© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org  | NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015

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

AQUINO GOVT SCORED FOR CONTINUING 'CRIMINAL NEGLECT' 2 YEARS AFTER YOLANDA


NOVEMBER 9 --Second anniversary. From left, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Vice President Jejomar Binay huddle outside the Tacloban City Astrodome before a mass in honor of the thousands who died when Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ slammed into Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. Ey Acasio LAWMAKERS on Sunday slammed what they called the government’s continuing criminal negligence two years after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” killed more than 6,000 people and devastated large portions of Eastern Visayas.  With hundreds of thousands still waiting for rehabilitation assistance, the government must be held liable for the slow pace of rehabilitation, said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, particularly after the Commission on Audit reported that more than P1 billion meant for storm victims remained unspent and earning interest in various banks. “The Aquino administration must explain why it did not use the funds meant for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-devastated areas. There is so much to do in building houses, creating livelihoods, rehabilitation of agricultural lands, and providing utilities and social services for the survivors,” he said. On Sunday, foreign diplomats admitted they decided not to channel P15.77 billion in financial donations through the Philippine government and opted instead to use their own network to undertake relief and rehabilitation operations in the Yolanda-devastated provinces. Second anniversary. From left, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Vice President Jejomar Binay huddle outside the Tacloban City Astrodome before a mass in honor of the thousands who died when Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ slammed into Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. Ey Acasio At a press conference in Patio Victoria in Tacloban City, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his cousins, senatorial candidate Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez reiterated their demand that the administration account for the congressionally approved P180 billion earmarked for post-Yolanda rehabilitation. Marcos expressed dismay that after two years, only 7 percent or 17,000 of the needed 250,000 homes were built for families living in high-risk zones. He also said he doubted the government’s claim that it has accomplished 51 percent of its target for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Yolanda, because it had barely carried out the masterplan drafted by former Senator Panfilo Lacson. “I don’t know how they arrived at 51 percent because by the government’s own admission, if you look at the [permanent] housing figures, it is less than 10 percent,” he added. Officials from the embassies of the United States, Germany, Indonesia and Turkey were also at the news conference. Marcos said the foreign governments could not be faulted for not releasing to the Philippine government the pledges they made because the Aquino administration failed to submit the required proposals on where the pledged money would be spent. “For example, if one country has pledged to donate say $100 million, the Philippine government is supposed to submit a proposal as to where the budget would be spent and once approved, then the pledged money would be released,” Marcos said. “Unfortunately, the pledges remained pledges.” The government said while P45.1 billion had been pledged, it has received only P1.2 billion. READ MORE...

ALSO PROBE SOUGHT ON GRAND ‘PABAON’ BID: Spanish firm corners P80B in PPP projects


NOVEMBER 9 -While the nation is heavily engrossed in the “tanim-bala” saga, the country’s political scenery highlighted with the possible disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares and the political season, unscrupulous people at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Justice (DoJ) have reportedly been silently working to have a Spanish firm, the Obrascon Juerte Lain (OJL) sneak into government infrastructure program and bag no less than P80 billion worth of President Aquino’s flagship projects. These flagship projects are among those listed in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration. The entry of the OHL into the government infrastructure program was seen as a last ditch effort by corrupt DPWH and DoJ executives to raise funds for their “pabaon” (going away present) or as insurance in the event the administration bet loses in the 2016 elections. According to statements of concerned employees of both the DPWH and the DoJ, which was one of the bases of separate resolutions filed by Reps. Juan Johnny Revilla (OFW), Jonathan dela Cruz (Abakada) and Anthony Bravo (Coop-Natcco), OHL reportedly pre-qualified to participate in the competitive bidding of the Japanese ODA-funded Central Luzon Expressway (CLEX) project by the DPWH Bids and Awards Committee (DPWH-BAC) and in the new National Prisons Project in Nueva Ecija by the DoL-BAC despite verified information that the said company has a highly questionable track record having been involved in a number of rigged bids and anomalous transactions in Spain, United States and Mexico among others. The CLEX project is a P29.14-billion which will facilitate the movement of goods and services in Central Luzon, connecting the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressways (TPLEX) to Cabanatuan City. The first phase of the project worth P14.94 billion and which will involve the construction of a thoroughfare that will connect Tarlac and Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, is up for bidding now with construction set to commence early next year. The contract for the additional 30 kilometers of road, which will be auctioned off by the end of the year, is expected to be completed by 2018. On the other hand, the new prisons project aimed at decongesting packed jail facilities like the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, will be constructed in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to the tune of P50.2-billion. The planned facility is expected to accommodate 26,880 inmates, including staff housing and administrative buildings, areas for rehabilitation such as sports, work and religious activity. Solons question OHL Revilla, who filed House Resolution 2490, and dela Cruz and Bravo, who filed House Resolution No. 2491, stated that further research on OHL has confirmed that the said company “has had long history of such anomalous transactions and unethical practices involving big ticket high impact infrastructure projects such as bribery of Spanish and Mexican officials resulting to the resignation of the treasurer of the Spanish ruling party, Partido Popular, and the termination of a number of multi-million dollar projects in Mexico including its reported exaggerated costing and spending for the Mexican toll road project, the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense.” READ MORE...

