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

AQUINO LEGACIES SURVEY: WEALTH OF RICHEST TRIPLED


JULY 24 ---The Aquino administration’s policies have ensured that the profit-seeking interests of big business are met The country’s few rich became richer while wages and incomes remained low for millions of working Filipinos in the last five years. This would be one of the clear legacies of the Aquino administration, research group IBON said. What government claims to have been inclusive growth benefited only a few families and corporations. The wealth of the 10 richest Filipinos has more than tripled at 250% from Php650 billion in 2010 to Php2.2 trillion in 2015. Twelve Filipino billionaires have joined the world's billionaires listed in Forbes Magazine, among them Henry Sy who rose from 97th a year ago to 73rd wealthiest in the world in 2015. The net income of some 260 firms listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange rose 33% from Php438 billion in 2010 to Php583 billion in 2014. The gross revenues of these firms doubled at 106% in the same period. These firms are in the property, financials and holdings sectors which include property and construction. These have been the country's sources of economic growth. But the wages and incomes of millions of workers nationwide have remained low. READ MORE, SEE CHART.....ALSO: SEE RELATED:Aquino Legacy: Jobs crisis unprecedented in PH history/Aquino Legacy: More poor Filipinos in the last 5 years....

ALSO Poe: 'Daang matuwid' not exclusive to one group


JULY 31 --Sen. Grace Poe reiterated that she and the President continue to have a good relationship and a common understanding that they share the same vision, even if they disagree on some issues. Senate PRIB/Romy Bugante
Grace shares Noy desire for reforms. While Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is widely recognized as the preferred successor of President Aquino, Sen. Grace Poe said daang matuwid or the straight path is not exclusive to one person or a select group. “The straight path is not one that is reserved for a few. This should be taken by more of us. It may have different turns but the final destination is still the same – that is, to deliver what is needed for the greater good of the nation,” Poe said in a speech yesterday at the 3rd Development Bank of the Philippines Good Governance Forum. “Even if we do not walk together on the straight path, as long as we have the same destination, that is what’s important,” she said. READ MORE...

ALSO Secret election funds: Ex-Treasury head says 'Hiked budget items could be used for elections'


JULY 31 --BRIONES --PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has two lump sum budgets that can be used for the election campaign next year, former national treasurer Leonor Magtolis Briones warned Thursday. At the Kapihan sa Serye forum, Briones said the President has increased the lump sum Special Purpose Funds from P368.72 billion for this year to P430.43 billion next year without details. “That’s P368.72 billion and P430.43 billion all under the sole discretion of the President. Only the President can release the amount and can decide where the money would go,” she said. Highlighting the importance of local governments in elections, the President also increased the budget allocation to local government units from P33.47 billion this year to P56.52 billion for 2016, Briones said. Clearly, the national spending plans for 2015 (P2.608 trillion) and 2016 (P3.002 trillion) were designed as “election budgets,” she added. These revelations came as former senator Panfilo Lacson said he would challenge the insertion of pork barrel in the 2015 budget before the Supreme Court, while Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon questioned the realignment of P323.6 billion in the 2014 national budget. At the Kapihan sa Serye, former Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano noted that during elections, government resources and machinery are usually coursed through LGUs, which can be counted upon to deliver 20 percent of the votes. The former lawmakers also hit the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program that doled government funds to 4.5 million recipients, saying these were being used for political patronage. Under the automatic appropriations that are not subject to scrutiny by Congress, Briones said, the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs was also increased from P372.86 billion this year to P428.61 billion next year. “There is no doubt about it. The 2015 budget is an election budget. The 2016 that was increased by 15.2 percent is also an election budget. The President should have been more transparent and made sure that details of where this money will go should have been disclosed,” Briones said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino admin has realigned total P323 B in 2014 budget  – lawmaker


AUGUST 2 ---Philippine congress 
The Aquino administration has realigned a total of P323.6 billion out of the P2.26-trillion national budget in 2014, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon disclosed yesterday.
Ridon, citing data from the 2016 National Expenditure Program (NEP), pointed to page 951 showing that the Aquino administration pooled P90.4 billion from various departments and agencies and P233.2 billion from the Special Purpose Funds and subsequently transferred said funds to several agencies and other SPFs. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016 on Tuesday, and subsequently made it available online. Budgetary transfers refer to the movement of resources either within an agency or from one fund or agency to another. “A specter is haunting the national budget, the specter of the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Even if the government supposedly discontinued DAP in 2013, the President and the executive department were still able to tinker with hundreds of billions of public funds, transferring them from the original object of expenditure in the Congress-approved budget to another,” Ridon said. He said the realignments were a usurpation of the congressional power of the purse. READ MORE...

