PHNO EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK

TRIBUNE Editorial: ON WITH FoI, REVISE LATER? 

NOV 27 --The Freedom of Information (FoI) bill or the Palace version of it hurdled the House of Representatives which is being made out to be quite an achievement for the lower chamber of Congress, a designation which many equate with the public’s low regard for this house, since it always kowtows to the wishes of the Palace. Under the term of Noynoy, the FoI bill has always been ambushed at the House with the sheer force of number of the Palace allies. The FoI law or the People’s FoI Act appears to be totally toothless in its current form as the Palace made sure that the law is aligned with the interest of government making its name a misnomer but the consolation that proponents of the law have is that an FoI law gets nearer to being ratified.The law basically will require the government or any part of it to divulge information imbued with public interest through a request citing the edict. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

ALSO Editorial: Palace-corrupted budget 

Senators do not seem to be in the mood of rubberstamping the Malacañang-proposed budget anytime soon. This is only appropriate since some of them not only differentiate themselves from the lapdogs at the House who get their orders from the Palace but also, to due to the fact that Congress will actually be surrendering its power of the purse to the Executive in the 2015 allotment. That’s assuming that the stance of the senators is for real, and not for show of sudden independence. Sen. Miriam Santiago mustered energy, since nobody seems fit in the Senate to dichotomize the 2015 General Appropriations Act either due to partisan affiliations or utter lack of interest or mental facility, to bring forth arguments that were totally ignored during the House deliberations. Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also zeroed in on the P13-billion errata allotment for water supply and low cost housing to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which he said appeared to be “lump sums.”
DILG is headed by putative Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas. READ FULL EDITORIAL...


ALSO Editorial: Mercado digs for more dirt 

As the anti-Binay forces are losing steam in their coordinated demolition operations against Vice President Jojo Binay, it was predictable that they would turn their attention to generating something more spectacular to fuel the already faltering Senate subcommittee hearing on Binay. The intention obviously is to keep the almost weekly smear barrage on Binay until at least the campaign period of the 2016 elections.
Nobody raised a howl in the camp of Noynoy and the anti-Binay groups when former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who has turned into Binay’s political nemesis, flew to Los Angeles, California because obviously it was the groups opposing Binay who sponsored the trip. A California-based pro-Mar Roxas group, the Philippine Anti-Corruption Movement USA (Pamusa) led by a certain Francisco Wenceslao is digging up records of Binay or his supposed dummies’ ownership of properties in the United States.
Mercado who gave as his reason for leaving the country as the need to attend to his ailing wife, is expected to link up with the US group to acquire more ammunition against Binay. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

ALSO Editorial: Politician’s glib tongue 

Never trust a politician was an oft-repeated warning that self-styled independent Sen. Chiz Escudero just proved recently as needed heeding when he justified the railroading of the approval of the 2015 budget in his Senate finance committee.
The Palace had imposed a deadline on Congress to pass the budget before the end of November and both the House and the Senate, despite all the earlier assurances that it will be subjected to scrutiny with a fine-tooth comb, never really bothered to do it. The Senate approved the budget 13-0 after a mere four days of debate and two days after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago took the floor to assail the many pork barrel funds embedded in the budget items. Escudero took the easy way out saying that pork does not exist in the 2015 budget to end the arguments. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the arguments used by Escudero and “defenders of the 2015 budget” were flawed. Santiago said while there may be no separate item called PDAF in the budget, the funds have already been built into it. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

ALSO HECKLING NOY: Threats to Noynoy’s bloated self 

Nine Hong Kong journalists just found out the cost of not asking the right questions to Noynoy after being placed under the Bureau of Immigration blacklist as undesirable aliens. They are banned from entering the country and in covering the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit scheduled to be held in the country next year. The BI said that it issued the ban based on an order from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). What precipitated the ban, according to the NICA, was the alleged “heckling” of Noynoy after a business forum which was one of the side events of the Apec Summit last year in Bali, Indonesia. Running after heckling journalists of whatever nationality must have been a new task handed down to NICA in its role of protecting national security. The intelligence agency could have included the surveillance of the Hong Kong journalists in its monitoring of Chinese maritime aggression since they figured out that the territory is part of China, which is really a brilliant stroke of genius. READ FULL EDITORIAL

