and then inland where the sea had never gone before. Japan had just suffered a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake.

The storm surge that hit Tacloban City and other areas in Eastern Visayas was not technically a tsunami, not being caused by an undersea earthquake or volcanic eruption, but it had the same devastating effect. Thousands of people had prepared for the strong winds; they were not ready for the sea that swallowed up entire communities, then carried away thousands of bodies out to sea.

After months of work and study, Presidential Assistant Lacson and his group completed a P170.9-billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), with four sectors – resettlement, P75.6 billion; infrastructure, P35.1 billion; livelihood, P33.6 billion; and social services, P26.4 billion. It includes a P98-billion fund for Tacloban City, Cebu, Iloilo, Eastern Samar, and Leyte previously approved by the President.

* The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already made available around P137 billion from the 2014 national budget and the balance of P33 billion will come from the proposed 2015 budget. Implementation of the parts of the master plan is in the hands of various government agencies, notably the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the various local governments.

Now that he has completed his original assignment, Presidential Assistant Lacson has asked the President what further service he can render.

The President will do well to consider suggestions that Lacson oversee the separate efforts of the various agencies of the government, with an eye to correcting possible lapses by implementing agencies.

Lacson, who was known as a committed enforcer of the law during his time as chief of the Philippine National Police, might be asked to look after the implementation of the projects to ensure that every peso of the billions set aside for the master plan is properly spent.

Ping Lacson, reinvented by Jullie Yap Daza August 6, 2014


Jullie Yap Daza

We call Secretary Ping Lacson a “czar” knowing he has no budget, no power/powers beyond piecing together an 8,000-page comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 17 provinces in 6 regions hit by super-typhoon Yolanda last November.

As far as that plan goes, he is merely a master planner (for which road map USAID chipped in P200, 000 to print those 8 volumes).

Now that the bundle of papers is with the President, what next? Ping told “Bulong Pulungan” it’s not true he’s ready to quit but “if we are to move forward” he would ask his boss to endow him with “the power to investigate shenanigans and delays, and enforce the law.”

Sounds like Ping the law enforcer all over again, and yet he astounded those of us who listened to him reciting dates, recalling anecdotes with first and last names of total strangers, and enumerating pesos in the billions down to the last decimal point.

It does not seem likely that President Aquino will spend his time reading so many pages of detailed information, mostly sums, names, and addresses of the projects per district and barangay, before his term comes to an end in 2016, so perhaps he will assign 2,000 pages to each of the four clusters of Cabinet rank to pore over the numbers, commas, and periods.

*From a team of two, just him and his undersecretary, urban planner Daniel Antonio of AIM, the staff of the cashless czar has grown to 104, and they occupy an office rent-free lent to them by Manny Zamora at Bonifacio Global City, with staff salaries courtesy of USAID also, from a $10-million grant.

In all, the reconstruction will cost P171 billion, of which P96 billion has been distributed or spent, the amounts so mindboggling, to me at least, that I forgot to ask the burning question of the day: how much came from government and how much from foreign donors?

 UNDP and Tzu Chi Foundation figured large in Ping’s narrative. Without skipping a beat, he asked, “Why is it that our foreign friends praise us but our countrymen keep criticizing?”

Yesterday, Secretary Lacson was to sit down with the President to decide quo vadis.

For now, he finds that the most difficult task to carry out along the Yolanda corridor was coordination, the absence of which led to duplication and overlaps.

For example, “please don’t send any more bancas – we have a glut!”

Our OFWs in war zones by Florangel Braid August 5, 2014


Florangel Braid

Recent reports on the situation of our Filipinos in Libya brought to mind a similar event three years ago in the same country. The Inquirer editiorial describes it as an “existential choice” – doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t.

Over a month ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs had issued a mandatory repatriation order but only 800 had returned with another 800 on the waiting list.

In fact, DFA Secretary Del Rosario himself had flown to nearby Tunisia to organize the evacuation of 13,000 workers following the discovery that a Filipino in Benghazi had been beheaded and a nurse had been gang-raped.

The problem in 2011 again surfaced as a majority showed reluctance to leave oil-rich Libya where they have been assured economic security.

