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

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT

EDITORIAL: PRISTINE BEACHES, TERROR THREATS


SEPTEMBER 25 -DAVAO.JPG FROM DAVAO TRAVEL GUIDE There is nothing like terror to spoil one’s vacation on a first-class beach resort. And just one such attack on the Garden Island City of Samal in Davao is enough to deal tourism in all of southern and western Philippines a severe blow. This is because tourists and locals alike have not forgotten the ordeals suffered by victims, both foreign and local, of two celebrated kidnapping attacks in recent years. These are the Sipadan island kidnap crisis near Sabah, Malaysia in year 2000 and Dos Palmas in Palawan in 2001, both involving foreigners as victims. On Sipadan island, the Abu Sayyaf seized 21 hostages including 10 tourists from Europe and the Middle East. They demanded $2.4 million, the release of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, and the total withdrawal of government troops from Jolo. The government answered with full military operation to rescue the hostages. Dos Palmas in Honda Bay, Palawan was the site of another kidnap crisis in May, 2001. Again done by the Abu Sayyaf, it claimed the lives of two Americans, prompting the Armed Forces to pursue the perpetrators, leading to the rescue of American missionary Gracia Burnham the next year. This time, a dozen armed men seized Canadians John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 60; Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, manager of Holiday Oceanview Marina, and Filipino Maritess Flor. They were herded into motorized outriggers, and the perpetrators evaded a late naval blockade set up by the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard, and police patrols on land, on their way to the mountains of Davao Oriental. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: MAKE OR BREAK


SEPTEMBER 29 -COURTESY OF THE BOHOL CHRONICLE ONLINE LAWYERS for Senator Grace Poe have just seen a difficult job turning for the worse after Supreme Court justices sitting in the Senate Electoral Tribunal practically threw out, on the very first hearing day, the argument that the lawmaker enjoys the legal presumption of being a natural-born Filipino courtesy of a customary international law against the statelessness of foundlings. The rejection of such theory, a major point for petitioner Rizalito David, has shoved Poe’s legal team into a tight corner where they have to tackle a single provision of the 1935 Constitution that offers her no way out. Article IV Section 1 (5) admits a foundling on Philippine soil to be a Filipino citizen but only as a naturalized one. None of the four other paragraphs preceding that one apply to her case. Poe’s camp was hoping for an acknowledgment from the SET that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights accorded the senator the full status of being presumed to have been born in the country where she was found 47 years ago of parents who were also to be seen by law as citizens of the same State. But the magistrates would have none of it. Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, chairman of the SET, cut through all arguments and placed the issue on the one perspective that spelled trouble for Poe and her lawyers – she now has to convince the Tribunal that the 1935 Constitution admits an exception that would concur to her stand. READ MORE...

ALSO: COLUMN OF THE DAY: THE USEFULNESS OF ELECTION SURVEYS


SEPTEMBER 28 -by Ellen Tordesillas
SURVEYS if conducted by professionals and executed with integrity are a gauge of the sentiments of the people. I have to stress “executed with integrity” because during the election season, there are surveys and surveys. One has to check on the background of the survey firms, who commissioned the survey as well as the questions asked. As Sen. Grace Poe said, thanking her supporters for their trust that put her as the frontrunner among presidential aspirants, “Surveys help us check if we’re on the right track.” But she said, “We derive our inspiration from the needs and aspirations of our country, with or without surveys.” Poe declared her presidential candidacy for the 2016 elections last Sept. 16. The next day, fellow senator who is also known as her mentor, Chiz Escudero, announced that he is Poe’s running mate. The Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia released last week their latest surveys. SWS conducted their survey last Sep. 2 to 5 while Pulse Asia started their poll earlier, Aug. 27 up to Sept. 3. In both SWS and Pulse Asia polls, Poe was the frontrunner followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in third place. Very significant in both surveys was the huge jump of the ratings of Roxas, who used to be a perennial cellar dweller. Although Roxas is still number three, analysts say that the huge increase of his numbers have put him in a “statistical tie” with Poe and Binay, whose numbers have gone down significantly since the investigation of alleged anomalies in the Makati City building projects. In fact, in one survey of SWS, which asked for three names on “Best leaders to succeed President Aquino in 2016”, Roxas was number two, overtaking Binay for the first time. The survey was criticized by those knowledgeable on surveys for asking for three names when the position is only for one person. While surveys are used by candidates to find out their strength and weaknesses and plan their campaign guided by the findings, its most important use is for businessmen-contributors. READ MORE...