ALSO: What Aquinomics really is 

It used to be that the economy grew despite the government. Now, however, it is the failures of the administration of Noynoy that are being identified as a cause of flagging growth. Noynoy’s claim of having led the strong and sustainable growth momentum has totally fallen flat on its face with the 5.3 percent growth rate in the third quarter, which was the result of weak agriculture growth and more importantly, the lag in government spending. The service sector which had been the lynchpin of previous strong growth, decelerated to 5.4 percent. The industry sector slowed down to 7.6 percent, slightly lower than the previous years and previous quarters’ growth of 7.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

The entire agriculture sector contracted by 2.7 percent, which has not been experienced since the fourth quarter of 2009. Government spending would have offset the low net primary income (NPI) expansion of only 2.7 percent during the quarter which was way below the 19.9 percent growth a year ago.NPI consists mainly of the remittances of Filipinos working overseas which sustain the consumption-led economy.
Gross national income grew a slower 4.8 percent from a nine percent growth a year ago as a result.
Former budget secretary Ben Diokno said underspending is a scourge afflicting the administration of Noynoy. He noted that the affliction was either through incompetence of those appointed by Noynoy in government or a deliberate act to generate savings which are then used as discretionary funds of Noynoy. READ FULL EDITORIAL ON PNoy's 'DAANG MATUWID' ECONOMY...

ALSO Commentary at QC house protest: Noynoy is no authority on freedoms 

There went Malacañang again, claiming that the protests staged by the militants at the home of Noynoy Aquino “exceeded the limits of freedom of expression.
Activists belonging to the group Manilakabayan converged at the home of Noynoy in Times Street, Quezon City Saturday morning to condemn, among others, the human rights abuses in Mindanao. The protesters defaced the gate and driveway of Noynoy’s home while demanding his ouster. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that which “the rallyists did in terms of vandalism and inflicting injuries on members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) clearly exceeded the maximum limits of the freedom of expression. We will not allow this to happen again,” he said. First off, Nonoy’s spokesmen really shouldn’t be giving out sermons on the limits of citizens’ freedoms, as this specific government is not the authority on how far freedom has to exercised by the citizenry, especially as this government, along with its yellow mob were those who had gone beyond the Constitution when as mobs, they not only threatened and injured citizens in 1986 and 2001, but toppled governments. READ FULL COMMENTARY...


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On with FoI, revise it later?
 

MANILA, DECEMBER 1, 2014 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune - The Freedom of Information (FoI) bill or the Palace version of it hurdled the House of Representatives which is being made out to be quite an achievement for the lower chamber of Congress, a designation which many equate with the public’s low regard for this house, since it always kowtows to the wishes of the Palace.

Under the term of Noynoy, the FoI bill has always been ambushed at the House with the sheer force of number of the Palace allies.

The FoI law or the People’s FoI Act appears to be totally toothless in its current form as the Palace made sure that the law is aligned with the interest of government making its name a misnomer but the consolation that proponents of the law have is that an FoI law gets nearer to being ratified.

The law basically will require the government or any part of it to divulge information imbued with public interest through a request citing the edict.

With a more confident and emphatic government, the law can always be strengthened from what it is now, the claim goes, but will there be such a government that would strengthen an FoI law to benefit the public?

The chance that all the limitations imposed by the Palace to the law will be removed during the bicameral conference is quite remote even if the members of the Senate insist on its more credible version of the law.

The current version has been made so pockmarked with exceptions that can be exploited to restrict rather than release government information.

A contentious part of the House version of the FoI law, for instance, is the imposition of exemptions to private acts, transactions or records of government officials for many exceptions including public access to Statements of Assets, Liabilities and networth (SALn) where there are no such restrictions currently.

Another questionable provision involved Section 7 of the Act which the Makabayan bloc said “makes denial of access the rule rather than exception.”

Under Section 7 (b) on exceptions, it included minutes and advice given and opinions expressed during decision-making or policy-formulation by the Executive branch even if these are not made during executive sessions.

