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Vol 1 No 28

Metro Express

Jennylyn-Luis relationship not born out of pity




Dec. 19 - Dec. 26, 2011


MAJA: Very much at it wiith BF

President Benigno S. Aquino III is confident the Senate will similarly vote to impeach Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona based on the Articles of Impeachment the Lower House had endorsed to the Senate. In an interview, the President said the senators will appreciate the impeachment case leveled at Corona based on its merits. “Tama sigurong sabihin [na] may kumpyansa ako doon sa mga hinain na kaso. ‘Yung Articles of Impeachment embodies ‘yung paniniwala nating kakulangan sa pamumuno ni Ginoong Corona at ‘yung mga pinaggagawa po [niya] na naaapektuhan ang sambayanan,” the President said. “So…it follows [na] kung matibay ‘yung kaso at inaasahan natin ‘yung mga senador, ang mga hinalal na kinatawan ng ating taumbayan, ay susunod naman sila sa tugon ng ating mga boss,” he added. The House of Representatives on Monday impeached Corona after 188 Congressmen signed the Articles of Impeachment against him for culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and corruption and the betrayal of public trust. Meanwhile,Aquino stepped up his attacks against Corona just shortly after the articles of impeachment against the Cont’d on page 2 chief justice were transmitted to the Senate.


President Benigno S. Aquino III poses for a photo souvenir with the organizers of the Bulong Pulungan Annual Christmas Party and Recognition Day for Outstanding Public Servants and Private Individuals at the Luzon Ballroom of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on Tuesday (December 06). The Bulong Pulungan media forum was founded in 1986 by a group of journalists from different publications.

Lawmakers push for ‘green tech’ Lawmakers urged the government to intensify its research and development (R&D) program on the creation of new technologies on renewable energy, carbon emission reduction system and other scientific studies that would expedite the country’s full shift towards green technology. “Green tech is the wave of the future. That’s where everyone’s going and the opportunities for this field is vast and limitless. We’ve got to step


Aquino confident Senate will appreciate merits of impeachment case against Corona


Television host Luis Manzano denied rumors that he is dating actress Jennylyn Mercado out of pity. “We’re very very happy. Wala akong pakialam sa ganun. I have no time for them. And I never will have time for them. I don’t care... Life is better without them, ‘yung people na nanghihila pababa. Intrigues is part of life, pero hating is not. Ang mga intriga na iyan, life is so much better without them,” he said. To prove to the people that they are enjoying a happy relationship, Manzano and Mercado were together at the recently concluded Entertainment Press Golden Screen Awards. “Sabi nga namin, we weren’t hiding anything naman. It’s something very nice, that we get to attend functions like this one na magkasama,” said Manzano. The TV host said that while they are both in show business, they still prefer to keep some parts of their lives private. “Kahit nasa industriya kami, we’d like to keep na kung ano mang meron kami on the personal side of our lives,” he said. Meanwhile, actor Dennis Trillo was also at the event. Trillo is Mercado’s former boyfriend. Asked what he thinks about Manzano and Mercado’s relationship, Trillo said: “Huwag na lang natin pagusapan iyan.”




85% of P72-B disbursement acceleration plan already released

up in our effort to discover new horizons in green technology,” said Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas. He noted that a special fund should be set aside by the government for R&D projects that promotes the use of locally available and renewable resources that can be tapped to address the growing concern over climate change. Such fund, Trenas said, can be Cont’d on page 2

Philippines, China to put up joint website for media, tourism promo The Philippines and People’s Republic of China are working for the creation of a joint website and people-to-people exchanges to further improve mass media and information technology in both countries, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said. Coloma made this statement following his meeting last month with the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and China Internet Information led by Huang Youyi for the joint project. Coloma invited the Chinese delegation to explore partnership between the Philippines and China in information management as well as sharing and development between the two countries. Based on the proposal, the Philippine-China website will host information on tourism, current news, culture and education, partnerships and joint projects or programs and developments in information and communication technology (ICT).

Cont’d on page 2

Villar seeks early approval of bill supporting Filipinos’ creativity Senator Manuel Villar has pushed for the early approval of the bill that will support the creative industry in the country. “The bill will uplift the state of our Philippine design industry by establishing a design-led economy where we may generate jobs and livelihood for our people, maintain our competitive edge in the global market, and echo our collective pride in our culture and heritage,” Villar said during his sponsorship of Senate Bill No. 3071, or the Philippine Design CompetitivenessAct. The bill seeks to institutionalize a national design policy framework to allow the country to move forward in terms of design initiatives, innovations and competitiveness. Villar, chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce, said this bill “is a focused, strategic, integrated and cohesive master plan for our design industries to thrive efficiently.” “The Philippines is a rich breeding ground of creative talents. Creativity is a unique gift of every Filipino. It is our asset, our national pride,” he added. Coinciding with the sponsorship of the bill, the trade committee mounted a four-day exhibit entitled “Philippine Design in Retrospect” showcasing the amazing talent and creativity of Filipino designers, luminaries, and up-andcoming in their respective fields. Villar noted that despite the abundance of creative talents in the country, the Philippines is trailing behind itsAsian neighbors. He said homegrown talents are being pirated by other countries such as China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. “This puts a strain on our creative manpower, thereby weakening our competitive edge in the global market,” he added. “Design as a tool to accelerate economic development and social progress is a concept pioneered by the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland. In Asia, it has been embraced by Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and South

Korea. We cannot stand idle for another minute while these countries have pushed their national design efforts into high gear,” Villar said. The bill will put in place an enabling environment that “will allow the various sectors of the design industry to increase productivity, enhance visibility in the global market, boost competitiveness and improve the level of innovation of our creative SEN. MANNY VILLAR people.” Among the features of the bill are the following: (1) The rebirth of the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines into the Design Center of Philippines to renew the commitment not only to promote and develop the local design industry, but also to create that awareness in people that design fosters innovation and sustainability, and strengthens local businesses and society. (2) Institutionalization of the intellectual property protection in the field of design for Filipino creative designers and manufacturers. The presence of a comprehensive and strong implementation of IP protection is one of the factors considered by both local and foreign investors in establishing start-up companies that could increase the level of innovation in the country. (3) The promotion of Design Education at all levels throughout the country to instill the importance and appreciation of Filipino culture in design. Design Education is envisioned to infuse the values of discipline, productivity and innovation among the youth, industry leaders, design practitioners and professionals, and the academe. Press Release



Dec.19 - Dec. 26, 2011

MetrEx: RP’s 1st & only WEEKLY Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Aquino confident Senate will appreciate merits...

