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NOY SAYS AFP TODAY STRONGER THAN UNDER 3 PAST PRESIDENTS


DECEMBER 22 -President Benigno Aquino III graces the 80th Armed Forces of the Philippines anniversary celebration at the Haribon Hangar of the Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. After the formal ceremony, the president inspected the newly acquired Armoured Personnel Carrier displayed in the military base. Malacañang Photo Bureau / Gil Nartea
President Benigno Aquino III trumpeted modernization projects for the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday at its 80th anniversary celebration, saying his administration accomplished more for the military than the three previous presidents combined. "Ang tatlong naunang administrasyon sa atin, 45 proyektong ang naipatupad na may kabuuang halagang P31.75 billion. Sa inyong pakikiisa, nagawa nating tapatan at higitan 'yan," Aquino said. He said 65 projects were completed under his watch, with a budget of P56.79 billion to beef up the military. President Aquino speaks before the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga for its 80th anniversary on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Video courtesy of RTVMalacañang READ MORE...WATCH VIDEO...

ALSO: Aquino attacks Arroyo anew in AFP speech while he touts repeatedly his achievements


DECEMBER 22 -AQUINO speaking at 80th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) President Aquino is back with his familiar stance: Blame his predecessor while trumpeting the achievements under his watch. At the 80th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, the Commander-in Chief lamented the “lost decade” during former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tenure. In his speech, Aquino took another swipe at Arroyo, saying her near-decade rule was marked by “lies, cheating and stealing in the government,” which he claimed to have changed under his administration. The President, in previous statements, noted that improvements in the military – both men and equipment — were not done under the former administration, with its budget being used for questionable purposes. “In the past years, we are hand-in-hand in transforming the AFP’s image: From a battalion of deprived due to a decade of lies, cheating and stealing in government, we strengthened your ranks to become more modern, ready and reliable, whose only purpose is to push for the Filipinos’ welfare,” Aquino said. “Like what I emphasized when I first stood before you in July 2010 as your Commander-in-Chief: If your needs as individual soldiers were not heeded, how would each soldier address the needs of the nation?” he added. Aquino has repeatedly stated in his speeches that only a total of 45 projects were implemented for the AFP during the past three administrations amounting to P31.75 billion, which he put in comparison with his administration’s 65claimed projects. According to him, a whopping P56.79 billion has already been released for the implementation of the AFP modernization program, to innovate the country’s military force. READ MORE...

ALSO 'Lost Decade' Nagger Bashing: GMA camp turns table, asks Noy to show achievement


DECEMBER 23 -President Aquino’s persistent bashing of his predecessor President Gloria Arroyo prompted her camp to turn the table on him and fire back at Aquino daring the incumbent to prove if his administration actually “did anything good.” Arroyo’s lawyer Larry Gadon, in a phone interview yesterday with The Tribune, said Aquino’s consistent attacks on her reflects the “absolute incompetence” of the present regime. Aquino, upon his election in 2010, was notorious for usually hitting Arroyo, who is now incumbent representative of the second district of Pampanga. In his speeches, he blames her as the reason of his administration’s own flaws and in comparing her supposed administration of the crooked path with Aquino’s daang matuwid or straight path.
“In the past five years, Noynoy has always blamed Arroyo for his own administration’s shortcomings. Now this tells us the absolute incompetence of the Noynoy administration because it has remained immature for proving nothing,” Gadon said. “In fact, the successes that he has been parading are not his original initiatives. They are ones proposed by Mrs. Arroyo, some are even that of (the late former President Ferdinand Marcos). He has nothing to show that is his,” he added. Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) due to plunder charges along with nine others involving the alleged pocketing of P366 million from the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) which is being tried before the Sandiganbayan. All the former President’s fellow co-accused were all allowed to post bail except for Arroyo. Gadon, who is running for the Senate in next year’s polls, said the former President did not do anything illegal despite the cases against her because her only involvement in the said case is merely one of approving PCSO’s requests of releasing Intelligence Funds with the annotation “OK”. Arroyo’s lawyer asserted Aquino’s actual involvement in signing and approval of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds as claimed by its supposed mastermind Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad “is heavier because what (President Aquino) allowed has been declared unconstitutional by no less than the Supreme Court”. Apparently, other politicians who are not affiliated or friendly with the ruling Liberal Party (LP) such as Mrs. Arroyo, Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family, and even opposition solons are threatened by cases and other forms of what are considerably political harassments through state machinery forces. “Compared to the cases against Mrs. Arroyo, Noynoy committed corruption in broad daylight by utilizing the people’s money to bribe senators to follow his order to impeach (former Chief Justice Renato Corona),” Gadon said. “He should be held accountable together with other government officials who committed abuse in power,” he added. Gadon also said Aquino’s recent speech during the 80th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that noted Mrs. Arroyo’s term as a “lost decade” is a “big cover up to defend his image from potentially a worse predicament than that (of Mrs. Arroyo) after his term ends. “Noynoy should be prosecuted thoroughly and be held accountable as soon as his executive immunity expires. The people have had enough of lies, deception and corruption,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy paid tribute to Inquirer editor: A ‘source of strength’ to Aquino and nation