Section 7 (c), (i) and (ii) prohibits access to information on defense and police operations that unduly compromise or interfere with any legitimate military or law enforcement operation.

Section 7 (c) (iii) exempts information which may deprive a “person of a right to a fair trial” which will make legal the denial of access to information related to corruption issues.

Section 7 (c) (iv) exempts information given by confidential sources such as from state witnesses that the Makabayan bloc said will make it easy for public officials to deny access merely on the ground that an information came from a confidential source.

Section 7 (c) (v) exempts techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions which state forces can use to hide torture cases, among other abusive acts.

Section 7 (d) included draft decisions of Executive bodies among the exemptions.

Section 7 (j) exempts information “which is of a nature that its premature disclosure would ... likely frustrate the effective implementation of a proposed official action.” This provision is another catch-all alibi for government officials to withhold information.

The long list of exemptions practically turns the FoI law in the House version as a government tool to legalize denial of access to information.

However, since it took nearly more than a decade to get an FoI bill to this particular stage near to becoming a law, the more urgent task, some believe, is to have a law passed.

The Philippines at this time remains among the few supposed democratic countries in the world without an FoI law which reflects on the character of government it has.


Palace-corrupted budget  Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 26 November 2014 00:00

Senators do not seem to be in the mood of rubberstamping the Malacañang-proposed budget anytime soon. This is only appropriate since some of them not only differentiate themselves from the lapdogs at the House who get their orders from the Palace but also, to due to the fact that Congress will actually be surrendering its power of the purse to the Executive in the 2015 allotment.

That’s assuming that the stance of the senators is for real, and not for show of sudden independence.

Sen. Miriam Santiago mustered energy, since nobody seems fit in the Senate to dichotomize the 2015 General Appropriations Act either due to partisan affiliations or utter lack of interest or mental facility, to bring forth arguments that were totally ignored during the House deliberations.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also zeroed in on the P13-billion errata allotment for water supply and low cost housing to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which he said appeared to be “lump sums.”

DILG is headed by putative Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas.

The goal of the 2015 budget is clearly geared toward the building up of a campaign kitty or if not, is aligned with the pre-election build up of the LP since several components are left to the discretion of agency heads to disburse.

Santiago said crucial to the manipulation of the 2015 budget to serve the interest of the incumbent is the redefinition of savings which the Supreme Court (SC) had already struck down in its decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

She noted in a privilege speech that “the 2015 budget invents its own definition of savings in Sections 67 to 70, particularly Section 68, which provides that savings can be declared at any time for whatever might be considered ‘justifiable reasons.’”

She then compared the definition of savings in the 2011 budget law and the 2015 proposed budget.

In the 2011 budget, Section 69 gave the meaning of savings and augmentation as “Savings refer to portions or balances ... which are (i) still available after the cancellation or final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity, or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized...”

In the 2015 budget, Section 68 provides: “Savings refer to the portions or balances ... from any of the following: which she paraphrased: “(a) discontinuance or abandonment of the program, activity, or project ... which would render it not possible for the agency to implement the said P/A/P (Program/Activity/Project) at anytime.”

She paraphrased: Savings is “non-commencement of the P/A/P within the first semester of 2015.”

The old definition referred to final discontinuance or abandonment while the new definition was broadened to refer to discontinuance or abandonment at any time.

Among the Palace acts ruled as unconstitutional by the SC in the DAP was “the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act.”

The redefinition of savings in the 2015 budget, apparently another twisted idea of Budget Secretary Butch Abad, did not even cure the defect as mentioned in the ruling since it was clear that the method is unconstitutional and that the statutory definition of savings in the budget was a separate item with which the Palace needs to comply.

The SC ruling already required that savings to be realized only after the end of a fiscal year.

Several portions of the budget, according to Santiago, point to it being stuffed with pork in the guise of participatory budgeting.