From page 1

Aquino called Corona as former President Arroyo’s “disciple” (“alagad”), enumerating cases in which Corona had voted in Mrs.Arroyo’s favor. Aquino cited, among others, Corona’s vote in declaring as unconstitutional the executive order establishing the Truth Commission and the issuance of the temporary restraining order against the travel ban on Mrs.Arroyo. “Sa ganitong lantarang pagtanggal ng piring ng katarungan, kailangan po nating tanungin ang sarili: hanggang kailan tayo magtitiis, hanggang kailan tayo uunawa, hanggang kailan tayo magpapasensya? Sobra-sobra na ang ebidensya; aasa pa ba tayong magbabago si Ginoong Corona?” Aquino said in a coalition caucus held in a hotel in Mandaluyong City. “Naging kumbinsido po tayo na pagdating kay Ginang Arroyo, walang tama o maling kinikilala si Ginoong Corona. Walang patutunguhan ang ating pagsisikap kung bago pa man tayo dumulog sa husgado ay kargado na pala ang timbangan. Malinaw po ang katotohanan: Si Ginoong Corona ay itinalaga sa Korte Suprema, hindi bilang alagad ng katarungan, kundi bilang alagad ni GinangArroyo.” Aquino said that Corona is compromising the high court’s integrity by preventing efforts to make the former president accountable.Aquino noted thatArroyo and Corona’s ties go a long way back. “Para po sa kanya, mukhang sapat na ang samahang ito para paulit-ulit na isangkalan ang integridad ng Korte Suprema. Hindi po ako ang sumisira sa kanyang institusyon; sa kanyang pagtanggi na panagutin si GinangArroyo, inuubos ni Ginoong Corona ang dangal ng Korte Suprema,”Aquino said. Aquino also riled against the Supreme Court’s reversal in recent cases involving cityhood and the FlightAttendants’and Stewards’Association of the Philippines (FASAP), saying these decisions had implications on the lives of ordinary Filipinos. Aquino described the Court as “pugad ng katiwalian.” (nest of corruption). “Hindi po tayo magpapamana sa susunod na salinlahi ng isang Korte Supremang pugad ng katiwalian,”Aquino said. Time to face the music Directly addressing Corona,Aquino said the impeachment process would allow Corona to answer the charges filed against him. “Ginoong Corona: Sa Kongreso at Senado, harapin mo ang pinagmulan ng poder mo:Ang taumbayan,”Aquino said. Aquino took the opportunity to thank members of the House of Representatives who signed the impeachment complaint against Corona. Present were not only partymates ofAquino in the Liberal Party but also members of other parties as well. Legislators previously associated with former PresidentArroyo were also there. “Ipinakita ng ating lehislatura ang kakayahang ipagtanggol ang interes ng sambayanan nang walang paliguy-ligoy, nang may katapatan sa tungkulin, at nang may pagkilala sa pagdurusang dinaraanan ng taumbayan, na siya ninyong kinakatawan,”Aquino said. Neither did Aquino give a direct answer on whether he had a direct hand in the impeachment of Corona. “Nang-awat pa ako at some point in time at dumating nga ‘yung punto na napakarami na ng ebidensya na talagang napasang-ayon na ako na talagang hindi na pwedeng panatilihin ‘yung suffering o paghihirap na nai-inflict sa ating bayan,” he said. Aquino said Corona’s impeachment should not create a “chilling effect” on other justices of AMAZED SCHOOL CHILDREN enjoythe view at Ocean Park what with a maintenance crew wearing a Santa Claus costume. the high court. “Simple lang naman po ito e: kaya n’yo bang panindigan ‘yung desisyon ninyo? Kung tama ang ginawa ninyo eh ‘di maski saang korte sila dalhin ay kayang panindigan ‘yon. Pero kung hindi kayang panindigan, doon ka siguro kakabahan. Okay? Sabi nga ng mga nakakatanda sa atin: bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan na lang ang mamroblema,” he said. If given the chance to appoint one,Aquino believes that the next chief justice would not be beholden to him. “Bakit hindi ninyo tingnan ‘yung mga na-appoint ko na? Mayroon bang beholden? Have The Department of Social Welfare and De- standing (MOU) on this partnership at the Kabuntalan, Maguindanao. Construction of they voted every time in our favor? Or perhaps even the perception of what I would have velopment (DSWD-National), DSWD-Au- DSWD central office in Batasan Hills, Quezon the day care centers and modified shelters is wanted as far as a decision is concerned?” Aquino said. expected to be completed by 2012. tonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao City. The partnership aims to provide better serThe DSWD will provide funds to From page 1 (DSWD-ARMM) and the Department of National Defense through its National De- vices to the public, especially those in de- NADESCOM based on the approved work sourced from R&D funds and from moneys raised from carbon trading, with the specific velopment Support Command pressed and conflict affected areas inARMM. program and budget. They will also provide objective of developing a clean, renewable and infinite source of energy; alternative materials (NADESCOM), an infrastructure and devel- It is also geared towards enhancing military technical assistance in the social preparation for building and infrastructure thereby reducing the country’s dependence on raw materials opment arm of theArmed Forces of the Phil- supportoncommunitydevelopmentprograms activities as well coordination with concerned sourced from mine extractions. partner-agencies,DSWD-ARMMandLGUs. ippines (AFP), entered into a tripartite part- in the countryside. “Since environment protection is the main objective of green science, our goal in our R&D The social service projects include the conNADESCOM, on the other hand, shall be nership for social development projects in five program is to supplement existing renewable energy sources to reduce our dependence on struction of day care centers in the provinces in-charge of the construction of day care cenprovinces inARMM. fossil fuel and at the same time develop materials and even additives that can reduce our DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano- of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu ters and modified shelter units. dependence on logging and mine extraction,” the Iloilo solon said, as he noted that there are “We hope that through this partnership, we Soliman and AFP Major General Carlos B. and Tawi-Tawi in ARMM, as well as conexisting researches on the development of composite materials that would soon replace Holganza inked the memorandum of under- struction of 100 modified shelter units in can strengthen and extend wider peace and traditional building materials. community development in the countryside, Trenas said the utilization of new technologies to maximize the use of alternative energy especially in Southern Philippines,” Secreand the development of new materials and techniques that makes exclusive use of recyclables tary Soliman said. and biological scraps would greatly help not only in protecting the environment but also in greatly improving the people’s way of life. He cited as an example the possible development of pre-fabricated structural foundations that utilizes agricultural waste products such as corn cobs and husks, and even possibly water lilies, and the possible development of the Pasig River system as a hydro-power facility. “Apart from energy, the key areas in green technology would involve buildings, waste and From page 1 water management and transportation. We have to develop our own green technology in these areas using resources that are renewable and infinitely available to us here in the Philippines,” Aside from the Philippine-China website, he said. Coloma also highlighted the importance of For his part, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato”Arroyo proposed for the institutionalizapeople-to-people exchanges. Both parties also tion of cutting-edge advanced energy and green building technologies in the country. plan to have exchanges between media, jour“The country should prepare the next wave of design and construction professionals to nalists and information and communication improve the energy efficiency and productivity of our nation’s buildings,” stressed Arroyo, officials. author of House Bill 5220. Collaborative efforts are also being worked He recalled that during the latest Annual General Membership Meeting of the Philippine out for book publishing, with CIPG being one Green Building Council (PhilGBC) held in Makati City, British experts from building and of the largest importer and exporter publish- design companies shared their latest and most innovative environmental technologies with ing companies in China. The Philippines and local counterparts. China could produce books regarding eco“Part of its global commitment to address alarming trends of climate change, the United nomic and cultural history shared by both Kingdom was reportedly seeking to bring to countries like the Philippines cutting-edge envicountries. ronmental technologies particularly in building designs,” he said. During their visit, Youyi and his group Arroyo is proposing that such initiative be worked out by mandating the Department of toured the Malacanang Museum and the Energy (DoE) to partner with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in awarding Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). BSP offi- grants to university programs related to design and construction of high performance buildcials introduced the country’s culture by show- ings. casing the Philippine currency and the BSP High performance building means that can integrate and optimize all major high-perforcultural museum to the visiting Chinese del- mance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and IT’S CHRISTMAS: A traffic enforcer dressed as Santa Claus directing traffic in Manila. egation. occupant productivity.