ALSO: Malacañang official belies cyberbullying against Binay


JULY 31 --Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday left it to Vice President Jejomar Binay to say how “cyberbullying” will affect him, after Binay lamented being a victim to the administration supporters spat of “lies and fabricated tales” against him. The Palace official downplayed Binay’s claim, saying instead that cyberbullying is a “reality” and leaving it to Congress to make amends in the current laws if it is not enough to prevent harm to citizens through the Internet. “The only direct target of cyberbullying is the only one who can say how what is said on the Internet affects them. Cyberbullying is due to the reality that because of technology, those doing it are free to express destructive statements. If current laws are not enough, the Congress can identify it to protect the people,” he said. Binay, in a speech at the 9th Asia Pacific Information Security Leadership Achievements, said that the “demolition by perception” campaign of the administration is currently in operation, as he noted being hurt by statements in social media accusing him unjustly of ill work. The Vice President insisted tinkering with the Anti-Cybercrime Law to make it better in addressing black propaganda through the Internet, as he noted that the current law does not clearly identify “who are culpable of libel in cyberspace.” “Victims of cyberbullying can only hope that those who participate in public fora in the net would differentiate facts and black propaganda and be more circumspect and more responsible in their postings,” Binay said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Who’s Joe America? Why did he make it to Aquino’s Sona?


AUGUST 2 --THE ANONYMOUS BLOGGER "The Society og Honor"
Is he or isn’t he? Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III in a guest visit at Radyo Inquirer office a couple of years ago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO There are political pundits who strongly suspect that Joe America, the anonymous blogger whom President Aquino quoted in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week, is the Chief Executive’s head speechwriter, Undersecretary Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III.The blogger, who describes himself in joeam.com as “a permanent resident in the Philippines” was thrust in the limelight on Monday, when Mr. Aquino mentioned him toward the end of a list of administration officials, close friends and family members he thanked in his final Sona.The President noted how, even if the blogger wasn’t known to him, Joe America wrote: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.” (The quote was lifted from an entry, “President Aquino: Like a Beat Up Old Car,” that Joe America posted in 2012—before controversies such as the Mamasapano massacre, the Priority Development Assistance Fund and Disbursement Acceleration Program surfaced.)The Joe America quote was met with thunderous applause at the session hall of the House of Representatives.Two days after the Sona, Joe America posted that Mr. Aquino’s acknowledgment of his statement “was a stunner.” “It put me into a catatonic state for about five minutes as I contemplated what had just happened. It was an out-of-body experience, that I somehow ended up on the big screen with the President repeating what I had written,” he added.Joe America, who arrived in the country in 2005, also noted that “speculation since has been quite humorous” about his real identity, especially after Quezon’s name came up.READ MORE....

ALSO by E. Tordesillas LAST SONA: AQUINO HAS LEARNED LESSON WHEN TO KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT ON CHINA


JULY 31 --By Ellen Tordesillas
It can’t be said that President Aquino has not learned anything in the last five years of his presidency. We would like to think that his not mentioning the issue with China over territorial claims in South China Sea in his 6th and last State of the Nation address is an indication that he has learned from his mistakes of making unnecessary insulting comments that do not help at all advance national interest. Maybe his not feeling well last Monday did not give him the opportunity to adlib. Or he would have repeated his favorite historical story of Sudetenland and once again compared China to Nazi Germany. Just what he did in his interview with New York Times before and early this year in his press conference in Japan. If he had done that, the Philippine hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Conference would have the distinction of being boycotted by the Chinese top leader. Chinese President Xi Jiinping was reportedly offended by Aquino’s Suedeten remark in Japan which had the effect of comparing him to Hitler that he is considering not attending the November APEC summit in Manila and send a lower ranking official instead. We imagine that the Chinese leadership noted his not having mentioned the conflict with China in his SONA. In 2013, when there was also no mention of China in his SONA, the Chinese leadership sent their appreciation. It was in Aquino’s 2011 SONA that announced that he was raising the ante in the territorial conflict with China not thinking about the behemoth neighbor’s possible response. “Speaking of security, does enhanced security not also enhance our national pride? There was a time when we couldn’t appropriately respond to threats in our own backyard. Now, our message to the world is clear: What is ours is ours; setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.” It was in that SONA that he announced his government’s plan to do the unprecedented move of hauling the superpower to an international tribunal: “We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours. We are also studying the possibility of elevating the case on the West Philippine Sea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to make certain that all involved nations approach the dispute with calm and forbearance,”  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Aquino Legacy: Wealth of richest tripled -survey

MANILA, AUGUST 1, 2015 (IBON FOUNDATION RESEARCH)  The Aquino administration’s policies have ensured that the profit-seeking interests of big business are met

The country’s few rich became richer while wages and incomes remained low for millions of working Filipinos in the last five years. This would be one of the clear legacies of the Aquino administration, research group IBON said.

What government claims to have been inclusive growth benefited only a few families and corporations. The wealth of the 10 richest Filipinos has more than tripled at 250% from Php650 billion in 2010 to Php2.2 trillion in 2015. Twelve Filipino billionaires have joined the world's billionaires listed in Forbes Magazine, among them Henry Sy who rose from 97th a year ago to 73rd wealthiest in the world in 2015.

The net income of some 260 firms listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange rose 33% from Php438 billion in 2010 to Php583 billion in 2014. The gross revenues of these firms doubled at 106% in the same period. These firms are in the property, financials and holdings sectors which include property and construction. These have been the country's sources of economic growth.

But the wages and incomes of millions of workers nationwide have remained low.