Marcos similarly asked the DILG to explain where it spent billions of pesos given to it for low cost housing projects in 2014 saying that the DILG is not even empowered by law to build housing units, which is given to the National Housing Authority or to create water supply which is the concern of the Local Water Utilities Administration or the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Another P1.003 billion under the item “local government performance management-based Challenge for LGUs” was alloted to DILG rationalizing that LGUs are expected to function and give services in an excellent manner and are not to be compensated for doing their basic functions.

Similar items in the 2015 budget were suspiciously heavily slanted toward the DILG in the guise of the supposed Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Program (GPBP).

It appears that Santiago was talking about the GPBP being used when she revealed the time the Palace gave House members blank slips to list their projects for supposed funding which was how the unconstitutional pork barrel worked.

With the budget law proven to be bastardized by the Palace, it would only be appropriate to run a fine-tooth comb through it even beyond the Malacañang-imposed deadline.


Mercado digs for more dirt Written by Tribune Editorial Sunday, 23 November 2014 00:00

As the anti-Binay forces are losing steam in their coordinated demolition operations against Vice President Jojo Binay, it was predictable that they would turn their attention to generating something more spectacular to fuel the already faltering Senate subcommittee hearing on Binay.

The intention obviously is to keep the almost weekly smear barrage on Binay until at least the campaign period of the 2016 elections.

Nobody raised a howl in the camp of Noynoy and the anti-Binay groups when former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who has turned into Binay’s political nemesis, flew to Los Angeles, California because obviously it was the groups opposing Binay who sponsored the trip.

A California-based pro-Mar Roxas group, the Philippine Anti-Corruption Movement USA (Pamusa) led by a certain Francisco Wenceslao is digging up records of Binay or his supposed dummies’ ownership of properties in the United States.

Mercado who gave as his reason for leaving the country as the need to attend to his ailing wife, is expected to link up with the US group to acquire more ammunition against Binay.

In an open letter to Binay, Wenceslao earlier wrote: “As your friend since the time we joined Mrs. Cory Aquino’s campaign for President I feel obliged to let you know that as Pamusafs president I will be involved in investigating, locating and recovering your ill-gotten wealth and of your family members and close associates or the private businessmen and individuals that colluded with you in amassing such unexplained assets beyond the statistical probability of your combined legitimate income since 1986 when you were named OIC in the Office of Makati Mayor.”

In a subsequent open letter, Wenceslao, however, said: “Pamusa is likewise finalizing a mode of negotiating ill-gotten wealth settlement from the proceeds of corruption pending commitment of funding by big Philippine businesses which are considering if they will be spared from investigation and forensic auditing of their incredible growth of corporate assets and net worth of the controlling ownership.”

“This will be offered to Roxas so that his promise to effectively and meaningfully fight graft and corruption which will still be the No. 1 issue in the 2016 campaign is firmly founded,” he added.

“We will insist as a condition of Pamusa and me helping in the settlement of corruption of both government officials and private businessmen begin even before the 2016 elections,” he said.

Evidently a deal has been struck among the US-based group and Roxas and his allies over employing the help of Pamusa in the effort to bring down Binay and for Pamusa to have pivotal role in a Roxas administration.

Wenceslao in his open letter which he claimed to have provided the Vice President and his daughter Sen. Nancy Binay gave this advice: “Under these difficult circumstances Binay is in, my advice with copy to him, Makati Mayor Binay Jr., and Senator Nancy Binay, is for the Vice President to give up his aspirations for the presidency and announce his all-out support for the most likely successor of President Aquino, maybe Mar Roxas who is probably the most decent and best prepared presidential aspirant. Pamusa’s FilAm supporters are overwhelmingly for Roxas remembering his giving way to Aquino.”

So what would prompt Mercado in the middle of his most pivotal period in his otherwise lackluster political career to go to California? Certainly, it would not be because of an ailing wife.

The halt in the subcommittee hearing against Binay is being used by the anti-Binay forces, mainly its stooges in the Senate, Senators Koko Pimentel, Sonny Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano, to consolidate and launch bigger allegations when Noynoy’s priority which is the pork-packed 2015 budget is stamped, sealed and delivered.

2015 promises to be year of lies and more lies in anticipation of 2016.

But there is a problem for them. All the allegations Mercado and the troika make are later to be found as pure lies.