Again, it became a matter of choosing between two options – imminent risks in a country facing escalating violence or returning home with the prospect of joblessness. If the choice is difficult for the unskilled and semi-skilled workers, it is even harder for the 3000 or so health workers who make up 60% of Libya’s hospital staff.

It is reported that the Libyan health authorities are fearful that the mandatory order for repatriation would paralyze hospitals and lead to a total collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

As the situation worsens, it becomes riskier to leave as many of the exits (airports) are no longer available and the usual pick-up points have become danger zones.

Again, it may be time for government, the private sector, and civil society to get together and focus on the urgency of providing adequate safety nets for our returning OFWS.

The immediate one is creating jobs for the newly repatriated and then looking for medium and long-term strategies to address future ones. The challenge won’t end with Libya and similar war zones so the strategy should be proactive and at the same time examining what still can be done in implementing provisions of existing legislation and executive orders.

One is RA 8042 which “renders overseas employment as a genuine option rather than a no-choice necessity. Its thrust is to increase the level of financial literacy of migrants and their dependents, harness remittances for employment, development at local level, and engage local governments to develop programs to support small and medium scale industry.”

* RA 10022 ensures successful reintegration of OFWs and involves all relevant executive agencies which shall implement projects on training, facilitate linkages with relevant agencies, create innovative opportunities for investment, and set up the required information systems to promote community participation.

Of course, the long-range strategy would call for commitment in implementing the Reproductive Health Law as well as crafting innovative job generation strategies.

Indeed, the challenge of arresting the rising unemployment rate amidst the rising economic growth is a tough one, but one that must be confronted as priority in the next two years. The President’s successor must likewise share this governance perspective.

Meanwhile, Senate President Frank Drilon, who authored the “Online Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) act of 2003” calls on Comelec to now implement this Act which would require adopting the necessary technologies that would empower 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos to use Internet to register and vote in 2016 without leaving their jobs or residences abroad.

 “We should make it easier for our countrymen who risk their lives even in strife-torn countries in order to help prop the economy”, he noted. He was referring to the over US$20 billion in remittances from our overseas Filipinos each year.

Online absentee registration and voting is already practiced in about 20 countries. But only 2.5% or a little over 200,000 of the estimated 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos have cast their votes in past national elections.

Developmental budget, not ‘war chest’ — PNoy by Fred M. Lobo August 5, 2014


Fred M. Lobo

Malacañang says the proposed national budget for 2015 seeks to promote inclusive growth and improve the lives of Filipinos, and won’t serve as the administration’s “war chest’ for the 2016 national elections.

Politics is war but this is not our “war chest,” says Kapitan PNoy.

***

But the opposition and progressive blocs insist that the Aquino administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are gearing up for the next presidential polls by asking for a bigger budget, including some “lump sum” or automatic appropriations.

Here come “lump sum” and… a lump in the throat. Clear them ASAP, gentlemen, so as not to delay the budgetary process.

***

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. says that the public is free to scrutinize the budget outlay, asserting that the government is neither hiding anything in the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget nor planning any sinister plot for the 2016 presidential polls.

Palaces says the proposed budget is open for review by Juan, Maria or Pedro. But let the experts do it for better results.

***

“The proposed 2015 national budget carries the theme ‘inclusive development’ because it aims to improve the welfare of millions of Filipinos especially the poor,” Coloma says.

Aha, now they can brag it’s pro-poor, not pro-pork.

***

“It is clear that the proposed 2015 national budget, like previous budgets under the Aquino administration, adheres to the principle of the straight path. To those thinking it will be used for politicking, they should consider the concrete record,” Coloma adds.

No more crooked path and substandard roads, Malacañang boys promise.

***

President Aquino tells Congress that the P2.6 trillion proposed 2015 national budget is 15.1 percent higher than this year’s outlay because it seeks to accelerate spending on social services and infrastructure development.

Let me fulfill my social contract with the people. And build more bridges and infra.

***

Mr. Aquino points out that social services will get the largest share of the budget at P967.9 billion, followed by economic services (P700.2 billion), general public services (P423.1 billion), defense (P115.5 billion), and debt burden (P399.4 billion).

