PHNO EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK

MANILA TIMES: SENATE HEARING VS VP BINAY NOT LIKE THE SHORT-LIVED C5 SCANDAL 

Sometimes, it’s amusing that we’re treated to a novelty headline like “KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF, NOY.” Something like that came shooting off Sen. Koko Pimentel’s mouth when sought by reporters for reaction to reports quoting President Aquino telling the Senate to wrap up its investigation on the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati city hall annex bldg. The Senate blue ribbon sub-committee wouldn’t let up as Binay’s political enemies, including ambitious former allies, came out in the open. They claim to be the bottom-feeders during Jojo Binay’s reign as Makati mayor, so looks like we’re peeking into the VP’s slam book covering over two decades of tenure. That is if Pimentel, and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Sonny Trillanes don’t heed PNoy’s humble suggestion. Well, to save face for the President, Palace spokesman Sonny Coloma suggested that either PNoy or Koko or both were misquoted or quoted out of context. Kayo talagang mga reporter, oo. That’s why you have to be careful. READ FULL COLUMN...

Editorial: Why China & Asean must be friends and partners–forever 

CARTOON: CHINA-MYANMAR TRIP---AS expected by China watchers, China announced a $20-billion loan and infrastructure program for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at last week’s Asean and East Asia Summit in Myanmar. On top of that, China floated the possibility of a “friendship treaty” with Southeast Asian nations in an apparent bid to defuse regional tensions that spiked this year over contested seas. At the East Asia Summit in Myanmar on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said $10 billion would be made available to the 10-member Asean in cheap loans and a further $10 billion for infrastructure projects. Beijing also agreed to set up a hotline to help avert flashpoints in the often bitterly disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), and stood ready to sign a “treaty of friendship and cooperation” with the bloc, according to Li.  READ FULL EDITORIAL...

EDITORIAL: Senators should embrace Garin, Catapang 

PHOTO: QUARANTINE ISLAND: Armed Forces photo shows quarantined peacekeepers fishing on the shores of Caballo Island. Military officials have allowed the soldiers to roam the beach areas facing Corregidor Island and Naic in Cavite ------ACTING Health Secretary Jannette Garin may be faulted for many things, such as being careless and a publicity hog, but certainly not a coward. Who else in their right mind has the cajones to possibly stare down Ebola as she visited without wearing any protective gear the Filipino peacekeepers in quarantine after recently returning from Liberia? No less than Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang that’s who. After all, Garin told the media that she had consulted with the World Health Organization (WHO) about quarantine protocol, and naturally, Catapang relied on military intelligence. Evidently, the senators and perhaps many members of the House are made of less sterner stuff. After Garin carelessly risked her life, she may be made to secure a medical certificate before going to the Senate for her Department’s budget hearing. Perhaps the senators were not impressed that she and Catapang spent only 10 minutes with the quarantined troops. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

ALSO Opinion by : Key to success in Asia’s fast-growing markets  

While PNoy and his economic managers were attending the APEC and Asean meets in Beijing and Myanmar, Ramon S. Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation, was busy doing his own campaign in Japan to attract foreign direct investments and to woo investors to the country. Speaking before an audience of Japanese CEOs at the 16th Annual Nikkei Global Management Forum in cooperation with the Harvard Business School, RSA shared his own formula for success when investing in unfamiliar terrain.
1. Prepare and leverage on the power of business intelligence. The Philippines can sometimes be tricky when it comes to the business landscape and even the best-laid plans can be adversely affected by external factors beyond your control. Look for hidden risks. You will need to know how to tap and mine the right data. Hire and consult local professional experts. Regularly consult with potential stakeholders, identify your allies and your competitors. Never underestimate the power of media. READ FULL COLUMN by THELMA DUMPIT-MURILLO....

ALSO Opinion by Rene Saguisag: EDCA on my mind 

MY piece last week misspoke when it mentioned 75,000 human right claimants as having registered with the Claims Board; it should be 48,000 or so (there may be a new deadline). It also omitted my last two paragraphs, presumably for lack of space. I accept this editorial judgment, under tight deadline conditions. Herewith, the dropped paragraphs on Ting Paterno’s On My Terms – “In Manila Polo Club, Ting Paterno’s book launch venue, the Africas (three Bedans), Ting’s kin, attended to me. Butch, former National Statistics Office head, assured me that our NCAA cage teams should not be weakened by the graduation of stars. So, 2015, again, on our terms. I genuflect in meeting Fr. Eduardo, ex-Abbot. Anton taught Music to my sons. “Ting and I differed in 1984 on boycott-participate. He may have been right then but not to forget that Edsa’86 was the quintessential triumph of the Parliament of the Streets, on our terms, as Kalyeheros or Street Parliamentarians, hand in hand with the institutional lawmakers. READ FULL COLUMN by RENE SAGUISAG...

ALSO by Jaime Bautista: On education and the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro 

THE Philippine Ambassadors’ Foundation Inc. (PAFI) supports the objectives of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) of promoting peace and development in Southern Philippines. These goals cannot be achieved without national reconciliation and, evidently, a key to achieving harmony and unity is education. The heart of the draft BBL is found in its Article V on Powers of Government (including Education) which treats them under three categories. The first category refers to the Reserved Powers, which the BBL defines as those matters over which jurisdiction is retained by the National Government and which the BBL then proceeds to list as nine powers. This formulation provokes the question whether this list is exhaustive.

Such interpretation would be contrary to the Constitution because it provides that the National Government retains all the powers not devolved to the local governments. Congress should therefore insert a statement that this list is not exhaustive, also because the concept of Reserved Powers envisions an indefinite list. The other Powers of Government are divided into 2) Concurrent powers defined as those shared between the Central government and the Bangsamoro government; and 3) Exclusive Powers or matters over which jurisdiction shall pertain to the Bangsamoro government, including Education.
The Exclusive Powers given to the Bangsamoro also provokes controversy. Under the Constitution, Education is one of the nine legislative powers to be devolved to the autonomous regions by their organic act. But it is doubtful that the Bangsmoro can have exclusive legislative powers on these matters, particularly with respect to Education. READ FULL COLUMN AND 2 RESPONSES FROM READERS...