DSWD, AFP build day care centers, housing units in ARMM

Lawmakers push for ...

Philippines, China to put up joint...

Dec. 19 - Dec. 26 , 2011



MetrEx: RP’s 1st & only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Senate approves additional P6.39-B budget for NPC The Senate unanimously approved on Tuesday on third and final reading Senate joint resolution No. 13 increasing the corporate operating budget of the National Power Corporation (NPC) from P7.57 billion to P14.96 billion for 2011. Senator Franklin Drilon, sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution No. 13, said the additional budget was necessary to allow the stateowned firm to continue servicing its off-grid areas. As of September this year, Drilon explained, NPC had spent P7.07 billion of its totalbudgetofP7.58billion,leavingonlyP503, 281 for its operational expenses. “Additional budget of P6.39 billion is necessary to cover NPC’s requirements for fuel,

purchasing power, rental of generating sets, new power provider subsidy, debt service and capital expenditures,” Drilon said in his sponsorship speech. Likewise, Drilon said NPC needed to settle its debt amounting to P3.22 billion, which it incurred in 2009 and due for payment. “It is necessary for the Senate and the House of Representatives to increase NPC’s operating budget for fiscal year 2011 from P7.58 billion to P13.97 billion,” Drilon stressed. According to Drilon, the approval of the supplemental budget shall be subjected to certain conditions. For instance, he explained, NPC will not be allowed to augment or realign its budget for the current year. It shall

“enter into obligations only to the actual cash receipts” and shall prioritize expenses for fuel and purchases power cost, generating set rental, net subsidy, capital outlay and other expenditures. He said NPC will immediately settle its debt amounting to P3 billion as soon as it will receive money from the national government. “In no case shall (NPC’s) supplemental budget or any savings be used for the payment of salaries, advances of representation and transportation expenses or other personal allowances and benefits,” Drilon stressed. Certified as urgent by President Benigno Aquino III, the measure was introduced by Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.



Aquino vows to pursue modernization plans of AFP President Benigno S.Aquino III vowed to pursue changes in the Armed Forces of the Philippines by not only strengthening its procurement processes but by also closely scrutinizing the quality of the gears, weapons and equipment purchased by the military. The President said that “through this tough process, the lives of our valiant soldiers defending the people will not be wasted due to defective gears.” “Kaya naman sisiguraduhin nating maayos, hindi lamang ang procurement ng inyong mga armas at kagamitan, kundi ang mismong kalidad ng mga uniporme, bala, armas, sasakyan at iba pa ninyong pangangailangan,” the President said in his speech keynoting the change of command PRESIDENT NOY ceremonies in CampAguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday. “Batid kasi nating buhay, kaligtasan, at kalayaan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang nakataya rito. Sa pamamagitan ng ating Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program, sisiguruhin nating hindi tayo malalagasan ng kawal dahil lamang sa luma at depektibong kagamitan,” he said. He added that the government has also “upgraded” the benefits of the men in uniform to include education and housing. “Sa pamamagitan naman ng mga education at training programs, itutugma natin sa panahon ang mga reporma ngAFP, at i-aangat ang antas ng kakayahan at kaalaman ng kasundaluhan, upang makasabay sila sa husay at teknolohiyang militar ng ibang mga mas modernong bansa,” the President said. He pointed out that more than 8,000 personnel have already availed while some 7,000 more are lined up for the government’s housing program. “Maghahanap pa tayo ng ibang mga paraan upang masiguro na habang ginugugol ninyo ang inyong oras at pagod sa pagbabantay sa pambansang kaligtasan, doble-kayod din ang pamahalaan sa pagtutok sa pangangailangan ng kasundaluhan,” the President said.

DOTC: Infra projects in full swing in ‘12

DENR prohibits land titling in proposed protected areas The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is suspending all activities relating to land titling in areas proposed for declaration into protected areas (PAs). The suspension is based on DENR Memorandum Order (MO) No. 2011-04, which provides the guidelines in regulating all activities, projects, and land uses in all areas proposed for inclusion in the National Integrated ProtectedAreas System (NIPAS). DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the move is to “ease environmental pressure caused by human settlements on areas that naturally maintain ecological processes, provide life support systems, and preserve biodiversity.” Under the order, the suspension shall cover survey and processing of all public land applications for titling purposes. Paje, however, clarified that the suspension shall only be effective on the actual date of submission of the draft proclamation by the DENR’s regional office, which has jurisdiction over the area, to the DENR central office in Quezon City. Also suspended starting on the same date is the processing of applications for lease, license, or permit of any project or activity within the identified area, as well as the acceptance of new applications “except for projects that are compatible with the objectives of the NIPAS.” In cases, however, where the Office of the President decides to disapprove the proposed proclamation, the DENR shall lift the sus-

pension on said activities. In line with this, Paje ordered land management officers from the DENR’s field offices and the Land Management Bureau to ensure that survey and administrative titling activities comply with MO 4. “Any responsible officer or personnel who fail to comply [with MO 4] shall be penalized accordingly,” the DENR chief warned. PAs, as defined in Republic Act No. 7586 or the NIPAS, are portions of land and water with unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biodiversity, and protected against destructive human exploitation. PAs are categorized as nature or resource reserves; natural parks, monuments,

or biotic areas; wildlife sanctuaries; protected land or seascapes; or, as established by law, conventions or international agreements. Data from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of DENR indicate that there are currently 239 PAs included in the NIPAS, covering a total area of 5.4 million hectares. Of the total, 111 have already been officially declared, encompassing a total area of 3.5 million hectares. Of these declared PAs, PAWB Director Mundita Lim said 82 are terrestrial PAs, with a total area of 2.1 million hectares, of which 374,908.5 hectares are within alienable and disposable lands. Press Release

A little too late for them supporters of former PGMA.