See how PNoy divides the pie or the Philippine “bibingka.”

***

* The President’s budget proposal also includes a P501-billion Special Purpose Funds (SPC), also known as lump sum funds under the control of the President, intended for pension benefits, calamity response and contingency measures, among other items.

Here’s for something special and harsh realities.

***

“We have anchored our reform agenda on our conviction that greater transparency and citizen’s engagement ensure a budgeting system that works solely for the people and by the people,” the President says in his budget message.

Sounds convincing but still expect some tongues to be wagging.

***

Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones expresses concern that the 2015 budget bill might be used to benefit the presidential candidate Aquino would endorse in 2016, because a big chunk of the budget is intended for” lump sums and automatic appropriations.”

That’s the way of politics? Basta may pera, may giyera.

***

“That’s an absurd claim… Just look at President Aquino’s track record and you will see that everything has been audited,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Avegail Valte retorts.

St. Ave-gail in defense of PNoy: No argumentum absurdum.

***

“Let us not confuse the public by making statements that are half truth. We back our statements by providing data that we did not fabricate,” she adds.

Point of compromise: No fabrication on the budget. No fabrication with government programs and projects.

Appropriations  by Erik Espina August 6, 2014

REPUBLIKA HOST ERIK ESPINA

No president will publicly admit he was wrong. Rare are the occasions he or she may ask for an apology, and often only because of great pressure. But never will he concede a slip-up. This is why the cabinet invariably comes to the rescue, “paraphrasing” or explaining what the chief executive meant, to avert pie on his face. It is precisely the job, nay the duty of media and press to put the statements of public officials on record. So that one can check, validate, or catch them red-faced, in the interest of the greater good. Sure, presidents deserve respect. But never veneration.

To the general public, the debate on the Aquino Administration’s performance may be abbreviated in two commandments. In his campaign, and inaugural speech, P-Noy chiseled the standard from on-high and in the vernacular for all to understand: 1) “No Wang-wang mentality” 2) “Tuwid na Daan. “He saw public office as service, capping the moral testaments with “Kayo ang boss ko.”

When we speak of “No wang-wang,” this is a negative predisposition of entitlement, wielding power and authority, with officials moving ahead unrestrained by “traffic,” a “long queue,” or a “regulatory process.” The “Tuwid na daan” advocates a conscience respecting the rule of law with the specifics of a presidency which is a non-thief crusading versus all forms of graft & corruption.

Question:

* 1) Was it “Wang-wang mentality” when DAP funds were promised and released by the Palace to “expedite” the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona before the Senate?

2) Was it “Tuwid na Daan” to impound unsaved-funds for DAP? Can “good-faith” override rule of law, check and balance, and separation of powers?

Where was DAP and accelerating goodness in the first week of Yolanda? The earthquake of Bohol, Cebu, etc.?

While Congress is toying with the “savings” definition to redeem the Palace vis-a-vis the Supreme Court, I point to Art. VI, Sec. 29 of the Constitution instead. Further define, “appropriations” to restrict opportunities for abuse by a pliant Congress with the Executive over the people’s money! This notwithstanding Art. VI Sec. 23 (2) & (3).

Is it sufficient safeguard that all money paid out of the treasury is in pursuance of law? And no provision/enactment is embraced in the general appropriations bill unless relating specifically to some particular appropriation therein…and the operation of which is limited to the appropriation to which it relates etc.? There must be a requirement for meticulous detailing: who, what, when, where, why, how, plus cutting down ballooning lumps sumps because the people (boss) demand it.

* * *

The Philippine-Vietnam Friendship Association is inviting Filipinos 18 and above to join. It is headed by former Senator Eddie Ilarde and launched last July 29 in Manila Hotel. He said, “The exemplary character of both our people & the proximity of our countries, separated only by an abundant sea – they are the keys to history in the working of Providence.” Ambassador of Vietnam Truong Trieu Duong lauded the association, “This is a vivid manifestation of the continuous enhancement of Vietnam-Philippines people-to-people relations”. Interested parties may call tel. 813-3459/813-3497 or rcdomingojr@comcast.net.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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