NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

P-NOY ROMANCES WITH IDEA: 'PH TO BE FIRST WORLD NATION'?


MAY 25 ---Philippines will be a First World country if my reforms continue-P-NOY  President Aquino said a first world status for the Philippines is attainable if the seeds planted for reforms will continue after his term. “It (first world status) is an aspiration, especially if we continue to be diligent, to help one another, and continue good governance in the country,” Aquino said as he spoke at the “Brigada Eskwela” and “Oplan Balik Eskwela 2015” at Marikina Elementary School in Marikina City yesterday. Aquino noted some of the progress under his administration, such as the decrease in unemployment rate to 6.6 percent in January 2015 from 7.5 percent in January 2014; and the self-rated hunger for the first quarter this year, which fell to 13.5 percent from 17.2 percent last year. “This is just the beginning, we are not yet even five years in pursuing the straight path,” Aquino said. “How much more for the next generation, if we continue to plant the seeds of reforms, our students will continue to stay in school and get decent jobs when they graduate,” he said. “We might reach first world status when that time comes,” he said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT FROM BULLETIN...

ALSO LAST MONTH HE SAID: PNoy: BBL will end generations of violence


Bataan Day news April 9, 2015---Photo appended by PHNO, : President Benigno Aquino III continues to push for the passage of controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law. (Screen grabbed from internet) dzrh news online Pilar, Bataan — President Aquino, speaking at yesterday’s 73rd Araw ng Kagitingan rites here, called anew for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and challenged the nation to pursue peace in order to halt generations of violence. Before war veterans and their families at the Dambana ng Kagitingan, here, Aquino said a repeat of the atrocities of World War II must not happen ever again because conflict will only lead to more suffering and misunderstanding. “This is the same lesson that leads us to champion lasting peace in Mindanao, and to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he said. Aquino said so much damage was wrought by the devastating war in 1942, killing more than a million Filipinos which the country must not let happen again in modern times. “The entire world stood in solidarity: Never again should such a tragedy take place; no one wins in a war,” Aquino said. With the passage of BBL, the President expressed confidence of a stable Mindanao that will open a scope of opportunities for the locals, and end two generations of torment in the south, which has a vast potential for growth. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy open to Senate dialogue on BBL


MAY 26 ---President Aquino is willing to hold a dialogue with senators to thresh out concerns on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the wake of a possible clash between the Senate version and the allegedly constitutionally infirm measure approved by the House of Representatives.
But ahead of the proposed meeting with the senators, the President defended the constitutionality of the draft BBL as he expressed openness to certain amendments to the measure. “Naintindihan natin maraming pagkakataon para makatawag ng pansin lalo na’t napipintong eleksyon ay darating na sa susunod na taon. Pero isang mahinahon na diskusyunan at pakikipag-uganayan, pagsuri nila dito sa BBL e palagay ko makikita nilang it will withstand the test of constitutionality [We understand that there are many chances to draw attention especially since elections are coming up next year. But only after a calm discussion and deliberation on the BBL, I think they will see that it will withstand the test of constitutionality],” the President said in a media interview during a visit in Marikina City. The President made the remarks after Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago warned that the draft BBL could not be approved in its present form due to some constitutional issues. Santiago, chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, has argued that Charter change is needed to accommodate the current draft of the BBL. In light of Santiago’s argument against the BBL, the President said he would wait for Senate President Franklin Drilon’s position on the proposed dialogue between him and the senators. Aquino said he does not want to be accused of meddling with the affairs of an independent co-equal branch of government. READ MORE...

ALSO Aquino: PHL to defy China’s claim on airspace over disputed territories; No need to convene NSC


MAY 25 ---Local News President Benigno Aquino III has met with his legal team to discuss possible actions to address China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea. At a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino was exploring avenues to deal with China’s increasing efforts to stake its claim in the disputed territories. “Patuloy naman tayong naghahanap ng iba’t ibang mga paraan dahil ang layunin natin ay makatamo ng mapayapang pagresolba sa isyung ito,” Coloma told reporters on Thursday afternoon. The Palace official did not say when the meeting took place. He nevertheless said that Aquino discussed the Philippines’ arbitration case against China with lawyers during the meeting. PHOTO NEWS FROM techpinoy.net Photo dated May 21, 2015
(Updated 4:12 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said the Philippines will defy China's claim on the airspace over disputed territories in the South China Sea. "We will still fly to routes that we fly based on international law," Aquino told reporters in an interview in Marikina City, where he inspected classrooms a week before the opening of classes. The President also said that he is not yet concerned about the possibility of China targeting Philippine aircraft, since Beijing has not yet formally declared an air control zone over the South China Sea. "Siguro hindi muna natin dapat pag-isipan na tayo ay pag-iinitan ng isang bansa dahil wala pa ring dinedeclare namang ADIZ [Air Defense Identification Zone] doon sa tinatahak ng ating carriers," Aquino said. "Baka naman pinapangunahan natin 'yung problema na wala pa," he added. The President further said that it will be bad for China's reputation in the international community if it will be engaged in a direct confrontation with the Philippines. "Klarong-klaro 'yung disparity sa available military force between China and ourselves. Will they not take that into consideration, especially if you want to maintain a positive image to the rest of the world?" he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Again, PNoy admin can’t spend enough


