Black and White of NGO’s

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At this morning’s Tuesday Club fellowship of top level media practitioners at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City, the talk is how genius scammers are using NGO’s to siphon government funds by conniving with corrupt government functionaries. The talk is how some NGO leaders connived in toppling governments of Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo and becoming cabinet secretaries as success fees. These NGO’s (non-government organization) and PO(people’s organization) rally the people in disguise as for social change. They have perfected the infiltration at the grassroot level. One example was the CODE NGO where some of its leaders were behind the so called Hyatt 10 which almost ousted former President Gloria Arroyo. Up to now there’s no accounting of the P35 billion that was supposed to be returned to the government coffers.

Ka Maning Almario, a veteran editor, mailed me some information about NGO’s. Sam Vaknin site was his source of information. To quote- “NGO’s arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV’s, sport $3000 laptops and PDA’s. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists. They are parasites who feed off natural and manmade disasters, mismanagement, conflict, and strife. Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confront the democratically chosen and those who voted them into office. A few of them are enmeshed in crime and corruption. They are the non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.”

Some NGOs – like Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Amnesty – genuinely contribute to enhancing welfare, to the mitigation of hunger, the furtherance of human and civil rights, or the curbing of disease. Others – usually in the guise of think tanks and lobby groups – are sometimes ideologically biased, or religiously-committed and, often, at the service of special interests.

NGOs – such as the International Crisis Group – have openly interfered on behalf of the opposition in several parliamentary elections in Macedonia. Other NGOs have done so in Belarus and Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Israel, Nigeria and Thailand, Slovakia and Hungary – and even in Western, rich, countries including the USA, Canada, Germany, and Belgium.

The encroachment on state sovereignty of international law – enshrined in numerous treaties and conventions – allows NGOs to get involved in hitherto strictly domestic affairs like corruption, civil rights, the composition of the media, the penal and civil codes, environmental policies, or the allocation of economic resources and of natural endowments, such as land and water. No field of government activity is now exempt from the glare of NGOs. They serve as self-appointed witnesses, judges, jury and executioner rolled into one. Regardless of their persuasion or modus operandi, all NGOs are top heavy with entrenched, well-remunerated, extravagantly-perked bureaucracies. Opacity is typical of NGOs. Amnesty’s rules prevent its officials from publicly discussing the inner workings of the organization – proposals, debates, opinions – until they have become officially voted into its Mandate. Thus, dissenting views rarely get an open hearing.

Contrary to their teachings, the financing of NGOs is invariably obscure and their sponsors unknown. There’s lack of transparency.

All NGOs claim to be not for profit – yet, many of them possess sizable equity portfolios and abuse their position to increase the market share of firms they own. Conflicts of interest and unethical behavior abound.

According to the Red Cross, more goes through NGOs than through the World Bank. Their iron grip on food, medicine, and funds rendered them an alternative government – sometimes as venal and graft-stricken as the one they replace.

As “think tanks”, NGOs issue partisan and biased reports. The International Crisis Group published a rabid attack on the then incumbent government of Macedonia, days before an election, relegating the rampant corruption of its predecessors – whom it seemed to be tacitly supporting – to a few footnotes. On at least two occasions – in its reports regarding Bosnia and Zimbabwe – ICG has recommended confrontation, the imposition of sanctions, and, if all else fails, the use of force. Though the most vocal and visible, it is far from being the only NGO that advocates “just” wars.

NGO activists have joined the armed – though mostly peaceful – rebels of the Chiapas region in Mexico. Norwegian NGOs sent members to forcibly board whaling ships. In the USA, anti-abortion activists have murdered doctors. In Britain, animal rights zealots have both assassinated experimental scientists and wrecked property.
Birth control NGOs carry out mass sterilizations in poor countries, financed by rich country governments in a bid to stem immigration. NGOs buy slaves in Sudan thus encouraging the practice of slave hunting throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Other NGOs actively collaborate with ‘rebel’ armies – a euphemism for terrorists.

Operating in the countries of Southeast Asia, some NGO’s are funded by USAID which many believe is associated with US intelligence agencies which often have close contact to local radicals and opposition. Despite the declared humanitarian nature of their activities, they actively influence the political situation in several nations including street protests. The ‘Arab Spring’ in the Middle East was instigated through NGO’s. Protests in Thailand, in Venezuela and in Ukraine according to several news reports were inspired by PO’s and NGO’s. These NGO’s have been successful in using the internet through the Twitter, You Tube and Facebook to spread anti-government propaganda, disinformation, etc. These social networks were used to mold public opinion in the process.

Foreign funded NGO’s are regulated in several countries like China, Laos and Cambodia allegedly due to perceived shady financial assistance to the local opposition and to neutralize governments that cannot be dictated by big foreign powers.