It’s full steam ahead next year for the half-a-trillion-pesos worth of infrastructure projects earmarked by the PNoy government. Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas said many of these projects are aimed at providing a safe, affordable, and reliable public transportation system nationwide, and are currently in various stages of implementation. Roxas said the DOTC is planning these projects using a deliberate, well-thought-of, and step-by-step approach, which is in line with the government’s “Matuwid na Daan” advocacy. This means, he said, that extraordinary diligence is being exercised by the DOTC for all its infrastructure projects, particularly the repair works for Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIAT1), and the problematic and “reconfigured” North Rail project. NAIA Terminal 1 The DOTC-Manila InternationalAirportAuthority’s P1.2-billion NAIAT1 Rehabilitation Plan, which will undertake structural and aesthetical improvements of the country’s current gateway, is now among the priority projects of the government. A team of consultants from Singapore’s ChangiAirports International inspected the terminal recently to study the passenger flow, and identify key areas and facilities that need improvement. The DOTC also harnessed the best architects, engineers, and designers available, including P2, an engineering firm that did the initial structural studies of NAIAT1; theAsian Institute of Technology, which made the computer simulations relative to the airport’s structural integrity; theAssociation of Structural Engineers of the Philippines; andAliling andAssociates, the DOTC’s principal consultant on the rehabilitation plan. “The electromechanical and functional flaws of NAIA T1 are now being carefully reviewed,” Roxas said. “Once we receive the findings early next year, the ‘pukpukan’ at the terminal will commence.” Roxas also assured that the Philippine government is pushing through with the development of the North Rail project in line with plans of making Clark Airport the country’s major gateway. “We’re fixing NAIATerminal 1, spending a total of one billion pesos, of which roughly P350 million will be used for structural retrofitting because the building is 30 years old. We have to spend money because we’re here for another five to seven years [before the transfer to Clark],” he said. North Rail Roxas and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao had a few meetings after President BenignoAquino met up with Chinese President Hu Jintao in September this year to flesh out the instructions of the two state leaders, but work on details of the project was left to both the presidents. The meetings withAmbassador Liu are preparatory in order to ensure that DOTC’s upcoming meeting with Chinese ministers will be as productive as possible.



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Fitzgerald Cecilio Asst. Editor Benjie Alejandro Editorial ContributorColumnist The Metro Express is a weekly broadsheet newsmagazine published by el amigo media solutions and distributed widely in Metro Manila at LRT/MRT Stations, the House of Representatives, the Senate and other government offices. For press, photo releases and advertising inquiries, text or call Hotlines Globe 0915-5517486 and Smart 09491661022. Emails: &

By Flon Faurillo (

Benguet to end year with positive retained earnings

The battle between Pres. BenignoAquino III and Chief Justice Renato Corona has begun. It has started with the exchange of verbal fireworks. However, everything would come to a head in a few days time when the Senate Benguet Corporation (Benguet) has disclosed it expects to end 2011 with convenes itself as an impeachment court. positive retained earnings. This is the result of the approval by the Securities and Exchange CommisThis would, perhaps, outstage the current telenovela craze as what happened sion (SEC) on December 5 for Benguet to implement a quasi reorganization during the impeachment trial of former president Joseph Estrada. and equity re-structuring, paving the way for the company to totally wipe out its retained earnings deficit of P2.16 billion. Under said SEC approval, the equity restructuring involves the offsetting of the company’s additional paid-in capital against the deficit, while quasi reorganization entails the zeroing out of the deficit balance by charging against it a portion of the appraisal increment account. Considering that Benguet expects to end 2011 with over a billion in net income, the company will close the year with a healthy retained earnings

PHL external trade in goods up 10.3% in 1H

The country’s total external trade in goods for the first semester rose by 10.3 percent to $ 55.26 billion from $ 50.26 billion during the first semester last year, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said. The NSO attributed the growth to the 15.6 percent positive growth of the total imports to $ 30.501 billion from $ 26.377 billion during the first semester of 2010. Receipts grew Meanwhile, total export receipts grew by 4.3 percent to $ 24.757 billion from $ 23.741 billion during the first semester of 2010. The balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) for the Philippines registered a $ 5.744 billion deficit in the first semester of 2011 from $ 2.636 billion deficit in the same period last year. Accounting for 71.2 percent of the aggregate export revenue in the first semester of 2011, receipts from the top ten exports totaled to $ 17.632 billion, posting a 1.5 percent negative growth from $ 17.903 billion during the first semester in 2010. Top earner Electronic Products continued to be the top earner for the first semester of 2011 with 51.1 percent of the total exports or a decline of 10.8 percent from $ 14.173 billion to $ 12.638 billion in the first semester of 2011. Articles of Apparel and ClothingAccessories followed with a share of 3.7 percent and an aggregate receipt of $ 917.00 million or 13.6 percent higher than the 2010 first semester’s value of $ 807.48 million. Ranked third Woodcrafts and Furniture ranked third with a share of 3.4 percent, posting an increase of 67.8 percent to $ 849.50 million from $ 506.35 million in the first semester of 2010. Coconut oil, also with share of 3.4 percent, ranked fourth with export receipts of $ 848.29 million or 48.2 percent higher from the 2010 first semester value of $ 572.23 million. 5th top export Cathodes & Sections of Cathodes, of Refined Copper contributing 2.6 percent of the total export receipts, was the Philippines’ fifth top export in the first semester of 2011 with sales amounting to $ 634.84 million, reflecting an increase of 69.9 percent from $ 373.73 million during the first semester of 2010. Top 10 trading The country’s top ten trading partners for the first semester of 2011 posted a total trade value of $ 41.570 billion or 75.2 percent of the total. This comprised a total export receipt of $ 20.241 billion or 81.8 percent of the total exports and total import bill of $ 21.329 billion or 69.9 percent of the total imports. EDITOR’S NOTE: All commentaries and or opinions submitted by columnists and herein published shall remain as personal opinion of writers. As such, these cannot and never be construed nor considered as similar to that of this publication (Metro Express)’s stand on issues discussed. Be that as it may, Metro Express shall not be held liable on any legal issues related/pertaining to, or any column/commentaries that may appear herein.

position. It hopes to sustain profitability through its enhanced gold and nickel operations. Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez, Benguet’s president and chief executive officer, said the company will focus in 2012 on the development of its gold tailing reprocessing project and the further expansion of theAcupan mine, as gold is seen to hover above $ 1,500 per ounce in the near term. Furthermore, Benguet is currently developing the infrastructure and support facilities required for its expanded nickel operations. With bright prospects looming in its horizon, the company has lately been receiving financing offers for its various projects and has regained access to the credit markets.

Supreme power Former President Joseph Estrada once branded the sage men and women of the Supreme Court as “hoodlums in robes” but grave as his accusation was, libel charges escaped him, spared owing maybe of his Chief Executive status then. But the good men and women in robes only bided their time and when the opportunity came for them to pin him down, Estrada went tumbling down and PGMA, now CGMA, was swiftly sworn into office via Chief Justice Davide then. Even during her tenure, PGMA also experienced first-hand the supreme power throughout the land that the Supreme Court possesses or have. The SC shoot contracts after contracts Malacanang had before during PGMA’s time whatever international repercussions they may have. Now, CGMAcould only hoper she’ll be dealt with a more friendly card yes, from no other than personages she appointed before. Xmas bonus Government employees are assured of a White Christmas what with PresidentAquino’s announcement that the national government would give P10,000 in additional holiday bonus to each one of the 1.17 million civil servants, including those hired on temporary, casual or contractual basis. But wait, here’s the kicker: Malacanang said the full amount will only be given to employees who had rendered at least four months of service as of November 30. This would be “on top of the (13th month pay and the P5,000 cash gift), there is a P10,000 productivity enhancement incentive (PEI), which is due to be given by December 15,” Mr. President said. Nice, eh? Satisfaction survey Malacanang’s feeling of Christmas generosity may be attributed to PNoy’s latest so-so rating that says more and more Pinoys believe that life would be better in the next 12 months to come, meaning in the next chapter of our lives or in 2012. Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted the survey from Sept. 4 to 7 of which found 39 percent of respondents believe or expect that the quality of their lives would improve (“optimists”) in the next 12 months. Pessimists only had a nine percent share expecting their lives would only get worse or for a net score of 30. Take note, the said survey was higher than the 36 and 35 percent optimism recorded in June and March, respectively. On Quality Of Living For the information of everyone, Imperial Manila ranks 128 out of 221 cities in the world. This is again based on a survey by Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living ranking highlights.