MAY 26 ---The Philippines posted a smaller-than-targeted budget deficit in the first quarter of the year as it spent less than planned, casting a shadow over the country’s growth outlook for the year. The budget deficit of the national government in the first quarter of the year fell below target by 66 percent, as the Aquino administration continues to underspend, incurring a 13 percent spending shortfall during the period. Data released by the Department of Finance showed that the deficit in the first quarter stood at P33.5 billion lower by P64.6 billion relative to the P98.1 billion target for the period. It is also significantly less than the P84.1 billion shortfall recorded for same period in 2014 as revenue collection outpaced expenditure growth. The national government’s disbursements totaled to P504 billion in the first quarter, a mere four percent increase from the 2014 level and 13 percent below target of P582.2 billion for the period. The Aquino administration has been consistent in its underspending performance since it took office in the middle of 2010, even as officials said that efforts are being made to speed up spending among government departments and agencies. The underspending has also been cited as a factor that dragged the Philippine economy’s growth in recent years. The Department of Budget and Management has yet to release its statement on the lower-than-programmed expenditures, as of press time. READ MORE....

ALSO: Issues on K-to-12 program being addressed — Noy


ON THIS MAY 13, 2013 PHOTO---- K-12 LAW President Aquino greets schoolchildren who were guests at the signing of the Enhanced Basic Education Act (K-12 Act) in Malacañang on Wednesday. At left is Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. LYN RILLON, INQUIRER FILE  President Aquino yesterday expressed that the government is addressing issued on the controversial K-to-12 program, following his checking of preparations for the opening of classes in public schools next week at the Marikina Elementary School. Aquino, in his speech, said that the government has addressed through the Department of Education (DepEd), headed by Brother Armin Luistro, lacks in classrooms through the aid of the private sector. “We are addressing the added needs for the K-to-12 program, which is reforming our educational system to assure that after graduation from high school of our youth, they have enough knowledge to become productive parts of society,” he said. The President used as leverage the complains of some private schools that the higher pay for public school teachers are not helping in their recruitment. He said this is part of helping teachers through the government.
“One we see as a problem in the K-to-12 is the complains of private schools that the salary scale of public schools are so far, that they are having problems recruiting teachers. I said I guess the government is already able to pay the burden of the initial generation of teachers,” he said.

ALSO: Malacañang unfazed by possible 1 million dropouts due to K-to-12


Up to a million students could drop out of school as government implements the widely-opposed K to 12 program next year.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is on a full PR-offensive that they are “K12 ready,” but their own reports reveal that only 3,839 of the 7,976 or only 48% of public high schools nationwide have been “submitted for funding and for bidding and construction.” This could mean that only half of the number of public schools in the country will be able to accommodate the more than 2 million students currently in 4th year high school. All 4th year high school students will be required to take senior high school next year under K-12. READ FULL REPORT HERE  The Palace is firm in implementing the K-to-12 program, ignoring warnings from militant groups yesterday that about a million students across the country are bound to drop out this coming school year, in light of the execution of the new basic education program. In a state-radio interview, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. downplayed the possibility, sticking to the Palace call of soliciting support to the program, which up to date is continually hounded by criticisms. The Palace official noted that the purpose of the K-to-12 program is to make students globally competitive. However, several activist groups had already pointed out that the country is not ready for the implementation of K-to-12, hitting the administration for its urgency in allegedly “selling out” its labor force. “On the part of the administration, we are doing all that we must to prepare our students. What we want is for our students to actively participate for their own welfare. READ MORE...