ALSO: CHIZ HITS DOUBLE STANDARD IN RELOCATION OF 'EYESORES' STREET DWELLERS


NOVEMBER 12 -There is something severely wrong when the government can provide immediate financial assistance for the relocation of Manila’s street dwellers who could prove to be “eye sores” in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting, while more than 200,000 families who survived Super Typhoon Yolanda two years ago continue to languish in temporary shelters.
This was pointed out by independent vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who chided the administration for “shelling out P4,000 for each family living in Metro Manila’s streets to relocate for a period of six days beginning November 15 as a way to hide them during the APEC meetings.” “That’s about P660 a day for the six days that they have to go into hiding and stay away from the public eye so that our foreign visitors will not get to see the true state of the poor Filipino families,” said Escudero, who is leading all pre-election surveys for vice president. He said the APEC solution was a more brazen yet quick patchwork compared to the decision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines last January to take these urban families to a resort in Cavite. “Kung noon may seminar-seminar pa, ngayon straight away pera na lang,” said Escudero. Malacanang, through Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, defended the move to give homeless families P4,000 each, saying it was part of the DSWD’s modified CCT (conditional cash transfer). “Iyong pagtulong po ng DSWD ay hindi po limited sa tuwing mayroong malaki pong event ngunit nakikita po natin itong pagkakataon na simulan ’yung pagtulong sa kanila para makapag-transitionnaman po sila from the streets into dignified living quarters,” she said. Given Valte’s explanation, Escudero put Malacanang to task for failing to make a dent on its huge shortfall in providing permanent shelters to some 205,128 families who survived Yolanda in 2013. According to the government, it has only been able to transfer 298 of those families to permanent shelters. And if Valte’s explanation could be taken for what it is worth, Escudero challenged the government to also give Yolanda-affected families who have yet to be given permanent homes some P660 a day or long-term stay at a resort if only to show the government’s consistency and sincerity in helping our homeless brothers and sisters.” THE FULL COMMENTARY, READ TAGALOG CONTENT...

ALSO Dinky Soliman: We don’t hide kids, poor people


NOVEMBER 12 -FORBIDDEN SIGHT This picture taken on Tuesday shows homeless people sleeping on a sidewalk in Manila. The government has swept 20,000 homeless people from the city’s streets as part of the cleanup for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit next week. AFP
NAGA CITY—“We don’t hide children and we don’t hide poor people.” So stressed Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman following reports that homeless people were being taken off the streets of Metro Manila as part of preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next week. In January this year, in time for Pope Francis’ visit to the country, Soliman similarly came under fire when some 100 homeless families were brought to a plush resort in Batangas province, ostensibly for a seminar. The activity was not meant to hide street dwellers, Soliman said then.Soliman, who visited this city on Tuesday, said the homeless people were among more than 4,000 families in the National Capital Region who were listed in the government’s modified conditional cash transfer (MCCT) program that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had been implementing for the last two years. “We don’t do (the eviction) because of Apec,” she said, adding that homeless families identified as MCCT beneficiaries are allowed to rent a place to stay, with the DSWD giving the rent directly to the lessor or owner of the rented space. The DSWD shoulders the rent until the beneficiaries find a source of income and are able to pay it themselves, she said.
Orientation seminars Soliman corrected an earlier statement by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo who said that homeless people were given P3,000 to P4,000 each for them to leave the streets of Manila because of the Apec meeting. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy inspects APEC venues, orders to fine-tune preparations


