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

FROM MALAYA

By AMADO MACASAET: NOBODY DARES TAKE UP THE POPULATION ISSUE


MAY 27 -By Amado P. Macasaet  It took decades for Congress to pass a bill regulating the population for the health of infants and their mothers. Up to this time the law has no implementing rules and regulations. Congress would not even think of discussing it. It is abundantly clear the State is scared of the wrath of the Catholic church which dominates the voting population to the extent of an estimated 60-70 percent. In fact if we put together followers or believers of other religions, hunger and disease are important reasons the birth rate should be regulated. Isn’t it a sin to force the hungry poor to commit crimes to fill their empty stomachs? It seems the politicians want to help multiply the number of poor people who are easy to hoodwink with perennial promises none of which is ever fulfilled. Yet every election time these candidates never tire repeating the same old promises the poor have the same freedom from hunger guaranteed or specified by the Constitution. I have long noted the population in the rural areas is increasing because many of the beneficiaries of land reform have sold or hocked their properties given to them almost for nothing. The land owners who used to own them either sell their bonds maturing in 25 years at a fat discount. Damn the rich who live a life of abundance while the poor die without food in their stomachs. It is relevant to state here the Biblical saying “it is easier for a poor man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than for a rich man to be where God is.” READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - URBAN CONGESTION


MAY 27 -METRO MANILA
THE gargantuan problem of heavy vehicular traffic in EDSA, long considered as a local issue in the cities straddled by this important thoroughfare, was considered as a national issue --one that even merited an important issue in the presidential campaign debates sponsored by the Comelec before the elections. The EDSA woe is just a symptom of the bigger problem of urban congestion in Metro Manila, a concern aired by planners and environment activists even way back in the 1970s. Experts like to point out that various presidencies have not been lacking in studies and recommendations about what to do in Metro Manila, such as upgrading transport infrastructure to cope with travel demand. To this day, basic infrastructure is woefully lacking even as demand for travel increases. One factor that is easily seen as contributing to the EDSA traffic nightmare is the obvious increase in the number of vehicles. Human behavior and failings will explain why during the last five years, about 400,000 vehicles were added to those already using the roads, more than half of which are motorbikes and some 20 percent are cars. Because trains are unreliable and congested, and buses always figure in accidents, and taxis are expensive and hard to get especially when it rains, people buy their own motorcycles and cars. The low amortization payments also induce them to buy their own vehicles. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - THE TENUOUS TIES THAT BIND


MAY 24 -House of Representatives IF seasoned members of Congress were coat collectors, most of them would have at least three or four of different party colors in their closets by now and about half a dozen shades from various coalitions they found it convenient to be part of at one time or another. The impermanence of loyalties, shifting alliances, and fickleness of the voters’ preference have made it more or less a rule in politics that legislators have to move from one party to make any headway at all in either the Lower House or the Senate. Very few of those who remained steadfast in their party allegiance are still around to crow about it, supposing that they can even find a reason to do so. Too often, those who did have found themselves relegated to irrelevance once headcounts are completed to decide who gets juicy assignments of committee chairmanships. For those who jumped ship too early in the campaign only to see their bet lose badly in the election two weeks ago, putting on another coat is an obvious and easy choice. For this particular Congress, party-raiding and the musical chairs of politics is helped along by the fact that the number of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s party mates in both chambers is too minuscule to be of any use at all to him and his legislative agenda unless they enroll new party members or forge coalitions with those willing or eager. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - REVAMPING THE HOUSE


MAY 23 -THE DUTERTE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR THOSE who have set their eyes on the presidency, leadership in the House of Representatives is not the way. Ramon Mitra and Jose de Venecia Jr. learned the hard way the truism of this statement. Sonny Belmonte knows this, the reason why he did not pursue the Liberal Party nomination for president and instead supported Mar Roxas during the party selection process. The House of Representatives, unlike the Senate, has been true to its form as an adjunct of Malacañang; a rubber-stamp parliament is hurting to the ear, but the adjective that has stuck through the years is proving to be an accurate description of the House. The reason for the general unpopularity of the House is the public perception on the integrity and moral aptitude of its members. Rightly or wrongly, congressmen are known to be “trapos” and given to wheeling and dealing, specially during the unlamented time of the Priority Development Assistance Fund. Congressmen are also known for jumping ship and joining the victors whenever a power shift occurs, such as immediately after the May 2016 elections, just before the opening of the 17th Congress. READ MORE...

