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(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

LAST 100 DAYS: NOY BEGINS COUNTDOWN


MARCH 23 -The President has actually been counting his remaining days in office for some time now, but for his last 100 days, no honeymoon with the media can be expected, unlike in his first 100 days at Malacañang. Philstar.com/File President Aquino started his own countdown for his last 100 days in office as he bid goodbye to members of the Philippine Army during rites yesterday celebrating the PA’s 119th anniversary at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.
The President has actually been counting his remaining days in office for some time now, but for his last 100 days, no honeymoon with the media can be expected, unlike in his first 100 days at Malacañang. Aquino was thinking of another honeymoon after the end of his term, as indicated in his pronouncements in Sumisip, Basilan where he inaugurated a major road project on Monday. He said the project was started in 2000 but its completion was stalled due to peace and order problems in the area. Aquino told the soldiers that he pushed for the straight path in all his days in office and that they were not the only ones who benefited from it. READ MORE...

ALSO: What is PNoy’s childhood dream?
[If martial law was not declared several years ago, a young Benigno S. Aquino III would probably have enlisted in the military and served the nation in uniform. Addressing the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Army held at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on March 22, President Aquino waxed sentimental and revealed his childhood ambition to become a soldier.]


MARCH 22 -President Benigno Aquino III
President Benigno Aquino III: If martial law was not declared several years ago, a young Benigno S. Aquino III would probably have enlisted in the military and served the nation in uniform. Addressing the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Army held at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on March 22, President Aquino waxed sentimental and revealed his childhood ambition to become a soldier. And what influenced Aquino to become a soldier? It was the old American television series called “Combat!” that featured the lives of US soldiers during the World War II. “Alam niyo po, nung batang-bata ako, at pihadong matatandaan ng mga kahenerasyon namin ito: May tv series na ang pamagat ay ‘Combat.’ Dahil dito, masasabi kong ginusto kong maging sundalo pagdating ng panahon,” Aquino said in his remarks. “Wala pang Playstation noon, kaya ang laro namin, cowboys at indians saka baril-barilan,” he added. Aquino however changed his mind about joining the army following the martial law declaration by then President Ferdinand Marcos that resulted to human rights abuses. The military, Aquino recalled, was manipulated by then President Marcos to curtail democracy and fulfill the dictator’s every whim. READ MORE...

ALSO: LRT passengers trapped as LRT doors fail to open


MARCH 24 -Screenshot from a video taken by student Kurt Ebol shows a commuter trying to open the doors of an LRT coach after a malfunction at the Central Station in Manila yesterday. Panic-stricken passengers of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) complained of trouble breathing and heat exhaustion after the train doors failed to open at the Central Station in Plaza Lawton, Manila yesterday morning. A video of the commotion and hysterical passengers went viral in social media yesterday as soon as it was posted by a passenger, gaining close to 100,000 views and various negative comments regarding the LRT system. The over two-minute video uploaded by Kurt Ebol showed irate passengers trying to forcibly open the doors that were stuck when the train arrived at the Central Station. In his comment, Ebol said the train’s operator advised the passengers to just open the windows to let air in. Earlier, a video taken by some students showed a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) train running with its door open. The MRT operates along the stretch of EDSA. Ebol said some of the passengers reportedly tried to use the emergency lever but it also failed to open the door. After a short time the door of the first coach opened and passengers hurriedly exited the train. According to the LRT management, the train lost traction and this affected the control of the doors. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Roxas stands ground on ‘Daang Matuwid’
[“I will fight for ‘Daang Matuwid’ which has brought the country and our kababayans to greater heights,” Roxas stressed.]


MARCH 24 -Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas , fended the tirades of his rivals and defended the gains of “Daang Matuwid” (straight path) after he received a dressing down for his role in Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation and the Zamboanga City siege during the second presidential debate in Cebu City last Sunday. “We have started a system wherein those who went against the right path were dealt with accordingly. I’ve always said that ‘Daang Matuwid’ is not perfect, but we will improve it for the benefit of our kababayans (countrymen),” he said. “I will fight for ‘Daang Matuwid’ which has brought the country and our kababayans to greater heights,” Roxas stressed. Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe bonded in attacking the former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government for the supposed slow government response when Yolanda struck, among other national concerns. But Roxas stressed that he, along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and other top government officials, were on top of the situation before, during and after “Yolanda” hit the Visayas region in 2013. “They seemed to have joined forces against me but that is good, I take it as a compliment. They are attacking me because I am a threat to all of them,” he said. According to Roxas, the presidential debates clearly showed who are for “Daang Matuwid” and who are just pretending to win votes. Lack of environmental issues Meanwhile, several groups have expressed dismay over the failure of presidential candidates to show their environmental platforms during the second leg of the PiliPinas Presidential Debates 2016. READ MORE...

