© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

AFP IS WORLD's 6th 'WORST' MILITARY; PALACE SHRUGS OFF REPORT, INSTEAD TOUTES UPGRADES
[The 10 countries with the worst militaries, according to the website, are Costa Rica, Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria, Philippines, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.]


The dilapidated navy ship LT57 BRP Sierra Madre is home to Philippine troops deployed at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal (local name Ayungin Shoal) in the South China Sea. AP/Bullit Marquez - Malacañang on Thursday touted the government's modernization program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines after it was tagged as the sixth worst military in the world. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing that the administration has completed 56 projects under the AFP modernization program. "Sa simula't sapul ay kinilala ng Aquino administration ang kahalagahan ng pagpapahusay sa mga kagamitan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas," Coloma said in a press briefing. Coloma said President Aquino also approved recently the acquisition of several big-ticket items for the military including two navy frigates worth P18 billion, two long-range patrol aircraft worth P5.9 billion, two naval helicopters worth P5.4 billion and six close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion. "Makikita natin 'yung kongkretong manipestasyon ng ibayong pagsisikap na gawing moderno ang ating Sandatahang Lakas at ito ay pinapatunayan sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng mga pinakamodernong kagamitan na gagamitin ng ating Army, Navy at Air Force," Coloma said. Coloma defended the modernization efforts for the AFP after it was tagged as the world's sixth worst military by the website wearethemighty.com, which publishes military-themed stories and other content. The website cited Aquino's pronouncement to upgrade the AFP but lamented the supposed lack of government action to modernize its military. "Despite the Chinese military buildup in the region, with aggressive moves by the Chinese to claim areas and build islands close to the Philippines, the Philippines' Naval and Air Forces are still nearly 60 years old and its ships are old U.S. Coast Guard cutters," the website said. The 10 countries with the worst militaries, according to the website, are Costa Rica, Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria, Philippines, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. READ MORE...

ALSO in provinces:  Lawmaker urged to course Lando donations through people’s orgs, not DSWD’


Relief. Air Force personnel unload relief for the victims of Typhoon ‘Lando’ in Baler, Aurora, on Wednesday. Jansen Romero A party-list lawmaker has urged the public to direct all donations to the victims of Typhoon “Lando” to people’s organizations in Aurora province, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Ilocos and Central Luzon regions and not through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap said the DSWD has had a “disastrously ineffectual record” when it comes to distributing aid to typhoon victims.
He added that the DSWD under the stewardship of Secretary Corazon Soliman should not be trusted anymore in terms of being the government’s caretaker of donations for victims of typhoons and calamities. “Give aid directly to the victims or through their organizations and never through DSWD as we all know what happened to the victims of typhoon Yolanda, Pablo, Ruby, Seniang and other calamities. Give your contributions directly to the peoples’ organization and NGOs that are directly coordinating with them,” Hicap said. Hicap noted that in Januay 2013, victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao were so neglected that they were driven to set up roadblocks just to get the attention of the Aquino government. As a result, Hicap recounted that Soliman promised to deliver 10,000 sacks of rice. After a month, Hicap said, Soliman’s promise had not materialized and so, again, more than 3,000 victims set up camp at the DSWD Region 11 office where tons of relief were being stored. “During Typhoon Yolanda, [President] Aquino boasted that the government was prepared even mentioning that the planes and helicopters of the DND were all geared up, but as the typhoon left, when we all saw its destructive impact, we all realized how inept and neglectful the government really is in responding that even up to now, many victims have yet to avail of the Emergency Shelter Assistance or ESA,” Hicap said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace made to account for huge unreleased funds