Our National Security Council should study this concept or safety valve if the government really wants to move on without fear or favor. If other nations have the political will and understanding and wary of these facts, why not us? Lets take the necessary measures to monitor and restrict their activities that contradict our national interests. Especially now that our nation is on the verge of turbulence due to too much corruption being exposed.


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By Ray L. Junia

Who needs PDAF kickback?

The Commission on Appointments (CA) is one body that every lawmaker wants to get into. Every senator or congressman jockeys to get to this body.

In many reports, CA is described as “the powerful committee.” Many are really confused and baffled why a body tasked to screen the President’s choice for sensitive positions in government could be that powerful.

Not until the wringer Department of Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Ramon Paje went through after four years of waiting to be confirmed by the CA had many understood the powers of members of the CA.

The grilling of Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima likewise opened the eyes of many why only the most favored senators and congressmen get to this body. Seats in the CA are distributed to leading political parties in both houses.

Secretary Paje passed the course only after the majority in the CA decided to call for a vote and Senator Sergio Osmena was out-voted to the Cebuano senator’s consternation.
Osmena insulted Paje several times in the hearing for his permanent appointment, calling him a liar and a cheat. The senator felt strongly bad about a DM Consunji mining project that leveled a mountain and opened a sea port.

The funny part is the DMCI mining project is nothing to the gold mining operations of the group of Manny V. Pangilinan that have not only leveled mountains but also destroyed rivers and reportedly poisoned lakes and communities.

MVP’s company was even asked to pay millions of pesos in fines. Why was Sec. Paje not asked by Sen. Osmena on the violations by the MVP mining operations that caused communities to fear for their lives and livelihood.

What’s special with MVP that Osmena would not touch him with a ten foot pole? Is it because MVP owns Meralco and the leader in the power generation business?

Senator Osmena is trying very hard to create that image of fiscalizer. His PR stories tell of exposes he has championed in the name of clean government.

Will somebody in the COA and finance tell how much the government has lost in taxes and how much have Filipinos paid with their blood to feed greed of giant companies, suspected to be clients of lawmakers.

The cost to government and the people of corporate greed run to hundreds of billions a year. Who needs PDAF commissions when a small percentage from the hundreds of billions in greed by big business dwarfs all the billions allegedly stolen by alleged Napolist senators.

An anti-graft crusader and pro-people solon? Tell that to the marines.

In The Face Of Adversity

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(Excerpts of the speech of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon Adjournment Sine Die of the 1st Regular Session of the 16th Congress June 11, 2014)

Since we opened the 16th Congress in July last year, it has been a difficult and challenging journey for the Senate. I would like to thank the members of this august chamber for remaining composed and focused on our mandate despite the barrage of harsh and relentless criticisms directed at our beloved institution when the PDAF controversy surfaced last year.

The openness in which we have allowed media to report on this matter and the trust we have for our legal processes show how strong we have built our democratic foundations to withstand political turmoil.

However, we cannot deny that the PDAF controversy has cast a long, dark shadow over the institution. And we completely understand the people’s outrage. Thus, the members of this august chamber collectively sought ways to address the issue.

We abolished the PDAF even before the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. We conducted our own investigation on the alleged misuse of the pork barrel funds.

By undertaking these measures, we are telling our people that the Senate is listening to their pleas and clamors for reforms. We are sending a clear and strong message that their Senate is sensitive to their grievances and concerns.

Amid these spirit-breaking challenges, I am certain that each one of us only has the nation’s and institution’s best interest at heart. We might be going through turbulent times right now, but I am confident that, in time, we will be able to restore the people’s respect and trust in the Senate.

Glory and Honor
We must not lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to provide a better life for each Filipino; a life that is not wanting in choices and opportunities.

Neither should we forget that the Senate, a bastion of democracy, has a glorious beginning and a history of honor in public service. And we shall endeavor to bring back that glory and honor.

Even if the PDAF scandal was constantly hogging the headlines and trending in the social media for months, and despite the severe public beating, the Senate continues to work around the clock, deliberating on bills and crafting measures that would significantly improve the life of our countrymen.

Despite the controversies and political intrigues that incessantly plague the institution, we have persevered and continue to discharge our duties to the Republic and to the people.

The First Regular Session of the 16th Congress has afforded us the opportunity to prove the stability of our institution in the face of adversity. This august chamber, which has traditionally reveled in the confidence of the electorate and consistently maintained its prominence, has been battered by, perhaps, the gravest crisis to have ever crossed its path. In my 16 years in the Senate, never before have I witnessed this kind of turmoil.

As we continue to brave through the unforgiving blizzard of scandals and controversies, our commitments and vows to the people serve as our guiding light on the road to recovery and redemption.