ALSO: Roxas continues to reap reproof from debate slur
[The administration bet, who is running on a platform of continuing and strengthening the gains made under the Daang Matuwid program of President Aquino, said foreign investor confidence in the Philippines would not waver, but would expand if he is elected.]


MARCH 23 -ROXAS
The fallout from the heated second presidential debate held in Cebu was still evident yesterday as Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has slammed Liberal Party (LP) presidential aspirant Mar Roxas for “gravely insulting the Muslims of Mindanao” during the Sunday’s presidential debate in Cebu City by calling them “mananakop” or conquerors. “Calling the Muslims of Mindanao with the highly derogatory term mananakop did not only show the chauvinist attitude of Roxas, but also betrayed his revisionist, gravely specious view of the long-wrought-out struggle of the Bangsamoro for self-determination,” Zarate said. “Mar is a phony, pitiful student of Mindanao history and the valiant struggle of the Bangsamoro people,” stressed Zarate, a human rights lawyer from Davao City. Also, contrary to his claim, he argued, the Zamboanga siege was “no precision military operation.”  “Human rights groups have raised alarm over the human rights violations committed against the residents of Zamboanga City during the Zamboanga siege that Mar Roxas flaunted as a success,” Zarate pointed out. Based on reports by human rights watchdogs, he said many civilians mistaken as MNLF combatants were also killed during the clearing operations. He added that there were also cases of hostage-taking, use of civilians as human shields, extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate firing and aerial bombardment, destruction and divestment of property, illegal arrest and detention, threat, harassment and intimidation and food blockades. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Last 100 days: Noy begins countdown


The President has actually been counting his remaining days in office for some time now, but for his last 100 days, no honeymoon with the media can be expected, unlike in his first 100 days at Malacañang. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Aurea Calica March 23, 2016 - 12:00am - President Aquino started his own countdown for his last 100 days in office as he bid goodbye to members of the Philippine Army during rites yesterday celebrating the PA’s 119th anniversary at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

The President has actually been counting his remaining days in office for some time now, but for his last 100 days, no honeymoon with the media can be expected, unlike in his first 100 days at Malacañang.

Aquino was thinking of another honeymoon after the end of his term, as indicated in his pronouncements in Sumisip, Basilan where he inaugurated a major road project on Monday.

He said the project was started in 2000 but its completion was stalled due to peace and order problems in the area.

Aquino told the soldiers that he pushed for the straight path in all his days in office and that they were not the only ones who benefited from it.

READ MORE...

He cited the record low poverty incidence since 2009 as reported by the National Economic and Development Authority, the lowest unemployment rate in a decade and the lowest annual average hunger rate based on the fourth quarter of the Social Weather Stations in 2015.

Aquino said the conditional cash transfer program now has 4.4 million beneficiaries and 7.7 million Filipinos have been lifted from poverty by the program.

He said infrastructure projects like the Basilan circumferential road likewise brought the government closer to the people.

The President said his administration achieved these things without imposing additional burden on the Filipinos, except for the sin tax, and because of the help of everyone including the military.


MANILA BULLETIN

What is PNoy’s childhood dream? by Genalyn Kabiling March 22, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share1


President Benigno Aquino III

If martial law was not declared several years ago, a young Benigno S. Aquino III would probably have enlisted in the military and served the nation in uniform.

Addressing the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Army held at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on March 22, President Aquino waxed sentimental and revealed his childhood ambition to become a soldier.

And what influenced Aquino to become a soldier? It was the old American television series called “Combat!” that featured the lives of US soldiers during the World War II.

“Alam niyo po, nung batang-bata ako, at pihadong matatandaan ng mga kahenerasyon namin ito: May tv series na ang pamagat ay ‘Combat.’ Dahil dito, masasabi kong ginusto kong maging sundalo pagdating ng panahon,” Aquino said in his remarks.

