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

FROM THE MALAYA

BY NESTOR MATA: WHAT FATE AWAITS PRESIDENT AQUINO?


JUNE 21 -By NESTOR MATA A GREAT many people wonder what fate awaits President Noynoy Aquino after he steps down from power on June 30. By then, he can no longer invoke his immunity from criminal suits, such as plunder, misuse of millions of public funds, and other corrupt practices which were committed during his six years in office. Indeed, during Aquino’s regime, the Philippines was considered the most corrupt in the Asian region, as revealed in a survey released last Tuesday by The New York Times. “The Philippines has the distinction of being perceived in the worst light this year,” the survey said. “People are just growing tired of the inaction and insincerity of leading officials when they promise to fight corruption.” The survey was conducted in over a two- month period at the beginning of 2015 and questioned 1,476 expat executives in 13 countries throughout Asia, and the Philippines scored 9:40 out of 10 on corruption, giving it the number one spot. This must have prompted one of President-elect Rodrigo Roa’s alter-egos in his Cabinet, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, to order on July 1 an investigation of Aquino, together with his Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, for allegedly misusing P471-million in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to pay for parcels of land at the Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac province. There is documentary evidence regarding the illegal use of those DAP funds, according to Secretary Mariano. “We will immediately review the sham land reform program implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Hacienda Luisita,” he said. After pointing out that under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) the Chief Executive is the ex-officio chairman of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), which decides agrarian reform cases like Hacienda Luisita, Mariano said the probe would determine the legality of the payment scheme carried out by President Aquino during his administration. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Amado P. Macasaet - MANUFACTURING
[This country is fast becoming a sweat shop. There are two kinds of sweat shops in the Philippines. One is electronic assembly. The other is sewing in large garments operations.]


JUNE 21 -By Amado Macasaet
I do not know which economists prefer; positive balance of trade or positive balance of payments. It is hard to have both particularly in a country as small as the Philippines where 110 million Filipinos eke out a living on so small a piece of territory. But then, Singapore is not even half the size of the Philippines but it is host to not more than 6 million people. In this sense, Singapore is a big country considering the number of people living in an area probably half the size of Metro Manila. This means that having too many people is both advantageous and disadvantageous like the Philippines. The country would not have earned an estimated $80 million from roughly 10 million Filipinos said to be working abroad. Very few of them would seek work in a foreign country if they could live reasonably comfortably in the place where they were born. An oversized population is an advantage since there are countries that need them most for their brawn, very little of brains. It is in this sense that I believe that our biggest advantage over countries similarly situated is manpower. I have been told and I saw it myself that people with less education can find work in garments factories. Strangely, not too many people in my barrio are employed in these sweat shops. I see two reasons: one is the shame on the part of men and women with college degrees. The other is they are too lazy and would not accept jobs that pay by the piece. Thus, the men and women who worked in several garments factories are not even high school graduates. They are embarrassed working in sweat shops. On the other hand, men and women who are not even high school graduates seek what to the college degree holders are below their dignity. We have a large supply of people with college degrees but are jobless simply because it is below their “stature” to work with people who are not even high school graduates. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Ellen Tordesillas - WHY DOESN’T MAR JUST PAY THE FINE FOR NON-FILING OF SOCE?


JUNE 20 - By Ellen Tordesillas
WOULD it be a less stressful option for Mar Roxas, Liberal Party presidential candidate in the May 9, 2016 presidential election not to file at all a Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE)? He didn’t win anyway so there’s no position that he would be prevented from assuming because he does not have the Certificate of Formal compliance that is issued by the Commission on Elections to those who have complied with the submission of their SOCEs. What happened to ousted Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito would not happen to him. Ejercito of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino won over Edgar San Luis of the Liberal Party in the 2013 gubernatorial race in Laguna but he was removed from in 2014, when Comelec upon the complaint of San Luis, determined that Ejercito exceeded expenditure limits for candidate in the 2013 elections. Ejercito’s TV ad expenses was one of the proofs Comelec had for his overspending. The fine for non-filing of SOCE for presidential candidates is P30,000 for the first offense and for the second offense, P60,000. That’s chicken feed for Roxas. As of today, 12 days after the June 8 deadline (30 days after Election Day) set by Comelec for candidates in the May 9 2016 elections, Roxas has not yet filed his SOCE. LP filed its SOCE last June 14 even as Comelec granted its request for a 14- day extension for the filing of the SOCE. The PDP-Laban said it will question Comelec decision before the Supreme Court. Roxas’ campaign spokesman, Barry Gutierrez said the primary reason for their inability to meet the June 8 deadline was “the voluminous number of receipts that have to be scanned and attached to the document, in compliance with the rules and in the interest of complete transparency.” READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT


