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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK
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FROM PHILSTAR

EDITORIAL: MISREPORTING
(If Du30 sincerely believes imposing martial law is needless , and stupid, he should just shut up about it.)


JANUARY 17 -Media groups trotted out yesterday video and tape recordings to prove that indeed President Duterte had threatened to declare martial law if the drug menace became exceptionally “virulent.” Malacañang officials, for their part, insisted that the President’s words had been “misreported” and journalists had again missed the context and nuance of his public pronouncement made over the weekend in Davao City. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Tokhang for ransom


JANUARY 18 -With police allowed to do pretty much what they please and accountability flushed down the drain, abuses in the ongoing brutal drug war are inevitable. Now the Senate is reportedly set to conduct a probe into the use of Oplan Tokhang for kidnapping and extortion. The probe was prompted by the kidnapping of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo at his home in Angeles City, Pampanga in October last year by police who claimed to be conducting Oplan Tokhang in the neighborhood. Jee’s wife said she paid P5 million to the kidnappers, but her husband was reportedly strangled to death on the day of his kidnapping and his body cremated on orders of the “boss” of the operation. Reports said the ashes were then flushed down the toilet of a funeral parlor owned by policeman-turned-barangay captain Ding Santiago. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Marichu Villanueva - CEOs talk with Chief Executive Rody


JANUARY 20 -They did not expect to be wined and dined. But the country’s business heavyweights, mostly the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the biggest companies, came to know and be enlightened on how President Rodrigo Duterte intends to steer the Philippine economy as the country’s Chief Executive. Now seven months into office of the administration, President Duterte met the country’s tycoons for the first time in a formal dinner meeting with him at the Palace. All the tycoons invited came to the formal dinner with President Duterte even as the latter bitterly lashed at what he calls as “oligarchs” in the country in apparent dig to families owning the biggest companies in the Philippines. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - High growth, low employment


JANUARY 20 -The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it is not making a sufficient dent against unemployment. This is the essence of a United Nations report on the world economy and growth prospects for 2017. While the report saw the Philippines among the fastest growing economies in Asia, it also warned that the country is among those with the highest unemployment rates among 18 economies comprising “developing Asia.” Some of the other economies are China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. READ MORE...


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EDITORIAL - ‘Misreporting’

MANILA, JANUARY 23, 2017 (PHILSTAR) January 17, 2017 - Media groups trotted out yesterday video and tape recordings to prove that indeed President Duterte had threatened to declare martial law if the drug menace became exceptionally “virulent.”

Malacañang officials, for their part, insisted that the President’s words had been “misreported” and journalists had again missed the context and nuance of his public pronouncement made over the weekend in Davao City.

READ MORE...

Yesterday Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II added to the voices of administration officials who said the President did not intend to declare martial law. For all his talk about emulating his favorite predecessor Ferdinand Marcos and imposing military rule, President Duterte had previously said he considered it “stupid” and unnecessary to declare martial law at this time. He should just stick to that message to avoid seeing his statements misreported.

Amid the bickering, several senators gave a sound advice yesterday: the President should just stop talking about martial law. In many of his speeches, President Duterte has been rambling on about his options in attaining his objective of eliminating all drug dealers in the country, down to the last man and woman.

And he keeps mentioning martial law as a weapon against criminality and general lawlessness. Journalists simply pick up the statements.

Every utterance of the head of government is news, whether it is said openly in public, whispered off-mike, texted, tweeted or posted on Facebook, as US president-elect Donald Trump is finding out.

President Duterte should learn from the travails of the incoming US leader whom he considers a friend.

The President may be familiar with the wartime admonition that loose lips sink ships. When one is prone to rambling in public, leaving a wide room for different interpretations, there is virtue in circumspection.

If President Duterte sincerely believes imposing martial law is needless and stupid, he should just shut up about it.


EDITORIAL - Tokhang for ransom 2 SHARES 1 0 0 (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2017 - 12:00pm

With police allowed to do pretty much what they please and accountability flushed down the drain, abuses in the ongoing brutal drug war are inevitable. Now the Senate is reportedly set to conduct a probe into the use of Oplan Tokhang for kidnapping and extortion.

