© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary below)

FROM MANILA TIMES

EDITORIAL: 20 MONTHS AFTER, YOLANDA VICTIMS STILL FAILED BY P-NOY GOVT


JULY 29 EDITORIAL ---PHOTO DATED NOVEMBER 19th, 2013. President Aquino 3rd helping!(wow!) Yolanda survivor: UN: Millions in the Visayas still hungry LEYTE LEGISLATOR URGES NEW SYSTEM IN PREPARING FOR DISASTERS But Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez blamed the delay in assistance to the survivors on “bureaucratic red tape.”  INQUIRER PHOTO NEARLY two years after Supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan struck East Visayas and other parts of the Visayas, the national government is still groping to get on top of the catastrophe, and fully assist all those who have been stricken, and to get the flow of funds for rehabilitation flowing efficiently and smoothly. It was sad enough that government was slowfooted in the initial rescue, relief and recovery phases. It is alarming that today, Yolanda victims and entire communities are still languishing in adversity, unable to gain full access to funds and assistance promised many times by the national government. Under the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) for 2014 to 2016, the government announced an outlay of P170 billion for the CRRP, but now victims and communities have been thrust into a situation where they must compete for funding with other projects, and with the nearing election campaign and elections next year threatening to introduce complications. This distressing situation has come to light in a seven-month study conducted by Social Watch Philippines (SWP), on the Yolanda rehabilitation. The civil society group was asked to conduct the study by Christian Aid to track the CRRP funds. SWP reviewed accomplishment and status reports from various government agencies, interviewed national agency and local government officials, and visited 13 municipalities and one city affected by the storm. According to Ms. Leonor Briones, SWP convenor and former national treasurer, there are unclear sources of funds for the P170.9 billion requirement for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas under the CRRP.By law, funds must come from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund, the regular budget, and foreign donations only. But SWP found out that according to data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), some funds were from the 2012, 2013, and 2014 budgets. Particularly problematic are the unprogrammed funds as sources, because this means that the money can come only from extra government revenue, which is an “insecure” source.READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Transparency is less than an afterthought for BS Aquino 3rd


ONE of the criticisms leveled against President BS Aquino 3rd almost as soon as he finally closed his mouth after his painfully-long State of the Nation Address on Monday was that he omitted any mention of the Freedom of Information bill, two versions of which are currently languishing in the Legislature.The Freedom of Information law, we should not forget, was the single coherent campaign promise made by then-Senator Aquino during his quest for the presidency in 2010. And it was a promise that he broke immediately upon assuming office by first trying to convince everyone that his “clean” government made it unnecessary, and then by applying his influence in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to stymie any progress on the law in Congress.Obviously stung by the criticism, Aquino made a hasty about-face on Tuesday, the day after the SONA, by suddenly declaring the FOI a “priority,” even contriving a sense of urgency to the matter by suggesting that the bill’s prospects were dim unless it were passed within the short time left in his term.Aquino’s off-handed treatment of the FOI bill should make it clear enough that he and his regime do not understand nor have any respect for the concept of “transparency,” but if one needs further evidence, all one needs to do is to attempt to read or download a copy of the “SONA Technical Report” from the Official Gazette website, or for that matter, any other government website.The Technical Report is a collection of background information that provides greater detail about the facts and figures presented in the speech itself. It is not, however, what one would assume it is – a version of the notes used by the speechwriters to craft the actual speech – but rather a sanitized appendix put together later. Even so, it is useful for fact-checking and putting many of the assertions made in the speech in the proper context. READ MORE...