JUNE 25 -MVP: LEAVE BUSINESS ALONE. FIRST and foremost, the objective of business is profit. Earnings for the business owners, money to pay off the business establishment’s debts, its workers, its stockholders and stakeholders. The oft-repeated concern of business for the consumers, the environment, health and labor issues, and society in general as encapsulized in its community social responsibility (CSR). The paradigm is just an embellishment invented by the business community to somehow neutralize the rapacity of the profit motive. The government, on the other hand, has an important job to do. Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government has to make sure that competition is fair and the prices being charged the consumers are just and reasonable. Dominguez said the primary role of government is to protect the consumers, the community, and the environment. In the case of electricity, Dominguez said, “You cannot charge what you want because you are a monopoly. That’s why we have the ERC. We have to regulate that.” In mining, he said “you cannot say you can mine anywhere you want if it will damage the resources of the community. We have to get involved. We have to protect the citizens.”  These statements from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s chief finance official were made in reaction to businessman Manuel Pangilinan’s earlier exhortation to government to “get out of the way” of the private sector’s initiatives. Pangilinan was referring to PLDT’s efforts and capital expenditures to upgrade information technology and communication connectivity in the country, particularly internet and cellphone services. In so many words, Pangilinan emphasized that no official guarantees are being given or government funds being spent in his company’s move to go digital. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

WHAT FATE AWAITS PRESIDENT AQUINO?


JUNE 21 -By NESTOR MATA

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2016 (MALAYA) By NESTOR MATA June 21, 2016 - A GREAT many people wonder what fate awaits President Noynoy Aquino after he steps down from power on June 30. By then, he can no longer invoke his immunity from criminal suits, such as plunder, misuse of millions of public funds, and other corrupt practices which were committed during his six years in office.

Indeed, during Aquino’s regime, the Philippines was considered the most corrupt in the Asian region, as revealed in a survey released last Tuesday by The New York Times. “The Philippines has the distinction of being perceived in the worst light this year,” the survey said. “People are just growing tired of the inaction and insincerity of leading officials when they promise to fight corruption.” The survey was conducted in over a two- month period at the beginning of 2015 and questioned 1,476 expat executives in 13 countries throughout Asia, and the Philippines scored 9:40 out of 10 on corruption, giving it the number one spot.

This must have prompted one of President-elect Rodrigo Roa’s alter-egos in his Cabinet, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, to order on July 1 an investigation of Aquino, together with his Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, for allegedly misusing P471-million in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to pay for parcels of land at the Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac province.

There is documentary evidence regarding the illegal use of those DAP funds, according to Secretary Mariano. “We will immediately review the sham land reform program implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Hacienda Luisita,” he said.

After pointing out that under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) the Chief Executive is the ex-officio chairman of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), which decides agrarian reform cases like Hacienda Luisita, Mariano said the probe would determine the legality of the payment scheme carried out by President Aquino during his administration.

READ MORE...

Mariano recalled that the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional the use of those DAP funds in 2012 but also ruled that the sugarcane estate, covering 6,453 hectares, should be redistributed to all the farmers there, and ordered the Cojuangco-Aquino family to return P1.33 billion, proceeds from the sale of some 500 hectares in the hacienda, to the farmers.

Finally, Mariano vowed not only to reverse any and all “anti-farmer” decisions of the DAR, including the Hacienda Luisita and other agrarian cases in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and Silang, Cavite, but also declare a moratorium on land-use conversion, stop the cancellation of farmers’ land ownership certificates, strengthen the security of tenure of all farmers over the land, and that none of them would be displaced under his watch.

