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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
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PCIJ REPORT: P-NOY's PROMISES STILL IN PROGRESS


JULY 27 --- FIVE YEARS AGO, when President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), he made specific policy promises on economic reforms and job creation – on top of his overall promise of change: “Daang Matuwid” and “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” Five years hence, Aquino’s SONA promises and those laid down in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2010-2016 are still a work in progress. In all of the targets he has sworn to achieve, he is falling behind the natural deadline of his presidency that comes on June 30, 2016. The Aquino government has secured credit ratings upgrade for achieving record economic growth yet still, that growth has yet to turn inclusive and trigger jobs of sufficient quality and quantity for the Filipino poor. Interviewed on the ABS-CBN News Channel, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan justified that no country or political administration has so far eliminated poverty and unemployment. The promises he made In his 2010 SONA, Aquino laid out his blueprint for job creation by boosting growth in the industry and streamlining business processes. A year later, through his social contract, Aquino promised a government that prioritizes jobs that empowers Filipinos and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty. He also said his government would create jobs at home so working abroad will be a choice rather than necessity. He promised to prioritize welfare and protection of those who choose overseas work. More specifically, the Aquino administration’s PDP sought to reduce the number of poor Filipinos to 18 percent of the population, maintain an average economic growth of at least 7.5 percent annually, generate employment of one million per year, and reduce the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent by the end of his term in 2016. What he has achieved so far From 2011 to 2014, Aquino had boasted in his SONA credit ratings upgrades, and record runs of the stock market as evidence of a strong economy. This meant, he had explained, that the government could borrow funds for programs and projects at lower interest rates and more business would be attracted to invest in the country. READ MORE...

ALSO: P350B in Palace savings but none for ‘Yolanda’ rehab, Lacson found out


AUGUST 6 --LACSON:
In inquiring with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the “Yolanda” rehabilitation funds of P80 billion for this year, former Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson said he found out about P350 billion in savings in the 2014 budget that was carried over to this year as lump sum funds for the administration to spend. Savings from a previous year’s budget are converted into discretionary funds during the current year and the tracking of these funds is vague. Lacson said in an interview in Global City in Taguig late last Monday said that he had inquired, as the rehabilitation czar, with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad several times about the release of the P80 billion funds for the rehabilitation program for areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Lacson was rehab czar until last February despite submitting his resignation papers to Aquino in December last year. “When I told Abad to be ready with the P80 billion this year, he told me that he will look for ways to raise it. I insisted that he did not need to look for funds for it since there is P350 billion in savings,” Lacson said. “What was frustrating is that it was not only that it (Yolanda rehabilitation) was not in the administration’s priority but it was also not in their consciousness,” he said. Lacson said when he attended the budget call last year of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) he noticed that there was no item on the Yolanda rehabilitation for the 2015’s proposed budget. “So again, I called his (Abad’s) attention, I told him to include an item and fund it even with P1 since if there is no item in the budget, there would be nothing to augment, which is based on the Constitution and the ruling of the Supreme Court,” Abad said. Lacson said Abad relented and provided P1 billion for the Yolanda projects. “So I figure that since there are savings in 2014 of P350 billion, it would be easy to augment the P1 billion appropriation for the Yolanda rehabilitation coming from savings,” he said. “What I can’t understand is that the funds were not released. READ MORE...

ALSO: Transparency urged in police service awards


AUGUST 10 --Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday to be more transparent in giving awards to police commandos. PNP PIO/Philstar.com /File
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday to be more transparent in giving awards to police commandos to avoid rubbing salt into the wounds of the families of the 44 slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers. Recto said the SAF 44, as well as their living comrades who had fought alongside them during a police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25, are considered heroes in the eyes of the public. “I am confident that the highest honors will be conferred on them because I know the PNP leadership is prompt and proactive in honoring the gallantry of their men,” he said. The senator issued the statement in the wake of criticisms that Malacañang ordered the removal of two police officers from among the awardees during the recent celebration of the 114th anniversary of the police service. Reports said that slain SAF trooper PO2 Romeo Cempron and survivor Supt. Raymund Train were not awarded the Medal of Valor and PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal, respectively, upon orders of Malacañang. “This would be painful for the families, especially if they had already been notified of the awards. Posthumous na nga, postponed pa,” he said. 'Recto said the PNP should announce who will be awarded, what award will be given, and when will it be conferred, as he called on the police leadership to ensure that it will push through “time on target” once the date for the awarding is set. READ MORE...

ALSO: P-Noy makes final pitch for BB


JULY 28 ---One problem with BS Aquino is, he is neither an academic nor a rational individual who could comprehend complicated issues like the conflict in Mindanao. His obsession with taking credit for the success of a project works against him too. It seems like when an idea is pitched to him as something that could earn him brownie points or, more so, the possibility of getting nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, he is quick to jump on board the idea without bothering to think about the consequences. Negotiating with a terrorist group is one of them. FROM GETREALPHILIPPINES.COM POSTED FEBRAURY 15, 2015 President Aquino made his final pitch yesterday for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of the 16th Congress. Aquino, who wants to make the BBL his main legacy before his steps down from office on June 30 next year, told senators and congressmen that time is running out for lasting peace in Mindanao. “To those who are against this law. I think, it’s your obligation to suggest a better solution,” Aquino said in Filipino. “If you don’t have any alternative, you’re only guaranteeing that we cannot reach change,” he said. “How many more lives will be lost for us to wake up to our obligation to change the damaged status quo in Muslim Mindanao?” he added. The BBL seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao. It was based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) forged between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. READ MORE...RELATED STORY...