Politician’s glib tongue Written by Tribune Editorial Friday, 28 November 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 3 comments

Never trust a politician was an oft-repeated warning that self-styled independent Sen. Chiz Escudero just proved recently as needed heeding when he justified the railroading of the approval of the 2015 budget in his Senate finance committee.

The Palace had imposed a deadline on Congress to pass the budget before the end of November and both the House and the Senate, despite all the earlier assurances that it will be subjected to scrutiny with a fine-tooth comb, never really bothered to do it.

The Senate approved the budget 13-0 after a mere four days of debate and two days after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago took the floor to assail the many pork barrel funds embedded in the budget items.

Escudero took the easy way out saying that pork does not exist in the 2015 budget to end the arguments.

He added that while there are lump sums in the 2015 budget, “they are not pork.”

Escudero added that just because a lawmaker identified a project, it doesn’t mean it’s pork, adding that the Supreme Court (SC) defines pork as post-enactment intervention of a legislator.

Yet even as there exists in the budget, a humongous presidential pork as gleaned from the lump sums. Escudero still does not call it pork and even justifies the lump sums in the 2015 budget.

He, however, arbitrarily quoted a small part of the SC decision declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which would have its defining part being that “For as long as this nation adheres to the rule of law, any of the multifarious unconstitutional methods and mechanisms the Court has ...pointed out (referring to the legislative pork barrel) should never again be adopted in any system of governance, by any name or form, by any semblance of similarity, by any influence or effect.”

The demeanor of the decision was all form of funds placed in the discretion of legislators since “it has diluted the effectiveness of congressional oversight by giving legislators a stake in the affairs of budget execution.”

And then there are the discretionary funds, which some quarters said amount to more than P500 billion, that Noynoy is given sole authority to disburse. This is pork, pure and simple.

The lump sums which Escudero is now defending are the same discretionary funds which he vowed to remove in the budget as he stated during the 2013 campaigns that discretion in government is equal to corruption.

He added that the definition of savings in the budget now complies with the SC ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Not exactly so, Escudero said. The Senate had restored the definition of savings to one which complies with the SC ruling yet in the same breath he said that the SC ruling that disallowed the use of savings before the end of a fiscal year was applicable only to the 2013 budget which he said is the definition that the SC based on its DAP ruling.

It turned out that the Palace intent of creating savings anytime during the course of a year was followed in the definition contained in the 2015 budget, only that as Escudero said the funds should already have been released before declaring savings.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the arguments used by Escudero and “defenders of the 2015 budget” were flawed.

Santiago said while there may be no separate item called PDAF in the budget, the funds have already been built into it.

“These funds, regardless of the name, may be considered pork barrel, because they are national funds used for local projects selected by legislators, and they are granted in lump sums,” she said.

Escudero paid lip service to the issues earlier raised by Santiago about lump sums and legislative pork in the budget but never took any determined action to make changes in the Palace proposed pre-election year budget.

Despite all his noise and clutter, Escudero delivered to the Palace the budget within its set timetable.


Threats to Noynoy’s bloated self
Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 2 comments


NO HECKLING PLEASE

Nine Hong Kong journalists just found out the cost of not asking the right questions to Noynoy after being placed under the Bureau of Immigration blacklist as undesirable aliens.

They are banned from entering the country and in covering the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit scheduled to be held in the country next year.

The BI said that it issued the ban based on an order from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

What precipitated the ban, according to the NICA, was the alleged “heckling” of Noynoy after a business forum which was one of the side events of the Apec Summit last year in Bali, Indonesia.

Running after heckling journalists of whatever nationality must have been a new task handed down to NICA in its role of protecting national security.

The intelligence agency could have included the surveillance of the Hong Kong journalists in its monitoring of Chinese maritime aggression since they figured out that the territory is part of China, which is really a brilliant stroke of genius.

The more probable involvement of NICA in the banning of the reporters would have been a direct order from Noynoy whose ego was bruised by the “aggressive” manner he was asked questions about the 2010 bus hostage tragedy that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong residents.

