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

FROM THE TRIBUNE

EDITORIAL:
TAKING STOCK OF MAR


Noynoy’s anointment of Mar Roxas was made up as Noynoy paying forward the sacrifice of his dear friend in the 2010 election when Mar supposedly gave way to Noynoy for the presidency. “Bayan bago ang sarili (nation before self)” Mar said in his speech was what prodded him to make way for Noynoy. It was, of course, also a continuation of the already kilometric State of the Nation Address (Sona) when Noynoy cited points and videos presented in his more than two-hour speech in Congress during his speech. In all, it was what everybody expected, Roxas emerging as the standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) and with Noynoy’s endorsement. In the field of business, the Club Filipino event can be said to be already discounted in the assessment of Roxas as a presidential candidate. It did not add any value in terms of generating more public support. Noynoy in his speech even acknowledged that Mar’s low numbers would have to be improved through the help of his partymates to make the public aware of his supposed capabilities. The endorsement also raised the question on the fate of Senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero whose tandem was hoping against hope of winning the nod of Noynoy who is tied down by his commitment to Roxas. As of now, as even the LP camp has admitted, a Poe candidacy would work against the administration candidate since votes for Poe and Chiz would certainly eat on the pro-Noynoy votes. If presidentiable surveys would be the basis, Binay has a solid base of about 30 percent of respondents who never wavered despite the vicious and unrelenting demolition campaign launched against him that started from his sworn opponents in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee. As for Mar, his numbers have a similar character as that of Binay in which both do not change, only Mar’s figures are almost always almost at the bottom of the heap. His poor numbers were the real reason for the LP to tap Noynoy instead of him during the 2010 presidential race since the party was banking on public sympathy from the death of former President Cory Aquino to sweep Noynoy to power. Mar’s failure to inspire public support was mostly because of his image as being deeply tarred with politics. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: We ain’t seen nothing. Period


Noynoy was talking straight when he told Filipinos in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) the other day that “you ain’t seen nothing yet” in his more than five years as president but he should have added the Looney Tunes line: And that’s all, folks.Noynoy’s speech started with his recounting of his administration’s journey through the “straight path” and with that launched what everybody expected was an attack on his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo and his perceived political rivals.Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo commented that Arroyo was his trophy to show and that Noynoy has “no accomplishment” that he can call his own to highlight in his Sona.It was fitting that Noynoy blamed Arroyo in all his Sonas, up to the sixth and last, since it only magnified the absence of any meaningful change under his administration and the utter lack of government action to improve the people’s lives.The Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) mess was even incredulously blamed on Gloria as Noynoy claimed the train system should have been overhauled during her term but “only token cosmetic changes were undertaken.”“This lack of care practically guaranteed the breakdown of our trains. Is it not in the interest of all companies to make sure that they get their money’s worth from their investment? Yet, they allowed the situation to deteriorate, to the point where, at very short notice, they just passed the job of improving the MRT on to us,” Noynoy claimed. In all of his five years in office, he never once repaired whatever needed to repair? Transport Secretary Jun Abaya, Liberal Party (LP) acting president, even won praises from Noynoy. The Ombudsman recently filed graft charges against former MRT-3 officials including former general manager Al Vitangcol, excluding of course, presidential ally, Abaya, who was among those sued for the extortion attempt undertaken by Liberal Party (LP) bigwigs on the Czech firm Inekon on a contract to supply train coaches as related by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar.READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Money, machinery are rolling