ABAD: P62.1B IN DA BUDGET, P1B IN PSF The Palace is being made to account for huge unreleased funds running into billions of pesos which are feared impounded and being reserved to fund the political salvo of the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s polls. The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the partylist group Anakpawis said “P62.1 billion appropriations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) funds were “unused, unobligated, and unreleased.” The groups said the government should use these funds for the immediate economic relief and subsidy for farmers in provinces devastated by typhoon “Lando.” Earlier, President Aquino’s ally Sen. Francis Escudero had said P1 billion in People’s Survival Fund (PSF) also remained unreleased and that local governments are not informed that they can avail themselves of the fund. “The funds remained withheld even as local government units (LGUs) continued to grapple with the unmitigated impacts of extreme weather events,” Escudero said. He asked the government to immediately release the fund. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that the funds were impounded and said the allotment to LGUs will soon start. Reports quoting the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) stated that Lando caused P9.43 billion in devastation to farms and infrastructure, making it the most destructive typhoon to hit the country so far this year. The NDRRMC said damage to agriculture and livestock reached P8,242,946,236.93, while damage to infrastructure reached P1,185,850,431.
“Obviously, farmers and agriculture are the hardest hit by typhoon Lando. The Aquino government must immediately move for the recovery of agriculture by extending subsidy to production and giving immediate relief to farmers,” former Anakpawis party-list Representative and KMP chairman Rafael Mariano said. “We demand the Aquino government to immediately release more than P62 billion of DA funds directly to farmers devastated by Lando and not to local government officials,” Mariano said. Mariano said that “out of the DA’s P230.5 billion cumulative appropriations from the years 2011 to 2014, a total of P44.9 billion were unused.” He said that “the P44.9 billion was divided into two, P11.9 billion was unreleased and P33 billion was unobligated or was released but was reverted back to the national treasury and is now under the discretion of the President and the budget department.” In addition, Mariano said, “as of July 31, 2015 the DA already have a total of P16.7 billion of unobligated funds and the P500 million quick response fund that is still untouched.” READ MORE...RELATED,
PNoy leads relief distribution in Aurora...

ALSO: IN JUST NOW, MERE RUMOR? KRIS-CROSSING MINDANAO: ‘Read only LP’
[IT’S NOT a scuttlebutt, as scuttlebutts go in the cloak-and-dagger elections we have in the Philippines. It is verifiable information because it comes from a Liberal Partyinsider. The insider happens to be a reelectionist candidate.]


OCTOBER 26 -KOALISYON DAANG MATUWID IT’S NOT a scuttlebutt, as scuttlebutts go in the cloak-and-dagger elections we have in the Philippines. It is verifiable information because it comes from a Liberal Partyinsider. The insider happens to be a reelectionist candidate. In its superficial value, it is understandable that ruling political parties are clothed with a veneer of formidability. And the LP is exactly that. It is not just to say that it is the party in power. We know too well that being in power translates into a blank check that opens the way for the use of all possible gimmickry, including those not yet invented, to cheat on election results. Forget “daang matuwid.” This is the Philippine electoral exercise to which none of us were born yesterday. One of those methods may just be in the works, if we are to believe the insider. In fact, the same rumor is going the rounds in many localities where the incumbent happens to be an LP member. Coincidence perhaps? But first, what did Virgilio Garcillano do in Manila last Sept. 23? That was a Wednesday, the day that columnist Jarius Bondoc said Garci took a flight from Cagayan de Oro to Manila. The next day, Sept. 24, the alleged, infamous power “election player” was in a meeting with three personalities, said to be representing a powerful principal. Accompanying Garci was a close associate/confidante of many years, who goes by the name of Butch Pakinggan. The principal is said to be Mar Roxas. Mostly bordering on skepticism were the commentaries that followed Bondoc’s revelation. By the way, sources confirmed that Garci and company had indeed taken a Manila-bound flight that day from Laguindingan airport. As to what was discussed in the meeting, we will never know. It will likely remain, as it is, a rumor further heating up passions in our highly partisan climate. Many, however, are not impressed. Is there a room for Garci’s tricks in automated elections? For the majority of us who are IT-challenged, the answer can only be “maybe yes” and “maybe no.” CONTINUE TO BE INTRIGUED, READ MORE....

ALSO: VP Binay camp hits Soliman for being in Mindanao while Lando threatens Luzon


The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday criticized Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman for allegedly helping administration candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo in Mindanao while tropical cyclone Lando was wreaking havoc in Luzon.
"Imbes tulungan ni Sec. Dinky Soliman ang mga kababayan nating sinalanta ni bagyong Lando, ay busy siya sa pagkakampanya para sa mga manok ng Liberal Party," said lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay's spokesman for political affairs. Soliman on Saturday was with the Liberal Party standard-bearer and vice presidential candidate in Koronadal, South Cotabato in a DSWD event related to the Aquino administration's Conditional Cash Transfer program. "The DSWD and its progams should not be the domain of partisan politics and politicians," Quicho said. Soliman, however, countered that as early as Wednesday last week, DSWD personnel were already at the operations center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in preparing for Lando's onslaught in Luzon. The NDRRMC was still on blue alert at that time. READ MORE...