ALSO MALAYA COLUMN OF THE DAY:  What Aquino has not done for all Filipinos
[........Finally, why is Aquino dictating the approval pronto by Congress of his proposal for a Bangsamoro Basic Law, despite its patently constitutional flaws as cited by eminent former chief justices and associate justices of the Supreme Court, constitutionalists and other legal experts, and why is he turning deaf ears to the opposition by Muslim lawyers led by Dr. Firdausi Abbas, Sultan of Lanao and president of the Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines, other Muslim leaders in Mindanao, the B’laans in Maguindanao and South Cotabato, and the Tausogs of Sulu, to the passage of the BBL bill?]


by NESTOR MATA
PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino claims that he started reforms in governance and achieved economic gains under his watch ever since he ascended the presidency five years ago. This prompted political critics, pundits, analysts and commentators in print and broadcast media to voice their doubts about his “achievements”. Some Aquino watchers even wondered if he’s living in cloud-cuckoo-land or a realm fantasy. And one of them has boldly asked a litany of questions, which completely belied Aquino’s claims. How much of his main claim to success in the string of 6-7 percent economic growth since 2012 and the credit rating upgrades for foreign borrowings of the national government were attributable to Aquino? What policies and initiatives did he undertake which significantly spurred economic expansion? Was it the tough fiscal reforms cited by international debt agencies in upgrading Philippine sovereign debt? Did Aquino’s public-private partnership program hugely augment infrastructure, the perennial area of concern among investors? Or have public works and growth suffered due to PPP delays and chronic under-spending since 2011? Did his anti-poverty program uplift the poor? After he expanded to P40 billion a year since 2012 the conditional cash transfer monthly stipends for poor families, inherited from the Arroyo government, how much has CCT and economic growth reduce poverty and hunger incidence? Going by the government’s own data, poverty incidence has remained at about 20 percent since 2009, while hunger incidence from 2011 to 2014 averaged 19.4 percent, higher than the 19.1 percent average during the global recession and the Ondoy and Pepeng megafloods in 2009. CONTINUE READING...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

PH to be first world nation? PNoy romances with idea


MAY 25 ---Philippines will be a First World country if my reforms continue-P-NOY

MANILA, MAY 25, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Madel Sabater - Namit May 25, 2015 - President Aquino said a first world status for the Philippines is attainable if the seeds planted for reforms will continue after his term.

“It (first world status) is an aspiration, especially if we continue to be diligent, to help one another, and continue good governance in the country,” Aquino said as he spoke at the “Brigada Eskwela” and “Oplan Balik Eskwela 2015” at Marikina Elementary School in Marikina City yesterday.

Aquino noted some of the progress under his administration, such as the decrease in unemployment rate to 6.6 percent in January 2015 from 7.5 percent in January 2014; and the self-rated hunger for the first quarter this year, which fell to 13.5 percent from 17.2 percent last year.

“This is just the beginning, we are not yet even five years in pursuing the straight path,” Aquino said.

“How much more for the next generation, if we continue to plant the seeds of reforms, our students will continue to stay in school and get decent jobs when they graduate,” he said.

“We might reach first world status when that time comes,” he said.


MANILA BULLETIN --APRIL 9, 2015 REPORT

PNoy: BBL will end generations of violence by Mar T. Supnad April 9, 2015


Photo appended by PHNO, : President Benigno Aquino III continues to push for the passage of controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law. (Screen grabbed from internet) dzrh news online

Pilar, Bataan — President Aquino, speaking at yesterday’s 73rd Araw ng Kagitingan rites here, called anew for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and challenged the nation to pursue peace in order to halt generations of violence.

Before war veterans and their families at the Dambana ng Kagitingan, here, Aquino said a repeat of the atrocities of World War II must not happen ever again because conflict will only lead to more suffering and misunderstanding.

“This is the same lesson that leads us to champion lasting peace in Mindanao, and to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he said.

Aquino said so much damage was wrought by the devastating war in 1942, killing more than a million Filipinos which the country must not let happen again in modern times.

“The entire world stood in solidarity: Never again should such a tragedy take place; no one wins in a war,” Aquino said.

With the passage of BBL, the President expressed confidence of a stable Mindanao that will open a scope of opportunities for the locals, and end two generations of torment in the south, which has a vast potential for growth.

READ MORE...
T
his will lead, he added, to a region of peace that no one will be driven to join radical factions, terrorist groups and organizations pursuing selfish agendas.

“Now that we are here, we will not allow succeeding generations to suffer the same fate. However hard our task may be, whatever challenges we may face, we will continue to pursue peace, because this is the way to obtain justice for all,” Aquino said.

The President also challenged that nation, saying that despite differences, the Filipino people must tread a single direction to face the biggest of trials including the spread of fear and violence by terrorists.


MANILA BULLETIN

PNoy open to Senate dialogue on BBL by Genalyn Kabiling May 26, 2015

President Aquino is willing to hold a dialogue with senators to thresh out concerns on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the wake of a possible clash between the Senate version and the allegedly constitutionally infirm measure approved by the House of Representatives.