The probe was prompted by the kidnapping of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo at his home in Angeles City, Pampanga in October last year by police who claimed to be conducting Oplan Tokhang in the neighborhood. Jee’s wife said she paid P5 million to the kidnappers, but her husband was reportedly strangled to death on the day of his kidnapping and his body cremated on orders of the “boss” of the operation. Reports said the ashes were then flushed down the toilet of a funeral parlor owned by policeman-turned-barangay captain Ding Santiago.

READ MORE...

A task force for journalists The suspected mastermind, Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, recently surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation. Probers said he enjoyed protection from a retired police general. Yesterday, three more police officers were implicated in the kidnapping.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who is preparing to conduct an inquiry into the so-called Tokhang for ransom, said someone he knew was also kidnapped in Bulacan by police conducting Oplan Tokhang. Lacson said the victim was freed after ransom was paid.

As the nation continues to see in Mindanao, kidnapping for ransom can be a hugely profitable business in this country. The scourge has popped up periodically in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, ending only when the government shows ruthless determination to eliminate kidnapping rings. Each successful caper breeds impunity and guarantees more kidnappings.

Among the boldest thugs are rogue cops – those who participate directly in seizing captives and those who provide protection for the kidnapping rings. Sta. Isabel, who has denied the allegations against him, is not the first policeman to be implicated in kidnapping for ransom.

Tokhang for ransom can only erode the credibility of the war on drugs, which is controversial enough. This problem must be nipped in the bud quickly. Solving the case of Jee Ick-joo would be a good start.


CEOs talk with Chief Executive Rody 0 SHARES 0 0 0 Marichu A. Villanueva - COMMONSENSE (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2017 - 12:24am

They did not expect to be wined and dined. But the country’s business heavyweights, mostly the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the biggest companies, came to know and be enlightened on how President Rodrigo Duterte intends to steer the Philippine economy as the country’s Chief Executive.

Now seven months into office of the administration, President Duterte met the country’s tycoons for the first time in a formal dinner meeting with him at the Palace. All the tycoons invited came to the formal dinner with President Duterte even as the latter bitterly lashed at what he calls as “oligarchs” in the country in apparent dig to families owning the biggest companies in the Philippines.

READ MORE...

Related Stories Calida backs amendments to martial law provisions Defending the drug war, Duterte chastises bishops The dinner meeting took place Tuesday night at the President’s Hall at Malacanang Palace and attended by big names in the business community here and abroad like Manuel V. Pangilinan of Metro Pacific and PLDT; Hans Sy of the SM Group; Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee; Ayala Corp.’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA); International Container Terminal Services Inc.(ICTSI) chairman Enrique Razon; First Philippine Holdings Corp. chairman and CEO Federico Lopez, just to name a few.

The powerhouse dinner at Malacanang with President Duterte was preceded by a meeting organized by former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with JAZA and the other top business leaders earlier last week. This should explain, a little birdie chirped, why Mrs. Arroyo was invited to the powerhouse dinner aside from the fact that she is a very close political ally of President Duterte.

After hearing common concerns of the business leaders, the Palace birdie quoted Mrs. Arroyo supposedly asked the tycoons point-blank: “So what can you promise to President Duterte?”

The same Palace birdie disclosed Mrs. Arroyo first met and presided a meeting last week with the country’s top business leaders and brought along Rep. Arthur Yap of Bohol, a fellow member of the 17th Congress. Yap is a very close ally of Mrs. Arroyo to whom he once served as her former Presidential Management Staff head and later as ex-agriculture secretary.

At the long table during the Palace dinner with President Duterte, Mrs. Arroyo was seated in the middle of JAZA and Razon. The ICTSI chief executive officer is known to be a long-time family friend of Mrs. Arroyo.

It was a few months after President Duterte assumed office at Malacanang when Mrs. Arroyo was finally released from her “hospital detention” at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City. She was subsequently acquitted by the Sandiganbayan on her plunder case in relation with the use of intelligence funds under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The plunder case was filed at the behest of the previous administration of former President Benigno “Noy” Aquino III who succeeded Mrs. Arroyo at Malacanang. But even while under “hospital detention,” Mrs. Arroyo won her second term in Congress and is currently serving her third and last term ending in June 2019.

Actually, Albay Congressman Joey Salceda disclosed yesterday that Mrs. Arroyo’s involvement in this meeting was upon the request of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. In his Facebook post yesterday, Salceda confirmed the pre-dinner meeting of the Philippine tycoons was with Mrs. Arroyo that was arranged by Concepcion, son of her former boss ex-Trade and Industry Secretary Jose Concepcion Jr.