DECEMBER 26 -Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO
PRESIDENT Aquino on Friday paid tribute to Inquirer editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, calling her a “source of strength” to him and to the nation. Magsanoc, who led the Inquirer for 24 years, died on Christmas Eve. “I am shocked by the sudden passing of Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and all her colleagues in the Philippine Daily Inquirer at this time of profound sadness and loss. She was, to me, and all Filipinos of goodwill who love freedom, democracy and good governance, a source of strength,” the President said. “One always knew that with her, the truth was the benchmark of a journalist’s efforts; and that in all that she did, there was no higher cause than the country’s welfare and that of our people. She always spoke to me frankly, and yet with deep understanding,” Mr. Aquino said. “To her loved ones and colleagues, you are not alone: we are all called to living up to her courageous example, one that will continue to inspire all of us to fight for freedom by ensuring we have a discerning and informed public. May she rest in peace and her example lend us strength in continuing to ensure we have a nation that is always free to speak its mind,” he said. Magsanoc had been ill for a month. She missed the Inquirer’s 30th anniversary on Dec. 9 where she was one of the honorees who celebrated their third decade as Inquirer employees. As the event’s guest speaker, President Aquino hailed the courage, tenacity and “principled journalism” of Magsanoc and Inquirer founding chair, Eggie Durán-Apostol, in bringing news to the Filipino people even during martial law, a very dangerous time for journalists in the Philippines. “They kept our hopes and spirit alive through the darkest days and nights of the dictatorship,” the President said in his speech. “True news was like water in the desert,” Mr. Aquino said. “If it was bad for the readers—just imagine how it was for those who wrote for, and produced the mosquito press. Imagine the principle of Eggie Apostol, Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc and all the other true journalists during that period,” he said. Apostol and Magsanoc published and wrote about the funeral of the President’s father, the assassinated Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., and the Agrava Fact-Finding Board investigation of his death, although strongman Ferdinand Marcos censored coverage of the funeral and the inquiry. Mr. Aquino told the Inquirer audience how much Apostol and Magsanoc’s courage as journalists “meant to our family.” “Dad always believed that he did not stand alone, and you proved that through your brave coverage. Many Filipinos who believed the same learned through your publications that they, too, were not alone in the desire to stand up to the dictator. It is no exaggeration, I believe, to say that you informed millions of our countrymen, whose unity made the peaceful revolution of Edsa possible,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: BULLETIN Editorial - Audit report bares misuse of Road Users Tax


December 24, 2015 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share6 The Commission on Audit, whose reports on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), led to declaration of these spending programs as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, has continued its steady work of checking on billions of pesos in public funds and discovering irregularities of all kinds.
Its latest report on the Motor Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC), better known as the Road Users Tax, is once again an expose of improper use of the people’s money. Since 2007, this charge has been collected from all vehicle owners in the country to finance projects related to the safety and maintenance of national and provincial roads.In its 2014 audit report, the COA, among other findings, reported: — The Road Board financed infrastructure projects that were beyond its mandated functions and released funds for projects that were not implemented at all or delayed. Two projects with budgets totalling R102 million have yet to start while three other projects –with R84 million – were not finished on time. — R463 million in funds released to the Road Board Secretariat, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and local government units were disallowed by auditors three years ago but there has been no accounting for these funds. — Of funds released to the DPWH, R263 million were spent without the necessary documents. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PNoy says AFP today stronger than under 3 past presidents


President Benigno Aquino III graces the 80th Armed Forces of the Philippines anniversary celebration at the Haribon Hangar of the Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. After the formal ceremony, the president inspected the newly acquired Armoured Personnel Carrier displayed in the military base. Malacañang Photo Bureau / Gil Nartea

MANILA, DECEMBER 28, 2015 (PHILSTAR) December 22, 2015 - 5:31pm -President Benigno Aquino III trumpeted modernization projects for the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday at its 80th anniversary celebration, saying his administration accomplished more for the military than the three previous presidents combined.