But ahead of the proposed meeting with the senators, the President defended the constitutionality of the draft BBL as he expressed openness to certain amendments to the measure.

“Naintindihan natin maraming pagkakataon para makatawag ng pansin lalo na’t napipintong eleksyon ay darating na sa susunod na taon. Pero isang mahinahon na diskusyunan at pakikipag-uganayan, pagsuri nila dito sa BBL e palagay ko makikita nilang it will withstand the test of constitutionality [We understand that there are many chances to draw attention especially since elections are coming up next year. But only after a calm discussion and deliberation on the BBL, I think they will see that it will withstand the test of constitutionality],” the President said in a media interview during a visit in Marikina City.

The President made the remarks after Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago warned that the draft BBL could not be approved in its present form due to some constitutional issues. Santiago, chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, has argued that Charter change is needed to accommodate the current draft of the BBL.

In light of Santiago’s argument against the BBL, the President said he would wait for Senate President Franklin Drilon’s position on the proposed dialogue between him and the senators. Aquino said he does not want to be accused of meddling with the affairs of an independent co-equal branch of government.

READ MORE...
“Hintayin ko ang kumpas ng Senate President kung kailangan o hindi. Siyempre, may parte na gusto kong makipanayam sa kanila. Ayoko naman sabihin nila nakikialam ako sa kanila dahil independent body sila [I will wait for the word of the Senate President if it is needed or not. Of course, I want to talk to them but I also don’t want them to say I am interfering with their work because they comprise an independent body],” Aquino said.

“Kung gusto nila ako kausapin tungkol dito para hindi naman ako nanghihimasok, inimbita nila akong magbigay ng opinyon sa isang pagpupulong, bakit hindi natin gawin iyon? Handang-handa tayo doon [If they want to talk to me about this without sounding like I’m interfering, they can invite me to give my opinion in a meeting, why shouldn’t we do that? I am prepared to meet them],” he added.

OPEN TO AMENDMENTS

The President also affirmed that he was open to amendments to enhance the BBL but expressed hope the bill will be passed as soon as possible.

“Itinutulak natin, daanan nila, amyendahan nila kung dapat amyendahan, ipasa, iharap natin sa taumbayan, at magkaroon ng supisyenteng pagkakataon ipakita kung bakit mas mahusay itong iminumungkahing sistema nila [They should review the bill, amend it if there’s a need to amend, pass and present it to the public so there is a sufficient time to show why this new system is better],” he said.

He expressed hope that Congress’ deliberations on the bill will not reach until January since the proposed Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will have little time to do its work.

Once the bill is passed by Congress, a plebiscite will be held in the envisioned Bangsamoro territory, asking the residents if they approve of the law. Upon the ratification of the basic law, the transition authority will be created to serve as interim governing body of the region until the election of the new leaders of the Bangsamoro Government in 2016.

Aquino recalled that when he met with the congressmen about the BBL, he told them that they can scrutinize the measure or “nickel and dime me to death.” But as long as the deliberations on the BBL drag on, Aquino noted that the problem in Mindanao is still not resolved and could even potentially grow bigger.

“Iyong bagong mode of governance diyan, huwag naman nating paabutin ng Enero kung kailan sila mag-uumpisa dahil pagdating ng Marso, election ban na, wala na silang magagawa. Tapos sasabihin ng taumbayan, ‘e wala palang silbi ito’ [On the new mode of governance, I hope they will not prolong the deliberations until January when they have to begin their work. When the election ban starts this March, they can no longer do anything],” he added.

An ad hoc House panel chaired by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez recently approved the draft BBL after holding two days of voting.

Prior to the approval of the bill, the President held two meetings with several congressmen in Malacañang to push for the passage of the BBL in a timely manner. The lawmakers were later accused of railroading the measure to please the President.

Malacañang has already denied speculations that incentives were offered to the congressmen in exchange of the BBL approval.

FIGHT NOT YET OVER

While President Aquino is determined to have the measure passed, Zamboanga City 1st District Rep Celso Lobregat said the fight for amendments is not yet over.

Lobregat issued the statement after several of his proposed amendments were disapproved by the majority members of the House Ad Hoc Committee last week.

Lobregat said all proposals that he submitted during the line by line voting on the proposed BBL were based on the Constitution, law, principles, logic, reason and protecting the interest of Zamboanga and Mindanao.

“The fight is not yet over because what we proposed and not accepted by the (Ad Hoc) committee will be brought to the plenary,” Lobregat said.