ALSO by Jocelyn Montemayor: BINAY’S RATINGS DROP TO NEW LOW
[Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. observed that the drop in Binay’s ratings happened after he resigned from the Cabinet. Coloma said Aquino was grateful for the continued approval and trust of his “bosses,” and vowed to continue the reform programs that he has started in the remainder of his term.]


OCTOBER 2 -VP BINAY NET public approval and trust in the country’s top government officials either declined or were statistically unchanged in the third quarter, with Vice President Jejomar Binay suffering the biggest drop in his ratings, the September 8 to 14 Ulat sa Bayan survey of Pulse Asia showed. The survey, which involved 2,400 respondents nationwide, showed Binay’s approval rating dropping to 43 percent in September from 58 percent in June while the number of people who were dissatisfied with his job rose to 26 percent from 18 percent. Binay’s a net approval rating dropped from +40 in June to +17 in September or 23 points. His trust rating also declined from 57 percent in June to 39 percent in September, with his net trust rating dropping by 26 points from +38 to +12 (or 26 points). The survey was done after the Supreme Court convened as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to hear the election protest in the May 2010 polls against Binay, after the Vice President delivered his rejoinder to President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, and while the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee hears the alleged corruption charges against Binay. Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. observed that the drop in Binay’s ratings happened after he resigned from the Cabinet. The survey also showed President Aquino’s approval rating unchanged at 54 percent. However, his disapproval rating rose from 12 percent in June to 16 percent in September, making his net approval rating drop from +42 to +38. His trust rating was also virtually unchanged, from 50 percent in June to 49 percent in September. But his distrust rating rose from 13 percent to 16 percent, resulting in a net trust rating of +33 from +37. READ MORE...

ALSO By Amado P. Macasaet: HOLIDAYS HAVE HEAVY COSTS


OCTOBER 2 -By Amado P. Macasaet From the time President Aquino signed an executive order identifying the holidays for the current year, “the business community has since expressed concern over their increasing number over the last few years”, according to the Makati Business Club. In a report called Holiday Economics, MBC said the 20 holidays in the Philippines “is above the ASEAN average of 15. According to the MBC study, “from a business perspective, more non-working holidays translate to less time in the production cycle. For companies that cannot afford to have a day off in their operations, this means higher production costs, since the law provides for a premium for work performed on a rest day and special days.”  The study stressed “(this) nevertheless does not count workers operating on a ‘no work-no-pay scheme.” Thus, a fixed salaried worker is paid on a non-working holiday but does not really earn his wage because he did not work. Worse, the paid holiday is not deducted from leave credits if any is left. On the other hand, the daily wage worker is denied a day’s wage when that day is declared a non-working holiday.” The biggest “victims of non-working holidays are the call centers. Their costs go up since they cater to foreign clients. Call center employees have to work on the “holiest” of holy days. The time zone difference force call centers to operate at night. When it is 8 am in Manhattan, New York City, it is 8 in the evening in the Philippines. There are 12 holidays declared under the Administrative Code of 1987. There are 10 non-working holidays under Proclamation 655 issued in 2013. Research of Business Insight shows the Philippines has 23 holidays. There is a similar number in Cambodia (table). Gloria Arroyo came up with what she called “holiday economics” in 2001 which according to her should boost local tourism. MBC explained in its report “The policy allows certain movable holidays to be observed on Monday or Friday to allow long weekends. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PRISTINE BEACHES, TERROR THREATS


DAVAO.JPG FROM DAVAO TRAVEL GUIDE

MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (MALAYA) September 25, 2015 - There is nothing like terror to spoil one’s vacation on a first-class beach resort. And just one such attack on the Garden Island City of Samal in Davao is enough to deal tourism in all of southern and western Philippines a severe blow.