"Ang tatlong naunang administrasyon sa atin, 45 proyektong ang naipatupad na may kabuuang halagang P31.75 billion. Sa inyong pakikiisa, nagawa nating tapatan at higitan 'yan," Aquino said.

He said 65 projects were completed under his watch, with a budget of P56.79 billion to beef up the military.

President Aquino speaks before the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga for its 80th anniversary on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Video courtesy of RTVMalacañang

READ MORE...

The increasing defense budgets in the Aquino administration came amid the Philippines's rift with some its neighbors, the most aggressive of which is China, over features and maritime areas in the South China Sea.

China has built islands in portions of the South China Sea that the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea, some of which include apparently military facilities.

Aquino said no one can criticize his government for neglecting the Philippine armed forces, known as the weakest in Southeast Asia for decades.

"Siguro naman po malinaw na malinaw na magkakasama tayong umaangat sa kabanatang ito ng ating kasaysayan. Personal kong nakita kung paanong lalong lumakas at naging epektibo ang ating AFP sa paglilingkod ng ating kaayusan at stabilidad na susi para lalong lumakas ang kumpyansa ng iba na tumaya sa Pilipinas," he said. — with Efigenio Toledo IV

 
https://youtu.be/FHPtaOyuRjc President Aquino speaks before the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga for its 80th anniversary on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Video courtesy of RTVMalacañang


TRIBUNE

Aquino attacks Arroyo anew in AFP speech Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 22 December 2015 00:00 By Joshua L. Labonera and Mario J. Mallari


AQUINO speaking at 80th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

President Aquino is back with his familiar stance: Blame his predecessor while trumpeting the achievements under his watch.

At the 80th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, the Commander-in Chief lamented the “lost decade” during former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tenure.

In his speech, Aquino took another swipe at Arroyo, saying her near-decade rule was marked by “lies, cheating and stealing in the government,” which he claimed to have changed under his administration.

The President, in previous statements, noted that improvements in the military – both men and equipment — were not done under the former administration, with its budget being used for questionable purposes.


Educated in the United States, former Filipino president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was a controversial leader who resisted several military coups. She assumed the presidency after the resignation of Joseph Estrada in 2000 and maintained power for 10 years. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIOGRAPHY OF FAMOUS PEOPLE (PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO)

“In the past years, we are hand-in-hand in transforming the AFP’s image: From a battalion of deprived due to a decade of lies, cheating and stealing in government, we strengthened your ranks to become more modern, ready and reliable, whose only purpose is to push for the Filipinos’ welfare,” Aquino said.

“Like what I emphasized when I first stood before you in July 2010 as your Commander-in-Chief: If your needs as individual soldiers were not heeded, how would each soldier address the needs of the nation?” he added.

Aquino has repeatedly stated in his speeches that only a total of 45 projects were implemented for the AFP during the past three administrations amounting to P31.75 billion, which he put in comparison with his administration’s 65 claimed projects.

According to him, a whopping P56.79 billion has already been released for the implementation of the AFP modernization program, to innovate the country’s military force.

READ MORE...

Aquino said a total of P83.9-billion Medium Term Capability Development under the program will run until 2017.

Aquino also mentioned the implementation of various measures that provided housing, enhanced pensions, and increased combat pay and meal allowances for the welfare of the soldiers and their families.

According to him, 99 percent of the second phase of the housing program for military and police personnel has been completed and that their subsistence allowance and monthly combat pay have been increased.

Aquino also recognized the sacrifices made by the country’s uniformed personnel and at the same time commending those who have been stationed in South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).


Filipino soldiers show off their close combat quarters skills using mock machetes during the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 80th anniversary celebration at Haribon Hangar in Pampanga, south of Manila Picture: Noel Celis/AFP FOR MORE PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE TELEGRAPH, UK CLICK HERE

Leading the AFP anniversary celebration for the last time as President and Commander-in-Chief, he said it is an honor to be the Commander-in-Chief of an armed forces that is ready to face any challenge.