ALSO: Palace justifies multimillion-peso salaries, allowances for DFA execs


AUGUST 5 --COLOMA Malacañang yesterday was quick to defend the multimillion-peso salaries and allowances received by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), saying that the Commission on Audit (CoA) report on the said government employees are covered by the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).This came after the DFA gave 13 of its envoys a total of P138.25 million in salaries, allowances and bonuses in 2014, where critics assailed that seven of the DFA officials are among the top 10 highest paid government officials for last year
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminnio Coloma Jr. said that it will not do anything to intervene with the issue, saying that the given amount to the Foreign Affairs officials are justified and lawful.“We will not do anything because all reported by the Commission on Audit (CoA) is in accordance with the law. There is already a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs; all received by our ambassadors are in accordance with the laws of the land,” he said at a Palace briefing.READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy’s men jump on Binay over ‘True Sona’ points


AUGUST 5 --COLOMA, LACIERDA In evident panic, all and sundry under the alliance of President Aquino and his Liberal Party (LP) ganged up on Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday after delivering a scathing True State of the Nation Address (Tsona) which disputed point by point the glowing claims of achievements under Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda led the charge, saying that Binay praised the achievements of Aquino during the five years that the Vice President was in the Cabinet but which he is now criticizing as Aquino’s shortcomings. To that Binay said: “I chose what to applaud for.”  Binay refuted claims of administration allies he acted like a puppet on a string for the past five years he was with the administration for allegedly applauding at every move of Aquino whom he is now criticizing.
“I clapped for what was right and refused to clap for what I believed was wrong was Binay’s reaction to the Palace criticism. “I am a team player,” he added. “One example was the drama last year involving Budget Secretary Butch Abad,”  Binay said referring to last year’s Cabinet meeting where Aquino announced he would not be accepting Abad’s resignation in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to strike down the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional. READ MORE...

ALSO COMMENTARY Mr. Aquino’s place in history: Neither here nor there


AUGUST 4 --By MARLEN V. RONQUILLO
No Philippine president looms large as a revered figure in the national memory. This is probably the reason we have no Mt. Rushmore, no memorial for a president on a grand, towering scale. The satraps of Mr. Marcos tried to carve a false tribute on a very public part of a mountainside up North. But like the felled statues of Stalin, the faux tribute to our homegrown despot was demolished by the wrath of history. But this is not saying that we have had no presidents of real consequence. Men of a certain age remember Manuel Luis Quezon, the Commonwealth president. The fire in the belly, his uncompromised nationalism, the efforts to promote a national language that would be our lingua franca and our cultural soul were complemented by a larger-than-life image and his colorful governing expletives. Did he deal with the dissidents of his time via his surrogates to promote the grand bargain of peace? Did he use Congress to pass BBL-like legislation to secure the peace? No. Our undying memory of Quezon was his trip to Arayat, Pampanga to talk peace and about peasant insurgency with the leading Socialist leader, the mayor himself, Casto Alejandrino. Did he engage in empty talk about securing the peace?
No. He turned over to Casto the 100 hectares of his own land – for redistribution to the peasants – very near the foot of the dormant volcano in an act of supreme sincerity and selflessness. That was a time feudalism was in full flowering, an era bereft of a rough draft, a seminal concept even, of a land reform policy. Casto had a term for what Quezon did, praxis, the glorious merger of theory and practice. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PNoy’s promises still ‘in progress’

MANILA, AUGUST 10, 2015 (PCIJ BLOG) By Rowena F. Caronan - FIVE YEARS AGO, when President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), he made specific policy promises on economic reforms and job creation – on top of his overall promise of change: “Daang Matuwid” and “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

Five years hence, Aquino’s SONA promises and those laid down in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2010-2016 are still a work in progress.

In all of the targets he has sworn to achieve, he is falling behind the natural deadline of his presidency that comes on June 30, 2016. The Aquino government has secured credit ratings upgrade for achieving record economic growth yet still, that growth has yet to turn inclusive and trigger jobs of sufficient quality and quantity for the Filipino poor.

Interviewed on the ABS-CBN News Channel, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan justified that no country or political administration has so far eliminated poverty and unemployment.

The promises he made

In his 2010 SONA, Aquino laid out his blueprint for job creation by boosting growth in the industry and streamlining business processes. A year later, through his social contract, Aquino promised a government that prioritizes jobs that empowers Filipinos and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty. He also said his government would create jobs at home so working abroad will be a choice rather than necessity. He promised to prioritize welfare and protection of those who choose overseas work.

More specifically, the Aquino administration’s PDP sought to reduce the number of poor Filipinos to 18 percent of the population, maintain an average economic growth of at least 7.5 percent annually, generate employment of one million per year, and reduce the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent by the end of his term in 2016.