ALSO by Rick Ramoa: Saga of Drilon’s Iloilo Convention Center 

DURING the Senate hearing on the controversial Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) last week, Senate President Franklin Drilon said that he is “proud to be associated” with the project that is located in his hometown of Iloilo. Senator Drilon cited the fact that the government became a beneficiary of the donation of land valued at more than P520 million. Indeed, the national government did not spend a single centavo for the site of the ICC that is now being built. On the surface, it looks like an act of magnanimity on the part of MegaWorld Corp. to generously give to the Philippine government a piece of land inside its Iloilo Business Park that is now being valued at more than half-a-billion pesos. However, this 1.7 hectare of land that Senator Drilon refers to as “prime property” donated to the Department of Tourism (DoT) has become the source of apparent anomalies in the ICC.

The reality is that MegaWorld needs the P700 million convention center being paid with public funds more than the ICC needing the land donation for its site. Hence, since MegaWorld made a donation of land valued at over P500 Million, then it will also received a tax credit of the same amount of more than half-a-billion pesos. That would be a lot of money to be lost from the government revenues. The acquisition cost of P1,666 per sqm for 17,371 sqms of donated land is only around P29 million. Even if the cost of capital, appreciation of land value and site development are factored in, the present value of the donation would not exceed P100.0 Million, which is already a 245 per cent increase from its acquisition cost. READ MORE...PLUS INTERESTING READERS' RESPONSE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:


by ERWIN TULFO

MANILA, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by ERWIN TULFO - Sometimes, it’s amusing that we’re treated to a novelty headline like “KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF, NOY.”

Something like that came shooting off Sen. Koko Pimentel’s mouth when sought by reporters for reaction to reports quoting President Aquino telling the Senate to wrap up its investigation on the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati city hall annex bldg.

The Senate blue ribbon sub-committee wouldn’t let up as Binay’s political enemies, including ambitious former allies, came out in the open.

They claim to be the bottom-feeders during Jojo Binay’s reign as Makati mayor, so looks like we’re peeking into the VP’s slam book covering over two decades of tenure.

That is if Pimentel, and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Sonny Trillanes don’t heed PNoy’s humble suggestion.

Well, to save face for the President, Palace spokesman Sonny Coloma suggested that either PNoy or Koko or both were misquoted or quoted out of context.

Kayo talagang mga reporter, oo.

That’s why you have to be careful.

Pimentel should have gotten hold of himself and considered where PNoy might be coming from at the time.

“Maybe PNoy is convinced we’ve done a great job on Jojo Binay, and finally come up with a landmark legislation out of this… That’s what this whole thing is supposed to be for, in aid of lawmaking.”

That should have gotten into the Koko’s kukote.

But that would not have been a good sound bite.

Nor this would have been one…   “Okey dokie, we might as well move on, and take on the unresolved disbursement acceleration program or DAP issue. Or may be we can get on the Freedom of Information bill.”

The senator could’ve shown some respect and simply say they can’t stop this freaking orgy at this point.

Lalabasan na ito, unlike the C-5 controversy the Senate drummed up in 2010 against presidential aspirant former Sen. Manny Villar.

Hasn’t this sub-committee probe served its purpose?

Jojo Binay’s voter preference for president rating dropped by a notch… Cayetano and Trillanes, members of Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP) echoed Koko’s promise there won’t be a letup on Binay’s case.

Cayetano may have lost the Global City so he would rather have Jojo Binay join the fallen triumvirate in Camp Crame.

Did PNoy think the whole thing might have veered off the original script?

Meanwhile, they have Senate President Frank Drilon bullying Sen. Nancy Binay in the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpriced construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), an “economic stimulus” project funded under the illegal DAP.

So much for “investigation in aid of legislation.”

So much for separation of powers, ethics and delicadeza.


EDITORIAL: Why China and Asean must be friends and partners–forever November 16, 2014 11:16 pm


CHINA-MYANMAR TRIP

AS expected by China watchers, China announced a $20-billion loan and infrastructure program for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at last week’s Asean and East Asia Summit in Myanmar.

On top of that, China floated the possibility of a “friendship treaty” with Southeast Asian nations in an apparent bid to defuse regional tensions that spiked this year over contested seas.

At the East Asia Summit in Myanmar on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said $10 billion would be made available to the 10-member Asean in cheap loans and a further $10 billion for infrastructure projects.

Beijing also agreed to set up a hotline to help avert flashpoints in the often bitterly disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), and stood ready to sign a “treaty of friendship and cooperation” with the bloc, according to Li.

During the earlier Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to establish a hotline to avoid possible clashes over waters disputed by their countries.

Four Asean states—the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam—claim parts of the South China Sea, a key global shipping lane believed to be rich in undersea gas deposits.

Although China’s $20-billion loan facilities for Southeast Asian nations and its avowed readiness to sign a “friendship treaty” are welcome developments, the Asian superpower still has a lot to do to show that it seriously wants to take the first steps to promote peace and stability in the region.

Prior to the APEC and Asean/East Asia summits, China wanted to settle sea disputes bilaterally and not talk with Asean as a bloc. Such as stance clearly shows that China wants to use its might, military, economic, diplomatic and cultural, in dealing with each of our smaller nations.

But its recent signs of willingness to deal with Asean as a bloc may show a change in approach. Perhaps, China’s leaders have realized that with the 10 Asean countries poised to launch their economic integration on December 31st 2015, the 10 will eventually become something, loosely, like one country. So dealing with Asean as a collective would still be in a sense dealing “bilaterally.”

