Pala ace ad dmits s PDA AF con ntrove ersy affected Noy rating r g By Aurea Calica C (The Philippine Star) | Updated Octob ber 15, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang will explain to o the public th he budget refo orms being do one and will m make those who o stole the pe eople’s money y accountable e under the law w. Secretary y Ricky Carandang of the Presidential P Communicatio C ons Developm ment and Strattegic Planning Office said d seven out of o 10 people approve a of the e job that Pre esident Aquino o is doing bassed on the So ocial Weather Stations S (SWS S) survey am mid the controv versies on the e Priority Devvelopment Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disburrsement Acce eleration Prog gram (DAP). “Any world d leader will be b envious off the amount of o public supp port, especially in difficult ttimes,” he said d. In a statem ment, the Office of the Pre esidential Spo okesperson co onceded that the PDAF sccandal had pu ulled down Aqu uino’s ratings.. “We share e this anger and a disappoin ntment,” read the statemen nt. “No amoun nt of clutter sh hould confuse e the true issue e at hand: pub blic funds werre stolen by elected officialls and their co ohorts in the b bureaucracy and the private e sector.”
The statement said the SWS survey still showed that for the third quarter, 68 percent of Filipinos remained satisfied with Aquino’s performance. “It also shows a seven-point increase in those dissatisfied from 12 percent in June to 19 percent in September,” read the statement. “While an overwhelming majority of Filipinos remain supportive of the President and his agenda, we recognize that the increase in those dissatisfied reflects the depth of anger and disappointment of the people at the way public funds have been stolen.” Malacañang said public support of Aquino has always come from his sincerity in dealing with the ills of the system. “Rest assured that our pursuit of justice will continue and will in fact intensify as more evidence is gathered,” read the statement. “Those who have wronged us will be held accountable. Those who wish to bring us back to the old ways will not succeed.” At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. believes Aquino’s ratings will recover. “He’s a good President,” he said. “The Napoles people are obfuscating the situation.” Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the drop in the satisfaction rating was expected because of the PDAF controversy. “However, it is unfair to lay the blame on President aquino because in reality he had nothing to do with it,” he said. “The public perception, however, was that the entire government was involved in the anomaly.” Evardone said Aquino has been instituting reforms, including the abolition of PDAF, to combat corruption. The opposition and the anti-pork advocates should not confuse the people by lumping Aquino together with those who diverted PDAF to bogus NGOs, Evardone said. Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting said Aquino must listen to the people and be more forthright in answering their questions. “He must not keep blaming the previous administrations for everything and should take responsibility for any wrongdoings or shortcomings since he took office,” he said. “He must be the President of all the people and not just his partymates and allies.” Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said the results showed that Malacañang “cannot lie through its teeth that its daang matuwid is unaffected by the pork barrel scam and DAP.” Drilon: DAP valid Senate President Franklin Drilon said yesterday the realignment of funds in the General Appropriations Act, including those used for the DAP, were all valid and used for legal purposes. The allocations made using the DAP funds all went to existing items in the GAA, he added. Drilon said he has no doubt about the DAP fund releases being constitutional. The realignment of savings has been done before, by the President, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice and the heads of the constitutional commissions, he added. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the DAP is unconstitutional because the alleged savings were used to augment new budget items not previously authorized by Congress. The President could only augment existing items in the GAA, not new programs and projects, she added.
Santiago said the action of Malacañang on the DAP effectively saps the power of Congress over the purse. “No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations,” she said, quoting the Constitution. Drilon said the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways in the GAA has “broad items” like national roads and bridges. “It is an existing item,” he said. “We cannot create a new item. Roads and bridges, that is an item that exists.” Drilon said the funds parked by the senators in hospitals are classified under maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE) in their budgets in the GAA. “When the hospitals submit their budgets to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), they list their capital outlay, MOOE and the assistance to indigents is placed under MOOE,” he said. – With Paolo Romero, Jess Diaz, Danny Dangcalan
Typhoon Tino to ex xit Phl toda ay By Helen Flores F (The Phiilippine Star) | Updated U Octob ber 15, 2013 - 1 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines ‐ TTyphoon Wip pha, which waas hovering oover the Pacifiic Ocean for tthe past few d days, onsibility yestterday but it is not expected to directlyy affect any part of entered the Philippine area of respo eau said. the counttry, the state weather bure The typho oon, which waas given the local name Tino, was spottted at 1,190 kkilometers no ortheast of Baasco, Batanes w with maximum m sustained w winds of 160 kkilometers peer hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 1 195 kph as of 4 p.m. yesterrday. It was forecast to exit tthe country this morning, moving northh northwest aat 20 kph. Rene Paciiente, chief off the weatherr forecasting section of thee Philippine A Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronom mical Services Administratio on (PAGASA),, yesterday saaid good weather will prevvail over Luzo on aside from m isolated thu understorms in the next th hree days. The Visayas and Mindaanao will have e light to occaasionally modderate rains d due to the inttertropical nce zone. convergen Paciente ssaid Tino will pass the norttheastern border of the Phhilippine areaa of responsib bility. “The typh hoon is very faar from the co ountry,” he said.
However, Paciente continued to warn the public against venturing out to the seaboards of northern Luzon and Palawan due to strong winds brought by Tino as well as Typhoon Santi. Santi left the Philippine area of responsibility last Sunday. Tino, on the other hand, was predicted to be 1,110 km northeast of Basco or outside the Philippine area of responsibility this morning, Paciente said. Paciente said one cyclone is still expected to enter the country this month, two or three in November and one or two in December. Paciente warned that cyclones during the last quarter of the year usually make landfall. A total of 20 cyclones have entered the country so far this year. Monsoon ends Paciente added that the southwest monsoon, which brought intense rains over the country in the past months, has terminated. He said the country is currently in a transition period. Paciente said a shift of wind system to northeasterly will happen by last week of this month. However, he said the cold weather associated with the northeast monsoon will be felt by November. 7 missing, 33 injured The death toll from Santi remained at 13 while seven persons are still missing. The typhoon also left 33 persons injured, disaster management officials said. Twenty‐eight of those injured came from Nueva Ecija and the other five from Zambales. Among those missing were three people whose motorized boat capsized in Lubbung Binuan Poblacion in Kabugao, Apayao last Saturday at the height of Santi. Apayao police director Sr. Supt. Albertlito Garcia identified the three as Crispin Addil Talosig, Noralin Apin Talosig and a certain Heidie. Members of the police force and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council are conducting search and rescue operations for the missing people, Garcia said. – With Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao, Ric Sapnu, Teddy Molina, Czeriza Valencia, Alexis Romero http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/10/15/1245427/typhoon‐tino‐exit‐phl‐today
Cod de-NG GO gets P8 M fro om Pa alace By Delon Porcalla P (The Philippine P Star) | Updated October 15, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA,, Philippines s - A controversial caucu us of non-govvernment orrganizations (NGOs) received P8 million starting s last year y from an n agency und der the Officce of the Pre esident. The Natio onal Anti-Po overty Comm mission (NAP PC) confirme ed yesterdayy that it gave e not just P2 2 million bu ut P8 million to the office ers of the Ca aucus of Devvelopment N NGO Networrks (Code-NGO) for poverrty alleviation n purposes. “I think we w gave them m P8 million to organize CSO (civil ssociety organ nizations) pa articipation ffor BUB (botttom-up budgeting) in 40 0 towns,” NA APC Secreta ary Joel Roccamora said in a text message e. This conffirms TheST TAR Vic Agustin’s Oct. 14 Money-Go o-Round collumn, where e he wrote th hat Code-NG GO received P2 million from f NAPC that t is “enou ugh to cover its legal exp penses it had d incurred so far to deffend itself ag gainst Burea au of Interna al Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim m Henares’’ suing the group g for alle eged tax liab bility in conne ection with the P10-billio on PEACe b bonds issue.” The first tranche was s released to o Code-NGO O in the last q quarter of 20 012, but Roccamora did n not specify th he exact amount of the releases r and d if the entire e P8 million had been disbursed.