What he has achieved so far

From 2011 to 2014, Aquino had boasted in his SONA credit ratings upgrades, and record runs of the stock market as evidence of a strong economy. This meant, he had explained, that the government could borrow funds for programs and projects at lower interest rates and more business would be attracted to invest in the country.

READ MORE...

In his 2011 and 2012 SONAs, Aquino said his government had delivered on reducing the number of unemployed Filipinos.

He said, “Is it not an apt time for us to dream of a day where any Filipino who wishes to work can find a job?”

In his 2013 SONA, Aquino reported additional jobs created in the BPO (business processing outsourcing) sector. He said: “Back in the year 2000, only 5,000 people were employed in this industry. Fast forward to 2011: 638,000 people are employed by BPOs, and the industry has contributed 11 billion dollars to our economy.”

In 2014, Aquino praised Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz for adopting better labor resolution practices that helped reduce the number of labor strikes to less than 10 during that year.

He said: “Consider this: According to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, since 2010, the number of strikes per year has been limited to less than ten. This is the positive result of the Department of Labor and Employment’s Single entry Approach, or SEnA, through which filed labor cases go through a 30-day conciliation-mediation period.

The good news: out of 115 notices of strike and lockout in 2013, only one pushed through. This is the lowest number of strikes in the history of DOLE.”

The Aquino Presidency: Promises vs. Results

1. Reduce the number of poor Filipinos to 18 percent by 2016 – In progress

The poverty incidence among Filipinos (25.8 percent) in the first quarter of 2014 is still far from the target of 18 percent by 2016.

In fact, this estimate by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows an increase from the 24.6 percent in the same period last year. PSA noted that the 2013 poverty estimate had been revised for consistency with the 2014 poverty estimates, which was based on the 2014 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey and did not include sample households from Batanes and Leyte.

2. Sustain economic growth of at least 7 percent for the five-year period – In progress

The annual growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaged 6.3 percent from 2010 to 2014. The only time that the government has met its target of at least 7 percent annual GDP growth rate was in 2013.

In the first quarter of 2015, growth of the domestic economy slowed down to 5.2 from 5.6 percent in the same period last year. In a statement, Balisacan explained that the “slower-than-programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction” slowed the growth of the economy. Balisacan, however, said that the economy is expected to grow faster in the remaining quarters.

3. Increase the annual average output of different sectors for the five-year period: agriculture, fishery and forestry (2.5 percent to 3.5 percent), industry (9.3 percent to 10.3 percent), services (7.2 percent to 8.1 percent) – In progress

But while the government managed to increase the share of industry to the economic growth, it failed to do the same for the services, and agriculture and fishery sectors, which represent the poorest sectors.

Annual Gross Value Added (GVA) in industry grew by 8 percent on average from 2011 to 2013. But the agriculture, fishery, and forestry sectors grew only by 2 percent on average from 2010 to 2014.

According to the 2014 Socioeconomic Report of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the agriculture and fishery sectors had to grow “by an average of 10.8 percent for the remaining period (2015-2016) to achieve the lower-end target.”

Meanwhile, the government met its target for the services sector when it hit a 7.41-percent increase in 2012. But the services sector grew only by 6.62 percent on average from 2011 to 2014. In the first quarter of 2015, it grew by 5.6 percent compared with the same period last year.

4. Create a resilient external sector by increasing the share of the export industry to 51.6 percent of the economic growth and the value of merchandise exports to US$109.4 billion by 2016 – In progress

On average, exports represent 29.6 percent of the Nominal Gross Domestic Product from 2011 to 2014. The lowest rates were recorded in 2013 and 2014 at 28 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively. Moreover, sales receipts from merchandise exports had continued to grow below the target. In 2014, total merchandise exports were valued at $61.8 billion or more than $7 billion short of the downscaled target.

5. Generate employment of one million annually and reduce the unemployment rate as low as 6.8 percent by 2016 – In progress

As of April 2015, the unemployment rate currently stands at 6.4 percent or above the government’s target. In 2014, the annual unemployment rate was estimated at 6.8 percent. However, the employment generation from 2011 to 2014 had fall short of the target. Employment expanded from 36 million in 2010 to 38.7 million in 2014, with an average increase of 654,000.

The 1-million annual target was reached only in 2011; employment generation dropped to about 500,000 in the following years.

According to Ibon Foundation, “comparable official figures for April 2015 clearly show the quality of work deteriorating.”

“The number of contractual and other workers in insecure and poorly-paid work has been increasing in the last two years. As of April 2015, 15.5 million or 40 percent of employed Filipinos were in just part-time work with likely very low pay and scant benefits.” – PCIJ, July 27, 2015


TRIBUNE

P350B in Palace savings but none for ‘Yolanda’ rehab
Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00


LACSON


In inquiring with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the “Yolanda” rehabilitation funds of P80 billion for this year, former Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson said he found out about P350 billion in savings in the 2014 budget that was carried over to this year as lump sum funds for the administration to spend.

Savings from a previous year’s budget are converted into discretionary funds during the current year and the tracking of these funds is vague.

Lacson said in an interview in Global City in Taguig late last Monday said that he had inquired, as the rehabilitation czar, with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad several times about the release of the P80 billion funds for the rehabilitation program for areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Lacson was rehab czar until last February despite submitting his resignation papers to Aquino in December last year.