China also knows that with the rest of the world in a slump, expanding its economic ties and cooperation with Asean will reap tremendous benefits for it. For one, the 600-million strong Asean population is a large market that will only continue to have China as its main supplier of imports if genuine friendship exists.

And in fact relatively poor Philippines invests more in China than China does in our country.

The growth of existing trade and people-to-people relations between China and the Asean countries can — and should — only continue.

One of the great things about Chinese and Filipino people to people relations is that despite the deterioration of government-to-government relations because of the maritime disputes, people-to-people and business-to-business ties and transactions have actually grown.

Obviously to again show its displeasure with the BS Aquino administration, the Chinese government issued a travel advisory to Chinese citizens against coming to the Philippines because the Aquino government cannot protect Chinese from kidnappers and bandits.

Despite this official warning, however, Chinese tourists have continued to come to the Philippines and there was only a decline in the rate of growth not an actual decline of the number of tourists from China.

Asean countries and peoples—maybe specially so we Filipinos– need China and the Chinese as friends and business partners. But so do China and a great many Chinese need the Asean countries and the people of these countries.
Going against that need will make both sides suffer.

That is the great reality. The reason China and the Asean countries and their peoples must be friends and partners forever.


Editorial: Senators should embrace Garin, Catapang November 20, 2014 11:03 pm


QUARANTINE ISLAND: Armed Forces photo shows quarantined peacekeepers fishing on the shores of Caballo Island. Military officials have allowed the soldiers to roam the beach areas facing Corregidor Island and Naic in Cavite.

ACTING Health Secretary Jannette Garin may be faulted for many things, such as being careless and a publicity hog, but certainly not a coward. Who else in their right mind has the cajones to possibly stare down Ebola as she visited without wearing any protective gear the Filipino peacekeepers in quarantine after recently returning from Liberia?

No less than Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang that’s who. Not even the more than 2,800 death toll in West Africa scares these two intrepid and dedicated public servants. After all, Garin told the media that she had consulted with the World Health Organization (WHO) about quarantine protocol, and naturally, Catapang relied on military intelligence.

Evidently, the senators and perhaps many members of the House are made of less sterner stuff. After Garin carelessly risked her life, she may be made to secure a medical certificate before going to the Senate for her Department’s budget hearing.

Perhaps the senators were not impressed that she and Catapang spent only 10 minutes with the quarantined troops. In order to fully evaluate their condition, visiting officials should have spent the entire day with them or at least slept there overnight. Any public official worth her so-called salt would not do anything halfway.

The same should apply to the country’s present batch of lawmakers, particularly some senators. They should not only welcome Garin at the budget hearing scheduled next week. They also should show her some love and appreciation by embracing her and giving her a beso-beso.

As their televised hearings and populist bills suggest, the senators are keenly aware that the 2016 election is practically around the corner, a mere 18 months away. They cannot afford to appear spineless in the public’s eye now.

Still, the lawmakers should not forgo prudence altogether. For efficiency’s sake, the senators should hold two hearings at once – one for the budget, another for the pork barrel scam that has dragged Garin’s name to the growing list of alleged recipients of misappropriated public funds.

This will not only save time but also provide the public with double the entertainment value.

Of course, the holding of combined Senate hearings will require more lawmakers to attend. Great, right? Even better is the idea that doing so will require the Senate to also summon Janet Lim Napoles to the same hearing. Her presence is required so that she may confirm or deny knowing Garin. We recommend they sit together, very close together. Napoles has nothing to fear, given that she will be wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Along this line of thought, the Senate might as well conduct the budget hearing for the Armed Forces on the same day as Garin’s. It is highly doubtful that the senators would muster enough courage to mingle with Garin and Catapang on separate occasions.

The media should not worry about covering three consecutive hearings that might last a long time, because it is fairly certain that the senators will want to conclude any encounter with those two public officials as quickly as possible. This allows lawmakers put up a brave front and at the same time minimize their contact with those two geniuses.

And just in case the lawmakers do not exhibit any fever, nausea and vomiting, or diarrhea in 21 days after Monday’s hearing, they should look into preventing a similar threat from happening again. To be specific, they should visit Liberia and examine the peacekeepers’ living quarters there. They should also consider a side trip to Guinea and Sierra Leone.

We hear that the weather in those countries is lovely this time of year. And like Garin and Catapang on Caballo Island, the senators should also shun wearing any protective gear. But just to be on the safe side, Garin should first consult with the WHO.

Of course, the peacekeepers should not accompany the senators to West Africa. Why not? They are in quarantine.


Key to success in Asia’s fast-growing markets  November 20, 2014 8:12 pm by THELMA DUMPIT-MURILLO


Thelma Dumpit-Murillo
[Thelma Dumpit Murillo’s Thursday Thanks column arrived too late for yesterday’s issue.]

While PNoy and his economic managers were attending the APEC and Asean meets in Beijing and Myanmar, Ramon S. Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation, was busy doing his own campaign in Japan to attract foreign direct investments and to woo investors to the country.

Speaking before an audience of Japanese CEOs at the 16th Annual Nikkei Global Management Forum in cooperation with the Harvard Business School, RSA shared his own formula for success when investing in unfamiliar terrain.

1. Prepare and leverage on the power of business intelligence. The Philippines can sometimes be tricky when it comes to the business landscape and even the best-laid plans can be adversely affected by external factors beyond your control. Look for hidden risks. You will need to know how to tap and mine the right data. Hire and consult local professional experts.

Regularly consult with potential stakeholders, identify your allies and your competitors. Never underestimate the power of media.

2. Once you have all the important information, choose the right partner. Partnering with the right people will determine your success or failure. You should look for these corporate qualities when choosing the right local partner – honest with good track record, transparent, bold and socially responsible.