This is because tourists and locals alike have not forgotten the ordeals suffered by victims, both foreign and local, of two celebrated kidnapping attacks in recent years. These are the Sipadan island kidnap crisis near Sabah, Malaysia in year 2000 and Dos Palmas in Palawan in 2001, both involving foreigners as victims.

On Sipadan island, the Abu Sayyaf seized 21 hostages including 10 tourists from Europe and the Middle East. They demanded $2.4 million, the release of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, and the total withdrawal of government troops from Jolo. The government answered with full military operation to rescue the hostages.

Dos Palmas in Honda Bay, Palawan was the site of another kidnap crisis in May, 2001. Again done by the Abu Sayyaf, it claimed the lives of two Americans, prompting the Armed Forces to pursue the perpetrators, leading to the rescue of American missionary Gracia Burnham the next year.

This time, a dozen armed men seized Canadians John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 60; Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, manager of Holiday Oceanview Marina, and Filipino Maritess Flor. They were herded into motorized outriggers, and the perpetrators evaded a late naval blockade set up by the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard, and police patrols on land, on their way to the mountains of Davao Oriental.

READ MORE...

The seizure of selected targets for ransom, whether cash or political demands such as release of prisoners, is least expected in such a peaceful place as Samal island. That place has for years been developed as a safe, tropical haven, and Samal City Mayor Aniano Antalan said there has been no similar threat or incident in the past years. And so complacency begins to set in, security measures are relaxed, leading to an open invitation to trouble.

While busy scouring land and sea, authorities are looking into the possibility that the Abu Sayyaf, a terror group affiliated with al-Qaida which attempted a similar kidnapping operation in 2001, is behind Monday’s incident.

The communist-led New People’s Army (NPA), another armed group capable of this raid, is also suspect. President Aquino said reports reaching him indicated a new group is behind the kidnapping.

This conjecture from initial investigation reports is based mainly on the fact that the Abu Sayyaf does kidnappings at sea, using much faster speedboats than the seacraft used by prospective victims.

Meanwhile, the NPA is always silent on insinuations about kidnap operations being done by them, because “officially” it is not a bandit group but one with a communist ideology. But the government knows this is a lie.

Government should act promptly and decisively to solve the Samal island kidnappings, not only because foreigners are the victims, but also because of the damage this incident would do to local tourism and the economy.


EDITORIAL: MAKE OR BREAK September 29, 2015


COURTESY OF THE BOHOL CHRONICLE ONLINE

LAWYERS for Senator Grace Poe have just seen a difficult job turning for the worse after Supreme Court justices sitting in the Senate Electoral Tribunal practically threw out, on the very first hearing day, the argument that the lawmaker enjoys the legal presumption of being a natural-born Filipino courtesy of a customary international law against the statelessness of foundlings.

The rejection of such theory, a major point for petitioner Rizalito David, has shoved Poe’s legal team into a tight corner where they have to tackle a single provision of the 1935 Constitution that offers her no way out.

Article IV Section 1 (5) admits a foundling on Philippine soil to be a Filipino citizen but only as a naturalized one. None of the four other paragraphs preceding that one apply to her case.

Poe’s camp was hoping for an acknowledgment from the SET that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights accorded the senator the full status of being presumed to have been born in the country where she was found 47 years ago of parents who were also to be seen by law as citizens of the same State.

But the magistrates would have none of it.

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, chairman of the SET, cut through all arguments and placed the issue on the one perspective that spelled trouble for Poe and her lawyers – she now has to convince the Tribunal that the 1935 Constitution admits an exception that would concur to her stand.

READ MORE...

Failing that, she has to present genetic proof of her blood relation to a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Her supporters are now calling for Carpio’s inhibition from hearing Poe’s disqualification case.

The SET chairman explained the law in support of his viewpoint plainly and definitively. But his recusal is not out of the question if only to save the tribunal and the proceedings from further controversies that would detract from the resolution of the issue.

Poe’s legal team however has to remember that Carpio’s view was echoed by the two other SC justices in the SET.

She cannot expect all three to inhibit. – PT.