Said Quality of Living Survey is based on political and social environment, medical and health considerations, public services and transport, consumer goods, economic environment, sociocultural environment, schools and education, natural environment, recreation and housing criteria. New York serves as the base city for the ranking. More spending


We really hope for a better 2012 if Malacanang will make good with its promise to spend more in 2012. When money flows by a drip, life would really be agonizingly slow to all of us Filipinos especially when there are but a little amount of public services are flowing on a snail pace. If there are no infrastructure projects flowing from your congressman chances are there is but a little job available to townspeople and local economy also screeches to a halt. Now this is the very reason, Malacanang is stepping up spending next year particularly on infrastructure development. Take it from PS Edwin Lacierda: “We’re going full blast by 2012 and we expect more PPP projects coming out… both from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).” One of this is the government’s plan to bid out this year the Daang HariSouth Luzon Expressway Road construction project and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) project. There are already interested bidders for the Daang-Hari project and it is expected to be awarded before year’s end the PS says. Tthe Department of Education (DepEd) is also looking on PPP for the construction of more classrooms, he added. “The respective Cabinet members will be announcing the forthcoming PPP projects,” he said. Also, Lacierda said, the government has instituted reforms so it can scrutinize projects in the pipe line while at the same time ensuring speedy implementation. According to the government, projects that could still be included in the 2011 bidding list will be the P6.8-billion New Bohol (Panglao) airport project, the P8.85-billion LRT Line 2 East extension, the P83.25-billion LRT Line 1 South extension, the P4.14-billion Puerto Princesa airport development project, the P450- to P675-million-a-year Laguindingan Airport O&M contract, and the P6.88-billion New Legazpi airport development. So there, let’s wait and see…Merry Christmas!

Dec. 19 - Dec. 26, 2011



MetrEx: 1st & only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

Aquino leads Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Awards President Benigno S. Aquino III led the awarding ceremony for the winners of the 2011 Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Awards (LTIA) acknowledging the role of local leaders in administering justice in the country. In his speech following the grant of the awards, the President said lack of judges in the country’s courts results to delays in court proceedings, taking heavy toll on people seeking justice. However, because disputes are initially resolved in the lowest level with the help of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, the President said it prevents cases from piling up in the courts. “Kaya naman nagpapasalamat ako sa tagapagtaguyod ng pagdiriwang nating ito, partikular na sa Department of Interior and Local Government, sa pangunguna ng magaling na lider natin na si Secretary Jessie Robredo,” he said in his message. “Sa pagkilala po ninyo sa mga katangitanging LupongTagapamayapa, hindi lamang kayo sumasaludo sa kanilang mga sakripisyo at ambag sa kaayusan sa lipunan, nabibigyan din natin ng insentibo ang ating mga ehemplo na magpatuloy sa kanilang makabuluhang serbisyo-publiko,” the Chief Executive added. The awards also unite other government agencies for a more effective grant of justice

to people seeking it, he said. He congratulated the awardees for their effective services in the performance of their duties. “Taus-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong maayos at epektibong serbisyo sa pagpapatibay at pagsasabuhay sa mga adhikain ng Katarungang Pambarangay at sa inyong pagiging malikhain at maparaan bilang mga tagapamagitan tungo sa pag-aayos sa mga di pagkakaunawaan sa inyong nasasakupan,” the President said. “Nais po nating maghari ang katarungan sa bansa at katuwang natin ang Lupong Tagapamayapa bilang isa sa mga instrumento ng kaayusan at pagkakaunawaan ng mga Pilipino. Sa tulong at gabay ninyo sa problema ng inyong nasasakupan, nakatutok tayo sa mas mabibigat na problema ng ating bansa at sa pagtataguyod ng kapakanan ng mas nangangailangan,” he added. The Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Awards was established pursuant to Executive Order 394, Series of 1997, in recognition of the Lupon’s contribution in the promotion of Katarungang Pambarangay (KB) objectives. It aims to strengthen the effectiveness of the Katarungang Pambarangay as an indigenous mediation structure capable of resolv-

ing disputes within a community to avoid lengthy court trials. The grant of awards is based on the following criteria: Efficiency in operations, effectiveness in securing the objectives of the KP, creativity and resourcefulness of the Lupons. This year’s competition covered 39,348 lupons nationwide for the period July 2009 to December 2010. There are 48 national finalists from the 57 target Lupon finalists in 16 regions that competed in this year’s LTIAin the following categories: Highly Urbanized Cities, Component Cities, First to third Class Municipalities and Fourth to Sixth Class Municipalities. This year’s winners include the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Adlaon, Cebu City, for Highly Urbanized Cities category; Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Tuyo, Balanga City, Bataan, for the Component Cities category; Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Bailan, Pontevedra, Capiz for the First to Third Class Municipalities category; and Lupong Tagapamayapa of Baranagay Quezon, Mainit, Surigao del Norte for Fourth to Sixth Class Municipalities category. Each of the four national awardees received a presidential trophy and cash from the DILG.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her present state.

MMDA bares release of compensation package fund

President Noy shakes the hand of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II as he presents the Exemplar Award during the Bulong Pulungan Annual Christmas Party and Recognition Day for Outstanding Public Servants and Private Individuals at the Luzon Ballroom of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on Tuesday (December 06). The Bulong Pulungan media forum was founded in 1986 by a group of journalists from different publications.

The Metropolitan Manila DevelopmentAuthority (MMDA) announced over the weekend the release of the fund for the compensation package of 3,100 retired employees of the agency. “Matatanggap na nila ang kanilang gratuity pay starting this week. Naaprubahan na ito ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for release.At ginagawan na natin ng paraan na ma-expedite ang release dahil napakatagal na nila itong hinihintay since 2007. (They will get their gratuity pay starting next week after the DBM approved the release. And we will expedite the release because they have been waiting for so long since 2007),” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said. “Nagulat pa nga ako nang magsagawa sila ng rally noong kakaupo ko lang dahil di ko pa alam na may ganito palang problema (I was surprised that they rallied against me when I assumed office because I didn’t know that there was this problem),” he added. Tolentino said they have already informed the retired employees of the good development and that they were told to report to the MMDA’s main office in Makati City on Monday to get the schedule of when they will get their retirement pay. “Sa Lunes ng umaga ay mamamahagi kami ng coupon sa lahat ng mga nagretirong kawani ng ahensiya na magiging batayan nila kung kailan nila kukuhanin ang kanilang benepisyo (On Monday morning, we will give coupon for all retired employees of the agency to serve as basis when they can get their benefits),” the MMDA chief said. First to receive the retirement pay would be those who retired from the agency the earliest (in 2007), although Tolentino said they expect all retirees would get their due before the end of this month.