ALSO: WHY THE SUDDEN SPURT OF ENERGY IN HIS LAST DAYS?


MAY 27 -...IS THE QUESTION OF THE DAY - PRESIDENT Aquino seems to be making up for lost time with barely a month left in his term. He went on a whirlwind trip in Bulacan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecjia yesterday, inspecting programs and projects. In Bulacan, Aquino checked out the Angat Water Transmission Project which involves the construction of a new tunnel from Ipo to Bigte in Norzagaray that aims to ensure water supply and reduce the risk of a partial or total disruption of water supply to Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan and portions of Cavite. He also visited the P13.3 billion BBMP irrigation project in Tarlac which involves the construction of the Balog-Balog earth-filled dam in the upper Bulsa River, and irrigation canals and other structures which aim to boost the agriculture sector, provide flood control and mitigation, assist inland fish production, and produce possible power generation of about 43.5 megawatts. The project will benefit nine towns in Tarlac — Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Victoria, Gerona, San Jose, Lapaz, Capas, and Concepcion, as well as Tarlac City. In Cabanatuan City, Aquino visited a P710 million-solar farm project which aims to provide power through the solar small home system in electricity off grid areas, promote carbon reduction of at least 16,500 metric tons annually or 330,000 metric tons, and provide for the establishment of a viewing room for students to learn more about renewable energy specifically solar energy. In an interview in Tarlac, Aquino said people may not have seen him cry in public or show much emotion when facing every crisis but he assured the public that he had every Filipinos’ interest and welfare in every action and decision he made. “I am not play-acting at being President; I perform my role as President. And I’d like to think every minute and every second of my presidency to include even the sleeping moments,” he said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

NOBODY DARES TAKE UP THE POPULATION ISSUE


MAY 27 -By Amado P. Macasaet

MANILA, MAY 30, 2016 (MALAYA)  By Amado P. Macasaet May 27, 2016 - It took decades for Congress to pass a bill regulating the population for the health of infants and their mothers. Up to this time the law has no implementing rules and regulations. Congress would not even think of discussing it.

It is abundantly clear the State is scared of the wrath of the Catholic church which dominates the voting population to the extent of an estimated 60-70 percent.

In fact if we put together followers or believers of other religions, hunger and disease are important reasons the birth rate should be regulated.

Isn’t it a sin to force the hungry poor to commit crimes to fill their empty stomachs?

It seems the politicians want to help multiply the number of poor people who are easy to hoodwink with perennial promises none of which is ever fulfilled. Yet every election time these candidates never tire repeating the same old promises the poor have the same freedom from hunger guaranteed or specified by the Constitution.

I have long noted the population in the rural areas is increasing because many of the beneficiaries of land reform have sold or hocked their properties given to them almost for nothing. The land owners who used to own them either sell their bonds maturing in 25 years at a fat discount.

Damn the rich who live a life of abundance while the poor die without food in their stomachs. It is relevant to state here the Biblical saying “it is easier for a poor man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than for a rich man to be where God is.”

READ MORE...

I will tirelessly repeat what Thomas Malthus said in the 18th century. He pointed out if the causes of deaths -- war and pestilence which were the effective ways of reducing the number of people -- man will have to exercise self restraint. Otherwise man’s need for food cannot be met with higher productivity.

This is beginning to be seen and felt in the urban and rural areas in this country as shown by the increasing number of people in the cities and rural areas where the birth rate is uncontrolled.

I am a “devout” Catholic who is slowly losing faith in church leaders. I can never believe Cardinals can anoint saints and the Pope is infallible. The only son of God doubted his Father before he died on the cross between two thieves.

Until politicians try to explain to the voters the necessity of self restraint in sex or use artificial method of delaying – or preventing if not avoiding -- pregnancies the teachings of the Church that sex is not a sin in about a week when the woman cannot get pregnant.

The same Church claims the right to multiply is inviolable under the laws of God. God did not invent this law; Rome did. The Catholic Church is violating biological needs by prohibiting the use of artificial means that prevent pregnancies. I say man is entitled to his own carnal happiness if it is done under civil laws.