Noynoy had stubbornly refused to admit guilt in the bungled police rescue of the tourists held hostage although the whole day-long event played out before international television clearly showed the absence of government control over the crisis situation.

With the NICA-ordered blacklist on the journalists, it is now the Hong Kong government’s turn to raise questions and rightly so.

Should heckling Noynoy or any other top government official now be considered a threat to national security? The order only showed the dictatorial tendencies of the current regime in denying the Hong Kong journalists several rights, including the freedom to travel and the right to do their job.

A Hong Kong columnist called the government action “petty and vindictive” which is how many independent local journalists outside of the yellow media consider see the blacklisting.

The order only reveals the paranoia of Noynoy to members of media, whether local or whatever nationality. The source of the involvement in the forgettable incident would only have to come from no other than Noynoy who was the subject of the supposed heckling.

The term heckling was not even appropriate because asking a question at the top of their voice is always expected of good reporters and the topic asked was an appropriate news subject which was about the Philippine government’s response to criticisms on the lack of action in the aftermath of the Manila hostage tragedy.

The half-hearted actions of Noynoy after the incident resulted in a serious diplomatic friction between the Philippines and Hong Kong which was on the way to healing until the ban which seems to have had no other result but to reopen the wounds from the tragedy.

The use of the NICA against legitimate journalists should also be raised not only by the Hong Kong government but by press freedom groups and local media organizations.

Since the “heckling” Hong Kong journalists have been subjected to surveillance by the state, it follows that the NICA is also being employed against local journalists or individuals critical of Noynoy and his administration.

The issuing of the travel blacklist on the journalists also indicates the extent to which the administration of Noynoy is willing to go in denying the rights of individuals to protect its interest and Noynoy’s folly.

For a journalist covering Noynoy, it is frightening to consider that a wrong question asked may result in a dossier in the state intelligence agency that would qualify a regular surveillance from its agents.

As for NICA, doesn’t the agency have a more worthwhile mission to expend its intelligence rather than running after heckling journalists?


What Aquinomics really is Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 29 November 2014 00:00

It used to be that the economy grew despite the government.

Now, however, it is the failures of the administration of Noynoy that are being identified as a cause of flagging growth.

Noynoy’s claim of having led the strong and sustainable growth momentum has totally fallen flat on its face with the 5.3 percent growth rate in the third quarter, which was the result of weak agriculture growth and more importantly, the lag in government spending.

The service sector which had been the lynchpin of previous strong growth, decelerated to 5.4 percent.

The industry sector slowed down to 7.6 percent, slightly lower than the previous years and previous quarters’ growth of 7.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

The entire agriculture sector contracted by 2.7 percent, which has not been experienced since the fourth quarter of 2009.

Government spending would have offset the low net primary income (NPI) expansion of only 2.7 percent during the quarter which was way below the 19.9 percent growth a year ago.

NPI consists mainly of the remittances of Filipinos working overseas which sustain the consumption-led economy.

Gross national income grew a slower 4.8 percent from a nine percent growth a year ago as a result.

Former budget secretary Ben Diokno said underspending is a scourge afflicting the administration of Noynoy.

He noted that the affliction was either through incompetence of those appointed by Noynoy in government or a deliberate act to generate savings which are then used as discretionary funds of Noynoy.

The unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was mainly built up through the juggling of funds in the budget and the declaration of savings prior to what is allowed under the law.

Diokno said from January 2011 to the end of last September 2014, total government underspending reached an unbelievable P594 billion.

The failure to efficiently use the yearly budget was even made worse with the creation of the DAP in which P140 billion to P150 billion was diverted from it from 2011 to 2013 when it was in effect.

The DAP has been proven largely as a political slush fund for Noynoy, his Palace mob and the Liberal Party.

Even for the first three quarters of 2014, programmed spending was P1.73 trillion but actual spending reached only P1.456 trillion resulting in underspending of P274 billion.

Diokno related how low government underspending affects growth:
With agriculture output sluggish and cannot be relied upon as a growth driver, it would be up to fiscal managers to budget and spend more in job-generating and economic enhancing activities.