Govt to bid out lease on commercial spaces at LRT The third phase would be the procurement Vehicles for P 184 million. The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) dated units of LRT 1 LRVs amounted to P Perennial breakdowns at LRT could be a will lease, through bidding, the commercial of modified bogie frames of LRT 1 Light Rail While the rehabilitation of the 21 dilapi- 150 million. thing of the past amid rehabilitation plans. spaces at the country’s two mass rail systems to interested companies. In a bid bulletin, LRTA said it is inviting interested persons or entities to submit expressions of interest to lease commercial spaces at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2. “Any firm or entity interested to participate in the bidding must submit a formal expression of interest to lease... on December 13,” LRTAsaid. The authority said the award of the contract should be made to the proponent with most advantageous offer. “LRTA reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposal(s) without thereby incurring any liability to the affected proponents,” the LRTA said. LRTA posted a gross revenue fare collecPress Release tion of P 1.87 billion as of end-October this year. Last year, LRTA posted a total of P 2.23 billion gross revenue collection. Earlier, the LRTA announced the P 1.06billion renovation and capacity improvement of LRT Line 1. The first phase of the project amounted to P 381 million, which involves the replacement of the 23 kilometers out of the 40 rail President Benigno S. Aquino III shares the stage with the winners of the 2011 The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards for a photo souvenir in a ceremony at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan tracks that were installed 30 years ago. The second phase amounted to P 150 mil- Palace on Wednesday (December 07). In photo are Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, Dr. Raul Destura, Maria Antonia Gregorio Arroyo, Calapan City Mayor Paulino Salvador Leachon, Edgar Sia II, Antonio Tiu and Gerard Joseph Salonga. The TOYM Awards is the Philippines’ most prestigious awards search recognizing young men and women whose selfless lion, which involves the replacement of 1,760 dedication to their profession or vocation has resulted in significant contributions to the welfare of their countrymen and our country at large as well as to the advancement of their respective fields of endeavor. granty anchor bolts.



Dec. 19 - Dec. 26, 2011


Pinoy junior golfers net 3 golds, 1 silver in Guam Jesus’ amazing salvation “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them” (Hebrews 11:33) Please pray for those who are far away from hearing about Jesus. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy; the sinners, not the righteous. Pray that God would give every Christian access to the hearts of unbelievers to tell about Jesus’ amazing salvation and forgiveness. I want to hear from you! What issues are most important to you? What do you need help with and want to see at ? Every day this week, I will be asking you at our Facebook page for your thoughts and dreams and needs. Get the daily posts by “Liking” our page! Thanks! Just Keep Swimming. When I was little, my parents made me go to swimming lessons. I was so afraid that I got sick to my stomach every time I stood in front of the pool. But I had a nice coach who wanted to give me the accomplishment of swimming the entire pool. It was so long! There was no way I thought I could do it, but here’s what he would do: He would stand in the shallow-end of the pool and invite me in. “Just swim to me,” he said. Ok, that I can do. But then he would move back a little farther. “Just keep swimming, Amy. Don’t stop paddling.” I swam a little more. He kept doing this until suddenly I was at the end. I was so amazed—I never dreamed I could do that! He helped me the entire way with his closeness, the promise of his reach to save me, his encouraging voice saying, “Just keep swimming.” That’s what faith is. It is the continual reach to get something great. Try this with me now, even though it seems a little silly: Reach out your hand as far as it will go, as if for something just at the edge of your grasp. I want you to remember that feeling as we read about one unlikely woman’s amazing reach of faith: As Jesus went with him, He was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of His robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against You.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched Me, for I felt healing power go out from Me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of Him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched Him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Jesus said it was her faith that made her well, showing how much God values faith. Imagine this woman’s obstacles: all the crowds, the larger men, the people who disdained her because of her sickness, and the countless disappointments of failed cures. But to push through the crowds, bear the shame, and reach out to Jesus, she had to believe that what was on the end of her reach was worth it: that Jesus had the power no one else had. This is the essence of faith. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Maybe you’ve been treading water awhile in the pool of your promise. You haven’t quite given up, but you don’t feel you have the strength to keep paddling. God wants to help you today. Just like my swim coach was there to help me if I got tired or scared, God is near you to uphold you and encourage you to keep going. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny Himself.” God wants you to know today that He is faithful when you are faithless, and He wants to help get you to the other side to receive your promise. Reach out today and tell Him, “Help! I want to keep kicking. Please give me Your strength.” So this week, let’s all pray together—for ourselves and each other—that: 1. God would renew the vision of the promise He has given us 2. We would reach out to God to receive His strength to keep going in faith 3. Global Media Outreach would reach those we haven’t been able to reach before Why don’t you post about the promise you are believing for at the GodLife Prayer Wall? We can all pray for each other and see God help us as a united group get to the other side. Your Friends at

Matteo denies split with Maja Actor Matteo Guidicelli has belied the rumor that he and actress Maja Salvador have broken up. “Wala lang, nagulat lang ako.Ang bilis lang kumalat, ‘di ba? Ang bilis lang kumalat ng maliit na stories,” Matteo said. Guidicelli said that the two of them are still together but he admitted that they are currently going through a rough patch. “You know little arguments right [here] and there, pero okay naman [kami]. ‘Di ba it’s normal in a relationship?” he said. According to Guidicelli, he and Salvador have not yet talked about their issues due to their busy schedules. However, he keeps his hopes up that they will be able to overcome this challenge in their relationship.

“I’m sure Maja and I will fix whatever it is, and [there’s] nothing to worry about,” he said. Lorna proud and happy lola

Manila, Philippines—The Philippine Junior Golfers brought another honor to the country by topping three divisions in the recent 3rd BMW Guam Junior Golf League Tournament last December 17 and 18 at the Leo Palace Resort in Yoña, Guam. Aidric Chan ruled the boys’ 10 and below, Kyla Nocum in the girls’ 10 and below and Arnie Taguines in the girls’ 8 and below. Samantha Martirez, meantime placed second in the girl’s 14 and below in the annual event which lured by junior golfers from Guam, Saipan, Marianas, Micronesia, Korea and the Philippines. “Na inspire po ako sa nagawa ni Kuya (John) Lester (Lagman) kahit natamaan siya ng bola ay tinapos pa din niya ang torneo sa Malaysia,” said Aidric , a grade 4 pupil of Ateneo referring the bronze medal finish of his best friend John Lester Lagman who averted what could have been a medal shut-out in junior golf by capturing

the bronze in the 10th Sutera Harbour Junior Amateur Open 2011 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia last December 5 to 6. “Kaya talagang pinagbutihan ko laro ko dito sa Guam at nagbunga naman po.” added Aidric , also the 2010 champion who is celebrating his 11th birthday on December 23. He was coached by Juanito “Pago”Pagunsan, father of Juvic, who was named the Players’ Player of the Year at the Asian Tour Awards Gala to go with the prestigious Order of Merit crown held at the St. Regis Hotel last Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand. “Kahit medyo madugo, pinaghirapn ng anak ko makarating sa kinalalagyan niya last year kaya kami sumubok at nagtagumpay muli...kung nakasama namin sa Guam si (John) Lester (Lagman) ay malamang isa pang gold ang napanalunan natin,” Chan’s father, Deo.