In 2011, Malacañang backed BIR’s move to impose the 20-percent final withholding tax on the yield and discounts of government’s Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates or PEACe bonds. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the PEACe bonds “were given in the past administration.” However, the Arroyo administration reportedly did not collect the taxes from Code-NGO, a network of 12 national and regional development NGOs with more than 1,600 affiliated organizations nationwide. Lacierda said the general rule is that all treasury issuances are subject to the 20-percent withholding tax, and that the government would let the judiciary decide on the issue after the BIR filed the case in court. “What we are upholding is the general rule – all treasury issuances are subject to 20 percent withholding tax and this is a regulation that banks are fully aware of,” Lacierda added. The bonds matured in October 2011 and thus became redeemable. The Bureau of Treasury will have to pay bondholders a total of P35 billion, including P24.3 billion in interest income or discount. In BIR Ruling No. 370-2011, the bureau imposed tax on the PEACe bonds and directed the Bureau of Treasury to withhold the final tax from the payments on the PEACe bonds’ face value. The government, through the Bureau of the Treasury, issued the bonds through an auction in October 2001 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Through its agent Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Code-NGO purchased the bonds for P10.169 billion. RCBC was able to sell the bonds in the secondary market for P11.995 billion. It then remitted the profit of P1.826 billion to Code-NGO. The group paid its agent and financial advisers a fee from the profit. Excluding the fees, CodeNGO made a profit of P1.486 billion. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/10/15/1245424/code‐ngo‐gets‐p8‐m‐palace
P-Noy to rise or fall on presidential pork POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr. (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 15, 2013 - 12:00am
ACID TEST: President Noynoy Aquino appears to have decided to rise or fall on the pork barrel issue but the people, if surveys are to be believed, have just cautioned him with a sharp drop in his net trust rating. Not content with defending (but realigning) congressional pork, President Aquino intends to retain the Disbursement Acceleration Program fund that he dispenses much like pork, and is also asking his Congress allies to lift the restriction on his use of Malampaya gas funds to energy-related projects. He wants the Malampaya billions available to him off-budget, with him having the sole discretion to use the money just like the pile of money being shoveled to him in the hundreds of millions by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. His insistence on keeping a bulging pork barrel leaves the impression that the lame duck President feels politically naked or powerless without discretionary lump sums at his disposal. But as if in warning, the Sept. 20-23 nationwide survey of the Social Weather Stations -- with the pork barrel and other issues running in the background — showed the President’s trust rating dropping by 15 points from 64 to 49 percent. *
DRILON SCARED?: Now we know why Senate President Franklin Drilon is afraid to invite businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, a vital witness, to testify on the plunder of congressional and other pork barrel funds. Sandra Cam, president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, detailed the other day the close association dating back to 2005 of Drilon and Napoles, the star in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. Delaying a showdown, Drilon postponed yesterday to Oct. 16 a caucus of senators on his refusal to sign the invitation for Napoles to testify before the Blue Ribbon committee. Cam said: “Drilon did not want the public to know that contrary to his claims, he and Napoles knew each other as early as 2005. He also did not want the public to know that Napoles knew the President, the Executive Secretary and other officials in Malacañang. “Drilon and Napoles were the patrons of the biggest jueteng bagman, an untouchable operator in the Arroyo administration who managed to cross over to the Aquino clique and was even made a provincial party whip of the Liberal Party.” *
AN EMBARRASSMENT: On judicial reforms brought to the fore by the pork issue, one embarrassing area has been the Court of Appeals, which critics say has been too trigger-happy in issuing Temporary Restraining Orders that sometimes delay cases. Just recently, the CA issued a TRO against a decision of a Makati court to return P237 million to a local investment company after it was learned that the loan was already fully paid abroad. Last July, we wrote here about the Department of Justice taking over the preliminary investigation of a criminal case filed with the Makati prosecutor by a financial firm versus officials of a multinational bank. The DoJ action delayed the case since the prosecutor was then poised to render a decision. *
PERJURY: Finally last Sept. 16, the DoJ recommended the filing of criminal perjury charges against Kathrina Sebastian of the Standard Chartered Bank as petitioned by the complainant Philippine Investment Two Inc. (PI II). The DoJ saw perjury in SCB’s submissions to the Makati Regional Trial Court that is the rehabilitation court for PI II, the former local unit of the defunct Lehman Brothers. The firm was put under rehabilitation when Lehman declared bankruptcy after the 2007 financial crisis. The DOJ said SCB “intentionally” concealed that it received more than $90 million in collateral from Lehman, on a P819-million loan it made to PI II in 2007. This caused huge losses for PI II and its creditors such as the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. What SCB should have done was disclose the collateral, liquidate it, and return the excess proceeds to PI II for the other creditors’ claims. But SCB kept this secret. *
COLLECTING TWICE: The SCB also did not disclose that the P819-million loan had been extinguished as part of a $26-million settlement between SCB and Lehman Brothers as approved by the bankruptcy court in New York. In January, SCB sold the $90 million in high-grade bonds given it as collateral, and gave $64 million in change back to Lehman. Metrobank and PI II filed action to prevent SCB from collecting twice for the same loan. The SCB denied at first there was the $90-million collateral, and then claimed the bonds were not enough to cover the PI II loans. The fact that it returned $64 million to Lehman makes this claim suspicious. And it looks bad that SCB kept secret its deal with Lehman in New York. *
BLINDSIDED: Before the secret dealings of SCB were discovered, Metrobank had an exposure in PI II of over P400 million, and yet it still let SCB be paid P237 million by PI II.
Last Aug. 30, the Makati RTC rehab court ordered SCB to return the P233.6 million that it already got from PI II. The judge also removed SCB’s standing as a creditor under PI II’s rehab plan. The court held a hearing on Sept. 10 to work out the decision’s implementation, where it asked the parties to work out an amicable settlement. The parties committed to meet later in the week, only for the court to be blindsided by a TRO issued Sept. 13 against its ruling by a division of the CA in a process that took less than two days and without any hearing or comments solicited. *
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‘Hol-DAP’ FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 15, 2013 - 12:00am 5
There is a brilliant ‘wanted’ poster making the rounds. It calls for the arrest of the ‘Hol-DAP Gang’ for waylaying the public treasury and corrupting our institutions. DAP is the now notorious acronym for the “disbursement acceleration program” by which “savings” were manufactured and then spread around as pork. In posters, the acronym now also stands for Drilon, Abad and P-Noy — seen as the architects of this unforgivable raid on the national treasury. All three are senior members of the Liberal Party (LP), in principle the ruling party although increasingly in the public eye nothing more than a criminal conspiracy to convert public monies into pork. From pork, as we now know, criminal profit is brazenly extracted. Over the last three years, the pork barrel state, the single biggest cause of our underdevelopment, just got greasier. The PDAF more than tripled in size. The DAP became an instrument for undermining the legislature’s power over the purse, transferring money from defined purposes to undefined ends, and bribing legislators wholesale. Congressional insertions (earmarking of public funds to uses dictated by politicians) grew exponentially. Special purpose funds, such as the one generated from the Malampaya wells, mutated into presidential pork. The profits of GOCCs, net of the huge bonuses appointees gave themselves, were likewise captured to supplement presidential discretionary funds. The greed just became horrifyingly immoderate. This administration packaged itself as a reformist regime. Inside the glossy packaging, we now know, is traditional patronage politics at its worst. Our people feel betrayed. In any mature democracy, a scandal of this magnitude might have forced out government or sparked resignations from the most senior officials linked to it. Not here. At least not yet. When Moody’s raised our sovereign credit ratings to investment grade, the announcement seemed incongruous. Businessmen did not organize parades. Domestic cost of money did not drop. The markets hardly stirred. Citizens barely noticed. There are many reasons for the apparent incongruity. In the preceding weeks and months, there is a sense that the business environment became intolerably unstable. Policy decisions with broad repercussions became more politicized or more haphazard. The credibility of contracts with government just fell through the floor. The business climate became increasingly inhospitable since the Belgian-supported Laguna de Bay project was whimsically scrapped and the French-supported modernization of our ports
inexplicably junked. The Belgians have taken us to the costly process on international arbitration. Federal Express’ permit to operate was voided. The well-connected San Roque Power Corp. was benefitted with a P484-million tax refund. The single biggest foreign investment into the country, Sagittarius Mines’ $5.9-billion Tampakan project is on the verge of evaporating due to Palace inaction. Most recently, the two metropolitan water concessionaires have brought to international arbitration the myopic rate decision of the MWSS. Again, this will be a costly arbitration process and the MWSS is bound to lose since the concessionaires rest on a perfected contract patterned after public-private partnerships in advanced economies. The imperious action of the MWSS drew sharp reactions from the foreign chambers of commerce, representing the view of investors. The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines (JCCIP) wrote the DTI stating that “not only will this obstruct vital investments by the concessionaires to improve water supply, it also sends a very strong message to the business community about the level of commitment of the Philippine government in upholding the sanctity of contracts.” That is about as polite as the Japanese could be. It seems that in three short years, this administration not only eroded public institutions. It eroded as well the vitality of many other institutions crucial to the long-term improvement of the domestic economy. Redemption The churches have closed ranks against pork barrel politics exemplified by the PDAF and the DAP. Concerned citizens in many localities are gearing up to gather signatures for a people’s initiative against pork. It is not the technical issues about people’s initiative that matter at this point. What is important is that more and more Filipinos are searching for a means to struggle against the pork barrel state. We have, it seems, reached a point where this administration and informed citizens are on a collision course — even as the President and his half-witted mouthpieces cynically insist the Palace and those protesting in the streets are on the same side. No propaganda line could be more hollow. This regime represents the epitome of the pork barrel state; citizens are demanding an end to pork barrel politics. The last institution standing to avert a frontal clash between the state and its own people is the Supreme Court — itself damaged by the machinations of this administration. Congress is smeared by its own crimes.