ALSO: Our elections are criminal activities


by HOMOBONO A. ADAZA
“For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible” –St. Francis of Assisi OBVIOUSLY, this quotation is for true believers or non-believers. But in a certain sense, non-believers are true believers in their principles, values or conscience. This quotation from St. Francis, however, refers to belief in the existence of a Divine Being or God. So the non-believers referred to are atheists or agnostics. But this column for today will not discuss belief in the religious sense. It will argue on my unchanging belief at this point in time that elections are a superfluity if we speak of our country and our people. So like St. Francis of Assisi and Eric Hoffer, as a true believer in our people and our country, I offer the view that we should not hold elections in May 2016. Let’s think and be rational. What do the people of this country get with holding elections? More stupidity, more ignorance, more irresponsibility and criminality! Why? Election is a democratic instrument to give the people an opportunity to choose their leaders who can serve them and the country to the best of their ability and within the context of the Lincolnian tradition that a democracy is a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Election in a democracy works under certain basic assumptions. First, the candidate must have the necessary qualifications and none of the disqualifications to be elected. Our problem is that the qualifications to be a candidate for any office in this country is at the barest minimum – age, residence, citizenship, being registered as a voter and ability to read and write. Under these standards, any fool can run for public office as many fools have done before. The requirement to be a policeman or an office clerk is even higher because he must, at least, have a college degree and must pass a pycho-neuro test. Second, the candidate must know the functions of the office and his duties, the moment he gets elected. Third, other than these, he must know that public office is a public trust and that he is committed to serve the people and the country. Fourth, he must not buy votes, cheat, misrepresent, and he must not violate the election and other pertinent laws in his drive to be elected. Question: How many politicians observe these standards? READ MORE...

ALSO: Nothing much has changed in 30 years


by RICK RAMOS I DID not watch the sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27 of President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd. Well, there were better things to do like fixing some things in the house and also arranging some business and personal files. It was a productive day last Monday where my family and I sorted out things and were able to separate items that can be given to charity, like clothes and shoes. Based on what have been printed in the newspapers and posted in social media, President Aquino’s final SONA in 2015 has been a huge disappointment. Well, I expected it and that is why I did not bother to waste my time listening and making my blood pressure elevate. Among those who listened to PNoy, there was no person whom I talked to who was happy with what was said in the two-hour presidential speech. My orthopaedic doctor, who looks like she is in her late 30s, told me that she had expected the President to talk about his achievements in the past five years and the challenges that remain, which will be inherited by his successor. She said that she did not expect a farewell speech thanking everyone as if it was his last day in office. Well said. What was amusing was when my doctor told me that President B. S. Aquino 3rd also even thanked his hairdresser. Then I realized there was really nothing much up there to work on to dress his hair, unless it includes the hair under his armpit. Seriously, it is so puerile for a President to thank one’s hairdresser as if he were a movie actress or pop singer who would also thank the person who did her make-up! On the serious side, the pathetic President criticized and blamed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) for the nth time for about 25 minutes, according to a business leader who attended the SONA and was later interviewed for his comments. In 2012, I had predicted that President Aquino would criticize GMA up to his last year in office. I was proven right, as usual. In fact, Noynoy will blame her until his dying day. Gobal News Network (GNN) invited me to their Politics Today program a week earlier on July 20. The topic taken during the talk-show program hosted by Harry Tambuatco was on All the LIES on the Previous SONAs. In his Talk to Harry program, Mr. Tambuatco touched on all the previous presidential prevarications, which I helped explain for the viewers to better appreciate like the 12,000 kms of road by the DPWH. When I was asked by the host on what to expect on the forthcoming SONA, my reply was that it would Be More of the Same. These are the LIES that President Aquino dish out each year when he addresses the Joint chambers of Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Just like drugs, alcohol and sex, prevarications and equivocations can also be addicting to a person imbued with hubris and hypocrisy.My final comment on the SONA is that President Aquino eluded the subject on the Slaughter of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao as if there is already closure to it. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendres said in a TV interview that there is nothing more to be said. This guy is a complete idiot like his boss. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: 20 months after, Yolanda victims still failed by Aquino govt


PHOTO DATED NOVEMBER 19th, 2013 APPENDED BY PHNO:. President Aquino 3rd helping(wow!) Yolanda survivor: UN: Millions in the Visayas still hungry LEYTE LEGISLATOR URGES NEW SYSTEM IN PREPARING FOR DISASTERS But Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez blamed the delay in assistance to the survivors on “bureaucratic red tape.”  INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, AUGUST 1, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) NEARLY two years after Super- typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck East Visayas and other parts of the Visayas, the national government is still groping to get on top of the catastrophe, and fully assist all those who have been stricken, and to get the flow of funds for rehabilitation flowing efficiently and smoothly.