3. Invest in building goodwill. In the Philippines, relationships mean a lot. Make sure you know who your key stakeholders are and invest time, effort and resources in knowing them and connecting with them. There is always a bigger picture.

4. Learn how to adjust. In a crowded market, for example, the premium-brand strategy may not work. To break into fast-growing Asian markets, I believe Japanese businesses need to find the right mix in terms of quality and price.

5. Lastly, take calculated risks. As a motorcycle rider, I have learned these practical lessons that have become my guidepost in life:

Anticipate the unexpected.

In emerging markets, you have to be on the lookout for challenges and opportunities. Never miss out on any of those to be able to have a chance at taking the upper hand. Be sure to stay the course.

Always innovate. It is only a matter of time till someone better comes along. Do not be afraid to try new things.

Teamwork and communication are very important. In business you have to develop an efficient communication strategy to know what is happening and how to plan ahead.

RSA minces no words. He need not say further. While he is no Harvard graduate, one only has to look at how San Miguel Corporation has evolved over the years under his leadership to support his proposition.

For the past six years, San Miguel has been working to transform itself into a highly diversified company. Today, San Miguel is the largest and most diversified conglomerate in the Philippines with assets of about $27 billion and revenues of $20 billion accounting for 6.5% of the Philippines’ GDP in 2013.

It continues to invest in projects that can bring positive social and structural change and provide long-lasting solutions to the challenge of growing the Philippine economy.

To date, San Miguel has invested almost $4 billion to finance projects that will help address the Philippines’ infrastructure deficit, decongest Metro Manila roads and encourage foreign investments.

In the power sector, it is building 3,000 MW of additional capacity using CFB technology to address the power shortage.
San Miguel also owns and operates the largest oil refinery and petrochemical manufacturer in the Philippines. It just completed a $3 billion Refinery Upgrade, transforming this refinery into one of the region’s best and the most modern.

Recently, it submitted a proposal to government for a new, modern and high-capacity US$10 billion airport that can serve as Manila’s new gateway to economic growth and provide a long-term solution to the single runway congestion problem. Too bad it has been embroiled in controversy albeit temporarily.

San Miguel enjoys the best of both worlds. It has a stable traditional market for its leading businesses such as its beer company which owns 95 percent of the industry. Its hard liquor company which produces whisky and gin is also a market leader. In food, which includes processed meats, poultry, cattle, piggeries, flour mills, dairy products, it also is a leading player. In packaging, it has the dominant market share in the glass, plastics, flexibles, paper, metal, aluminum segments.

These industries continue to benefit from strong consumer spending.

But it also sees value in partnerships benefiting from the expertise of long-time strategic partners including Kirin Brewery Company and Nihon Yamamura.

With these partnerships, its core businesses can aggressively pursue global expansion while allowing it to free up resources and focus on its role as a catalyst for our country’s growth and development.

The Japanese are known for their technology and infrastructure and this is where RSA finds his window to pitch before the Japanese businessmen to help accelerate growth in infrastructure in the Philippines.

God is Great!


EDCA on my mind  November 20, 2014 8:13 pm by RENE SAGUISAG


Rene Saguisag

MY piece last week misspoke when it mentioned 75,000 human right claimants as having registered with the Claims Board; it should be 48,000 or so (there may be a new deadline).

It also omitted my last two paragraphs, presumably for lack of space. I accept this editorial judgment, under tight deadline conditions. Herewith, the dropped paragraphs on Ting Paterno’s On My Terms –

“In Manila Polo Club, Ting Paterno’s book launch venue, the Africas (three Bedans), Ting’s kin, attended to me. Butch, former National Statistics Office head, assured me that our NCAA cage teams should not be weakened by the graduation of stars. So, 2015, again, on our terms. I genuflect in meeting Fr. Eduardo, ex-Abbot. Anton taught Music to my sons.

“Ting and I differed in 1984 on boycott-participate. He may have been right then but not to forget that Edsa’86 was the quintessential triumph of the Parliament of the Streets, on our terms, as Kalyeheros or Street Parliamentarians, hand in hand with the institutional lawmakers.

“Ting voted for the stay of U.S. bases in 1991 but he argues we should have been less reliant on aid from the U.S. and Japan.”

Last Tuesday, I, 75, paos, laos, with a cane, salimpusa, was asked by our team to lead off for two minutes in the Supreme Court (SC) orals of the Enhanced Development Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) with the US.

Co-petitioner Bobby Tañada I had pled to be the one but he invoked a prior conflicting commitment. So there was I but only for a couple of minutes ensuring that I would do a minimum of harm to our cause, only to be the link to the 1991 Magnificent/Malevolent Twelve.

My right knee, eyesight, hearing and energy seem to be going. My sanity? Long gone.

The last time I there argued was in late 2006, on People’s Initiative. We barely won, 8-7, and Justice TonyCarp wrote a stirring ponencia never to be beyond easy recall.

Hearing? The public address or acoustic system in the SC can stand improvement.

Fellow Bedan Dr. Tyrone M. Reyes wrote last Tuesday in the Star about hearing loss in that “among those 75 and older, three of four have difficulty hearing.” I turned 75 last August 14.

But intervenor lawyer Rene, Jr., 42 last month, consoled me that even he did not find it easy following all the exchanges. Justice Tessie de Castro had to be given another mic at one point by court bailiff/barker Allan Coscolluela.

Following me were heavy hitters Pic Agabin, Harry Roque, Rachel Pastores and Ging Ursua.

Chief Justice (CJ) Meilou Sereno mercifully adjourned the hearing, which began at past two p.m., at past six, to resume on Tuesday. I don’t know if I can attend then. The Solicitor General asserts that we have no personality to sue. This was the same line used by Mayor Fred Lim when we sued him for spray-painting houses of drug abuse suspects or convicts. The RTC Judge, to whom the case was referred by the SC, dismissed the case on our alleged lack of proper standing.

