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Catherine Ilacad

PIONEER OF PINOY NAIL CARE 12 We politicize economic issues & give an economic perspective to political issues DECEMBER 2-8, 2013 • VOL.4 NO.15


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LIES & DECEIT By Al Labita

GOVERNMENT says the economy has expanded, but they really have nothing to crow about. The economic growth President Aquino has been harping about is inclusive only among the few moneyed elite and excludes the vast majority— the poor. Page 2

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George Ty

Henry Sy

By Al Labita NOTHING to crow about the Aquino government’s self-serving claim that under its watch, the economy has expanded at a rate faster than what its officials could imagine. Reckoned with realities, however, the growth only perpetuated the perennial rich-poor gap, one of the world’s worst, despite Aquino’s much-ballyhooed reform agenda. While statistics only tell half a story, they nonetheless betray the painful truths lurking behind a façade of lies and deceit. The inclusive growth Aquino has been harping on has been largely inclusive only among the few moneyed elite to the exclusion of the vast majority – the poor. As the economy grows, it also exponentially drives up the wealth of those in command and control of the lives of Filipinos. The figures are grim -- only 40 families such as the Ayalas, Sys and Tans account for nearly 80 percent of the economy as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), an OpinYon’s research shows. In stark contrast, some Asian neighbors had managed to whittle down the rich-poor ratio as they gained headway in democratizing their economy over the past decades. In Thailand, the same number of families account for only 33.7 per cent of the economy and in Malaysia, 5.6 per cent, indicating how the Philippines has lagged behind in addressing the urgency to spread out the nation’s wealth. Ironically, the glaring disparity vis-à-

vis sharing a nation’s wealth explains why the Philippines has more billionaires (in US dollar) than in more prosperous Thailand and Malaysia.


They are the same people who take advantage of lucrative contracts, including profit guarantees and tariff increases, under the government’s Public-Private Partnership program (PPP), Aquino’s centerpiece in pushing infrastructure projects. “The regime has consistently favored the few billionaires while further marginalizing the poor. Aquino now wants to enrich them even more by giving them various perks for the PPP projects,” says the militant Bayan Muna in a statement. Based on the account of US-based magazine Forbes, the combined net worth of the Philippines’ 50 richest totaled US$65.8 billion in 2012, more than a quarter of the nation’s GDP. Mostly of Chinese origin, these families own companies which have grown— aided largely by generous government incentives—to become conglomerates with shares traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange and in some cases offshore, notably in cash-rich Hong Kong and Singapore.

Millionaires to Billionaires

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DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

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Their vast and diverse corporate tentacles extend far and wide, catering to the lives of Filipinos, literally from womb to tomb, leaving them with no choice but to enslave themselves under the weight of an oppressive western-style economic system. As shown in the list of Singaporebased UBS Billionaires Census 2013, the Philippines ranked 9th in Asia, with 13 billionaires with a combined net worth of US$35 billion. In 10th place was Malaysia with 10 billionaires worth a combined US$37 billion, while Thailand ranked 11th with 10 billionaires worth US$25 billion. As usual, ethnic Chinese taipans Henry Sy and Lucio Tan topped the list of the Philippines’ mega rich whose ranks had swelled as more of their kind continued to amass wealth at the expense of those marginalized by the government’s pro-rich, anti-poor economic policies. Sy, who operates shopping malls, saw

Ricky Razon

Lucio Tan

his assets surge 44 percent to US$7.2 billion in 2012 alone and remains the Philippines’ richest man.

Aware of the magnitude of the problem, the government wants to bring down poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2015, an ambitious target difficult to achieve as the rich get richer and the poor poorer, given the economy’s bias for the affluent and the powerful. In more ways than one, the economy is basically lopsided in structure allowing the oligarchs to gain too much control of the country’s resources and creating one of the worst income inequalities in Asia. One wonders whatever happened to Aquino’s oft-repeated term “inclusive growth” which seeks to create jobs and reduce poverty by spreading the economy’s gains to trickle down to lower-income segments of society. More importantly, the rich-poor disparity also draws attention to Aquino’s anti-poverty conditional cash transfer program which has a budget of more than P40 billion this year.

Doubtful Data

According to the Forbes 2012 annual rich list, Sy and Tan whose businesses range from retail to property and other related ventures were worth a combined US$13.6 billion, equivalent to six per cent of the Philippine economy. While GDP has undoubtedly risen over the past years, every Filipino’s share of it is unfortunately the lowest among Asean countries. Based on the latest data of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the Philippines’ per capita GDP) stood at only US$4,339 in 2012 compared with Singapore, $61,461; - Malaysia, $16,976; Thailand, $9,609; and – Indonesia. $4,971. GDP is the amount of goods and services produced, while per capita is derived from dividing the population in relation to GDP. While seemingly doubtful, the NSCB data hardly reconcile with Aquino government’s oft-repeated claims that GDP last year expanded by 6.8 percent and even bragged that it outpaced Singapore’s 1.3 percent, Malaysia’s 5.6 percent, Thailand’s 6.5 percent and Indonesia’s 6.2 percent. Yet, the Philippines’ per capital GDP has been the lowest–and slowest—among its peer group since 2005 despite official claims that it is Asia’s fastest-growing economy.

Poverty Level

In what could be an indicator of the country’s ever-widening rich-poor gap, NSCB data also showed that high-income households accounted for more than half, or 60 percent, of the GDP. The balance of 40 percent of the economy’s income was shared by the bulk, or about 84 percent, of the country’s population. To be poor meant earning less than 16,800 pesos a year or P1, 400 a month or P47 pesos a day which covers 26.5 per cent of the nearly 100 million Filipinos. As gleaned from the official poverty data of NSCB, the proportion of poor Filipinos to the total population has been surging from 24.9 per cent in 2003 to 26.4 per cent in 2006, and 26.5 per cent in 2009, an issue Aquino promised to address under his “Daang Matuwid” program of government.

Inclusive Growth?

The Philippines has one of the highest poverty rates among emerging Asian economies. The poverty incidence stood at 27.9 percent as of the fi rst semester of 2012, almost unchanged from the 28.6 percent in 2009.

Capitalist vs. Socialist System

The program seeks to see 15 million of the nation’s poorest people receive money directly in exchange for their kids going to school and mothers and children getting proper healthcare. In releasing its data, NSCB risked incurring anew the ire of Aquino who once bawled out the agency’s officials for portraying the economy in bad light contrary to his government’s rosy picture. Sign of compassion for the disadvantaged sector of society may be gleaned from how the tycoons responded to the clamor for aid of the hapless typhoon victims in the Eastern Visayas region. While some, particularly Sy and Tan, handed out P100 million each, others were hardly in the news, apparently opting to work behind the scene with less fanfare. Billionaire port king Enrique Razon  deployed heavy equipment to repair the damaged piers in Tacloban city and Leyte, while the Ayalas and banker George Ty chipped in P10 million and P50 million, respectively, worth of relief supplies. The cost of putting the typhoon-ravaged Eastern Visayas region back on its feet amounts to a whopping P250 billion, a window of opportunity for the tycoons to share their wealth with those they derived their profits from. Overall, while there is evidence of progress in addressing the yawning richpoor gap, it is too slow. One study says it would take dozens of decade for the bottom millions of the nation’s population to achieve 10 per cent of the national income under the current rate of change. Similarly, it raises questions about the Philippines’ pro-capitalist economic model vis-à-vis the egalitarian-oriented socialist type.