SUPPORT FOR BBL

Meanwhile, leaders in Northern Mindanao, representing the Regional Peace and order Council (RPOC) and the Regional Development Council (RDC), recently passed a joint resolution expressing support to the proposed BBL.

Both councils called on the Congress “to pass a BBL that is true to the spirit of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).”

“The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law currently pending legislative action in Congress seeks to implement the letter and spirit of the CAB, and effectively responds to the Moro people’s longing for self-governance hence address the root cause of the Moro rebellion,” the resolution stated.

RPOC and RDC X is the first government-mandated peace and development council to unanimously support the passage of the BBL.

“It has been and is the policy of government to resolve the root causes of social conflicts in order to build a strong foundation for sustained progress and development,” Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said. (With reports from Nonoy E, Lacson and Alexander D. Lopez)


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Aquino: PHL to defy China’s claim on airspace over disputed territories; No need to convene NSC By ANDREO CALONZO, GMA News May 25, 2015 11:23am


MAY 25 ---Local News President Benigno Aquino III has met with his legal team to discuss possible actions to address China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea. At a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino was exploring avenues to deal with China’s increasing efforts to stake its claim in the disputed territories. “Patuloy naman tayong naghahanap ng iba’t ibang mga paraan dahil ang layunin natin ay makatamo ng mapayapang pagresolba sa isyung ito,” Coloma told reporters on Thursday afternoon. The Palace official did not say when the meeting took place. He nevertheless said that Aquino discussed the Philippines’ arbitration case against China with lawyers during the meeting. PHOTO NEWS FROM techpinoy.net Photo dated May 21, 2015

(Updated 4:12 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said the Philippines will defy China's claim on the airspace over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

"We will still fly to routes that we fly based on international law," Aquino told reporters in an interview in Marikina City, where he inspected classrooms a week before the opening of classes.

The President also said that he is not yet concerned about the possibility of China targeting Philippine aircraft, since Beijing has not yet formally declared an air control zone over the South China Sea.

"Siguro hindi muna natin dapat pag-isipan na tayo ay pag-iinitan ng isang bansa dahil wala pa ring dinedeclare namang ADIZ [Air Defense Identification Zone] doon sa tinatahak ng ating carriers," Aquino said.

"Baka naman pinapangunahan natin 'yung problema na wala pa," he added.

The President further said that it will be bad for China's reputation in the international community if it will be engaged in a direct confrontation with the Philippines.

"Klarong-klaro 'yung disparity sa available military force between China and ourselves. Will they not take that into consideration, especially if you want to maintain a positive image to the rest of the world?" he said.

READ MORE...
Last week, the Chinese Navy was reported to have shooed away an American military surveillance aircraft flying over areas being reclaimed by China in the disputed South China Sea.

Earlier this month, a Philippine military official also revealed that Air Force planes conducting patrol over disputed territories were told over the radio in six separate incidents that they were flying on a Chinese “military security area."

Despite the incident, the US officials said they will continue to conduct air and sea patrols in international waters, including those being claimed by China.

No need to convene NSC

During the same interview, Aquino also rejected some senators’ proposal for him to convene the National Security Council (NSC) to tackle the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China.

“The security cluster, I believe, is adequate together with the legal cluster,” the President said.

He likewise said that he convened a “modified” NSC before the Philippines filed the arbitration case against China, with former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, as well as Congress leaders, giving their respective inputs.

“Although I am supposed to be the main architect for foreign policy, we have tried to get as many voices from the different branches of government to have different perspectives and come up with the best solution to this problem,” Aquino said.

The President refused to divulge what other avenues the Philippines is currrently exploring to address its territorial row with China. He nevertheless said that his administration will continue pursuing the arbitration case, and coordination with other Southeast Asian countries.

Two earlier executive orders created the NSC to "advise the President on matters of national defense and security.”

These documents do not specify how often the NSC should meet. Instead, the NSC was directed to make recommendations to the President “from time to time.”

The NSC is composed of the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the House Speaker, Cabinet members, the Armed Forces chief, the Foreign Affairs undersecretary, the National Civil Defense administration, and chairpersons of the defense and foreign affairs committees in Congress. —KG/KBK, GMA News


MALAYA

Again, PNoy admin can’t spend enough May 26, 2015 By Angela Celis and Reuters

The Philippines posted a smaller-than-targeted budget deficit in the first quarter of the year as it spent less than planned, casting a shadow over the country’s growth outlook for the year.

The budget deficit of the national government in the first quarter of the year fell below target by 66 percent, as the Aquino administration continues to underspend, incurring a 13 percent spending shortfall during the period.