Aquino is set to step down from office in June next year.

More than 200 land, air and water assets of the military were showcased yesterday – highlighting the ongoing modernization program of the AFP.

The showcase of newly-acquired assets underscored the AFP’s gratitude to Aquino for his all-out support to the military’s modernization and capability upgrade program.


GEN. IRIBERRI – A native of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri assumed leadership of the 125,000-strong AFP from Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. last July. COURTESY OF MINDANAO NEWS

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri said the military’s modernization went on high gear under the Aquino administration.

He acknowledged Aquino’s commitment in delivering the much-needed capability upgrade of the AFP.

“Together with our newly platforms and defense equipment our modernization program is definitely rolling forward in a high gear, thanks to our President, our Commander-in-Chief’s resolve and commitment,” said Iriberri in his speech.

The acquisitions, he added, were carefully studied by AFP officers to promote further “jointness” in the 125,000-strong organization.

“The AFP has carefully mapped and planned acquisition of priority platforms through the Defense System of Management and in its pursuit, our major services, our unified commands and the general headquarters have effectively advanced ‘jointness’ and pursued balanced approaches toward developing our military capability,” he said.

The AFP chief assured the President of the 125,000-strong organization’s loyal service to the country and people.

Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said a total of 194 land assets, 24 air assets and 59 paratroopers participated in the “AFP Day” parade.

Among those showcased were the two brand new FA-50 lead in fighter jets which threw a thundering roar after making flyby at the start of the ceremony and other air assets including two of the three brand new C295 medium lift aircraft, C130 cargo planes, S211 trainer jets and UH-1D, Bell, Augusta 109 and Sokol helicopters.

There were also 59 armored vehicles of the Army’s Mechanized Infantry Division, and search and rescue boats of the Air Force and Navy.

It was the first time that the “AFP Day” was held outside Metro Manila to give way to the huge number of assets and troops participating in the ceremony so as not to create air traffic congestion.


TRIBUNE

GMA turns table, asks Noy to show achievement Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:00 By Ted Tuvera



President Aquino’s persistent bashing of his predecessor President Gloria Arroyo prompted her camp to turn the table on him and fire back at Aquino daring the incumbent to prove if his administration actually “did anything good.”

Arroyo’s lawyer Larry Gadon, in a phone interview yesterday with The Tribune, said Aquino’s consistent attacks on her reflects the “absolute incompetence” of the present regime.

Aquino, upon his election in 2010, was notorious for usually hitting Arroyo, who is now incumbent representative of the second district of Pampanga. In his speeches, he blames her as the reason of his administration’s own flaws and in comparing her supposed administration of the crooked path with Aquino’s daang matuwid or straight path.

“In the past five years, Noynoy has always blamed Arroyo for his own administration’s shortcomings. Now this tells us the absolute incompetence of the Noynoy administration because it has remained immature for proving nothing,” Gadon said.
“In fact, the successes that he has been parading are not his original initiatives. They are ones proposed by Mrs. Arroyo, some are even that of (the late former President Ferdinand Marcos). He has nothing to show that is his,” he added.

Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) due to plunder charges along with nine others involving the alleged pocketing of P366 million from the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) which is being tried before the Sandiganbayan.

All the former President’s fellow co-accused were all allowed to post bail except for Arroyo.


Gloria Arroyo's lawyer Lorenzo Gadon

Gadon, who is running for the Senate in next year’s polls, said the former President did not do anything illegal despite the cases against her because her only involvement in the said case is merely one of approving PCSO’s requests of releasing Intelligence Funds with the annotation “OK”.

Arroyo’s lawyer asserted Aquino’s actual involvement in signing and approval of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds as claimed by its supposed mastermind Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad “is heavier because what (President Aquino) allowed has been declared unconstitutional by no less than the Supreme Court”.

Apparently, other politicians who are not affiliated or friendly with the ruling Liberal Party (LP) such as Mrs. Arroyo, Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family, and even opposition solons are threatened by cases and other forms of what are considerably political harassments through state machinery forces.

“Compared to the cases against Mrs. Arroyo, Noynoy committed corruption in broad daylight by utilizing the people’s money to bribe senators to follow his order to impeach (former Chief Justice Renato Corona),” Gadon said.

“He should be held accountable together with other government officials who committed abuse in power,” he added.