John Lester failed to compete in this year’s 3rd BMW Guam Junior Golf League Tournament due to earlier commitment to play in the Secretary of National Defense Golf Cup held at the Veterans Golf Club in Quezon City. Lagman, the 12-year-old nephew of businessman Mikee Romero, topped the Secretary of National Defense Golf Cup tournament sponsored by Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin in close cooperation with Veterans Golf Club GM Brig. Gen. Patrick Madayag (ret.). The Philippine Junior Golfers are preparing for the junior world qualifying this coming April 2012 in San Diego and US Kids Qualifying tour on May in North Carolina, USA. All of them are schedule to play in the Philippine International Jungolf Tournament on January 2012 in Manila. Marlon Bernardino

The Philippine Memory Team recently paid a courtesy call to Vice President Jejomar "JoJo" C. Binay at his Coconut Palace office in Pasay City. From left are Christopher Carandang, Erwin Balines, head coach Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr., sportsman/businessman Hermie Esguerra, Vice President Jejomar "JoJo" C. Binay, Johann Randall Abrina, Team Manager and Delegation Head Aurelio "Reli" de Leon, Axelyancy Cowan Tabernilla, Roberto Racasa and Mark Anthony Castaneda. Dubbed as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-Mandaluyong-Bagong Henerasyon Philippine Memory Team, the PMT finished with a silver medal in the team competition during the 20th World 'Olympic' Memory Championship (WMC) at the Mount River Resort Hotel in Guangzhou, China last December 9. Aside from the team silver, the Pinoys also won an individual bronze medal.(photo by Mark Anthony Adarlo)

Lagman tops in Gazmin Golf Cup INSPITE of a slow star, John Lester Lagman managed to keep his cool under pressure from golfers way older and more experienced bagging the over-all champion in the just concluded Secretary of National Defense Golf Cup held at the Veterans Golf Club in Quezon City, over the weekend. The 12-year-old nephew of sportsman/ businessman Mikee Lagman Romero, playing under the banner of Eastridge Golf and Veterans Golf Club, is the youngest to play at the tourney and even got the longest drive award. Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Civilian Veterans and Reserve Affairs, & Spokesman Eduardo Batac and Veterans Golf Club GM Brig. Gen. Patrick Madayag (ret.) presented the award. Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin was there (Golf Cup) in the early morning but has to leave for CDO Calamity to help the victims of the flood. Veterans golf helps and assists in the medical of the veterans patients. "Because of his attitude and character towards the game, John Lester is for sure to be the boy to watch this coming 2012 in golf at the age of 12," said former DOTC Action Center head Jon Jon Lagman, father of John Lester. It shall be recalled that John Lester averted what could have been a medal shutout in junior golf as he capture the bronze in the 10th Sutera Harbour Junior Amateur Open

ACTRESS Lorna Tolentino is a proud and happy lola as the girlfriend of her eldest son, Rap, recently gave birth to a baby girl. “Sino ba naman ang hindi magiging happy sa experience na iyon? Pakiramdam ko nga, ako nga ang nanganak eh. Ganun ang feeling yata na mayroon ka nang apo kasi nare-reminisce mo ang lahat ng nangyari nung nagbuntis ka at nanganak ka.” Tolentino was also inside the operating Rafael ang nag-video,” she said. room when Rap’s girlfriend was giving birth. According to Toletino, they timed the “I was really inside together with Rafael baby’s arrival at exactly “11-11-11” because sa operating room.Ako ang nagpi-picture, si it was the favorite number her late husband,

Veterans Golf Club General Manager Brig. Gen. Patrick Madayag (ret.) congratulates the winner in 12-yearold John Lester Lagman.

2011 was held last December 4 and 5 at the Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. John Lester tallied 154 (80-74) en route to the coveted bronze medal.Aaerishna Shahsthy Balakrishnan of Malaysia won the gold with 147 (74-73) followed by Suzairi Iqmah Rahim of Malaysia with 150 (75-75) for the silver medal. The reigning two-time Echiverri Golf over-

all champion hopes to carry the momentum when he compete in the Philippine International Jungolf Tournament on January 2012 set in Manila. Other tournament line-up for Lagman are the 2012 Scottish Junior Golf Tournament on March in Scotland, Junior World Qualifying tour onApril in San Diego and US Kids Qualifying tour on May in North Carolina, USA. M. Bernardino

actor Rudy Fernandez. “We parang planned na since Rudy’s favorite number is 11, so tiniming namin na 1111-11. Yun pala due na talaga siya kasi nung

night pa lang na pumasok sila sa hospital, medyo sumasakit na ang tiyan niya. So due na talaga siya, so it’s really 11-11-11. But we timed it na maging 11 a.m.,” she said.

Dec. 19 - Dec. 26, 2011



MetrEx: 1st & Only Weekly Broadsheet Newsmagazine

85% of P72-B disbursement acceleration plan already released In line with its goal to step up government spending before the year-end, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) today announced that P61.28 billion or 85 percent of the P72.11-billion DisbursementAcceleration Plan has already been released to agencies and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) as of December 6, 2011. Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B.Abad confirmed that of this amount, P41.66 billion had already been disbursed by agencies and GOCCs since October 12, when the President approved the Disbursement Acceleration Plan. This is about P15 billion or 56 percent higher than the P26.64billion disbursement level as of November 8.

“The DBM is now targeting further funding releases in the amount of P4.1 billion and a minimum of P5 billion in actual disbursements to reach 65 percent of the DisbursementAcceleration Plan (DAP) by mid-December, as earlier committed to the President,” Abad said. Abad said national government departments and agencies are now working with the DBM to seriously address the bottlenecks in fund utilization. He added that with the DAP in full swing, the DBM is also keeping a closer watch on the implementation of priority programs and projects by government agencies. DAP projects with notable disbursements during the period include the

National HousingAuthority with P11.050 billion, as well as the P970-million equity infusions for credit insurance and mortgage guaranty operation of the Home Guaranty Corporation (P400 million) and Trade and Investment Development Corporation of the Philippines (P570 million), and the establishment of centralized credit information system amounting to P75 million. Significant cash releases have also been given to Department of Health (P294 million) for the hiring of nurses and midwives, P2.75 billion support fund for local government units (LGUs), and the P331 million for the Department of Science and Technology for the purchase of three Doppler radars and establishment of National Meteorological and Climate Center.

MinDA forms committee on Mindanao-wide security mechanism Davao City – Given the current security situation in Mindanao, the Mindanao DevelopmentAuthority (MinDA) has set up a coordinated mechanism that aims to actively engage the security sector in the island’s overall strategic development direction. Following a series of consultations and coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Offices in Mindanao, and Balay Mindanao Foundation, the AFP’s Unified Area Commands in Mindanao as well as the PNP’s Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Mindanao (DIPO), a Mindanao Peace and Development Security Committee (MPDSC) under MinDA was created to consolidate Mindanao-wide issues and concerns that impact peace and development security. “We are taking every available opportunity to engage all key stakeholders as possible in the discussion of issues and in the pursuit of lasting peace and accelerated development forMindanao,” said MinDA chair Luwalhati Antonino at the MPDSC Organizational and 1st Principals’ Meeting held recently in Davao City. “This is a major endeavor to link development with peace and security so that we would be able to promote greater stability all across Mindanao, as a precursor to spurring more economicactivities,”Antoninotoldagathering of provincial governors and regional representatives from the security sector.