Before the Court are numerous petitions questioning the constitutionality of both the PDAF and the DAP. The Court gave the petitions due course even if they lacked eloquence. It is clear the magistrates recognize the historical import of the matter at hand. If the Supreme Court declares the PDAF, the DAP and all non-itemized appropriations unconstitutional, it will strengthen the constitutional order. It will redeem the institution from the infamous 1973 ruling on the constitutionality of martial law in Javellana v. Executive Secretary. In this ruling, the Court chose a cowardly course and found dishonorable refuge in declaring martial rule a political question that is beyond judicial competence. If this Supreme Court does not insist on strict constitutionality, there could be open rebellion by citizens outraged by the pork barrel state, beginning from civil disobedience movements. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/10/15/1245358/hol‐dap
Belm monte e pus shes passa p age off Fair Com mpetittion Act A By Paolo Romero R (The Philippine P Star) | Updated Octo ober 15, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA,, Philippines s - Speaker Feliciano F Be elmonte, Jr. i s seeking th he swift enacctment of hiss proposed d Philippine Fair Competition Act of 2013 that aiims to minim mize unfair co ompetition a and dismantle e monopolie es and cartells to protect consumers and the eco onomy from powerful business s interests. Trade and In Belmonte e’s House Bill 1133 is pe ending at the e House Com mmittee on T ndustry chaiired by Las Piñas City Re ep. Mark Villar. It is a reffiled measurre of HB 483 35 of the 15th Congress with some improvements. aker said the e measure “aims to enco ourage fair a and free eco onomic comp petition by The Spea prohibitin ng the abuse e of market dominant d po ositions and tthe excessivve concentra ation of economic c power by regulating r im mproper conc certed acts a and unfair b business practices, there eby stimulatin ng creative business b acttivities, prote ecting consu umers and promoting the e balanced developm ment of the national n econ nomy.” “The eco onomy contin nues to be dominated by y groups of b businesses w with substan ntial market power an nd political in nfluence. Als so, competition in the do omestic markket remains restricted in n key sectors,” Belmonte said. s
He said the 1987 Constitution expressly provides that “the State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the public interest so requires.” The Constitution also stipulates that “no combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition shall be allowed.” Belmonte said despite the constitutional guarantees and the existence of laws that affect competition, such laws have proven to be inadequate. He cited the lack of genuine competition in certain industries impairs public welfare and undermines the country’s credibility to provide a business climate conducive to investment. The House said the presence of a comprehensive competition policy would further boost the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to rise at par with the country’s first world counterparts; improve real wage; and lead to lower consumer prices. Belmonte said as outlined in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint adopted in 2007, all ASEAN member states, including the Philippines, would endeavor to introduce competition policy by 2015. The bill provides for the creation of a Philippine Fair Trade Commission (PFTC) to be under the Office of the President and which would investigate, gather evidence and initiate prosecution of those engaged in unfair trade practices. It would also look into the description of cartels and monopolies, and impose defined sanctions and penalties for violation of the Fair Competition Act. The bill also mandates that the exercise of regulatory powers by different government agencies, including local government units (LGUs), over an industry or subsector thereof should be cumulative and should not be construed in any way as derogating from the power and authority of the PFTC. While the PFTC would have primary and sole jurisdiction over competition issues, the regulatory bodies would continue to exercise jurisdiction over all matters with regard to the firms’ operation and exercise. The bill provides it would be unlawful for firms to engage in anti-competitive acts that prevent, distort, or restrict competition unless otherwise exempted. These prohibited acts should include price fixing and bid rigging. The bill also provides that it would be unlawful for one or more firms to abuse their dominant position by engaging in unfair methods of competition, or in unfair or deceptive trade practices, or entering into combinations in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, with the purpose and effect to prevent, restrict or distort competition. Among the prohibited acts should be: predatory behavior towards competitors; limitation and control of markets; market allocation; arrangements to share markets or sources of supply; price discrimination; exclusivity arrangement; tie-in arrangements; and boycott. The measure also prohibits anti-competitive mergers. It provides that no firm engaged in commerce or trade should acquire, directly or indirectly, the whole or any part of the stock or
other share capital, or the whole or any part of the assets, of one or more firms engaged in any line of commerce or trade where the effect of such acquisition of such stocks, share capital, or assets, or of the use of such stock by voting or granting of proxies or otherwise maybe to substantially lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly. The bill offers a leniency program to any person or firm that should cooperate or furnish any information, document or data to the PFTC before or during the conduct of the preliminary inquiry that constitutes material evidence as determined by the Commission. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/10/15/1245265/belmonte‐pushes‐passage‐fair‐competition‐ act
Inde ex dip ps as US debt defaultt cree eps clos ser By Neil Jerrome C . Morales (The Philipp pine Star) | Upd dated October 15, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, P Philippines - Local stockks succumbe ed to market pre essure as a p possible US S debt defaullt crept close er after weekkend talks in n Washington failed. pine Stock E Exchange ind dex retreate ed The Philipp 0.73 perce ent or 47.10 points to 6,4 442.70, snap pping a two-day climb of the bellwether iindex. The ex shed 0.53 3 percent or broader alll shares inde 20.98 poin nts to 3,904.8 81. “The marrket continue es to remain n tentative, re eflective of cconcerns on the US shutdown. Thuss making the 6,500 lev vel a tough le evel to break k,” said Jona athan Ravelas, chief ma arket strategist at BDO Uniibank Inc. Financial markets in Asia traded thinly, while e major regio onal marketss in Hong Ko ong and Jap pan were clos sed for holid days. In the loc cal bourse, most m counterrs were in th he red, paced d by service e firms that lo ost 1.04 perccent or 21 points to 1,988 8.78. Mining and oil buck ked the trend d as it gained 0.13 perce ent or 16.04 points to 12,450.49. k to P4.02 billlion from P8 8.83 billion o on Friday as investors were The value of shares traded sank t load up on stocks. hesitant to Decliners s outpaced advancers, a 97 9 to 51, while 42 stockss did not cha ange. Most active shares were w in the negative n terriitory, led by most-traded d PLDT (-1.0 03 percent) a and SM Prime Holdings Inc. (-1.8 perrcent). Metroban nk added 0.1 12 percent while w Empera ador Inc. co ntinued its u uptick as it ro ose 0.72 perrcent. http://ww ww.philstar.co om/business//2013/10/15//1245266/inddex‐dips‐us‐debt‐default‐ccreeps‐closer
Net hot money m y inflo ow up p in S Sept By Kathlee en A. Martin (Th he Philippine Star) S | Updated October 15, 20 013 - 12:00am
MANILA,, Philippines s - Net hot money m inflow amounted to o $631.46 m million from S Sept. 1 to 27 7, indicating g the return of foreign po ortfolio inves stments into the country following vo olatilities tha at hounded financial ma arkets this year. y p amou unted to $2.4 445 billion ass against gro oss outflowss of Gross infflows during the review period $1.814 billion, b accord ding to prelim minary data from the Ba angko Sentra al ng Pilipina as (BSP). The lates st figure was s a reversal of o the $441.56-million n net outflow re ecorded in A August and surpasse ed by a notable margin the $402.23-- million net inflow record ded in Septe ember last yyear. Foreign portfolio p inve estments are e also called d hot money for the manner in which h they can be e easily inv vested in and d taken out of markets. These foreig gn investme ents are put iin local stockks, government securitie es, and corporate bonds s as well. e start of the e year, the co ountry has seen s four mo onths of net hot money o outflow due Since the largely to o volatilities abroad. a In March, the repatria ation of portffolio investm ments was du ue to uncerttainties in the e euro zone. h money in nflow in May, June, and A August was blamed to tthe impendin ng Meanwhile, the net hot
tapering of the US Federal Reserve, which prompted investors to sell their assets in emerging markets and bring them back home. Tim Condon, ING Bank’s regional economist for Asia, said the return of foreign portfolio investments into the Philippines may stoke a peso appreciation. “Associated hot money inflows are exerting peso-appreciation pressure. We have revised our year-end forex forecast to 42.8:$1 from 43.5:$1,” Condon said. ING’s year-end forecast is more than four percent weaker than the peso’s finish in end-2012 of 41.05 to $1. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/10/15/1245267/net‐hot‐money‐inflow‐sept
WB sets up $4 44 M fund f ffor electric c cooperattives By Iris C. Gonzales G (The Philippine Starr) | Updated Oc ctober 15, 2013 3 - 12:00am
MANILA,, Philippines s - The World d Bank is se etting aside $ $44 million to o help electrric cooperatives (ECs) in the Philippin nes access financing f forr their netwo ork expansion and renew wable energyy projects, a ranking offficial said. In an inte erview, World Bank senior energy sp pecialist Ala n Townsend d said the multilateral fun nding agency is s providing the t cooperattives $44 million in a gua arantee fund d that would help them access lo oans from co ommercial banks. The guarrantee fund from f the Wo orld Bank’s Clean C Techn nology Fund (CTF), a climate investm ment fund, would support the t existing Electric Coo operative Pa artial Credit G Guarantee P Program (ECPCGP) of the De epartment off Energy, wh hich guarante ees electric cooperatives’ loans from m cial banks. commerc “That will help suppo ort $500 million in lending g to ECs forr network expansion and d renewable wnsend told reporters. energy projects,” Tow The additional suppo ort from the World W Bank would help ECs with the eir investme ent projects.
“ECs have big investment needs. They provide power to more than 50 percent of all the households in the country. They are regulated on a non-profit basis so they have very limited margins. Government policies have shifted the primary financing responsibilities for ECs from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to the private sector. They want commercial finance to become a more important factor in funding new investment for ECs,” Townsend explained. He said with the additional $44 million from the World Bank, investments of ECs could translate to about $100 million, particular for their network expansion and renewable energy projects. Townsend said the guarantee fund has no liability on the part of the government in the program. “There’s no contingent liability. If there’s a payout, the CTF will have a right of recovery but not from the government but from the EC,” he said. At present, the ECPCGP provides partial credit guarantees to commercial banks that lend to electric cooperatives. “This has been very successful in helping commercial banks such as BPI and Security Bank provide credit to ECs,” Townsend said Under the program, when electric cooperatives repay the loan, they’ll pay the principle and interest to the bank and pay the guarantee fee to the ECPCGPs. For the additional $44 million, Townsend said this is just awaiting approval from the Philippine government and the World Bank board. http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/10/15/1245269/wb‐sets‐44‐m‐fund‐electric‐cooperatives
I.C. considering ‘takaful’ system for Muslims Category: Top News 14 Oct 2013 Written by Genivi Factao The Insurance Commission (IC) is looking at the feasibility of establishing an insurance system that is consistent with Islamic principles. Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said the commission is particularly studying the possibility of offering takaful insurance in the country to help Filipino Muslims. (Takaful is an Arabic word meaning “guaranteeing each other” or “joint guarantee.”) Taking notice of the disasters and destructions that happened in the southern part of the country, Dooc said the IC is looking for ways to help the Muslims in Mindanao. “This is something new to us. We don’t know yet the coverage and how the insurance company would earn and who would invest,” he said. “We will seek the experts in Islamic banking and insurance,” he added. The move is also part of the financial inclusion of the government, which aims to offer insurance products in all sectors, particularly the marginalized group. The IC sees the need for Islamic finance regulations to be able to offer takaful products in the country and help ensure the rights of takaful consumers. “Whenever catastrophe occurred, mostly the government foots the bill and it’s good that there are donations from different sectors. Insurance cover can assist the victims replace their damaged property or destroyed houses,” he said. (According to www.takaful.coop, takaful is an Arabic word meaning “guaranteeing each other” or “joint guarantee.” The Tabarru’ system is the main core of the takaful system, making it free from uncertainty and gambling. Tabarru’ means “donation, gift, contribution.” “Each participant who needs protection must be present with the sincere intention to donate to other participants faced with difficulties. Therefore, Islamic insurance exists where each participant contributes into a fund that is used to support one another, with each participant contributing sufficient amounts to cover expected claims. The objective of takaful is to pay a defined loss from a defined fund.” “Muslim jurists conclude that insurance in Islam should be based on principles of mutuality and cooperation. Encompassing the elements of shared responsibility, joint indemnity, common interest and solidarity.”)