The role of monetary authorities in sustaining growth is limited since they cannot increase interest rates, a sure formula for slowing economic expansion since the higher cost of borrowing constricts private investment and demand for consumer durables.

Raising interest rates also attract more hot money as interest rate cuts become the norm in Europe, Japan and China and most emerging economies.

The inflow of foreign currencies into the country, in turn, will lead to a stronger peso, which impacts on the purchasing power of families of overseas Filipino workers and exports earnings.

The only option, thus, is for the government to efficiently manage the fiscal sector and spend more for public infrastructure.
“It has both positive short run and long run effects. Fiscal authorities should definitely do something now,” Diokno said.

Since Noynoy is in virtually the tailend of his lackluster term and his attention directed toward picking a successor, there seems to be no chance that something will be done for the economy until the end of his term.


Noynoy is no authority on freedoms  Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Monday, 01 December 2014 00:00

There went Malacañang again, claiming that the protests staged by the militants at the home of Noynoy Aquino “exceeded the limits of freedom of expression.

Activists belonging to the group Manilakabayan converged at the home of Noynoy in Times Street, Quezon City Saturday morning to condemn, among others, the human rights abuses in Mindanao.

The protesters defaced the gate and driveway of Noynoy’s home while demanding his ouster.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that which “the rallyists did in terms of vandalism and inflicting injuries on members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) clearly exceeded the maximum limits of the freedom of expression. We will not allow this to happen again,” he said.

First off, Nonoy’s spokesmen really shouldn’t be giving out sermons on the limits of citizens’ freedoms, as this specific government is not the authority on how far freedom has to exercised by the citizenry, especially as this government, along with its yellow mob were those who had gone beyond the Constitution when as mobs, they not only threatened and injured citizens in 1986 and 2001, but toppled governments.

That is of course in the past, but Noynoy and his administration really have no call to speak of the limits of freedom, merely because protestors against Noynoy and his administration staged a protest in the residence of Noynoy, who no longer lives there.

Noynoy’s spokesman can say the protesters have committed vandalism and that is an offense under the law. But to also claim that the protesters inflicted injuries on the police is super hypocritical, considering that the Palace says nothing when it is the police who injure protesters.

Heck, how many unarmed farmers were killed during the Mendiola Massacre by the heavily armed police under the regime of Cory Aquino?

Did government scream limits of freedom of expression being breached?

Did the Cory Aquino government condemn the police and military for not just injuring the farmers but also killing them?

In much the same way, the Hacienda Luisita massacre had the military killing the demonstrating and unarmed farmers, but also young innocent children.

Nothing was heard by way of condemnation from the Aquinos and their yellows, including Noynoy. Why not, if the Aquinos and this government feel strongly about massacres and the “limits of freedom?”

To equate this chaotic dispersal of the militants who staged the protest to freedom of expression’s limits is clearly yet another one of this administration’s justification. And it also shows just how little regard there is from this government of the militants and anti-government protesters, for the Palace to even make a big deal out of the policemen being injured by the militants.

If injury was inflicted by the militants on the police, it is certain that the police themselves were inflicting injury on the militants. So why try to make it appear that the police were the poor defenseless victims?

Noynoy uses the “limits of freedom” to justify any and all acts that are against him, as he takes these very personally.

Thus, the Hong Kong journalists who were said to have shouted questions to Noynoy when he was in Indonesia, asking him about the developments in the Manila Bus Hostage massacre, Malacañang had these foreign journalists blacklisted from coming over and from covering the Apec in Manila next year.

The justification then was public safety, along with claims of the journalists going out of (freedom) bounds. That was clearly a lot of crap.

Firstly, it has nothing to do with public safety, although Noynoy took this to mean it was his personal safety which was, moreover, not even under threat.

Secondly, there was nothing criminal by way of the journalists’ acts to shout their questions. That is usual, especially when questions are asked when the official is too far from the media or refuses takes questions from what he considers “unfriendly media.”

In the end, with a lot of protests from journalists, local and foreign on the ban, the ban was lifted, but the damage was done anyway.

It is Noynoy and the Palace who lose out everytime these things happen.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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