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The Viewpoints and outlook of the well-informed

The Deluge and Its Apocalyptic Aftermath



NDERSON Cooper’s commentary and observation on the Tacloban City situation went viral on the internet receiving a biting reaction from the famed and feisty ABC,-CBN Broadcaster Korina Sanchez, who happened to be the wife of Cabinet member and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who, together with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, is in charge of the relief operations. Korina Sanchez retorted to Anderson Cooper: “Anderson Cooper is not aware of what he is taking about.” That reaction also went viral, too, in the internet. In his CNN program, Anderson Cooper riposted to Korina Sanchez’s reaction: “Mrs. Sanchez is welcome to go there in Tacloban – and I would urge her to go there. I don’t know if she has but her husband’s the interior minister. I’m sure he can arrange a fl ight.” Of course the exchange between a local and an international broadcaster caught the attention of netizens and CNN & ABS-CBN viewers, and they expressed their sentiments on the exchange. Some siding with Anderson Cooper, while others took the side of Korina Sanchez. My our son-lawyer Salvador A. Panelo, Jr., who could not contain his sentiment on the Anderson Cooper-Korina Sanchez tiff, as well

as with those criticizing the government for its inadequate preparation to neutralize the effects of the hauler typhoon – and the national governments apparent slow response to the victims, posted in his Facebook, and in my Twitter account, the following statement: “I agree with Korina Sanchez that Anderson Cooper does not know what he is talking about. Criticism of government response to major natural or environmental disasters is universal. The US government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2006 was a failure of leadership. “Even Japan with their much-vaunted reputation for organization was criticized for its slow response to the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and the consequent Fukishima leak. We should keep this in mind when assessing the performance of our own government. We should also keep in mind that while Mr. Cooper may very well be genuinely concerned about the pace of government, response, he is also very much in the business of selling news. I firmly believe that our government is doing its best to help the victims of Yolanda. This is not inconsistent with the fact that its best may not be good or fast enough for everyone affected given the magnitude of the destruction and the various limitations and issues that mere observers can not fully appreciate. Let us not forget that significant government resources are possibly still tied up to Bohol and Zamboanga. I do think that P-Noy could have better explained why the government response could not


Atty. Salvador S. Panelo

come sooner and why air cannot be distributed faster. Let us just hope that that was more of a failure of speech and rhetoric, rather than leadership. We can take him to task for that later. For now, our unfortunate Visayan brothers and sisters need us to heed the advice we wished P-Noy had followed: stop pointing fingers. Let us help how we can help our government and let us follow through!” This writer’s take on the matter on the Anderson-Korina exchange is that both of them are correct. Anderson Cooper, as CNN correspondent reporting live on the ground, was speaking on the basis of what his eyes could see. In his limited view of a portion of Tacloban City he formed an opinion – factually accurate – but not necessarily true for the entire devastated eastern Visayas, particularly the Leyte and Samar provinces that bore the brunt of Typhoon Yolanda – hence Korina Sanchez was also correct in saying that Anderson Cooper was giving an inaccurate situationer in Tacloban – because as wife of the DILG Secretary, she has direct access to the infor-

mation with regard to the extent of government’s response to the victim’s plight – as well as she had communication link with other reporters doing their investigative and reporting work in other areas of Tacloban City – and the rest of the typhoon–ravaged places in the Visayas – not to mention the fact that she was herself in Ormoc City, another city reeling from the effects of the typhoon doing her reportorial job as a journalist as well as doing relief work and necessarily she has an expanded view of the realities in the relief operations and the government’s response to the victims. As correctly pointed out by this columnist’s son, this is not the time for finger-pointing of blame – rather this is the moment for everyone to do his share – and to the best of his capacity and ability extend his help in responding to the victims of this latest tragedy in the Philippines. During the last few days, the government’s response has considerably scaled up – and there is now an organized and faster relief works. Meanwhile, there has been an unprecedented outpouring of help from twenty eight (28) countries sending huge amount of cash, hundreds of thousands of relief goods, as well as doctors and nurses, to the typhoon affected areas. Organizations like the Red Cross and other private organizations have poured in and combined their resources to give succor to the victims. Private

persons and family members went in droves to the DSWD and the ABS-CBN warehouses, lending their manpower to do repacking work of relief goods. Filipinos, here and abroad, have all come together and raised funds for the victims – and rehabilitation of the damaged communities. Even the United Nations has stepped in and lend its enormous resources to help the tragic victims. UN Undersecretary General Valerie Amos, who is in the country for the UN’s relief operations has expressed satisfaction on the much improved distribution of relief goods as well as her amazement at the spirit and resilience of Filipinos who face a herculean reconstruction job. Said she: “I continue to be struck by the resilience and spirit of the Filipino people. Everywhere I visited, I saw families determined to rebuild their lives under the most difficult conditions. So people are, of course, to an intent traumatized by what happened. They have lost loved ones, but at the same time they’re trying to look to the future. I saw images of daily life amid scenes of devastation. Women either cooking in make shift kitchen or doing laundry and men clearing debris and scavenging for materials to rebuild their destroyed homes.” Evaluating the flow of aid, the UN Undersecretary-General gave the following observation: Turn to page 8

The Unconstitutional PDAF


HE recent decision of the Supreme Court finding the PDAF unconstitutional is a source of relief to the nation. Sorry that PNoy cannot claim any credit when he had the opportunity to do away with that particular monstrosity. In fact, one might conclude that he resisted every effort to abolish PDAF, which only betrayed his less than sincere commitment to the “matuwid na Daan” and that slogan figures way down in his scale of priorities. Some say he is just so hardheaded, refusing to listen to anybody. Probably true considering that he is surrounded by persons whose values are deeply troubled to begin with and so give advise that they think PNoy wants to hear, playing up to his ego considering his well known obstinacy Of course, part of the reason for his obstinacy is likely rooted in his own discretionary use of public funds from different sources, like the Maalampaya funds, the road users tax, dividends from government owned and controlled corporations, etc., etc. Not that he steals from them, but these discretionary funds enable him to buy political loyalty and cooperation for what he perceives to be his agenda, which, of course, nobody knows about, except from rather motherhood like statements. Some critics suggest that the

king has been shown naked, bereft of respect, honor and shorn of a sense of dignity except of the wrong kind, being born to a privileged family. I wonder why the story keeps going about that his mother Cory, was rather fi rm that she didn’t want PNoy to stand for the presidential office. But she passed away and all the other opportunists sensing they could ride the popularity of Cory, bamboozled PNoy into running for office, probably including most of the relatives. I guess they did not know PNoy as well as Cory or saw for themselves exalted “roles” as puppet masters should he win. Stories abound that when Mar was still the leading presidential candidate, PNoy’s name was proposed as a vice presidential candidate and this was laughed off the table. Okay let us be more polite by saying the idea was given short shrift! Then Cory dies, and all of a sudden from being a rejected vicepresidential candidate, Mar is pushed down so they could ride the sympathy vote for Cory by making PNoy the presidential candidate. I suppose the “experienced” politicians around PNoy felt they could gather the perception managers well and maneuver PNoy into whatever posture they felt was appropriate and that they could manage the rest of the bureaucracy (and, of course, gain all the unbid-