Gadon also said Aquino’s recent speech during the 80th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that noted Mrs. Arroyo’s term as a “lost decade” is a “big cover up to defend his image from potentially a worse predicament than that (of Mrs. Arroyo) after his term ends.

“Noynoy should be prosecuted thoroughly and be held accountable as soon as his executive immunity expires. The people have had enough of lies, deception and corruption,” he added.

READ MORE...

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arroyo’s Christmas furlough starts today (Dec. 23) and will end on Dec. 26. Gadon said that the former President, who is not that healthy anymore, is looking forward to spend her holidays with her family.

“President Aquino is perhaps lacking a compassionate heart. If he still thinks that Mrs. Arroyo is capable of pretending to be sick as if she’s a fugitive, he should look at how her condition is right now. Maybe he has no conscience,” Gadon lamented.
Mrs. Arroyo’s battery of lawyers vow that they will fight her the legal battlea to get her out of detention and fulfill her obligations as an incumbent lawmaker.

The former President is running unopposed in her reelection for a third term as Pampanga second district representative.

More Arroyo bashing

Aquino threw more jabs against Arroyo, this time on the budget he inherited from the past administration which he claimed to have constituted a drag during the start of his term in 2010.

Upon the signing of the administration’s 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA), a whopping P3.002 trillion for 2016, Aquino referred to the budget in his first year accusing Arroyo of supposedly leaving the government bankrupt after years of re-enacting the budget.



The President described the 2010 budget was the “biggest mistake” that his administration had to correct.

“If you will remember, when he took his seat, we are using the national budget from 2010, and we only inherited the 2011 budget... Think about it: On the 1.54 trillion meant for the whole year in 2010, only P100 billion or 6.5 percent was left for us to use,” he said during the signing of the measure.

The chief executive added that the Arroyo administration has made a habit of reenacting the national budget, citing the late approval of the budget, at around April then, which he claimed prove unfair to the Filipinos and must be corrected.

He added items that have already been spent on, including salaries, maintenance and other operating expenses, and others in the past three months were still in the budget. “Why are items already paid for still there? Where did the excess go?,” he asked.

Aquino went on questioning where the funds went. Last Monday, he lashed out at the former president over her shortcomings in modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a ceremony marking the institution’s 80th anniversary.

Meanwhile, Aquino thanked members of Congress that he said worked hand-in-hand with the Executive to thresh out issues with the national budget. He expressed gratitude for the lawmakers for passing the budget on time unlike during his predecessor’s reign.

“We have stopped this cycle. We removed the mechanism that made it easy to abuse and misspend public funds. We pushed for the right process. We also know that once the passage of the budget is late, services are delayed and the suffering of the people lingers,” he added.

In the 2016 budget, among departments with a lion’s share of the funds was the Department of Education at P437 billion. According to Aquino, the appropriations will cover the construction of 47,553 classrooms, 103.2 million textbooks, and 79,691 teaching positions.

It was shortly followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways with a P400.4 billion bulk, which it will spend primarily to build and repair national roads and on flood control projects.

Other biggest recipients are the Department of Defense at P175.2 billion, Interior and Local Government at P154.5 billion, Health at P128.5 billion, Social Welfare and Development at P111 billion, Agriculture at P94 billion, Transportation and Communications at P48.5 billion, Finance at P33.2 billion, and Environment and Natural Resources at P24.8 billion.
Joshua L. Labonera


INQUIRER

A ‘source of strength’ to Aquino and nation By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:16 AM December 26th, 2015


Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

PRESIDENT Aquino on Friday paid tribute to Inquirer editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, calling her a “source of strength” to him and to the nation.

Magsanoc, who led the Inquirer for 24 years, died on Christmas Eve.

“I am shocked by the sudden passing of Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and all her colleagues in the Philippine Daily Inquirer at this time of profound sadness and loss. She was, to me, and all Filipinos of goodwill who love freedom, democracy and good governance, a source of strength,” the President said.

“One always knew that with her, the truth was the benchmark of a journalist’s efforts; and that in all that she did, there was no higher cause than the country’s welfare and that of our people. She always spoke to me frankly, and yet with deep understanding,” Mr. Aquino said.

“To her loved ones and colleagues, you are not alone: we are all called to living up to her courageous example, one that will continue to inspire all of us to fight for freedom by ensuring we have a discerning and informed public. May she rest in peace and her example lend us strength in continuing to ensure we have a nation that is always free to speak its mind,” he said.

