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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary below)

FROM MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: THE BUDGET MUST BE SPENT


Congress will shortly deliberate next year’s P3-trillion budget as proposed by President Benigno Aquino III. The spending plan essentially details the priority of the government in furthering its objectives of providing social, health and educational services to the public, as well as meeting certain economic objectives. The government, however, will just be mocking the goals of the budget if it continues to underspend, especially in capital outlays. Any amount of underspending will translate into lower job generation and lop off some percentage points in the projected growth of the gross domestic product. Public services to the needy will be curtailed and the poor will continue to be neglected by the state. Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto is obviously aware of the ramifications of underspending, declaring that the issue will dominate the discussions on the administration’s sixth and last budget bill. Recto noted the government underspent to the tune of P827 million a day last year, as the disbursements fell short of program by P302.7 billion. “We could have built around 1,000 classrooms a day or 80 kilometers of road every 24 hours out of the amount not spent,” said the lawmaker. READ MORE....

ALSO EDITORIAL: Finally, Roxas’ moment


On the eve of the death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino, her son, President Benigno Aquino III, endorsed the presidential run of his Liberal Party ally, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
Six years ago, Roxas gave way to the younger Aquino after Mrs. Aquino died of cancer. At that time, there was a groundswell of sympathy for the Aquinos, a family so sainted for all their contribution the Philippine history. And because the government then was perceived to be dark and unredeemably corrupt, what Filipinos needed was somebody like then-Senator Noynoy—untainted, unassuming, hailing from the well-loved family. Roxas had been set on gunning for the highest post, even marrying a broadcaster in a very public ceremony, believing it was his destiny to be the next president of the land. Unfortunately for him, his survey ratings were far from spectacular, making it easy for the Liberals to propose a more “winnable” candidate in the person of Ninoy and Cory’s only son. On Friday, however, it was clear there was no stopping the so-called man of the hour, Roxas. He is finally running for President, his “sacrifice” has paid off, and it is time to continue treading the straight and narrow path. After what must have been an agonizing few weeks—especially during negotiations with others equally able to continue the “Daang Matuwid,” now he is sure he enjoys the support of the entire party and the endorsement of the man he stood aside for. READ MORE...

ALSO: Can Roxas be his own man?


And so it came to pass. Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Araneta Roxas II was named the ruling Liberal Party’s official candidate for President in 2016. After months of hemming and hawing, President Benigno Aquino III finally announced Roxas as his choice to continue the administration’s program. Mar’s vice presidential running mate is yet to be named after Aquino’s talks with Senator Grace Poe to run with Roxas failed. The LP also did not come up with its senatorial slate during yesterday’s “Gathering of Friends“ at Club Filipino in Greenhills. Aquino’s anointment of Roxas leaves the political horizon fraught with possibilities. Grace Poe is now free to exercise her option for an independent presidential run with Senator Francis Escudero as running mate for vice president. The other scenario could see Poe being adopted as standard bearer by the Nationalist Citizens Party or the Nacionalista Party. Or a coalition of the two political parties if an arrangement can be worked out. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the ambitious Escudero disengages from Poe and accepts Aquino’s offer to run as Roxas’ VP . With everything possible in politics, Mar Roxas might just overlook Escudero’s support of Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race. Having sealed Aquino’s anointment, can Roxas be his own man once elected President? We congratulate him for clinching the LP nomination and wish him luck. Binay, in reaction to the Roxas anointment, said he’s confident of repeating his win over Mar in their return bout. Escudero and the Aquino sisters have made known they are no longer supporting Binay this time after a slew of corruption charges against him during his watch as Makati mayor. But let’s not rule out a three-way or even a four-way race yet. Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, and Miriam Defensor Santiago might decide to join the presidential derby before the October deadline for filing certificates of candidacy. A Miriam-Marcos tandem is a better combination than a Marcos-Duterte team-up. The tough-talking Davao City mayor is mostly tentative about his plans to the point of exasperating even his supporters, prompting one adviser to describe his posturing as “hele-hele pero quiere.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Investment are not achievements