RAY OF HOPE Ramon Orosa den advantages and fruits there from) . Unfortunately, failing to listen to the views of the mother, and substituting their own secret ambitions, they felt they had it in the bag. The last three years are certainly proof that this rather brief narration is not without merit except that rather than a smooth flow they have found PNoy to be a rather difficult person to deal with but to whom they must pay obeisance or lose their favored positions. So the nation moves in a zigzag pattern, and the lack of capacity and experience of the king have been unmasked. In a continuing series of mishandled events, the evidence is rather telling that while perhaps personally honest, PNoy’s values are rather pedestrian and do not depart from the values of all the other politicians who believe that politics is king and winning the only consideration. Politics is a position of power to be sought and held on to by any means

fair or foul and passed on as a family inheritance to succeeding generations regardless of their qualifications. Well, in some respects one could say that since sense of self is the only real enduring value, one does not need to be competent, moral or competent in the position. After all, those positions had already been retooled to become a lucrative sinecure by legal means or otherwise. These politicians do not have any sense of love of country, a rather esoteric or abstract notion to begin with. Obviously our best schools have not been able to implant these values into them! Probably because the example of their parents were rather dysfunctional to begin with. Our culture is so conducive to contradictions and dysfunctions resulting in a great divide between reality or what is truly going on and the “public” image that is so carefully cultivated at great cost. I really don’t think the hypocrisy is lost on their children but the pressures to conform to such a lifestyle can be great and the conveniences of an abundant way of living hard to resist. So, no matter how gained, money and power have become the gods. In truth, they suffer from an incredible love deficiency, not the pretended hypocritical kind. Internal images are distorted because if one were to truly analyze what


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is going on and we are willing to face truth, 80% of our national and local problems may be traced to poor parenting, especially of the “father” kind. So the self identity suffers from loss of worth and dignity, fi lled with insecurity and founded on fear which they try to overcome with money, guns, and goons. They seek honor and respect not because they deserve it but because of things outside of themselves. Things that never last and in the end don’t really matter. They can’t add value to anyone and only seek to use everyone otherwise the others are no one! It is a sad realization of what truly ails our country and why there is no real change that takes place. It is only when we see our realities that we can begin the change process. PNoy was seen as the “savior” and most now see that he is not. Let us stop pointing fi ngers and getting angry. Let us begin with our own selves and realize that darkness is not fought with anger or bitterness. We each have to become a light in our nation to dispel the darkness that is getting darker each day. Our hope lies within us as we set our faces like fl int to do good whenever we are given an opportunity to do so, no matter how modest it might be. Then life can begin to change and so will our nation. This revolution of goodness must start now.


DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

3 11/29/13 3:58 PM


From the Chairman

By Raymund L. Junia

Inciting Upheaval










Kamag-Anak Inc. ONLY modest reductions in poverty have been made since the economic and political collapse of the mid1980s. Without doubt, severe regional disparities remain and the gap between the rich and the poor of this country continues to widen. While 75 percent poor Filipinos live in rural areas, the urban poor have contributed to the rising share of total poor population since 1971. Manila, once the bustling center of post-war business activity, is no longer the promised land it used to be. Migrating to the city is no longer a guarantee of a better life. By World Bank calculations, urban poverty stood at around 23 percent and rural poverty at 53 percent in 1991. The numbers are far worse today. Most of our poor have little education and are engaged in the agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors and anemic government support have driven our farmers and fisher folk to the brink of poverty. Compared with the rest of East Asia, government performance on poverty reduction has been downright disappointing, because the Philippines has not been able to sustain growth long enough to better the living conditions of the poor. Stranger even is the fact that poverty declines remained modest even during the times of rapid economic growth as government policies discriminated against labor, subsidized capital-intensive production and gave low priority to agriculture and exports. This resulted in growth that was narrowly based and inequitable—trapping many Filipinos in low-paying jobs while capitalists made money out of labor’s misery. The rich get richer while the poor stay poor—and multiply. If you look closely, the rich in this country bear the same face with politicians and government executives. People who run big business are—more often than not—related to someone in government. “Kamag-anak Inc.” never really left the building. The same evils hounding our society back in the 70s remain with us today. There is no quick fix and panacea for everything that bedevils this nation. But getting rid of crooks in government and in big business is definitely a good place to start.


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DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

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DAVE DIWA Opinion Editor FREDERICK FABIAN Social Media Director CARLOS RAJAMIRA Creative Director

RAPID changes are occuring in the economic front, hence OpinYon’s focus on its dynamics and how it shapes the fate–and future–of ordinary Filipinos as they plod on with their daily lives. In this week’s issue, we are delving into the widening and alarming rich-poor gap, often glossed over by the mainstream media in favor of sensational political stories. Research-based and interpreted in a layman’s language, the story aims to be a wake-up call for the decision makers, both in government and private sectors, to assess how and why policy measures failed miserably in stemming the surging tide of disparity in democratizing the wealth of the nation. Our Asian neighbors like Thailand and Malaysia succeeded in scaling down the dominant control of their economy by few families

Bothered, Bewildered and Bewitched


EOPLE are always blaming circumstances for what they are. But the people who get on in this world are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t fi nd them, they make them.” George Bernard Shaw We’ve see the tragic result of this nation complaining about its circumstances but incapable of defi ning what it wants and taking steps to making them happen. Vision and planning – strategic thinking, without this activity is just as Einstein described - insanity, repeating a thing over and over expecting a different result. The Philippines has a history of natural calamities and tragedies from Ormoc in 1990 with 5,100 dead to Sendon’s 1300 dead in 2011, and now Yolanda’s 5,000 and still growing number of casualties. It was not always like this, in Marcos’s time government had helicopters, amphibious vessels, and the disciplined government machinery – then Edsa I and the Yellows arrived on the scene. Bothered In Yolanda’s wake we fi nd this nation’s “dependent personality disorder” become a trait of the national psyche. A people bothered and blaming ceaselessly, many had in 2010 actually voted to power the inexperienced and clueless government they are blaming today. The circumstances they bellyache about today are also caused by two decades of Edsa I that a majority of the population also supported - including dismantling and privatization of the nation’s strategic assets (power, water, infra, etc.) to local oligarchs backed by global monopoly-fi nancecapital (Goldman Sachs, Salim,



and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same for the sake of millions of Filipinos who continue to languish in silence under the yoke of poverty and deprivation. Certainly, the people are sick and tired of glowing and self-serving government statements that the economy is booming. To them, economic growth is an empty boast as it has failed to uplift the quality of their lives. Our government takes pride in being democratic. But in reality, it’s a subtle form of dictatorship by proxy in disguise because it it allows the oligarchs to reign supreme in the economy. Unless decisively addressed, the worsening rise of poverty incidence vis-a-vis the insatiable appetite of the rich to rake in more profits may be likened to a ticking time bomb. If the economic system is flawed, then why the heck do we insist on it? The clamor for a drastic change is resounding and unless we heed it, we may fi nd ourselves jolted again by an onslaught of an irreversible political upheaval.

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PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE Mentong Laurel IMF, etc.) siphoning trillions out and leaving the people impoverished, a plundered economy and a government bereft of resources. The bothersome mendicancy of the Filipinos and its government, was perfected since Edsa I for the resurgence of neo-colonial control by its traditional master – the U.S. which supports corrupt and inept political leadership (Amb. Thomas congratulated BS Aquino even before proclamation) performed with perfect ineptitude in the Yolanda crisis, allowing the “international community” to takeover all aspects of rescue and recovery to smother the last breath of national dignity and sovereignty. The petty Philippine “social media” joined in self-deprecating everything Filipino, contributing to CNN’s blog the insults damning all Filipinos as an incapable of changing their corrupt rulers. Bewildered Dependency pervades the Filipino mind, including its bewilderment on climate issues led by environmental groups controlled by Western interests and institutions. Remember W.H.O. peddling the 2009 Swine Flu panic for global Big Pharma’s multi-billions sales of vaccines; the panic was baseless. The IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is another, peddling a “consensus” on Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) where there is none, while the global fi nancial institutions rake it in on “capand-trade” of carbon credits. Haiyan/Yolanda became the “strongest” typhoon to dramatize the Warsaw Climate Change Conference and further instill in Filipinos the false AGW theory. Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue at Weather BELL Analytics, LLC, Florida, formerly with Naval Research Laboratory, Twitted: “Over past 1,000 years, Philippines have been hit

