Nothing much can be expected from US President Barack Obama in his April 28-29 official visit in Manila.While he is likely to reassure the Philippines of Americans’ commitment to defend the Philippines in its raging territorial dispute with China, it will not make a difference, given how the US has been badly treating its Asia-Pacific ally over the past decades.
Since both countries forged their so-called Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in 1951, the US hardly cared about the poor state of the Philippines’ military capability.
Calls by Manila for increase in American military aid usually fell on deaf ears among policy makers in Washington. Whatever the Americans gave were nothing more than second-hand hardware – either of World War II vintage or their leftovers in the Vietnam war era.
Now that the geo-political situation has vastly changed, it’s time for both strategic allies to redraw their treaty or risk overtaken by new and bold challenges.
From what was once dubbed the “sleeping giant,” China has suddenly awaken, emerging as the biggest threat to the Philippines’ security interests as both have interlocking claims to the oil-rich Spratlys islands.
With superior naval assets patrolling the disputed chain of islands, China has bullied the Philippines, long perceived as militarily weak.
In the face of China’s aggressiveness in asserting its sovereign claims to the Sprawls, also referred to as the west Philippine sea, Manila in not a few times wanted to invoke the MDT which many politicians label as a mere paper tiger.
But thanks to cooler heads, the MDT remains as a last resort mechanism to avoid what’s likely to be a bigger problem – war.
Hopefully, Obama will use his two-day visit to assess the Philippines’ defense needs, especially in light that the two countries will enter into a new security alliance under the banner of the so-called enhanced defense security agreement.
An offshoot of months of hard bargaining, Filipino negotiators were hard put as they had to reckon with the Constitutional ban on the presence of foreign bases on Philippine soil.
In the end, they had to compromise as Manila agreed to allow US forces the use of Philippines-builtmilitary installations.
For both countries, it’s a win-win situation as they usher in a paradigm shift in their strategic ties, given China’s surging aggression in the hotly contested Spratlys.For the US, Manila’s nod to a new pact gives the Americans the leeway needed as they reposition their defense forces from theMiddle East to Asia.
Under Barack’s pivot policy, the Philippines plays a crucial role because of its strategic location in keeping peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
But more than the much-needed military materiel, the Philippines badly requires America’s political succor as its row with China has assumed complex dimensions.Neither has China eased up in its flexing its military muscle in the high seas nor has it showed signs of flexibility in its diplomatic rapport with the Philippines.
As the world’s policeman, the US is in the best position to cool the tensions between Manila and Beijing for the sake of regional peace and stability.
By Miguel Raymundo
PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III becoming a lame duck president came too early in his administration. The worst part is, the President brought this upon himself and to the seat of power by his mishandling of a series of crisis that hit the country in a span of six months.
A spike in cost of living could be the proverbial last nail in this administration’s collapse. Observers are tempted to believe that unseen hands are deliberately leading this country to a political crisis caused by economic upheavals. This political crisis will force PNoy to resign even as unnamed sources claim PNoy is under extreme stress that he himself wishes to give up the post.
The blame game has started as the Aquino family is reportedly upset with people “using” the unsuspecting bachelor President.
There will marching in the streets in the days to come with prices of electricity going up by P3.00 per kilowatt-hour and liquefied petroleum gas getting very expensive and beyond the reach of the ordinary wage earner.
Fuel and Power Costs
Why the spike on cost of power and fuel when world prices are on the slump is a mystery to many. Even the reason that the price increases are beyond the control of the President has not been accepted by the people. This unreasonable twist of events led parties to speculate that forces are out to bring down the administration of PNoy. It is common belief that PNoy got the highest post of the land because of support and funding by the moneyed class that control money and mass media in the country.
Why these kingmakers are not protecting the back of the President, but instead bringing him down by increasing cost of living justifies the speculations that big business is fearful PNoy will not last his term and that it is better to bring him down earlier while they have good control of the political and economic situations.
The general perception is the President is not in control of government. He has been reduced to reading speeches written by spin doctors detached from realities on the ground. Time and time again he has been proven to be lying in his public speeches like his assurance that the government was ready to pick up the pieces from the storm surge of Super Typhoon Yolanda. His lack of leadership and poor performance in the super typhoon Yolanda relief and rescue operations was an international concern, forcing other nations thousands of miles away to come in to rescue millions of devastated families in Central Philippines.