Dooc added that the IC also plans to set up an investment advisory council for preneed life and non-life that will look into viable investment activities. In the pipeline is the mandatory earthquake insurance for residential units and small and medium enterprises. “Studies are being undertaken by the IC with the Asian Development Bank, reinsurance companies and World Bank on the basic cover for property damage due to earthquake,” he said. Dooc said one major concern is how the earthquake-protection insurance company would be capitalized. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top‐news/20863‐i‐c‐considering‐takaful‐system‐for‐ muslims
‘Assistance desk’ eyed for Japanese investors Category: Top News 14 Oct 2013 Written by Bianca Cuaresma Local accounting firm Ramon F. Garcia & Co. (RFG & Co.) has forged a partnership with the Japanese firm Yusei Audit & Co. to create a Japanese investors’ assistance desk in the country to accommodate the “expected surge” of Japanese investors in the Philippines. According to Ramon Garcia, founding and managing partner of the local firm, it was the Japanese firm that initiated the talks to establish a department in the Philippines that is dedicated to cater to the needs of Japanese investors. “In our meeting at New Delhi in May, the Yusei Audit & Co. representative discussed the possibility of setting up a Japan desk,” Garcia said on Monday. Garcia said the Japanese investors’ assistance desk would help Japanese investors set up their businesses and on several accounting and taxation works. He also said the Philippines is becoming an investment haven in Asia because of its good macroeconomic fundamentals. “The reason he is very optimistic about the Philippines is the present economic climate of the country. In Japan, particularly in Tokyo, there’s a lot of news about the Philippines as an alternative and good destination for business rather than China. Many Japanese firms are now really having an eye on the Philippines. The setting up of a Japan desk is very important to accommodate the expected influx of the Japanese companies coming to the Philippines,” Garcia said. As of now, Garcia said most of the investors interested in the assistance desk belong to the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Japan. “This is because most of the big multinationals are already here,” Garcia said. The local accounting firm head did not specify the type of investors he expects to sink in funds in the Philippines. But he said they are “substantial.” Aside from the Philippines, Garcia said investors were also looking into Vietnam and Indonesia; he called the three investment spots “VIPs.” But he said the Philippines has a distinct advantage because of the proficiency of Filipinos in English. “This is why he [Japanese firm head] approached me and to plan the Japanese desk that would handle Japanese clients,” Garcia said. This type of bilateral assistance desk is peculiar to the Japanese because of their attitude in doing business, Garcia said. Japanese investors, according to him, are more risk averse, traditional and conservative. They are also likely to trust fellow Japanese over any other in doing business. http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top‐news/20862‐assistance‐desk‐eyed‐for‐japanese‐investors
BSP likely to revise BOP assumptions Category: Top News 13 Oct 2013 Written by Bianca Cuaresma SOME of the billions of dollars worth of foreign capital that exited emerging markets like the Philippines two months back have returned, making more compelling a recalculation of the country’s balance of payments (BOP), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said over the weekend. The reflow of foreign funds, the BSP said, could push higher the country’s BOP surplus, already exceeding $1 billion at end-June this year, and further strengthen the external sector and its ability to weather rapid turns of external events that render less-fortified economies vulnerable. Reviews on BOP numbers are not uncommon and happens twice a year in the case of the Philippines. But a scaling up of the target components will not only further fortify the country’s external sector but signals its ramped-up ability to take otherwise debilitating external events in stride. According to the BSP, global and domestic events in recent weeks, including the debt crisis in the United States, compel the monetary authorities to review its targets in the BOP accounts. The US debt crisis pertains, for the most part, to its impaired ability to contract new debt, an event seen to trigger the reflow of capital to safer havens such as emerging-market economies, including the Philippines. Earlier foreign capital inflows helped cement the country’s status as a net creditor country, made possible by the surplus state of its current account last computed at $5.6 billion. The current account has stayed in an unbroken surplus state since 2005, equal to around 1 percent of local output or the gross domestic product (GDP). There was a time when the current-account deficit or imbalance equaled 45 percent of GDP, its gross international reserves rather low and the value of the local currency was under constant threat of erosion. BSP Deputy Governor for the Monetary Stability Sector Diwa Guinigundo said all the accounts of the BOP, including the current account, the financial account and capital accounts and their components would be subject to review. Guinigundo acknowledged the BSP would soon review these targets as certain components of the BOP have already breached or neared the full-year target. For example, the BSP reported a surge in foreign direct investments (FDI) in July this year to $2.6 billion, which already surpassed the government’s full-year target of only $2.2 billion. Foreign portfolio investments (FPI), more popularly known as speculative or hot money, totaled $2.64 billion at end-September this year or broadly unchanged from year ago portfolio investments reaching $2.65 billion.
“[Hot money is] not so volatile for the first nine months, the amount is just about the same at about $2.6 billion from last year. However, the distribution on a monthly basis is different. The situations changed, the shocks are different,” Guinigundo said. The FDI and FPIs are part of the capital and financial account component of the BSP. The latest current accounts of the Philippines showed a surplus of $5.6 billion. The BSP deputy governor said the country might experience a “reflow” of funds into the country in the coming months if a liquidity crunch happens in the US and in other advanced economies. “There might be some liquidity crunch in the US and in other advanced economies. But in the emerging markets, if the liquidity crunch will occur, the pull factors will be stronger and therefore the capital reversal that we used to see in the month of August and September might be reversed. And that’s what we saw in the last two weeks of September, some reflow back to the emerging markets,” Guinigundo said. In most weeks of August and the first week of September, FPIs were dumped out of the country causing net outflows as markets were affected by global uncertainties.
‘Pork’ causes big drop in PNoy’s rating By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:16am | 744 views The latest Social Weather Stations survey showed that President Benigno Aquino III’s net satisfaction rating dropped 15 percentage points in the third quarter as a result of the pork barrel controversy. Another survey by Pulse Asia showed that the majority of Filipinos believe that the misuse of pork barrel appropriations continued during Aquino’s term. SWS said its Sept. 20-23 survey showed that Aquino’s net satisfaction ratings fell across all areas, socioeconomic classes and gender, and that the dissatisfaction with him increased to 19 percent in September compared with 12 percent in June. Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte attributed the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating to the misuse of pork barrel funds, which she stressed happened from 2007 to 2009 or during the past administration. “We recognize that the increase in those dissatisfied reflects the depth of anger and disappointment of the people at the way public funds have been stolen,” Valte said. “We share this anger and disappointment. No amount of clutter should confuse the true issue at hand: Public funds were stolen by elected officials and their cohorts in the bureaucracy and the private sector.” Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating “is a natural consequence following his failure to heed the people’s demand to abolish the pork barrel in all its forms.” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Aquino would recover because “He is a good President.” Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said “Malacañang cannot lie through its teeth that its [governance] is unaffected by the pork barrel scam and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating could be “a temporary setback,” adding Aquino “will always be a symbol of good governance.” Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said it was unfair to blame Aquino for the pork barrel controversy because he had nothing to do with it.
Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting advised Aquino to refrain from blaming the past administration for the mess he had created. “I think he must listen to the people and be more forthright in answering their questions,” Tambunting said. “He must not keep blaming the previous administration for everything.” Valte did not address the Pulse Asia survey result showing 67 percent of Filipinos—across all areas and across all economic strata—believe that the misuse of the pork barrel continued under the Aquino administration. She instead assured the public that the President would remain focused on curbing corruption while ensuring public funds were spent wisely. The same survey showed that 45 percent of Filipinos want the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel is abolished. The Pulse Asia survey also showed that close to one in every three Filipinos believe that politicians use their pork barrel to get elected, and the PDAF provides lawmakers the opportunity to receive bribes and commissions. At least 23 percent of Filipinos also believe that the PDAF is used by the President to obtain the support of lawmakers for his administration’s priority bills. The Pulse Asia survey was based on a sample of 1,200 respondents with a +/-3-percent margin of error. The third-quarter SWS survey, on the other hand, showed that the number of Filipinos dissatisfied with Aquino’s performance increased from 12 percent in June to 19 percent in September. But Valte stressed that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos or 68 percent remained satisfied with Aquino’s performance based on the same survey. With Maricel V. Cruz http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/pork‐causes‐big‐drop‐in‐pnoys‐rating/
LP defends Drilon, asks media to shun Cam By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:15am | 2,753 views Liberal Party officials on Monday said whistle-blower Sandra Cam was “lying through her teeth” when she accused Senate President Franklin Drilon of backing an illegal numbers game operator in Candaba. Pampanga during the last election at the behest of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. Liberal Party spokesman Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada said Mayor Rene Maglanque, tagged by Cam as a jueteng or illegal numbers game operator, was not a member of the Liberal Party and ran as an independent, contrary to the whistle-blower’s claims. “Mayor Maglanque is not an LP member. You can check the Comelec Web site and you will see that Maglanque filed as an independent candidate in the last elections and not under LP,” Tanada said. Tanada said the other claims by Cam were fueled by malice and were full of inconsistencies, which “she has tried to foist on the Filipino people as the truth.” He said the LP “had no hand in the selection of candidates in Candaba.” Cam, president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, on Sunday told the Manila Standard that Drilon knew Napoles as early as 2005, and even helped her associate, Maglanque, win election as the mayor of Candaba. She also said Drilon, as Senate President, helped Napoles get off the hook in a Senate investigation in 2005. Maglanque eventually won the mayoralty race against then incumbent Mayor Jerry Pelayo, a close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Drilon has consistently denied any involvement with Napoles, saying he only knew Napoles in social circles. Another LP spokesperson, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, said Cam had an axe to grind against Drilon, after the Senate president withdrew the Senate security personnel assigned to her.