by 10-20 thousand tropical cyclones. Don’t be so arrogant to believe Man caused Haiyan.” And demolishes claims that Typhoon Haiyan was ‘strongest storm ever with the “‘Fact: Haiyan is 58th Super Typhoon since 1950 to reach central pressure of 900 mb (1 millibar = 0.145 lbs. / sq. inch) or lower from historical records’ -- Maue: ‘50 of 58 Super Typhoons with pressure of 900 mb or lower occurred from 19501987 -- only 8 in past 25 years’” but Philippine media and crying Yeb Sano claims it is the strongest ever. Bewitched Bewitching PMSM, Phil. MainStream Media, serves Western propaganda and discounts China’s view, as in “US bombers enter China’s claimed air defense zone” highlighting U.S. spokesman Jen Psaki “This will raise regional tensions … “. ADIZes are not new, from Wiki: “An air defense command … was developed in 1950 … The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is an area – in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required … under … North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) … aircraft entering an ADIZ is required to radio its planned course…” Jets and missiles fly 60 km. per minute, crossing China’s ADIZ takes only 3 minutes. From Yomiuri Shimbun Nov. 27, 2013, “Countries such as Japan, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan have set their ADIZ in areas surrounding their airspace, asking aircraft that pass through the zones to give prior notice for the purpose of confi rming whether such aircraft pose a threat.” But as far as PMSM is concerned the Western interpretation of news is highlighted and China’s ADIZ is treated pejoratively. PMSM is also biased for dumbing down the pubic, like making boxers heroes (like Pacquiao) and quibbling over his tax tiff with government while scant priority is given to meager salaries of weather experts who are thus leaving the country in droves for high paying foreign jobs. Also, befuddled News touted the World Bank’s $ 500-M loan for Yolanda Turn to page 11


11/29/13 3:58 PM


The Viewpoints and outlook of the well-informed

Are We Being Punished?


HE Lord has kept in reserve for a mighty typhoon to rise up against six lands. God’s anger will come upon the islands of Samar and Leyte. A huge typhoon is planned to come over there. There will be disasters through flood.” After reading (again) this paper which was given to me by Marinduque Former Governor Aris Lecaros and kept for over seven months now, it still gives me the goose bumps after realizing what had happened in Central Visayas, Samar and Leyte mostly hit by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). This document written and read by Prophet Vincent Selvakumar in April 11, 2013 at the Widen King’s healing prayer congregation at Cuneta Astrodome are reminders to us as a nation – ‘terrible judgments over the Philippines if the nation does not repent and turn to God.’ The present leadership has gone through a lot for the past months, disaster after disaster, natural and man-made. Scandals left and right, in and out the Presidential loop plus the problems involving our neighbor countries that we haven’t resolve yet. Are we being punished as a nation? I have been religiously helping this administration by my frequent advice and warnings through my radio program, my articles and through people I know who are close to President (Noynoy). As an observer of events and as one who is exposed to people’s views and sentiments. Like I always say that we should help this or any

administration for whatever bad things that will happen, especially if all of us will be directly affected. But like any other normal people, sometimes we asked ourselves – is the President listening to us, his BOSS? Haiti Earthquake and Haiyan We, Filipinos have to be on the lookout for a possible outcome of history repeating itself or people repeating history. What had happened in Haiti might happen here. According to the report of BILL QUIGLEY and AMBER RAMANAUSKAS (How the International Community Failed Haiti): “Despite an outpouring of global compassion, some estimate as high as $3 billion in individual donations and another $6 billion in governmental assistance, too little has changed. Part of the problem is that the international community and non-government organizations (Haiti has sometimes been called the Republic of NGOs) has bypassed Haitian non-governmental agencies and the Haitian government itself. The Center for Global Development analysis of where the money went concluded that overall. Less than 10% went to the government of Haiti and less than 1% went to Haitian organizations and businesses. A full one-third of the humanitarian funding for Haiti was actually returned to donor countries to reimburse them for their own civil and military work in the country and the majority of the rest went to international NGOs and private contractors. With hundreds of thousands

WHISTLE BLOWER Erick San Juan of people still displaced, the international community has built less than 5000 new homes. Despite the fact that crime and murder are low in Haiti (Haiti had a murder rate of 6.9 of every hundred thousand, while New Orleans has a rate of 58), huge amounts of money are spent on a UN force which many Haitians do not want. The annual budget of the United Nations “peacekeeping” mission, MINUSTAH for 2012-2013 or $644 million would pay for the construction of more than 58,000 homes at $11,000 per home. There are many stories of projects hatched by big names in the international community into which millions of donated dollars were poured only to be abandoned because the result was of no use to the Haitian people. For example, an international organization created a model housing community in Zoranje. A two million dollar project built 60 houses which now sit abandoned according to Haiti Grassroots Watch.” Actually, there are still more events coming as prophesized by Prophet Selvakumar that will put this nation into more problems. This time it involve diseases. Our country (as prophesized)

will be the center for a new kind of disease that will later on spread to the rest of the world. Is this prophecy coincides with the possible widespread ‘medical assistance’ that the United Nations has extended to our poor fellowmen through vaccines? Again, in Haiti, the poor children were used as guinea pigs for cholera vaccines. The aim of the much-touted new vaccination campaign is to inoculate 100,000 Haitians — mostly children — with 200,000 doses of a vaccine called Shanchol, at $1.85 per dose. Development of Shanchol was fi nanced by the Gates Foundation, and its manufacture is by an Indian company called Shantha Biotechnics. Less than a month ago, Shantha Biotechnics still lacked the WHO approval required for UN agencies to buy the vaccine, because the WHO has continued to argue that cholera vaccines are unnecessary. Miraculously, Shanchol was quickly “pre-qualified” by the WHO on the 29th of

September 2013. Despite the claims that the vaccine will alleviate the cholera in Haiti, hardly anything is known about the effects of the vaccines on endemic cholera. So this vaccination campaign is actually an experiment designed to test just this, and the Haitian children will be the guinea pigs. Parents who agree to submit their children to this campaign will be taking a big chance. Many problems, including deaths, from vaccination campaigns, because vaccines are notorious for shortcomings such as contamination of lots. (By Dady Chery | Source: Haiti Chery (See also Farmer relieves himself on Haiti’s dying cholera victims) Are we going to sit and wait until such man-made disaster will cause havoc again to our poor nation? Forewarned is forearmed. Let us all be vigilant and pray harder that this country’s leaders will lead us all to safety.

Our country (as prophesized) will be the center for a new kind of disease that will later on spread to the rest of the world. Is this prophecy coincides with the possible widespread ‘medical assistance’ that the United Nations has extended to our poor fellowmen through vaccines? Again, in Haiti, the poor children were used as guinea pigs for cholera vaccines.

