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People Win vs. Corporatist Greed

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by: Mentong Laurel 

ON September 15, 2013 newspapers front-paged the MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) order for water concessionaires In Metro-Manila to cut their water rates for the next five years. Manila Water for the east zone is to reduce its rate by P 7.24/cubic meter and Maynilad Water in the west zone by P 1.46/cubic meter. The two privatized and corporatized water service utilities said they will dispute the MWSS order and submit it to arbitration proceedings. Manila Water claimed the tariff reduction would compromise its ability to serve its customers fully while Maynilad said it was “unjustified”.

(photo credit: http://waterforthepeople.wordpress.com)
(photo credit: http://waterforthepeople.wordpress.com)

The two water companies applied for rate hikes. But various consumer activist groups, individual and media advocates questioned the propriety of the companies passing off its income taxes to consumers. The debate raged since June with the public weighing heavily against the water companies and its apologists on the fairness and legality of passing off income taxes to consumers. The MWSS and the advocates stood strongly on the ground provided by the Puno Supreme Court in a 2003 decision, supported by COA (Commission on Audit) findings that disallowed Meralco’s passing on income tax to consumers and granting a P 30-B refund to its five million customers. #OpinYon #opinion

read cont | http://bit.ly/1fa7vMn

SINS OF CORY

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BY MIGUEL RAYMUNDO

PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III is surely feeling the heat with some of the country’s top technocrats forming an alliance to make him answerable for the billions of pesos in government funds under his control.

Former national treasurer Leonor Briones says the legislators’ pork barrel is just a “coin purse” while Malacañang, that is PNoy, holds the” power of the purse”.

According to the group of Briones, the President has control of over PhP1 trillion in government funds. The national wrath over the lost PhP10 billion in pork is a small percentage to what Malacañang could be liable of with those trillions.

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The question is can we trust PNoy to use that money for the good of the country?

Many think PNoy cannot be trusted.  Everyday more Filipinos are added to those who do not think PNoy can be trusted in his office. And there is a reason for the growing distrust.

Blasted in Social Media

In the social media, blogs and posts denounce PNoy’s inappropriate interest in protecting the country’s most hated “queen of the pork barrel” Janet Lim-Napoles.

His apparent coddling of Napoles sent signals to the public that something was cooking. This sparked suspicions that PNoy was “too frightened” of Napoles. This also generated some angry questions that got even angrier answers.

And the anger against the un-presidential caring of and protection given to Napoles, “queen” of ten-billion robbery of the countryside development funds entrusted to legislators and bureaucrats, grew louder as stories of the past are brought back to life.

The people are reminded of the sins of the mother of PNoy, the former President Cory Aquino, who has been sold to the Filipino people as saint and martyr.

OpinYon finds it fit to run some of these reminders to the Filipino people. In this issue we pick from the controversialfiles.net.

Scandals of the Cory Era

One of the biggest urban legends of recent times in the Philippines, is the story that the Cory Administration was supposedly the “cleanest” among the Administrations in the last three decades.

Thanks to Nostalgia, and the fact that her Administration was at the dawn of the internet age, much of the negativities of that Administration has been largely forgotten, and people tend to remember only the “good” things about that Administration.

Well, thanks to Noynoy Aquino’s “holier-than-thou” campaign strategy, much of the “unpleasantries” during Cory’s time are being brought back to the surface slowly, but surely. Here are some that we have managed to dig out:

Continue: http://bit.ly/18xAFUA

EDITORIAL: No Killing the Pork

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WHISTLEBLOWER Benhur Luy is the man of the hour.
Not a few were impressed—if not shocked—by the apparent casualness of Luy’s testimony as he described details of how Napoles managed to get her dirty little hands on the millions of pesos in government funds.

Luy’s lurid tales of forgery and collusion with lawmakers comes as a direct affront to the millions of Filipinos mired in poverty. A slap in the face of the jobless, the underpaid workers and, most of all, to the taxpayer who religiously pay their duties only to have the likes of Napoles steal it away.

While most of us are busy with the daily struggle of making ends meet, Napoles and her cohorts in Congress splurge on public funds and lead lives of unimaginable wealth and luxury. And to think that Napoles is just one of many involved in this decades-old scam, is enough to make you sick–sick of all the rotten, dirty scumbags who run our government.