ALSO: No holiday on November 2, ‘All Soul’s Day’


Annual reunion in Philippine cemeteries --Work and classes will not be suspended on November 2, All Souls’ Day, Malacañang said on Saturday. All Souls’ Day is a Catholic feast day for remembering departed loved ones. This year, it falls on a Monday. In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not declare November 2 a holiday. “Pasensya na po, hindi po holiday ‘yung November 2. Marami pong nagtatanong sa akin (My apologies, November 2 is not a holiday. Many have been asking me about it),” Valte told government-run dzRB radio.“We have two days to pay our respects to our departed loved ones. Our preparations for this year will be the same,” she added in Filipino. People usually flock to cemeteries starting October 31 or the eve of All Saints’ Day, November 1. November 1 (Sunday), All Saints’ Day, is declared a special non-working day. Meanwhile, Valte said that the government is already preparing for the All Saints’ Day weekend. She said that aside from security, the main concern for the government is the flow of traffic going to and from cemeteries and the provinces. “It will be ensuring that there will be an orderly flow of people going to our major cemeteries and for those who may be going to the provinces to visit their loved ones,” she said. THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

AFP tagged world's 6th 'worst' military but Palace touts upgrades


The dilapidated navy ship LT57 BRP Sierra Madre is home to Philippine troops deployed at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal (local name Ayungin Shoal) in the South China Sea. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, OCTOBER 26, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 22, 2015 - 4:21pm 2 367 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Thursday touted the government's modernization program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines after it was tagged as the sixth worst military in the world.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing that the administration has completed 56 projects under the AFP modernization program.

"Sa simula't sapul ay kinilala ng Aquino administration ang kahalagahan ng pagpapahusay sa mga kagamitan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas," Coloma said in a press briefing.

Coloma said President Aquino also approved recently the acquisition of several big-ticket items for the military including two navy frigates worth P18 billion, two long-range patrol aircraft worth P5.9 billion, two naval helicopters worth P5.4 billion and six close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion.

"Makikita natin 'yung kongkretong manipestasyon ng ibayong pagsisikap na gawing moderno ang ating Sandatahang Lakas at ito ay pinapatunayan sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng mga pinakamodernong kagamitan na gagamitin ng ating Army, Navy at Air Force," Coloma said.

Coloma defended the modernization efforts for the AFP after it was tagged as the world's sixth worst military by the website wearethemighty.com, which publishes military-themed stories and other content.

The website cited Aquino's pronouncement to upgrade the AFP but lamented the supposed lack of government action to modernize its military.

"Despite the Chinese military buildup in the region, with aggressive moves by the Chinese to claim areas and build islands close to the Philippines, the Philippines' Naval and Air Forces are still nearly 60 years old and its ships are old U.S. Coast Guard cutters," the website said.

The 10 countries with the worst militaries, according to the website, are Costa Rica, Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria, Philippines, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.


MANILA STANDARD

‘Course donations through people’s orgs, not DSWD’ posted October 22, 2015 at 12:01 am by Maricel Cruz


Relief. Air Force personnel unload relief for the victims of Typhoon ‘Lando’ in Baler, Aurora, on Wednesday. Jansen Romero A party-list lawmaker has urged the public to direct all donations to the victims of Typhoon “Lando” to people’s organizations in Aurora province, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Ilocos and Central Luzon regions and not through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap said the DSWD has had a “disastrously ineffectual record” when it comes to distributing aid to typhoon victims.

He added that the DSWD under the stewardship of Secretary Corazon Soliman should not be trusted anymore in terms of being the government’s caretaker of donations for victims of typhoons and calamities.

“Give aid directly to the victims or through their organizations and never through DSWD as we all know what happened to the victims of typhoon Yolanda, Pablo, Ruby, Seniang and other calamities. Give your contributions directly to the peoples’ organization and NGOs that are directly coordinating with them,” Hicap said.

Hicap noted that in Januay 2013, victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao were so neglected that they were driven to set up roadblocks just to get the attention of the Aquino government. As a result, Hicap recounted that Soliman promised to deliver 10,000 sacks of rice.