NOVEMBER 10 -MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday inspected the venues for the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Metro Manila. In a text message, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino inspected the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila and the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City. Aquino also checked the Ninoy Aquino International Terminal 1, 2 and 3 where APEC delegates will arrive and depart. The president also inspected the Kalayaan hangar area at the Villamor Air Base where the heads of states of the other 20 APEC member countries will arrive and depart. "He gave instructions on further fine-tuning the preparations," Coloma said. Aquino was accompanied by Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, the chairperson of the APEC National Organizing Council. Metro Manila will host the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on November 18 and 19. Apart from the heads of states, the Philippines is expecting about 10,000 APEC delegates. Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., director general of the APEC National Organizing Council, said on Monday that the Philippines is 95 to 97 percent ready for next week's big event. The 21 member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, United States, Chinese Taipei, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia and Vietnam.

ALSO: OVER 70% OF TOTAL TRADE IS WITH MEMBER ECONOMIES A compelling reason why PHL is all out in hosting APEC


NOVEMBER 10 -Aside from being one of the founding members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), nearly 74 percent of the total merchandise trade of the Philippines is with APEC member economies. According to the latest numbers from the Department of Trade and Industry, total Philippine trade reached more than $71.448 billion in the first seven months of the year. Of that amount, more than $52.72 billion or 73.78 percent was traded with APEC members. In terms of exports, the Philippines shipped a total of $34.218 billion in January to July. Eight of the top 10 buyers of Philippine products are APEC member economies which accounted for $25.8 billion or 75.41 percent of total exports. The two non-APEC buyers of Philippine exports are Germany which ranked sixth, and The Netherlands which ranked 10th. Germany bought $1.520 billion (4.44 percent) worth of goods from the Philippines and The Netherlands bought $1.075 billion or 3.14 percent. Top export buyers of Philippine goods in the seven months to July are: Japan – $7.024 billion or 21.06 percent United States of America – $5.220 billion or 15.26 percent People’s Republic of China – $3.939 billion – 11.51 percent Hong Kong, China – $3.427 billion or 10.01 percent Singapore – $2.065 billion –or 6.03 percent Republic of Korea – $1.498 billion or 4.38 percent Thailand – $1.318 billion or 3.85 percent Taipei, China – $1.129 billion or 3.30 percent Other countries accounted for $5.819 billion or 17.01 percent. The major export products of the Philippines are: CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Govt’s ‘criminal neglect’ scored


Second anniversary. From left, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Vice President Jejomar Binay huddle outside the Tacloban City Astrodome before a mass in honor of the thousands who died when Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ slammed into Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. Ey Acasio

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) posted November 09, 2015 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera, Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta - With hundreds of thousands still waiting for rehabilitation assistance, the government must be held liable for the slow pace of rehabilitation, said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, particularly after the Commission on Audit reported that more than P1 billion meant for storm victims remained unspent and earning interest in various banks.

“The Aquino administration must explain why it did not use the funds meant for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-devastated areas. There is so much to do in building houses, creating livelihoods, rehabilitation of agricultural lands, and providing utilities and social services for the survivors,” he said.

On Sunday, foreign diplomats admitted they decided not to channel P15.77 billion in financial donations through the Philippine government and opted instead to use their own network to undertake relief and rehabilitation operations in the Yolanda-devastated provinces.

At a press conference in Patio Victoria in Tacloban City, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his cousins, senatorial candidate Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez reiterated their demand that the administration account for the congressionally approved P180 billion earmarked for post-Yolanda rehabilitation.

Marcos expressed dismay that after two years, only 7 percent or 17,000 of the needed 250,000 homes were built for families living in high-risk zones.

He also said he doubted the government’s claim that it has accomplished 51 percent of its target for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Yolanda, because it had barely carried out the masterplan drafted by former Senator Panfilo Lacson.

“I don’t know how they arrived at 51 percent because by the government’s own admission, if you look at the [permanent] housing figures, it is less than 10 percent,” he added.

Officials from the embassies of the United States, Germany, Indonesia and Turkey were also at the news conference.