The Court of Appeals reversed and not only acknowledged our legal personality but in ringing tones condemned the spray-paint approach, on January 26, 2000, in Marohomsalic v. Lim, CA-G.R. SP No. 47946. To the human rights community, the shame campaign was reminiscent of Scarlet Letter (against an adulteress), White Feathers (in the British military), and Yellow Star (against the Jews).

I dare not prophesy and predict how the SC would rule on EDCA. Mahirap ng matawag na bulaang propeta. If we lose, I hope not to read “Messrs. Saguisag, pere et fils, you, including Rene III, 6, have no personality.” The drift I get is that certain SC members wonder why not the Senate, which is in fact part of our prayer in two petitions.

Have we won?

Indeed, the Senate, as the body and the people are part of the institutional arrangement on treaties. Can we interest our Senate, busy with probes?

Surely Sen. Miriam would not be the only one to tell EDCA from a hole in the ground, the Binay-Drilon probes notwithstanding.

“P-Noy defends Edca,” the Inquirer reported yesterday.

Fine, but please involve the Senate and maybe the people, as part of our institutional and human rights, we plead in response.

Back to human rights, San Beda, which honored Arno Sanidad last year for human rights, GS’67 and HS’71, is honoring on November 27 another alum, Rudy R. Duterte, LL.B. ‘72, but not for human rights I should be sure. Yet, popular Rudy’s message, image and persona resonate in our scofflaw society with a number of people, who have asked him to run for President—and there are no “of what country naman kaya?” snickers.

I know about his colorful background in San Beda Law.

I exchange emails regularly with the Ateneo for a Better Philippines, which has this cryptic message: “Indeed – the Duterte/Ampatuan method of social control – with each practitioner operating at the two ends of the motivation scale.”

It may not be easy for one in the human rights community to write positively about Rudy, widely seen as having his own population reduction program as a form of social control. As in the case of Mayor Fred Lim, and others.

But, let me try. No one should decide who will live or who will die. But do many of us approve? What matters in a democracy and is majoritarian principle? When they say Duterte for President, many approve and do not ask, of which country naman kaya? Which I ask about Manny Pacquiao, a practitioner of the Manly Art of Modified Murder.

-W.O. McGeehan
Democracy teaches tolerance for ideas we may despise. And I simply am leery of executions, whether judicial or extrajudicial. Certainly, not of looters, who may be following the first law of mankind: survival. Hence, “hit me, but hear me first.”

I first encountered Rudy when I was Law prefect or acting dean as Dean Feliciano Jover Ledesma was busy in the Con-Con which convened in 1971. Rudy’s message resonates with many people. Democracy is choice. I marched with his gutsy mother, Tita Chuling, for Soledad, in the rallies on Davao streets after Ninoy was salvaged in 1983.

Here’s hoping ut in omnibus glorificetur Dei (that in all things God may be glorified) has not been forgotten by one of our outstanding national leaders and magnetic personalities today, popular in many places but arguably, not in the human rights community.

Rudy to me is like Churchill’s Russia, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.


On education and the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro by JAIME BAUTISTA November 21, 2014 10:38 pm


Jaime S. Bautista

THE Philippine Ambassadors’ Foundation Inc. (PAFI) supports the objectives of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) of promoting peace and development in Southern Philippines. These goals cannot be achieved without national reconciliation and, evidently, a key to achieving harmony and unity is education.

The heart of the draft BBL is found in its Article V on Powers of Government (including Education) which treats them under three categories. The first category refers to the Reserved Powers, which the BBL defines as those matters over which jurisdiction is retained by the National Government and which the BBL then proceeds to list as nine powers.

This formulation provokes the question whether this list is exhaustive. Such interpretation would be contrary to the Constitution because it provides that the National Government retains all the powers not devolved to the local governments.

Congress should therefore insert a statement that this list is not exhaustive, also because the concept of Reserved Powers envisions an indefinite list.

The other Powers of Government are divided into 2) Concurrent powers defined as those shared between the Central government and the Bangsamoro government; and 3) Exclusive Powers or matters over which jurisdiction shall pertain to the Bangsamoro government, including Education.

The Exclusive Powers given to the Bangsamoro also provokes controversy. Under the Constitution, Education is one of the nine legislative powers to be devolved to the autonomous regions by their organic act. But it is doubtful that the Bangsmoro can have exclusive legislative powers on these matters, particularly with respect to Education. The Constitution expressly provides in its Article X that the devolution of these legislative powers to the autonomous regions is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws.

Accordingly, the Constitution has vested the legislative powers in the Congress of the Philippines and has given Congress the responsibility of giving life to certain provisions of the Constitution. Among them is Article XIV of the Constitution on Education, etc. which provides, inter alia, the following:

“Section 3: (1) All educational institutions shall include the study of the Constitution as part of the Curricula;
(2) They shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship …”

Enacting the laws to activate these provisions of the Constitution on education should go a long way to achieving national reconciliation and unity.

On the other hand, it may be noted that the Bangsamoro Basic Law(Article IX on the Right to Education) is silent on the ideals of nationalism and expresses only the needs, ideals and aspirations of the Bangsamoro as may be seen below:

Article IX of Section 13. Integrated System of Quality Education: The Bangsamoro Government shall establish, maintain, and support, as a top priority, a complete and integrated system of quality education and adopt an educational framework that is relevant, and responsive to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the Bangsamoro.

The experience of Catalonia, whose government leaders now seek independence from Spain, should be instructive on the importance of education on nation-building.

Over the past 40 years, the youths of Catalonia were instructed in the Catalan language and the glory of Catalonia, prompting the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, to remark that the Catalans need to be taught to be not only good Catalans but also good Spaniards.