The latest corruption reports and misuse of public funds had PNoy in the middle of the scandal. The worst being that he bought solons to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona. His corruption is worse than that of the GMA administration. He is seen to be willing to twist the Constitution so as to use the budget to pay solons’ support. This is the issue of DAP. Then USA Secretary of State John Kerrey walks into town not in a Santa Clause suit stoking further speculation that the Americans are worried on what is happening to the Philippines. It is common knowledge that the a shadow government continues to rule this country.
What is going for President PNoy is the general perception that he is not corrupt. How this perception was created though has been subject of healthy and dirty speculations. The healthy reason being that he does not need the money. The dirty reason is he wanted the presidency only because of the perks of the position and not the responsibilities, hence does not get into the real job of the presidency. And the money is in the discharge of the functions of the office.
The real leadership in the country now publicly exposed and accepted, the big money guys that propped up the Aquino campaign are running worried.
Real Estate Bubble
The international economic movements do not augur well for a healthy business climate. The real estate bubble could come sooner than expected. The big banks are vulnerable in this bubble. The money crisis that hit the USA some years back will come to wallop this country 10 times more devastating than Yolanda.
Hot money is in rapid departure from the Philippines as the US economy shows improvements and the west being secure parking place for hot money. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported massive losses due to intervention in the foreign exchange market.
The Yolanda devastation will surely slow down the economy of the Visayas Region, bringing down consumers’ spending and resulting a slowdown in industries and production.
The infighting in Philippine politics will drain the energies of the President worsened by realignment of loyalties and alliances in the political circles. The kitchen cabinet being also a shadow government, other forms of shadow governments are shaping up ready to take over. This is expected when the President is generally perceived to have lost control of the office. The kitchen cabinet is fortifying its hold dreadful of what is to come when PNoy steps down or is thrown out.
But disturbing are the speculations that other groups are forming, preparing for the worst for the President.
So far, no prominent figure has emerged as behind any plot to form a shadow government, apparently to avoid any backlash from the powers-that-be in Malacanang Palace. Going by past events, those waylaid by Aquino’s ill-starred “tuwid na daan” reform agenda are expected to take the lead in forming a shadow government in the run-up to the 2016 presidential polls.
In varying persuasions, their ranks could range from political and business elites to the rightists, centrists and leftists—all potential characters in an alternative form of government. While they may have divergent agenda to pursue, they are expected to forge a unifying and common position in the face of complexities that may arise in the process of closing their ranks. Talk about a shadow government is nothing new as it has been bandied about in some public fora in reaction to a government in power found in disarray for corruption and ineptness.
In some ways, a shadow government is in reality an opposition, considering that nearly all political parties are indistinguishable from each other. In some countries, a shadow government refers to the practice by the political opposition of forming a stand-by government in case it wins the next election. It does not refer to a parallel government like that set up in the United States to try to ensure that the federal rule could continue in the event of a catastrophic attack on the nation’s capital.
A shadow government literally means a “government-in-waiting”. It is in waiting until it takes control of government in response to some event such as a general election. Its primary objective is continuity so that an incoming government does not begin from scratch or operate in a vacuum. Shadow government prepares the opposition to take over government. It fosters stability, making it one of the strengths of a democratic system. Changes of government through elections should not disrupt the overall economic and social well-being of a nation which is often the case with a presidential system.
In some parliamentary governments, the largest opposition party often refers to itself as a shadow government. Opposition leaders are prepared to assume certain ministries should their party come to power. In Britain, the largest opposition party’s Defense spokesperson is referred to as the Shadow Defense Secretary. More importantly, they are often in consultation with their counterpart in the incumbent government. Smaller parties have spokes people but do not have shadow government designations.
It may be argued that forming a shadow Cabinet will be used as a check and balance to the performance of Cabinet officials.
However it is done within the context and structure of a parliamentary not a presidential system. There are important operational contexts to be considered. Moreover, the socio-cultural and institutional dynamics is necessary for a shadow government to be effective.
by Ronald Roy
ON the eve of last All Saints Day, Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino lll delivered a hurriedly crafted twelve-minute damage-control speech that instead created greater damage to his plummeting popularity ratings triggered by his boners in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) imbroglio. I cannot fathom why, for the life of me, so much dissension has been generated by a prime-time discourse defending the administration’s indefensible DAP position.
DAP is unconstitutional, period; and no amount of sophistry from the finest of student councils can validate or rectify it — sophistry is the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving –notwithstanding the supposed best of intentions behind its cryptic creation, along with their trumpeted beneficial results, if any.