Marcos said the foreign governments could not be faulted for not releasing to the Philippine government the pledges they made because the Aquino administration failed to submit the required proposals on where the pledged money would be spent.

“For example, if one country has pledged to donate say $100 million, the Philippine government is supposed to submit a proposal as to where the budget would be spent and once approved, then the pledged money would be released,” Marcos said.

“Unfortunately, the pledges remained pledges.”

The government said while P45.1 billion had been pledged, it has received only P1.2 billion.

READ MORE...

Non-cash pledges came to P28.19 billion, but only P1.26 billion of this was received.

Michael Hasper, chief of mission of the German Embassy, said his country has provided a total of P13.5 billion in donations, with P5 billion coming from private citizens.

“We have channeled our donations to eight organizations in the Philippines like the German Red Cross,” Hasper said.

Susan Brems (photo) of the USAID said it was not a question of “trust” that the donated P1.97 billion was coursed through some 40 to 50 organizations such as the United Nation’s World Food Program.

“From day one, our objective was to extend humanitarian assistance that is immediate and sustainable. Worldwide, we course our help through our network. From the time the Yolanda hit the Philippines, we have released $43 million and we were able to build 250 classrooms, 12 health centers, 1,000 sari-sari stores and [provide] livelihood assistance to the farmers,” Brems told the news conference.

She said the US government has introduced a new phase—rebuilding.

Every year, she said, the US government would continue to grant $100 million in financial assistance.

Col. Brian Bell, US Air Attaché, said the US government has coordinated its efforts with Philippine military officials according to the mandates of Balikatan.

“We learned a lot ourselves and we are always here to help. We are just a phone call away. And surely, we will pick up the phone,” Bell said.

Rosa May de Guzman-Maitem, communication manager of the Philippine Mission of the Action Against Hunger or ACF International, said some 24 million euros had been coursed through their organization by the foreign governments for Yolanda alone.

Mayor Romualdez said his city has started to get back on its feet but that it receives help from the government on a “piecemeal basis.”

Congressman Romualdez said Taclobanons were grateful for the substantial help given by the foreign governments.

“We are forever grateful for the foreign governments that came together to help us and immediately responded to the crisis. We cannot possibly repay it,” said Romualdez, whose district suffered heavily from Yolanda.

Also on Sunday, presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay said the rehabilitation work would be done speedily under his administration.

In an interview after the unveiling of MV Era Jocelyn Commemorative Marker on Tacloban City, Binay said he was baffled by the snail-paced reconstruction, with only 27 percent of the funds released.

Binay, who used to be chairman of the National Housing Authority, said the agency was able to build only to the extent that they received funds. If the funds were insufficient, there was a huge backlog, he added.

With the reported underspending, Binay added, he was puzzled that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said he was looking for funds.

“I think the people of Leyte deserve to know what really is the problem—what caused the delay,” Binay said. “I think it’s not a good explanation to say, ‘No, we did better than other countries.’ We’re not talking here of who did better... Each day is important, and this has been two years already.”


TRIBUNE

PROBE SOUGHT AMID RAPS OF GRAND ‘PABAON’ BID: Spanish firm corners P80B in PPP projects  Written by Charlie V. Manalo Monday, 09 November 2015 00:00



While the nation is heavily engrossed in the “tanim-bala” saga, the country’s political scenery highlighted with the possible disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares and the political season, unscrupulous people at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Justice (DoJ) have reportedly been silently working to have a Spanish firm, the Obrascon Juerte Lain (OJL) sneak into government infrastructure program and bag no less than P80 billion worth of President Aquino’s flagship projects.

These flagship projects are among those listed in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration.

The entry of the OHL into the government infrastructure program was seen as a last ditch effort by corrupt DPWH and DoJ executives to raise funds for their “pabaon” (going away present) or as insurance in the event the administration bet loses in the 2016 elections.

According to statements of concerned employees of both the DPWH and the DoJ, which was one of the bases of separate resolutions filed by Reps. Juan Johnny Revilla (OFW), Jonathan dela Cruz (Abakada) and Anthony Bravo (Coop-Natcco), OHL reportedly pre-qualified to participate in the competitive bidding of the Japanese ODA-funded Central Luzon Expressway (CLEX) project by the DPWH Bids and Awards Committee (DPWH-BAC) and in the new National Prisons Project in Nueva Ecija by the DoL-BAC despite verified information that the said company has a highly questionable track record having been involved in a number of rigged bids and anomalous transactions in Spain, United States and Mexico among others.