Against Doubts
While we defend our institution against doubts to its integrity, our constituents are faced with a tougher fight – a fight for survival as natural disasters hitting the nation in recent years are evolving with terrifying intensity and frequency.

In 2013, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded ripped through the Visayas and left a trail of devastation of epic proportions, from which residents of the region are still staggering to recover.

In this light, we worked for the timely enactment of measures to enable our people to quickly get back on their feet.

Among these measures is *RA 10633*, which was enacted in record time and established the national budget for 2014 at P2.265 trillion. Since calamity-stricken areas necessitate prompt delivery of basic services, social services received bulk of the allocation at P841.8 billion, representing 37.2% of the national budget.

This measure also introduced the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, which apportioned P20 billion to empower the victims of the most tragic natural and man-made calamities in the past year, specifically, the typhoons Yolanda, Santi, Odette, Pablo, Sendong, Vinta, Labuyo, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol, and the Zamboanga City siege.

Aside from measures capacitating our people to pull through in the face of successive mishaps, we enacted *RA 10635*, which established the MARINA as a single and central maritime administration to comply with international standards, and therefore averted the possible employment ban against 80,000 Filipino seafarers in the European Union.

Resilience to Calamities
Among these bills is *HB 353* which forms part of the government’s continuing mission to boost our country’s resilience to calamities by mandating telecommunications service providers to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters.

Under the bill, the alerts shall consist of updated information from the relevant agencies, and shall be sent directly to the mobile phone subscribers located near and within the affected areas.

Also on the list is the proposed *Graphic Health Warning Law*, which seeks to increase the awareness of the public especially among the youth on the harmful and deadly effects of smoking.
Under the bill, graphic health warnings in full color shall be printed on at least 50% of the principal display surface of tobacco packages sold in the market.

We believe that the passage of this proposed measure will bring us closer to our goal of protecting the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

On the other hand, also awaiting the President’s approval is our *proposed amendments to the Act Liberalizing the Scope and Entry of Operations of Foreign Banks*. This bill aims to expand the participation of qualified foreign banks in our financial sector in preparation for the forthcoming ASEAN economic integration.

Under this measure, reputable and financially sound foreign banks shall be allowed to acquire up to 100% of the voting stocks of domestic banks. We are confident that, with greater foreign participation in our banking sector, we shall have access to a bigger pool of financial resources in order to support various infrastructure projects and other development initiatives.

Resolve to Fulfill Duty
Another priority measure that hurdled both houses of Congress is*the bill extending the corporate life of the Philippine National Railways* as its charter is set to expire this month.

Recognizing the importance of PNR’s uninterrupted service to the riding public, both houses worked intently to ensure this measure’s swift passage in their respective domains.

The Senate has shown a strong resolve to fulfill its duty to the nation, with fervor and determination. Never have we neglected our obligation to the people, despite our present difficulties. Even as we take a respite, we shall endeavor to recover the people’s faith in the Senate as a democratic institution.

Thank you very much.


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By Miguel Raymundo

In 2001, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) became a law, promising every Filipino that power supply will be efficient and less costly.

Thirteen years after, this year, and even in previous years, EPIRA has been proven to be anti-people and pro big money. This is one law that is proven to continually feed corporate greed.

Before EPIRA, the problem of electricity supply was getting worse every passing year. Many accused the former President Cory Aquino for causing, deliberate or not, the worsening power supply situation in the country.

The mother of President Benigno Aquino III, under a revolutionary government, shot down all plans and preparations by the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the power sector. The Bataan nuclear power plant never got off the ground, wasting billions of pesos in investments, including kickbacks to the former dictator and his agents.
EPIRA was supposed to be the answer and solution to the rising energy woes. Senator Francis Escudero, though, thinks otherwise.

“Epira has become a misnomer to its purpose. Instead of reforming the business environment to better service and improve delivery of supply and lower rates,… it has caused the government to lose control of the power industry,” Escudero said.

He pointed out that the Philippines holds the record of having the costliest electricity in the Asia. Cost of electricity in the Philippines is second highest in the world.

Why this has happened, that Epira resulted in Filipinos paying the most pricey cost of electricity in the world, did not come as an accident. This is a result of a deliberate plan of hijacking a law.

When the purpose of a law and the results in its implementation take different paths, this is not because the law is wrong, but because some powerful forces bend the law and get away with it. And these powerful forces think and act like they own the Philippines and the Filipinos.

So Epira, which was originally conceived as pro-people, ended up as anti-people. Every Filipino paying for the most expensive electricity is the victim of this hijacking of the law.

The sad part is, there is mechanism in our system that makes sure that the law is enforced so the people will truly benefit from its purpose. This mechanism is described as the oversight powers of congress. In the case of Epira, there is the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) co-chaired by Senator Sergio Osmeña and Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
JCPC was tasked to make sure that the law is followed and its intention served. The law was crafted to make sure that power supply was more than ample and the people pay lowest cost, competition being driver to lower prices.