The real value of the average daily basic wage increased by less than Php9 between 2010 and 2014. In nominal terms, the average daily basic pay is only Php367.35 for all industries, with workers in private households and agriculture receiving the lowest pay. Meanwhile, the increase in average daily basic pay for all industries was only 8.8%, which is not even one third of the increase in the net incomes of the largest corporations.

In the middle of Aquino's term, the combined net worth of the 25 richest Filipinos was equivalent to the combined income of more than 70 million poorest Filipinos.

According to IBON, the administration’s policies have ensured that the profit-seeking interests of big business are met. Through its PPP contracts, for instance, profit guarantees are given to firms using public funds. (end)

Net Worth (in billion Php)

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RELATED

Aquino Legacy: Jobs crisis unprecedented in PH history 21 July 2015 |


To be sure, the Aquino presidency has just started and it could certainly argue that it still has until 2016 to reverse the worsening jobs crisis in the country. But looking at the administration’s development blueprint gives no hope that unemployment will improve soon. (Read here, here, and here) Worse, Aquino is not only continuing the flawed programs of Gloria Arroyo, but like his predecessor, is also resorting to statistical distortion to hide job scarcity and conceal his lack of long-term job creation program. By Arnold Padilla is a Filipino activist, writer, and researcher. His articles have been published by Manila-based think tank IBON Foundation, and many more popular publications. SOURCE click HERE

This only shows the poor quality of the jobs created, while regular jobs are lost

The number of unemployed Filipinos continued to swell since the start of Pres. Aquino’s term, making the worsening job crisis a distinct feature of the administration, according to research group IBON.

The group said that the number of unemployed Filipinos has likely risen by at least 100,000, the number of underemployed Filipinos by at least a million, and the number of merely part-time workers by at least 1.5 million. IBON estimates 12.2 million unemployed and underemployed Filipinos as of 2014, consisting of 4.3 million unemployed and 7.9 million underemployed.

According to IBON, official unemployment figures do not include discouraged job-seekers and has also excluded the calamity-stricken Eastern Visayas region. Secondly, a huge part of employment is comprised of part-time and low-income jobs in the informal sector. For instance, 90% or some 918,000 of the 1.2 million additional work in 2014 comprised of part-time jobs worked less than 40 hours a week.

When broken down, the reported increase in official employment figures in April 2015 consists of some 544,000 additional informal work and 137,000 full-time jobs lost. This only shows the poor quality of the jobs created, while regular jobs are lost as the country’s production sectors lose their capacity to create meaningful jobs.

The best sources of decent jobs that could contribute to national development are those created from locally strong agriculture and manufacturing industries, according to IBON. But the worsening of the jobs situation is expected with the administration’s gross neglect of the country’s production sectors in favor of elite and foreign interests, the research group said.

IBON presented its midyear 2015 economic and political assessment today at the University of the Philippines. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

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RELATED

Aquino Legacy: More poor Filipinos in the last 5 years July 22 |


Depressed communities of informal settlers. LEGAZPI CITY, 22 July 2015 BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO

Within its term govt could have laid foundations for Filipino industries to bolster farmers' and workers' incomes, create decent-paying, stable jobs

Research group IBON said that the growing number of poor Filipinos in the country today debunks the Aquino administration's claims that its successful poverty alleviation strategy would be one of its achievements that must be continued by the succeeding administration.

The group delivered its assessment of the Aquino administration's five years in office in its Birdtalk yesterday at the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

Using an altered methodology based on very low standards resulting in only Php52 as the official poverty line, government statistics counted 23.8 million poor Filipinos in 2012. The Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) in the first semester of 2014 counted 25.8% of the population as poor, higher than the 24.6% poverty level in the same period the year before.

IBON's May 2015 nationwide survey meanwhile showed a total of 79.6% respondents saying that livelihood did not improve in the recent months. Relatedly, 72.3% of 1,496 respondents said that poverty did not go down in the recent months. Majority of the respondents also rated themselves poor and expressed difficulty in spending for basic needs and social services.

IBON's May 2015 survey also showed a bigger share of respondents (67.2%) who said that they see their situation today as poor compared to those who said the same in January (64.6%).

These figures are more consistent with IBON estimates using official data that some 55 to 66 million Filipinos live on only Php100-125 per day. This is way below the Php 181 amount needed by a person to live decently.

The Aquino administration's centerpiece poverty alleviation program was no answer to this deep and widespread poverty, despite its budget ballooning by 526% since 2010 and reaching an accumulated Php178 billion in expenses as of 2014. The conditional cash transfers or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was more than ever proven to be temporary, expensive and shallow. It was criticized for being riddled with loopholes. Among these was having a flawed targeting system that only belatedly included some 218,000 homeless, street-dwellers and calamity survivors as of end-2014.

Confronted with controversies surrounding the CCTs from implementation to monitoring, the Aquino administration admitted that it will take time to solve poverty. IBON however said that if government perceives time as a limitation to eradicate poverty, then it should at least have taken the correct first steps towards this. Within its term it could have given full support to agriculture and laid foundations for Filipino industries to bolster farmers' and workers' incomes and create decent-paying, stable jobs. (end)


PHILSTAR

Poe: Daang matuwid not exclusive to one group By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 31, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sen. Grace Poe reiterated that she and the President continue to have a good relationship and a common understanding that they share the same vision, even if they disagree on some issues. Senate PRIB/Romy Bugante

Grace shares Noy desire for reforms

MANILA, Philippines - While Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is widely recognized as the preferred successor of President Aquino, Sen. Grace Poe said daang matuwid or the straight path is not exclusive to one person or a select group.