DAP is unconstitutional because P-Noy, his fair-haired boy, Department of Budget and Mismanagement Secretary Butch Abad, and other sycophants unilaterally (i.e., without the required legislative participation) invented it, and there is absolutely no excuse for this culpable breach of the fundamental law.
A Machiavellian Offense
Wrong is wrong. For instance, a thief cannot be allowed to say, “You cannot sue me because I am not guilty of anything! I stole, yes, but I delivered the goodies to our pitifully impoverished countrymen. In fact, I did not in any material way benefit from my altruism.” Sadly, however, he is still criminally liable because Machiavellianism is anathema to our legal system that operates under the Rule of Law.
Needless to say, it is very devastating that the Machiavellian offender in the instant DAP case is no less than Pres. Noynoy himself. Now, is this not a very negative image that he has managed to portray of himself under the circumstances?!
I felt sorry for him as he addressed the nation either with such ignorance of the law or with outright defiance of it. I felt sorrier for myself, feeling like a hapless citizen held hostage by a madman gone berserk on survival mode. Wow, I mulled, this guy’s gonna be around for another two and a half years!
P-Noy’s delivery was expectedly fluid and rhetorical; a speech trait generally associated with the Aquino clan. No other Filipino president could have delivered the same piece with as much persuasiveness and elan.
This was, again, his big moment before the cameras, except that, this time, the more knowledgeable of his listeners and viewers could detect the deception, along with subtle reminders that the power that he had wielded to crush the impeached CJ Renato C. Corona could again be unleashed to silence his critics on the DAP fiasco. He irritatingly chose the issues, rattling off A B C D E F etc. while we wanted to hear him go through 1 2 3 4 5 6 etc. For instance, he intoned: “I am not a thief!” even if nobody was calling him one.
The Undelivered Message
What then would I have wanted to see and hear from P-Noy? Well, this: an angry and contrite President saying that he was sorry for all the pork barrel and DAP mess his administration had caused, that he had fired Abad, Agriculture Secretary Alcala, the notorious Ronald Llamas who has been widely rumored to be in constant touch with SC Associate Justices, and other lackeys. P-Noy seems to have forgotten that consigning Undersecretary Rico Puno to oblivion helped prop up his then sagging presidential image.
I also would have wanted to hear P-Noy say he was giving up his pork barrel in favor of line departments. Wow, if he had done all these, he probably would have primed himself up to becoming the greatest president our country has ever had!!
No, it would not be in P-Noy’s character to step down. He will hang in there until hell freezes over. Ever since he took “Cojuangco” out of his name, he has remained determined to be his own man, a president who gets what he wants and intends to leave behind a legacy all his own. You get 95 million citizens demanding his ouster, and he still will not budge an inch. P-Noy is just irreversibly bent on being his own man even if it means tempting Fate by doing so.
BANG is the awesome resonance caused by an assassin’s fury, and how well P-Noy the gun enthusiast knows it. Of course he should be aware his adamance could take him to an inglorious tarmac-like cul de sac, but he is pathetically too busy being his own man to sense any danger. Then again, perhaps he has deluded himself into thinking he has the sort of courage that is the stuff of martyrdom. Could he be crazy? Hmmm…Yes, maybe.
Politics, Politics, Politics
In any event, I hear its business as usual back at the Palace. Strengthening of the Liberal Party is up in the air. Sen. Ralph Recto has loomed as the strongest choice to replace the embattled Senate President Franklin Drilon, whose latest embarrassment is his being found out to be the chairman of a foundation organized for the mother of Janet Lim Napoles.
Incidentally, P-Noy has reportedly cautioned Drilon and former Sen. Ed Angara against indiscreet contacts with officials of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit. Also, being eyed this early is a probable Mar Roxas – Kris Aquino tandem for the 2016 elections. Repeat: this early. Ho-hum.
But it’s all up to P-Noy, really. I would not be surprised if he would choose to extend his term and his confreres gave way. Fools, these traditional politicians!
(http://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com. | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)
- Aquino’s half-baked legal defense (opinion.inquirer.net)
- The President’s speech (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Trouble at the top (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Give P’Noy the benefit of the doubt (leytesamardaily.net)
- Revilla, Estrada chime: ‘We too are not thieves’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Aquino may be going out on a limb over pork issue, say critics (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- P-Noy’s brother-in-law volunteers in relief drive (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Netizens jeer, cheer Aquino (technology.inquirer.net)
- Opposition sees Aquino speech to nation as damage control (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Fall and rise (opinion.inquirer.net)
by Francis De Guzman
DID you know that seven out of ten Filipinos did not benefit from the ranging controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)?