Thirteen years after, we see why the purpose of the law has not been served, its intention waylaid by people mandated to protect it.

Senator Serge Osmeña could be one reason there is abundant abuse by the power players in the power sector. The senator from Cebu is suspect to be protecting the power players instead of the consumers.

Political observers say that the Filipino is just paying the price for electing this Senator Osmeña to the senate. And the price comes in tens of pesos for every kilowatt hour we pay for electricity.

Individually and in tens of pesos, the price we pay for having Osmeña in the senate is not much. Add them up into some total of millions of Meralco subscribers and billions of kilowatt-hours we consume every month, and you end up making these power companies richer by hundreds of billions if not trillions by this time, after a decade.

Sources in the power sector explains that “Osmeña is the chief praetorian guard of the power generation companies that call themselves independent power producers.”

Senator Serge Osmeña is married to the daughter of Albertito Lopez, Betina Mejia Lopez. The Lopez family owns power generation companies and formerly controlled Meralco, the biggest power distributor in the Philippines.
Osmeña indeed is the power players’ praetorian guard in the protection of their corporate greed. That he is so, has been made obvious in the latest move by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

In an unexpected move, everyone in the consumers’ advocacy groups was happily surprised, when ERC voided an earlier approved P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate increase in generation charges. For the first time, ERC takes a stand that at least embarrassed the big power players and, at most, cut down their greed.

Immediately, Osmeña came out fighting for Meralco, expressing disappointment and displeasure to the President. Stopping Meralco from collecting huge profits, Osmeña described, “was good politics, but bad economics.”

In a fit of rage, he accused the Department of Energy head as an “awful manager”. He promised to block the DOE secretary’s confirmation in the Commission of Appointments. And Osmeña keeps his promise.

The act of ERC in stopping Meralco from collecting those huge profits was in accordance to its mandate, written in the Epira.

This senator is a little confused, or are we? Escudero wants to amend the Epira. But Osmeña says Epira is a good law. However, when ERC followed the law, Osmeña raises hell.

That Epira has lost its reason and purpose for the people cannot be more evident by the growing call for its abolition and the rising demand to nationalize power generation and distribution.

“This is a heartless government. There is massive poverty, 75% of the Filipinos live below the poverty line, yet cost of electricity is most expensive in the world,” lawyer Rey Cardeno, a consumer advocate, said.

According to Cardeno, when cost of electricity is high, everything else becomes very expensive. The time has come to nationalize the power sector and all basic services and utilities.

Privatization has not worked for the people’s good. Privatization has served only to create ten more billionaires and tens of millions more hungrier Filipinos.

Cardeno and his groups will push for the abolition of Epira as being anti-people and pro corporate greed.

Karambola! A de M U 198 with Almonte

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“Karambola!” is a more than decade old unique radio program aired from 8 to 10 am, Monday to Friday, on DWIZ, 880 Khz AM Band. It had a karambola or mixed bag of anchors, namely: Cong. Crispin “Boying” Remulla (Mountainous Southern District of Cavite), Cong. Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin (Makati; President Cory Aquino’s first Public Information Chief), Ed Javier (Paranaque Congressional Candidate), Atty. Dodo Dulay (MMDA and COMELEC Chairman Ben Abalos’ defense attorney), Cong. Jonathan de la Cruz, Cong. “Sonny” Escudero (Sorsogon; Marcos and Ramos; Agriculture Secretary) and Alvin Matthew Palmes Capino.

A week ago, Sunday, June 1, 2014, Alvin Capino was laid to rest at the Loyola Memorial Park along Santos Ave in Sucat, Paranaque. He was 64 years old when he died at his home in B F Homes on Thursday night, May 29. He died of cancer of the kidney. It was “Strike Three” for him. It was his third bout in two years. He was also diabetic and he did not like to drive and go out at night.

That is why, we did not see too much of him in our batch and class reunions. “We” are Ateneo de Manila University’s Batch 198. 198 is the sum total of 62 + 66 + 70, ie. Grade School ’62, High School ’66 and College ’70. Alvin belonged to College ’70 and was an AB Political Science Major.

After College, he worked with Lexington International, with Press Secretary Francisco “Kit” Tatad at the Department of Public Info or Malacanang Press Office, Pilipinas Shell and Mobile Oil Philippines. He wrote for the Observer, The Independent, The Phil Free Press, The Daily Globe and Today. He was an Anchor and Commentator for DZRH, DZRV and DWWW. Over a decade, he rose to Vice Chairman at Tony Zorilla and partners. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the BCDA from 2001 to 2010.