“When I told Abad to be ready with the P80 billion this year, he told me that he will look for ways to raise it. I insisted that he did not need to look for funds for it since there is P350 billion in savings,” Lacson said.

“What was frustrating is that it was not only that it (Yolanda rehabilitation) was not in the administration’s priority but it was also not in their consciousness,” he said.

Lacson said when he attended the budget call last year of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) he noticed that there was no item on the Yolanda rehabilitation for the 2015’s proposed budget.

“So again, I called his (Abad’s) attention, I told him to include an item and fund it even with P1 since if there is no item in the budget, there would be nothing to augment, which is based on the Constitution and the ruling of the Supreme Court,” Abad said.

Lacson said Abad relented and provided P1 billion for the Yolanda projects.
“So I figure that since there are savings in 2014 of P350 billion, it would be easy to augment the P1 billion appropriation for the Yolanda rehabilitation coming from savings,” he said.

“What I can’t understand is that the funds were not released. There is a total of 205,000 housing units needed for the resettlement from hazard zones for people to be relocated to safe zones. The last time I’ve heard about the settlement project was that, I don’t know if it’s accurate, only 2.5 percent was accomplished,” Lacson added.

“So I am calling the attention of the DBM since it is from them that the funds are released. For example the budget we proposed for resettlement was P75 billion so is the funds are not released how can we accomplish the building of 205,000 housing units?,” he said.

Abad’s quick excuse


ABAD

Abad was quick to deny Lacson’s allegations as he stressed that releases for Yolanda rehabilitation were made as urgently as possible and in line with fund release processes as he claimed that Lacson’s allegations on slow Yolanda fund releases were untrue and based on incorrect data.

“Lacson’s points do not give an accurate picture of the government’s efforts to help the Yolanda survivors. Not only that—his claims are based on erroneous information. The DBM acted with great urgency in releasing the funds, but we also had to follow the release process to ensure full transparency and accountability.

As former head of OPARR, Lacson should, of all people, understand that we cannot skirt the fund release process for post-Yolanda projects,” Abad said.
Lacson previously alleged that the P80-billion requirement for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (CRRP) was not included in the 2015 budget.
But DBM records show that the CRRP’s rehabilitation plan—which would also form the basis for its budget in FY 2015—was only submitted by Lacson’s office in October 2014, months after the proposed 2015 Budget was submitted to Congress.

“Lacson’s figure for 2014 savings is incorrect. We didn’t generate P350 billion in savings. Instead, we posted only P11 billion in savings last fiscal year, P2.5 billion of which was already realigned to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF). He may be referring to the P303-billion spending shortfall in 2014. This cannot be considered as savings because the amount was already allocated for specific programs and projects in the 2014 national budget,”

Abad claimed

He said the DBM had released P88.96 billion for Yolanda relief and rehabilitation operations, contrary to figures earlier cited by Lacson and Social Watch Philippines. The total amount covers the releases from the end of 2013 to the first semester of 2015.

For the second half of 2015, the DBM plans to release P14.05 billion more for post-Yolanda rehabilitation work, Abad claimed.

The release will be tapped from available 2015 fund sources, such as the Rehabilitation and Recovery Program, the Unprogrammed Fund, and savings from various agencies, he said.


PHILSTAR

Transparency urged in police service awards By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday to be more transparent in giving awards to police commandos. PNP PIO/Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday to be more transparent in giving awards to police commandos to avoid rubbing salt into the wounds of the families of the 44 slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.

Recto said the SAF 44, as well as their living comrades who had fought alongside them during a police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25, are considered heroes in the eyes of the public.

“I am confident that the highest honors will be conferred on them because I know the PNP leadership is prompt and proactive in honoring the gallantry of their men,” he said.

The senator issued the statement in the wake of criticisms that Malacañang ordered the removal of two police officers from among the awardees during the recent celebration of the 114th anniversary of the police service.

Reports said that slain SAF trooper PO2 Romeo Cempron and survivor Supt. Raymund Train were not awarded the Medal of Valor and PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal, respectively, upon orders of Malacañang.

“This would be painful for the families, especially if they had already been notified of the awards. Posthumous na nga, postponed pa,” he said.

'Recto said the PNP should announce who will be awarded, what award will be given, and when will it be conferred, as he called on the police leadership to ensure that it will push through “time on target” once the date for the awarding is set.

READ MORE...

But PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez denied that the names were removed from the list of awardees, as he pointed out that the honors are still being processed.

“There was no order from anybody to exclude some personnel. The selection board listed 40 probable awardees. I was informed that other awards would need a longer time (for processing) and approval,” Marquez said.

To be awarded the PNP Medal of Valor, a police officer “must perform in action a deed of personal bravery and self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty so conspicuous as to distinguish himself clearly above his comrades in the performance of more than ordinary hazardous service.”

Marquez also expressed sadness over the apparent exploitation of the bravery and heroism exemplified by the SAF 44.

“They risked their lives for the country. It is sad that other people are using their sacrifices for their own ends,” he said in Filipino.

