HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEKEND ...

PNoy TO PNP CHIEF PURISIMA: ACCEPT SUSPENSION 

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA – While Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima has the right to defend himself from charges of corruption, he should stick to the rule of law and accept a suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will follow all the processes and procedures mandated by law,” the President told reporters here on the sidelines of the ASEAN-South Korea commemorative summit. “We also have to recognize that this person has rights that should also be protected,” he added. Aquino admitted feeling uneasy when answering questions on whether the suspension has affected his trust in Purisima. “I’m sure somebody will say I’m favoring Director General Purisima or I’ve lost trust in him,” the President said. He said Purisima had told him during their latest conversation that he was keeping to quarters. The President also appeared cool to appointing a permanent successor to the embattled police chief. Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina is currently officer-in-charge of the 150,000-strong PNP. READ FULL REPORT...

Purisima already on the way out — Coloma 

DEC 15 ---Malacañang yesterday said regardless of issues, embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima will be retiring next year anyway, expressing indifference to the police chief, who formerly enjoyed the trust and confindence of President Aquino as suspension orders flooded him. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan yesterday President Aquino noted Purisima is already retiring in 2015.  He added regardless of issues, Purisima is already set to be replaced. Coloma said the public should not fret on how long it will take to install a new PNP chief as the administration is already taking initial steps. “As the President said, regardless — with or without this issue — we will still be looking. We are looking at the track records of all the contenders,” Coloma said. According to Coloma, the President did not mention a timetable, he only said that the succession on who will lead the Philippine National Police force is being considered, while it was relayed to everyone that there is no issue or controversy in having an OIC (officer-in-charge).”  Others following Purisima’s rank are set to retire next year also, including Gen. Felipe Rojas and current PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina. Meanwhile, Coloma said there should be no worries coming from the public with regard to safety, even with the pending papal visit next month. “The President said it would not be affected, that’s why we should not have doubts. It continues. There is no reduction in the effectiveness of the PNP due from that issue. Let us not engage in speculations because the President’s declaration on that matter is clear,” he added. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace extends condolences to family of Overseas Filipino Worker executed in Saudi Arabia 

DEC 14 ---The Palace on Sunday extended its condolences to the family of the Overseas Filipino Worker recently executed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Nalulungkot po tayo sa pagtanggap ng balita hinggil sa execution ng ating kababayang si Ginoong Carlito Lana sa Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nagpahayag na po ang ating Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ng pakikiramay sa kanyang pamilya,” said Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan. On Saturday, the DFA confirmed the beheading of Lana. Lana, 37, was sentenced to death for the killing of Saudi national Nasser Al-Gahtani, his employer, on December 2010. “Siya (Lana) ay hinatulan pagkatapos na tumanggi ang pamilya ng kanyang biktima na magsagawa ng isang tinatawag na ‘tanazul’ o affidavit of forgiveness bilang kapalit ng blood money. Sa ilalim ng batas na shari’ah, ang pinakamalapit na kamag-anak ay maaaring magdesisyon hinggil sa pagpapatupad ng hatol na kamatayan o death sentence,” Coloma explained. The Communications Secretary noted that the Philippine government has provided assistance to Lana during his trial through hiring the services of the law firm Al Quwaizani Law Office. “Ang atin pong pamahalaan ay nagbigay ng lahat ng kinakailangan at kinauukulang pagtulong kay Ginoong Lana at tiniyak po na ang kanyang mga karapatang legal ay iginalang at sinuportahan sa buong prosesong panghukuman o judicial process,” said Coloma. He added that the DFA is also assisting other Filipinos facing similar predicaments abroad. (full story: 12.14.14) THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Binay ratings nosedive; Aquino’s approval, trust numbers rise in survey 

Vice President Jejomar Binay’s approval and trust ratings have sunk to their lowest amid charges of corruption leveled against him by his political enemies, while President Benigno Aquino III’s insistence on transparency in government has earned for him the highest scores in the people’s trust and approval, results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showed. The 2014 “Ulat ng Bayan” (Report to the Nation) Survey released Friday showed Binay’s approval rating dropped 21 percentage points, from 66 percent to 45 percent, and his trust rating fell 20 percentage points, from 64 percent to 44 percent. It also showed double-digit declines in Binay’s approval and trust ratings across geographic areas and socioeconomic groups between September and November. The survey, conducted among 1,200 respondents, also showed that only President Aquino obtained majority approval and trust ratings among the country’s top five officials. Mr. Aquino posted 59-percent approval, up by 4 percentage points from 55 percent in September, and his trust rating slightly improved from 54 percent to 56 percent.