The CLEX project is a P29.14-billion which will facilitate the movement of goods and services in Central Luzon, connecting the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressways (TPLEX) to Cabanatuan City.

The first phase of the project worth P14.94 billion and which will involve the construction of a thoroughfare that will connect Tarlac and Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, is up for bidding now with construction set to commence early next year.

The contract for the additional 30 kilometers of road, which will be auctioned off by the end of the year, is expected to be completed by 2018.

On the other hand, the new prisons project aimed at decongesting packed jail facilities like the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, will be constructed in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to the tune of P50.2-billion.

The planned facility is expected to accommodate 26,880 inmates, including staff housing and administrative buildings, areas for rehabilitation such as sports, work and religious activity.

Solons question OHL

Revilla, who filed House Resolution 2490, and dela Cruz and Bravo, who filed House Resolution No. 2491, stated that further research on OHL has confirmed that the said company “has had long history of such anomalous transactions and unethical practices involving big ticket high impact infrastructure projects such as bribery of Spanish and Mexican officials resulting to the resignation of the treasurer of the Spanish ruling party, Partido Popular, and the termination of a number of multi-million dollar projects in Mexico including its reported exaggerated costing and spending for the Mexican toll road project, the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense.”

In the process, the solons said, OHL had defraud
ed investors and the Mexican government of 20 billion Mexican pesos.
 

READ MORE...

“It (OHL) has also engaged in unethical practices and misdeclaration of capacity to undertake the US$246 million Librameinto Norte Highway Toll Road Project leading to the cancellation of the concession agreement,” the lawmakers stated in their resolutions.

“It is very possible that given its highly questionable record, OHL will be exporting this kind of malpractice and odious behavior to the Philippines which may jeopardize our infrastructure development program, put the country before the international community and ruin the entire construction industry,” they added.


The first seaport Public Private Partnership (PPP) project of the Aquino administration has lured Madrid-based OHL Group through Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) SA, French-owned Bollore SA, and Portek Systems and Equipment Pte Ltd of Singapore. PHILSTAR File photo

According to a position paper submitted by a group of concerned citizens and taxpayers to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, a copy of which was obtained by the Tribune, this is not the first time OHL tried to penetrate the local construction industry as it attempted to participate in the bidding for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) early this year, in which they were supposed to partner with the Ayala and Aboitiz Groups.

Saying they have conducted an intensive research on the background of OHL, the group claimed they have uncovered among others that:

--the Spanish prosecutor’s office is currently investigating senior minister and Cabinet officials as well as current Prime Minister for (alleged) involvement in bribery charges along with OHL;

--in Mexico, OHL officials have been accused of bribery of key officials; OHL is in practice of bribery in their business dealings and it would be unfortunate and disastrous if this business strategy will be applied in the Philippines;

--On October 26, 205, it major tollway concession in Central Madrid was put into receivership and liquidation by the Spanish court;

--its books in Mexico lately has been put into scrutiny for serious accounting malpractices resulting to overcharging the government amounting to billions of US dollars;

--and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales rendered a decision in 2012 against OHL finding that Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar correctly terminated on August 20, 2011 OHL’s contract for the Construction of the Gibraltar Airport Access Tunnel Works.

This decision has the effect of entitling the Government of Gibraltar to recover from the OHL essentially all costs associated with the termination and completion of costs of the project which are over and above OHL’s original contract price.

OHL was also found to have exaggerated its spending report for the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense, a toll road project of the State of Mexico defrauding investors and the state government of Mexico of 20 billion Mexican pesos as of December 2014.

According to another lawmaker, the attempt of the DPWH-BAC and DoJ-BAC to sneak in the OHL for an P80 billion worth of projects was too obvious and was meant to raise funds for their pabaon since their tours of duty are likely to end in June next year.

“Why else would they pre-qualify a construction firm extremely notorious in the international community if they are not after some personal or monetary gains?” said the solon requesting anonymity.

“This is clearly a fund-raising project intended for their pabaon,” she added.