President Aquino appeared ecstatic during his last State-of-the-Nation Address, particularly on the subject of investment. He knows that increased foreign investment means that he enjoys the confidence of the business community. For him, his critics can shout to high heavens, and he could not care less. According to him, history will judge him. Paradoxically, that self-serving exhilaration about the economy is not an achievement or something that the people are interested in unless translated to something that could affect their lives.
Increased investment can never be seen as an accomplishment. Rather, it is merely an act of the moneyed class to entrust their wealth in one venture, having in mind it would beget more money. He never told the people that investment confidence came not without a price. He did not mention to his listening audience that his government approved Republic Act No. 10641 or an act allowing the entry of foreign banks to operate 100 percent in the Philippines beginning July 14, 2015. R.A. No. 10641, amending R.A. No. 7721, provides in Section 2, to quote: “The Monetary Board may authorize foreign banks to operate in the Philippine banking system through any one of the following modes of entry: (i) by acquiring, purchasing or owning up to one hundred percent (100%) of the voting stock of an existing bank; (ii) by investing in up to one hundred percent (100%) of the voting stock of a new banking subsidiary incorporated under the laws of the Philippines; or (iii) by establishing branches with full banking authority.” Further, Section 5 which amended Section 8 of R.A. No. 7721 provides, to quote: “Foreign banks authorized to operate under Section 2 of this Act, shall perform the same functions, enjoy the same privileges, and be subjected to the same limitations imposed upon a Philippine bank of the same category. The single borrower’s limit of a foreign bank branch shall be aligned with that of a domestic bank. x x x. “Any right, privilege or incentive granted to foreign banks or their subsidiaries or affiliates under this Act, shall be equally enjoyed by and extended under the same conditions to Philippine banks.”  PNoy failed to discern that the principal function of banks is to provide capital. They are not interested in knowing whether the money borrowed would be used to directly invest, meaning the borrower would build factories and provide more jobs for our people, or merely use said capital to engage in speculative trading. The bank would be relying mainly on the interest rate generated than by actually engaging in production, commonly understood as portfolio investment. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: The budget must be spent

MANILA, AUGUST 1, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) Congress will shortly deliberate next year’s P3-trillion budget as proposed by President Benigno Aquino III. The spending plan essentially details the priority of the government in furthering its objectives of providing social, health and educational services to the public, as well as meeting certain economic objectives.

The government, however, will just be mocking the goals of the budget if it continues to underspend, especially in capital outlays. Any amount of underspending will translate into lower job generation and lop off some percentage points in the projected growth of the gross domestic product. Public services to the needy will be curtailed and the poor will continue to be neglected by the state.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto is obviously aware of the ramifications of underspending, declaring that the issue will dominate the discussions on the administration’s sixth and last budget bill.

Recto noted the government underspent to the tune of P827 million a day last year, as the disbursements fell short of program by P302.7 billion. “We could have built around 1,000 classrooms a day or 80 kilometers of road every 24 hours out of the amount not spent,” said the lawmaker.

READ MORE...

President Aquino, meanwhile, boasted that the 2016 budget would make inclusive growth an achievable goal, and not a mere aspiration, by focusing scarce resources on programs that have the greatest impact on improving the lives of the people, especially those in the poorest communities.

But Aquino’s promise will just be lip service if he does not correct the bottlenecks that attended the annual spending program in 2014 and the first six months of 2015. The Philippine economy, as a result of underspending, grew just 5.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015, its slowest pace in three years.

The government is wasting opportunities when it failed to do its pump-priming role. It slowed down economic expansion and failed to take advantage of falling oil prices in the world market.

The 2016 budget will not be an effective tool if it is not spent as designed by each government department and agency.