The Bangsamoro may exercise exclusive executive powers with respect to many of the laws covered under this category.

In examining the draft BBL bill before passing it to Congress, the Office of the President made sure that the BBL contains the provision that “The President shall exercise general supervision over the Bangsamoro government to ensure laws are faithfully executed. “ The BBL also creates a “Central Government – Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body” to resolve issues on intergovernmental relations. Unresolved issues shall be elevated to the President through the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro government.

In contrast, although the BBL provides for the creation of the Philippine Congress – Bangsamoro Parliament Forum, this is only “for the purposes of cooperation and coordination of legislative initiatives.”

There is no corresponding provision in the BBL akin to the President’s that safeguards the supremacy of Congress as the constitutional body vested with legislative power under Article VI although Congress’ legislative powers over the autonomous region is subject to the principle of subsidiarity.

The provisions of BBL on Exclusive Powers have placed Congress in a very awkward and inferior situation vis-a- vis the President’s.

The task before Congress now is to ensure that it is not seen to abdicate its power, as it cannot, and to ensure that the BBL it passes is rid of constitutional infirmities. The amendments should include a provision that the exercise of certain legislative powers by the Bangsamoro is subject to the Constitution and national laws as stated in the Constitution.

Moreover, Congress should note that the BBL also suffers from projecting a negative imagery of grievances combined with a total silence for national reconciliation and unity.

The BBL sounds like a call to its inhabitants to be good Bangsamoro and nothing more.

Congress should encourage the two panels defending the draft BBL to include provisions in the BBL that will dispel this impression. jaime@jaimesbautista.com
(Ambassador Jaime S. Bautista is Secretary General of Philippine Ambassadors’ Foundation Inc (PAFI) and Professor of Law at Ateneo de Manila Law School and Philippine Christian University. The views expressed are his and not necessarily PAFI’s.)

2 Responses to On education and the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro

  1. pen0523 says:

    The best thing to do is to abandon totally the Peace Agreement and prepare the whole country for war. Every brave news writers should go to front line with pen and camera to cover the story for the next generation to come and for them to know how selfishness driven each and every Filipino to have chosen the path of war and destruction rather than giving way for the right of others. Is the Graveyard for the heroes still capable and wide enough to serve? Unfortunately only the young soldiers are sacrificed at war of not their true dreams and choices.

  2. cocoy says:

    Thank you for this article. This shows more instances in the BBL as written that violate Pilipinas Konstitusyon. Education is very important with regards harmony among lumads, Catholics, Iglesia’s, Evangelists, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, agnostics, Sikhs, others. Pilipinas can not let a large geography become like Saudi Arabia where elementary- and high-schools run by nuns are outlawed, and where walking the streets carrying a bibliya is an invitation to getting hurt.
    This article shows why Pilipinas Kongress should not approve the BBL as it is written.

 


Saga of Drilon’s Iloilo Convention Center by RICK RAMOS  November 21, 2014 10:42 pm


Rick B. Ramos

DURING the Senate hearing on the controversial Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) last week, Senate President Franklin Drilon said that he is “proud to be associated” with the project that is located in his hometown of Iloilo. Senator Drilon cited the fact that the government became a beneficiary of the donation of land valued at more than P520 million.

Indeed, the national government did not spend a single centavo for the site of the ICC that is now being built.

On the surface, it looks like an act of magnanimity on the part of MegaWorld Corp. to generously give to the Philippine government a piece of land inside its Iloilo Business Park that is now being valued at more than half-a-billion pesos.

However, this 1.7 hectare of land that Senator Drilon refers to as “prime property” donated to the Department of Tourism (DoT) has become the source of apparent anomalies in the ICC.

The reality is that MegaWorld needs the P700 million convention center being paid with public funds more than the ICC needing the land donation for its site. It is a fact the pace of development inside the 72-hetare Iloilo Business Park (IBP) has been rather slow since MegaWorld bought the old Iloilo Airport in 2007.

There are hardly any locators inside the IBP, except for Richmonde and Marriott hotels owned by MegaWorld itself.

What is intriguing with the MegaWorld donation for the site of the convention center is that it was already in the Master Plan of the Iloilo Business Park when the donation was made. As Senator Sergio Osemeña III pointed out in the in Senate hearing: “As matter of fact, it could have been MegaWorld that decided where to put the convention center.” And rightly so, the ICC is conveniently located between the two hotels owned by MegaWorld.

It seems that Senator Osmeña could see through the cozy arrangement with the donation. The Vice-Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee addressed Senate President Drilon with the question on whether Andrew Tan of MegaWorld could have paid for the convention center. The most that Senator Drilon could say was “I could not speculate on that matter.” In fact, Mr. Tan could have, but did not because he got it for free.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez has said that upon completion of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), it will be bidded out to the private sector for its operations.

Guess who will most likely win the bid in a similar manner that Hilmarc Construction Corporation won the “negotiated procurement” of the ICC contract? Sounds like MegaWorld to me, of course!

Tax credit scam?

One of the questions that emerged on MegaWorld’s donation is what will the property developer gain from its “generosity?”

No less than Senator Drilon, the ICC project proponent, admitted that “there was commercial benefit” by MegaWorld during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing. Unfortunately, that benefit is stunningly disadvantageous to the national government.

As per Drilon’s own estimate, total value of the land donation with an area of 17,371 sqms is P521 million. His computation is based on P30,000.00 per sqm that 18 times the acquisition cost of MegaWorld when they acquired the old Iloilo airport at P1,666 per sqm. MegaWorld paid P1.2 billion for the 72 hectares of land in 2007.

Hence, since MegaWorld made a donation of land valued at over P500 Million, then it will also received a tax credit of the same amount of more than half-a-billion pesos. That would be a lot of money to be lost from the government revenues.