While the documented information may have eluded both the DPWH-BAC and the DOJ-BAC, despite the concerns raised by concerned quarters, which resulted into the two agencies proceeding to pre-qualify OHL, “presumably on the basis of its misrepresentations about its financial and technical ability to undertake projects, and an opaque submission of historical performance in similar undertakings abroad, the resolutions’ authors stressed a probe is in order so as not to put the government in a bad light especially since the projects are foreign-funded.

“To avoid the possibility of the government and the Japanese funding agency, the JBIC, in the case of the CLEX Project and in the case of the National Prisons Project which is listed as under the private-public partnership (PPP) program, of engaging the services of a decidedly unscrupulous and historically problematic operator, and perhaps more importantly, ensure that our contracting and project development rules and operations are in accord with internationally-accepted standards and good governance practices, there is a need to inquire into this matter in the soonest time possible,” the party-list representatives stated in their resolutions.
Charlie V. Manalo


CHIZ ESCUDERO PRESS RELEASE

CHIZ HITS DOUBLE STANDARD IN RELOCATION OF STREET DWELLERS November 12, 2015 CHIZ ESCUDERO WEBSITES

There is something severely wrong when the government can provide immediate financial assistance for the relocation of Manila’s street dwellers who could prove to be “eye sores” in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting, while more than 200,000 families who survived Super Typhoon Yolanda two years ago continue to languish in temporary shelters.

This was pointed out by independent vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who chided the administration for “shelling out P4,000 for each family living in Metro Manila’s streets to relocate for a period of six days beginning November 15 as a way to hide them during the APEC meetings.”

“That’s about P660 a day for the six days that they have to go into hiding and stay away from the public eye so that our foreign visitors will not get to see the true state of the poor Filipino families,” said Escudero, who is leading all pre-election surveys for vice president.

He said the APEC solution was a more brazen yet quick patchwork compared to the decision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines last January to take these urban families to a resort in Cavite.

“Kung noon may seminar-seminar pa, ngayon straight away pera na lang,” said Escudero.

Malacanang, through Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, defended the move to give homeless families P4,000 each, saying it was part of the DSWD’s modified CCT (conditional cash transfer).

“Iyong pagtulong po ng DSWD ay hindi po limited sa tuwing mayroong malaki pong event ngunit nakikita po natin itong pagkakataon na simulan ’yung pagtulong sa kanila para makapag-transitionnaman po sila from the streets into dignified living quarters,” she said.

Given Valte’s explanation, Escudero put Malacanang to task for failing to make a dent on its huge shortfall in providing permanent shelters to some 205,128 families who survived Yolanda in 2013.

According to the government, it has only been able to transfer 298 of those families to permanent shelters.

And if Valte’s explanation could be taken for what it is worth, Escudero challenged the government to also give Yolanda-affected families who have yet to be given permanent homes some P660 a day or long-term stay at a resort if only to show the government’s consistency and sincerity in helping our homeless brothers and sisters.”

‘DOUBLE STANDARD’ NG GOBYERNO

SA MGA WALANG TIRAHAN, BINIRA NI CHIZ

Binatikos ni Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero ang umano’y di patas na pagtrato ng gobyerno sa pagitan ng mga pamilyang naninirahan sa mga kalye ng Maynila at mga nasalanta ng Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Pinuna ni Escudero ang mabilis na pagpapalabas ng pondo para itago sa paningin ng mga delegado sa nalalapit na pulong ng Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ang mga batang kalye at kanilang mga pamilya sa Maynila.

Ito ay samantalang nananatili pa rin sa bunkhouses o mga pansamantalang tirahan ang mahigit sa 200,000 pamilya na nasalanta ng Yolanda dalawang taon na ang nakararaan.

Napabalitang namigay ang pamahalaan ng P4,000 sa bawat pamilyang naninirahan sa lansangan para makahanap ang mga ito ng matutuluyan at nang hindi sila pakalat-kalat habang nagaganap ang mga pulong para sa APEC mula Nobyembre 15 hanggang 20.

“Pumapatak na P660 kada araw ang ibinigay sa kanila para lang magtago at nang hindi makita ng mga bisitang banyaga ang totoong estado ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan,” ani Escudero na nangungunang kandidato sa pagka-bise-presidente base sa mga survey.