“The straight path is not one that is reserved for a few. This should be taken by more of us. It may have different turns but the final destination is still the same – that is, to deliver what is needed for the greater good of the nation,” Poe said in a speech yesterday at the 3rd Development Bank of the Philippines Good Governance Forum.

“Even if we do not walk together on the straight path, as long as we have the same destination, that is what’s important,” she said.

READ MORE...

Poe reiterated that she and the President continue to have a good relationship and a common understanding that they share the same vision, even if they disagree on some issues.

“You can be a principled ally of this administration and it is more valuable because it underscores the real importance of our loyalty to the people. Ahead of everything else, it is our loyalty to the mandate and the trust given to us,” Poe said.

In an interview with reporters after her speech, Poe said she and the President have the same desire to continue the reforms the administration has initiated.

Aquino has repeatedly said he would endorse a candidate who would be able to carry on the “daang matuwid” or straight path policy.

Poe, a first-term senator, is reportedly eyeing a presidential run in next year’s polls, although she has maintained that she is still “discerning.”

The President met with Poe on four occasions, supposedly to ask her to join the Liberal Party as the running mate of Roxas for the 2016 elections.

The meetings ended with no agreements. According to Poe, no formal offer of any position was made by the President.

The past few months were rife with speculation that Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero would be running as a tandem in the 2016 polls.

The two senators have separately expressed their support for each other and their preference to run as a team if ever they decide to seek higher posts in 2016.

“No party, the LP or whoever, has a monopoly on good intentions, talent, intelligence and hard work for the country. At the end of the day, I don’t think any one person or any one party, group or organization can ever hold the monopoly of good intentions for the country,” Escudero said.


MANILA STANDARD

Secret election funds: Ex-Treasury head: Hiked budget items could be used for elections By Christine F. Herrera, Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jul. 31, 2015 at 12:01am


Leonor Magtolis Briones is a Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at the National College of Public Administration & Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines Diliman. She was a former Presidential Adviser for Social Development with Cabinet Rank and is best known for her stint as National Treasurer of the Philippines during President 'Erap' Estrada from August 1998 to February 2001. Briones obtained her Bachelor in Business Administration, major in Accounting from Silliman University and her Masters in Public Administration, major in Local Government and Fiscal Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She finished her Post Graduate Diploma in Development Administration from the Harvard Institute for International Development at Harvard University. Presently, she is active in the private sector serving as Director of AgriNurture, Inc.WIKIPEDIA

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has two lump sum budgets that can be used for the election campaign next year, former national treasurer Leonor Magtolis Briones warned Thursday.

At the Kapihan sa Serye forum, Briones said the President has increased the lump sum Special Purpose Funds from P368.72 billion for this year to P430.43 billion next year without details.

“That’s P368.72 billion and P430.43 billion all under the sole discretion of the President. Only the President can release the amount and can decide where the money would go,” she said.

Highlighting the importance of local governments in elections, the President also increased the budget allocation to local government units from P33.47 billion this year to P56.52 billion for 2016, Briones said.

Clearly, the national spending plans for 2015 (P2.608 trillion) and 2016 (P3.002 trillion) were designed as “election budgets,” she added.

These revelations came as former senator Panfilo Lacson said he would challenge the insertion of pork barrel in the 2015 budget before the Supreme Court, while Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon questioned the realignment of P323.6 billion in the 2014 national budget.

At the Kapihan sa Serye, former Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano noted that during elections, government resources and machinery are usually coursed through LGUs, which can be counted upon to deliver 20 percent of the votes.

The former lawmakers also hit the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program that doled government funds to 4.5 million recipients, saying these were being used for political patronage.

Under the automatic appropriations that are not subject to scrutiny by Congress, Briones said, the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs was also increased from P372.86 billion this year to P428.61 billion next year.

“There is no doubt about it. The 2015 budget is an election budget. The 2016 that was increased by 15.2 percent is also an election budget. The President should have been more transparent and made sure that details of where this money will go should have been disclosed,” Briones said.

READ MORE...

She said the billions in taxpayers’ money that would go to allocations to LGUs but are not told why these allocations have increased.

“There was no explanation why the allocation to LGUs had been increased. Is it because the LGUs became poorer?” she said. “Whatever happened to the previous allocations? Did it not improve the standing of the LGUs?”

“For as long as there is no breakdown as to where the allocations under SPF would go, and which LGUs were recipients, no one but the President and the Department of Budget and Management would know. And that’s where the government’s transparency and accountability are put to question,” Briones added.

She said the budget for infrastructure, supplies and communications had also been increased.

“What are these supplies? Of course these come in paper, tarpaulins, packed lunches, cell phones and pens used for the campaign,” Briones said. “And all the procurement has begun this year.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government headed by the presumptive Liberal Party standard bearer in 2016, Secretary Manuel Roxas II, saw its budget rise from P100 billion in 2014, to P108 billion in 2015 to P124 billion in 2016, Briones said.