It was sad enough that government was slowfooted in the initial rescue, relief and recovery phases. It is alarming that today, Yolanda victims and entire communities are still languishing in adversity, unable to gain full access to funds and assistance promised many times by the national government.

Under the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) for 2014 to 2016, the government announced an outlay of P170 billion for the CRRP, but now victims and communities have been thrust into a situation where they must compete for funding with other projects, and with the nearing election campaign and elections next year threatening to introduce complications.

This distressing situation has come to light in a seven-month study conducted by Social Watch Philippines (SWP), on the Yolanda rehabilitation.

The civil society group was asked to conduct the study by Christian Aid to track the CRRP funds. SWP reviewed accomplishment and status reports from various government agencies, interviewed national agency and local government officials, and visited 13 municipalities and one city affected by the storm.

According to Ms. Leonor Briones, SWP convenor and former national treasurer, there are unclear sources of funds for the P170.9 billion requirement for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas under the CRRP.

By law, funds must come from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund, the regular budget, and foreign donations only.

But SWP found out that according to data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), some funds were from the 2012, 2013, and 2014 budgets.

Particularly problematic are the unprogrammed funds as sources, because this means that the money can come only from extra government revenue, which is an “insecure” source.

READ MORE....

Yolanda funds could even be mixed with those allocated for other disasters.

In fact, when the DBM announced that it had been able to release P84 billion out of the P70.9 billion in June this year, the data it presented included appropriations for areas affected by other disasters such as the Bohol earthquake in 2013 and other typhoons.


ONE YEAR AFTER: Thousands of families living in tents and other temporary shelters in provinces hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year are in danger with the typhoon season approaching, a lawmaker warned yesterday. PHILSTAR PHOTO FILE

The situation is deplorable, so government must proceed with dispatch to improve its systems and procedures to do the job.

Because the immediate emergency is over, there may be a false sense of complacency that the worst is already over.

Yet in point of fact, there are still tens of thousands of people who are living in tents, and there are countless families who have not received the merest assistance to help them recover and rebuild their lives.

Yolanda victims are in effect being victimized and punished twice in this tragedy. After having had to wait for so long for government assistance, they are now being told that they must wait some more.

After witnessing the generous outpouring of international assistance and donation, in magnitudes never seen before in this country, victims and survivors are learning that the flow of assistance has been slowed down by government bureaucracy and official incompetence and lethargy.

Sometimes donated funds have been misplaced in the wrong accounts, where they cannot do any good..

This is a situation where government clearly must take the initiative and full responsibility.

Many of the victims have only the government to turn to. But because of lack of system and proper management, the government bureaucracy is ill-equipped to take over the task of caring for disaster survivors, and handling hundreds of millions of pesos.

President Aquino approved the CRRP in October last year, with the biggest estimate of funding requirements for resettlement, at P75 billion, followed by infrastructure (P35 billion), livelihood (P33 billion), and social services (P26 billion).

“It took the President a year to approve the P170-billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) in October 2014, also one year to release P52 billion to fund the CRRP and it took 20 months for [an] additional P32 billion to be released in June 2015 for a total of P84 billion,” Briones said.

Any more delay is inexcusable.

Leonor Briones is correct to express alarm that: “It is now 2015, and we still haven’t even reached half of the actual release of funds. Nor do we know what is happening to victims on the ground.”

According to Social Watch, the significant delay in the releases of funds from the DBM to the implementing agencies and local government units was aggravated by poor coordination between and among the different agencies.