The issue on the supposed exploitation came to the fore after President Aquino failed to mention their heroism in his final State of the Nation Address on July 27, and after Vice President Jejomar Binay, who will be running as the opposition’s standard bearer in next year’s polls, enumerated the names and rendered a salute to the mural of the SAF 44 during his “true SONA.”– With Cecille Suerte Felipe


PHILSTAR

P-Noy makes final pitch for BBL By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 28, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


JULY 28 ---One problem with BS Aquino is, he is neither an academic nor a rational individual who could comprehend complicated issues like the conflict in Mindanao. His obsession with taking credit for the success of a project works against him too. It seems like when an idea is pitched to him as something that could earn him brownie points or, more so, the possibility of getting nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, he is quick to jump on board the idea without bothering to think about the consequences. Negotiating with a terrorist group is one of them. FROM GETREALPHILIPPINES.COM POSTED FEBRAURY 15, 2015

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino made his final pitch yesterday for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of the 16th Congress.

Aquino, who wants to make the BBL his main legacy before his steps down from office on June 30 next year, told senators and congressmen that time is running out for lasting peace in Mindanao.

“To those who are against this law. I think, it’s your obligation to suggest a better solution,” Aquino said in Filipino.

“If you don’t have any alternative, you’re only guaranteeing that we cannot reach change,” he said.

“How many more lives will be lost for us to wake up to our obligation to change the damaged status quo in Muslim Mindanao?” he added.

The BBL seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao. It was based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) forged between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

READ MORE...

Petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court to nullify the FAB and the CAB.

The BBL was supposed to be signed into law last May but it ran into strong opposition following the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident as well as questions on its constitutionality.

Pass Charter change

Aside from the BBL, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. urged yesterday his colleagues to pass the economic Charter change resolution, another landmark legislation that would ensure lasting growth and peace in the country.

In his speech, Belmonte listed priorities for the House to approve in the remaining months of the legislature, including Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1).

“By amending the restrictive economic provisions of our Constitution, we empower Congress to enact laws that will attract the kind of investments that will reverse the de-industrialization and de-agriculturalization of our economy,” Belmonte said.

“Only then can we encourage locators and investors to expand our manufacturing sector, the area where the better paying decent jobs can be created. This is the best strategy to ensure that no Filipino will be left behind,” he said.

The House was poised to approve RBH 1 on third and final reading last month before Congress adjourned but the voting did not push through despite the large attendance of lawmakers, apparently due to lack of go-signal from Malacañang.

He also batted for the passage of the BBL, which is facing stiff opposition in plenary over its apparent unconstitutional provisions.

He said the conflicts in the Bangsamoro “have taken on different forms, rooted in passions that feed on discrimination and deprivations that are fuelled by poverty.”

He said Congress must address the longstanding grievances of the Bangsamoro people by empowering them to fully provide for their self-expression and development.

“But this has to be complemented by clear and decisive legislative language to accommodate and empower not just the new majority of Muslims in the Bangsamoro, but also for all other groups whose lives, family and work are located in these regionally autonomous areas of the Bangsamoro,” Belmonte said.

He also urged members of the chamber to expedite the passage of other measures including the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016, the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology; strengthening of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law; modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical Services Administration; Freedom of Information Bill; Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Bill;

The proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act; the National Identification System; the pre-paid SIM card registration; the proposed Barangay Officials Welfare and Incentives Act; the Philippine Immigration Act of 2015; the proposed Healthcare Services Price Disclosure Act; and the measure that seeks to ensure that each school division has a center for children with special needs.

Belmonte also urged the Senate to immediately pass the proposed Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act and the proposed Maritime Zones Act to protect the country’s territorial integrity, even as Congress, “continues to fully, and unequivocally support, the country’s claims over our exclusive economic zones in the West Philippine Sea before the Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of arbitration at the Hague.”

Other bills

Aquino also called on Congress to push for the legislative agenda of his administration with his remaining 10 months in office, but failed to mention the Freedom of Information bill that he once promised to pass.

Aside from other bills, the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives and the Unified Uniformed Personnel Pension Reform bill, the 2016 national budget which Budget Secretary Florencio Abad will submit to Congress today, and the Anti-Dynasty bills top Aquino’s list.

He thanked the lawmakers for helping his administration pass landmark laws like the Philippine Competition Law, Allowing Full Entry of Foreign Banks, amendments to Cabotage Law, Sin Tax Reform Act and Responsible Parenthood Act.

Promotion of BBL

Taking the cue from the President, Drilon and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed anew that the BBL will be among the priorities of Congress before Aquino finishes his term next year.

“We will continue to promote lasting peace and sustainable development in Mindanao through a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is consistent with our Constitution,” Drilon said in his speech.

Marcos, who heads the Senate committee on local governments, said the substitute bill is almost ready for presentation before the plenary. He also gave assurance that the measure will face constitutional scrutiny. – With Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Senate sets new timeline for BBL approval By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 4, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0



Senate President Franklin Drilon said senators have agreed to wait until Monday next week for the committee report on the BBL and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s substitute bill. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate has set a new timeline for the approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who chairs the committee on local governments, asked for more time to address the many controversial provisions in the measure.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said senators have agreed to wait until Monday next week for the committee report on the BBL and Marcos’ substitute bill.