The Public Works budget has been increased from P206 billion in 2014 to P219 billion in 2015 and to P378 billion in 2016.

The Department of Education was allocated P281 billion in 2014, P321 billion in 2015 and P411 billion in 2016.

“Tell us if the P100-billion increase for DepEd is not election-related,” Briones said.

Also on Thursday, Lacson said he would challenge the 2015 budget before the Supreme Court, saying that pork barrel that had been ruled unconstitutional was still present in the national spending plan.

“Whether the identification of the projects was made before or after the approval of the 2015 budget, legislators have no business identifying projects,” Lacson said.

He said legislators who identified projects for the Budget Department would be named in the petition, since their names are on the documents that will be used to prove that pork barrel—officially known as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)--still exists.

“We have sufficient evidence that PDAF has been resurrected in the national budget, at least in the 2015,” he said.

Revelations that billions in public funds from PDAF and the Aquino administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) ended up in several non-government organizations used by politicians as clearinghouses for kickbacks sparked public outrage.

Three opposition senators—Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile—have been detained on plunder charges related to PDAF.

“I am willing to spearhead the move to go to the Supreme Court,” Lacson said at a forum Thursday. “The justices themselves are victimes here because their decision was circumvented.”

“We have up to next week to file a petition for prohibition before the Supreme Cout. We have sufficient evidence and we are still gathering more…PDAF was resurrected…pork barrel is very much alive and kicking,” Lacson said.

Based on his research and analysis on the budget, Lacson said, an estimated P424 billion can be considered as “lump sum appropriations” in the national budget.

He said pork was present in at least four departments: Agriculture, Public Works, Health and Social Welfare and Development.

At the Agriculture Department alone, at least P6.25 billion can be classified as pork barrel, he said.

Lacson said several members of the House of Representatives could be held liable with the supposed insertion of pork barrel into the budget in apparent violation of the Supreme Court ruling.

Ridon, meanwhile, said the administration realigned P323.6 billion in the 2014 budget, citing data from the 2016 National Expenditure Program.

In page 951 of the recently-released NEP, it is shown that the Aquino administration pooled P90.4 billion from various departments and agencies and P233.2 billion from the Special Purpose Funds and subsequently transferred these funds to several agencies and SPFs, Ridon said.

The Budget Department submitted to Congress last Wednesday the proposed P3-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016.

“A specter is haunting the national budget – the specter of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Even if the government supposedly discontinued DAP in 2013, the President and the executive department were still able to tinker with hundreds of billions of public funds, transferring them from the original object of expenditure in the Congress-approved budget to another. This is basically usurpation of the congressional power of the purse,” Ridon said.

“While the NEP does not reveal details on the realignment of funds, a document uploaded in the DBM website does,” he said.

Ridon said that certain budgetary transfers are suspicious, such as the transfer of P9.6 billion from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction of “farm-to-market roads” and the transfer of P1.1 billion to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao from the budget of various government agencies.

Ridon pointed out that funds from several SPFs were also transferred to other SPFs, including a P2.6 billion transfer from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund.

“On paper, the transfers seem to be innocuous and ordinary. But what we want to point out is that the President and the executive agencies under him are realigning billions of public funds with little to no public scrutiny. Maximum discretion is at play, reducing the congressional approval of the budget to nothing but a mere ceremonial gesture,” Ridon said.

The legislator said the P323.6 billion realigned by the Aquino administration is over 14 times bigger than the P22.5 billion supplemental budget for 2014 approved by Congress.

“What’s the use of having a line-item budget when the executive department can just tinker with the funds at will after enactment? Such fund transfers are highly vulnerable to corruption. The vestiges of the pork barrel system may even be hiding between those lines of budget transfers,” Ridon said.

In response, the Budget Department said the transfers under the 2014 budget were legitimate and open to public scrutiny.

The DBM also said that fund realignments and transfers of appropriation are different, where realignments involve the reallocation, modification, or change of details within an existing program, activity, or project.

The DBM also said transfers of appropriation take place when an authorized agency transfers specific appropriations to another agency for the implementation of programs, activities, or projects.

“Representative Ridon’s claims on 2014 fund realignments are very misleading. First, he mistakes transfers of appropriation for fund realignments, and second, he incorrectly alleges irregularity where there was none. We ask our public officials to be responsible in interpreting budget information so that we don’t misinform the public,” the budget agency said in an official statement. – With Francisco Tuyay and Sandy Araneta


PHILSTAR

Aquino admin has realigned total P323 B in 2014 budget  – lawmaker By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 2, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Philippine congress

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration has realigned a total of P323.6 billion out of the P2.26-trillion national budget in 2014, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon disclosed yesterday.

Ridon, citing data from the 2016 National Expenditure Program (NEP), pointed to page 951 showing that the Aquino administration pooled P90.4 billion from various departments and agencies and P233.2 billion from the Special Purpose Funds and subsequently transferred said funds to several agencies and other SPFs.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016 on Tuesday, and subsequently made it available online.

Budgetary transfers refer to the movement of resources either within an agency or from one fund or agency to another.