This was caused by lack of competence and appropriate mechanisms to hasten the delivery of services.

While government agencies faltered, Faith groups and survivors’ relatives acted faster in comparison.

Perhaps the biggest reason why the entire rehabilitation effort has been hobbled by problems is that there is no clear central authority to implement, oversee, coordinate, and monitor all reconstruction and recovery initiatives. It is also plain that the lethargy of bureaucracy proved to be a massive problem for the relief, recovery and rehabilitation effort in the Yolanda disaster.

It is in this light that Social Watch is now batting for the creation of a central agency that could ensure the implementation of the CRRP, as well as take the lead for other disasters in the future.

This merits study, but if the government is going to do this, it must do it right.

5 Responses to 20 months after, Yolanda victims still failed by Aquino govt
vic bautista says:
July 29, 2015 at 4:28 pm
Do not be suckers for punishment and manipulation, especially from the Yellows, oligarchs,CIA indoctrinated folks (new-rich), especially the Liberal party honchos. They happen to be the corruptors. Don’t we wonder why there are many among us who are poor? For me, never mind if leaders make hay from rebates- as long as there are tangible infrastructures for the public. The problems are glaring, yet we do not see any viable infrastructures, under pnoy/abnoy. Yet, they rip us off frontally, right under our noses.Moreover, Pnoy is never repentant, simply self-centered/ egotist.
Reply
nadia says:
July 28, 2015 at 1:40 pm
Filipinos should not vote anybody from LP party
Reply
juan says:
July 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm
It is very sad to see that many of those victims also contributed to the government (through tax, for example) before the super typhoon struck, yet the government denied them access to the funds.
Reply
gubaitotok says:
July 28, 2015 at 7:34 am
Good article. My family is also a victim of Yolanda. No help was felt in Tacloban because of politics. Our Mayor is a Romualdez and even Mar Roxas emphasized that during his meeting with our Mayor after few days Yolanda struck Tacloban that since he is Romualdez and our President is an Aquino, expects no help from the government. We won’t forget this for our entire life. Our Mayor as well as other constituents in Taclobans were a victim of this disaster. How come they have the guts to say that inspite of our sufferings. God bless their SOUL….
Reply
Dominador D. Canastra says:
July 28, 2015 at 7:27 am
Something the Liar President cannot deny and Palpal Sevretary Mar Roxas must be punished for!!!
Reply

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER MAY 15, 2015

Ex-‘Yolanda’ czar Lacson reveals lack of gov’t support for rehab efforts By: Maila Ager  @MAgerINQ  INQUIRER.net  06:26 PM May 15th, 2015


Panfilo Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Three months after leaving his post as rehabilitation czar, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson disclosed the government’s “lack of support” while he was leading the reconstruction efforts in areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Lacson, who resigned as presidential assistant on recovery and rehabilitation on February, cited the problem with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which he said was slow in releasing the funds needed to rehabilitate the areas.

“In my experience when I was in charge of Yolanda, the problem is really with the DBM, which released funds in piecemeal and trickles,” Lacson said in an interview on Thursday when asked about a group of Yolanda survivors who trooped to the House of Representatives demanding an investigation on the government’s rehabilitation efforts.

“At one point, I even confronted the whole Cabinet especially DBM because we got information that there’s huge savings in the National Treasury, something like P350 billion, and we’re only asking for P50 billion for 2014, P80 billion for 2015 and P35 billion for 2016,” he said.

“But they would not release (funds) so I was always taking it up with Secretary Abad. They have to release P80 billion for 2015 otherwise nothing will happen,” he added, referring to BudgetSecretary Florencio Abad.

Lacson said “it was a good thing the private sector responded very positively.” In fact, he said, the private sector had already contributed about P20 billion.

The former rehabilitation czar said he was willing to face a House inquiry, saying he had nothing to hide.