ALSO: Aquino says thank you to Korea for ‘Yolanda’ aid  

BUSAN, South Korea—The 500-strong South Korean military force, called Araw Troops, brought sunshine to the Visayas in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and President Aquino did not forget this. During a meeting on Thursday with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Aquino recognized the efforts of soldiers who helped rebuild schools, hospitals and damaged infrastructure in provinces ravaged one year ago by Yolanda, internationally called Haiyan. Aquino thanked South Korea for its extensive humanitarian, rehabilitation and recovery assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of the strongest typhoon to make landfall on Nov. 8, 2013, that killed more than 6,300 Filipinos. The soldiers flew to the country in the wake of Yolanda and named their contingent after the Filipino term for sun to give hope to the survivors. They said they came to show their gratitude for the country’s support during the Korean War in the 1950s. The Araw Troops went to work in Leyte province and took part in the repair and reconstruction of government facilities, conducted medical operations and donated engineering equipment and supplies, said presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr., who briefed reporters on the meeting between the two leaders. Aquino also noted that the South Korean force was still in Leyte and was among those who experienced Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit), which hit the country over the weekend. He said the troops had good rapport with municipal authorities and there were requests to extend their stay there.  READ FULL REPORT

ALSO: In Goyang, FVR urges Aquino to learn from Korea

PHOTO: PH MONUMENT Former President Fidel V. Ramos (seated, in blue vest) leads fellow Filipino veterans of the Korean War in wreath-laying rites at the Philippine Monument in Goyang City, 35 kilometers north of Seoul. NIKKO DIZON GOYANG CITY—Former President Fidel Ramos, a veteran of the Korean War, on Sunday urged President Aquino to visit Korea to see the war monuments built for the soldiers his father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., followed closely as a war correspondent. Ramos, 85, said Aquino should also see for himself how Korea rose from the ashes of war to become one of the most powerful countries in the world. The President’s father came with the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) in September 1950 “and went alongside the troops in their operations,” he said in his remarks at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Philippine Monument here. He thanked the people of Goyang and the nearby communities and their country for putting up the monument. Seven other Filipino war veterans are in Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ceasefire between North Korea and South Korea on July 27, 1953.  READ FULL REPORT..

ALSO: Noy single but not alone this Christmas  

BUSAN – President Aquino may be single but he will not be alone this Christmas. In an interview with reporters on Friday, Aquino said he would spend the holidays with his sister Kris and his nephews Joshua and Bimby. “If you want, you can visit me on Dec. 25. I have companions. I think Bimby has a movie. Kris will force me to watch the movie. Joshua will tag me along. I have companions on Dec. 25 so just visit me on the 26th,” he said when asked for an update on his love life. Aquino, the country’s first bachelor president, said he would also attend two weddings in the next few weeks as a “dakilang abay (member of the entourage).” “On the 30th, I will be with Marian Rivera and Dingdong (Dantes) for their wedding. In February, I will have a romantic moment. Chiz (Sen. Francis Escudero) will be married to Heart (Evangelista),” he said. When asked if he thinks predictions that he would get married before the end of 2016 will not occur, Aquino said: “That is a target in my life that I no longer set.” “Hinihintay ko na lang yung ano, yung ukol at bukol. Kapag ginusto ng Diyos, ilalatag na lang yan (If God wills it, He will make it happen),” he added. Aquino said he had wanted to settle down before he reaches 24. When it did not happen, he said he moved the goal to 30. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: QC gov’t, TV Network to lead New Year countdown 

The Quezon City government, together with TV5 and the Happy Network, will host a countdown to usher in the New Year on Dec. 31 at the Quezon Memorial Circle which will be highlighted by a colorful fireworks display and a street party topbilled by the network’s roster of homegrown talents and artists. The countdown, to start at 4 p.m., also forms part of the QC government’s effort to discourage the use of firecrackers during the New Year’s Eve revelry, according to Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista. He said TV5 president Noel Lorenzana and him are expected to sign a memorandum of agreement to formalize the partnership for the hosting of the New Year countdown at QMC starting today (December 15) during the regular flag ceremony at the city hall. City Administrator Aldrin Cuña said at least 20,000 city residents can be accommodated at the QMC. READ FULL REPORT...

 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

P-Noy to PNP chief: Accept suspension


AQUINO IN SOUTH KOREA

BUSAN, DECEMBER 15, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Alexis Romero - BUSAN – While Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima has the right to defend himself from charges of corruption, he should stick to the rule of law and accept a suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman, President Aquino said yesterday.

“We will follow all the processes and procedures mandated by law,” the President told reporters here on the sidelines of the ASEAN-South Korea commemorative summit.

“We also have to recognize that this person has rights that should also be protected,” he added.

Aquino admitted feeling uneasy when answering questions on whether the suspension has affected his trust in Purisima.

“I’m sure somebody will say I’m favoring Director General Purisima or I’ve lost trust in him,” the President said.