“Sandra Cam was lying through her teeth when she claimed that LP leaders are under the payroll of Napoles and that Napoles gave money to the LP campaign kitty during the last elections,” Evardone said. “Those statements are extremely reckless and irresponsible. Media should ignore her.” Evardone said he was told that the Senate sergeant-at-arms provided security to Cam when she testified before the Senate’s investigation into the payola scam in 2005, which went on for months. “According to Senate records, Cam really enjoyed this privilege to the point that she abused these services, even incurring P700,000 in expenses,” he said. “For one, she made the security personnel as her houseboy and driver. Second, she abused the signing privilege at the Senate lounge. It is for these reasons that her security personnel have been withdrawn.” Evardone also took exception to claims of Cam that there were threats to her life, saying “they have turned out to be imaginary and non-existent.” “The proof is, she is very much alive today, still trying to hog the headlines,” he said. In a letter to the Manila Standard, Drilon’s chief of staff Renato Bantug Jr. said it was unfortunate that Cam “let herself to be used by certain quarters that are out to besmirch the reputation of Senate President Frank-lin M. Drilon and the President’s allies in the Liberal Party.” He added that Cam’s allegations were all malicious and appeared to be part of a vilification campaign against Drilon and the Aquino administration. “I do not anticipate – though I hope so—that Ms. Cam would very soon stop this nasty act of fabricating the truth, but it is my personal appeal to everyone no to be swayed by these lies, exaggerations, and insinua-tions,” Bantug said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/lp-defends-drilon-asks-media-to-shun-cam/
INC mission draws over 2 million people By Vito Barcelo | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:13am | 819 views Between two and three million people attended the Iglesia ni Cristo’s “Lingap-Pamamahayag” evangelical outreach mission on Monday, causing traffic chaos that shut down large parts of Metro Manila, according to the police. Manila Police District director Chief Superintendent Isagani Genade said at least one million participants were followers of the religious group while 1.5 million and two million people came as aid recipient “The INC has intensified its evangelical missions all over the world, so more people could be reached by the message of salvation,” INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo said in a radio announcement. The event was held at five places: Plaza del Carmen beside San Sebastian Church in the San Miguel district, Plaza Avelino, Magallanes Drive Ext. near the Central Post Office, Quinta Market at the Quiapo district and Far Eastern University in the Sampaloc district. By 7 a.m., the usually very busy Quezon Bridge underpass in Quiapo was already jammed with traffic caused by the group’s buses parked at the roadside. In Pasay City, buses bearing members of the religious group arrived from Las Piñas City, Cavite and Batangas. One of the thousands of motorists inconvenienced by the event was Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te who posted progressively angrier tweets on his Twitter account as he waited out the traffic on Espana Avenue in Sampaloc, Manila. The gathering of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the historic district of Manila forced all schools and some government offices to close. The Supreme Court, as well as some basketball games in the highly popular college league, were also suspended, while Manila’s governing authority urged private employers to give their staff a paid day off to avoid the traffic. The religious event led some government agencies to suspend their afternoon work schedule such as the Commission on Elections, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and Sandiganbayan as well as local courts located in Manila and Quezon City.
“We really apologize for those who were inconvenienced. Maybe they can just pass this off as a minor sacrifice to help their countrymen,” Iglesia ni Cristo spokesman Edwin Zaballa said in interviews. Zabala said the activity is not a new thing. “The relief-giving, as well as medical and dental mission had already been done by the religious group in the past.” Iglesia ni Cristo, which is believed to have about three million members, held the event ostensibly as a medical and charity mission, with its followers giving aid to residents of huge slums. Zaballa said it was also part of year-long celebrations across the country to mark the lead-up to its centenary in 2014, and was merely an evangelical exercise. “We do not mean it as a show of force.” But Senator Miriam Santiago disagreed and said: “There is a message behind the INC event today. If you are a politician and you don’t get it, you are a fool,” Santiago posted on Twitter. Malacañang Palace, however, discounted Santiago’s claim that the evangelical event had a political agenda. “At this point, we have no reason to believe otherwise than the purpose for which it is being stated that it’s a medical and dental mission that they have chosen to conduct,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a press conference. The event is one of many ostentatious displays of faith in the mainly Catholic Philippines, where religious leaders also wield heavy political influence. However, not everyone attending was celebrating. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority had to reroute traffic to ease the congestion and motorists were advised to take circuitous alternate routes. From Manila to Quezon City, motorists took Taft Avenue, right or left turn at UN Ave., left turn to Otis, left turn to Nagtahan to destination. In Quezon City to Manila, Espana, right to Lacson, Tayuman left turn to Jose Abad Santos, Regin Regente, Juan Luna, Plaza Cervantes, Jones Bridge, P Burgos to destination had been the alternate routs.
From Caloocan City, Rizal Avenue, right to Tayuman, left to Jose Abad Santos , Regina Regente, Juan Luna, Plaza Cervantes, Jones Bridge to destination were the alternate routes. From Luneta to Caloocan, drivers took C.M Recto, left turn to Jose Aba d Santos, right turn to Tayuman, Lacson, right to Earnshaw, left at Legarda, to Legarda-Nagtahan flyover to destination. In a square fronting Manila’s central post office, tempers frayed during the fierce afternoon heat as men, women and children jostled while waiting for medical care offered by the group. “This is madness. I have been here since dawn to get a free medical check-up, but I will get more sick in this heat,” said factory worker Flor Kato, a 40-year-old mother of five who was complaining of chest pains. With AFP and Rey Requejo http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/inc-mission-draws-over-2-million-people/
Customs chief: It’s a ‘battle field’ decision on port OICs By Joel E. Zurbano | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:12am | 596 views CUSTOMS Commissioner Rufino Biazon said Monday the officers in charge he had appointed will remain in their posts despite the disapproval of Finance secretary Cesar Purisima. “They will remain OICs until there is a permanent appointment to those posts,” Biazon said. He described his Sept. 27 Customs Personnel Order without consulting his superior as a “battle field decision.” “You can call it a battle field decision,” Biazon said. “As the field commander you make decisions in order to save the day especially in the Bureau of Customs. Any delay in the processing of the business of our stakeholders result as cost in these stakeholders. That is one thing we try to avoid as well.” Biazon said the positions had to be filled or else the port operations would be hampered. He said it was not his intention to step on the authority of the Finance secretary. “It was never my intention to bypass the secretary,” he said. Purisima had earlier cautioned Biazon against issuing orders or designating personnel without first securing his department’s clearance. He issued a memorandum on Oct. 4 telling Biazon to first obtain his superior’s clearance before giving orders on personnel changes or naming acting collectors or officers in charge of ports. Purisima said Biazon designated 17 port OICs without getting clearance from his department. He said Biazon disregarded a provision in the Tariff and Customs Code and the directive of President Benigno Aquino III when Biazon issued the appointment orders on the OICs. “It has come to the attention of this Department that the Bureau of Customs, through the Honorable Commissioner, has issued various Customs Personnel Orders without the approval of the Secretary of Finance,” Purisima said in his memo.
He said most of the personnel orders “undermine the mandate and purpose” of CPO. No. B134-2013 that ordered all Customs officers and employees to return their permanent plantilla positions.” But Biazon said he made the decision to appoint those OICs because there was a need to address the problem immediately. “The principal concern is the continuous day- to-day operation of [the bureau],” he said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/customs-chief-its-a-battle-field-decision-onport-oics/
Critics told: File case vs SSS bonus By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:11am | 383 views The agency that exercised control over government-controlled corporations defended on Monday the P10 million bonus collected by the members of the governing board of the Social Security System, but it called on the public to file charges against them. Paolo Salvosa, spokesman of the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG), said the charges will be taken into account in the annual evaluation of the performance of the SSS officials. “For 2013, we are also requiring all GOCCs to conduct customer satisfaction surveys, which will be used to rate their performance,” Salvosa said. Lawmakers have called for congressional probe and labor unions exploded with anger at the bonus collected by eight of nine members of the board. At least 10 percent of 5,000 employees did not received bonus, pensioners complain of low pensions and members whine about poor services at SSS offices. The tripartite commission is composed of representatives from government, labor and management groups. Two labor union representatives in the board have annnounced they will return the bonus, which was approved by the GCG. Salvosa described the bonus collected by members of the governing board as “reasonable” and commensurate to the work they have done at the SSS. “If they have done work to ensure that SSS funds grow, then we should give them compensation,” he said. “Let us give credit where credit is due.” But retired SSS Executive Vice President Horace Templo, who also served as the institution’s chief actuarian for many years, said the GCG seemed unaware of the actuarial issues that played an important role in the operations of the SSS. “Performance is not a matter of having high collections. For every pesos collected there is an attached liability, which is like a time bomb that can explode in the future,” Templo said.