“We worked under very hard conditions. We had no budget, I had no implementation authority, we didn’t have office, MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses),” said Lacson.

“My salary went to gasoline and e-pass expenses. It’s not enough. My staff experienced the same because we didn’t get any support. I’m not the type to complain and I don’t ask for doles,” he said.

“I just do my job when I’m given a mandate.”

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RELATED FLASHBACK 2014 HEADLINE NEWS FROM RAPPLER.COM

Finally, Aquino approves Yolanda rehabilitation plan (UPDATED) Published 6:45 AM, October 30, 2014 Updated 11:25 PM, Oct 30, 2014

The go-signal comes nearly a year after Yolanda, and almost 3 months after Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson submitted the plan to the President


Aquino hands to Lacson copy of comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan (CRRP) for Yolanda-hit areas

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Nearly a year after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III approved the plan for the country's biggest rehabilitation effort since the end of World War II.

Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson told Rappler that Aquino approved the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan (CRRP) for Yolanda-hit areas on Wednesday afternoon, October 29.

With this, Lacson said the public can “expect an accelerated pace” when it comes to Yolanda-related programs, plans, and activities (PPAs).

“It simply means that subject to the availability of the remaining balance of the funds required to implement more than 18,400 projects listed in the CRRP, all the implementing line agencies can forge ahead to undertake their respective PPAs,” Lacson said Wednesday evening.

Aquino's approval came days before the Philippines, on November 8, marks the first year after Yolanda.

It took Aquino 3 months to fully give the master plan his go-signal. Lacson submitted the P170.7-billion ($3.93 billion) plan on August 1.

Back then, Lacson said bulk of the plan was already virtually approved by Aquino, and needed his approval only for a “residual amount” of P36 billion ($828.25 million).

The President, after all, approved on July 25 the local rehabilitation plans for the “6 bigger areas” hit by Yolanda – Tacloban City, the rest of Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo, and Eastern Samar.

On October 21, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr told reporters that Aquino wanted a “detailed timetable” before approving the final plan.

FULL REPORT CLICK HERE


EDITORIAL: Transparency is less than an afterthought for BS Aquino 3rd July 31, 2015 12:03 am

ONE of the criticisms leveled against President BS Aquino 3rd almost as soon as he finally closed his mouth after his painfully-long State of the Nation Address on Monday was that he omitted any mention of the Freedom of Information bill, two versions of which are currently languishing in the Legislature.

The Freedom of Information law, we should not forget, was the single coherent campaign promise made by then-Senator Aquino during his quest for the presidency in 2010.

And it was a promise that he broke immediately upon assuming office by first trying to convince everyone that his “clean” government made it unnecessary, and then by applying his influence in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to stymie any progress on the law in Congress.

Obviously stung by the criticism, Aquino made a hasty about-face on Tuesday, the day after the SONA, by suddenly declaring the FOI a “priority,” even contriving a sense of urgency to the matter by suggesting that the bill’s prospects were dim unless it were passed within the short time left in his term.

Aquino’s off-handed treatment of the FOI bill should make it clear enough that he and his regime do not understand nor have any respect for the concept of “transparency,” but if one needs further evidence, all one needs to do is to attempt to read or download a copy of the “SONA Technical Report” from the Official Gazette website, or for that matter, any other government website.

The Technical Report is a collection of background information that provides greater detail about the facts and figures presented in the speech itself.

It is not, however, what one would assume it is – a version of the notes used by the speechwriters to craft the actual speech – but rather a sanitized appendix put together later. Even so, it is useful for fact-checking and putting many of the assertions made in the speech in the proper context.

READ MORE...

Until now, the Technical Report – since it is information crafted for public consumption – has been available the next day, sometimes earlier. This year, however, as of yesterday morning, three days after the SONA, the Technical Report was still not available.

If President BS Aquino 3rd was actually serious at all about “transparency” and being accountable to his “bosses” – an honorific that he actually manages to make sound like an insult – he would not have forgotten the FOI in the SONA in the first place.