“Wala pang Playstation noon, kaya ang laro namin, cowboys at indians saka baril-barilan,” he added.

Aquino however changed his mind about joining the army following the martial law declaration by then President Ferdinand Marcos that resulted to human rights abuses. The military, Aquino recalled, was manipulated by then President Marcos to curtail democracy and fulfill the dictator’s every whim.

READ MORE...

“Dumating po ang Martial Law, at talagang nagbago ang pananaw ko ukol sa ating mga sundalo,” Aquino said.

Aquino’s resentment towards the dictatorship grew following the arrest of his father late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr..

He said his father was imprisoned for seven years and seven months in Fort Bonifacio and Fort Magsaysay controlled by Marcos henchmen. He said his dad’s detention cells were even preserved to remind the country’s dark chapter when the military strayed from the its promise to serve the people.

He lamented that many soldiers went astray thinking they were following the Constitution by obeying the orders of the dictator. He said the people began despising the military while the New People’s Army strength grew fto 25,000 from just 60 by the end of martial law.

But when his mother then President Corazon Aquino assumed office, Aquino said the military was brought back to the straight path where they protect and defend the people.

“Ang sambayanan naman, ang sukli ay mas solidong pagkalinga,” he added.


TRIBUNE

Roxas stands ground on ‘Daang Matuwid’ Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 22 March 2016 00:00



Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas , fended the tirades of his rivals and defended the gains of “Daang Matuwid” (straight path) after he received a dressing down for his role in Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation and the Zamboanga City siege during the second presidential debate in Cebu City last Sunday.

“We have started a system wherein those who went against the right path were dealt with accordingly. I’ve always said that ‘Daang Matuwid’ is not perfect, but we will improve it for the benefit of our kababayans (countrymen),” he said.

“I will fight for ‘Daang Matuwid’ which has brought the country and our kababayans to greater heights,” Roxas stressed.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe bonded in attacking the former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government for the supposed slow government response when Yolanda struck, among other national concerns.

But Roxas stressed that he, along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and other top government officials, were on top of the situation before, during and after “Yolanda” hit the Visayas region in 2013.

“They seemed to have joined forces against me but that is good, I take it as a compliment. They are attacking me because I am a threat to all of them,” he said.

According to Roxas, the presidential debates clearly showed who are for “Daang Matuwid” and who are just pretending to win votes.

Lack of environmental issues


Naderev “Yeb” Saño . AP PHOTO

Meanwhile, several groups have expressed dismay over the failure of presidential candidates to show their environmental platforms during the second leg of the PiliPinas Presidential Debates 2016.

READ MORE..

Naderev Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said more than 2,000 environmentalists, farmers, scientists and representatives from the academe and the church descended on Cebu to press the aspirants to reveal clearer positions on environmental issues in their governance platforms.

“From what we’ve seen so far, the presidential candidates need a more thorough understanding of environmental issues that have to be quickly addressed, as these greatly affect other developmental problems such as poverty, health and food security. They make vulnerable sectors even more vulnerable the longer these issues are left unchecked,” said Saño.

“The presidential aspirants make sweeping statements about environmental challenges such as climate change and disaster response, agriculture and farmers’ plights, or energy and development, but either they are merely pandering to popular demands with no clear plans, or are doing the opposite of what they supposedly espouse in their campaign speeches,” added Ruth Ylanan of the Urban Poor Alliance.

In criticizing the candidates, Greenpeace and its allies said Roxas said the country needs to shift to clean, renewable energy but the current administration of which he is a part facilitated the entry of 25 new coal-fired power plants. The critics added “Roxas himself has been propagating the myth that solar energy is expensive.”

Duterte also acknowledged that the Philippines is subject to harsher climate impacts but he is not championing any move to phase out coal.

Poe has been advocating support for farmers and agriculture but has no clear position on protecting organic farmers and ensuring safe food.

Led by the Concerned Cebuanos for the Environment, which includes Greenpeace Philippines, the group is part of the bigger Green Thumb Coalition “Pwersa ng 10 Million Boto” that aims to influence candidates’ debates and public discussions around key environmental concerns.

Miriam a big loss in the debate

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s absence in the presidential debate was a big loss to the discourse in terms of the level of discussion.

He added a lot of people surely missed Santiago’s presence in the debate because she is the best debater among those vying for president.