“A specter is haunting the national budget, the specter of the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Even if the government supposedly discontinued DAP in 2013, the President and the executive department were still able to tinker with hundreds of billions of public funds, transferring them from the original object of expenditure in the Congress-approved budget to another,” Ridon said.

He said the realignments were a usurpation of the congressional power of the purse.

READ MORE...

While the NEP does not reveal details on the realignment of funds, a document uploaded in the DBM website does.

Ridon said certain budgetary transfers are suspicious, such as the transfer of P9.6 billion from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction of “farm-to-market roads” and the transfer of P1.1 billion to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from the budget of various government agencies.

Funds from several SPFs were also transferred to other similar items, including a P2.6-billion transfer from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund, he said.

“On paper, the transfers seem to be innocuous and ordinary. But what we want to point out is that the President and the executive agencies under him are realigning billions of public funds with little to no public scrutiny. Maximum discretion is at play, reducing the congressional approval of the budget to nothing but a mere ceremonial gesture,” Ridon said.

Ridon stressed the P323.6 billion realigned by the Aquino administration is over 14 times bigger than the P22.5-billion supplemental budget for 2014 approved by Congress.

“What’s the use of having a line-item budget when the executive department can just tinker with the funds at will after enactment? Such fund transfers are highly vulnerable to corruption. The vestiges of the pork barrel system may even be hiding between those lines of budget transfers,” Ridon said.

Other documents obtained from DBM showed budget transfers in the 2015 budget are also prevalent, he said.

Just days after President Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address, his tuwid na daan (straight path) rhetoric is starting to unravel anew, Ridon said.

“These figures reveal that DAP is very much alive, and that the President’s fiscal dictatorship is being practiced blatantly under everyone’s noses,” Ridon said.

‘Awesome, challenging target’ Sen. Ralph Recto also pointed out the government expenditures in its goal to finish 85,000 classrooms by the end of President Aquino term next year.

He said the government has to find a way to produce an average of 254 classrooms a day between now and June 2016.

Recto described this as an “awesome but challenging target” of the Aquino administration, which would require a minor miracle based on the current pace of classroom construction by the Department of Education and Department of Public Works and Highways. – With Marvin Sy


TRIBUNE

Malacañang official belies cyberbullying against Binay
Written by Joshua L. Labonera Friday, 31 July 2015 00:00



Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday left it to Vice President Jejomar Binay to say how “cyberbullying” will affect him, after Binay lamented being a victim to the administration supporters spat of “lies and fabricated tales” against him.

The Palace official downplayed Binay’s claim, saying instead that cyberbullying is a “reality” and leaving it to Congress to make amends in the current laws if it is not enough to prevent harm to citizens through the Internet.

“The only direct target of cyberbullying is the only one who can say how what is said on the Internet affects them. Cyberbullying is due to the reality that because of technology, those doing it are free to express destructive statements. If current laws are not enough, the Congress can identify it to protect the people,” he said.

Binay, in a speech at the 9th Asia Pacific Information Security Leadership Achievements, said that the “demolition by perception” campaign of the administration is currently in operation, as he noted being hurt by statements in social media accusing him unjustly of ill work.

The Vice President insisted tinkering with the Anti-Cybercrime Law to make it better in addressing black propaganda through the Internet, as he noted that the current law does not clearly identify “who are culpable of libel in cyberspace.”

“Victims of cyberbullying can only hope that those who participate in public fora in the net would differentiate facts and black propaganda and be more circumspect and more responsible in their postings,” Binay said.

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Embroiled in allegations of corruption, the Vice President opted to answer all allegations against him through the courts, filing a P200-million lawsuit against several personalities in the government and outside it over destroying his reputation by publicity without basis.

Binay refuses to attend hearings of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee investigations into the alleged anomalies in Makati City during his stint as its mayor, noting that it has already been prejudged there.

He said that Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, both slapped with raps by Binay, are fixated in pinning him down as he remains tall in the run for presidency in 2016.


INQUIRER

Who’s Joe America? Why did he make it to Aquino’s Sona? By: Cathy Cañares Yamsuan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
04:30 AM August 2nd, 2015


Is he or isn’t he? P-NOY cabinet Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III in a guest visit at Radyo Inquirer office a couple of years ago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

There are political pundits who strongly suspect that Joe America, the anonymous blogger whom President Aquino quoted in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week, is the Chief Executive’s head speechwriter, Undersecretary Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III.

The blogger, who describes himself in joeam.com as “a permanent resident in the Philippines” was thrust in the limelight on Monday, when Mr. Aquino mentioned him toward the end of a list of administration officials, close friends and family members he thanked in his final Sona.

The President noted how, even if the blogger wasn’t known to him, Joe America wrote: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.”

(The quote was lifted from an entry, “President Aquino: Like a Beat Up Old Car,” that Joe America posted in 2012—before controversies such as the Mamasapano massacre, the Priority Development Assistance Fund and Disbursement Acceleration Program surfaced.)

The Joe America quote was met with thunderous applause at the session hall of the House of Representatives.

Two days after the Sona, Joe America posted that Mr. Aquino’s acknowledgment of his statement “was a stunner.”