What the SSS needs are “quality contributions” and programs that can lessen future liabilities, which the GCG seems to know nothing about, Templo said. Templo said the GCG should disclose to the public the salary of SSS President and Chief Executive Emilio de Quiros, who has admitted receiving per diems as ex-officio member of the Social Security Commission. “We heard his salary has been upgraded. If he received per diems from SSC, which he should not, did he also received per diems at other agencies where he is ex-officio member such as PhilHealth and Pagibig,” Templo said. The GCG was created last year under the GOCC Governance Act “to review and reorganize the corporations, as well as fix the salaries, allowances, per diems and bonuses of its board members.” http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/critics-told-file-case-vs-sss-bonus/
Lawmakers cite Young By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:10am | 273 views
The Senate on Monday adopted several resolutions commending and congratulating Megan Lynne Young for bagging the Miss World 2013 title in Bali on Sept. 28. The House of Representatives also adopted several resolutions conferring the Congressional Medal of Distinction to Young as the first Filipina to be crowned Miss World. “This is the first time the country has won the coveted title, exemplifying a shining symbol of peace and inspiring a generation of young women treasuring the core values of humanity, mutual understanding and spirit of kindness,” Senator Grace Poe said in her resolution. “Miss Young displayed a clear purpose and the determination to showcase the inherent beauty, grace and intelligence of the Filipina,” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said in his resolution. The Senate also adopted Resolution 237 commending and congratulating Mutya Johanna Fontiveros Datul for being crowned Miss Supranational 2013, an annual international beauty contest run by the World Beauty Association based in Panama. With Maricel V. Cruz http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/lawmakers‐cite‐young/
Typhoon Tino won’t hit land By Manila Standard Today | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:02am | 195 views Even as Luzon has yet to recover from the devastation wrought by Typhoon Santi, another typhoon (international name Wipha), has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday, weather experts said. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration forecaster Fernando Cada said that as of 4 p.m. Monday, Wipha, which had been renamed “Tino” as it entered PAR, was located 1,190 km Northeast of Basco, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph and gustiness of up to 190 kph. It is forecast to move North Northwest at 20 kph. But Cada noted that Tino will only stay briefly in PAR and is not expected to hit land. Cada said moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest to south will prevail over Luzon and coming from the southwest to west over the rest of the country. The coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be moderate to rough. Meanwhile, officials said Santi has destroyed P2,933,072,890 worth of agricultural crops. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario said the data was only from Aurora and Nueva Ecija. But the Agriculture Department reported that that total production loss in the rice sector brought by the typhoon already reached P2 billion. Agriculture Undersecretary for Field Operations and National Rice Program Coordinator Dante Delima said that preliminary reports from Local Government Units showed that rice areas affected by typhoon Santi already climbed to 248 thousand hectares. “Total production loss was at 133 thousand metric tons for rice with a total value of P2 billion,” he added. Delima said that they are currently updating and validating the typhoon damage on other agricultural commodities.
Meanwhile, a total of 13 persons were confirmed dead, seven still missing, including three three fishermen from Viga, Catanduanes, ne from Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and three from Kabugao, Apayao. The NDRRMC added that 44,151 houses were destroyed in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Aurora, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya. A total of 747,353 people or 154,766 families were affected, with 6,561 individuals still staying in evacuation centers. In Nueva Ecija, disaster units and local officials had begun a clean-up of roads which were rendered impassable due to fallen trees and landslides. Also destroyed were tons of ready-to-harvest-palays and other agricultural crops in the riceproducing provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga and Aurora. Dr. Abraham Pascua, chairman of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council said practically all 27 towns and five cities in the province were affected by strong winds and heavy rains. A separate report from the National Risk Reduction and Management Council said 15 towns and two cities in the province were flooded. In Aurora, the entire province suffered a power outage as the typhoon cut off power in all the eight municipalities. Meanwhile, Office of the Civil Defense III director Josefina Timoteo said that they are working closely with the military, particularly the Army and the Air Force, to speed up relief and rehabilitation efforts. He said that Region III was the worst hit, after Santi made landfall in Aurora and moved towards Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Bulacan, which resulted in flooding for as high as three meters. In Bulacan 10,000 hectares of the provinceâ€™s ricelands were totally damaged. Tarlac farms also sustained damage particularly in towns along the stretch of McArthur Highway. Tons of harvestable rice were also damaged in Zambales and Bataan, which were inundated by three to four feet of flood waters.
Meanwhile, a 65-year-old Muslim woman died inside one of the classrooms of a school serving as evacuation center in Zamboanga City. The Zamboanga City police identified the victim as Jahala Arajae y Bugay, a resident of Sitio Lupa-Lupa, Barangay Rio Hondo, one of six barangays affected by intense fighting between government forces and loyalists of Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front. With PNA http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/typhoon-tino-wont-hit-land/
House to pass budget bill By Maricel Cruz | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:02am | 189 views The House of Representatives will approve the proposed P2.268- trillion national budget for 2014 on October 21. Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab made the disclosure even as the House independent minority bloc asked Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to consider amendments to the budget measure porior to the third and final reading. Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said that the House will likely adopt the version of House Bill 2630 or the 2014 General Appropriations Bill that passed the second reading last month, taking out the priority development assistance fund from the discretion of legislators and have them re-channeled to recipient government agencies while retaining the lump sum allocations in the executive agencies. “October 21 is the target date for the 3rd and final reading,” Ungab said, indicating no additions or insertions akin to the “Disbursement Acceleration Program” of late. “We already approved the budget on second reading. The period of debates has already been closed. The third reading is the final step in legislation in which individual votes will be taken and recorded.” Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez, head of the House independent minority bloc, said his group’s proposed amendments to HB 2630 would ensure a more transparent use of public funds, such as subjecting the P450 billion Special Purpose Funds of President Benigno Aquino III to line-item budgeting. “We hope you will consider these suggestions and incorporate the same in the amended version of the national budget,” Romualdez said. “We propose that, as much as practicable, all lump sum and/or special purpose funds be dissolved and subjected to line-item budgeting and the allocated funds dispersed to the appropriate line agencies,” Romualdez added, citing as an example the P2.478 billion E-Government Fund. The fund, Romualdez proposed “will be dispersed to agencies with approved E-government projects as listed and advised by the E-Government cluster.” “Henceforth, any such E-projects will have to be subjected to congressional approval and listed as such in the annual appropriations bill,” he said. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/house-to-pass-budget-bill/
Comelec: Expose vote-buying bets By Joel E. Zurbano | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:01am | 252 views
The Commission on Elections urged the public to file complaints on vote buying before the October 28 village election day so that it can disqualify the erring candidates immediately. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said a complaint filed after Election Day will be considered a criminal case that will go to the regular court which will take longer to decide. “If it is an election case filed after Election Day, it will be a criminal charge. You can only remove them from office after conviction,” he said in a radio interview. Brillantes said there is no need for the complainant to have lots of evidence for the complaint to prosper before the commission. Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote-buying as the act of “any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value… directly or indirectly… in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate”. Violation of election laws would be tantamount to an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and prohibition to hold public office. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/comelec‐expose‐vote‐buying‐bets/
No shortage of coins — Bangko Sentral By Dexter A. See | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:01am | 68 views
Baguio City — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said about 20 billion coins have been produced or 207 pieces for every Filipino so there is no reason for a shortage. Mariane Suaso, of BSP San Fernando City, La Union, made the disclosure during the media forum launching National Statistics Month. “There are enough coins produced and what we are experiencing is a perceived shortage,” she said, saying people use the coins instead of keeping them in piggy banks. She also said more than 2 billion peso notes have been printed worth around P1.8 trillon. Asked about damaged bills, Suaso said a replacement can be made through a bank. “There is a Memorandum of Agreement between the BSP and the bankers association, for any bank to change unfit notes,” she said, saying that one does not have to be a depositor to get a new bill in return. Suaso said population, inflation rate and growth in the business sector help determine how much coins and notes need to be produced. Joining her in the panel on the theme “Statistics that matters to all Filipinos” were National Statistical Coordination Board Regional head Benjie Navarro, National Statistics Office Regional Director Olivia Gulla and DOH Local Health Support Division chief Dr. Nicolas Gordo Jr. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/no‐shortage‐of‐coins‐bangko‐sentral/
Philcare expands coverage By Joyce Pangco Panares | Posted on October 15, 2013 at 12:01am | 207 views Good news for close to 15 million Filipinos who are diabetic or hypertensive: the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will include maintenance medicines for the two illnesses in its primary care benefit package. PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla rolled out the additional benefits after the agency drew flak for its decision to push through with the increase of premium rate to P2,400 annually for individual paying members with a monthly income of P25,000 and below starting next year. “PhilHealth benefits are constantly being expanded. PhilHealth now pays about P1.2 billion every week where it was only P300 to P400 million in 2010. For 2012, we paid something like P47 billion and for 2013, I think we will be paying something like P64 billion,” he said in a press briefing at the Palace. “Primary care benefit package would soon include maintenance medicines for diabetes and hypertension.” The Association of Clinical Endocrinology-Philippines estimates about 3.4 million diabetics in 2010 while the Philippine Society of Hypertension said some 11.5 million Filipinos have hypertension as of 2011. PhilHealth also has packages for low-risk and end-stage renal worth P600,000; childhood leukemia worth P 210,000; and P100,000 each for early stage breast cancer, and low to intermediate risk prostate cancer. The agency introduced catastrophic packages for coronary artery bypass at P550,000; surgery for tetralogy of fallot for P320,000; surgery for ventricular septal defect for P250,000; cervical cancer chemo-radiation with cobalt and brachytherapy (low dose) for P120,000, and cervical cancer with linear accelerator and brachytherapy (high dose) for P175,000. Nine out of 10 hospitals licensed by the Department of Health are now PhilHealth accredited. For the 2014 budget, the government has proposed P35.3 billion for PhilHealth from P12.6 billion this year to provide preventive healthcare services and health insurance coverage to 14.7 million qualified families. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/10/15/philcare-expands-coverage/
Mercury Drug owner top taxpayer for 2012 October 14, 2013 10:13 pm by Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter The owner of the country’s biggest drugstore chain was the top taxpayer in 2012, data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) showed on Monday. Kris Aquino, the country’s top taxpayer in 2011, slid to sixth place in last year’s list. Paying an income tax of P131.43 million last year, Mercury Drug owner Vivian Que-Azcona emerged as the top taxpayer in the BIR’s list of Top 500 Individual Taxpayers for Taxable Year 2012. Second on the list was TV host Willie Revillame with P63.9 million, while San Miguel Corp. Director Estelito Mendoza came in at third spot with P53.59 million. The fourth top taxpayer was Insular Life Chairman Vicente Rafael Ayllon with P52.3 million, while a certain Gerardo Sebastian Baes, who paid P47.9 million in taxes, was the fifth largest taxpayer. Kris Aquino dropped to sixth place with P44.93 million. Ranked seventh was a certain Ronaldo Soliman, who paid P43.3 million. At eighth place was actor John Lloyd Cruz, P42.79 million, followed by megastar Sharon Cuneta who paid P42.02 million. Businessmen Fernando Zobel de Ayala and older brother Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala ranked 10th and 11th with P40.77 million and P40.84 million in taxes paid, respectively. Ayala Land President Antonino Aquino was at 19th place with P32.93 million in taxes paid. Meanwhile, other prominent names that were included in the list were Megaworld founder Andrew Tan at 12th place who paid P39.6 million; Chairman Emeritus of the Lopez Group Oscar Lopez at 17th place with P33.47 million, and ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio Lopez 3rd at 43rd place, P20.75 million. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. President Lorenzo Tan was at 18th place, having paid P33.16 million, while Bank of the Philippine Islands President Aurelio Montinola was at 20th with P30.05 million. Union Bank of the Philippines officials Justo Ortiz and Victor Valdepenas were at 16th and 22nd places paying P33.67 million and P28.09 million, respectively.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Manuel Pangilinan was at 30th place having shelled out P24.67 million, while Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu was at 48th with P19.54 million. Philippine port magnate Enrique Razon Jr. was at 52nd place with P19.02 million, while SM Group’s Henry Sy Sr. and son Henry Jr. were at 74th and 73rd place with P16.4 million and P16.46 million in taxes paid, respectively. On the other hand, various celebrities who made it to the top list were Piolo Pascual (34th), Manny Pacquiao (36th), Anne Curtis (50th), Robin Padilla (60th), Derek Ramsay (68th) and Vic Sotto (89th).