“We have agreed that the BBL report will be filed on Aug. 10, sponsored on Aug. 11, and to give the senators time to study carefully all the proposals, the interpellation will start on Aug. 17. That’s the schedule of the BBL,” Drilon said.

Drilon announced the development after a brief caucus yesterday, adding that the Senate will not set any deadline on the interpellation “so everybody will be given a chance to review the report that will be submitted.”

Marcos sought an extension because many senators submitted new position papers, which he said needed to be incorporated in his draft committee report.

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Marcos pointed out the need to thresh out constitutional issues in the bill that pertain to economic provisions, the tax policy, monetary policy, power sharing and the sharing in the national office.

“We also have to look into the experiences of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the experience of the national government and see how that can possibly apply to BBL,” he said.

In a statement, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Sorsogon formally expressed its support for the BBL as it called on Congress to pass the proposed measure.

PPOC secretariat Arnaldo Escober Jr. said the council’s members unanimously adopted Resolution No. 2 on May 26, recognizing the significance of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). With Jose Rodel Clapano


TRIBUNE

Palace justifies multimillion-peso salaries, allowances for DFA execs Written by Joshua L. Labonera Wednesday, 05 August 2015 00:00


COLOMA

Malacañang yesterday was quick to defend the multimillion-peso salaries and allowances received by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), saying that the Commission on Audit (CoA) report on the said government employees are covered by the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

This came after the DFA gave 13 of its envoys a total of P138.25 million in salaries, allowances and bonuses in 2014, where critics assailed that seven of the DFA officials are among the top 10 highest paid government officials for last year
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminnio Coloma Jr. said that it will not do anything to intervene with the issue, saying that the given amount to the Foreign Affairs officials are justified and lawful.

“We will not do anything because all reported by the Commission on Audit (CoA) is in accordance with the law. There is already a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs; all received by our ambassadors are in accordance with the laws of the land,” he said at a Palace briefing.

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The Palace mouthpiece said that the allowances are such because the government ensures it’s in line with the expense need in the countries where the envoys serve.

“If it so happens that what was allocated for them is high as allowance, the concrete situation is being taken into consideration in the country where they serve. There are no irregularities there,” he added.

The DFA, for its part, said there is nothing wrong with the salaries and allowances of the diplomats, noting that the CoA report in 2014 saying the multimillion-peso amount did not present a complete picture of the situation.

In a statement it said that the CoA Report on Salaries and Allowances (ROSA) for 2014 was misleading, noting the discrepancy rooted in how inaccurate the data was presented. It emphasized adherence to the SSL which applies to all government employees and officials.

On another note, Gabriela partylist, in a statement, assailed the salaries received by the foreign arms of the government, saying that it is even higher than that given to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad.

“These bonuses are highly irregular and even scandalous! It is unconscionable especially amid OFW neglect,” Ilagan said.

“This is the reason why migrant workers get abducted from OFW shelters. Clearly, DFA officials are enriching themselves while doing a disservice to migrant workers,” she added.


TRIBUNE

Noy’s men jump on Binay over ‘True Sona’ points
Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 05 August 2015 00:00 By Charlie V. Manalo and Joshua L. Labonera
 


COLOMA, LACIERDA

In evident panic, all and sundry under the alliance of President Aquino and his Liberal Party (LP) ganged up on Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday after delivering a scathing True State of the Nation Address (Tsona) which disputed point by point the glowing claims of achievements under Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda led the charge, saying that Binay praised the achievements of Aquino during the five years that the Vice President was in the Cabinet but which he is now criticizing as Aquino’s shortcomings.

To that Binay said: “I chose what to applaud for.”

Binay refuted claims of administration allies he acted like a puppet on a string for the past five years he was with the administration for allegedly applauding at every move of Aquino whom he is now criticizing.



“I clapped for what was right and refused to clap for what I believed was wrong was Binay’s reaction to the Palace criticism.

“I am a team player,” he added.

“One example was the drama last year involving Budget Secretary Butch Abad,”

Binay said referring to last year’s Cabinet meeting where Aquino announced he would not be accepting Abad’s resignation in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to strike down the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

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“Secretary Abad was posturing he was about to resign but we were already expecting it would not be accepted by the President and that was what he did. I di not clap then,” he said.

“In his Sona (State of the Nation Address), there were things there where I would applaud and things I would not because I was aware they were not true,” he added.

Binay was caught on camera as the only Cabinet member who did not applaud Aquino’s decision, despite being seated next to Abad in the meeting that he recounted.

The Vice President later said that while he respected the President’s decision, Aquino still should have accepted Abad’s resignation.

“While I am a member of the Cabinet I registered my opposition to things I believe were wrong,” he said.

The Vice President also said he made suggestions and recommendations to Aquino on what he thought could contribute to the government, but his proposals were mostly struck down.

“There was a time I sent him a memorandum such as when I recommended the forming of a Department of Housing and Urban Development. He didn’t let it through,” Binay said.

The Vice President also expressed apprehension that government resources will be used for the candidacy of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, after the President reportedly rejected Roxas’ resignation even after endorsing him as standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP).

“The President said Roxas would have to finish all those that he started. It sounded that there was no deadline set there,” Binay said.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said Binay only invited more ill will based on what he claimed as Palace monitoring.