What did Noynoy really mean when he said the Liberal Party (LP)’s task is to make the public know Roxas better? It can’t be because Roxas is new in the political scene, since he has been in the public eye as member of Congress and later in the Cabinet since the term of former President Erap Estrada.He even successfully jumped ship during the 2001 mutiny at Edsa that led to the presidency of Gloria Arroyo wherein he became trade and industry secretary.Roxas even topped the 2004 senatorial elections. Thus, when it comes to recall, every Filipino would have heard of not being familiar with Mar.The problem it seems is that many Filipinos are indeed familiar with Mar’s true self.The Mr. Palengke image makeover of Roxas that made him Senate topnotcher in 2004 became a dud in the vice presidential race in 2010 when he lost to Jojo Binay.The Mr. Palengke campaign, however, underlined the crying need for Mar to identify with the public in general since the poor simply see him, along with all the yellows and Noynoy’s cabal in the LP as too high up in the stratosphere to know the daily struggle of ordinary Filipinos, particularly the poor.When ranged against populist candidates such as Binay, Roxas is expected to eat dust at the polls, at least in a fair count.Noynoy, in stating the need for Mar to be given more prominence with the public is translated as a marching order not only to the LP but the whole government structure to focus on propagating the managed image of Mar.The Palace the other day said that Mar will not step down from his post even after getting the anointment of Noynoy since several of the image buildup projects in Mar’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are in mid-stream.These richly-funded projects include providing water services to barangays and shelter for illegal settlers which are not inherent functions of the DILG but are crucial in raising public awareness of Mar. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Cost of knowing Mar better



Many, Filipinos, civic groups, and the United Nations (UN) included, are baffled over the crucial funds for the rehabilitation of “Yolanda” devastated areas, worth P171 billion, being held up at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).They, however, only need to look at the calendar to know the answer and that is the month of May next year.Church and other charity organizations are sensing that the delay in the release of the funds is purposely being done so the release of the bulk of these will coincide with the campaign season.Noynoy had issued a marching order to administration allies that would necessarily include government agencies to make the public know Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas better and using the Yolanda funds on the Visayas regions recovering from the effects of the typhoon would definitely do the trick.Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez cited a Church-backed study that points to the Aquino administration deliberately stretching out fund releases to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), meant for the Yolanda devastated areas.The study conducted by National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) and Caritas Philippines with other groups showed only P73.51 billion, or 41.6 percent, of the total P171-billion identified funding needs released as of March.The DBM released only P2.4 billion of the targeted P26 billion for social services, P13.6 billion for resettlement of the required P75 billion, P9.8 billion of the P33 billion fund for livelihood and P21.5 billion of the P35 billion needed for infrastructure.The DBM is also deliberately making obscure the use of the huge Yolanda funds by mixing it up with other funds for the rehabilitation of areas affected by other typhoons and calamities such as the Bohol earthquake in 2013.Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who used to be Noynoy’s Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, said that after he left the Cabinet, the overseeing of the Yolanda funds was transferred to the care of the DBM under Budget secretary and LP chief strategist Butch Abad.Lacson said the government should maintain a permanent body to keep track of the projects and funds for the rehabilitation of the victims of Yolanda since the DBM, which has been restricting the release of funds, is now also the one tracking these.Lacson related that during a dialog with Noynoy when he submitted his resignation paper, Noynoy promised to study his recommendation to designate a permanent body on rehabilitation of disaster areas but the designation did not happen, which is why the funds remained under the control of the DBM.National Treasurer Leonor Magtolis Briones, who is also the convenor of Social Watch Philippines (SWP), said the P70.9 billion released for Yolanda funds in June this year included appropriations for areas affected by other disasters such as the Bohol earthquake in 2013 and other typhoons.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).READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: Taking stock of Mar

MANILA, AUGUST 10, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 01 August 2015 - Noynoy’s anointment of Mar Roxas was made up as Noynoy paying forward the sacrifice of his dear friend in the 2010 election when Mar supposedly gave way to Noynoy for the presidency.

“Bayan bago ang sarili (nation before self)” Mar said in his speech was what prodded him to make way for Noynoy.

It was, of course, also a continuation of the already kilometric State of the Nation Address (Sona) when Noynoy cited points and videos presented in his more than two-hour speech in Congress during his speech.

In all, it was what everybody expected, Roxas emerging as the standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) and with Noynoy’s endorsement.

In the field of business, the Club Filipino event can be said to be already discounted in the assessment of Roxas as a presidential candidate. It did not add any value in terms of generating more public support.

Noynoy in his speech even acknowledged that Mar’s low numbers would have to be improved through the help of his partymates to make the public aware of his supposed capabilities.