After a month, Hicap said, Soliman’s promise had not materialized and so, again, more than 3,000 victims set up camp at the DSWD Region 11 office where tons of relief were being stored.

“During Typhoon Yolanda, [President] Aquino boasted that the government was prepared even mentioning that the planes and helicopters of the DND were all geared up, but as the typhoon left, when we all saw its destructive impact, we all realized how inept and neglectful the government really is in responding that even up to now, many victims have yet to avail of the Emergency Shelter Assistance or ESA,” Hicap said.

READ MORE...

Citing the Severe Weather Bulletin No. 13 of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, in Aurora, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos provinces, Hicap said reports increasingly point to significant damages to houses, banana, coconut and rice crops.

“With severe damages to crops that are their source of livelihood, affected families of farmers could be in for a long period of food shortage or starvation as they would have no source of income and so they would not only need relief but rehabilitation,” Hicap said.

Hicap also cited several groups of sectors or non government organizations where donations for victims of typhoon Lando could be coursed through: Panlalawigang Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Aurora (Pamana Aurora) for Aurora province, Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl) for Central Luzon provinces including Pangasinan, Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon Ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan-CV, Alliance of Farmers in Cagayan Valley) for provinces Isabela, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, Alyansa Dagiti Pesante Iti Tae’ng Kordilyera (Apit-Tako, Alliance of Peasants in Cordillera) for Cordillera provinces and Stop Exploitation (Stop Ex) for Ilocos provinces.

These farmers groups are regional and provincial chapters of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) that likewise compose the regional chapters of Anakpawis party-list, Hicap said.


TRIBUNE

Palace made to account for huge unreleased funds
Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 25 October 2015 00:00


ABAD: P62.1B IN DA BUDGET, P1B IN PSF

The Palace is being made to account for huge unreleased funds running into billions of pesos which are feared impounded and being reserved to fund the political salvo of the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s polls.

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the partylist group Anakpawis said “P62.1 billion appropriations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) funds were “unused, unobligated, and unreleased.”

The groups said the government should use these funds for the immediate economic relief and subsidy for farmers in provinces devastated by typhoon “Lando.”

Earlier, President Aquino’s ally Sen. Francis Escudero had said P1 billion in People’s Survival Fund (PSF) also remained unreleased and that local governments are not informed that they can avail themselves of the fund.

“The funds remained withheld even as local government units (LGUs) continued to grapple with the unmitigated impacts of extreme weather events,” Escudero said.

He asked the government to immediately release the fund.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that the funds were impounded and said the allotment to LGUs will soon start.

Reports quoting the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) stated that Lando caused P9.43 billion in devastation to farms and infrastructure, making it the most destructive typhoon to hit the country so far this year.
 

The NDRRMC said damage to agriculture and livestock reached P8,242,946,236.93, while damage to infrastructure reached P1,185,850,431.

“Obviously, farmers and agriculture are the hardest hit by typhoon Lando. The Aquino government must immediately move for the recovery of agriculture by extending subsidy to production and giving immediate relief to farmers,” former Anakpawis party-list Representative and KMP chairman Rafael Mariano said.

“We demand the Aquino government to immediately release more than P62 billion of DA funds directly to farmers devastated by Lando and not to local government officials,” Mariano said.

Mariano said that “out of the DA’s P230.5 billion cumulative appropriations from the years 2011 to 2014, a total of P44.9 billion were unused.”

He said that “the P44.9 billion was divided into two, P11.9 billion was unreleased and P33 billion was unobligated or was released but was reverted back to the national treasury and is now under the discretion of the President and the budget department.”

In addition, Mariano said, “as of July 31, 2015 the DA already have a total of P16.7 billion of unobligated funds and the P500 million quick response fund that is still untouched.”

READ MORE...

Mariano also challenged Aquino, agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala, and budget secretary Florencio Abad to account for the “unused, unreleased, and unobligated funds” from 2011 to 2014.

“We highly suspect that there’s something sinister in the P44.9 billion unreleased funds in the DA,” Mariano said noting that “the accumulated P44.9 billion of unused funds for the DA were not included in Abad’s list of DAP (disbursement acceleration program) projects totalling to P144.3 billion.”

“It appears that as early as 2011, the (President) Aquino-(Budget Secretary Florencio) Abad-(Agriculture Secretary Proceso) Alcala triumvirate were already amassing billions of pesos from agricultural funds not only for themselves but for the Liberal Party’s campaign kitty,” the KMP accused.