Moment of Truth


LMOST exactly a year ago, I wrote a thesis on “judicial activism” in two parts. The fi rst was titled Judicial Activism, dated Nov. 27, 2012, which underscored: “Indeed, unless something drastic is done, a denial of plaintiffs, the People of the Philippines (in the Ampatuan case) may unduly result (in the breach of) xxx the constitutional guarantee of a speedy delivery of justice—alas, a situation showing an unpardonable dearth of courage and innovation on the part of all officially connected with the operations within the criminal justice system (at the core of which is the Supreme Court.)” Then came a month later Judicial Activism 2, dated Dec. 4, 2012, stressing that: “It is extremely gratifying to note that 6 out of 7 of this column’s readers favor my advocacy of judicial activism as an imperative answer to two legal enigmas, namely, one, in particular to quicken the pace of criminal trial of heinous crimes xxx and two, in general how to beat back the flames (of an incorrigibly corrupt pork barrel system) now rapidly engulfi ng the

(executive and legislative departments).” In connection with the foregoing, let me set aside P-Noy’s much-publicized management failures in Nur Misuari’s siege of Zamboanga and Super typhoon Yolanda’s massive destruction of lives and properties in Eastern Samar, Leyte and other parts of the Visayas, and instead focus on his presidential mien and mindset in the aftermath of the high court’s lopsided 14-0-1 thumbing down of PDAF as unconstitutional. Well, he has managed to appear calm and cool as a cucumber in the face of the court’s subtle declaration that his patronage politics was over; but he has not, has he? Surely, not in the face of his revelation before media that he needs more money from Congress for the restoration of normalcy in calamity-ravaged Central Luzon. He must be fidgety these days, wondering how the solons can “come across”, given the Supreme Court’s radical shift to activism and tight watch on them, and given that not only their constituencies but the entire citizenry as well are closely keeping an eye on them. How then can P-Noy, his Cabinet, the DBM in particu-

MUSINGS Ronald Roy lar, and Congress perform their mandated roles without the needed funds? It’s obvious they do not deserve our sympathy because they have no one but themselves to blame. They had more than three years to prepare, and when the Zamboanga war, the 7.2 Bohol earthquake and “Yolanda” struck, they were caught flat-footed! And now, the high court is lowering the boom on the unconstitutional features of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)! Ayayay!! Just think: on three previous occasions, the PDAF (then termed CDF for countryside development fund) was ruled constitutional, but only recently got booted out, thanks to the court’s new-found jugular activism! I really do not care if the nine so-called pro-GMA associate justices “crossed the

line” just to get back at P-Noy. The fact is they’ve pushed him ( and his minions) up the wall for some hard reflection: “This is it, the moment of truth has come. DAP, an unauthorized invention by me Butch Abad and other boot-lickers, will surely be declared unconstitutional. There’s no way to escape. Should I now ‘do a Nixon’ with my dignity intact?” However, this form of honorable exit is wishful thinking. P-Noy will never resign, much less apologize to his bosses, because he reckons it is he who is their boss -- his imagined lofty status as an oligarch who “owns and controls” the country. No, he does not steal because hacienda Luisita alone makes him in his mind an enormously wealthy person. Of course this is twisted thinking by him but, oh well, yes, I think it is if all this talk about his confi nement abroad (when he was a kid) for a mental disorder is true. Honestly, I mean no derision and, if the rumor is true, I fervently pray he gets well...unless it’s too late... in which case we’re inextricably stuck in something like a quicksand beneath which lurks a snoring python!! I take back my previous de-


Opinyon415.indd 5

scription of the Supreme Court as the weakest among the three supposedly co-equal and coordinate branches of government, it wielding merely the so-called “power “ of the pen, as against the mighty sword of the Office of the President and Congress’ awesome power of the purse. I was wrong. If at all, it is the Judiciary that is the mightiest among the three branches, since it is the fi nal arbiter over questions of law. Hence, It was but proper for the high court to put its foot down on what it has identified as a wantonly abusive behavior among executive and legislative officials within the pork barrel system. Thus, in the fi nal analysis, it is the Supreme Court, not another agency or body in government, that is empowered to sustain a healthy democratic balance among the three branches within a structure operating under a Rule of Law. With fi ngers crossed, we can now predict the rolling of executive and legislative heads with the high court’s pronouncement that DAP, otherwise known as presidential pork, is likewise unconstitutional. It may then be proclaimed that the high tribunal has proudly hurdled its moment of truth.


DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

5 11/29/13 3:58 PM

Environment PhP347M Set for Visayas Mangrove Reforestation ENVIRONMENT Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has announced that the government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will earmark some P347 million for the restoration of mangrove and natural beach forests in coastal areas battered by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Paje said this massive coastal rehabilitation program shall cover worst-hit areas in the Eastern Visayas region, particularly the province of Leyte and its capital Tacloban City. “Tacloban is a major concern given its being a major population center, but the undertaking will cover practically the entire eastern seaboard of Eastern Vi-

sayas,” Paje said. He said the main objective is to restore the region’s degraded coastal forests to make its coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events. “It is clear in the law that we cannot allow people to build houses in areas for mangroves and beach forest,” said Paje, referring to Presidential Decreee No. 1067, also known as the Philippine Water Code. Article 51 of said water code states that “banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas,

along their margins are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage.” Paje said the situation in Leyte and in Eastern Visayas “necessitates a display of political will from their local government officials to restore their mangrove areas and beach forests,” said Paje, noting that the affected coastlines were once mangroves and beach forest areas but were converted mostly into settlement areas by informal settlers or for development activities. “Had the mangroves in Leyte and Eastern Samar not been decimated, the storm surge in those areas would have been

Legarda to Business Leaders:

Help Build Resilient PH SENATOR Loren Legarda urged the business sector to promote disaster resilience in their operations and in the communities where they operate during the Top Leaders Forum organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and SM Prime. Legarda, UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia Pacific, stressed the importance of the business sector’s active participation in building a disaster resilient nation. “Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation must be closely linked to development. The business sector, which drives the engine of growth, has a role in making that happen. The government cannot do it alone. As disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business, a more visible action from the business community is required,” said Legarda. The Senator explained that disasters have massive impacts on the economy. It has been reported that the country’s economic losses from disasters have increased 18-fold since the 1970s. She noted that the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Typhoon Yolanda have cost damages worth at least Php2.3 Billion and Php12.7 Billion, respectively. “To prevent disasters of such magnitude, we should learn to manage risks, not manage the disasters. After all, natural hazards will not turn into disas-


DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

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dissipated by 70 to 80 percent of its strength,” explained Paje, citing a study by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) which indicates that the “strength of an eight- meter storm surge is concentrated within the lower six meters with the upper two meters as only having tidal currents.” “The surge can only destroy the leaves, but it cannot uproot the mangroves because they are so deep- rooted and strong that they will regrow in time,” said Paje. He also stressed that mangroves are natural barriers against tsunamis, storm surge and other wave action, and therefore, should not be destroyed. Under the plan, some 19 mil-

As correctly pointed out by this columnist’s son, this is not the time for finger-pointing of blame – rather this is the moment for everyone to do his share – and to the best of his capacity and ability extend his help in responding to the victims of this latest tragedy in the Philippines.

The Deluge... From page 3

SENATOR Loren Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, urged the business sector to promote disaster resilience in their operations and in the communities where they operate during her speech at the Top Leaders Forum organized by the UN Off ice for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and SM Prime on Nov. 22 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. ters with the proper preventive measures,” Legarda said. “Businesses need to make plans with the general population in mind. A massively decimated market will not allow business to thrive. It is therefore in the private sector’s best interest to strengthen its support to climate action and DRR initiatives,” she added. Legarda said that businesses should support adaptation measures that help build assets and strengthen the resilience of communities; help fi nance mitigation activities and buttress adaptation measures; and construct with disaster reduction and re-


silience in mind. “Resilience is good for business and going green makes good business sense. There will be many more typhoons that will come our way. Let us not be content in having excellent partnerships in disaster relief. We must strive to diminish the need for such; after all, the higher value of corporate business is not found in the monetary profit it brings nor in the wealth it creates, but in the nobility of purpose—to improve the quality of life and to build a sustainable and resilient human society,” Legarda concluded.

lion seedlings and propagules from mangrove trees and beach forest species like Talisay will be planted over 1,900 hectares of coastline under the National Greening Program. According to Paje, about 80 percent of the allocation will be used for the government’s cashfor-work program for typhoon survivors, who will take part in seedling production, planting site preparation, actual planting and maintenance of mangrove and beach forest areas. Other areas covered by the coastal rehabilitation plan are Dulag town in Leyte; municipalities of Guiuan, Llorente and Balangiga in Eastern Samar; and the town of Basey in Samar.