***

Of course, there are others violations by President Aquino for which he will be held accountable after he steps down from office. He institutionalized patronage politics, failed to uphold the rule of law, turned a blind eye to corrupt practices by those beholden to him, gross incompetence, and many, many other violations of the Constitution that he had vowed to obey and defend when he started his term back in 2010.

The constitutional right to presumption of innocence, for example, was violated by Aquino when he bribed members of Congress with pork barrel funds to impeach then sitting Chief Justice Renato Corona on trumped up charges, and the continued detention of Aquino’s predecessor President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for alleged crimes which have never been proven in court to this day.

What happened to Arroyo and Corona showed clearly that Aquino abused his power as Chief Executive, and ushered an environment of hate and distrust in Philippine society.

No wonder. Aquino has been condemned as the worst president this country ever had, as shown by the failures of his regime, such as earning top awards for the Philippines for the worst airport, worst traffic, and worst country to die in; failure to respond to natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ; failure to investigate the wide-spread corruption by his cronies and prosecute them for their rampant abuse of power; and so on ad nauseam.

There is a great lesson there in the case of Aquino for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte to remember well when he takes his oath of office nine days from today as the people’s true President of the Republic of the Philippines.

***

Quote of the Day: “A true leader has the confidence and the compassion to listen to the needs of all the people, and to stand by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent!” – Anon.


MANUFACTURING By Amado P. Macasaet June 21, 2016


By Amado Macasaet

I do not know which economists prefer; positive balance of trade or positive balance of payments. It is hard to have both particularly in a country as small as the Philippines where 110 million Filipinos eke out a living on so small a piece of territory.

But then, Singapore is not even half the size of the Philippines but it is host to not more than 6 million people. In this sense, Singapore is a big country considering the number of people living in an area probably half the size of Metro Manila.

This means that having too many people is both advantageous and disadvantageous like the Philippines. The country would not have earned an estimated $80 million from roughly 10 million Filipinos said to be working abroad. Very few of them would seek work in a foreign country if they could live reasonably comfortably in the place where they were born.

An oversized population is an advantage since there are countries that need them most for their brawn, very little of brains. It is in this sense that I believe that our biggest advantage over countries similarly situated is manpower.

I have been told and I saw it myself that people with less education can find work in garments factories. Strangely, not too many people in my barrio are employed in these sweat shops. I see two reasons: one is the shame on the part of men and women with college degrees. The other is they are too lazy and would not accept jobs that pay by the piece.

Thus, the men and women who worked in several garments factories are not even high school graduates. They are embarrassed working in sweat shops. On the other hand, men and women who are not even high school graduates seek what to the college degree holders are below their dignity.

We have a large supply of people with college degrees but are jobless simply because it is below their “stature” to work with people who are not even high school graduates.

READ MORE...

This country is fast becoming a sweat shop. There are two kinds of sweat shops in the Philippines. One is electronic assembly. The other is sewing in large garments operations.

If we consider manufacturing for export as another “sweat shop” we can conclude that our greatest asset in trying to grow is warm human bodies.

Sweat shop workers are paid by the piece. In many cases, they are paid far higher or equal to the minimum wage.

In the classification by government, electronics and garments require adeptness of hands and less of brains. There is nothing but labor value --in the case of electronic local parts are minimally used. Still, the components assembled here are also imported.

I am trying to open the eyes of government policy makers to the reality that we should abandon making products for exports. The reason I say this is that the records of the Central Bank show we never had a positive balance of trade.

Manufacturing for export is like semi-conductors and garments. The raw materials are mostly imported. We also earn the labor value of manufactured exports. The problem with these labor-intensive projects is the workers want higher pay forcing the owners to go to another country, widening the ranks of the jobless.

Unemployment in another small country like Taiwan hardly exists. On the contrary, there are thousands of Filipinos working in Taiwan as factory workers and domestics.


WHY DOESN’T MAR JUST PAY THE FINE FOR NON-FILING OF SOCE? By Ellen Tordesillas June 20, 2016


 By Ellen Tordesillas

WOULD it be a less stressful option for Mar Roxas, Liberal Party presidential candidate in the May 9, 2016 presidential election not to file at all a Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE)?

He didn’t win anyway so there’s no position that he would be prevented from assuming because he does not have the Certificate of Formal compliance that is issued by the Commission on Elections to those who have complied with the submission of their SOCEs.