COLUMN OF THE DAY: THE USEFULNESS OF ELECTION SURVEYS Submitted by Ellen Tordesillas on September 28, 2015


by Ellen Tordesillas

SURVEYS if conducted by professionals and executed with integrity are a gauge of the sentiments of the people.

I have to stress “executed with integrity” because during the election season, there are surveys and surveys. One has to check on the background of the survey firms, who commissioned the survey as well as the questions asked.

As Sen. Grace Poe said, thanking her supporters for their trust that put her as the frontrunner among presidential aspirants, “Surveys help us check if we’re on the right track.”

But she said, “We derive our inspiration from the needs and aspirations of our country, with or without surveys.”

Poe declared her presidential candidacy for the 2016 elections last Sept. 16. The next day, fellow senator who is also known as her mentor, Chiz Escudero, announced that he is Poe’s running mate.

The Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia released last week their latest surveys. SWS conducted their survey last Sep. 2 to 5 while Pulse Asia started their poll earlier, Aug. 27 up to Sept. 3.

In both SWS and Pulse Asia polls, Poe was the frontrunner followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in third place.

Very significant in both surveys was the huge jump of the ratings of Roxas, who used to be a perennial cellar dweller. Although Roxas is still number three, analysts say that the huge increase of his numbers have put him in a “statistical tie” with Poe and Binay, whose numbers have gone down significantly since the investigation of alleged anomalies in the Makati City building projects.

In fact, in one survey of SWS, which asked for three names on “Best leaders to succeed President Aquino in 2016”, Roxas was number two, overtaking Binay for the first time.

The survey was criticized by those knowledgeable on surveys for asking for three names when the position is only for one person.

While surveys are used by candidates to find out their strength and weaknesses and plan their campaign guided by the findings, its most important use is for businessmen-contributors.

READ MORE...

Businessmen rely on surveys to decide who to give the most donations (they try to give to all candidates). Reliable sources said San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang has thrown his support for Poe and so have at least four other businessmen, who are known to be major election contributors.

Sen. Alan Cayetano’s lackluster survey ratings, despite his non-stop TV ads for almost a year, is the reason he has lowered his sights to being running mate of Roxas.

Dr. Segundo Romero, who provides consultancy services on governance, likens surveys to a thermometer, a tool that measures temperature.

However the more manipulative candidates try to influence survey findings.

Romero said, if that happens, the survey is no longer a thermometer. It becomes a thermostat - an automatic device for regulating temperature (as by controlling the supply of gas or electricity to a heating apparatus).

Candidates employ experienced pollsters in their campaign staff who advise the kind of events to hold close to the dates the survey would be conducted.

The formulation of the question is an important factor in the survey results.

Surveys to be truly reflective of the people’s sentiments have to be free of manipulation.

Or else, naglolokohan lang tayo.


BINAY’S RATINGS DROP TO NEW LOW By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR October 02, 2015


VP BINAY

NET public approval and trust in the country’s top government officials either declined or were statistically unchanged in the third quarter, with Vice President Jejomar Binay suffering the biggest drop in his ratings, the September 8 to 14 Ulat sa Bayan survey of Pulse Asia showed.

The survey, which involved 2,400 respondents nationwide, showed Binay’s approval rating dropping to 43 percent in September from 58 percent in June while the number of people who were dissatisfied with his job rose to 26 percent from 18 percent.

Binay’s a net approval rating dropped from +40 in June to +17 in September or 23 points.

His trust rating also declined from 57 percent in June to 39 percent in September, with his net trust rating dropping by 26 points from +38 to +12 (or 26 points).

The survey was done after the Supreme Court convened as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to hear the election protest in the May 2010 polls against Binay, after the Vice President delivered his rejoinder to President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, and while the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee hears the alleged corruption charges against Binay.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. observed that the drop in Binay’s ratings happened after he resigned from the Cabinet.

The survey also showed President Aquino’s approval rating unchanged at 54 percent.

However, his disapproval rating rose from 12 percent in June to 16 percent in September, making his net approval rating drop from +42 to +38.

His trust rating was also virtually unchanged, from 50 percent in June to 49 percent in September.