“Everyday aid efforts gather pace with the systems getting through to more people. Significant food and medical assistance has been provided and water services, as well as limited communications services, restored.” Per its estimation, the United Nations reports that 1.1 million have received food aid since the disaster struck – and only less than the 2.5 million affected residents have yet to receive food aid. Amos noted that “water services have been restored in Capiz, Northern Cebu and Roxas City, with 43 medical teams from various international groups – and 44 local – providing medical services to the survivors.” The United Nations added in its report that about “5 million children in disaster areas are in need of emergency shelter, protection and psychological support.” Amos noted further that “there is a need to establish safe places for children given that 90 percent of day care centers in ravaged towns and cities were destroyed.” The “spirit and resilience” of the Filipinos did not escape the observation of the Vatican in Rome. Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who is in Manila to attend the Catholic Social Media Summit at the Colegio San Juan de Letran, told the reporters: “We want to express our admiration for the spirit of the Filipino people. We have been seeing terrible devastation but we have also been witnessing the extraordinary cure, consideration and generosity of your own people.” Everything shall come to pass. Hopefully, the national and local governments have learned their lessons well following the aftermath of the deluge – and will be more prepared and cope with typhoons of similar intensity that are sure to come given the global

warming and climate change. The eastern Visayas will surely rise from its ruins - and there is no stopping it from resurrecting itself from its ashes. There is however a grim reality that is inescapable – and that is that the thousands of inhabitants of the ravaged Eastern Visayas, are poverty stricken. Their houses or what appears to be houses, are made of cheap and weak construction materials that can be easily blown over by super-typhoons in the like of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) - and torn to pieces. Rebuilding and reconstructing those inferior structures will not provide their security and safety from the angry forces of nature. And every super-typhoon that comes will repeat the same nightmare of destruction and death. And such probability and eventuality of extensive destruction in lives and property is not limited to the Eastern Visayas section of our country – but to the entire archipelago as well – as indeed the majority of our countrymen are living in object poverty – and in hand to mouth existence. No amount of relief goods and rehabilitation work coming from within and without the country, can alter the status in life of these Filipinos. There must be an overhauling of the social structures of our society to effect the even distribution of the nation’s wealth and the means of production. Hopefully, the gods of destiny will anoint men and women of pure heart and possessed of unselfish love that will cause the radical change of our political and social structure – before the downtrodden masses rise in righteous indignation and revolt and destroy the existing order. For Feedback: E-mail:, Facebook:, Twitter: attysalvadorpanelo Text to: 0918-862- 7777


11/29/13 3:58 PM

Agriculture DA Tramline Project Impacts 26,000 Beneficiaries THE Agricultural Tramline System (ATS) project that is being spearheaded by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has made a positive impact on nearly 26,000 farmer-beneficiaries who are mostly members of indigenous peoples or tribes living in the uplands. PhilMech at the middle of this year fi nished the assessment of its ATS project, taking into account the 101 tramlines established in various parts of the country since 2009. Forty-five of the tramlines are operating in the Cordillera Administrative Region. The assessment also took into account the impact of the ATS project on farming communities, and tallied how many farmers benefitted from the project. “The ATS project, as we expected, had a significant impact especially on upland farming communities, where the transporting of farm produce is usually by mules or horses. That inefficient way of transporting farm produce in upland communities results to high postharvest losses of up to 25% and high transport costs,” PhilMech Executive Director Rex L. Bingabing said. Majority of the farming communities that benefited from the tramlines

were plant high value commercial crops. Based on the assessment made by PhilMech, which was finished at the middle of this year, the 101 tramlines established so far have made a positive impact on 25,950 farmer-beneficiaries, who are mostly members of the indigenous people groups or tribes, who till a total of 3,915 hectares of land. “The total number of direct beneficiaries is estimated at 25,950. Most of the beneficiaries are indigenous communities of Igorots, Mangyans, Aetas and other tribal groups engaged in agricultural production activities in remote and isolated mountainous areas,” said Bartolome S. Tesorero and Raul R. Paz, the authors of the impact assessment. The 3,915 hectares of land that the 101 existing tramlines serve is above the target of PhilMech to make the ATS program economically viable, because each tramline serves an average of 38.8 hectares of farmland. “A minimum range of 25 to 30 hectares of farm areas is required (for an agricultural tramline) to be economically viable,” Tesorero and Paz, a Director at PhilMech, said. The PhilMech researchers also said that the construction and operation of an ATS also resulted to an increase of 5% to 10% in

Rex L. Bingabing

the areas being farmed by the beneficiaries. “The increase of 5% to 10% in areas being farmed in communities served by tramlines is already remarkable, because it is very hard to fi nd areas to expand agricultural activities in the uplands,” Bingabing said. The PhilMech researchers also found out that an ATS improved the living conditions of the community it serves. “The establishment of ATS improved the condition of residential houses in the highland areas, because construction materials such as cement, gravels, etc., can be easily transported,” said Tesorero and Paz. The ATS reduces the cost to transport agricultural produce to the nearest road or trading post by as much as 50% compared to the traditional manual hauling using horses or mules. It also takes only minutes for a tramline to transport farm produce end-toend, while it takes hours or up to half a day using the manual hauling method. Tesorero and Paz said that since about 70 percent of the country’s lands are in elevated grounds, there is also a need to support upland farmers, and the tramline project has proven to have a significant impact on upland farming communities.

A Deep Sense of Dignity


O MUCH is being said about the muck of corruption in government like it is really what makes up that jungle. But I’ve seen the waterfalls at the core of the earth. My wife and I have been doing projects for government for almost forty years and, believe it or not, we‘ve never spent a single cent for “S.O.P”. Several times, we have validated our assertion that as long as you treat people with decency and dignity, they would respond accordingly. Give them the chance to show that they are worthy and un-dirty, they will shine. ‘Yang mga taga Gobyerno! Dealing with the BIR, the LTO, and the building permits guys in city halls is something else. They are fi lled with dregs. But to generalize that these people or these offices are hopeless would be thinking like many a self-righteous basher in social media: no survivors. Wag naman. Whenever people talk about government, they describe it as badland, wasteland, or the Hades, unjustly lumping the greater number of honest, hardworking civil servants together with the bad eggs and even with most politicians. My wife and I, and now with our children, are into media communications. We don’t do infrastructure. Either do we provide janitorial or security services, which I hear are the usual targets of vampires. Our company does audiovisuals, publications packaging, creative services, events management, and communications planning. We would like to mention, like an honor roll, some of the government offices that we have dealt with in the past: Philippine National Bank when it was not yet sold to the private

sector, National Housing Authority, Development Academy of the Philippines, and Social Security System. Early on, we did audiovisuals for the Ministry of Human Settlements, and the Farm Systems Development Corporation. Each was run by driven, brilliant guys Jolly Benitez (former) and Teddy Rey (latter). Included too is the Land Bank of the Philippines for which we went around the Philippines to document the winners of its SIKAP Awards, an annual recognition of small borrowers who made it good. Perilous waters My wife headed the video team that went to Tawi-Tawi and got lost in a boat in the middle of the sea at night. The captain who navigated by reading the stars was suffering from malaria and, as a result, their boat drifted near to Borneo. Worried fellow passengers told my wife to cover her head with a scarf or cloth so that, in case sea pirates descend upon them, the criminals will not notice that there was a non-Muslim “kidnapable” estranghera in their midst. A group of fishermen led them back to the Philippine waters where, by dawn, speedboats loaded with fully armed men met them and flanking their boat, led them back safely to dry land. It turned out that the speedboats had been searching for the boat since the video team lost contact with the client agency. We also conceived the name SIPAG Awards for the National Livelihood Development Corporation, which I read is trying to shake off bad raps and bad rep due to the pork barrel scandal. How come we didn’t see that kind of money when we worked for them? Hehe. We did projects, too, for the Presidential Management Staff when it was under Aniceto Sobrepeña. We also got to use our