He would have acknowledged it as an important piece of unfinished business, and reassured the people that he intended to at least make an honest effort to keep his word, rather than treating it as a minor detail that slipped his mind, like forgetting to write “laundry soap” on the shopping list.

If President BS Aquino 3rd were actually serious at all about “transparency” and being accountable to his “bosses,” he would realize that no law actually prevents him or his government from sharing information anyway, and would have, sometime in the past five years, directed his agencies to join the 21st century and consider keeping public websites updated and supplied with material on normal everyday work.

Beware of an FOI Act that is really an OS Act

The FOI – in some form, if not necessarily one of the versions now stuck in legislative limbo – is necessary to restore credibility and accountable performance to the government. We urge that it legitimately be considered urgent by our lawmakers, and passed before the end of the new legislative session.

Not that it will restore credibility and accountability to the present government – that is a lost cause – but to set a higher bar for the next one.

But we must repeat here what we have warned about two or three times in this space over the past couple of years.

The Palace and its friends seem to have prepared a version of the FOI Act, which, we believe makes journalists’ work harder than now.

It contains provisions that give top officials bent on hiding something the power to interdict a document or piece of information that today a cooperative public servant would freely discuss and show to a reporter.

Unless the FOI bill the House passes is basically the same as the one that Congressman Tañada and his committee were presenting to the plenary three years ago, then the FOI Act we would get might make be an Official Secrets Act instead.

2 Responses to Transparency is less than an afterthought for BS Aquino 3rd
Jeannie says:
July 31, 2015 at 1:07 pm
Then investigate Pres Noy after his term, he seems to be depriving the masses to know the truth for that TRANSPARENCY, we will give his time to defend himself right after he steps down on 2016…especially ABAD, if there’s hidden anomalies in his administration, please let us know Mr. President. If you think STRAIGHT path, then prove us how straight it is by knowing the single cents in your tangible accomplishment or else it can be like Binay as the same pattern of YOU…
Reply
vg says:
July 31, 2015 at 7:14 am
If a FOI law is passed it will have been corrupted. Maybe there will be a clause that “no information will be released if not approved” or something similar.
Reply


Our elections are criminal activities August 1, 2015 12:35 am HOMOBONO-A.-ADAZA


by HOMOBONO A. ADAZA “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible” –St. Francis of Assisi

OBVIOUSLY, this quotation is for true believers or non-believers. But in a certain sense, non-believers are true believers in their principles, values or conscience.

This quotation from St. Francis, however, refers to belief in the existence of a Divine Being or God. So the non-believers referred to are atheists or agnostics.
But this column for today will not discuss belief in the religious sense.

It will argue on my unchanging belief at this point in time that elections are a superfluity if we speak of our country and our people. So like St. Francis of Assisi and Eric Hoffer, as a true believer in our people and our country, I offer the view that we should not hold elections in May 2016.

Let’s think and be rational. What do the people of this country get with holding elections? More stupidity, more ignorance, more irresponsibility and criminality!

Why?

Election is a democratic instrument to give the people an opportunity to choose their leaders who can serve them and the country to the best of their ability and within the context of the Lincolnian tradition that a democracy is a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.”

Election in a democracy works under certain basic assumptions.

First, the candidate must have the necessary qualifications and none of the disqualifications to be elected.

Our problem is that the qualifications to be a candidate for any office in this country is at the barest minimum – age, residence, citizenship, being registered as a voter and ability to read and write.

Under these standards, any fool can run for public office as many fools have done before. The requirement to be a policeman or an office clerk is even higher because he must, at least, have a college degree and must pass a pycho-neuro test.

Second, the candidate must know the functions of the office and his duties, the moment he gets elected.

Third, other than these, he must know that public office is a public trust and that he is committed to serve the people and the country.

Fourth, he must not buy votes, cheat, misrepresent, and he must not violate the election and other pertinent laws in his drive to be elected.