It also tramples the law by prohibiting the implementation of the population program. The Catholic Church has no concern for the poor. It enjoys tax-free privileges. Its expensive schools are also tax-free.

It’s time we begin to strengthen our faith in God by not having children who grow in ignorance and hunger. The big number of people is forcing them to criminality.


URBAN CONGESTION May 27, 2016


METRO MANILA

THE gargantuan problem of heavy vehicular traffic in EDSA, long considered as a local issue in the cities straddled by this important thoroughfare, was considered as a national issue --one that even merited an important issue in the presidential campaign debates sponsored by the Comelec before the elections.

The EDSA woe is just a symptom of the bigger problem of urban congestion in Metro Manila, a concern aired by planners and environment activists even way back in the 1970s.

Experts like to point out that various presidencies have not been lacking in studies and recommendations about what to do in Metro Manila, such as upgrading transport infrastructure to cope with travel demand. To this day, basic infrastructure is woefully lacking even as demand for travel increases.

One factor that is easily seen as contributing to the EDSA traffic nightmare is the obvious increase in the number of vehicles. Human behavior and failings will explain why during the last five years, about 400,000 vehicles were added to those already using the roads, more than half of which are motorbikes and some 20 percent are cars. Because trains are unreliable and congested, and buses always figure in accidents, and taxis are expensive and hard to get especially when it rains, people buy their own motorcycles and cars. The low amortization payments also induce them to buy their own vehicles.

READ MORE...

The long-term answer to EDSA is urban planning, transport and land use planning, along with traffic engineering intervention, education and discipline of motorists, and enforcement.

This early, President-in-waiting Rodrigo Duterte has suggested/announced that no new factories will be allowed in Metro Manila. He hopes this policy change will decongest the city by urging people to remain in the provinces where new factories and similar job generators will be located. Duterte knows that one reason the urban poor want to stay in the city, after being relocated in the suburbs, is the lack of livelihood opportunities in new housing projects outside of Metro Manila.

Meaningful change in the area of urban congestion cannot be attained overnight, as the problem has to be addressed from all fronts. A comprehensive solution can only be found if the nation’s leader is a visionary and has strong political will, resilient and unbending in the face of many pressures that he will encounter on the way to a solution that will work.

We hope Duterte will measure up to the requirements of a solution to urban congestion.


THE TENUOUS TIES THAT BIND May 24, 2016


House of Representatives

IF seasoned members of Congress were coat collectors, most of them would have at least three or four of different party colors in their closets by now and about half a dozen shades from various coalitions they found it convenient to be part of at one time or another.

The impermanence of loyalties, shifting alliances, and fickleness of the voters’ preference have made it more or less a rule in politics that legislators have to move from one party to make any headway at all in either the Lower House or the Senate.

Very few of those who remained steadfast in their party allegiance are still around to crow about it, supposing that they can even find a reason to do so. Too often, those who did have found themselves relegated to irrelevance once headcounts are completed to decide who gets juicy assignments of committee chairmanships.

For those who jumped ship too early in the campaign only to see their bet lose badly in the election two weeks ago, putting on another coat is an obvious and easy choice.

For this particular Congress, party-raiding and the musical chairs of politics is helped along by the fact that the number of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s party mates in both chambers is too minuscule to be of any use at all to him and his legislative agenda unless they enroll new party members or forge coalitions with those willing or eager.

READ MORE...

In the tussle for the House leadership, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez appears headed to a no-contest.

Save for determining the particular name, a Duterte supporter has also all but locked up the Senate presidency.

The numbers, however, will never tell the whole story.

Come voting time on gut issues that the incoming President is hoping to ram through the legislature, that support will be tested to the limits, and where the ties were bound only by opportunity or adversity, the links cannot hold for long.

The new majority would have to bear in mind that it got the numbers only because the ones before it crumbled and broke apart. – PT.


REVAMPING THE HOUSE May 23, 2016


THE DUTERTE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR THOSE who have set their eyes on the presidency, leadership in the House of Representatives is not the way. Ramon Mitra and Jose de Venecia Jr. learned the hard way the truism of this statement.

Sonny Belmonte knows this, the reason why he did not pursue the Liberal Party nomination for president and instead supported Mar Roxas during the party selection process.