This congressional pork barrel, per the most recent survey released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) and published by the newspaper Business World (BW), used what is called the ‘face-to-face’ interview and got the views straight from a total of 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide.
This was taken following the heat wave from the fall out of the pork barrel, a direct consequence from the series of exposures made by whistle blowers who later on, became direct witnesses on the biggest scam of the year, perpetuated by Janette Lim-Napoles, et al.
A large number of Filipinos (67%) believe their respective communities never benefited from said PDAF-funded projects, while only 32% thought the opposite. The SWS survey, conducted between the periods 20-23 September, further revealed that Congressional representatives did not gain financially from said pork barrel fund. Here, you see that only 32 percent said funds, could have possibly been pocketed.
Likewise, respondents who thought that “a lot” of funds had been put to waste because of corruption, recorded the highest percentage in Metro Manila alone (where a strong middle class and civil society groups, led recent protest actions via people’s marches against the pork barrel scam) registering at 72 percent. This was closely followed by Luzon, which registered 61 percent, Mindanao at 57 percent and the Visayas, 54 percent.
Lately though, no less than President Aquino himself led the call on media ( at the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines), to be “more discerning” as he was quoted by a major daily, that the issues (pork barrel scam, etc.) specifically those “involving the public interest, may become more complicated in the days ahead.” This folks, is for all of us to be ever watchful, since the issue of corruption in our beloved country has indeed reached the very summit of destruction. We can only hope that the Chief Executive of the land would be enlightened to the realities of the times, and thus act with wisdom and truth.
The nation is also closely watching the events of the barangay elections, which has not been spared of political corruption in the grassroots level, where violence, plus the sin of covetousness and an envious spirit, has been prevailing for quite a number of years now. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Today, a growing number barangays, particularly in Metro Manila, have been corrupted and contaminated –from the top –the barangay chairmen down to the barangay councilors (one can count with his fingers the small number of the few upright ones).
It has become the “training ground” for future corrupt politicians, who would later on aspire for bigger government positions and the larger portion of the slice of the pie of corruption, and whereby “little political dynasties” become the name of the game. Indeed, when will the seemingly endless cycle of evil ever come to an end? God’s Judgment Call is nearer than you think. Take note of this folks, the most recent survey per media reportage, this time conducted by Pulse Asia (PA), revealed that a majority of Filipinos (77 percent) “believed that at least half of the budget of lawmakers for projects went to corruption.” What else is new?
KAURI ACADEMY (NZ) OPENS NEW PATHWAYS FOR PHL STUDENT COMPETENCIES
GOOD news for all healthcare student, graduates as well as young healthcare professionals!
Kauri Academy, the first Filipino-owned education center in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) opens its New Healthcare Program via courses intended for gaining qualifications to join the healthcare sector as Diversional Therapist, or in managerial position in healthcare setting.
Said healthcare course involve a two-step process, namely: first year is Diversional Therapy Course, and second-year is Healthcare Team Management Course. “Following compilation of the first program, the student gains the National Certificate in Health Disability and Aged Support (Level 3) and the National Certificate in Diversional Therapy (Level 4). This will qualify said graduate to enter as a Diversional Therapist in NZ healthcare institutions. Said course is included in the list of skilled occupations and would qualify for points under the “Skilled Migrant Residence Visa Category of Immigration New Zealand.”
And since the student acquires a qualification after the first year, he/she has the option of not continuing to the second year course if one is able to be a Diversional Therapist. If students are not able to function as a healthcare worker, or as a Diversional Therapist, the student can be proceed by completing the second-year course in order to gain the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Team Management) (Level 5) which qualifies graduates to supervise or manage support workers in a health, disability, or home and community setting.
While studying, students are also eligible for securing part-time earning since classes are only for 2 1/2 days per week, giving them a more flexibility time-frame. After completing second-year program, students are then eligible for a one-year “open-work permit” under the Graduate Job Search Visa scheme. Overall, students can stay in NZ for three-years, the first two-years as a student with part-time earning permit, and the additional one-year, under an “open-work permit.”