“She has the record not only as a debater, but as a judge, as a legislator, as a senator and we feel that she would have done very very well as she always does,” he said.

Marcos remains hopeful that Santiago will be able to join the last round of debates next month. Santiago skipped the Cebu leg of the presidential debate because she was undergoing tests for a new anti-cancer pill.


PHILSTAR

LRT passengers trapped as LRT doors fail to open By Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0


Screenshot from a video taken by student Kurt Ebol shows a commuter trying to open the doors of an LRT coach after a malfunction at the Central Station in Manila yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – Panic-stricken passengers of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) complained of trouble breathing and heat exhaustion after the train doors failed to open at the Central Station in Plaza Lawton, Manila yesterday morning.

A video of the commotion and hysterical passengers went viral in social media yesterday as soon as it was posted by a passenger, gaining close to 100,000 views and various negative comments regarding the LRT system.

The over two-minute video uploaded by Kurt Ebol showed irate passengers trying to forcibly open the doors that were stuck when the train arrived at the Central Station.

In his comment, Ebol said the train’s operator advised the passengers to just open the windows to let air in.

Earlier, a video taken by some students showed a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) train running with its door open. The MRT operates along the stretch of EDSA.

Ebol said some of the passengers reportedly tried to use the emergency lever but it also failed to open the door.

After a short time the door of the first coach opened and passengers hurriedly exited the train.

According to the LRT management, the train lost traction and this affected the control of the doors.


TRIBUNE

Roxas continues to reap reproof from debate slur Written by Gerry Baldo Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00


ROXAS

The fallout from the heated second presidential debate held in Cebu was still evident yesterday as Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has slammed Liberal Party (LP) presidential aspirant Mar Roxas for “gravely insulting the Muslims of Mindanao” during the Sunday’s presidential debate in Cebu City by calling them “mananakop” or conquerors.

“Calling the Muslims of Mindanao with the highly derogatory term mananakop did not only show the chauvinist attitude of Roxas, but also betrayed his revisionist, gravely specious view of the long-wrought-out struggle of the Bangsamoro for self-determination,” Zarate said.

“Mar is a phony, pitiful student of Mindanao history and the valiant struggle of the Bangsamoro people,” stressed Zarate, a human rights lawyer from Davao City.

Also, contrary to his claim, he argued, the Zamboanga siege was “no precision military operation.”

“Human rights groups have raised alarm over the human rights violations committed against the residents of Zamboanga City during the Zamboanga siege that Mar Roxas flaunted as a success,” Zarate pointed out.


HEADLINE FROM DAVAOTODAY.COM -Mar called ‘ignorant’ for describing Moros as invaders ('mananakop'). Mar. 22, 2016 ZEA IO MING C. CAPISTRANO: During the second PiliPinas presidential debate held in Cebu City on Sunday, March 20, Roxas was questioned by presidential rival, Senator Grace Poe about his stint as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary when typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas and the Zamboanga siege happened. Poe said that there were “lacking” actions in Roxas’ service as cabinet member, prompting President Benigno Aquino III not to entrust him the Mamasapano operations. Roxas answered by narrating what happened. At one point, he described the faction of the Moro National Liberation Front as “mga Muslim na mananakop”. (davaotoday.com file photo by Ace R. Morandante)

Based on reports by human rights watchdogs, he said many civilians mistaken as MNLF combatants were also killed during the clearing operations.

He added that there were also cases of hostage-taking, use of civilians as human shields, extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate firing and aerial bombardment, destruction and divestment of property, illegal arrest and detention, threat, harassment and intimidation and food blockades.

READ MORE...

A total of 274 people were arrested and brought to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, majority of them innocent civilians, Zarate revealed.

“How then can we call it successful with the number of lives lost and the damage and destruction of properties that occurred?” he asked.

“Truth to tell, the Zamboanga Siege and the Mamasapano fiasco were the results of how conflict resolution is being undertaken under the so-called ‘daang matuwid.’ President Aquino and his putative successor Roxas have skewed mind-sets on the issues confronting Muslim Mindanao as evident in their approach towards the Moro rebellion: Theirs is merely for surrender and pacification, not the rectification of the historical injustices committed against the Moro people,” Zarate said.