“It put me into a catatonic state for about five minutes as I contemplated what had just happened. It was an out-of-body experience, that I somehow ended up on the big screen with the President repeating what I had written,” he added.

Joe America, who arrived in the country in 2005, also noted that “speculation since has been quite humorous” about his real identity, especially after Quezon’s name came up.

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Direct connection
“Some guess that blogger JoeAm is none other than the President’s Communication guy, former blogger Manuel L. Quezon III (MLQ3). Or JoeAm is a journalist for hire, or he has a direct connection with the Palace,” he pointed out.

Ten years in the Philippines and Joe America already understands that people’s comfort zones sometimes involve a lot of skepticism.

“I mean, this is the Philippines, right? And what we see obviously cannot be the truth. There are games being played somewhere. We are being manipulated by someone. Someone is making money somehow. That’s the way it works in the Philippines,” Joe America complained.

“Conspiracies spring eternal” was Quezon’s succinct reaction through e-mail when asked about suspicions that the blogger is his alter ego, if not a creation of the Liberal Party (LP).

A veteran journalist in the broadcast industry maintained that if Joe America is not Quezon, he is definitely a huge supporter of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, whom President Aquino endorsed as the LP standard bearer on Saturday.

This is because Joe America offers very solicitous opinions about Roxas.

Besides, Joe America also just recently posted a scathing entry against Sen. Francis Escudero (“It’s all about Escudero: the future of the Philippines”), considered as the stumbling block in the LP’s plan to convince Sen. Grace Poe to become Roxas’ running mate.

This should not be an issue, really, except that Roxas’ staff allegedly alerted reporters to Joe America’s piece about Escudero.

(We attempted to get comments from Roxas, Poe and Escudero about Joe America. Their media officers have yet to give statements at press time.)
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte is confident that Joe America is a real person who is not employed by Malacañang.

“He… has revealed his identity to me, something which I appreciate,” Valte said in a solicited e-mailed statement to Inquirer Lifestyle.

“While I cannot divulge what was said to me in confidence, I can say for a fact that he is not Undersecretary Manolo Quezon, as some allege,” she added.

Valte said a friend from the private sector alerted her about Joe America’s blog in 2013 after the friend “sent me one of his blog posts.”

Quezon said he first stumbled upon Joe America in 2010 “when he was still in blogspot.com.”

The suspicion that Quezon and Joe America are the same person stems from the fact that both are eloquent thinkers capable of writing incisive analyses of current events.

Quezon is a former Inquirer columnist. He also wrote a column in the defunct Today newspaper and was a current events commentator on ANC before he joined the Aquino cabinet as undersecretary and officer in charge of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

Educated

Joe America gives educated opinion, and has good things to say about President Aquino even if, as Quezon points out, he disagrees sometimes with the chief executive.

That his opinions are delivered with careful study also makes it hard for critics to label him a brainless fanatic. Besides, his followers are evidently as learned as he is.

A quick perusal of the comments on his blog hardly shows any of the rabid doggerel written by those who react to the blogs or websites of more pedestrian personalities.

“As a blogger myself, I have always preferred bloggers who welcome diverse views and have interesting thoughts of their own, yet are firm in insisting that dialogue should be frank and respectful. For that reason I respect his blog a lot,” Quezon told Inquirer Lifestyle.

“I find (Joe America’s) views interesting because it is a foreigner sympathetic to the country, someone who has put down roots here. His out-of-the-box approach to issues and policies make for a refreshing change,” he added.

The website Spot.PH, however, was quick to point out that Joe America has an apparent dislike for Senator Poe. It also agrees with the broadcaster that he is an admirer of Roxas.

Meanwhile, those who monitor Joe America also notice he is critical of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his dynasty.

From his blog, Joe America said he has a Filipino wife and is a “culturally ambidextrous son.”

He “lived for a time in Northern Mindanao and Zambales” but now resides in “a rural rice-growing area” in the Visayas. It is believed that he lives in Biliran in Eastern Visayas.

Joe America also describes himself as a “retired bank executive with degrees in Mathematics and Radio and Television Arts.” He is well-traveled and had a 30-year career in Los Angeles.

“One of these days he’ll do a biography, but right now he doesn’t think that is so very important,” the blog said.

Valte said she admires that Joe America takes time to answer her e-mails to him.
“Whenever I have a comment about a post, I just e-mail him directly via the e-mail address provided on his blog. He’s also been kind enough to respond to me on several occasions,” she noted.

Quezon said that while Mr. Aquino and Joe America are not acquainted, “the President has always appreciated the positive and encouraging approach to his presidency shown by Joe America.

“Even when Joe has disagreed with the President, as he has many times, the President has always welcomed all points of view, as long as they are willing to be part of the solution and not the problem,” Quezon added.

“This, I think, is the reason… (Joe America) earned the President’s respect,” Quezon noted.

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RELATED FROM PINOYEXCHANGE.COM

Julia Abad, Butch Abad's daughter, is Pnoy's almost exclusive speechwriter


Julia Abad, daughter of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad

http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/...id-s-speeches/ 

Yes, I’ve been informed that only one person writes Aquino’s speeches. And this person is not some established writer like Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III or anyone like that in the palace’s huge staff, but a young Ateneo graduate whose only previous writing experience was in the university school paper, the Guidon.