But his distrust rating rose from 13 percent to 16 percent, resulting in a net trust rating of +33 from +37.

READ MORE...

Coloma said Aquino was grateful for the continued approval and trust of his “bosses,” and vowed to continue the reform programs that he has started in the remainder of his term.

OTHER OFFCIALS, INSTITUTIONS

Next to Aquino, Senate President Franklin Drilon got majority approval (virtually unchanged from 49 percent in June to 50 percent in September) in his performance. His net approval rating declined from +41 to +37.

His trust rating was also virtually unchanged from 45 percent in June to 47 percent in September. His net trust rating rose by 3 points, from +30 to +33.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was the only official whose approval rating rose, from 30 percent to 32 percent but disapproval in him also went up, leaving him with a net rating of +14 compared to June’s +15.

His net trust rating was virtually unchanged, from +9 to +10.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno suffered a seven-point drop in net approval rating from +17 (31 percent approval, 14 percent disapproval) to +10 (29 percent approval, 19 percent disapproval), and a three-point drop in net trust rating with +7 (27 percent trust, 20 percent distrust) from +10 (27 percent trust, 17 percent distrust).

The different government institutions, meanwhile, saw an improvement in their net approval ratings with the Supreme Court getting +32 (49 percent approval, 17 percent disapproval) from +27 (44 percent approval, 17 percent disapproval), followed by the Senate with +25 (44 percent approval, 19 percent disapproval) from +24 (40 percent approval, 16 percent disapproval), and House of Representatives with +20 (39 percent approval, 19 percent disapproval) from +18 (35 percent approval, 17 percent disapproval).


HOLIDAYS HAVE HEAVY COSTS By Amado P. Macasaet October 02, 2015


By Amado P. Macasaet

From the time President Aquino signed an executive order identifying the holidays for the current year, “the business community has since expressed concern over their increasing number over the last few years”, according to the Makati Business Club.

In a report called Holiday Economics, MBC said the 20 holidays in the Philippines “is above the ASEAN average of 15.

According to the MBC study, “from a business perspective, more non-working holidays translate to less time in the production cycle. For companies that cannot afford to have a day off in their operations, this means higher production costs, since the law provides for a premium for work performed on a rest day and special days.”

The study stressed “(this) nevertheless does not count workers operating on a ‘no work-no-pay scheme.”

Thus, a fixed salaried worker is paid on a non-working holiday but does not really earn his wage because he did not work. Worse, the paid holiday is not deducted from leave credits if any is left.

On the other hand, the daily wage worker is denied a day’s wage when that day is declared a non-working holiday.”

The biggest “victims of non-working holidays are the call centers. Their costs go up since they cater to foreign clients. Call center employees have to work on the “holiest” of holy days.

The time zone difference force call centers to operate at night. When it is 8 am in Manhattan, New York City, it is 8 in the evening in the Philippines.

There are 12 holidays declared under the Administrative Code of 1987. There are 10 non-working holidays under Proclamation 655 issued in 2013.

Research of Business Insight shows the Philippines has 23 holidays. There is a similar number in Cambodia (table).

Gloria Arroyo came up with what she called “holiday economics” in 2001 which according to her should boost local tourism. MBC explained in its report “The policy allows certain movable holidays to be observed on Monday or Friday to allow long weekends.

READ MORE...

The Institute for Labor Studies of the Department of Labor and Employment “argues that holiday economics has a negligible to negative impact to local tourism and employment.”

The institute sees a situation where the possible effect of firms avoiding higher employee compensation costs “should they continue to operate during holidays.”

The MBC study also points out “… despite the opportunity for an additional vacation day, potential local tourists may be constrained by other factors such as the financial and time costs of transportation …”

A cursory calculation made by Business Insight shows the estimated five million workers in the service industry, paid an average of P451 daily get P47.3 billion from the 21 declared paid public holidays.

The amount P47 billion can build two TPLEXes (Tarlac Pangasinan La Union expressways). In comparison the Metro Manila skyway stage 3 costs only P37.4 billion.

This (P47.3 billion) is a sum practically lost by the companies that employ them in the sense the workers get the money on a day they do not work because that day is declared paid public holiday.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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