In four days our Batch 198 lost three members – Alvin on Thursday, May 29, Lito Villarama on Saturday, May 31 and Jed Natividad, BS Chemistry ’70, on Sunday, June 1. Thirteen years ago, in October – November 2001, I lost my best friend and classmate from Grade One to Third Year College, Gerardo “Gerry” Jaminola Katigbak Esguerra, to a stroke (during his son’s wedding) after a long bout also with cancer of the kidney.

Last Thursday, our Batch 198 organized and sponsored a forum with former General and FVR’s NSA Secretary Jose Almonte as the Resource Person. His topic ranged from Nation Building to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to the Philippine China conflict in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. He fleshed out his principles and theory on Nation Building by taking us through FVR’s journey of running for the Presidency in 1992, winning, winning over the opposition and running the government for six years.

Then, we jumped to the present and he put us through a crash course on China and our problems with them in the South China Sea/ West Philippine Sea.

The day before, on Wednesday, June 4, at the Fernandina Media Forum at the Club Filipino, our main topic was Women’s Issues including Marital Rape, Child Rape, Profile of a Rapist, Abused Women and Abusive Men. Aside from resource persons Atty. Rowena “Bing” Guanzon and Women Involved in Nation Building Chairperson Emeritus Baby del Mundo, we also had the second rape complainant against actor Vhong Navarro, Miss Bikini Contestant, Roxanne Cabanero, and her lawyer, Atty. Mendoza.

However, our resident fortune teller, Danny Atienza, also dropped by because he had some important and pressing matters to share with us. In general, he predicted impending doom. According to him, the government is bankrupt. The last two years of the Aquino Administration will continue to be a downward spiral. However, the next President will uplift the country in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He hinted that Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” C. Binay is sick and that the next President will be a woman. Late last year, he privately told me that it would be Senator Grace Poe L.

The removal of Gov. E. R. Ejercito was just the beginning and a sample of things to come. Many more would follow. However, E. R. would be able to make a comeback. The filing of plunder cases against the three senators, JPE, Jinggoy and Bong was imminent. Senator Revilla is sure to be convicted and jailed. Senator Enrile will get away. Senator Estrada’s future is an uncertainty.

The disqualification of Mayor Joseph Estrada will proceed and is imminent with a condition, “kung kaya”. Even if Erap is removed, the people will support him. He can even run for President with massive People’s support. DILG Secretary and Liberal Party Presidentiable Mar Araneta Roxas is a sure loser. Noynoy Aquino’s problems with Corruption, Pork, DAP and Malampaya Scandals as well as our conflict with China will continue and grow even bigger.

By the way, this week’s calendar is loaded. Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 10, the Supreme Court will deliberate and vote on the constitutionality of the DAP. My guess is that they will declare it unconstitutional but prospectively.

On Thursday, June 12, an anti Pork, PDAF, DAP, Malampaya, etc … protest rally at the Bonifacio Shrine near the Manila City Hall, will try to repeat the One million March August 26, 2013 Rally at the Luneta.
Where will these take us? To be continued…

What Freedom?

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Why the Philippines is not really a free country
By Andrea Lim

In a government that mostly serves the interests of capitalists and foreign powers, this is one question we should all take the time to ponder – are we even truly free? Every June 12th, Filipinos are lulled into an even further sense of false ‘nationalism’ and ‘freedom’ when the reality of the matter is that we are still not free as a country.

Our national policies are still influenced by our former American colonizers. Our economic freedom is being sold part and parcel to China by big business taipans, and the oligarchs are keeping us under servitude to the interests of multinationals.

President Noynoy Aquino defined ‘true freedom’ as freedom from hunger, ignorance, poverty and joblessness. However, youth group Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo says that the number of hungry, jobless and poor Filipinos actually increased in Aquino’s first year, and more so in the succeeding ones. The number of school drop-outs also remain in large numbers.

This shows that not only is the government’s so-called declaration of independence a façade, but it also proves that the country’s political and economic policies stay-one sided in favor of foreign powers and their local puppets.

Sovereignty For Sale
Instead of calling for national sovereignty, we have a President who chooses only to bow down to foreign powers even if it is at the expense of the Filipino people.

US influences on our armed forces through policies and programs extends to our economy – the economic crisis being experienced by the Philippines is a result of the government’s neo-liberal policies pushed by the US, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Balikatan exercises, and most recently, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Meanwhile, China has already subdued the Philippines economically. Big capitalists such as Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and other foreign businessmen continue to exploit the Filipinos for cheap labor. What’s worse is that President Aquino himself offers us to them.

Aquino’s government has steered mainstream media into distracting us from relevant issues in our society. Instead of having us focus on the corruption cases involving Budget Secretary Butch Abad and other yellow cronies, we are bombarded with news of Noynoy’s new ‘love interest’ or Kris Aquino’s summer fling with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

Cuban freedom fighter Che Guevarra says that the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution does not mean the freedom of a country. True freedom is achieved when the “imperialistic economic domination” over people is brought to an end.