I’ve long wondered who writes Aquino’s speeches, which I assume are the product of a committee of senior writers, top-flight image-makers and designated keepers of the Yellow faith entrusted with the important task of keeping the President faithful to his own message in the many speeches he gives year in and year out. His upcoming talk before Congress (during which he is expected to defend his administration’s DAP), promises to be his most important address of the year, if not of his entire term, so I tried to discover once again who crafts his speeches.

The search led me directly to a young man, still in his twenties, who palace informants tell me is the sole speechwriter of Aquino. This youngster, who also went to Xavier School before going to college in Ateneo, holds the position of presidential assistant—and he’s been writing Aquino’s speeches almost exclusively since the President assumed the highest post in the land in 2010.

The kid is now hard at work crafting Aquino’s coming Sona, I’ve been told. And if you really want to know who he is, go ask his friend, the head of the Presidential Management Staff—a still-young woman by the name of Julia Abad.

Yes, that would be the daughter of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the architect of DAP. Funny how they keep it in the family, right? MANILA STANDARD's LOWDOWN by JOJO ROBLES


MALAYA by Ellen Tordesillas

LAST SONA: AQUINO HAS LEARNED LESSON WHEN TO KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT ON CHINA By Ellen Tordesillas on July 31, 2015


By Ellen Tordesillas

It can’t be said that President Aquino has not learned anything in the last five years of his presidency.

We would like to think that his not mentioning the issue with China over territorial claims in South China Sea in his 6th and last State of the Nation address is an indication that he has learned from his mistakes of making unnecessary insulting comments that do not help at all advance national interest.

Maybe his not feeling well last Monday did not give him the opportunity to adlib. Or he would have repeated his favorite historical story of Sudetenland and once again compared China to Nazi Germany. Just what he did in his interview with New York Times before and early this year in his press conference in Japan.

If he had done that, the Philippine hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Conference would have the distinction of being boycotted by the Chinese top leader.

Chinese President Xi Jiinping was reportedly offended by Aquino’s Suedeten remark in Japan which had the effect of comparing him to Hitler that he is considering not attending the November APEC summit in Manila and send a lower ranking official instead.

We imagine that the Chinese leadership noted his not having mentioned the conflict with China in his SONA. In 2013, when there was also no mention of China in his SONA, the Chinese leadership sent their appreciation.

It was in Aquino’s 2011 SONA that announced that he was raising the ante in the territorial conflict with China not thinking about the behemoth neighbor’s possible response.

“Speaking of security, does enhanced security not also enhance our national pride? There was a time when we couldn’t appropriately respond to threats in our own backyard. Now, our message to the world is clear: What is ours is ours; setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.”

It was in that SONA that he announced his government’s plan to do the unprecedented move of hauling the superpower to an international tribunal:

“We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours. We are also studying the possibility of elevating the case on the West Philippine Sea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to make certain that all involved nations approach the dispute with calm and forbearance,”

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It took two more years before Aquino put into action those words.

And it was because the Philippines had lost to China Scarborough Shoal also known as Panatag Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc, only 124 nautical miles from the shores of Zambales.

In his 2012 SONA, Aquino said, “The situation in Bajo de Masinloc has been the source of much discussion. Chinese fishermen entered our territory. Our patrol boats intercepted some of their ships, which contain endangered species. As your leader, it is my duty to uphold the laws of our country. And as I did, tension ensued: on one hand, the Chinese had their Nine-Dash Line Theory laying claim to almost the entire West Philippine Sea; on the other, there was the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea, which recognized the rights of many countries, including that of China itself

“We demonstrated utmost forbearance in dealing with this issue. As a sign of our goodwill, we replaced our navy cutter with a civilian boat as soon as we could. We chose not to respond to their media’s harangues. I do not think it excessive to ask that our rights be respected, just as we respect their rights as a fellow nation in a world we need to share.

“There are those who say that we should let Bajo de Masinloc go; we should avoid the trouble. But if someone entered your yard and told you he owned it, would you agree? Would it be right to give away that which is rightfully ours?

“And so I ask for solidarity from our people regarding this issue. Let us speak with one voice. Help me relay to the other side the logic of our stand.

“This is not a simple situation, and there can be no simple solutions. Rest assured: We are consulting experts, every leader of our nation, our allies—even those on the other side—to find a resolution that is acceptable to all.”

Aquino was not being truthful with the people with his statement:” As a sign of our goodwill, we replaced our navy cutter with a civilian boat as soon as we could.”

The truth was: sending a warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, to arrest Chinese fishermen, was a violation of the rules of engagement of “white-to-white, grey-to-grey.” Meaning, a civilian vessel (Coast Guard or Bureau of Fisheries) should arrest an offending civilian vessel, not a warship. Only when the offending vessel is military should you send also a military ship.

It was not a sign of goodwill that BRP Gregorio del Pilar was pulled out of Scarborough Shoals.

Philippine authorities realized their mistake. They had to do it or else China would also send its warships.

The Scarborough Shoal incident hastened the Philippine filing of the suit before the UN Arbitral Tribunal. Hearing started early this month.

It is just proper that Aquino keeps his mouth shut.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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