The acquisition cost of P1,666 per sqm for 17,371 sqms of donated land is only around P29 million. Even if the cost of capital, appreciation of land value and site development are factored in, the present value of the donation would not exceed P100.0 Million, which is already a 245 per cent increase from its acquisition cost.

But, instead of receiving a tax credit of only P100 million or less, MegaWorld will now receive a tax credit of more than P500 million, which is more than P400 million than what it should get. Yet the figure of P100 million given here is already a 245 per cent increase from its acquisition cost of only P1,666.00 per sqm!

Iloilo Museum & Gallery

The P1.0 billion Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) will become a veritable White Elephant after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in September 2015. Of course, there is even the possibility that the ICC may either be not completed on time for the APEC senior ministerial meetings or that the APEC meetings will not held at the ICC because of all the controversies that surround its construction.

After the 2015 APEC meetings at the convention center in Iloilo City, it is farfetched for it to host future international conferences for the simple reason that the venue is not exactly an attractive place for delegates to go to. The regional centers of Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro are more alluring than Iloilo.

Even in Western Visayas (Region VI), Bacolod would be a much preferred venue for conventions than Iloilo City.

Instead of the controversial convention center, what could have been built as a tourist attraction is Museum and Gallery not only for Iloilo, but also for the contiguous provinces of Antique, Aklan and Capiz on Panay Island.

When visitors go to tourist destinations here and abroad, they usually would go to museums and galleries. They do not go to a convention center unless they are delegates to the conference there.

Iloilo could have built a beautiful Museum and Gallery with a P1.0 Billion budget using the world-class talents of the likes of Architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, who is world-re knowned for his Filipino Design in Architecture.

The architectural firm of Mr. Mañosa has, among others, planned and designed the Coconut Palace (now the Office of the Vice President), San Miguel Corporation building, the famous Amanpulo and Pearl Farm resorts that reflect our rich cultural heritage.

It is simply amazing that with the almost P1.0 billion in the despicable DAP funds that he received, Senate President Drilon was unable to conceive of a Regional Museum and Gallery that could be a major tourist attraction in Iloilo and a source of pride for the whole Western Visayas (Region VI).

How sad.

16 Responses to Saga of Drilon’s Iloilo Convention Center

  1. JT says:

    I CAN ONLY SEE POSITIVE THINGS…I call this a smart goal and will surely benefit not just the stakeholders but most Illongos. Iloilo have just added a tourist spot and structure to be proud of. You have both ICC and Megaworld built in Iloilo to creat a better Iloilo and provide much needed work for Ilonggos. I see this project as a boom to the tourism and business in Iloilo. Unfortunately the reporter sees it is as a white a elephant. I think we as a nation should start pointing out the positive things….

    • R. B. RAMOS says:

      The P450 Million Cebu Convention Center (CCC) became a White Elephant after the the 2007 APEC meeting. Of course, the same will not happen with the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) because it will be Worse. There will be the lack of future international conferences that can use it the ICC.

       
  2. joel says:

    share ko lang po ibang link about sa ICC sa mega world
    na sinasabi kasama sa master plan ng Mega world ang ICC.

    ang ICC ay nasama nalamang sa masterplan ng Megaworld after na i lauch noong November 2012 at ito naman ang link :

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1564860

    sa Ibaba link naman ng old Master plan ng Iloilo Business Park

    https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7231/7299708292_ac28625bf0_o.jpg

    http://www.gigsilonggo.com/megaworlds-iloilo-business-park-project-overview/

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=531477&page=14

    sa pag ka alam ko po sir, sa unang master plan ng iloilo business park by mega world, walang iloilo convention center nakalagay. dati ang katabi ng richmonde hotel sa master plan ay ang le grand richmonde hotel na ngayon ay siyang tinatayuan ng ICC.

    • thechump says:

      eto yung nakalagay sa link na binigay mo:

      http://www.gigsilonggo.com/megaworlds-iloilo-business-park-project-overview/

      Two hotels will complement the company’s mantra for the Iloilo Business Park. The first is the businessman’s hotel Richmonde Hotel Iloilo which is currently under construction. The other one is a grander counterpart, the Le Grand Richmonde Hotel which is complete with ballroom and convention facilities. These twin developments are intended to encourage more business and tourism opportunities here in the city.

      The convention center in the pipeline is one of the unique features of Iloilo Business Park apart from having high concentrations on BPOs.

      merong nakalagay na convention center.

       
  3. Jun Adan says:

    Iloilo Convention. Center, the pet project of Drilon in his PDAF and DAP funds are personally profiting ventures in the guise of tourist attraction. Drilon must have discussed the donation/built transaction with Megaworld which makes Drilon proud to have it funded an APEC venue which covers his profit-making projects that will earn him commissiôns/kickback in a guise of Iloilo tourist center attraction. Drilon is making the people believe it is tourist attraction after the APEC meetin in 2015, when ICC is for the benefit of the hotels of Megaworld. Who are the tourists who will make use of a convention center? How stupid Drilon can be unless he really used it as a ploy for his PDAF and DAP funds for his commissiôns! You are right as no tourist uses a convention center. They’d rather go to Museums and galleries. Drilon have been using his PDAF of at least 4billion since he became Senator for twenty years at 200 million a year PDAF funds for schoolhouses, municipal halls, market places and he must have been closely associated with the developers constructors for commissiôns of 400 million more or less. Drilon must be investigated for all his PDAF and Dap funds for all his years as Senators.

  4. Aidan says:

    It’s more of a steam rather than a smoke I’d say, so there’s no fire. It beggars belief that a project such as this is always tainted with politics. The evidence had been laid out by the accused in the senate hearing just less than a fortnight ago. The accuser on the other hand purely relied on Wikipedia? What’s that all about? Cambodia is going to build a Zaha Hadid designed building, a truly world class memorial building for that matter. How would that leave the Philippines behind in terms of infrastructure? By miles and miles. When are we going to build a world class facility? Philippines have always had to contend with a substandard facility while the rest of Asia had moved on. And mind you, the size of a city shouldn’t be a measure of how it attracts investment and what not. Singapore is just a little city state but look how progressive it is. As to the author’s view, I think he already jumped to his horses by the sound of it. He is no Nostradamus to say what would happen to it after. He might end up with his tail between his legs.