EDITORIAL: Finally, Roxas’ moment Aug. 01, 2015 at 12:01am

On the eve of the death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino, her son, President Benigno Aquino III, endorsed the presidential run of his Liberal Party ally, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Six years ago, Roxas gave way to the younger Aquino after Mrs. Aquino died of cancer. At that time, there was a groundswell of sympathy for the Aquinos, a family so sainted for all their contribution the Philippine history.

And because the government then was perceived to be dark and unredeemably corrupt, what Filipinos needed was somebody like then-Senator Noynoy—untainted, unassuming, hailing from the well-loved family.

Roxas had been set on gunning for the highest post, even marrying a broadcaster in a very public ceremony, believing it was his destiny to be the next president of the land. Unfortunately for him, his survey ratings were far from spectacular, making it easy for the Liberals to propose a more “winnable” candidate in the person of Ninoy and Cory’s only son.

On Friday, however, it was clear there was no stopping the so-called man of the hour, Roxas. He is finally running for President, his “sacrifice” has paid off, and it is time to continue treading the straight and narrow path. After what must have been an agonizing few weeks—especially during negotiations with others equally able to continue the “Daang Matuwid,” now he is sure he enjoys the support of the entire party and the endorsement of the man he stood aside for.

READ MORE...

What is the worth of an endorsement from President Aquino, who only a few days before regaled the nation with a surreal State-of-the-Nation Address— trumping up imagined achievements from just-begun programs, maligning his “evil” predecessor and thanking everyone close to his heart but neglecting dozens who were killed while performing their police duties?

Not much, but who knows?

From the beginning, this President has given Roxas all the opportunity to shine in his government work, a task the latter had bungled on so many occasions. This time around, Mr. Aquino is telling us that if we want more of the same, we should take his word and elect the Interior Secretary as the next President of the land.

So do we want more of the same?

The next few months will be less about working and more about ensuring the Roxas campaign would have all fronts covered. He has the advantage, after all, of government machinery especially since his actual job entails touching base with local government units – which, by the way, make or break national candidates.

Given the way the endorsement is being hyped, it is easy to forget that elections are not about one man’s dream or sacrifice, and not about a family’s destiny or role in history.

Elections are about the people.

Roxas is not the man of the hour. Filipinos are the men and women of the hour —all hours, actually.


Can Roxas be his own man? By Alejandro Del Rosario | Aug. 01, 2015 at 12:01am

And so it came to pass. Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Araneta Roxas II was named the ruling Liberal Party’s official candidate for President in 2016.

After months of hemming and hawing, President Benigno Aquino III finally announced Roxas as his choice to continue the administration’s program. Mar’s vice presidential running mate is yet to be named after Aquino’s talks with Senator Grace Poe to run with Roxas failed. The LP also did not come up with its senatorial slate during yesterday’s “Gathering of Friends“ at Club Filipino in Greenhills.

Aquino’s anointment of Roxas leaves the political horizon fraught with possibilities. Grace Poe is now free to exercise her option for an independent presidential run with Senator Francis Escudero as running mate for vice president. The other scenario could see Poe being adopted as standard bearer by the Nationalist Citizens Party or the Nacionalista Party. Or a coalition of the two political parties if an arrangement can be worked out.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the ambitious Escudero disengages from Poe and accepts Aquino’s offer to run as Roxas’ VP . With everything possible in politics, Mar Roxas might just overlook Escudero’s support of Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race. Having sealed Aquino’s anointment, can Roxas be his own man once elected President? We congratulate him for clinching the LP nomination and wish him luck.

Binay, in reaction to the Roxas anointment, said he’s confident of repeating his win over Mar in their return bout. Escudero and the Aquino sisters have made known they are no longer supporting Binay this time after a slew of corruption charges against him during his watch as Makati mayor.

But let’s not rule out a three-way or even a four-way race yet. Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, and Miriam Defensor Santiago might decide to join the presidential derby before the October deadline for filing certificates of candidacy.