The endorsement also raised the question on the fate of Senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero whose tandem was hoping against hope of winning the nod of Noynoy who is tied down by his commitment to Roxas.

As of now, as even the LP camp has admitted, a Poe candidacy would work against the administration candidate since votes for Poe and Chiz would certainly eat on the pro-Noynoy votes.

If presidentiable surveys would be the basis, Binay has a solid base of about 30 percent of respondents who never wavered despite the vicious and unrelenting demolition campaign launched against him that started from his sworn opponents in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.

As for Mar, his numbers have a similar character as that of Binay in which both do not change, only Mar’s figures are almost always almost at the bottom of the heap.

His poor numbers were the real reason for the LP to tap Noynoy instead of him during the 2010 presidential race since the party was banking on public sympathy from the death of former President Cory Aquino to sweep Noynoy to power.

Mar’s failure to inspire public support was mostly because of his image as being deeply tarred with politics.

READ MORE...

Filipinos mostly recall Mar’s defining moment in the aftermath of typhoon “Yolanda” that killed more than 6,000 individuals and devastated most of the Visayas region in 2013 was when he shot at Tacloban City Alfred Romualdez, sating: “You’re a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino” in response to Romualdez’s demand for national government assistance.

Mar’s statement became the watchword of vindictive politics under Noynoy.
Mar then sought a signed waiver from Romualdez to transfer authority on the devastated city to the national government, which means Roxas as Interior Secretary would have taken over control of the local government, before the national government infuses relief and other forms of assistance.

This came at a time when even the international community had expressed alarm over the slow response of government to the Yolanda catastrophe.

Roxas initially strongly denied having asked Romualdez to sign any document to relinquish power until a video popped up in social media about the meeting between him and Romualdez, where he clearly sought the “legalization” of the national government taking control of Tacloban City government.

Until now residents in Tacloban and nearly elsewhere that Yolanda devastated one and a half years ago swear that they never received meaningful assistance from the government of Noynoy except for token provisions that did not last a month.

Roxas’ and Noynoy’s response to Yolanda best defined the negligent and conceited administration that Noynoy said needs to be continued.


EDITORIAL: We ain’t seen nothing. Period Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 29 July 2015 00:00

Noynoy was talking straight when he told Filipinos in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) the other day that “you ain’t seen nothing yet” in his more than five years as president but he should have added the Looney Tunes line: And that’s all, folks.

Noynoy’s speech started with his recounting of his administration’s journey through the “straight path” and with that launched what everybody expected was an attack on his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo and his perceived political rivals.

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo commented that Arroyo was his trophy to show and that Noynoy has “no accomplishment” that he can call his own to highlight in his Sona.

It was fitting that Noynoy blamed Arroyo in all his Sonas, up to the sixth and last, since it only magnified the absence of any meaningful change under his administration and the utter lack of government action to improve the people’s lives.

The Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) mess was even incredulously blamed on Gloria as Noynoy claimed the train system should have been overhauled during her term but “only token cosmetic changes were undertaken.”

“This lack of care practically guaranteed the breakdown of our trains. Is it not in the interest of all companies to make sure that they get their money’s worth from their investment? Yet, they allowed the situation to deteriorate, to the point where, at very short notice, they just passed the job of improving the MRT on to us,” Noynoy claimed. In all of his five years in office, he never once repaired whatever needed to repair?

Transport Secretary Jun Abaya, Liberal Party (LP) acting president, even won praises from Noynoy. The Ombudsman recently filed graft charges against former MRT-3 officials including former general manager Al Vitangcol, excluding of course, presidential ally, Abaya, who was among those sued for the extortion attempt undertaken by Liberal Party (LP) bigwigs on the Czech firm Inekon on a contract to supply train coaches as related by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar.

READ MORE...

The way that Noynoy recounted it, the former contractor of MRT-3 wanted to undertake the maintenance of the coaches but the Department of Transportation and Communications opted instead to buy new coaches.