  5. jose btaganahan says:

    Whether building an international airport or an international convention center, I am all against it if a feasibility study will not justify its construction regardless if corruption is involved or not.

    Which is why I am against the construction of the Bacolod (Silay) International Airport and the proposed Bohol International Airport. The old airports can still be improved by widening and extending their runways. Only about 8 or 10 commercial planes land in each of the Bohol and Bacolod Airports daily which to me do not justify the multi billion peso cost of constructing the new airports.

  6. What did you say says:

    How is Iloilo not attractive? The people of Iloilo have worked very hard to make it what it is today. It is far from the Iloilo I know 10 years ago. Back then roads were 4 lanes max, a horrible airport, frequent floods, a dirty river, congested port, waste management was a problem. Now, we have the Iloilo Esplanade that attracts so many people to the city. Add to that the beautification of Calle Real. Roads are mostly 6 lanes, with 10 being the widest. We have international flights. There is also a synergy with tourism efforts in the Iloilo towns and the province of Guimaras. You may have noticed we are the sixth most competitive city in this country. True, there are a lot of problems that need to be resolved like corruption, health access, lack of education, pollution (particularly air), traffic, etc. I agree that those are primarily what Ilonggos need to address, but to downgrade us as nothing but a small city left in the shadows of our neighbors is unacceptable. We worked hard to arrive where we are, and we fight hard to address those concerns. We built a city college, we expanded the regional hospital, we installed bike lanes to reduce pollution, we boosted tourism to stimulate businesses, and so much more.

    The next time you write an article that is insulting to our people, make sure to substantiate your claims first. Explain every point clearly and with backing sources (not Wiki or hearsay). That’s how you become credible. Otherwise, this article becomes nothing more than tabloid that’s meant to hurt Iloilo and it people.

    P.S. Read up first on that museum argument. We’re building two:http://www.sunstar.com.ph/iloilo/local-news/2014/08/14/regional-museum-iloilo-city-359717 and http://www.mb.com.ph/iloilo-jail-to-be-transformed-into-museum/.

    P.P.S. None of what I wrote was insulting, only critical. I do hope you find it in your heart to post my comments. Thank you.

  7. What did you say says:

    First off, it’s insulting to downgrade Iloilo as a small city and that there are better cities suited to host APEC when it’s one of the most progressive cities in the country, ranking 17th in the country and first in WV when it comes to HDI (http://www.nscb.gov.ph/ru6/FS1-2013-HDI.htm). I don’t have to explain. HDI, but there is always Wiki if you need to.

    How can you also substantiate your claim that other cities are more alluring than Iloilo? Granted that it’s an opinion and that the other cities you mentioned are beautiful, why include with it saying Iloilo doesn’t deserve the APEC hosting?

  8. R. B. RAMOS says:

    The valuation of Drilon on the land donation to the government for the ICC is 18 times the acquisition cost of MegaWorld. Yet the same land was bought from the government in 2007. Who is the “Criminal Genius” here? Niloto tayo sa sariling mantika?

  9. Alfonso says:

    When there is smoke, one will be almost certain that there is a fire. Corruptions excepts no one in the Senata. Or shall I say, 99 % are corrupt in the senate. (And other governmental agencies). That is why Philippines is among the listed most corrupt countries in the world. Sad to say that is just the way of life in the Philippines. The country needs a leader like Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore. Tough but firm.

  10. Inocent says:

    When there is smoke, there is fire. Knowing how a smart operator Franklin Drillon, one will not be surprised that there were already arrangements hatched by Drillon and Megaworld. But why build a convention center in a small City as Iloilo? How many conventions will Iloilo organize in one year. For sure this project is a white elephant built to make government executives in Iloilo and Drillon richer. Just look at what happened to the Cebu Convention Center. It is not used regularly and not maintained so it is starting to fall apart. Sure, Megaworld may be interested to buy that Iloilo elephant but for how much? Megaworld knows how it really cost and will ask for a lower price plus tax incentives. Who looses? Of course not Drillon, not the Iloilo government executives but the tax-payers of the Philippines.

    • R. B. RAMOS says:

      Yes, the CCC is now a White-Elephant! Yet it is NOT as obscenely overpriced as the ICC.

       
    • sansue says:

      why blame a SMALL city of Iloilo of being small not deserving of a beautiful world class convention center. She have been invincible and needs a face lift to boost her economy and tourism. why assume already the convention center will not prosper and a white elephant when it is not finish yet. give them a chance to show the nation it is different from others.

       
    • Ryan Rogelio says:

      No one ask about the land donated by Mega world to DOT..the land was the formerly owned by the government..the Old Iloilo airport..it was bought by Mega World during GMA time..Guess whose initiative..syempre the man from Iloilo..Nagkakaso si GMA sa Ombudsman dahil dito pero na dismiss din. Napkalakas naman ni Drilon kay andrew TAn nakumbinsi nya na idonate yong lupa na ganun na lang..hindi pa yon gumawa pa ng convention center pondo ng government… me plano na ang Mega world na gumawa ito.. tamang tama dumating si Mr. Iloilo.. gobyerno ang gagawa para sa Mega gamit ang plano nila na kakabit sa sa condition sa Deed of Donation..magkano ang kinita sa pagbenta ng lupa ng dating Iloilo Airport at sino agent ang kumita dito…laki din ang kita niya sa pag construct ng New Iloilo airport… alam ni syjuco ito.


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