Question: How many politicians observe these standards?

READ MORE...

In my experience and study of elections in this country, you would stumble on a miracle if ten percent, in a scale of one to one hundred, observed these standards. It simply means that only an overwhelming minority can qualify to be candidates in a constitutional democracy like ours.

We now go to the voters. What are their qualifications?

First, he must be a registered voter with six months in the place where he votes. In the olden days, he must know how to read and write. But thanks to Raul Manglapus when he was senator, he succeeded in amending our electoral laws to allow the blind and the illiterate to vote.

In theory, the good senator was correct.

In practice, he did not know what he was doing.

Second, the voter must not sell his vote nor allow anyone to influence him or threaten him to vote for candidates not of his choosing.

Third, the voter must know the qualifications of the candidates he is voting for — first and foremost in his mind the national interests.

With these qualifications of candidates and voters in theory and in law, and comparing them with the way candidates and voters behave in the course of the elections, the obvious and inevitable conclusion is that elections in this country up to this moment is useless in finding candidates and voters who satisfy these standards.

So why hold elections when they are criminal activities in practice?

Throw in the Comelec people, some or many of whom sell elections to candidates and sell proclamations as well. We know all these, yet we allow the criminal activities to continue.

Are we a criminal country?

The candidates who make a lot of promises to the voters during the campaign period have convinced themselves that all these practices are in the natural course of things. The thinking of the voters is no different.

Must we insist to be criminals or are we going to reform and change for the better?

The choice is yours and mine. Well, I have made my choice.

I have decided to launch a call for the organization of a National Coalition for the establishment of a Constitutional Transaction Government based on two provisions of the Constitution – sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the current Philippine Constitution.

What do these provisions state? Section 1 of Article II states that – “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

Section 3, Article II provides that- “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.”

The question arises: Who can declare and create a constitutional transition government?

Under sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the Constitution, the President of the Philippines as head of government and State, and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines can organize and declare a Constitutional Transition Government.

If the President fails to do it, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) can organize it and declare its existence, the military being the protector of the people and State under section 3, Article of the Constitution.

Should the CSAFP fails to do it any group in the AFP can do it. Should the President and the AFP fail to do it, the people under section 1, Article II of the Constitution can do it.

What are the conditions for the declaration and organization of a Constitutional Transition Government?

The following are the conditions:
1)When the government fails to achieve what the Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

And 2) That -“governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the governed.”

Do these conditions exist in the Philippines today? They do and have been in existence here for quite a long time.

In the telling words of those who understand the nature of social and political upheavals, the objective and subjective conditions are present.

We are teetering at the edge of the precipice.

The organization of a Constitutional Transition Government is designed to avert a political and social upheaval and to actively and intensely pursue the goals for our country and our people which have eluded them for so long.


Nothing much has changed in 30 years August 1, 2015 12:25 am Rick B. Ramos


by RICK RAMOS

I DID not watch the sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27 of President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd. Well, there were better things to do like fixing some things in the house and also arranging some business and personal files. It was a productive day last Monday where my family and I sorted out things and were able to separate items that can be given to charity, like clothes and shoes.

Based on what have been printed in the newspapers and posted in social media, President Aquino’s final SONA in 2015 has been a huge disappointment. Well, I expected it and that is why I did not bother to waste my time listening and making my blood pressure elevate. Among those who listened to PNoy, there was no person whom I talked to who was happy with what was said in the two-hour presidential speech.

My orthopaedic doctor, who looks like she is in her late 30s, told me that she had expected the President to talk about his achievements in the past five years and the challenges that remain, which will be inherited by his successor. She said that she did not expect a farewell speech thanking everyone as if it was his last day in office. Well said.

What was amusing was when my doctor told me that President B. S. Aquino 3rd also even thanked his hairdresser. Then I realized there was really nothing much up there to work on to dress his hair, unless it includes the hair under his armpit. Seriously, it is so puerile for a President to thank one’s hairdresser as if he were a movie actress or pop singer who would also thank the person who did her make-up!