“The private sector relegated their responsibility to us; when we made moves to provide a solution, they blocked us,” he said.

It was hard to imagine an administration that had ceased to exist five years ago still to be made responsible for a current disaster. By all intents, the botched extortion attempt of the LP was what delayed the rehabilitation program at MRT-3.

There were also a lot of contestable figures that Noynoy dished out.

He claimed that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were greatly reduced during his term, which was a reversal of the trend during the previous administration.

“Our predecessor took pride in ‘uninterrupted growth’ during her last Sona.

Scrutinize what she said, however, and you would realize that a significant portion of this growth was fueled by remittances from Filipinos who had lost hope in our country. As they say: People were voting with their feet. If I were to imitate that style of governance, I would be loath to claim a success borne of forcing my countrymen to escape our shores,” Noynoy went.

Is he for real? What has been different from before is that the global situation had worsened while the Philippines had not necessarily retrogressed, thus, Filipinos were forced to return home but not because they believe that opportunities have improved. Jobs were scarce under Noynoy’s presidency.

Also, how can Noynoy dispute the fact that each month, $2 billion in remittances enter the country which means that either more money is being sent home by his claimed reduced OFWs, which is unlikely, or that the more plausible reason is that more Filipinos are, exactly what Noynoy said, voting with their feet to find decent livelihood abroad.

Noynoy also boasted of the 6.8 percent unemployment rate,” the lowest in decade” but still among the highest in the Asian region, and the $6.2 billion foreign direct investments (FDI) last year which was the most that the country ever got still lags behind peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Even Vietnam got $22 billion in FDIs last year and that was even a reduction compared to the previous year.

Noynoy added his administration “created permanent jobs; we did not hire an abundance of street sweepers,” in reference to Arroyo’s temporary election-related hirings.

State statistics, however, showed that underemployment or what can be termed as Filipinos forced to have temporary jobs is still at 18 percent last April.

An observer, thus, commented that the only truth in Noy’s Sona was his persistent coughing.


EDITORIAL: Money, machinery are rolling Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 03 August 2015 00:00

What did Noynoy really mean when he said the Liberal Party (LP)’s task is to make the public know Roxas better?

It can’t be because Roxas is new in the political scene, since he has been in the public eye as member of Congress and later in the Cabinet since the term of former President Erap Estrada.

He even successfully jumped ship during the 2001 mutiny at Edsa that led to the presidency of Gloria Arroyo wherein he became trade and industry secretary.
Roxas even topped the 2004 senatorial elections. Thus, when it comes to recall, every Filipino would have heard of not being familiar with Mar.

The problem it seems is that many Filipinos are indeed familiar with Mar’s true self.

The Mr. Palengke image makeover of Roxas that made him Senate topnotcher in 2004 became a dud in the vice presidential race in 2010 when he lost to Jojo Binay.

The Mr. Palengke campaign, however, underlined the crying need for Mar to identify with the public in general since the poor simply see him, along with all the yellows and Noynoy’s cabal in the LP as too high up in the stratosphere to know the daily struggle of ordinary Filipinos, particularly the poor.

When ranged against populist candidates such as Binay, Roxas is expected to eat dust at the polls, at least in a fair count.

Noynoy, in stating the need for Mar to be given more prominence with the public is translated as a marching order not only to the LP but the whole government structure to focus on propagating the managed image of Mar.

The Palace the other day said that Mar will not step down from his post even after getting the anointment of Noynoy since several of the image buildup projects in Mar’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are in mid-stream.

These richly-funded projects include providing water services to barangays and shelter for illegal settlers which are not inherent functions of the DILG but are crucial in raising public awareness of Mar.

READ MORE...

The Palace pronouncement only points to the efforts based on the marching orders of Noynoy for the government to direct efforts and resources toward the task of instilling the image of Roxas looking after the people’s needs.

For many Filipinos, despite the five-year campaign starting 2010 to propagate the “tuwid na daan” (straight path), the Aquino administration’s efforts are meaningless unless these translate to an improvement in their economic conditions.