PHL’s end-Nov. ’11 foreign reserves up 26% to US$ 76.35B

President Noy and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., pose with the awardees of the Recognition and Natatanging Paglilingkod Awards for a photo souvenir during the 23rd Urban Poor Solidarity Week and Awarding Ceremony at the Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace Friday (December 09). Upper photo shows P-Noy delivering his message for the same event.

NTC approves Bayan assets sale to MTI The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it has approved the sale and transfer of the wireless landline assets of Bayan Telecommunication Inc. to Multimedia Telephony Inc. “We approved it in our recent en banc. Our legal department is now preparing the decision, but it is approved already,” Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC chief said. Cordoba added that Bayan and MTI earlier secured an approval from the rehabilitation court “so, we gave our approval.” As part of the rehabilitation plan approved in 2004 by the regional trial court in Pasig City, the company’s total debt was set at $325 million to be paid over a period of 19 years. Bayan paid a total of P6.74 billion worth of debts that have been paid to creditors since the company underwent rehabilitation in July 2004. The company stopped making interest payments in 2001 owing to recurring losses, forcing it to seek rehabilitation. Bayan earlier said the sale of its wireless landline assets is part of the

Lopez-led telecommunication firm’s strategy to exit from rehabilitation. Bayan’s wireless landline system uses a CDMA (code division multiple access) platform, the same technology MTI uses to deliver its local exchange service. MTI had said the acquisition of Bayan’s assets will not result in their consolidation or merger, nor would it destroy the separate and distinct judicial personality of each. MTI earlier said another Lopez-led company, Sky Vision, has expressed interest in infusing capital in, and extending technical assistance to the former. Sky Vision operates Sky Cable. Under the mutual understanding between the two companies, MTI can access the extensive fiber optic infrastructure of the cable operator as well as its content. MTI had said its parent firm Columbus and STT, one of the largest stockholders of Singaporean telecom Star Hub Ltd., plans to infuse additional capital in the Philippine firm.

Ford retail sales up 66% to 842 units in November Ford Philippines has reported that its November 2011 retail sales jumped 66 percent year-on-year to 842 units, led by the popular Ford Everest and the continued success of the fuel-efficient All-New Ford Fiesta. Sales of Everest soared in November to 363 units, increasing an outstanding 208 percent over the same month last year, and marking the vehicle’s strongest single sales in a month since it launched in the Philippines in 2003. Also fueling the company’s strong November performance was the exceptionalAll-New Fiesta with 228 units, reaching sales of over 3,800 units since its launch just over a year ago. “Our current lineup offers customers in the Philippines a range of safe and fuel efficient vehicles with a host of smart technologies. Our sales so far this year, and in November in particular, are testament to the fact that Ford is meeting the needs of Filipino customers,” said Randy Krieger, president, Ford Group Philippines.

Now on its second month of availability, the highly-anticipated All-New Ford Explorer is redefining the SUV segment in the Philippines with sales of 55 units in November, significantly exceeding the company’s expectations. “The All-New Explorer brings many industry-first features and technologies such as MyFord Touch to the local market,” said Krieger. “We are encouraged by the demand for this fantastic SUV and would like to thank our customers for their continued patience as we work hard to meet the growing number of reservations.” Ford’s overall sales year-to-date continued to lead the industry, rising 51 percent year-on-year to 8,805 vehicles, helping Ford to remain the fastest growing automotive brand in the Philippines this year. “With the introduction of theAll-New Ford Ranger in early 2012, we will be giving customers even more choices for class-leading, fuel efficient vehicles that offer unrivalled capability, performance and convenience,” Krieger said.

The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) expanded by 26.05 percent year-on-year to US$ 76.35 billion as of November 2011, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Wednesday. The country’s end-November 2010 GIR stood at US$ 60.57 billion, data released by the central bank showed. The latest foreign reserves figure is also slightly up month-on-month by 0.69 percent from last October’s US$ 75.83 billion. BSP GovernorAmando Tetangco Jr. attributed the rise in GIR to the income of the central bank’s overseas investments as well as its foreign exchange operations. He also traced this to the foreign currency deposits by authorized agent banks (AABs) and that of the national government (NG) in the BSP and the revaluation gains on central bank’s gold holdings. “These inflows were partially offset, however, by payments by the NG and the BSP for their maturing foreign exchange obligations,” he said. Tetangco said the latest foreign reserves of the country is enough to cover 11.2 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. Also, it is equivalent to 10.7 times the country’s short-term foreign liabilities based on original maturity and 6.5 times based on residual maturity, which the BSP defines as the “outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and longterm loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.”

SBMA bats... From page 8 region, specifically Vietnam and Cambodia. He noted that government investment agencies should not compete with each other, but with Vietnam and Cambodia which are now developing their economy faster than the Philippines does. According to Garcia, the Philippines’ foreign direct investment (FDI) last year reached only less than a billion dollars, while Vietnam made US$4 billion. “We should take a closer look at what the other countries are offering, so that we may, at least, have equal footing,” he said. IPAs are tasked to formulate and develop strategies to position the Philippines as among the prime investment destinations in the world through the creation of the PIPP, which serves as the blueprint in creating a world-class brand image of the Philippines based on promotional approaches of image building, investment generation and investment generation. Among those who attended the PIPP meeting were executives from the Board of Investment (BOI), Philippine Economic ZoneAuthority (PEZA), SBMA, Clark Development Corp. (CDC), Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), Regional Board of Investments of theARMM, and Authority of FreeportArea of Bataan (AFAB). Garcia told IPAexecutives that during Pres. Aquino’s visit to China, it was learned that there were about US$13 billion worth of potential investment waiting to be tapped. “Although they are all merely potential investments, if we make ourselves competitive, we might be able to get them all. And they all will be coming to us,” he stressed. ”So, just imagine the multiplier effect of that (US$13-billion worth of) investment when it would come to the Philippines. Wow, we would go through the roof,” Garcia said. In concluding his address, the SBMA official also remarked that the Philippines is in a prime position to compete, and that investment promotion is one of the factors that can help the country accomplish its economic goals. “The urgency is already there, and the investors who are really interested to come to the Philippines are there. So, all we have to do is make it happen,” Garcia said. (Press Release)

SUBIC BAYFREEPORT – The Subic Bay MetropolitanAuthority (SBMA) has disclosed a two-point program which is expected to put the Subic Bay Freeport in a more competitive investment position over itsAsian neighbors. In a meeting with executives of the Investment PromotionAgencies (IPA) 1st Alliance of Provincial News Practitioners (APNP) composing the Technical Working Group of the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP), SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that he is now working on two points that will encourage investors to come in. The first point, he said, is the rationalization of investment incentives, which, when approved, will be given to all investors


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SBMA bats for 2-pt program to attract more investors

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equally by all investment promotion agencies in the country. “Here at the SBMA, we are not allowed to offer income tax holidays and that is a disadvantage [on our part] versus the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone

Dec. 19 - Dec. 26, 2011

Authority). The incentives for investors should be the same as with the other agencies. Otherwise, investors will withdraw their proposals because we don’t have income tax holidays,” Garcia said. Second, Garcia said that his administra


tion is currently working on making the incentives in Subic competitive with the incentives given in other countries in the Cont’d on page 7

Metro Express No. 28  

Metro Express No. 28 issue