He said Purisima had told him during their latest conversation that he was keeping to quarters.

The President also appeared cool to appointing a permanent successor to the embattled police chief. Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina is currently officer-in-charge of the 150,000-strong PNP.

Aquino said all law enforcers are required to obey whoever is designated as their OIC.

“Having a concept of OIC or not, he is the head at this point in time. If somebody does not follow him, that person gets removed,” the President said.

“Whatever we put in place should not be dependent on any one person,” he added.

The ombudsman has ordered the suspension of Purisima for six months over an allegedly anomalous courier service contract for the delivery of gun licenses.

Some lawmakers have been asking Aquino to immediately decide on what to do with Purisima, including Senate President Franklin Drilon, who expressed belief that the PNP would degenerate into a “headless body” if allowed to be led by a mere OIC for a long period of time because the latter has limited powers.

He noted that the government would have its hands full with two important events next year, namely the visit of Pope Francis and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Aquino said regardless of the issue involving Purisima, the PNP leadership would experience changes because of the retirement of key officials.

“General Espina will not be in the service that much longer. And Gen. Purisima will reach 56 by 2015. So with or without the issue, we are also searching (for their successors). We will look at the track record of all contenders,” he added.

The President himself has been drawing flak for reportedly being soft on Purisima. The suspended PNP chief’s ties to the President date back to the first Aquino administration during which he served as part of the Presidential Security Group assigned to the young presidential son. Purisima is from Philippine Military Class 1981.

Resign only option

Drilon’s colleague, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, said it’s best for Purisima to resign amid the brouhaha over his alleged involvement in corruption, to spare the President from further embarrassment.

Aside from the alleged anomalous courier service contract, other issues raised against Purisima were his unreported real estate properties as well as questionable donations for the rehabilitation and construction of the so-called white house or official residence of the PNP chief inside Camp Crame.

Santiago earlier described Purisima as someone with “a small mind inside such a big head.”

She also called on the President to assign Purisima to another position so that he would finally be compelled to leave the PNP.

“I must say that the tipping point will come when Purisima himself becomes fully aware that he has turned into an embarrassment for the President, then in that case even out of loyalty to his chief he should offer to resign,” Santiago said.

In spite of the ombudsman suspension order, Purisima has not left the white house, unleashing more brickbats from his critics.

“He should no longer be there because all of these are inherent with the position. So if a suspension order has been handed down, out of delicadeza, he should move somewhere else,” Santiago said.

Crime down, says Roxas

Amid the controversies hounding the leadership of the PNP, crime statistics have improved over the past weeks, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

He said the “holistic approach” being followed by the PNP in its anti-crime efforts is apparently effective, as crime incidents dropped from about 1,000 in June to about 500 cases in November this year.

But he said he would ask the President to decide on the fate of the police chief once and for all upon the Chief Executive’s return from South Korea.

“The PNP finds itself in a unique situation since never before has a PNP chief been suspended,” Roxas said in a press briefing. “The suspension is six months and will end middle of next year. I hope to meet the President upon his return from South Korea and a final decision will be made in due time,” he said.

Although suspended, Purisima is not compelled to pack his things from the office of the PNP chief or from the white house, Roxas said.

Roxas declined to discuss the issue raised by the camp of Purisima on the legal personality of the DILG secretary in implementing the suspension. “That’s over. It’s clear that he has already accepted the suspension,” he said.

He said three other top positions in the PNP would also be filled in due time. The suspension of Purisima and the retirement of Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr. last week left Espina at the No. 3 spot and Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., at the No. 4, in the PNP.

The DILG chief reiterated that the PNP continues to carry out its mandate to serve and protect the people.

“We will always pursue what is good in the organization, which is to deliver anti-criminality efforts and arrest criminals, bombers, who are hurting innocent individuals,” said Roxas.

Roxas said the PNP is fine-tuning the security preparations for the visit of Pope Francis in January and the APEC in November 2015.

Based on audited blotter, Roxas said that from Nov. 24 to 30, there were 591 crime incidents in Metro Manila, including robbery and vehicle theft. From Dec. 1 to 7, there were only 525 cases.

He added the downtrend in crime incidents was also seen from Nov. 17 to 23 with 677 cases and from Nov. 10 to 16 with only 713 incidents.

“For 16 weeks or from July 21 to Nov. 9, we can see very significant decrease in crime incidents as a result of the Oplan Lambat-Sibat being implemented in the NCR,” said Roxas.

Roxas said authorities would also address robbery incidents perpetrated by taxi drivers and victimizing mostly female passengers.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Carmelo Valmoria instructed all station commanders to conduct surveillance on taxi drivers believed to be involved in robbery holdups.