The administration of Noynoy is considered a massive failure when it comes to gut issues such as the provision of quality jobs and the eradication of poverty.

The expensive conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which is the only poverty alleviation scheme of the administration of Noynoy, is riddled with allegations of irregularities including its use to instill political patronage among the poor.

The CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is funded with P62.3 billion from the budget this year and an estimated P70 billion this year covering some 4 million households which are given an average of P1,500 each in cash doles monthly.

The existence of huge lump sums in the 2015 budget based on the revelations of various groups monitoring public funds also indicates the preference for doles to buy political support which through more vigorous prodding will turn into votes for the presidential elections next year.

Former Sen. Ping Lacson said as much as P700 billion in lump sums are found in the 2015 budget that will mostly be distributed as pork barrel to allies in the House and the Senate.

Noynoy, thus, is backing up his marching orders with almost an inexhaustible fund to perk up the LP and its allies in their arduous task of introducing Roxas to voters.

Noynoy and the Palace say no public funds will be used to campaign for Roxas, which is hogwash.


EDITORIAL:

Cost of knowing Mar better Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 08 August 2015 00:00

Many, Filipinos, civic groups, and the United Nations (UN) included, are baffled over the crucial funds for the rehabilitation of “Yolanda” devastated areas, worth P171 billion, being held up at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
They, however, only need to look at the calendar to know the answer and that is the month of May next year.

Church and other charity organizations are sensing that the delay in the release of the funds is purposely being done so the release of the bulk of these will coincide with the campaign season.

Noynoy had issued a marching order to administration allies that would necessarily include government agencies to make the public know Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas better and using the Yolanda funds on the Visayas regions recovering from the effects of the typhoon would definitely do the trick.

Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez cited a Church-backed study that points to the Aquino administration deliberately stretching out fund releases to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), meant for the Yolanda devastated areas.

The study conducted by National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) and Caritas Philippines with other groups showed only P73.51 billion, or 41.6 percent, of the total P171-billion identified funding needs released as of March.

The DBM released only P2.4 billion of the targeted P26 billion for social services, P13.6 billion for resettlement of the required P75 billion, P9.8 billion of the P33 billion fund for livelihood and P21.5 billion of the P35 billion needed for infrastructure.

The DBM is also deliberately making obscure the use of the huge Yolanda funds by mixing it up with other funds for the rehabilitation of areas affected by other typhoons and calamities such as the Bohol earthquake in 2013.



Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who used to be Noynoy’s Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, said that after he left the Cabinet, the overseeing of the Yolanda funds was transferred to the care of the DBM under Budget secretary and LP chief strategist Butch Abad.

Lacson said the government should maintain a permanent body to keep track of the projects and funds for the rehabilitation of the victims of Yolanda since the DBM, which has been restricting the release of funds, is now also the one tracking these.

Lacson related that during a dialog with Noynoy when he submitted his resignation paper, Noynoy promised to study his recommendation to designate a permanent body on rehabilitation of disaster areas but the designation did not happen, which is why the funds remained under the control of the DBM.

National Treasurer Leonor Magtolis Briones, who is also the convenor of Social Watch Philippines (SWP), said the P70.9 billion released for Yolanda funds in June this year included appropriations for areas affected by other disasters such as the Bohol earthquake in 2013 and other typhoons.

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).

READ MORE...

For Abad, the delay in the release of the Yolanda funds was the result of balancing “the need for rapid aid with our long-term disaster-management goals.”

That’s the same bull crap, however, that he dishes out with regard to the underspending in the budget, that, according to former Budget Secretary Ben Diokno totaled P529 billion from 2011 to 2014.

The underspending has the same goal as that of withholding the release of the Yolanda funds which is to realize as much savings possible and pour this all close to an election period.

Spendings have started to pick up since the political atmosphere is heating up which should be the reason that government expenditures exceeded the P190.75 billion target in June when the budget gap reached P72.7 billion compared to the previous month’s surpluses due to underspending.

Abad had the LP numbers all figured out since 2010 which is the reason he is steadfast in his post despite all the controversies into which he has been.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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