As Mrs. Arroyo clarified to him a day after the Palace dinner meeting Tuesday night, Salceda said it was “mediated by PGMA,” referring to the Palace acronym of the former president.

According to Salceda, his fellow Congressman Yap called him up and told him Mrs. Arroyo wanted to speak with him. “PGMA told me the big businessmen was complaining that they felt vilified and one of the causus belli was attributed to me – that I said daw that ‘They (Filipino tycoons) are not investing enough at home.’ More so, I further explained, that there are things that they can commit to President Duterte on their contribution to nation-building.”

Salceda further explained to PGMA, he noted big conglomerates have been merely reinvesting their retained earnings for capacity expansion but no major new business formation. This is why, he pointed out, remittances of our millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remain the backbone of our country’s economic growth through these years up to now.

Yap and Salceda were former students of Mrs. Arroyo at the Ateneo de Manila where she once taught as economics professor. Also known for being tart-tongued, Salceda posted on his Facebook what the “menu” could have been when President Duterte dined with our business leaders. He listed the following “menu” would have included: (1) Invest more at home than abroad; (2) Participate in the government’s infrastructure programs but no hybrid Private-Public-Participation projects (no sovereign guarantees); (3) Zero “endo” in your backyard; and, (4) Support the new tax measures (TRAIN or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill authored by Salceda in Congress).

Under the tax reform package proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF), workers with an annual income of P250,000 would be tax-exempt. Like Salceda’s House Bill 4688, the DOF proposal would levy bigger taxes on those with millions in earnings.

Aside from Concepcion, Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez joined the President at the dinner meeting with the tycoons who were his former colleagues in the private sector.

Admitting he is a “socialist” and not a communist, the tough talking President Duterte scored the “oligarchs” as the few very rich people lording over most of the country’s wealth while the majority of Filipinos languish in economic hardship, if not live in extreme poverty and hunger.

In his tough policy pronouncements, President Duterte apparently has been sending jitters, if not confusing signals to local and foreign investors and businessmen.

Reaching out with his fellow business leaders, Concepcion acted as the bridge for them to directly talk and express their concerns with the President himself. In his regular column “NeGosyo, Kapatid: Angat Lahat” at The STAR yesterday, Concepcion wrote he was glad President Duterte agreed to meet with the tycoons over a dinner meeting which the latter even hosted.

And for over three hours of the dinner meeting with the tycoons at the Palace, the country’s Chief Executive impressed upon the CEOs he means business and not business as usual.


EDITORIAL - High growth, low employment 0 SHARES 0 0 0 (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2017 - 12:24am

The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it is not making a sufficient dent against unemployment. This is the essence of a United Nations report on the world economy and growth prospects for 2017.

While the report saw the Philippines among the fastest growing economies in Asia, it also warned that the country is among those with the highest unemployment rates among 18 economies comprising “developing Asia.” Some of the other economies are China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

READ MORE...

Related Stories Palace welcomes UN response on RH law ‘3 Pinoy journalists among 101 killed in 2016’ The UN report saw the Philippines outpacing its major Asian economic peers in terms of growth this year, with the exception of China, India and Vietnam. This is good news for those concerned about the sustainability of economic gains achieved in the Aquino administration, during which the Philippines earned its first ever investment grade from all major credit rating agencies.

While growth has been sustained in the past years, however, economic inclusion has remained elusive. Filipinos are still waiting for the investment grade to translate into sufficient job-generating investments. The lack of meaningful jobs is manifested in the continuing exodus of Filipinos for better employment opportunities overseas. The results of the UN study tracked this employment trend in the Philippines.

Economic growth, no matter how fast or high, is meaningless if its benefits are not felt at the grassroots. Decent jobs and livelihood opportunities must be generated if the new administration is to make a dent in the high poverty rate. This requires creating a better environment for investments and other economic activities that create regular, meaningful employment.

Creating this environment is the challenge facing President Duterte. He has promised to give Filipinos a “comfortable” if not “very great” life under his watch. Providing decent employment should be among the priorities.

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/opinion/2017/01/20/1663780/editorial-high-growth-low-employment#oj1Rv5iBv652JROp.99


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