Valmoria reminded the public to observe caution when taking cabs. He said passengers should take note of the plate number, name of taxi and other details, and inform their friends or loved ones about them through text message. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy


FROM THE TRIBUNE

Purisima already on the way out — Coloma Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00


PURISIMA

Malacañang yesterday said regardless of issues, embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima will be retiring next year anyway, expressing indifference to the police chief, who formerly enjoyed the trust and confindence of President Aquino as suspension orders flooded him.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan yesterday President Aquino noted Purisima is already retiring in 2015.

He added regardless of issues, Purisima is already set to be replaced.

Coloma said the public should not fret on how long it will take to install a new PNP chief as the administration is already taking initial steps.

“As the President said, regardless — with or without this issue — we will still be looking. We are looking at the track records of all the contenders,” Coloma said.

According to Coloma, the President did not mention a timetable, he only said that the succession on who will lead the Philippine National Police force is being considered, while it was relayed to everyone that there is no issue or controversy in having an OIC (officer-in-charge).”

Others following Purisima’s rank are set to retire next year also, including Gen. Felipe Rojas and current PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina.
Meanwhile, Coloma said there should be no worries coming from the public with regard to safety, even with the pending papal visit next month.

“The President said it would not be affected, that’s why we should not have doubts. It continues. There is no reduction in the effectiveness of the PNP due from that issue. Let us not engage in speculations because the President’s declaration on that matter is clear,” he added.


FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

Palace extends condolences to family of Overseas Filipino Worker executed in Saudi Arabia

The Palace on Sunday extended its condolences to the family of the Overseas Filipino Worker recently executed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Nalulungkot po tayo sa pagtanggap ng balita hinggil sa execution ng ating kababayang si Ginoong Carlito Lana sa Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nagpahayag na po ang ating Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ng pakikiramay sa kanyang pamilya,” said Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

On Saturday, the DFA confirmed the beheading of Lana.

Lana, 37, was sentenced to death for the killing of Saudi national Nasser Al-Gahtani, his employer, on December 2010.

“Siya (Lana) ay hinatulan pagkatapos na tumanggi ang pamilya ng kanyang biktima na magsagawa ng isang tinatawag na ‘tanazul’ o affidavit of forgiveness bilang kapalit ng blood money. Sa ilalim ng batas na shari’ah, ang pinakamalapit na kamag-anak ay maaaring magdesisyon hinggil sa pagpapatupad ng hatol na kamatayan o death sentence,” Coloma explained.

The Communications Secretary noted that the Philippine government has provided assistance to Lana during his trial through hiring the services of the law firm Al Quwaizani Law Office.

“Ang atin pong pamahalaan ay nagbigay ng lahat ng kinakailangan at kinauukulang pagtulong kay Ginoong Lana at tiniyak po na ang kanyang mga karapatang legal ay iginalang at sinuportahan sa buong prosesong panghukuman o judicial process,” said Coloma.

He added that the DFA is also assisting other Filipinos facing similar predicaments abroad. (full story: 12.14.14)


FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay ratings nosedive; Aquino’s approval, trust numbers rise in survey Inquirer Research, Nikko Dizon and Niña P. Calleja | Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:57 AM | Saturday, December 13th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Vice President Jejomar Binay’s approval and trust ratings have sunk to their lowest amid charges of corruption leveled against him by his political enemies, while President Benigno Aquino III’s insistence on transparency in government has earned for him the highest scores in the people’s trust and approval, results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showed.

The 2014 “Ulat ng Bayan” (Report to the Nation) Survey released Friday showed Binay’s approval rating dropped 21 percentage points, from 66 percent to 45 percent, and his trust rating fell 20 percentage points, from 64 percent to 44 percent.

It also showed double-digit declines in Binay’s approval and trust ratings across geographic areas and socioeconomic groups between September and November.

The survey, conducted among 1,200 respondents, also showed that only President Aquino obtained majority approval and trust ratings among the country’s top five officials.

Mr. Aquino posted 59-percent approval, up by 4 percentage points from 55 percent in September, and his trust rating slightly improved from 54 percent to 56 percent.

In the 16 quarterly surveys conducted before November, Binay’s approval ratings went higher than 80 ten times, while his trust ratings exceeded 80 seven times, Pulse Asia noted. He posted his record-high 87 percent approval rating in March and his record-high 86 trust rating in August 2011 and in March.

Speaker, Chief Justice

Pulse Asia said there were plurality sentiments toward the approval and trust for Binay, while a plurality of those surveyed were undecided about the performance and trustworthiness of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

On the other hand, a big plurality showed ambivalence about the trustworthiness of Senate President Franklin Drilon, it said.

President Aquino’s approval ratings ranged from 55 percent (September) to 88 percent (July 2010) in the previous 17 quarterly surveys, the latter being the only figure to reach the over-80 percentage mark. His trust ratings ranged from 53 percent (June) to 80 percent (November 2012).