Magsanoc had been ill for a month.


LETTY JIMENEZ MAGSANOC

She missed the Inquirer’s 30th anniversary on Dec. 9 where she was one of the honorees who celebrated their third decade as Inquirer employees.

As the event’s guest speaker, President Aquino hailed the courage, tenacity and “principled journalism” of Magsanoc and Inquirer founding chair, Eggie Durán-Apostol, in bringing news to the Filipino people even during martial law, a very dangerous time for journalists in the Philippines.

“They kept our hopes and spirit alive through the darkest days and nights of the dictatorship,” the President said in his speech.

“True news was like water in the desert,” Mr. Aquino said. “If it was bad for the readers—just imagine how it was for those who wrote for, and produced the mosquito press. Imagine the principle of Eggie Apostol, Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc and all the other true journalists during that period,” he said.

Apostol and Magsanoc published and wrote about the funeral of the President’s father, the assassinated Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., and the Agrava Fact-Finding Board investigation of his death, although strongman Ferdinand Marcos censored coverage of the funeral and the inquiry.

Mr. Aquino told the Inquirer audience how much Apostol and Magsanoc’s courage as journalists “meant to our family.”

“Dad always believed that he did not stand alone, and you proved that through your brave coverage. Many Filipinos who believed the same learned through your publications that they, too, were not alone in the desire to stand up to the dictator. It is no exaggeration, I believe, to say that you informed millions of our countrymen, whose unity made the peaceful revolution of Edsa possible,” he said.

READ MORE...

“It would be impossible for us to take stock of one, without involving the other, because the Philippine Daily Inquirer traces its roots to the era of people power,” he said.

The Filipinos can count on the Inquirer to reject revisionism, the President said, implying that the newspaper is the keeper of the flame of truth.

Malacañang on Thursday night condoled with the Inquirer family on the passing of Magsanoc, saying she was a “force for good” in Philippine society and “a truth-teller to the nation.”

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Magsanoc “was in every sense of the word, a freedom fighter, wielding her pen against the dictatorship, and any and all who would oppress and betray the Filipino people, on whose behalf she was a fearless crusader for democracy, accountability and honesty.”

“We hope that her family’s deep sadness at this time will be at least partially assuaged, by the deep admiration her peers and reading public felt for her,” Lacierda said.

“She writes 30, having been, up to the end, a force for good in our society, a truth-teller to the nation, and mentor to so many in her field,” he said.


MANILA BULLETIN

Editorial: Audit report bares misuse of Road Users Tax December 24, 2015 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share6

The Commission on Audit, whose reports on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), led to declaration of these spending programs as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, has continued its steady work of checking on billions of pesos in public funds and discovering irregularities of all kinds.

Its latest report on the Motor Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC), better known as the Road Users Tax, is once again an expose of improper use of the people’s money. Since 2007, this charge has been collected from all vehicle owners in the country to finance projects related to the safety and maintenance of national and provincial roads.

In its 2014 audit report, the COA, among other findings, reported:

— The Road Board financed infrastructure projects that were beyond its mandated functions and released funds for projects that were not implemented at all or delayed. Two projects with budgets totalling R102 million have yet to start while three other projects –with R84 million – were not finished on time.

— R463 million in funds released to the Road Board Secretariat, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and local government units were disallowed by auditors three years ago but there has been no accounting for these funds.

— Of funds released to the DPWH, R263 million were spent without the necessary documents.

READ MORE...

— R199 million was set aside for the purchase of equipment for the Motor Vehicle Inspection System, a program mandated by the Land Transportation and Traffic Code and the Clean Air Act, but these funds have remained idle or underutilized.

— R14 million was used by the DPWH for such things as advertising materials, water and telephone bills, and other items unrelated to road maintenance.

Now that the COA has issued its report, it is up to the proper government agency to take action on it. In the case of the PDAF, Congress picked it up and its findings, together with the COA report, formed the basis of the charges filed by the Ombudsman against several senators and congressmen. In the case of DAP, the Ombudsman called for a probe of Secretary of Budget and Management Florencio Abad.

The improper use of millions in Road Users Tax may not be as weighty as the improper use of hundreds of billions in PDAF and DAP funds but merits no less attention from our official tasked with protecting public funds and going after those who would seek to steal them.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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