“We are not the only ones who noticed that. In our monitoring, the views of some of our people have observed the same that in the past five years as government official he has been carrying the banner of being a part of President Aquino’s Cabinet,” Coloma said.

“In that whole time we did not hear any harsh criticism or opposing opinion or disagreement to what he now calls wrong, especially as the time for political campaigns draw near,” he said. “In all the feedback we’ve seen, the sentiments against him have been overwhelming,” he added.

The Palace was reacting to Binay’s speech delivered earlier this week where he put specifics on the current administration’s deficiencies particularly in the Metro Railway Transit (MRT) problems, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Malacañang was seen echoing the sentiment of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who said that Binay lacked credibility in criticizing Aquino.


CAYETANO

“If we look at the picture painted by Vice President Binay, it is against the clear view of the people that are now proudly showing their capability and capacity. We have come a long way in the aspect of livelihood. It is felt by our people as their livelihood go better,” he said.

He said that the government’s efforts against unemployment and poverty still continue, as a response to Binay’s marking of Aquino’s speech as false.

“While what he is drawing is a picture of hopelessness, there are many concrete manifestations of high confidence from our people and their proud stance on our future. Maybe they should choose what is more attractive to them, but our belief is high that our people will choose a better future full of hope based on concrete facts,” Coloma added.

Reacting to the question on whether the Palace shares some of the sentiments in social media that it wasn’t right for Binay to bring up the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers’ death in his own Sona, Coloma said “I think what you just said was a genuine sentiment of the people. I do not need to add anything because it may add political color since it’s from me… but it resonates the sentiments of many of our people.”

“There are many speeches even after the incident in Mamasapano where President Aquino acknowledged the bravery of the SAF 44 and he acknowledged his responsibility even in February… the President did not lack in recognizing the bravery of the SAF 44,” he said.

“Full attention was given in helping their kin, in helping them establish their lives anew through aiding in education, housing and livelihood,” he added.
SAF 44 mention draws mixed views

Binay’s recognition of the heroism of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao drew praises from the uniformed ranks but some noted politics on it.

The heroism of the SAF 44 was highlighted during Binay’s “true state of the nation address” in Silang, Cavite on Monday. The Vice President even used the huge images of the commandos as backdrop in delivering his speech.

Binay also mentioned the names of the 44 SAF commandos –one by one.

Sources from both Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, who requested anonymity, said the “appropriate recognition” to the SAF became the highlight of Binay’s Tsona as the issue was evaded by President Aquino during his own Sona last week.

“It was only appropriate to recognize the heroism of the SAF commandos –for giving the ultimate sacrifice while performing their mission,” a Camp Crame official told The Tribune.

“The President missed another opportunity to make up for the ire he earned at the height of the Mamasapano issue when he failed to mention the issue during his Sona and the Vice President earned praises for highlighting the issue,” he added.

A Camp Aguinaldo-based official said “the Vice President’s recognition of SAF 44 became huge because the President failed to do it in his Sona.”

In his Sona last week, Aquino mentioned the killing of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, one of the primary targets of the SAF, but did not mention the heroism on the SAF 44.

“That’s the game plan now –where the President fails, Binay gains,” the official added.

Other sources, however, noted that Binay’s move to highlight the SAF 44 issue was meant to earn sympathy. They noted that the Vice President has already announced his interest to seek the presidency next year.

“To get the sympathy of the fallen SAF’s relatives. Obviously,” one official said.

“It was a good political issue on the part of the Vice President,” another officer said.

“It’s simply part of his campaign strategy,” a Fort Bonifacio-based official said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who was recently endorsed by Aquino as the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, scored Binay for politicizing the SAF 44 issue.

The SAF 44 were killed during the launching of Operation Plan (Oplan) “Exodus” targeting three wanted terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.
The SAF operatives managed to kill Marwan, while Amin Baco, alias Jihad also a Malaysian, and Filipino bomb expert Basit Usman escaped.

The SAF operatives, however, were engaged by hundreds of armed men from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway faction Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), resulting in 44 killed in action while several others wounded.
Mario J. Mallari


MANILA TIMES

Mr. Aquino’s place in history: Neither here nor there
August 4, 2015 8:24 pm Marlen V. Ronquillo


By MARLEN V. RONQUILLO

No Philippine president looms large as a revered figure in the national memory.

This is probably the reason we have no Mt. Rushmore, no memorial for a president on a grand, towering scale. The satraps of Mr. Marcos tried to carve a false tribute on a very public part of a mountainside up North. But like the felled statues of Stalin, the faux tribute to our homegrown despot was demolished by the wrath of history.

But this is not saying that we have had no presidents of real consequence.

Men of a certain age remember Manuel Luis Quezon, the Commonwealth president. The fire in the belly, his uncompromised nationalism, the efforts to promote a national language that would be our lingua franca and our cultural soul were complemented by a larger-than-life image and his colorful governing expletives.

Did he deal with the dissidents of his time via his surrogates to promote the grand bargain of peace? Did he use Congress to pass BBL-like legislation to secure the peace?