Palace happy

Malacañang could not be happier, with presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda saying the “Filipino people understand that in the long term, the work that the administration and President Aquino [have] been doing for them is really geared toward their benefit.”

That Mr. Aquino’s trust and approval ratings continue to rise shows that the people have confidence in the President and his administration, Lacierda said in a press briefing at the Palace on Friday.

Asked if Mr. Aquino’s excellent grade could translate into public support for the candidate whom the President would choose to run for Malacañang in 2016, Lacierda said it would “certainly be considered by the Filipino people.”

“[We hope] the trust that the Filipino people have reposed on the President will be translated [into] trust [in] the political endorsement of [whoever] the President chooses,” Lacierda said.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is presumed to be the ruling Liberal Party’s presidential candidate in 2016, but he is so unpopular among voters that there have been suggestions the party look outside for another candidate with the best chances of winning.

That candidate could be Sen. Grace Poe, an administration ally who surged in the latest Pulse Asia voter-preference poll to overtake Roxas and land in second place, threatening Binay’s lead.

Mr. Aquino has always said he wants a successor who will pursue his good government and reform programs.

In a separate statement, Lacierda said that the “latest figures show the public’s continuing confidence in our administration, which from the beginning has endeavored to bring out reform and real change in the country.”

“From ensuring the inclusivity growth to coordinating disaster relief and response efforts, the Aquino administration has taken great strides in safeguarding the well-being of our people,” Lacierda said.

There are concrete benefits, he stressed, including more jobs and the “successive credit rating” upgrades for the country.

“Going into the next two years, the administration is committed to further building on the gains we have collectively achieved, propelling the country toward a future marked by true peace and inclusivity,” Lacierda said.

Binay undistracted

Binay said the results of any survey could not distract him from his work.

“No matter what the survey results now show, it would not distract me from what I am doing. I am the presidential adviser on [overseas Filipino workers’] concerns, I have tasks on the government’s antihuman trafficking and shelter programs,” Binay told reporters after attending the launching of a new hotel in Bangkal village, Makati City, Friday afternoon.

Binay spoke at the opening of Aurumone Hotel, a neighborhood hotel owned by former overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong and the Colayco Foundation, a group that helps migrant workers manage their finances.

“We should set aside politics. We are still too far from [the 2016 elections],” Binay said.

His spokesperson, Joey Salgado, said the Vice President was thankful for the “continued trust and support of the people” despite allegations of corruption being heaped on him by his political enemies.

“Vice President Binay respects the results of the Pulse Asia survey,” Salgado said.

“No amount of mudslinging will distract the Vice President from assisting . . . overseas Filipino workers, providing decent and affordable housing for all, and improving the quality of life of Filipinos,” Salgado said.

A Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is investigating charges of corruption against Binay, including overpricing in the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, which was built when he was mayor of the city.

He is also accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth, including an 8,877-square-meter real estate property in Comembo village, Makati, and a 350-hectare agricultural farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.

Binay has refused to face the subcommittee to answer the charges thrown at him by former political allies, among them his former vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado.

Senate, House chiefs

In the Pulse Asia Ulat ng Bayan, Drilon posted 47-percent approval, up by 8 points from his record-low 39 percent. His trust rating slightly improved from a record low of 37 percent to 42 percent.

The approval and trust ratings of Belmonte both went 4 ticks up, from record-low 30 percent to 34 percent and from 27 percent to 31 percent, respectively.

Sereno’s approval went up to 37 percent from 33 percent, and her trust rating slightly improved from 30 percent to 33 percent.

Results of the same survey also showed that only the Supreme Court scored a majority approval rating, while all the three government institutions failed to obtain majority trust ratings.

Approval ratings of the Supreme Court and the Senate slightly improved from 48 percent to 51 percent and from

40 percent to 42 percent, respectively, while the approval rating of the House of Representatives remained unchanged (38 percent).

Trust in the three institutions slightly moved, for the Senate (37 percent from 38 percent), House (34 percent from 36 percent) and Supreme Court (41 percent from 44 percent).

Disapproval everywhere

Binay registered marked declines in all geographical areas, obtaining lower approval ratings in the rest of Luzon (40 percent from 68 percent), Mindanao (49 percent from 75 percent), Metro Manila (50 percent from 61 percent) and Visayas (48 percent from 55 percent).

Likewise, the Vice President’s approval ratings drastically dipped among Classes ABC (41 percent from 54 percent), D (45 percent from 66 percent) and E (46 percent from 71 percent).

President Aquino’s approval ratings slightly moved in the rest of Luzon (54 percent from 46 percent), Visayas (68 percent from 65 percent), Metro Manila (49 percent from 48 percent) and Mindanao (67 percent from 68 percent).