Puna ng senador, mas garapal ang ginawa ngayon ng Department of Social Welfare and Development kumpara noong bumisita si Pope Francis sa bansa noong Enero kung saan dinala ang mga batang kalye at kanilang pamilya sa isang resort sa Cavite.

“Kung noon may seminar-seminar pa, ngayon straight-away pera na lang,” said Escudero.

Ang depensa ng Malacanang, sa pamamagitan ni Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, isa lang daw itong uri ng conditional cash transfer o CCT.

Dahil dito, pinagpapaliwanag ni Escudero ang Malacañang hinggil sa kabiguan nitong mabigyan ng permanenteng tirahan ang may 205,128 na pamilyang nawalan ng tahanan nang manalasa ang bagyong Yolanda noong 2013.

Ayon na rin sa pamahalaan, may 298 na pamilya pa lamang ang napagkalooban ng permanenteng tahanan.

Hinamon ni Escudero ang gobyerno na pagkalooban din ang mga nasalanta ng Yolanda ng P660 kada araw o kaya’y matagalang pananatili sa isang resort para lang maipakita nito ang pagiging consistent at katapatan nito sa pagtulong sa mahihirap.

-- OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://chizescudero.com/ OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/senchizescudero OFFICIAL TWITTER ACCOUNT: @saychiz; @ChizNewsAlert


INQUIRER

Dinky Soliman: We don’t hide kids, poor people By: Juan Escandor Jr. @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:28 AM November 12th, 2015


FORBIDDEN SIGHT This picture taken on Tuesday shows homeless people sleeping on a sidewalk in Manila. The government has swept 20,000 homeless people from the city’s streets as part of the cleanup for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit next week. AFP

NAGA CITY—“We don’t hide children and we don’t hide poor people.”

So stressed Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman following reports that homeless people were being taken off the streets of Metro Manila as part of preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next week.

In January this year, in time for Pope Francis’ visit to the country, Soliman similarly came under fire when some 100 homeless families were brought to a plush resort in Batangas province, ostensibly for a seminar. The activity was not meant to hide street dwellers, Soliman said then.

Soliman, who visited this city on Tuesday, said the homeless people were among more than 4,000 families in the National Capital Region who were listed in the government’s modified conditional cash transfer (MCCT) program that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had been implementing for the last two years.

“We don’t do (the eviction) because of Apec,” she said, adding that homeless families identified as MCCT beneficiaries are allowed to rent a place to stay, with the DSWD giving the rent directly to the lessor or owner of the rented space.

The DSWD shoulders the rent until the beneficiaries find a source of income and are able to pay it themselves, she said.

Orientation seminars
Soliman corrected an earlier statement by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo who said that homeless people were given P3,000 to P4,000 each for them to leave the streets of Manila because of the Apec meeting.

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As part of the MCCT program, beneficiaries are given orientation seminars and are required to enroll their children in an alternative learning system and to make sure they get regular access to health benefits.

Soliman said 35 of the families taken off the streets in January had been living in rented houses, 12 had returned to their provinces of origin, while 13 had gone back to their houses in resettlement sites.

They were given livelihood, one of the benefits of being in the MCCT program, she said.

Of the more than 4,000 homeless families registered in the MCCT, Soliman said over 3,000 already live in rented houses, with 700 of them paying on their own.

Those who chose to remain on the streets earn their keep by vending cigarettes to commuters, she added.

Soliman said the MCCT program would be enhanced in Manila after an agreement forged recently between the DSWD and Mayor Joseph Estrada, for the joint launch of a livelihood program for street dwellers along the stretch of Taft Avenue and T. M. Kalaw Street.


PHILSTAR

PNoy inspects APEC venues, orders to fine-tune preparations By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated November 10, 2015 - 6:13pm 1 19 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday inspected the venues for the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Metro Manila.

In a text message, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino inspected the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila and the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

Aquino also checked the Ninoy Aquino International Terminal 1, 2 and 3 where APEC delegates will arrive and depart.

The president also inspected the Kalayaan hangar area at the Villamor Air Base where the heads of states of the other 20 APEC member countries will arrive and depart.

"He gave instructions on further fine-tuning the preparations," Coloma said.

Aquino was accompanied by Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, the chairperson of the APEC National Organizing Council.

Metro Manila will host the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on November 18 and 19.