“Mar Roxas is a total failure as a Cabinet secretary. The Lumad killings, the Mamasapano fiasco, the Zamboanga siege, his criminal negligence during the Typhoon Yolanda, among others, are the testimonials to his record as sectary. He is successful, though, in self-promotion with the brazen use of the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) funds and other government resources for his presidential bid,” he said.

Poe okay to ceasefire

Responding to the call of the LP to a political ceasefire in observance of the Lenten season, independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe relented but not without having to strike back at those who made the call.

“I did not fire the first shot,” Poe said.

“I am just responding (to their tirades). Why would they propose a ceasefire to me? I did not start the exchange of words, I was just defending myself,” she added.



The senator was responding to criticisms thrown at her by her rivals during the recent second presidential debate, particularly on the issue about her citizenship despite the 9-6 Supreme Court (SC) ruling allowing her to pursue her presidential bid.

During the second presidential debate last Sunday, Poe, Roxas, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte traded barbs against each other.

But Poe agreed on the need for all the candidates to cease from campaigning during Holy Week for personal reflection and to be with their loved ones.

Poe said her special prayer this Lenten break is to uplift the lives of 100 million Filipinos.

When asked about Binay’s admission that he was hurt by Poe’s tirades against him when he had helped the presidential candidacy of the late action king Fernando Poe Jr., the lady senator said she just responded to the questions hurled against her by the former Makati City mayor.

Revisit EDCA – Bongbong

The next administration should revisit the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and United States (US) to make sure the Philippines gets the best terms under the agreement.

In a press conference in Olongapo City, Marcos said the fact that the agreement did not pass through the scrutiny of the Senate is enough reason why the deal should be reviewed by the next administration.

“I still maintain my position that the agreement should have been ratified by the Senate but it was not submitted to us so we did not have any means to review it,” he said.



He said while it will not be possible to rescind the deal at this point because its constitutionality had already been upheld by the Supreme Court, the deal should still be reviewed to make sure that we are not put at a disadvantage.

“We have to revisit it even if it is already a signed deal already. We can always subject it for a review especially on its operational effect,” he said.

He further stated that since the United States is an ally of the Philippines, it is highly possible that it would agree to review the deal and make clear some of the arrangements.

“We could always talk as the Americans are our friends to make sure we get the possible deal for the Filipinos and while they provide protection and some form of security, as EDCA is not clear on these areas,” he said.

Marcos also questioned certain provisions in the agreement that disallows access to Filipino personnel. He also cited the need to clarify the kind of equipment that will be used in the exercises and the facilities that will be built by the Americans.

“Why are there areas where Filipino personnel are not allowed? What equipment would they bring as this government have been bragging we stand to inherit new equipment? They will be constructing new buildings and bringing in new equipment so everybody is interested to know all of those,” Marcos pointed out.

In addition, the senator stated, there is also need to spell out the equipment that the Americans will leave behind as payment for the use of our bases.

Marcos was one of the senators who insisted that the EDCA should have been submitted to the Senate for ratification. The SC, voting 10-4, however voted to uphold its constitutionality saying it is just an implementing agreement of existing treaties like the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

But Marcos insisted that the EDCA is a treaty that should be ratified by the Senate as it not only increases the rotational presence of US military troops in the Philippines but opens the possibility of providing the Americans basing rights in the country.

Miriam still campus darling



Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago also reinforced her command of the University of the Philippines (UP) vote, as she won by landslide a new survey across three campuses of the country’s top state-run school.

Santiago, a distinguished UP alumna and former law professor, was chosen president by 56.5 percent or 6,606 of the total 11,700 respondents in polls conducted in U.P. Diliman, U.P. Los Baños, and U.P. Manila.

She was followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, with 2,356 votes; Sen. Grace Poe, with 1,273 votes; Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas, with 641 votes; and Vice President Jejomar Binay, with 288 votes. Some 500 respondents abstained.

“I am honored to have been chosen by UP students, who are some of the most discerning voters and opinion leaders. If elected, I vow to continue the tradition of honor and excellence embodied by UP,” the senator said.