Data released by the Department of Finance showed that the deficit in the first quarter stood at P33.5 billion lower by P64.6 billion relative to the P98.1 billion target for the period.

It is also significantly less than the P84.1 billion shortfall recorded for same period in 2014 as revenue collection outpaced expenditure growth.

The national government’s disbursements totaled to P504 billion in the first quarter, a mere four percent increase from the 2014 level and 13 percent below target of P582.2 billion for the period.

The Aquino administration has been consistent in its underspending performance since it took office in the middle of 2010, even as officials said that efforts are being made to speed up spending among government departments and agencies.

The underspending has also been cited as a factor that dragged the Philippine economy’s growth in recent years.

The Department of Budget and Management has yet to release its statement on the lower-than-programmed expenditures, as of press time.

READ MORE...
Interest payments, which comprise 20 percent of the total expenditures for the quarter, have gone down by two percent or P2.5 billion year-on-year.

Interest payments amounted to P100.6 billion in the first quarter, largely on track with the P100.5 billion target.

Meanwhile the total revenue collection for the first quarter of the year reached P470.5 billion, P72.8 billion or 18 percent higher compared to last year.

The January to March revenue collections were short by three percent or P13.6 billion against the first quarter program of P484.1 billion.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s collections for the period amounted to P307.1 billion, nine percent below the P338.1 billion government target.

However it saw a year-on-year increase of 16 percent.

The Bureau of Customs meanwhile generated P92.29 billion, 11 percent below its target for the first quarter of P103.4 billion. The agency’s collections however was seven percent higher than its revenues in the same period last year.

“Despite lower oil prices, BOC collections still managed to continue growing. The key is always to look at the overall trend lines—and for the recent years they have kept moving on up,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

Meanwhile income from the Bureau of the Treasury amounted to P37.87 billion, more than double the P16.7 billion target for the period and an increase of 81 percent from a year ago, due to higher interest income from deposits and bond holdings as well as dividend collections.

Government officials are banking on higher expenditure this year to boost economic activity after a spending scandal in 2014 pulled back public investment and slowed growth.

“It’s a little bit disappointing since the government could have helped the economy accelerate in the first quarter,” said Emilio Neri, economist at Bank of the Philippine Islands. “It will clearly be a source of drag on the expenditure side of the national accounts but this could still be improved for the balance of the year.”

The first quarter economic data will be released on May 28.

Some economists are expecting a slower GDP print in the first three months compared with the 6.9 percent annual expansion in the last three months of 2014, but enough to make the Philippines the fastest growing economy in Asia after China.

“We still think we can hit the 6 percent mark or higher in Q1, at least on the basis of the supply side,” Neri said.

“We are retaining our full-year growth forecast of 6.5 percent for the year even if we are seeing a slowdown in outlay of the government,” he said.

The Philippines is targeting growth of 7 to 8 percent this year, after 6.1 percent in 2014.

The Philippines said in April it plans to use at least P160 billion of unspent money from the 2014 budget to help boost growth this year.

President Aquino has a P2.6 -trillion budget this year, 15 percent higher than last year.

The World Bank said in January the country can grow beyond its 6.5 percent estimate if the government can fully utilize its budget as planned and accelerate reforms.

Ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service raised the Philippines’ credit rating to two notches above investment grade last year, citing among other factors the government’s improving public finances as it has been relying less on foreign debt.


TRIBUNE

Issues on K-to-12 program being addressed — Noy Written by Joshua L.Labonera
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 00:00


ON THIS MAY 13, 2013 PHOTO---- K-12 LAW President Aquino greets schoolchildren who were guests at the signing of the Enhanced Basic Education Act (K-12 Act) in Malacañang on Wednesday. At left is Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. LYN RILLON, INQUIRER FILE 

President Aquino yesterday expressed that the government is addressing issued on the controversial K-to-12 program, following his checking of preparations for the opening of classes in public schools next week at the Marikina Elementary School.

Aquino, in his speech, said that the government has addressed through the Department of Education (DepEd), headed by Brother Armin Luistro, lacks in classrooms through the aid of the private sector.

“We are addressing the added needs for the K-to-12 program, which is reforming our educational system to assure that after graduation from high school of our youth, they have enough knowledge to become productive parts of society,” he said.

The President used as leverage the complains of some private schools that the higher pay for public school teachers are not helping in their recruitment. He said this is part of helping teachers through the government.

“One we see as a problem in the K-to-12 is the complains of private schools that the salary scale of public schools are so far, that they are having problems recruiting teachers. I said I guess the government is already able to pay the burden of the initial generation of teachers,” he said.