Calls have been made to scrap the pork barrel system. Well and good. Even if there is nothing wrong with the system in the first place. But, considering the perks of being in power and how politicians spend, cheat (even kill) in this country to win an election, it is very hard to imagine a Congress without its pork. Napoles’ cohorts in government may be cringing in fear of impending implication—but the horror of being without the PDAF to a crooked lawmaker is a hundredfold greater.

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(Image source: http://everyoneisstupidbutme.com)

Everything was roses until Luy had a falling out with his employer Napoles, who also happens to be his relative. Like whistleblowers before him, Luy is now state witness, a mob insider-turned-squealer. Like all whistleblowers before him, his courage to spill the beans on the pork barrel scandal is admirable. But killing the pork will be easier said than done. Its fate, after all, rests in the hands of people who are in the same club as those accused of abusing it. #OpinYon #Editorial #Philippines

BCDA President and CEO: ARNEL PACIANO D. CASANOVA, ESQ. “Top Caliber Executive”

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THE name alone grabs attention, but it is the story of Arnel Paciano D. Casanova that is more enthralling.

paciano

The current President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA)—the Government-Owned and-Controlled Corporation mandated to transform former US military bases into alternative productive civilian use—Casanova has a demeanor that radiates authority and a simplicity that reveals his humble roots as a farmer’s son who grew up in Batangas province.

From his modest origins, Casanova sent himself through school through scholarships and by working odd jobs which include being a farm hand, baker, ice cream peddler, fast-food restaurant helper, English tutor, and researcher.

At the University of the Philippines, he earned degrees in Law, English Studies, and Urban Planning. The proof of his brilliance is a Master’s degree in Public Administration—with concentration on finance and leadership—from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Starting from the bottom of the ladder, Casanova’s his rise to the top is phenomenal, a classic rags-to-riches tale but nevertheless a story uniquely his own.

“One of my greatest accomplishments is that my family has been lifted from poverty. Our life is very different now,” Casanova said in a newspaper interview last year. #OpinYon #BCDA #Feature

cont | http://bit.ly/1f3EeCZ

Demeaning the Presidency

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by: Atty. Salvador S. Panelo

THERE is universal condemnation and outrage against President Benigno Aquino III, for the latter’s personally accepting the surrender of Janet Lim-Napoles in the seat of political power that is Malacañang, and worse, for escorting, the fugitive from justice to the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame.

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As if the gigantic and monstrous presidential faux pas was not enough, the highest official of the land, sworn to uphold and enforcing the law, had to inspect the room to check if it was airconditioned enough and sufficiently comfortable for the woman charged with seriously illegally detaining another and believed, if not reputed, to be responsible for – and the mastermind of that 10B pork barrel fund scam that has shocked the entire nation, triggering a social media blast protest by netizens that led to the so-called 1 Million March protest for the abolition of the pork barrel. #OpinYon #Pnoy #Opinion

cont | http://bit.ly/17msaZg

Obama’s War

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by: Erick San Juan

THE surprise U-turn of US President Barack Obama in attacking Syria over the weekend should be taken with a grain of salt, why is this so? As I have said before (in my writings and in my daily radio program) that a world war (or a regional conflict) is inevitable because of one, economic and two, to unite the citizenry of both the US and China against a perceived outside enemy to avoid domestic violence. And such war/conflict can be delayed but unfortunately will push through as planned by the ‘chosen few.’

As what was reported from various online sources that President Obama had made a second decision: to seek the approval of Congress before launching any strikes. The president said he had listened to members of Congress who had expressed a desire for their voices to be heard, and that he agreed. Although we have to be wary because “Obama insisted the delay did not have any tactical consequences. His most senior military advisor had told him an attack would be “effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.” (The Guardian online 9/1/13) Meaning the attack will happen in the near future. #OpinYon #Syria#opinion

cont | http://bit.ly/15LOnNA
photo source: kernelpanicx.deviantart.com

Going Viral: The Net, Marches, Rallies and Vigils

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by: Linggoy Alcuaz

THE August 26 Million People March at the Luneta and the Sept 11 EDSA Tayo Prayer Vigil at the EDSA Shrine forced me to learn and taught me how to use Facebook. Just three weeks ago, I was only reading and sending messages on Email and researching by googling/searching on the web. As of now, I’m not yet on Twitter.