The KMP earlier said that farmers and fisherfolk in the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Zambales, Abra and Catanduanes are severely affected by Lando which pummelled right before the October harvest season. Many towns in Nueva Ecija which is Central Luzon’s rice granary are still inundated in flood, some areas still isolated.

“To immediately help farmers, a moratorium on the payment of land rent and land amortization, and the waiving of irrigation service fees in typhoon-affected areas are just and necessary relief at this time of calamity,” KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores said.

“The National Food Authority should also be ready to buy farmers’ palay (unhusked rice) regardless of classification, wet or dry, for them to recover the cost of production. At the same time, we demand government to extend full subsidy for the next production season,” the peasant leader said.

“Harvest-ready crops have been damaged or totally destroyed by typhoon ‘Lando’ especially rice, corn, vegetables and fruit-bearing trees. Damages to backyard and commercial livestock, poultry, swine, and goat were also reported,” Flores said.

Usual Palace denials

Malacañang denied that Abad, who is also LP strategist, is withholding the PSF claiming procedural delays in the release of the funds.

Deputy Presidential spokesman Abigail Valte instead blamed a “group formed in the law” that created the fund in causing the delay from its supposed scheduled release last June.


VALTE

“Very recently, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima announced that the call for proposals for access to the PSF will be on October 28, 2015,” she said while denying that it was the DBM that is holding up the release of the fund.

“We cannot just say that if it’s for climate change mitigation [the funds] will already be accepted and released,” Valte said.

“They (DBM) wanted to make sure that it was very streamlined, it was very standard, that the systems are transparent to enable everyone to better access the fund,” she added.

The PSF is mandated by law to be requested by the group composed of vice chairman of the Climate Change Commission, Abad, the director-general ng National Economic Development Authority (Neda), Interior Secretary, and the chairman of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

One representative each from the academe, scientific community, business sector, and from non-government organization is also included in the group.

A board, headed by Purisima, was created to facilitate the access to the fund. The creation of the board was mandated in the law that put up the PSF.

The PSF is a special fund created by virtue of Republic Act 10124 or An Act Establishing the People’s Survival Fund to Provide Long-Term Finance Streams to Enable the Government to Effectively Address the Problem of Climate Change.

Escudero said the government is mandated to earmark at least P1 billion for the PSF annually.

“Why is that money still there? What is the point of having this special fund if nobody uses it? Meanwhile, our local governments contend with the impacts of climate change year-round — from prolonged droughts to heavy floods,” Escudero said.

“It’s been three years since we passed the law — has the PSF even been useful to anybody? What is stopping the government from releasing the money?” he asked.

Unlike in last year’s National Expenditure Program when there was no such stipulation, the 2016 NEP provides that the P1 billion allocated as PSF “may likewise be used to cover any deficiency in the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program, and Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines.”

The PSF may finance local adaptation initiatives such as water resources and land management; risk insurance for farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders; infrastructure development and protection of natural ecosystems; monitoring of vector-borne diseases triggered by climate change; forecasting and early warning systems; contingency planning for droughts and floods; establishing and strengthening information networks to support adaptation initiatives;; and other community support programs by organizations accredited by the Climate Change Commission.

Valte, meanwhile, shrugged off claims that the administration will only support LGUs allied with the administration saying the money will be available to everyone.

“The reason why they wanted very clear guidelines on what proposals can and cannot be accepted was precisely for the fact that it has to facilitate equal access for everyone regardless of political affiliation,” she said.

“We can see that, I think even in past calamity situations — the national government does not choose who to help,” the Palace official added.
By Charlie V. Manalo and Joshua L. Labonera


INQUIRER

KRIS-CROSSING MINDANAO: ‘Read only LP’ SHARES: 13 VIEW COMMENTS By: Antonio Montalvan II
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:11 AM October 26th, 2015

IT’S NOT a scuttlebutt, as scuttlebutts go in the cloak-and-dagger elections we have in the Philippines. It is verifiable information because it comes from a Liberal Partyinsider. The insider happens to be a reelectionist candidate.

In its superficial value, it is understandable that ruling political parties are clothed with a veneer of formidability. And the LP is exactly that.