‘Santi’ confirms fears on fragile rice supply October 14, 2013 10:04 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER WITH three of the country’s top rice-producing provinces left in a wreck by Typhoon Santi onslaught, the rice supply in the country is on the brink and could possibly lead to food crisis if the government fails to take decisive steps. Sen. Loren Legarda last week warned of a situation similar to the 1995 rice crisis that stemmed from indecisive stockpiling on the part of the government agencies and the adverse effects of rogue weather that caused severe decline in the country’s rice supply. Legarda warned that a strong typhoon pouring excessive rains could cause flooding that could wipe out entire harvests just like what happened in the last quarter of 201—Typhoon Juan destroyed half a million metric tons of palay. Legarda, a known advocate of sustainable agricultural development, issued the warning upon learning about the memorandum of Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for the President, informing him of “food security issues” should the government fail to address a projected rice production deficit of as much as 1.4 million metric tons (MT). Balisacan had forecast in his memorandum that harvests from Central Luzon would account significantly for the country’s fourth quarter harvests making up for its third quarter dismal performance. However, the NEDA secretary noted that even if rice production rebounds in 4th quarter, deficits are expected to be incurred from as low as 0.5 million metric tons (MT) to as high as 1.4 million MT. The Balisacan memorandum called for the immediate importation of 500,000 MT to make up for the production deficit. Copies of the Balisacan three-page memorandum were also sent to Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Secretary Julia Andrea Abad, presidential management staff and Secretary Proceso Alcala, of the Department of Agriculture (DA). But despite that memorandum and Legarda’s warning the agriculture department has insisted that the country has sufficient buffer stock that could last until the harvest season. “Because of good weather condition, the country can produce 13.03 million MT of milled rice, exceeding the domestic demand of 11.23 million MT,” Alcala noted.
Alcala’s projection however seems to be not realistic at this point following the devastation of Typhoon Santi particularly in Central Luzon. Based on the initial report 15,000 hectares of rice fields about-to-be-harvested was damaged in the province of Nueva Ecija. In Bulacan 10,000 hectares of ricelands were “totally damaged,” while rice fields in towns along the stretch of McArthur Highway, in Tarlac were also damage by the typhoon according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Central Luzon produced around 3,220,607 MT of palay in 2012, and 1,587,163 MT of which came from Nueva Ecija. Bulacan yielded 351,307 MT during the same period while Tarlac had 549,299 MT. With the devastation left by the typhoon the recommendation of NEDA about the need of the country to import additional rice must not be given serious consideration, to prevent possible rice shortage in the coming months, Legarda said.
‘Napoles an Aquino contributor in 2010 elections’ October 14, 2013 9:58 pm
LEGAZPI CITY: “Jueteng” accuser Sandra Cam of Masbate said controversial pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles is a contributor of President Benigno Aquino 3rd in the 2010 presidential elections. “Napoles is a contributor of President Benigno Aquino in 2010 presidential election that’s why she [Janet Lim-Napoles] is walking in the corridors of power,’ Cam said in a radio interview with Dante Maravillas over DZGB radio station in this city on Monday. Cam, a fearless woman who hails from the land of the so-called wild west in the country (Masbate island province) also said that Napoles poured in P100 million in funds to the senatorial candidates under Aquino’s Liberal Party “that’s why the center of investigation is focused only on four opposition senators. “Ang tuwid na daan na pigsasabi kan Aquino administration bako man an totoo. [The right path mantra of President Benigno Aquino is not true]. Napoles is walking in the corridors of power. And Napoles’s reported surrender to Malacañang is nothing but scripted,” Cam said. When asked if this is the reason why she was prevented by Senate President Franklin Drilon to testify in the Senate hearing, Cam said that she’s corroborating the statement made by former Sen. Kit Tatad, which was downplayed by Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda. “Senate President Franklin Drilon is trying to bar Napoles to testify in the Senate because they’re friends since 2005,” she said. When asked why she’s coming out again after being silence, Cam said that she’s tired and fed up with Drilon’s antics. “I’m tired and feed up with the lies of the Senate President. Huna mo tunay na sa tuwid na daan? [You think so that it is the straight path mantra?]” Cam said in Bicol tongue. The controversial P10-billion pork barrel funds scam implicated several solons in Bicol specifically in Masbate province, which include former third district Representative now Masbate governor Rizalina Lanete-Seachon. Rhaydz B. Barcia
PhilHealth officials, workers get P1.44B in bonuses despite huge shortfall — CoA Written by Tribune Tuesday, 15 October 2013 00:00 Despite posting a P3.8 billion shortfall in its reserve fund requirement in 2012, officials and employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) took home fat paychecks with 22 different bonuses and allowances totaling P1.448 billion. A report released by the Commission on Audit (CoA) last Oct. 10 stated this which also disallowed all the said bonuses “for lack of legal basis.” The government auditors said in its report the PhilHealth management has ignored repeated warnings to stop paying its personnel unauthorized stipends based on mere resolutions passed by its Board of Directors. According to CoA, they have issued notices of disallowance and denial of consolidated appeal of PhilHealth management by the cluster director of Corporate Government Sector (CGS‐CoA), management continuously granted the benefits and allowances without obtaining the required approval of the Office of the President. The fat pay checks of officials and employees included productivity incentive allowance/bonus worth P272.006 million; anniversary bonus, P33.4 million; rice benefit, P106.27 million; educational allowance, P278.89 million; Christmas package, P234.05 million; nominal gift, P10,000; shuttle service assistance, P134.53 million; labor management relation gratuity, P156.92 million; birthday gift, P39 million; medical and mission critical allowance, P23.33 million; corporate transition and achievement premium/grocery allowance, P104.4 million; representation expenses, P32.5 million; and rewards and other claims, P24.74 million. Likewise, even contractors of the agency were granted “special events gift,” P743,500; project completion benefit, P1,705; gratuity/Christmas package P1.46 million; sustenance gift/rice allowance, P788,400; recognition gift P1.1 million; efficiency/productivity gift, P735,540; alleviation gift, P1.9 million; transportation assistance, P925,748; and medical and mission critical allowance, P68,681. Not only the top level officials took home the perks because the same incentives were given the same although there was already a warning about the questionable nature of extra‐compensation. “Regional management commented that they extended the benefits by order of the PhilHealth Head Office …(and) that unless there is an order coming from the commission proper denying their appeal, they would continue to grant the same,” auditors said. But even as PhilHealth personnel took home fat paychecks, CoA reported that the agency posted a
whopping P3.68 billion shortfall in “retained earnings (RE)” for 2012, hitting only P115.08 billion against the reserve fund requirement of P118.76 billion. The CoA warned the viability and sustainability of the National Health Insurance Program is at risk due to the further decline in the RE balance. The drop was attributed to health cost claims that went up to P12.24 billion last year compared to members’ premium contributions which increased by only P10.57 billion. Likewise, personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses went up by P410 million. By Alvin Murcia http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/item/20268-philhealth-officials-workers-get-p1-44b-inbonuses-despite-huge-shortfall-coa
Comelec: No increase in teachersBETs’ pay Written by Tribune Tuesday, 15 October 2013 00:00 The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stood pat on its decision not to increase the honoraria for teachers who would serve as members of the Board of Election Tellers (BETs) on Oct. 28 barangay elections. This was the reaction of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. to the call of militant teachers group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) to increase the P2,500 honoraria given to the teachers who will serve in the elections. The poll chief said the job of the teachers is no different from that of the work rendered by those who served in the May 13 mid‐term elections thus there is no reason for the request for additional incentives. Brillantes clarified that they will not decrease the P2,500 as it will remain the same thus they will also not increase it. “We won’t increase the honoraria. It’s a non‐issue since we did not reduce it. It is still P2,500,” said Brillantes. As per Comelec Resolution No. 9571, the BETs will be paid P3,000, including the P2,000 for handling the barangay precincts and the P500 transportation allowance. Those who will handle the Sangguniang Kabataan precincts was to received an additional P500 but it the said youth elections was postponed. The ACT has warned earlier that their members will boycott the Oct. 28 elections if the honoraria will not be increased. The poll body is now in full throttle in its preparation for the barangay elections as the countdown is nearing. The Comelec personnel in different areas has been under strict instructions to monitor their respective areas particularly those aspirants that have been prematurely campaigning. Brillantes has said that aspirants should not engage to premature campaigning and he advised them to take down their tarpaulins since the election campaign has yet to start. The formal election campaign will start on Oct. 28 a day after the last filing of the certificates of candidacies. By Alvin Murcia http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro-section/item/20238-comelec-no-increase-in-teachers-bets-pay
POR RK HU URTS S PNO OY IM MAGE E Published d : Tuesday,, October 15, 2013 00:00 0 Written by b : Efren Montano M oversy trigge ered the dip iin THE pork contro no Aquino’s satisfaction Pressident Benign gs in the late est Social W Weather Stations rating (SWS S) surveys, Malacañang g admitted yeste erday. In he er regular pre ess briefing yesterday, depu uty presidenttial spokesperson Abiga ail Valte e said the Pa alace recogn nizes that the drop , as reflected in the latest survey byy SWS S, “reflects th he depth of a anger and disap ppointment o of the people e at the wayy publiic funds havve been stole en.” pointment,” Valte V said. “We sharre this angerr and disapp st SWS surv vey showed Aquino’s A sattisfaction sco ore dropping g from “very good” in June to The lates only “goo od” in Septe ember. The surv vey, conducte ed from Sep ptember 20 to t 23, showe ed 68 percen nt were satissfied with Aquino’s performanc ce, with 19 percent dissa atisfied, for a net rating o of +49. Altho ough good, the as 15 points below the +64 Aquino got g in June. rating wa Asked why the Palac ce attributed the Preside ent’s rating d dip to the alle eged fund m misuse, Valte e said that some of the “gen neral outrage” about how w the funds were spent may have been “directe ed” to the Presiident. e were not th he subject off the CoA report that trig ggered the “(This is)) despite the fact that we knowledg ge of the pub blic on this scam. s (It was s) from 2007 7 to 2009,” V Valte said. e said the nu umbers show w that the pe eople “remai n on our side.” But Valte e President stemmed fro om his since erity in addre essing the illss of the systtem, ”Public support of the avering comm mitment to do d what is jus st and right, his compasssion for the underprivile eged, his unwa and his belief b that on nly by weedin ng out corruption can we e uplift the liives of the p poor,” she no oted. “These re emain our be edrock princ ciples as the e Aquino adm ministration ttakes on its most significcant fight yet, against thos se who have e joined rank ks to derail u us from the sstraight path h. Despite their efforts, we w shall trium mph, becaus se we know— —and the nu umbers show w—that our B Bosses, the
people, remain on our side,” she continued. Valte thanked the great majority of Filipinos who have not been swayed by the enemies of reform. “Rest assured that our pursuit of justice will continue and will in fact intensify as more evidence is gathered. Those who have wronged us will be held accountable. Those who wish to bring us back to the old ways will not succeed,” she added. But as to whether the people might change their mind about Aquino amid the controversy over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Valte said they would rather not speculate. The alleged misuse of pork barrel funds by some lawmakers was bared by a CoA report covering the years from 2007 to 2009.