A Miriam-Marcos tandem is a better combination than a Marcos-Duterte team-up. The tough-talking Davao City mayor is mostly tentative about his plans to the point of exasperating even his supporters, prompting one adviser to describe his posturing as “hele-hele pero quiere.”

READ MORE...

There is a bond between Miriam and Marcos. They stood together with former senator Joker Arroyo in casting a “not guilty“ vote in the impeachment case against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. It turned out that the senators who convicted Corona received incentives in millions of pesos from Budget Secretary Butch Abad’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds which was later ruled illegal by the high court.

Miriam lost to Fidel Valdez Ramos for President in 1992, a contest she believed she won but for the manipulation of manual counting of votes.

It’s Miariam’s last hurrah. Voters might just vote for her to make up for her heart -breaking loss to Ramos.

Aquino’s impropriety

The Standard’s post-Sona editorial, “The little President, ” painted a telling portrait and flawed character of the man who should have been the leader of the nation but fell short of the title befitting a President.

In his final State-of-the-Nation Address, Benigno Simeon Aquino III squandered a momentous opportunity for redemption after five years of inept governance. Instead of calling for unity and national reconciliation in bidding farewell to the nation, he chose to be true to form. In his usual acrimonious manner, he still blamed his predecessor for the failures of his administration.

Full of scorn for those who had opposed and criticized him, Aquino heaped lavish praise to those who served him with canine loyalty. Aquino cited them one by one --from his heir apparent Mar Roxas, to his hair stylist down the line to his housemaid.

His over-two-hour speech was interrupted by applause from a house gallery that was packed with his allies and supporters. Except for Rogelio Singson and Armin Luistro, Cabinet members-- Florencio Abad, Joseph Emilio Abaya, Proceso Alcala and Corazon Soliman-- mentioned by BSA III could have made the hall of shame list.

Unpresidential without any respect for the office, we can forgive Aquino because we have to understand he does not have any inkling of what being President is all about.

If he has any sense of propriety, he would have known there is a time and place for thanking the help which should not have been in the halls of Congress. He could have done this properly at his official residence in Malacanang when he packs up for the move back to Times Street in Quezon City as private citizen Aquino.


Investment are not achievements By Rod Kapunan | Aug. 01, 2015 at 12:01am

President Aquino appeared ecstatic during his last State-of-the-Nation Address, particularly on the subject of investment. He knows that increased foreign investment means that he enjoys the confidence of the business community. For him, his critics can shout to high heavens, and he could not care less. According to him, history will judge him. Paradoxically, that self-serving exhilaration about the economy is not an achievement or something that the people are interested in unless translated to something that could affect their lives.

Increased investment can never be seen as an accomplishment. Rather, it is merely an act of the moneyed class to entrust their wealth in one venture, having in mind it would beget more money. He never told the people that investment confidence came not without a price. He did not mention to his listening audience that his government approved Republic Act No. 10641 or an act allowing the entry of foreign banks to operate 100 percent in the Philippines beginning July 14, 2015.

R.A. No. 10641, amending R.A. No. 7721, provides in Section 2, to quote: “The Monetary Board may authorize foreign banks to operate in the Philippine banking system through any one of the following modes of entry: (i) by acquiring, purchasing or owning up to one hundred percent (100%) of the voting stock of an existing bank; (ii) by investing in up to one hundred percent (100%) of the voting stock of a new banking subsidiary incorporated under the laws of the Philippines; or (iii) by establishing branches with full banking authority.”

Further, Section 5 which amended Section 8 of R.A. No. 7721 provides, to quote: “Foreign banks authorized to operate under Section 2 of this Act, shall perform the same functions, enjoy the same privileges, and be subjected to the same limitations imposed upon a Philippine bank of the same category. The single borrower’s limit of a foreign bank branch shall be aligned with that of a domestic bank. x x x. “Any right, privilege or incentive granted to foreign banks or their subsidiaries or affiliates under this Act, shall be equally enjoyed by and extended under the same conditions to Philippine banks.”

