Manila

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

Poor Pinoy, Rich PNoy

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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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