Approval of the President also improved among Classes ABC (59 percent from 48 percent) and D (59 percent from 54 percent) but declined among Class E (57 percent from 61 percent).

Drilon’s approval ratings went up across all areas, ranging from 63 percent (from 44 percent) in the Visayas to 38 percent (from 35 percent) in the rest of Luzon. His approval rating also improved among socioeconomic groups, ranging from 55 percent (from 40 percent) among Classes ABC to 45 percent (from 38 percent) among Class D.

Belmonte also posted increased approval ranging from 44 percent (from 34 percent) in the rest of Luzon to 29 percent (from 27 percent) in Visayas. His approval rating ranged from 51 percent (from 42 percent) among Classes ABC to 25 percent (from 28 percent) among Class E.

Chief Justice’s ratings

Sereno’s approval ratings went up in Mindanao (42 percent from 30 percent), up by one point in Visayas (33 percent) and the rest of Luzon (35 percent) and remained unchanged in Metro Manila (36 percent). By classes, her approval ranged from 41 percent (from 38 percent) among Classes ABC to 29 percent among Class E.

Trust in Binay dipped across all areas, posting lower scores in the rest of Luzon (39 percent from 67 percent), Mindanao (48 percent from 70 percent), Metro Manila (49 percent from 60 percent) and Visayas (46 percent from 53 percent).

By classes, the Vice President also suffered serious declines among Classes E (44 percent from 70 percent), D (45 percent from 64 percent) and ABC (38 percent from 52 percent).

Trusted everywhere

Across all areas, President Aquino’s trust ratings slightly moved in the rest of Luzon (52 percent from 48 percent), Metro Manila (49 percent from 47 percent), Visayas (62 percent from 61 percent) and Mindanao (62 percent from 65 percent).

The President’s trust ratings also went up among Classes ABC (57 percent from 49 percent) and D (57 percent from 52 percent) except among Class E (52 percent from 61 percent).

Drilon’s trust ratings went up across all areas, ranging from 56 percent (from 39 percent) in the Visayas to 35 percent (from 34 percent) in the rest of Luzon. By classes, Drilon’s trust ratings ranged from 49 percent (from 40 percent) among Classes ABC to 43 percent (from 38 percent) among
Class E.

Belmonte’s trust ratings ranged from 41 percent (from 31 percent) to 23 percent (from 21 percent) in the Visayas across geographic areas, and ranged from 45 percent (from 37 percent) among Classes ABC to 24 percent (from 26 percent) among Class E by class.

Slight improvements in Sereno’s trust ratings were recorded across all areas (ranging from 37 percent in Mindanao to 29 percent in Visayas) and socioeconomic classes (ranging from 42 percent among Classes ABC to 23 percent among Class E).

Major issues

The survey, conducted from Nov. 14 to 20, used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults aged 18 and older. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

Among the issues that preoccupied the country immediately before and during the conduct of the survey were: The ongoing investigation by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee into corruption allegations against Binay, who decided not to appear before the panel on Nov. 7; the reported overpricing of the Iloilo Convention Center, which was endorsed by Drilon as recipient of his allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF); and the probe being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation into the procurement of vaccines by Health Secretary Enrique Ona in 2012 and Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino says thank you to Korea for ‘Yolanda’ aid Leila B. Salaverria @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:34 AM | Friday, December 12th, 2014


RED CARPET President Aquino gets a red carpet welcome at the VIP Terminal of the Gimhae Air Base in Busan, South Korea, where he is joining other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the 25th Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit 2014. He is accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul Hernandez. MALACANANG PHOTO BUREAU

BUSAN, South Korea—The 500-strong South Korean military force, called Araw Troops, brought sunshine to the Visayas in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and President Aquino did not forget this.

During a meeting on Thursday with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Aquino recognized the efforts of soldiers who helped rebuild schools, hospitals and damaged infrastructure in provinces ravaged one year ago by Yolanda, internationally called Haiyan.

Aquino thanked South Korea for its extensive humanitarian, rehabilitation and recovery assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of the strongest typhoon to make landfall on Nov. 8, 2013, that killed more than 6,300 Filipinos.

The soldiers flew to the country in the wake of Yolanda and named their contingent after the Filipino term for sun to give hope to the survivors. They said they came to show their gratitude for the country’s support during the Korean War in the 1950s.

The Araw Troops went to work in Leyte province and took part in the repair and reconstruction of government facilities, conducted medical operations and donated engineering equipment and supplies, said presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr., who briefed reporters on the meeting between the two leaders.

Aquino also noted that the South Korean force was still in Leyte and was among those who experienced Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit), which hit the country over the weekend. He said the troops had good rapport with municipal authorities and there were requests to extend their stay there.

In his meeting with the South Korean president hours after his arrival in Busan to attend the two-day Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit,

Aquino discussed the situation in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, according to Coloma.