Kauri Academy owned by PNTC Colleges in the Philippines, has designed a comprehensive program for Filipinos who seek career path as Diversional Therapists, whether they are in a community, residential-home or aged care facility atmosphere. It is a profession that involves the organization, design, coordination and implementation of people-centered leisure-based activity program. Free info/data is available at Kauri Academy, PNTC College, 5/F, Intramuros Corporate Plaza, Recoletos St, Intramuros, Manila, contact Marie at (632) 536-4916 / 0922-826-8441, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Amid the disharmony of voices, journalists must be able to separate the important from the frivolous, the spin from the facts the malicious lies from the simple truth.” – (President Benigno ‘Nonoy’ Aquino -Speech at the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)
WORD OF TRUTH: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” – (Psalm 37:39-40 KJV)
(For comments and suggestions, kindly e-mail: email@example.com)
- Pinoys think pork barrel misuse continues under Aquino (rappler.com)
- Artists bAnd together over pork barrel issue (manilastandardtoday.com)
- 45% of Filipinos want pork junked – Pulse Asia (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Want to get rid of pork? Kick ‘pigs’ out of govt (manilastandardtoday.com)
- ‘Pork’ causes big drop in PNoy’s rating (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Senators try to downplay website hacking to protest pork barrel (technology.inquirer.net)
- [Statement] Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers -NAGKAISA (hronlineph.com)
- 1 in 2 Filipinos in Metro Manila want ‘pork’ abolished, says survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- 77% of Filipinos believe pork barrel lost to corruption – Pulse Asia survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Teens against pork (opinion.inquirer.net)
“As expected, powerful forces are now on each other’s throat in what could easily be a warm-up fight for the presidential contest two and a half years from now. But if you think the war is between Malacañang and the opposition, you fail to see deeper into what is happening behind doors in the current pork barrel scandal. The war is now between forces inside Malacañang.” – Miguel Raymundo
Coming out this week! Available in National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked.
- Aunt Tingting vs ‘Digi-President’ (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Incompetent, Dishonest? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- COMMENT: At Random: Patronage Politics (1) (mindanews.com)
- Killing the Cartel (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Pork barrel issue far from dead (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- The President as spin doctor (rappler.com)
- Pork barrel issue: Palace not clear on dialogue’s objective (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Napoles transfer to regular jail up to court (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Editorial : MVP for President (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Refocusing on Local Governance (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
THE race is on for the next Philippine President.
This early, eyed as potential candidates come 2016 are: Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas (Liberal Party), Sen. Bong Revilla (Lakas-CMD), Sen. Grace Poe (Independent), Sen. Francis Escudero (Independent) Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto (Liberal Party) and businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Of these seven potentials, six have some sort of political lineage in their favor. Binay, the longtime mayor of Makati City has risen to the vice presidency quite spectacularly. Roxas, is the grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas. Escudero, also the scion of a political clan, is a consistent Senate topnotcher. Same with Revilla whose family rules the province of Cavite. Grace Poe, topnotcher in the 2013 Senate race, is daughter of the late movie legend and defeated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. And Vilma Santos-Recto is the star governor of Batangas province and the wife of Sen. Ralph Recto.
And then there is businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Without political affiliation and any previous experience in public office (much like a Nancy Binay), political analysts see Pangilinan—or MVP as he is more popularly known—as a certified dark horse for 2016. And with good reason.
While Binay has no qualms about his dream of becoming President, MVP is quick to admit that “no political blood…runs through my veins.” But given his technocratic skills, MVP could probably fare better than the other potential candidates—whose only claim to fame and public office are their family names.
The chairman of PLDT, TV5, Philex Mining and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), MVP has “singlehandedly” built one of the largest business empires in the Philippines. MVP also has the education to back his business skills having graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and having earned an MBA degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Synonymous to telecommunications, media, power , water, mining, education, infrastructure, sports etc., MVP—given his reservations of running for public office–seems a very good choice for 2016. All he has to do is ride on a platform that promises lower electricity, telephone and water rates and he is a shoo-in for the Presidency in 2016.
As it is, MVP already has much of the country on his plate. If he runs and wins in 2016—he’ll be President and CEO of Philippines, Inc.
- Manny V. Pangilinan : Miracle Man (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- PLDT, Gokongwei expanding alliance (manilastandardtoday.com)
- The social cancer of Philippine society (rappler.com)
- Nearly 100 Philippine rebels killed or captured (bigstory.ap.org)
- Binay lambasted online for ‘epal’ relief bags (technology.inquirer.net)
- Editorial : MVP for President (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Cavitex investment pays off for MVP group (rappler.com)
- Torrential rains shut down Philippine capital (bigstory.ap.org)
- Saskatchewan Offers 14K jobs for PH Workers (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- FirstPac eyes Cojuangco mill (manilastandardtoday.com)