READ MORE...
The Palace earlier noted that the purpose of the K-to-12 program is to make students globally competitive. However, several activist groups had already pointed out that the country is not ready for the implementation of K-to-12, hitting the administration for its urgency in allegedly “selling out” its labor force.

It has ignored warnings from militant groups yesterday that about a million students across the country are bound to drop out this coming school year, in light of the execution of the new basic education program.

Initially raised for questioning were the ground to which K-to-12 will stand, as it was assailed that the government needs to prioritize other problems in the education sector first, including low salaries for teachers and the lack of classrooms.

On the side, Aquino, together with Luistro, thoroughly inspected classrooms and learning materials for Grade 1 and 2 pupils of the Marikina City Elementary School this morning, after the DepEd’s week-long “Brigada Eskwela” program.

The DepEd launches Brigada Eskwela every year two weeks before class opening to bring together in line with Republic Act 8525, or the Adopt-A-School Program Act, which was implemented in 1998.

Smooth opening of classes this school year is expected on Monday next week.


TRIBUNE

Malacañang unfazed by possible 1 million dropouts due to K-to-12 Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 25 May 2015 00:00


Up to a million students could drop out of school as government implements the widely-opposed K to 12 program next year.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is on a full PR-offensive that they are “K12 ready,” but their own reports reveal that only 3,839 of the 7,976 or only 48% of public high schools nationwide have been “submitted for funding and for bidding and construction.” This could mean that only half of the number of public schools in the country will be able to accommodate the more than 2 million students currently in 4th year high school. All 4th year high school students will be required to take senior high school next year under K-12. READ FULL REPORT HERE 

The Palace is firm in implementing the K-to-12 program, ignoring warnings from militant groups yesterday that about a million students across the country are bound to drop out this coming school year, in light of the execution of the new basic education program.

In a state-radio interview, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. downplayed the possibility, sticking to the Palace call of soliciting support to the program, which up to date is continually hounded by criticisms.

The Palace official noted that the purpose of the K-to-12 program is to make students globally competitive. However, several activist groups had already pointed out that the country is not ready for the implementation of K-to-12, hitting the administration for its urgency in allegedly “selling out” its labor force. “

On the part of the administration, we are doing all that we must to prepare our students. What we want is for our students to actively participate for their own welfare.

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We enacted K-to-12 to add knowledge and make them globally competitive,” Coloma said.

“If there are different views, we wish that they study their own position thoroughly. We do not see the scenario they are painting here, that’s why our position is still on the aspect of executing it. We have no objective to derail (students). What we want is tomake the future of our youth better,” he added.

The Palace earlier expressed that the government is keen in defending the K-to-12 program, as it stands before the Supreme Court (SC) after the Magdalo partylist and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV questioned the measure’s constitutionality before the high tribunal.

The lawmakers argued that the K-to-12 program violates the constitutional provision requiring the state to “create, maintain and support an education system relevant to the needs of the Filipino people and Philippine society.”

Initially raised for questioning were the ground to which K-to-12 will stand, as it was assailed that the government needs to prioritize other problems in the education sector first, including low salaries for teachers and the lack of classrooms.


MALAYA COLUMN OF THE DAY

What Aquino has not done for all Filipinos Submitted by NESTOR MATA on May 26, 2015


by NESTOR MATA

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino claims that he started reforms in governance and achieved economic gains under his watch ever since he ascended the presidency five years ago.

This prompted political critics, pundits, analysts and commentators in print and broadcast media to voice their doubts about his “achievements”. Some Aquino watchers even wondered if he’s living in cloud-cuckoo-land or a realm fantasy.

And one of them has boldly asked a litany of questions, which completely belied Aquino’s claims.

How much of his main claim to success in the string of 6-7 percent economic growth since 2012 and the credit rating upgrades for foreign borrowings of the national government were attributable to Aquino?

What policies and initiatives did he undertake which significantly spurred economic expansion? Was it the tough fiscal reforms cited by international debt agencies in upgrading Philippine sovereign debt? Did Aquino’s public-private partnership program hugely augment infrastructure, the perennial area of concern among investors? Or have public works and growth suffered due to PPP delays and chronic under-spending since 2011?

Did his anti-poverty program uplift the poor? After he expanded to P40 billion a year since 2012 the conditional cash transfer monthly stipends for poor families, inherited from the Arroyo government, how much has CCT and economic growth reduce poverty and hunger incidence? Going by the government’s own data, poverty incidence has remained at about 20 percent since 2009, while hunger incidence from 2011 to 2014 averaged 19.4 percent, higher than the 19.1 percent average during the global recession and the Ondoy and Pepeng megafloods in 2009.