Aquino said the two countries have a “shared stake in maintaining unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation in the region,” Coloma said.

Park thanked President Aquino for attending the summit despite the weekend typhoon. She said the Seoul government would coordinate with the Philippines to support the recovery work in areas affected by Ruby.

Defense cooperation

Aquino sought South Korea’s continued support in the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea, Coloma said.

Aquino reiterated the Philippines’ support for the moves to bring about the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the early resumption of the six-party talks aimed at resolving the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear program.

Park, for her part, affirmed Seoul’s defense cooperation agreement with the Philippines, recalling Manila’s decision to acquire 12 FA-50 fighter aircraft and transport equipment, Coloma said. The Philippines is set to receive donations from South Korea consisting of a patrol combat corvette, a landing craft utility and 16 rubber boats, he added.

President Aquino is also scheduled to meet Friday with the South Korean air force officers and top officials of Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., the supplier of the fighter jets that the Philippines is buying for P18.9 billion.

Aquino will view a model of the fighter jet and will be briefed about its features. Delivery of the aircraft is expected in 2015.

The President told Park that the Philippines intended to pursue a comprehensive strategic partnership with South Korea, noting the two countries’ similarities, according to Coloma.

Aquino said both countries were “sister democracies” and face the same threats and challenges. They also both value freedom, respect for human rights, and adherence to the rule of law, Coloma said.

Aquino expressed his condolences for the sinking of the Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 in the Bering Sea. Seven of 13 Filipino crew members of the vessel remain missing. Three were rescued and three died.

Police desks

The President also told Park he would order the setting up of dedicated South Korean desks in police offices in the Philippines as part of measures to address crimes involving its nationals in the country, as a rising number of South Koreans make the Philippines their new home or holiday destination.

From January to August this year, nine Koreans have died in violent incidents in the Philippines. Among those killed were a 21-year-old student who was abducted and murdered in March and a businessman who was slain in a carjacking incident.

The President also said the government would initiate more dialogues with the Korean community in the Philippines, Coloma added.

There are some 90,000 Koreans, including retirees, in the country. Many of those who have settled in the country had been drawn to the low cost of English language education and housing.

South Korea has also been the Philippines’ top source of tourist arrivals since 2010, numbering 1.165 million in 2013. They constitute nearly a quarter of annual tourist arrivals in the country.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Ramos urges Aquino to learn from Korea Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:03 AM | Monday, July 29th, 2013


PH MONUMENT Former President Fidel V. Ramos (seated, in blue vest) leads fellow Filipino veterans of the Korean War in wreath-laying rites at the Philippine Monument in Goyang City, 35 kilometers north of Seoul. NIKKO DIZON

GOYANG CITY—Former President Fidel Ramos, a veteran of the Korean War, on Sunday urged President Aquino to visit Korea to see the war monuments built for the soldiers his father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., followed closely as a war correspondent.

Ramos, 85, said Aquino should also see for himself how Korea rose from the ashes of war to become one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The President’s father came with the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) in September 1950 “and went alongside the troops in their operations,” he said in his remarks at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Philippine Monument here. He thanked the people of Goyang and the nearby communities and their country for putting up the monument.

Seven other Filipino war veterans are in Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ceasefire between North Korea and South Korea on July 27, 1953.

They were retired Generals Benjamin Santos and Prudencio Regis, Colonels Vicente Alhambra, Ishmael Rodrigo and Jovencio Dominguez, and Lieutenants Dionisio Layaoen and Severino Aquino. Crescencia Felicia, who is in her mid-80s, represented her husband, the late Lt. Maximino Felicia.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and his wife, Rhodora, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Luis Cruz, Goyang Mayor Choi Sung and other veterans also attended the event. Choi called the veterans and their fallen comrades “real-life heroes.”

The Philippines was among the 16 countries that sent combat troops in response to the United Nations call to assist South Korea in repelling the North. It sent five battalions—the 10th, 20th, 19th, 14th and 2nd BCTs—over five years under the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea to join the allied forces.

Ramos fought with the 20th (not the 29th as reported on Sunday), along with Santos, Regis and Rodrigo.

A portrait depicting the late Senator Aquino as a reporter in Korea and his newspaper article titled “1st Cav Knifes Through 38th Parallel” is captured in the old P500 bill that his son, the President, likes to give to Koreans as souvenirs, the Inquirer learned.

The 38th Parallel divides the Korean Peninsula into the communist North and the capitalist South. With the absence of a peace treaty, they remain technically at war.

Sources told the Inquirer that the Korean government had invited Aquino for a visit, but there were no concrete plans yet when it would take place.

For Ramos, it is important that Aquino see for himself the “fortitude” of Korea and the great strides it has made since rebuilding itself from the ashes of war.