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Filipino IT professionals are being pirated by Asian companies, and it can spell disaster for the Philippines’ telecommunications infrastructure.

It seems that professionals in the country, including those practising Information Technology (IT) are being hired by companies abroad such as Singapore, Malaysia, and other East Asian countries despite being employed in foreign-owned companies situated in Metro Manila.

At first, these IT professionals somehow worked to maintain websites of both private and government institutions against hacking and malfunctioning in order to have smooth flow of transactions, and also worked in order to improve internet speed in telecommunications companies such as PLDT and Globe.

These practitioners may had done well in their respective field of interest, but with other countries offering much bigger pay and really secured tenure, most IT professionals, especially those affected by everyday crisis such as contractualization and insufficient pay, have no choice but to accept opportunities from abroad that are greater than those offered at home.

According to the Office of the Press Secretary last 2008, there were 12,000 Filipino IT practitioners working in Singapore, and most of them were appraised for their skills and talents in their work.

In addition, there are probably more in the Philippines choosing to leave the country for Singapore or any other country in search of much greener pastures.

The Philippines is starting to feel the effects of this recent brain drain. We are left with less competent IT workers who are incapable of securing local networks in case a security breach happens.

Consequently, government websites are often hacked, while people often complain about slower internet speed as compared to those of the neighboring countries.

Groups like the Computer Professionals Union have urged government officials not just to tax-exempt IT professionals, but to create an environment for these practitioners in testing and implementing innovative ideas with government support, as science and technology professionals are vital for national development.

The Philippines’ IT-BPO industry has total revenues that rose from $12.1 billion to US$ 13.5 billion last 2012, and employment that rose to 769,932 from 679,494, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures.

Yet these figures may possibly change in the following years, as IT professionals are being promised bigger pay and security of tenure by companies abroad.

There is enough possibility that both revenues and employment would decrease in IT industries in the Philippines.

There is steep competition as local IT professionals find it more difficult to work in the country, given the inadequate infrastructure and wrong government priorities.

President Noynoy Aquino, in his address citing the Philippines’ amicable relations with Singapore, stated that “Singapore and the Philippines will continue to work together on the expansion of cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and construction, tourism facilities, information technology-business process management, shipbuilding, logistics services, and agribusiness”.

In spite of the country losing its best IT workers, the government continues to brag about development, cooperating with countries that are ironically becoming the working destinations for Filipino IT professionals.


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By Ronald Roy

I’m not sure about the date of the Four Freshmen’s performance at the Araneta Coliseum, but it was at the height of the “Hello Garci” public outrage when “lying” became a buzzword in the widespread denunciation of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Not at all convincing was her “I am sorry” public apology, which she in fact effectively negated with a subsequent insistence she had not stolen Fernando Poe’s million votes in Mindanao, and that she had been told by God kuno to ignore the clamor for her resignation because He needed her to continue her good work for the Filipino people.

I still wonder if that was a lying ploy to enable her lawyers to plead insanity so she could beat the raps. “What a smart cookie this Gloria is”, I then mused. But, well, if God had really told her to carry on, shouldn’t we blame Him for all the moral and economic wreckage she left behind? Obviously, we cannot because God is inherently faultless. Therefore, GMA lied, as she then often did, and this was why the entire nation was in such a foul mood, why people sought refuge at the Big Dome that evening.

My fourth-row orchestra seat was right by a two-meter-wide aisle, at the other side of which sat then Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, who had obviously looked forward to dodging the public flack in a relaxing evening of musical entertainment. He had then been derisively seen as a lackey of the malevolent Gloria Arroyo.

Then, as in all shows locally staged by famous foreign entertainers, the time had come to thank the host country for its hospitality, smiling beautiful faces, etc., etc. “And your food”, intoned a Freshman, “oh my God, this spicy, delicious vegetable dish called laeng (which sounded like lying) yes, laeng, laeng…” An interruption was unavoidable, with the audience howling and hooting, and three spotlights swirling until they focused on the chief magistrate who was now slightly crouched, his face buried in his hands. Truly, a most embarrassing moment for the pitiful man!

Let’s ponder that “shame”, that sense of guilt that follows after a wrongful act, is a human trait that prompts a wrongdoer to rue and change, and yet, not too many people have this attribute anymore. It therefore surprises not a few that Corona did not resign his position, and that is why he is now paying the price of vexing legal restraints and social isolation. It likewise warns us anew of power’s intoxicating dangers that are so prevalent in government nowadays.