What happened to ousted Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito would not happen to him.

Ejercito of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino won over Edgar San Luis of the Liberal Party in the 2013 gubernatorial race in Laguna but he was removed from in 2014, when Comelec upon the complaint of San Luis, determined that Ejercito exceeded expenditure limits for candidate in the 2013 elections. Ejercito’s TV ad expenses was one of the proofs Comelec had for his overspending.

The fine for non-filing of SOCE for presidential candidates is P30,000 for the first offense and for the second offense, P60,000. That’s chicken feed for Roxas.

As of today, 12 days after the June 8 deadline (30 days after Election Day) set by Comelec for candidates in the May 9 2016 elections, Roxas has not yet filed his SOCE.

LP filed its SOCE last June 14 even as Comelec granted its request for a 14- day extension for the filing of the SOCE. The PDP-Laban said it will question Comelec decision before the Supreme Court.

Roxas’ campaign spokesman, Barry Gutierrez said the primary reason for their inability to meet the June 8 deadline was “the voluminous number of receipts that have to be scanned and attached to the document, in compliance with the rules and in the interest of complete transparency.”

READ MORE...

Everybody knows that the spending limits set by the law is obsolete. The Omnibus Election Code imposes a spending limit of P10 per voter for presidential and vice presidential candidate, and P3 for other candidates, with political parties allowed to spend P5 per voter. In the 2016 elections, there were 54.4 million voters.

But a law is a law. Unless amended that should be complied with.

We imagine that a lot of accounting creativity was employed by all the candidates to be able to submit an Omnibus Election Code-compliant SOCE that would match and supported by what their respective parties submitted. Then the reports on contributions received should also match with what the contributors file with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

A candidate runs the risk of perjury, which to my non-lawyer mind means making false statements under oath, if he is not careful in reconciling all the thousands and millions of pesos that he received and spent with what the law requires. Online legal blogs say the penalty for perjury is “arresto mayor in its maximum period to prison correccional in its minimum period.”

For Roxas, why bother to file? Just pay the fine.

***

Blog:www.ellentordesillas.com E-mail:ellentordesillas@gmail.com


BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT June 24, 2016


MVP: LEAVE BUSINESS ALONE.

FIRST and foremost, the objective of business is profit. Earnings for the business owners, money to pay off the business establishment’s debts, its workers, its stockholders and stakeholders.

The oft-repeated concern of business for the consumers, the environment, health and labor issues, and society in general as encapsulized in its community social responsibility (CSR). The paradigm is just an embellishment invented by the business community to somehow neutralize the rapacity of the profit motive.

The government, on the other hand, has an important job to do. Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government has to make sure that competition is fair and the prices being charged the consumers are just and reasonable.

Dominguez said the primary role of government is to protect the consumers, the community, and the environment.

In the case of electricity, Dominguez said, “You cannot charge what you want because you are a monopoly. That’s why we have the ERC. We have to regulate that.” In mining, he said “you cannot say you can mine anywhere you want if it will damage the resources of the community. We have to get involved. We have to protect the citizens.”

These statements from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s chief finance official were made in reaction to businessman Manuel Pangilinan’s earlier exhortation to government to “get out of the way” of the private sector’s initiatives.

Pangilinan was referring to PLDT’s efforts and capital expenditures to upgrade information technology and communication connectivity in the country, particularly internet and cellphone services. In so many words, Pangilinan emphasized that no official guarantees are being given or government funds being spent in his company’s move to go digital.

READ MORE...

Since private money is being spent and if the project fails it is business that will suffer, government should at least loosen its regulatory grip and cooperate with the private sector. So goes the Pangilinan solution.

At the end of day, business will have to live with the way the incoming government will implement relevant laws and regulations involving various industries.

Although they tried -- and failed -- for instance to block the appointment of DENR Secretary-designate Gina Lopez, they will have to accept her.

Pangilinan himself said the hallmark of business is you work within the environment you’re given. If it is any consolation to him, Ms. Lopez also has to work within the legal parameters of existing laws, for unless revoked or amended, they exist.

It will be business as usual as the downward trend of mining stocks is hopefully arrested in a couple of weeks, and both business and government learn the ropes of a new symbiotic relationship under the Duterte administration.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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