The House of Representatives, unlike the Senate, has been true to its form as an adjunct of Malacañang; a rubber-stamp parliament is hurting to the ear, but the adjective that has stuck through the years is proving to be an accurate description of the House.

The reason for the general unpopularity of the House is the public perception on the integrity and moral aptitude of its members. Rightly or wrongly, congressmen are known to be “trapos” and given to wheeling and dealing, specially during the unlamented time of the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Congressmen are also known for jumping ship and joining the victors whenever a power shift occurs, such as immediately after the May 2016 elections, just before the opening of the 17th Congress.

READ MORE...

Several of these district representatives were seen queuing in Davao City for a chance to pay obeisance to president-in-waiting Rodrigo Duterte, when a couple of days ago they were shouting, jeering and predicting his loss.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is not surprised at how quickly the hold of the Liberal Party in the House has eroded, with more than a hundred allies joining PDP-Laban and only 20 or so remaining in the minority with him. The House is like that – members gravitate to where the funds will ultimately come.

Today, as the House opens its dying session, its members may well take to heart the appeal of outgoing Rep. Neri Colmenares: that they do a last-ditch share in responsible lawmaking by signing the resolution overriding the veto of President Noynoy Aquino on the House-Senate bill increasing the monthly pension of Social Security System pensioners.

Colmenares, one of the few congressmen who tries to improve the reputation of the House, unluckily lost his Senate bid, but still continues to work for the benefit of ordinary Filipinos such as senior citizens. He said his colleagues should no longer feel the pressure from Malacañang and for once, vote according to their conscience and intellect on the issue of overriding the presidential veto.

The next House of Representatives will be under the helm of long-time Duterte friend, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. It is interesting to see how the Alvarez Congress will fare in helping Duterte realize the social and other changes promised by the new President.


WHY THE SUDDEN SPURT OF ENERGY IN HIS LAST DAYS? By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR May 27, 2016

PRESIDENT Aquino seems to be making up for lost time with barely a month left in his term.

He went on a whirlwind trip in Bulacan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecjia yesterday, inspecting programs and projects.

In Bulacan, Aquino checked out the Angat Water Transmission Project which involves the construction of a new tunnel from Ipo to Bigte in Norzagaray that aims to ensure water supply and reduce the risk of a partial or total disruption of water supply to Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan and portions of Cavite.

He also visited the P13.3 billion BBMP irrigation project in Tarlac which involves the construction of the Balog-Balog earth-filled dam in the upper Bulsa River, and irrigation canals and other structures which aim to boost the agriculture sector, provide flood control and mitigation, assist inland fish production, and produce possible power generation of about 43.5 megawatts.

The project will benefit nine towns in Tarlac — Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Victoria, Gerona, San Jose, Lapaz, Capas, and Concepcion, as well as Tarlac City.

In Cabanatuan City, Aquino visited a P710 million-solar farm project which aims to provide power through the solar small home system in electricity off grid areas, promote carbon reduction of at least 16,500 metric tons annually or 330,000 metric tons, and provide for the establishment of a viewing room for students to learn more about renewable energy specifically solar energy.

In an interview in Tarlac, Aquino said people may not have seen him cry in public or show much emotion when facing every crisis but he assured the public that he had every Filipinos’ interest and welfare in every action and decision he made.

“I am not play-acting at being President; I perform my role as President. And I’d like to think every minute and every second of my presidency to include even the sleeping moments,” he said.

READ MORE...

Aquino also signed the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act which declares large-scale smuggling of agricultural products as economic sabotage and prescribes penalties that include life imprisonment.

Signed last May 23, Republic Act 10845, a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2923 and House Bill No. 6380, aims to promote the productivity of the agricultural sector, protect the farmers from unscrupulous traders and importers and ensure the steady supply and stable prices of food.

Aquino also ordered the Climate Change Commission to lead a six-month comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on coal-powered form of energy and promote the use of alternative, cleaner sources of power.

The directive was contained in CCC Commission Resolution No. 2016-001 that the President, also the chairman of CCC, signed last May 18.

CCC vice chairman Emmanuel de Guzman said the resolution aims to set in place a clear government policy on the use of coal-fired power plants, which are the biggest sources of man-made carbon emissions, accounting for about 35 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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