No. Our undying memory of Quezon was his trip to Arayat, Pampanga to talk peace and about peasant insurgency with the leading Socialist leader, the mayor himself, Casto Alejandrino. Did he engage in empty talk about securing the peace?

No. He turned over to Casto the 100 hectares of his own land – for redistribution to the peasants – very near the foot of the dormant volcano in an act of supreme sincerity and selflessness. That was a time feudalism was in full flowering, an era bereft of a rough draft, a seminal concept even, of a land reform policy.
Casto had a term for what Quezon did, praxis, the glorious merger of theory and practice.

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In another scene, in the capital town of San Fernando, we had Perico (Pedro Abad Santos), the founder of the Socialist Party, personally confronting Quezon about the unjust agrarian structure prevailing then.

Perico harangued Quezon while his brother, Quezon’s trusted aide Jose Abad Santos (later to be martyred) watched helplessly, afraid to rein in his agitated brother. Imagine for a minute that scene: The president of the republic and the head of the major dissident group arguing about social and economic justice, with the dissident scolding down the president.



Then, there are still old men still holding on to their keepsakes – pins and buttons which simply said “Magsaysay is my Guy.

So cherished was RM’s memory that a brother ran on nothing except his cluelessness and the revered name of his president-brother and was overwhelmingly elected senator of the realm.

Senator No Talk, No Mistake ended up a sorry bust but he was not run out of town because of the people’s respect for The Guy. There is still a healthy debate on whether the greatness of RM was for real – or a Landsdale-manufactured thing. But that has yet to dent the fact that Ramon Magsaysay is a president deeply loved and remembered.


Magsaysay… Man Of The Masses | Ramon Magsaysay was the 7th President of the Philippines. He was an engineer. Was known for the moniker “Man of the Masses”. He ate with the people with his bare hands during his community sorties… that endeared him to the people profoundly. WIKIPEDIA

Question. What do you think will be history’s verdict on Mr. Aquino?

His last SONA on Monday was notable for two things, the fantasy statistics and his plea to history. He wants a secure place in history as a game-changing leader who, in his own words, tried his best to change the corrupt culture of governance and succeeded against overwhelming odds. And made life better for his people in the process.

Ok, will this generation and the next regard him as such – a game-changing leader?

The quick answer is this. No.

As a leader, he will be listed under these two categories. A president of little or no consequence. Or, neither here nor there.

Contrary to Mr. Aquino’s deeply-held belief, glowing statistics do not make a great president.

Growth rates, credit upgrades, the jailing of crooked rival politicians are good for newspaper headlines and are of supreme interest to parachuting foreign journalists who want to write, for a change, about the transition of the country from a “ failed state” to one “open for business.”

But when all the gains from these economic upswings are vacuumed up by the top economic brackets, and when gains from labor are meager and just enough for basic survival, those statistics are meaningless to ordinary lives.

To be well-remembered by history, a president has to be two things: larger-than-life in the hearts and minds of his people or a president with life-changing policies.

After Mr. Aquino delivered his SONA, I went around the areas in and around the Commonwealth Avenue Batasan neighborhood. I asked the magti-tinapa, mag-papandesal, magtataho, those struggling for survival under the downpour, about Mr. Aquino’s last SONA.

I was met with terrifying indifference, with blank stares, with why-would-we-care –about-the-SONA treatment.

Inside the Batasan, Mr. Aquino indeed preached to his choir, the small body that represented the business and political elite. The enthusiastic and genuine applause, the expression of gratitude for the Aquino presidency, this was duly noted by the papers, came from Big Business.

Outside, under the gloom of the overcast skies, the last SONA had two tragic images of Mr. Aquino’s presidency.

The president barricaded from his people and protected by the anti-riot police and the giant effigy of Mr. Aquino set on fire and readily engulfed by the raging flames.

In 2010, in the first BS Aquino SONA, the protesters were gingerly about their every move, afraid that the citizens themselves would lynch them should they do something over-the-top.

Five years later, the crowds cheered as the Aquino effigy was consumed by the raging fire.

Marlen Ronquillo
mvronq@yahoo.com
4 Responses to Mr. Aquino’s place in history: Neither here nor there
hjC says:
August 5, 2015 at 11:33 am
I will remember Pnoy as the most stupid president we ever had. My barber would have been a better president!
Reply
vg says:
August 5, 2015 at 6:52 am
Yes, we have not had a President who has put the Philippines on the right footing to flourish. The Federal government needs to be reorganized to stop interfereing in local things. Why have a DILG? Why organize police as a national organization? Why have the Federal government be responsible for books, classrooms, and teachers. These are all local affairs where we have local people elected to handle those matters. Those people know the best thing to do and they will answer to the people.
Reply
goryu says:
August 5, 2015 at 6:08 am
Sira ulo lang ang maniniwala sa NOYTARD.Wala naaamang matinong ginawa ang gagong ABNOY para sa kapakanan ng masa kundi dumaldal,manisi,maghiganti, magtamad,magpabaya,makanlong ng kanyang KKK at mga balimbing na pulitiko manuhol at manigarilyo ang lintek na NOYTARD.
Reply
jojo says:
August 5, 2015 at 2:28 am
I will remember Aquino as a “palengkera” president. Known for gay lingo and fishwives’ language.
Reply


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