MyPAD Boboy Yonzon Macs to the max when we did marketing materials that President Fidel V. Ramos brought to sell the Philippines abroad. Our company got tapped for jobs for the PNP Special Action Force. We wish to think that we landed this job and many more because of our talent and not because we gave grease money, which we didn’t. We understand how papers get lost in the maze of processes in government, so much so that whenever we have to follow up payments, we instruct our point persons to be persistent and patient. No bribes. No “rebates”. Happy Eddie I remember with fondness how, on separate occasions, government workers became so kind to our production assistant Eddie who doubled as follow-up guy for payments. Their hearts bled perhaps for this scrawny guy who was sent by his hungry bosses to collect a few pesos. The clerks of the Biologicals Production Service gave him a seat, coffee and biscuits while he waited for our papers to be processed and, though these took days, Eddie was put at ease. In the end, some of the BPS guys became Eddie’s kumpare. It probably helped that our Eddie looked and laughed like Eddie Murphy. But I am sure what transpired was the tapping of goodness from one human being to another. At the Department of Natural Resources when it was under the feisty Elisea “Bebet” Gozon,

the admin guys even gave Eddie a table and a chair and treated him as one of them. Our Eddie has long ago gone abroad to seek greener pastures and he has thrived. He probably thought he couldn’t be collecting pittance forever. It is just too bad that, these days, Eddie means something crooked. For those who haven’t heard of it, this is how the story goes: Government purchaser to supplier: Pare, siguraduhin mo na meron dyan para kay Eddie, ha. Supplier: Sinong Eddie? Purchaser: Eh di, ako. The only time that happened to me was when I was just starting our company. It was a very sad moment because the person who asked for it, although said in a skewed but very clear way, was somebody I considered a friend. I am not trying to be goodytwo-shoes. I am a pragmatic and flexible person. I could change paradigms if I want to understand a situation without stress. I probably just wished she was more upfront rather than saying “para sa auditor”. She also said that she wrote the script for the project and that it was not part of her duty as the boss of her unit. The smell of blood And the other time it happened was, tsaran, with an NGO. We were doing a project for a European foundation whose money was being coursed through the local organization. The woman coordinator just matter-of-factly asked me to add on pabuya to our charges. Was that corruption? For a few days, I was trying to figure out what it meant. I was being dense and I was trying to comprehend where does such entitlement begin. If it is wrong to have “commission” with government money, is it right when it comes from private coffers?


Opinyon415.indd 9

If a mother trying to make ends meet and working in government brings home a few pieces of bond paper, paste and pens for her children, is that less wrong than the purchaser who goes for a wild night of wine, women and karaoke with a supplier? In a bribe, who is less guilty: the one who gives or the one who takes? I am sure that all of us have been confronted at several points in our lives by the devil and the deep blue sea. And we would want to believe that our souls must be saved. As we delineate our clear yesses in life, we also establish the lines of non-negotiable ‘no’s. As far as our office goes, no favors. Recently, we bagged a big project for a city in Region I, in a tortuous bidding and implementation process. We had to deal with everybody. The guys of the bids and awards committee. The group of end-users. The resource persons, the staff. The accountants. The cashiers, and almost everybody whose signature we needed, including the property clerks who received and inspected the goods. Our biggest fear were the women from the COA, as our papers got shuttled from the client city to Dagupan and to San Fernando, La Union. We are aware of how some people in government with puestos could leverage their power to induce favors. Such situation requires patience, equanimity, and belief in the innate goodness of men. Show as much as a drop of blood, and you are pounced on. In the end, as usual, we think we made friends with everybody. The auditors were very helpful, shedding their gruff faces. They might have dropped hints, but we remained deaf. Surprisingly, they laughed about this. There are tales that end happily ever after.


DECEMBER 2-8, 2013

9 11/29/13 3:58 PM


Emergency Warning Broadcasts

T REMBRANDT BALITAAN. Members of the Citizen Crime Watch (CCW), led by its chair-

man Joe M. Villegas Jr. , were guest at the Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt, Nov. 22. The discussions centered on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which has been recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Also in photo are (from left ) Datu Jhularab Sampang CCW-ARMM, Carlo Batalla-CCW Bicol and forum host Erick San Juan.

Bothered,.. From page 4

U.S. gasoline prices have gone down as a consequence, equivalent to P 42/liter in peso terms, but in the Philippines gasoline is still P 52/liter while auto LPG has gone up by almost P 2.00/ liter. People complain not about this but about the BIR’s Pacquiao tax persecution (reportedly because he didn’t drop by Malacañang after winning vs. Rios). Two top Inquirer columnists wrote about Pacquiao, i.e. “Being a hero” and “TKO” but nothing on these befuddling material issues (get it?). No wonder this nation is befuddled in almost all the important matters.

assistance, but in July 2012 the Philippines lent $ 1-billion to Europe! Media trumpets that GDP will not be direly affected by Yolanda, yet the P 2-Billion the privatized NGCP’s (National Grid) will charge taxpayers for damage to its grid in Yolanda’s wake - that goes into the GDP “growth”. A business daily headlined “National government debt drops to P 5.61T” - fantabulous good news, but behind the lead is the real story: “The total national government debt, however, increased by 7.6 percent if compared to the P 5.213- trillion recorded in September last year.” Arroyo’s 2010 debt was P 4.9-T, Aquino added almost P 600-billion in three years. The Filipino is really befuddled in his economics. The U.S.Iran “detante” changing the face of Middle East politics has brought down world oil prices.

Strategic thinking The Filipino nation is bothered, bewitched, bewildered and befuddled because it has no strategic view – a strategic vision – of what it wants, how to attain it and who can lead the nation with intellectual honest and executive ability. Observe the leadership choices in the



From page 12

nail salon services all across the globe. POSH nails also offers cocktail drinks, coffee, tea, hot cocoa along with the themed service. As an industry pioneer, Cat also keeps herself abreast with the latest business trends, making it a point to religiously attend the international conference of nail experts in the US. “Through this conference, I get to keep myself abreast with the latest in nail-care—the technology, the new discoveries,” says Cat. Eleven years and 25 franchise branches later, Cat remains as hands-on since Day One, “Ako pa rin hanggang ngayon ang nag-ta-tackle ng lotions, scrubs, ‘yung allotment for all franchisees sa head office. Ako ‘yun,” Cat said in an interview shortly after receiving the 2013 Agora Award for Medium Scale Enterprise. “POSH is something very dear to me…parang anak, di ba? Hindi mo pabayaan kasi alam mong importante yun sa ‘yo.”

Accepting the Agora award, Cat gave the highest honor to father Orly who served as her untiring business mentor. While other people pay for business advice, she had a builtin business adviser. “Lagi kong joke, ang ulam naming lagi ay POSH nails kapag lunch. Everyday naming pinaguusapan ang POSH, walang mintis,” Cat said. Her father helped her put up part of her business capital and the next decade was like a daily business meeting. Cat said her father never missed a beat asking her about every aspect of the business. “Hindi kaya ang isang oras para ikwento lahat ng tinuro niya sa akin,”she admits.