It is not just to say that it is the party in power. We know too well that being in power translates into a blank check that opens the way for the use of all possible gimmickry, including those not yet invented, to cheat on election results. Forget “daang matuwid.” This is the Philippine electoral exercise to which none of us were born yesterday.

One of those methods may just be in the works, if we are to believe the insider. In fact, the same rumor is going the rounds in many localities where the incumbent happens to be an LP member. Coincidence perhaps?

But first, what did Virgilio Garcillano do in Manila last Sept. 23? That was a Wednesday, the day that columnist Jarius Bondoc said Garci took a flight from Cagayan de Oro to Manila. The next day, Sept. 24, the alleged, infamous power “election player” was in a meeting with three personalities, said to be representing a powerful principal.

Accompanying Garci was a close associate/confidante of many years, who goes by the name of Butch Pakinggan. The principal is said to be Mar Roxas.


FROM SLIDESHARE.NET (Also click image)

Mostly bordering on skepticism were the commentaries that followed Bondoc’s revelation. By the way, sources confirmed that Garci and company had indeed taken a Manila-bound flight that day from Laguindingan airport. As to what was discussed in the meeting, we will never know. It will likely remain, as it is, a rumor further heating up passions in our highly partisan climate.

Many, however, are not impressed. Is there a room for Garci’s tricks in automated elections? For the majority of us who are IT-challenged, the answer can only be “maybe yes” and “maybe no.”

READ MORE...

But the weightier question begs to be asked: Why would Mar Roxas’ operatives, as alleged (for the benefit of the doubt), meet with Garci?

Wasn’t it they who pilloried Garci for being in cahoots with his alleged principal in the 2004 elections, Gloria Arroyo? If this administration had thrown even the kitchen sink at the former president, successfully painting her as the quintessential Cruella de Vil in Philippine history, why would Garci even matter an iota to them?

Dirty politics is all about leverage. A party in power will do all it can to win the elections, and it has in its hands chips that can make or break a man as vulnerable as Virgilio Garcillano. It’s called legal cases. Garci now enjoys the life of semi-retirement in the boondocks of Cagayan de Oro. But that precisely is the danger he faces.

Anytime, the “daang matuwid” administration can resurrect these cases and pry him out from semi-oblivion to face judgment in the courts of law. And we can only understand very well the quid pro quo. We can also understand that only a party in power has such a malevolent capability.

The script for May 2016 is supposed to let Garci play a secondary role. How that will exactly pan out is unknown to us, as it is even baffling. That is where the insider’s information comes in. The main gambit of the administration’s play is not Garci but the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, so it is claimed; as early as this coming December, the operation will start—that is, the programming of all PCOS machines to “read only LP” (that is, the names of the party’s candidates) on election day.


In December 2006, Garcillano was cleared of perjury charges by the Department of Justice. He ran for Representative of the First Congressional District of Bukidnon in the 2007 Philippine Midterm elections in May but he lost to Candido Pancrudo, Jr. of Lakas-CMD. WIKIPEDIA

That is indeed a serious accusation, and we certainly do not expect the LP to admit this. It also faces serious obstacles. For one, Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista is known to be a man of integrity. Besides, to break into the code of the PCOS machines, the LP requires an operation far from even the notice of the Comelec chair, to say the least. Literally, it will only have to fool Bautista.

Those who wish to treat this information as a mere rumor, like any election rumors in the Philippines, are being reasonable.

Unless a squealing rat will abandon ship, we will never know. What we seem to understand though at this point is a President who is just dying to avoid a series of suits beginning July 1, 2016. Is it a realization on his part that the suffering he has caused a former president—whose legal cases have not turned in absolute evidence of guilt—will come back to haunt him as karmic justice? Or, in respect of those who do not believe in karma, a you-reap-what-you-sow justice?

More than ensuring that Mar Roxas gets to be the next president, the more underlying intention is to put in a friendlier president to prevent the incarceration of P-Noy.

A provincial governor personally intimated to me that a transfer of support to a presidential candidate other than Roxas has already been effectively prevented. Disobedience will be met with a frightening sanction, the governor said—from the Ombudsman. It is not being clever. The LP is just being true to form—as the party in power.