Prior to winning the cross-campus survey, Santiago dominated at least four separate UP campus surveys:

-UP Baguio, 78.2 percent;
-UP Manila, 59.5 percent; and
-two UP Los Baños polls, where she got 86 percent and 65.75 percent.
-De La Salle University Manila, 75 percent;
-Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 64 percent;
-University of Santo Tomas, 66 percent;
-Ateneo De Manila University, 36.6 percent;
-University of Northern Philippines, 35.85 percent;
-Malayan Colleges Laguna, 54.7 percent;
-Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 58.5 percent;
-Holy Angel University, 40 percent;
-University of Asia and the Pacific, 43.2 percent;
-Adamson University, 64 percent;
-Ateneo de Naga University, 37.4 percent; and
-Philippibe=ne Normal University, 76 percent.

Commission on Elections data as of January 17 showed that 24.73 million registered voters for the May polls were aged 17 to 34 years old.

Youth voters thus comprise almost half of the country’s 54.36 million registered voters.

Chiz dare on transparency



Public officials must lead the way.

This was the call of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero amid growing pressure to lift the country’s stringent bank secrecy law in the wake of the laundering of some $81-million in stolen funds belonging to the government of Bangladesh.

The dirty money, which slipped into the Philippines through a commercial bank, is now the subject of a Senate investigation and has prompted the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to call for the lifting of the bank secrecy law to help authorities probe suspicious money transactions.

“We, the people in the government, must show the way. Let’s take the first step: waive our rights under the bank secrecy law and let the public scrutinize our bank deposits,” said Escudero, an independent candidate for vice president.

“This way, we can convince the public that the government is serious in addressing the money-laundering problem that is undermining the country’s banking system,” he added.

However, his presidential bet, Grace Poe, refused to sign the waiver as presented by VP Binay, which was more inclusive.

Escudero has been pushing for the lifting of the bank secrecy law on bank deposits of public officials and employees through Senate Bill No. 16 he filed in 2013 to compel people in government, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, to submit a written permission or waiver in favor of the Office of the Ombudsman to look into all deposits of whatever nature with banks within and outside the country, including investments in government bonds.

He filed a similar bill when he was first elected into the Senate in 2007.

Since 2010, Escudero has been submitting together with his sworn Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), a written waiver on secrecy of his bank deposits filed every year with the Ombudsman’s office.

Recently, he took a step further by challenging all national and local candidates seeking elective posts to waive this right under Republic Act No. 1405, or the Bank Secrecy Act of 1955, which prohibits disclosure of or inquiry into deposits with any banking institution, as well as provides penalties of imprisonment or fine for offenders.

If candidates commit to this waiver, Escudero said, it will preempt those who will seek to amass illegal fortune at the expense of taxpayers and assure the public that they are not keeping any ill-gotten wealth and won’t enrich themselves once elected into office.

“In that sense, we do not only adhere to the principle of leadership by example, but also remove any doubts the public may have on those working in government,” Escudero pointed out.

“Public office is a public trust and government officials and employees are accountable to the public,” Escudero said. “To ensure that a civil servant does not use his position to enrich himself, it is necessary that we put in place a mechanism that will enable the government to audit the finances of the civil servant.”

Under his proposed measure, the waiver will be submitted 30 days from the date of assumption into office by a government official or employee.

Those who are already working in government, upon the effectivity of the law, will have to submit the waiver not later than 30 days from promulgation of the rules and regulations implementing the law.

Any public official or employee who fails or refuses to submit such waiver will be barred from entering or continuing the functions of his or her office, it said.

Roxas vows more FDIs



Roxas also vowed to bring in more foreign direct investments (FDIs) under a Roxas presidency to generate local employment so that Filipinos won’t have to seek jobs overseas anymore.

The administration bet made the promise as he toured the Superl Philippines Inc., a multinational company that is engaged in the manufacturing of bags and luggage located at the Angeles Industrial Zone in Bacoor, Pampanga.

Roxas noted that the company employs 10,000 skilled workers who receive basic wages as provided by law.

“The goods produced here are of high quality and exported to different countries – proof that Filipinos have the requisite skills. Workers here have honor, have regular jobs and have better lives,” he said.

“But what really made me proud to be here is that the bags and luggage produced here are all labelled ‘Made in the Philippines.’High quality products made by Filipinos, made here in our country,” he added.

“This is part of our vision. If the Philippines have 100 more companies like Superl, it would translate to 1 million available jobs,” Roxas said.

The administration bet, who is running on a platform of continuing and strengthening the gains made under the 'Daang Matuwid' program of President Aquino, said foreign investor confidence in the Philippines would not waver, but would expand if he is elected.
Angie M. Rosales, Charlie V. Manalo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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