Anyway, the lessons to be learned from Corona’s dire straits are: that a lackey is as much a liar as his master, and that lying with intent to deceive is as deprave as other acts of dishonesty. Would that today’s so-called “public servants” could likewise learn from George Herbert (1593-1633), an English metaphysical poet and vicar of Bemerton, who once said: “Show me a liar, and I will show thee a thief”. Herbert’s understanding of lying and thieving can thus be expressed as an adage, viz: Liars and thieves are birds of the same feather.

It’s difficult to dismiss Herbert’s quote as a principle of truth, an aphorism that is ubiquitously applicable in the ongoing investigations of the pork barrel scam. The humongous national scandal that now bedevils our lives compels us to retrieve our national dignity and honor by booting these scalawags out of office, with or without due process; but it seems we do not have our forefathers’ fire in the belly!!

Close to a hundred and fifty lawmakers, most of whom are current, apart from local officials and so-called agents, are listed down as having robbed us blind!! And they’re all denying the charges, as expected, with some even threatening to sue back for libel, perjury, or whatever! Their uniform riposte is: “We didn’t steal a single centavo! They’re all lying!” In fairness, however, a number have been wrongfully implicated, like former Sen. Jun Magsaysay, who had his righteous indignation published with official documents.

What a mess!! Will someone pray tell me how, when and who will clean up the bloody shambles in a non-bloody way??? But wait! If these heroes are faces from the failed past and the floundering present, forget it! What we need are warm bodies with new faces, new minds and new hearts revving up to install a rational justice system. Perhaps we can start with an amendment of the law punishing lying under oath. It’s a curiosity, e.g., that the accused in any criminal case is required to take an oath to tell the truth, and yet he can lie with wild abandon because the same law protects him against self-incrimination. Isn’t this a self-inflicted mockery of the justice system??

Less unreasonable would be China’s quantum of proof: presuming heinous offenders guilty until proven innocent — a stricture that will surely prune down all the thieving and the lying.

On last week’s cover story ‘Nationalize Power Industry’ (Vol. 4 No. 40/ June 2-8, 2014)

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Allan Reyes: Nationalization=Crony Capitalism.

Arnel Endrinal: Sometimes funny about people who want nationalization of industries… They are the same people who say government is very corrupt and inefficient yet often they want government to run everything.

Anders Juhl Jensen: Allan Reyes, nationalization is bad, but it is not crony capitalism. How can it be? The debate is destroyed, when we use terms wrongly. It renders the term crony capitalism meaningless, if used to cover every thing we don’t like. If we are to fight crony capitalism, we need to understand precisely what is crony capitalism. The first step is to differentiate it from other phenomena. The power industry is a complex issue. A state run power sector has problems with resource utilization etc., privatization has big problems with corruption and crony capitalism, nationalization of private power companies has sinister problems concerning property rights and concealed political power struggle etc, unregulated private power sector will have huge problems with monopoly and collusion. There is no perfect way to organize the power sector. No simple answers or solutions.

Trevor Bailey: There is a solution, and it is a mix, some parts are managed by the government and others are privately owned and operated. It is again just a matter of thinking outside the box. For example the infrastructure which carries the power from source to the delivery points is a government managed network, but the supply to the consumers is not, it can be competitive. The various sources can be privately owned as well or PPP. The idea is the suppliers buy load capacity on the network, the company’s selling to the end user buy load from the suppliers, and pay a fee to the government for using their network to deliver it. You could have numerous companies in the retail market competing for the consumer dollar, the suppliers are competing to get the retailers to buy from them, all the government does is provide the “highway” to deliver it. It is then a matter of who owns the meter box at each house, change retailer, you get your meter changed.

Steven Egay: I think one solution is that government should maintain control of the NGCP (not 100% just controlling share). So that government have more leeway in power distribution instead of being controlled by some private concerns. And at the same time open up investments in power generation to as many players as possible. This way the supply availability and costs are addressed. This will work if the power distribution sector does not influence the power generation companies which is a big possibility if NGCP is privately controlled.

Trevor Bailey: Yes I visualize it like agriculture. A farmer grows his crop, he uses a government owned road to drive his truck to the wholesale market, once there he sells it to whoever retailer gives him the best price. The same works with water and telcos, it levels the playing field and generally keeps a lid on costs.

Anders Juhl Jensen: Trevor Bailey, in North Europe we have the Nord pool spot market. It works pretty good. Power producers will bid in according to their marginal cost, (except wind power that will just flood the market whenever the wind blows). The only problem is that you cannot get people to invest in new capital intensive power plants such as nuclear or wind farms, unless you get a subsidy, which will basically pay the capital cost (

Trevor Bailey: You do not say what the infrastructural mix is, in the places I am familiar with the producers are a mix of private, PPP and government. Demand drives construction. Often the government is the one who builds, but once established will sell off into PPP with the private company providing the management and maintenance and the government the asset, the Private part does not perform, the government finds a new manager.