Lifestyle check at judiciary ordered Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 00:00 Written by : Hector Lawas AMID accusations of corruption and influence peddling, the Supreme Court will conduct a lifestyle check on judges and court personnel. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio–Morales “have initiated discussions on making use of the technical capability and legal mandate of the Ombudsman to undertake lifestyle checks on members of the judiciary and court personnel.” Sereno also confirmed that she had requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel fact-finding investigation into reports “about a person who allegedly exercises wide influence in parts of the judiciary, without being a member thereof, and the relation of this person to the electoral contest for the presidency of a judges’ association.” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also confirmed the NBI had been asked to probe allegations of irregularities in the judiciary. “This morning actually I was in a meeting with Chief Justice Sereno. She called for me and she formally requested already that even if iniimbistigahan na rin daw ‘yan ng Supreme Court, I think through Court Administrator Midas Marquez, but the Chief Justice still wants the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to do the investigation also kasi siyempre mga imbestigador. Wala namang imbestigador ang judiciary,” De Lima said. De Lima added that Sereno also wanted to know if there were any irregularities in the recent elections of the Philippine Judges’ Association. De Lima said that Sereno wanted a probe into the PJA event because of reports that the group’s election involved dirty tactics. Earlier, Marquez said that there were three “Ma’m Arlenes” who allegedly showered Court of Appeals justices and regional trial court judges with expensive gifts and even trips abroad.
Let Napoles testify — Bong Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 00:00 Written by : Bernadette Tamayo
SENATOR Ramon Revilla Jr. believes that “it is high time” for detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam, to testify in the Senate regarding her alleged involvement in the anomaly. Revilla is facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman for his alleged participation in the reported misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he allegedly used his PDAF to finance the operation of several bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) of Napoles. “Siguro it’s high time na mas maganda na pumunta si Janet Napoles dito, ng lumabas na ‘yung katotohanan at matapos na itong gulo na ito. Kung sino yung managot, dapat managot. Ikulong. Iyun lang ‘yun,” Revilla said in a chance interview. Asked whether he is worried that Napoles might implicate some legislators in the PDAF scam, Revilla said: “The truth will always come out. The truth will always prevail. At mas maganda na lumabas na ang katotohanan nang matapos na itong gulo na ito dahil masyado ng maraming nadadamay, masyadong maraming pangalang nadudurog at isa na ako dun. Siguro it’s high time na lumabas ang katotohanan.” He will vote “yes” if a caucus among senators is held on whether to subpoena Napoles to the Senate investigation into the PDAF controversy. “Hindi ako natatakot dahil malinis ang kunsensya ko eh. Ayoko (nang) magsalita. Hintayin na lang natin ‘yung tamang oras. Siguro narinig n’yo rin nagsalita ‘yung abogado ko. Darating ‘yung tamang oras para d’yan,” he told mediamen. Pressed further whether he will attend the Senate probe if Napoles is eventually summoned, Revilla said: “Isa ako sa mga ini-implicate eh di ba? Mas maganda siguro mas wala ako dun para hayaan natin ‘yung ibang kasama natin na magtanong at sila ‘yung magpalabas nung katotohanan.”
Militant solons eye impeachment move Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 00:00 THE militant lawmakers are studying the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). In a press conference, the Makabayan bloc said they might join Atty. Oliver Lozano in his complaint, which to date has no endorser. ”Impeachment is a very serious matter. Hindi lang legal, pati political din kaya dapat aralin kung may batayan,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said. The Makabayan bloc said that President Aquino may have committed impeachable offenses of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. Colmenares said they will study the issue and its legal and political grounds especially if an impeachment complaint is filed by the people. The Makabayan bloc said that President Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad were deceiving the people when they misrepresented as savings the DAP funds that comes from unobligated items or slow-moving projects. The group, composed of party-lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and ACT Teachers, are calling for the total abolition of the pork barrel and DAP in order to stop corruption in the government. The bloc has challenged Congress to assert its power of the purse and abolish the DAP and the president’s huge lump sum, and pork barrel in the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA). The bloc denounced Aquino’s usurpation of the congressional power of appropriation when it withdrew and realigned funds for DAP. They stressed that the President cannot unilaterally withdraw, realign and release funds already appropriated by Congress without violating the Constitution and the law. The bloc said that the DAP is unconstitutional because no part of a fund appropriated for a fiscal year can be deemed as savings and redirected to DAP before the end of that fiscal year. The DAP funds, according to the group, do not fall under the category of savings under the law because the projects where these funds were collected from have not been completed and these realigned funds cannot be spent on items not appropriated by law.
”Thus, DAP has no legal leg to stand on. The constitutional provision on the realignment of savings within the office of the president and the impoundment provision of the GAA on the condition of uncontrolled budgetary deficits are not applicable,” Makabayan bloc added. Jester P. Manalastas
House to pass ‘pork-less’ GAB Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 00:00 Written by : Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
THE House of Representatives will pass a “pork-less” 2014 P2.268 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on third and final reading on October 21. Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, stressed this as the House independent bloc led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez reiterated their call to Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. to consider their proposed amendments to the budget measure. Ungab stressed that the House of Representatives will likely adopt the version of House Bill (HB) No. 2630 or the 2014 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) that it approved on second reading last month. In the said version, Ungab said it removed the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) from the discretion of legislators and have them re-channeled to certain government agencies, but retains the lump sum allocations in the executive agencies. "October 21 is the target date for the 3rd and final reading," Ungab said. The panel chairman said a smooth sailing approval of the budget bill on third reading, hinting that there will be no additions or insertions of funds similar to the controversial "Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)." "We already approved the budget on second reading. The period of debates has already been closed. The third reading is the final step in legislation in which individual votes will be taken and recorded," Ungab said. Romualdez said that his group's proposed amendments to HB No. 2630 would ensure a more transparent use of public funds, such as subjecting the P450 billion Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) of President Benigno Aquino III to line-item budgeting. "We hope you will consider these suggestions and incorporate the same in the amended version of the national budget," Romualdez said. "We propose that, as much as practicable, all lump sum and/or special purpose funds (SPFs) be dissolved and subjected to line item budgeting and the allocated funds dispersed to the appropriate line agencies," Romualdez added, citing as an example the P2.478 billion E-Government Fund.
National budget OKâ€™d next week Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2013 00:00 Written by : Jester Manalastas
THE proposed 2014 national budget, amounting to P2.268 trillion, will be approved next week, October 21, according to the chairman of the House appropriations committee. Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab said the lawmakers will discuss amendments this week, including the proposed infrastructure projects of the lawmakers that will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) through their supposed pork barrel. Starting 2014, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the solons amounting to P24.5 million will be realigned to at least six agencies that provide basic needs of the people. The DPWH will get the biggest chunk of P9.6 billion. Lawmakers were asked to submit their infrastructure project proposals for inclusion in the 2014 budget. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the lawmakers need to submit their proposals, with a minimum outlay of P2 million and maximum of P24 million, before the budget is approved on third and final reading. Ungab said the final version of the budget from the House of Representatives will no longer contain the PDAF of the lawmakers as well as the Pork barrel of Vice President Jejomar Binay, amounting to P200 million. Other agencies that will be given the PDAF are the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Labor and Employment, Health, and Education, as well as Commission on Higher Education. Belmonte last week said that more than 260 of the 289 congressmen have submitted their project proposals. Ungab said only a few congressmen did not propose infrastructure projects for their constituents.