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Has Aquino made big gains against graft and corruption in government? His administration supporters often cite the no-bail detention of former President Gloria Arroyo and three opposition senators on corruption charges as singular accomplishments in the fight against graft, but why he not made his clique of cronies, classmates, allies and shooting buddies made them accountable for graft and corruption in the way he did to his political rivals?

What has Aquino done about major irregularities like the disappearance of more than 2,000 untaxed and uninspected cargo containers in 2011; the billion-peso police firearms bidding Aquino himself ordered investigated in 2013; the Metro Rail Transit maintenance contract awarded to a crony consortium; the reported $30-million bribe demand made to Czech rail firm Inekon for an MRT contract; the tens of billions of pesos in misspending found by state auditors in the Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, and Tourism Departments, and the third batch of pork barrel cases which Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said are no longer her priority?

Can Aquino dispute the findings, contrary to his vaunted “Daan na Matuwid” anti-corruption mantra, of Transparency International that in its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer survey, nearly one-fifth respondents in the country said corruption “increased a lot” since the TI poll in 2010, that another 12 percent said sleaze got a little worse, with nearly a third finding no improvement under Aquino?

Didn’t Aquino undermine democracy and the rule of law, such as the use of pork barrel funds in inducing lawmakers to pass his pet bills and impeach his perceived enemies; his blatant disregard and open criticism of Supreme Court rulings, including unanimous decisions declaring pork barrel allocations unconstitutional; his meddling in court cases involving leading politicians, and other transgressions of the laws?

Has Aquino made Filipinos safer and secure? The latest Philippine National Police data show that crime incidence doubled between 2010 and 2014. What sanctions were imposed on PNP officials suspended and investigated for submitting false crime data, which made it appear that crime was declining under Aquino?

How did Aquino implement the 2010 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, including the mandated creation of a billion-peso DRRM agency similar to the U.S.? On the Federal Emergency Management Administration, what projects have been funded by the billion-peso People Protection Fund enacted nearly three years ago to safeguard calamity-prone communities?

How is Aquino handling major national security and foreign policy issues, such as the territorial and maritime disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea and the United States military deployment in the country?

Finally, why is Aquino dictating the approval pronto by Congress of his proposal for a Bangsamoro Basic Law, despite its patently constitutional flaws as cited by eminent former chief justices and associate justices of the Supreme Court, constitutionalists and other legal experts, and why is he turning deaf ears to the opposition by Muslim lawyers led by Dr. Firdausi Abbas, Sultan of Lanao and president of the Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines, other Muslim leaders in Mindanao, the B’laans in Maguindanao and South Cotabato, and the Tausogs of Sulu, to the passage of the BBL bill?

All of these questions might well be summed in one single stinging question: What has President Noynoy Aquino NOT DONE for all the Filipino people?

***

President Aquino may have easily persuaded members of the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives led by Cagayan de Oro Rufus Rodriguez to railroad the passage of his version of the proposed BBL, but he can’t do that to Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee tackling the BBL and to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments.

“Unless we sufficiently address the constitutionality, the concerns of all stakeholders, as well as practical issues of administration and other problematic provisions of BBL,” Senator Marcos said, “it will surely be challenged before the Supreme Court.” Senator Santiago herself found “insidious doubts in the present state” of the BBL drafted by the House ad hoc committee, which “fails the two-fold test set by the Constitution: national sovereignty and territorial integrity...” The proposed Bangsamoro territory, she added, is highly similar to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) or the associative state, which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in 2008 for posing the threat of territorial dismemberment of the Philippines. In Mindanao itself, the opposition to Aquino’s constitutionally-flawed BBL is gaining a ground, according Dr. Firdausi Abbas, Sultan of Lanao and president of the Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines, along with other Muslim leaders in Mindanao, when they found out that its provisions are contrary to Islam, to the Moro heritage and culture, and that it is “Haram” (prohibited) for a Muslim to support it.

Indeed, a majority of inhabitants in Mindanao, including Lanao, Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga, the B’laans in Magindanao and South Cotabato, and Tausogs in Sulu, have rejected the BBL. As voiced by Ahmad Tan Sali of the “Anal Sug” (Son of Sulu), the Tausogs are opposed to the proposed law “because they know that the MILF and the Bangsamoro government will be used to erase the Sabah claim and legitimize illegal arrangements between the Aquino government and Malaysia. Sabah belongs to Sulu, period!”

So, why, oh, why has President Aquino turned deaf ears to the voice of the Filipino people, Christians and Muslims alike, that they are against the balkanization or dismemberment of the Philippines?

***

Quote of the Day: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely...There is no worst heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” – Lord Acton


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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