On the serious side, the pathetic President criticized and blamed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) for the nth time for about 25 minutes, according to a business leader who attended the SONA and was later interviewed for his comments. In 2012, I had predicted that President Aquino would criticize GMA up to his last year in office. I was proven right, as usual. In fact, Noynoy will blame her until his dying day.

Gobal News Network (GNN) invited me to their Politics Today program a week earlier on July 20. The topic taken during the talk-show program hosted by Harry Tambuatco was on All the LIES on the Previous SONAs. In his Talk to Harry program, Mr. Tambuatco touched on all the previous presidential prevarications, which I helped explain for the viewers to better appreciate like the 12,000 kms of road by the DPWH.

When I was asked by the host on what to expect on the forthcoming SONA, my reply was that it would Be More of the Same. These are the LIES that President Aquino dish out each year when he addresses the Joint chambers of Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Just like drugs, alcohol and sex, prevarications and equivocations can also be addicting to a person imbued with hubris and hypocrisy.

My final comment on the SONA is that President Aquino eluded the subject on the Slaughter of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao as if there is already closure to it. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendres said in a TV interview that there is nothing more to be said. This guy is a complete idiot like his boss.

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Reflections on the past three decades (1986-2015)

So little has changed for the better and so much has changed for the worse in the past 30 years. There are still the ubiquitous Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) that has remained the main mode of public transportation in the secondary routes. The Jeepneys are still the same as in the past three decades: dilapidated, smoke-belching and with undisciplined drivers who will stop anywhere for their passengers.

President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) had wanted the PUJs removed in five years when he became president. A line in the popular song of the Earth Wind & Fire goes, “something happened along the way and yesterday was all we had.” I will ask FVR when we meet again. Last time was at the launch of his book Giving Back: Service & Legacy last week. Fellow Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao also attended the affair.

After the ubiquitous Jeepneys are the tricycles that have now strayed from their tertiary routes to the national highways like the Sucat Road. (now Dr. A. Santos Ave.) in Parañaque to the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road in Laguna and Cavite. There is a law or a government regulation that prohibits tricycles from the national highways, but the law enforcement agencies concerned have not implemented it in the past 30 years.

Related to public transportation are the traffic congestion and air pollution that go with it. Almost everyone these days are complaining about the worsening traffic situation in the metropolis, especially in the past five years under the sanctimonious administration of President Aquino. The same goes for the air pollution caused by motor vehicles that can be seen in the Makati skyline and down southwest to Pasay and Manila.

The traffic congestion has actually started to deteriorate as early as in Year 2000, while the air quality began to worsen in the mid- 1990s. These two factors are the main reasons why I moved my family to the province and have lived there for ten years now. The other reason is the deteriorating peace and order situation (we were burglarized thrice! in the metropolis) and also to spend more time with the wife and children. I learned to relax in a more conducive environment.

However, nothing can be compared to the despicable traffic and pollution today. Well, traffic management is under the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headed by the super-incompetent Chairman whose only qualification is being the friend and former classmate of PNoy! He is a lawyer-politician experimenting in traffic!

In public infrastructure and transportation, the most accomplishments happened during the term of President Ramos: LRT 2, MRT 3, C-5, Skyway and the rehabilitation of SLEX up to Alabang and NLEX. This is rather impressive because the six years (1992-1998) under FVR only constitute 20 percent of the past (almost) 30 years since EDSA 1. PGMA’s term of 9.5 years or 30 percent of 30 years was also impressive for public infra achievements.

The most pathetic of the past three decades are the combined terms of the Aquino mother and son. Together their 12 years in office represent 40 percent of the past 30 years. The administration of President Corazon Aquino was far better because she had the benefit of having high-caliber Cabinet members and other top officials. Her son, who hardly worked in his life, could only appoint his friends, former classmate and shooting buddies.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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