Trevor Bailey: It is kind of funny, everyone wants the cash flow, but no one wants to invest the capital.

Anders Juhl Jensen: If government builds and then sells, you will have the problem with corruption and rigged bids.

Trevor Bailey: In the cases I am familiar with they register a State owned Corporation, then sell shares. Almost using a co-operative concept, preference is given to the individual, and what is not sold on the open market is then offered into the corporate market. They seldom let more than 49 percent go however.

(Courtesy of Get Real Philippines Community Facebook Page)

My Fearless/Fearful JLN Forecast!

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As of our Press Deadline, Janet “Jeny” Lim-Napoles was still at the Ospital ng Makati. While the World was questioning why she had not been returned to her court designated place of detention at the PNP SAF camp in Santa Rosa, Laguna, the Authorities were pointing fingers at each other.

The Makati RTC Branch presided over by Judge Almeda said that there was no need for a Court Order to return her to where the Court had committed her. Her custodian, the PNP, said that she had not paid her hospital bills and therefore could not get a discharge or release order from the Ospital ng Makati. The Ospital ng Makati said that they had already issued a discharge order. Besides, they said that it is against the law to hold a patient because of non payment of medical bills or expenses.

Then we hear that JLM wants to stay in the hospital for at least three months. That is what the rich and infamous always want to do. Former Presidents Estrada and Arroyo were committed to the Presidential Suite of the Veterans Memorial Hospital. Former PCSO Chairman and Director Manoling Morato stayed at the SLMC, QC. Gov. Antonio Leviste and Rolito Go spent a portion of their sentences in various hospitals as well as special accommodations at the National Penitentiary at Muntinglupa.

My Fearless Forecast is that if JLM is brought back to Santa Rosa, her list of Senators, Congressmen and Executive Officials involved in the the PDAF/Pork Scandal will come out in its entirety. My Fearful Forecast is that if JLM continues to be detained at the Ospital ng Makati, her list will again be censored, evaluated and manipulated to implicate PNoy’s enemies and protect his allies, friends and KKK’s.

My very educated guess is that while JLN (born January 15, 1964) started out in business dealings with the government fifteen years ago, she made it big when she learned and graduated to the level of PDAF.  This was during the GMA Administration between January 2001 and June 2010. She and her husband, Marine Major Jaime “Jimmy” Napoles, were charged in connection with a 1998 3.8 million peso Kevlar Helmet Procurement Contract divided among seven dummy corporations. Her husband was dropped from the case. Janet was acquitted in 2010.

By the time of the May 2010 National Elections, JLN had accumulated huge sums of money from the multi billion peso Ghost Deliveries of fake Projects of JLN NGO’s. My Guess is that JLN gave the Noy – Mar/LP Campaign a big campaign contribution in the hundreds of millions of pesos. And that is why JLN’s Scam phased in effortlessly into the Aquino Administration of the “Matuwid na Daaan”.

The Expose of the JLM PDAF Scam was triggered by the serious illegal detention of Ben Hur Luy from Dec 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013 by JLN and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim.  On the behest of Ben Hur’s parents, the NBI rescued him from a JLN house that was being used as a retrest house. While in NBI protective custody, Ben Hur started to about JLN’s operations. Meanwhile, JLN continued to harass Ben Hur and use influence and wealth in her favor. JLN retained the MOST Law Office.

However, on July 12, 2013, the PDI came out with a series on the JLN PDAF Scam. In the meanwhile, Social Media had discovered and encountered the high living lifestyle of the Lim – Napoles Family. A month later, on Friday, August 16, Netizens almost spontaneously called for a Million People March and Rally at the Luneta for Monday, August 26, a holiday.

Meanwhile, the NBI – DOJ – Ombudsman investigation and prosecution as well as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s Hearings focused on the three opposition Senators, namely Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to the neglect of other Legislators, Executive Officials and NGOs.

Meanwhile, the serious illegal detention case filed by Ben Hur Luy against JLN and Reynald “Jojo” Lim matured under media and public watch from NBI Investigation to DOJ Prosecution and finally the issuance of warrants of Arrest by the Makati RTC versus Jeny and Jojo. This was followed by the posting of a reward for information leading to Janet’s arrest.

After hiding for several weeks, Janet surrendered to President Aquino and DILG Sec Mar Roxas in Malacanang after a nightime “Hide and Seek” with Presidential Spokesman Lacierda. Then, Noy and Mar escorted JLN to Camp Crame. The purpose of the whole charade was to secure JLN’s cooperation in the one sided Investigation and Prosecution of the three Opposition Senators.

Meanwhile there was the promise of comfort and leniency for the VIP Accused Criminal and Detention Prisoner. However, six months passed with no hospital arrest as promised. That is why the Lists started to threaten to come out.