(source: totallymanila.com)
(source: totallymanila.com)

I was forced to learn to use the Internet regularly when OpinYon founder Ray Junia recruited me to write a column for his weekly opinion paper way back in mid – 2010. Previously, I still used a typewriter and personal delivery when I wrote for the Standard, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Times and Butch Pichay’s first and only decent tabloid.

As the National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner, I authorized the first Cellular Phone Services in the Philippines – PLDT, Extelcom and maybe Piltel. However, it took me ten years to learn to text. If not for the Impeachment of President Estrada and a typhoon that stranded me in Iriga City, Camarines Sur in October 2000, I might never have learned to text.

Read the rest here: http://bit.ly/14Hy6ZC

Photo credit: http://totallymanila.com

Poor Pinoy, Rich PNoy

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Opinyon403.indd

By Antonio J. Rosales

NO Filipino should be poor. 

With the government preparing a national budget of PhP2.268 trillion for 2014, every single Filipino (given a total population of 95.8 million) should expect to get PhP226,680 in services.

With the government awash in cash, no Filipino should go hungry or suffer the indignity of being unemployed, uneducated and homeless. But to the common Juan living in the cardboard cities of Manila, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Global Competitiveness

This two trillion budget, raised mostly from taxes, may be the reason foreign rating groups rate the country positively—as being attractive to foreign investments.

Just last week, a report by the World Economic Forum showed the country jumping six spots up the global competitive rankings, placing 59th among 148th countries this year.

The Philippines jumped six spots in the global competitiveness ranking, placing 59th among 148 countries this year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Wednesday.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 said the country’s ranking improved from 65th place among 144 economies last year and according to the Makati Business Club, the Philippines has actually climbed 28 places since 2010.

The WEF report showed the Philippines coming sixth out of 10 nations in the Asean following the addition of Laos (89th place) and Myanmar (139th).  Surprisingly, the country also outranked India which slid to the 60th spot this year. (Singapore, ranked second in the world, is tops in the region while Indonesia became the biggest gainer, rising 12 notches to 38th).

U.S. Optimism

Two weeks ago, the results of a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham Philippines) and the US Chamber of Commerce also showed the Philippines in a positive light.

In a poll of 475 senior executives from US companies operating across the region, satisfaction in the Philippines increased in 14 of 16 business factors, led by a 50 percent increase in satisfaction with the stability of government and political system. A majority of US firms also showed satisfaction with the availability of trained personnel—the highest in the Asean region.

As with the WEF report, the AmCham Philippines survey also showed Singapore as the best country in the region to do business with given the its low levels of corruption, sufficient infrastructure and predictable laws and regulations.

Singapore’s strengths are the Philippines weaknesses, though.

Despite loud claims by Philippine officials of containing  corruption, US business leaders still see widespread corruption, lack of infrastructure and the tax system as the main deterrents to foreign investment.

Unemployment

Even as surveys showed robust economic growth on the one hand, this failed to offset unemployment figures as joblessness rose to 7.5% in April from last year’s 6.9 percent, this according to a Labor Force survey by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

While the economy grew by 6.8 percent in 2012, this was offset by the huge dip in Philippine employment.  Offering an explanation, the National Economic and Development Authority said the unemployment rate increased due to a lower level of employment amid a slightly higher labor force level.  Majority of the unemployed were high school graduates (31.7 percent), college graduates (21.3 percent) and college undergraduates (14.6 percent).

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To read the rest of the article, pick up the latest printed issue of OpinYon, the Philippines’ only weekly opinion news magazine. Available at all 7-Eleven branches, Fully Booked, National Bookstore and Powerbooks. Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OpinYon. Follow us on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/OpinYon2010. Follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/opinyon2010. Follow OpinYon on Tumblr: http://opinyon2010.tumblr.com. Official site: http://www.opinyon.com.ph/