Those who have decided to tow the line of “daang matuwid,” like the seemingly innocent, puritan Leni Robredo, will have a difficult time defending their own party affiliation if the read-only-LP plot turns out to be true. Will they stand up for the truth if it will be proven true? Clearly, what the country needs is a game changer.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PNoy leads relief distribution in Aurora by Franco G. Regala October 22, 2015 Share1 Tweet3 Share0 Email0 Share7 image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/aquino-mb.jpg


FILE – President Aquino distributed relief goods to families affected by Lando in Cabanatuan. (Photo by Sheen Crisologo)

President Benigno Aquino III, October 22, 2015 led local officials and his Cabinet men in the distribution of assorted relief goods in typhoon-stricken Aurora province.

The president personally distributed food packs — each containing six kilos of rice, eight canned goods, and six sachets of 3-in-1 coffee to the hundreds of typhoon victims held at Casiguran Municipal Hall.

Aside from relief goods, the chief executive, also handed out certified seeds and laminated sacks to affected farmers.

The president also instructed the Energy OIC-Secretary Zenaida Monsada to heed the request of Casiguran to be connected to the Luzon grid.

On October 19, 2015, Aquino also visited Nueva Ecija to distribute food packs to affected families.

READ MORE: PNoy visits Lando-hit Nueva Ecija


GMA NEWS NETWORK

DSWD READY DAYS BEFORE, DINKY SAYS: VP Binay camp hits Soliman for being in Mindanao while Lando threatens Luzon  October 21, 2015 10:50pm Tags: jejomarbinay, eleksyon2016, marroxas, lenirobredo, dinkysoliman

The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday criticized Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman for allegedly helping administration candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo in Mindanao while tropical cyclone Lando was wreaking havoc in Luzon.

"Imbes tulungan ni Sec. Dinky Soliman ang mga kababayan nating sinalanta ni bagyong Lando, ay busy siya sa pagkakampanya para sa mga manok ng Liberal Party," said lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay's spokesman for political affairs.

Soliman on Saturday was with the Liberal Party standard-bearer and vice presidential candidate in Koronadal, South Cotabato in a DSWD event related to the Aquino administration's Conditional Cash Transfer program.

"The DSWD and its progams should not be the domain of partisan politics and politicians," Quicho said.

Soliman, however, countered that as early as Wednesday last week, DSWD personnel were already at the operations center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in preparing for Lando's onslaught in Luzon.

The NDRRMC was still on blue alert at that time.

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"The event (in Koronadal), which has been planned long ago, is organized by the DSWD Field Office.... Secretary Mar Roxas and Representative Leni Robredo were invited by the Field Office as resource persons," Soliman said in a statement.

Soliman was in Casiguran, Aurora—one of the towns that suffered severe damage due to Lando—on Wednesday to distribute relief goods.

"Hindi pwedeng sabihin na ang DSWD at ako ay nagkukulang sa pagsisigurado na ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan lalung lalo na yung mga apektado sa lando ay hindi namin binigyan ng halaga at pinagtuunan ng pansin," Soliman said.

Roxas and Robredo, on the other hand, were in Infanta, Pangasinan to do the same among those affected by Lando in the area.

"Palagay ko hindi na dapat bigyang pansin yang mga walang katuturang statement na yan kasi malinaw naman na ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang kanilang tungkulin," Roxas said. —NB, GMA News


MANILA TIMES

No holiday on ‘All Soul’s Day’ October 24, 2015 10:47 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE, REPORTER


Annual reunion in Philippine cemeteries --

Work and classes will not be suspended on November 2, All Souls’ Day, Malacañang said on Saturday. All Souls’ Day is a Catholic feast day for remembering departed loved ones. This year, it falls on a Monday.

In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not declare November 2 a holiday.

“Pasensya na po, hindi po holiday ‘yung November 2. Marami pong nagtatanong sa akin (My apologies, November 2 is not a holiday. Many have been asking me about it),” Valte told government-run dzRB radio.

“We have two days to pay our respects to our departed loved ones. Our preparations for this year will be the same,” she added in Filipino. People usually flock to cemeteries starting October 31 or the eve of All Saints’ Day, November 1.

November 1 (Sunday), All Saints’ Day, is declared a special non-working day.

Meanwhile, Valte said that the government is already preparing for the All Saints’ Day weekend.

She said that aside from security, the main concern for the government is the flow of traffic going to and from cemeteries and the provinces. “It will be ensuring that there will be an orderly flow of people going to our major cemeteries and for those who may be going to the provinces to visit their loved ones,” she said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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