PNoy failed to discern that the principal function of banks is to provide capital. They are not interested in knowing whether the money borrowed would be used to directly invest, meaning the borrower would build factories and provide more jobs for our people, or merely use said capital to engage in speculative trading. The bank would be relying mainly on the interest rate generated than by actually engaging in production, commonly understood as portfolio investment.

READ MORE...

By approving said Act, the administration in effect scrapped the economic provisions in the Constitution that would give Filipino investors and businessmen a chance in helping develop this country. Congress practically abnegated on its duty which in the second sentence, paragraph 1 of Section 10, Article XII of the Constitution states, “The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.”

A close examination at R.A. No. 10640 would indicate that it collaterally abrogated Section 10 of Article XII of the Constitution which states, and to quote: “The Congress, shall upon recommendation of the national economic and planning agency, when national interest dictates, reserve to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens, or such higher percentage as Congress may prescribe, certain areas of investment.”

Foreign banks can now participate and do any business transaction by virtue of corporate takeover after foreclosure proceedings by their defaulting borrowers, thereby disregarding the limitation on ownership to aliens. This is worse than the hated banking practice that was once prohibited even in the US under the Glass-Steagall Banking Act, which separated investment banking from commercial banking that has been blamed as the principal cause of the economic meltdown in the US, Japan, in Asia in 1998, in Mexico, Argentina, and today in Greece.

This we say because Section 4 repealed, to which Section 9 provides: “Foreign banks which are authorized to do banking business in the Philippines through any of the modes of entry under Section 2 hereof shall be allowed to bid and take part in foreclosure sales of real property mortgaged to them, as well as to avail of enforcement and other proceedings, and accordingly take possession of the mortgaged property, for a period not exceeding five (5) years from actual possession: x x x.”

In short, the law completed the conversion of our economy to one big casino where foreign banks could engage in speculative trading of stocks, treasury bills, sovereign guarantee, collateralize debt obligations, etc. This also explains why the partly government-owned United Coconut Plants Bank is now up for sale, and the coconut farmers are bidding goodbye to the Coconut Levy Fund amounting to P7 billion or $1.6 billion, which now could be transferred by virtue of sale despite the entry of judgment of the Supreme Court decision on September 4, 2012.

Even if we would give it to PNoy that foreign direct investment jumped after he approved the law, what in fact transpired was an increase in the volume rather than the percentage share of the country as an investors’ paradise.

In fact, the Philippines registered the fifth in FDI with $3.86 billion surpassing Cambodia with $1.27 billion, Brunei Darussalam, $908.4 million, and Laos, $426.7 Million. Leading was Singapore with $54,4 billion; Indonesia with $19.2 billion; Vietnam with $8.4 billion; Thailand with $8.1 billion; Cambodia with $1.8 billion and the Philippines with $1.5 billion.

Investment would have no intrinsic value to our people if they are not translated to something they could savor in terms of employment and improvement to their lives. Yet, unemployment remains high at 7 percent while underemployment is at 18.3 percent. As of the last quarter of 2014, hunger has worsened. The Social Weather Stations revealed that 4.8 million families, not individuals, experienced having nothing to eat in the past three months. The latest survey says the 5.7 points higher than the 16.3 percent – equivalent to 3.6 million families. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board, more than one-quarter or 27.9 percent of our population fell below the poverty line in the first semester of 2012. This means his much-ballyhooed poverty alleviation program, Conditional Cash Transfer, was a dud.

Indeed, the oligarchy and the international finance syndicates have all the reasons to applaud the SONA of PNoy for they are now reaping the dividend for their support of their puppet. PNoy did not mention anything like what he has done to improve the lives of the people. He did not even offer a simple solution to the problem about the Metro Rail Transit where thousands of commuters are stranded daily or in improving our transport system to enhance our productive output. Rather, he used his power to institutionalize the corrupt practice of political patronage through the unmitigated use of pork barrel to make a mockery of our democracy which this administration has been hypocritically perorating.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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