Apart from the heads of states, the Philippines is expecting about 10,000 APEC delegates.

Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., director general of the APEC National Organizing Council, said on Monday that the Philippines is 95 to 97 percent ready for next week's big event.

The 21 member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, United States, Chinese Taipei, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia and Vietnam.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

OVER 70% OF TOTAL TRADE IS WITH MEMBER ECONOMIES A compelling reason why PHL is all out in hosting APEC November 10, 2015 4:13pm Tags: apec2015, phlapectrade, multimedia

Aside from being one of the founding members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), nearly 74 percent of the total merchandise trade of the Philippines is with APEC member economies.

According to the latest numbers from the Department of Trade and Industry, total Philippine trade reached more than $71.448 billion in the first seven months of the year. Of that amount, more than $52.72 billion or 73.78 percent was traded with APEC members.

In terms of exports, the Philippines shipped a total of $34.218 billion in January to July.

Eight of the top 10 buyers of Philippine products are APEC member economies which accounted for $25.8 billion or 75.41 percent of total exports.

The two non-APEC buyers of Philippine exports are Germany which ranked sixth, and The Netherlands which ranked 10th. Germany bought $1.520 billion (4.44 percent) worth of goods from the Philippines and The Netherlands bought $1.075 billion or 3.14 percent.

Top export buyers of Philippine goods in the seven months to July are:

Japan – $7.024 billion or 21.06 percent United States of America – $5.220 billion or 15.26 percent People’s Republic of China – $3.939 billion – 11.51 percent Hong Kong, China – $3.427 billion or 10.01 percent Singapore – $2.065 billion –or 6.03 percent Republic of Korea – $1.498 billion or 4.38 percent Thailand – $1.318 billion or 3.85 percent Taipei, China – $1.129 billion or 3.30 percent Other countries accounted for $5.819 billion or 17.01 percent.

The major export products of the Philippines are:

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Electronics – $16.290 billion or 47.61 percent Other manufactures – $2.420 billion or 7.07 percent Machinery and transport equipment – $2.192 billion or 6.41 percent Woodcrafts and furniture – $1.676 billion or 4.90 percent Chemicals – $1.218 billion or 2.99 percent Wiring sets – $1.118 billion or 3.27 percent Apparel and clothing accessories – $1.023 billion or 2.99 percent Mineral products – $1.010 billion or 2.95 percent Metal components – $0.746 billion or 2.18 percent Coconut oil – $0.685 billion or 2 percent Other products accounted for $5.835 billion or 17.06 percent.

The Philippines imported $37.23 billion worth of goods in January to July.

Nine of the top 10 suppliers of Philippine imports were APEC members . Non-APEC India, which ranked 10th, accounted for $0.76 billion or 2.04 percent the total import payments.

The top importers to the Philippines include:

The People’s Republic of China – $5.98 billion or 16.06 percent USA – $4.15 billion or 11.15 percent Japan – $3.30 billion or 8.86 percent Taipei, China – $2.80 billion or 7.52 percent Singapore – $2.65 billion or 7.12 percent South Korea –$2.23 billion or 6.23 percent Thailand – $2.18 billion or 5.86 percent Malaysia – $1.80 billion or 4.83 percent Indonesia – $1.74 billion or 4.67 percent Other countries accounted for $9.55 billion or 25.65 percent of Philippine imports.

The top 10 commodities the Philippines bought from its trading partners were:

Electronic products – $10.53 billion or 28.28 percent Mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials – $4.53 billion or 12.17 percent Transport equipment – $3.29 billion or 8.84 percent Industrial machinery and equipment – $2.17 billion or 5.83 percent Other food and live animals – $1.42 billion or 3.81 percent Miscellaneous manufactured articles – $1.15 billion or 3.09 percent Cereals and cereal preparations – $1.08 billion or 2.90 percent Iron and steel – $1.06 billion or 2.85 percent Plastics – $1.02 billion or 2.74 percent Telecommunications equipment and electrical machinery – $0.86 billion or 2.31 percent Other materials accounted for $10.12 billion or 27.18 percent of total imports.

The Philippines is hosting the APEC Leaders' Meeting next week, on the heels of year-long preparations.

The APEC member economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong-China Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taipei-China, Thailand, US, and Vietnam. – Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VS, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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