Cat admits that her biggest advantage was with his father’s connections. “Ang ganda ng connections niya sa tao. Wala siyang kagalet. He taught me how to treat my staff and my people.” Cat says the success of Posh nails is proof that no idea is crazy or impossible. What really matters is the passion for your work and your compas-

past five elections and two coup d’états disguised as “People Power” - the social elite, the PMSM (mainstream media), the social media and its core of “civil society” political-socialites defi ned the circumstances. The people were hoodwinked to accept BS Aquino, they’ll be hoodwinked again with a new set of false hopes (especially one poe-seur) who are from the same storeroom of puppets of the Status Quo. The People’s Struggle should be focused on clarifying this strategic vision and leadership. Keep reading this space for it. (Watch “Nature’s defence for shoreline communities” with environmental “Bakawan” advocate Jaime Layug: GNN Destiny Cable Channel 8, Skycable Channel 213, www. Sat., 8 p.m. and replay Sun., 8 a.m.; tune to 1098AM, Tues. to Fri. 5pm; ; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot. com; and text reactions to 09234095739)

sion for the people you work and do business with. And for a service-oriented business like POSH nails, providing quality service is key to success. “Because if you have the best service, pupuntahan at pupuntahan ka ng tao kahit malayo ka pa.” Yes, mistakes will be made along the way, Cat says. But a good entrepreneur must quickly learn from his or her errors. “Sinasabi ko palagi, okay lang naman magkamali as long as you learn from it and you stand up and do better. Yes, money is important, profit is important, but ‘wag natin kakalimutan that we are here to give the people the best service possible.”


From the accomplished to the aspiring, Cat tells start-up entrepreneurs to go for their dream. “Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says you can’t. Madaming small, crazy ideas that are out there and became successful. Take the risk. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of living. And if you really want to live, you have to go after your dreams and stand up again if you fail.”

HE damage caused by super typhoon Yolanda has become a wakeup call for our country, and it has shown us what is lacking or what is absent in our system of emergency warnings. Yes you read it right, there are necessary and crucial components of the system that are not just lacking, but are totally absent. The absence of satellite phones is just one example, there are many other examples. The good thing is, it is now “raining” satellite phones after the absence was discovered. There is still a lot of debate whether the national government did its duty to inform the public about the coming of the storm surge or not. I believe that the national government did its duty in informing the local government units (LGUs) about the coming of the storm surge, but apparently, it was not thoroughly explained how much damage it could do, or how powerful it could be. Either that or the LGU officials did not fully understand what a storm surge is, and what it could do. While it may be true that the national government might have issued the warnings to the LGUs, it seems to me that no such warnings were issued to the general public by way of the commercial radio and TV stations, including the cable TV networks. I do not know exactly who should have made the decisions to issue the warnings through the mass media, but I did not hear anything over the airwaves, more so in the social media networks. This is a sad reality, because more lives could have been saved had the media warnings been issued. As I understand it, all commercial radio and TV stations are required to interrupt their regular programming randomly, in order to air test broadcasts of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), for the purpose making sure that these frequencies would be available in case these would have to be pre-empted, during natural disasters and other emergencies. It seems that these stations are not complying with this rule, and it also seems that the NTC is not enforcing this rule either. As I also understand it, all cable TV networks are supposed to open a community channel for public use, the same channel that could also be used to air emergency warnings. It seems that not too many cable TV networks are complying with this rule, and even if they do open community channels as they are required to do so, they are pre-empting the time and space in these channels by using these as their own barker channels. This is also a violation of the rules, because these cable TV networks are supposed to have barker channels that are separate from the community channels. As it happened, the national government officials said that they did their duty to inform the LGU officials about the threat of storm surges, but they also said that it is up to the local officials to order mandatory evacuations or not. I think that this is a gray area that would be difficult to clear up in black and white. In the fi rst place, it is a national government agency, the PAGASA that is capable of calcu-


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SCIENCE WORKS Ike Señeres lating the potential strength of storm surges, and perhaps this agency could also simulate how much damage the surges could possible cause. However, there is no doubt that the local officials would be in a better position to decide whether to order a mandatory evacuation or not, at least in theory. In reality however, there is hardly any time left to argue as to who should issue the order to vacate or not, once a storm surge is seen to strike. Given that reality, it may be a more practical policy to empower the PAGASA to issue the order, for and on behalf of the national government and the LGUs as well. Once that order is given, PAGASA should also be empowered to order all commercial radio and TV stations as well as cable TV networks within the vicinity to pre-empt all their broadcasts in order to announce the orders for mandatory evacuations. Under normal circumstances, I would not want government agencies to go beyond their normal jurisdictions, to the extent of usurping the functions of other agencies. In the case of emergency warnings however, human lives are more important than turf wars, and what is important is to act fast without wasting any time in pointing fi ngers or blaming each other. I understand that the PAGASA is nothing more than a weather monitoring and forecasting agency now, but certainly their powers could be expanded in order to empower them to do this new critical function. It seems to me that High Performance Computers (HPCs) are rarely used in the Philippines, and as of now, I do not know of any organization that is regularly using these machines for really serious software based simulations research. Many countries are now using HPCs for medical research and weather forecasting, and it is about time that we do so for our national interest. I have already talked to some Filipino scientists who are capable of doing this kind of work, and my wish now is for them to get hold of these high end computers as soon as possible. Given the budgetary limitations of our national government agencies, I think that it would be a good idea to have a privately funded and privately operated facility that could also do high end weather forecasting, parallel to what the government is doing. There is no issue of competition in this noble activity, because the purpose is to either complement what the government is doing, or to validate their fi ndings as the case may be. There should also be no issue about how much it would cost, because the value of the human lives that it could save would always be greater.

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DECEMBER 2-8, 2013 • VOL.4 NO.15

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SECTIONS POLITICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 OPINION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 AGRICULTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 FOREIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P1 LIFESTYLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P4


Pioneer of Pinoy Nail Care


LEVEN years ago, Catherine Kastner Ilacad was a naïve 22-year old with a dream. With zero business experience Catherine—Cat to friends—took on the biggest challenge of her life and devoted all her energies in a start-up nail salon and spa business she called POSH nails. And with her businessman-father as mentor, Cat realized her dream making Posh Nails one of the most successful enterprises in 2013. Well, it surely pays to be the daughter of OctoArts big boss Orly Ilacad whose show business and entertainment connections Cat used to the hilt. With endorsements from celebrities like Anne Curtis, Rica Peralejo, and Valerie Concepcion, Cat transformed the image of the lowly nail salon and foot spa into a venue of fabulous bursting colors. The hottest celebrity venue for grooming and pampering.

Celebrity Place

“In show business, we all know how important it is to always put your best foot forward. So these celebrities might as well make sure that the foot they’re going to put forward should look fabulous,” Cat said shortly after opening her fi rst salon. With the conception of her nail spa business, she follows the footsteps of her dad fi lm producer Orly Ilacad.


Considered as a Philippine pioneer in the natural nail care industry, Posh nails opened its fi rst shop in Greenhills in 2002—introducing a laid back, unique and modern setup to spa addicts young and old alike. The interior of the salon is like a girl’s bedroom painted in pink, lilac and white complete with comfortable couches, soft pillows and footrests. The place is also adorned with beaded curtains to incorporate a more feminine touch while soft R&B and chillout music plays in the background. “POSH nails is who I am, my heart and soul,” says Cat, who compares POSH to the Filipino home—warm and comfortable where all visitors are welcome and cared for,” Cat declared. Instead of the bulky recliners, Posh Nails uses couches as seats for its customers. This way, says Cat, the customers would feel more at ease and comfortable. POSH Nails is also the fi rst in the Philippines to offer themed manicures and pedicures such as Green Tea, Coffee, Chocolate lovers, Margarita, Cremee Brulee and Citrus. Themed manicures and pedicures differ for each month to keep clients excited and up to date with Turn to page 11

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