“[Mr. Aquino should] also personally see the great progress that has taken place in [Korea] just two and a half generations after the total devastation brought by the Korean War from 1950 to 1953,” Ramos said.

He said it was an “inspiring model of development and modernization, which has been made possible by collective sacrifice, patriotism, love of peace development and world harmony.”

Ramos, who maintains close ties with Korea, said it was incumbent upon Seoul “to continue providing a shining example to other developing nations like the Philippines.”

“A poor country, war-ravaged at that like South Korea, can emerge within 50 years or less into an advanced nation that has become a donor country to other impoverished nations and people around the world,” he said.


FROM PHILSTAR

Noy single but not alone this Christmas (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 14, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 1

BUSAN – President Aquino may be single but he will not be alone this Christmas.

In an interview with reporters on Friday, Aquino said he would spend the holidays with his sister Kris and his nephews Joshua and Bimby.

“If you want, you can visit me on Dec. 25. I have companions. I think Bimby has a movie. Kris will force me to watch the movie. Joshua will tag me along. I have companions on Dec. 25 so just visit me on the 26th,” he said when asked for an update on his love life.

Aquino, the country’s first bachelor president, said he would also attend two weddings in the next few weeks as a “dakilang abay (member of the entourage).”

“On the 30th, I will be with Marian Rivera and Dingdong (Dantes) for their wedding. In February, I will have a romantic moment. Chiz (Sen. Francis Escudero) will be married to Heart (Evangelista),” he said.

When asked if he thinks predictions that he would get married before the end of 2016 will not occur, Aquino said: “That is a target in my life that I no longer set.”

“Hinihintay ko na lang yung ano, yung ukol at bukol. Kapag ginusto ng Diyos, ilalatag na lang yan (If God wills it, He will make it happen),” he added.

Aquino said he had wanted to settle down before he reaches 24. When it did not happen, he said he moved the goal to 30.

“My last target is 30. It has been a while since I’m 30. I don’t want to set targets anymore,” the 54-year old President said.

Despite several relationships that did not work out, Aquino does not consider his love life a failure.

“Tulad ng iba dito, ako naman ay nagmahal at minahal rin (Like others here, I have loved and was loved),” he said.

Keep doing his best

In his arrival speech, the President vowed to just keep doing his best in the remaining years of his term.

“In our remaining days in office, with the guidance of the Lord and the continuous support of the public, we will do everything we can to bring about worthwhile service for our beloved bosses,” Aquino said in Filipino upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 Friday night.

Aquino is now the most trusted government official as Vice President Jejomar Binay’s approval and trust ratings plunged, but he stressed in a press briefing that the latest figures would not encourage him to extend his term.

“This is true: every visit to another country makes it clearer. The whole world’s confidence in the Philippines is now very high,” Aquino said, adding the country could be at par with its neighbors and help in achieving growth for the region.

He urged the people to continue to strengthen their cooperation to improve the state of the country and fellowmen. – With Alexis Romero Aurea Calica


FROM THE TRIBUNE

QC gov’t, TV Network to lead New Year countdown Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00
|

The Quezon City government, together with TV5 and the Happy Network, will host a countdown to usher in the New Year on Dec. 31 at the Quezon Memorial Circle which will be highlighted by a colorful fireworks display and a street party topbilled by the network’s roster of homegrown talents and artists.

The countdown, to start at 4 p.m., also forms part of the QC government’s effort to discourage the use of firecrackers during the New Year’s Eve revelry, according to Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista.

He said TV5 president Noel Lorenzana and him are expected to sign a memorandum of agreement to formalize the partnership for the hosting of the New Year countdown at QMC starting today (December 15) during the regular flag ceremony at the city hall.

City Administrator Aldrin Cuña said at least 20,000 city residents can be accommodated at the QMC.

TV5 entertainment division head Wilma Galvante, during the presentation of the New Year countdown concept at QC Hall, said the network has tapped the Canadian Royal Pyrotechnie Inc. and Platinum Fireworks Inc. for the fireworks display.

She said the Canadian Royal Pyrotechnie Inc. will mount their presentation at 10 minutes before midnight on December 31 while Platinum Fireworks Inc., organizer of the 2010 and 2011 Philippine International Pyro Musical Competition, will have their presentation at the stroke of midnight.

Aside from the center stage that will be set up at QMC’s Liwasang Aurora, TV5 will set up at least two satellite stages at QMC as early as 4 p.m.
TV5 will also host a public audition for QC residents interested in becoming a network talent.

Already, the local government has mobilized police and traffic personnel from the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety to ensure peace and order as well as the orderly movement of traffic during the December 31 festivities.

The Tribune was told the New Year countdown at QMC will have for its theme “Handog sa Bayan ng Happy Network.” Arlie O. Calalo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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